John P. Pratt, PhD in Astronomy (from the University of Arizona), has developed a biblical timeline back to Adam (and Eve). His extensive “research” was recently summarized in Meridian Magazine. And here are the dates:
The Exodus: 1462 BC
Great Flood: 2343 BC
Adam (Mortal): 4001 BC
This website (TRW) has long argued for a non-literal take on much of the Old Testament.
One of the key elements to improving the compatibility between science and religion is the acceptance that much of the OT is myth, allegory, parable, legend, fiction, etc. Many OT characters and events have little basis in either history or science. Thus efforts like those of Pratt’s, while marginally amusing (putting a timeline on mythology), are not useful, and certainly not timely. They turn religion into a mockery.
The problem with Pratt’s dates are numerous. Take the “Great Flood,” for example. There was no global flood. It didn’t happen. This has been the subject of two articles written by BYU professors indicating why the story is untenable from a scientific perspective. Additionally, there is not enough water on the earth and in the atmosphere to flood to the tops of the mountains. Plus, there were thriving civilizations in 2343 BC and they make no mention of a flood; their civilizations show no disruptions.
The eviction from the Garden of Eden in 4001 BC is also problematic. There were human beings on the earth long before 6K years ago. And they were sentient and there was death. The LDS Church leadership needs to rethink the idea that without a Fall there is no need for an Atonement.
Why should we care about Pratt’s ruminations? Because we should not be mixing scientific truth with religious mythology. Do we want our youth to think that in order to be a “good” member of the LDS Church, they have to believe in a literal OT (particularly the Book of Genesis)? Of course NOT. If Pratt wants to believe in a literal OT, that is his business; but websites and blogs like ldsmag.com and ndbf.com do the Mormon Church a great disservice; they perpetuate the idea that biblical allegories are history (and worse science). It is time for the LDS leadership to speak up. This would be a great General Conference talk for President Henry B. Eyring.