Click here for a world history time chart
An overview of world history
The following quotations are from Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia. It begins with an excellent overview entitled "the course of human society." [My comments are in square brackets.]
"6000 TO 4000 YEARS AGO"
"The deepest of all cultural changes in human history occurred in what Westerners call the Middle East about 6000 years ago: Imbalanced civilization came into the world. A new human being, the city person, or, in the countryside, the city-controlled person, appeared for the first time. The most succinct way to describe the history of the last 6000 years - the history of the entire biosphere, so consequential for all other forms of life did the new kind of person become - is to say that it is the story of the inexorable spread, usually by violent means, of imbalanced civilization. Today it is virtually the only mode of human life on earth." [6000 years ago takes us to 4000 BC - the fall of Adam ]
[What is "imbalanced civilization?"]
"Let us make two clear and significant distinctions concerning human beings and society. The first is between kinship and civilization, as the primary organizing principles of human society. The second is between balance and imbalance, as the primary orientations of human personality within society."
|Four fundamental modes of human society:||Balanced: able to construct rules and structures, or break them down, as needed.||Imbalanced: too rigid or too anarchic to be stable.|
|Kinship: based on reciprocal duties to the extended family.||1. Balanced
e.g. hunting and gathering family groups
e.g. the early Mongol tribal groups
|Civilization: hierarchies of importance, not based on kinship||2. Balanced
e.g. ancient Egypt, medieval China.
e.g. most contemporary nations
"4000 TO 2000 YEARS AGO"
[Balanced civilizations are listed, including: Egypt, Minoan Crete, and the Indus Valley until about 1500 C, and China from that time.]
"By 2000 years ago [e.g. when the Bible was being completed], several major subvarieties of imbalanced civilization has acquired their shapes. The foundations of the Western subvariety ['the Beast'] had been laid by the earlier Greek and Hebrew cultures, and they were now being synthesized and spread over a large area by a Roman empire that would soon become a Christian Roman empire. Similarly, the modern Indian and Middle Eastern subvarieties were becoming mature imbalanced civilizations."
"2000 TO 1000 YEARS AGO"
[Various different forms of society existed western civilization, Chinese civilization, the imbalanced-kinship "barbarians" at the fringes of each, Indian and Muslim civilizations, and some remaining balanced kinship societies in Africa and the Americas.]
"The Western subvariety of imbalanced civilization was slow to mature. "
"1000 YEARS AGO TO THE PRESENT"
"The drama of the last thousand years is that of Western coalescence and of Western impingement on all other societies, kinship-ordered and civilized." [Who can make war with him? He treads down and breaks in pieces the whole world! see Daniel 7 and Revelation 13]
"Shortly after the turn of the present millennium, the West began its phenomenal career in commerce. Wealth grew, and moved to the center of Western values. All the skills of distinction making became honed even finer than in Rome." [Babylon at the end is characterised by trade see Revelation 18.]
"More and more emphasis was put onto the deritualized cluster of distinction-making competencies. Particular instances of this increase in emphasis came to be labeled the "Renaissance", when art was at stake, and the "Reformation", in the case of religion. Less and less importance was given to the symbolic, ritualized cluster of distinction-dissolving competencies. The resulting weakening of ability to identify with other human beings contributed to the violence of Western conduct, on a large and small scale. Finally, a series of scientific and technological breakthroughs, products of the now white-hot distinction-making cluster, armed the West, sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively, in a large successful effort to remake all other world civilizations, including the Chinese, in its own image."
[The second beast made an image to the first beast, and the whole world worshipped it Revelation 13]
[What of the present and the future? Year 2000 and onwards? The article concludes that the solution may lie in rediscovering the value of balanced kinship in other words, the family.]
About the time chart
|I have found this useful as a handout when giving
lessons. There is nothing very controversial on it, and
it does not focus particularly on the prophecies. I drew
it by hand many years ago (and made minor updates for the
web). It gives a broad overview of the seven thousand
years of earth's history, including all the major
prophets. Can you find your birthday on it? :-)
To save it in Windows, right click on it and choose "save as". If you open it in a graphics program (such as PaintShop Pro), you should be able to print it so it covers a whole side of A4 paper.
How to turn history on its head
When people look for evidence or scripture, they often look for new archeological discoveries. But the simplest way is often to question the chronology - the dating system. It is surprising how much of ancient history relies on just one or two obscure references to establish a date (an eclipse perhaps, or a reference in Berrosuse). Obviously, most ancient historians did not say "the date is now 552 BC" - they usually just referred to whatever king was ruling, and since kings usualy have more than one title, this makes for great potential confusion.
Velikovsky and Rohl
Back in the 1950s, Immanuel Velikovsky proposed a revised Egyptian chronology (Egyptian dates are the basis for most other dating systems in the ancient Near East). In his series of books called "Ages in Chaos" he showed that, if you start by ignoring the traditional orthodoxy, the historical records suggest a sequence of events that is much closer to the Bible than conventional historians like to admit. More recently, and on a more modest scale, David Rohl has suggested something similar (you may have seen his "Kings and Pharaohs" series on Discovery of Channel 4 in the UK). There may well be others, but the point is that if we question just one or two key assumptions regarding dating methods, everything gets turned upside down.
Not everyone agrees with these alernative theories, and they are not essential for a literal reading of scripture. But I find the debate fascinating. For more about Velikovsky, see The Velikovskian (http://www.knowledge.co.uk/velikovskian/index.htm) or other sites such as "Cosmos and Chronos" at http://home.flash.net/~cjransom/. For David Rohl, see http://www.knowledge.co.uk/xxx/cat/rohl/david.htm
Similar things happen for carbon dating. Small changes in our approach to history have big effects. If, for example, we accept genesis' account of "mists watering the earth" we can ask what happens if the earth's atmosphere is a little different. If less cosmic radiation gets through, less Carbon-16 (the regular kind) is turned into Carbon-14 (the unstable kind). So living things breathe in a smaller proportion of C-14. Living things then have the same proportion of C-14 as a modern creature that has been dead for thousands of years. The bottom line is that if there was negligable Carbon-14 in the air at the beginning (say, 4000 BC), and that gradually increased to present levels, all the accepted dates would telescope. For example, something that died 3000 BC might look like it died 10,000 BC, something that died 3500 BC might look like it died 100,000 BC. Something that died 4000 BC might look like it died 1,000,000 BC.
The bottom line:
"Obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion." (Doctrine & Covenants 93:53)