Scientists writing in the American Journal of Human Genetics, doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2017.06.013 August 3, 2017 claim: “Uncertainties also surround the fate of the Canaanites: the Bible reports the destruction of the Canaanite cities and the annihilation of its people; if true, the Canaanites could not have directly contributed genetically to present-day populations”. This claim is reiterated in Science (AAAS) News and ScienceDaily 27 July 2017 and ABC News 28 July 2017 and various other general news services.
The ScienceDaily article begins “The Canaanites created the first alphabet, established colonies throughout the Mediterranean, and were mentioned many times in the Bible. But who were they and what ultimately happened to them? Were they annihilated like the Bible says?”
An international team of scientists analysed DNA samples taken from archaeological sites at Sidon, a Canaanite city on the coast of what is now Lebanon. The researchers compared the ancient DNA with DNA from 99 modern people in Lebanon and found present day Lebanese people had inherited genes from the ancient Canaanites. This resulted in many comments about the Bible being wrong about the Canaanites. The Science News article is entitled “Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites”.
Alan Cooper of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA commented: “Clearly the Bible’s wrong in the sense of the Canaanites being smitten, they were clearly not smit too well”. Although, after quoting Alan Cooper the ABC News article did admit “And, in fact the finding reflects other parts of the Bible that discuss the Israelites’ failure to follow the command and wipe out the Canaanites.”
Editorial Comment: For once, the ABC has got something right about the Bible. It is true that Israel had orders from God to destroy all the Canaanites (Exodus 23:31-33; Deuteronomy 7:1-5), but the Israelites were outsmarted. The people of Gibeon had heard of Israel’s victories (Joshua 9) and tricked Israel into making a covenant with them so they could survive. Using the ploy of ‘being from a distant city’, they asked Israel to make a permanent covenant of peace with them. Without first consulting with God, Israel made that covenant. Later when they found they had been deceived, they had to keep the covenant. They did not kill the people but made them servants instead.
The Bible does tell us many of the Canaanites were wiped out in the days of Joshua and the Judges, but they were not completely annihilated, and there were still some living alongside the ancient Israelites throughout Old Testament times, (e.g. Ezra 9). You must note that God has honoured Israel’s covenant with the descendants of that group of Canaanites from then till now, even punishing any Israelite who killed them. So it is no surprise that their genes have been passed onto descendants still living in the Middle East, even if the Canaanite culture was eventually destroyed.
First Key Lesson: God rates promises highly so never make them foolishly or lightly.
Second Key Lesson: scientists can also be fools. The authors of the report in the American Journal of Human Genetics show their abject contempt for the Biblical record in the fact that their article contains 54 references to other publications, with all their claims relating to the study being carefully referenced throughout the report, with one exception – there is not one reference given for their statement about the annihilation of the Canaanites. Clearly, they didn’t think it was worth checking the source they claim to be citing.
The comment in several news sources that the Canaanites created the first alphabet is also fake news. The first writing is described in Genesis 5, which records the descendants of Adam in a document referred to as the book, or written record, of Adam. Don’t be surprised Adam could write. He was made in the image of the writing, speaking God (Genesis 5:1).
Evidence News vol 17, No. 16
23 August 2017
Creation Research Australia
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