Following the Deluge the human race grew rapidly, spreading out yet remaining in the same vicinity, the fertile plains near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. (Genesis, chapters 6-10)
As the population grew to sufficient numbers, it appears that urban life began to develop, and, along with it the construction of the first skyscraper in the town of Babel. Man was well on his way toward many modern achievements, no doubt, and well along in developing the corrupt, immoral culture that has always followed in the wake of urbanization. "The Lord said, 'If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.'" (Genesis 11:6 NIV) Everything from human cloning to nuclear weaponry would have been on the horizon from mankind. This, no doubt, would have brought matters to a head and forced the Apocalypse—way ahead of God's schedule for laying appropriate groundwork and sending his Messiah. But, the One who knows the end from the beginning was not caught off guard by these developments. The Creator had something else in mind: "'Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.' So, the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city." (Genesis 11:7-8 NIV)
From Babel onward the Bible tracks the history of the Chosen People only, and the surrounding nations in the Middle East. The other families of mankind spread across Europe, Asia and Africa, descended from Noah's three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives who were not of Noah's line and hence added genetic diversity to the mix. The recorded history of many nations tells of the exploits of Ham's descendents and Japheth's, but God inspired Bible writers to record and assemble only the history of certain branches of Semitic peoples (Shem's offspring) and others who interacted with them. Little is known of the families who eventually took their tower-building technology to Central and South America. Those who built Egypt's pyramids receive mention in the Bible, primarily due to their interaction with Israel.
While it conflicts with some popular theories, the
Bible's history of mankind fits the observable facts and agrees where it overlaps with secular histories recorded by non-biblical writers.
Chapter 13 How to Be Saved
When the first humans rebelled against God by the sin of eating the forbidden fruit, it would appear that God had two options for populating this planet as he had originally intended: either destroy the sinful couple and start over again, or redeem some of their offspring.
How easy it would have been to annihilate Adam and Eve and then create a new man from the dust of the ground and a new woman from his rib! But God chose the more difficult alternative: to tolerate human rebellion for thousands of years, during which time he would lay the necessary groundwork through his Chosen People, send his only begotten Son as the savior and redeemer of fallen mankind, and nurture a church of the Messiah's followers. Finally, he would collect the "harvest" from all this effort—people from every nation—and cleanse the earth from wickedness and corruption in a fiery battle of Armageddon. In the end there would remain a redeemed human race living godly lives in peace and harmony in God's kingdom.
The Hebrew writers of the Old Testament presented elements of this divine plan, shedding light on it progressively down through the ages. They pointed forward to the coming of the Anointed One or Messiah, laid the basis for identifying him, and hinted at what he would accomplish. Called "Christ" from the Greek word for "Anointed One," Jesus showed how all of those prophecies fit together and how they would result in human salvation.
The way of salvation that Jesus proclaimed was not through church or organizational membership or through accurate knowledge of the Scriptures—although both of these enter into it. In order to gain