Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
In this newsletter we will continue our reflections on the importance of genealogy and of our direct link to God our Creator through our first parents, St. Adam and St. Eve.
Most of our readers will have experienced the game known as “Chinese whispers”—although it could just as well be called “American whispers” or “Australian whispers.” A group of children are lined up and the child at one end of the line is given a sentence to “pass on” in a whisper to the child next to him, who then passes it on in a whisper has to the child next to him, until the message reaches the end of the line, at which point the child at the end of the chain announces the message as he received it from his neighbor. Howls of laughter usually erupt at this point, because the message announced often bears little if any resemblance to the original message.
When I was a young elementary school teacher, I used this “exercise” with my ten and eleven year old students in history classes to demonstrate that oral tradition was unreliable, just as a similar exercise had been used by countless numbers of teachers to teach untold numbers of students the same lesson. I never reflected on the absurdity of drawing such a weighty conclusion from such a silly exercise, and it took me decades to realize the utter folly of the “demonstration.“
When one realizes how important genealogy was to our Hebrew forebears and to ancient people in general, it becomes apparent that the game of Chinese whispers actually demonstrates how far modern man has drifted away from the pious mentality of our ancestors, both Christian and pagan, for whom a precise knowledge of their lineage had a profound and often practical significance. If one were to imagine a situation in which a kidnapper told a group of kidnapped children to play Chinese whispers and that the penalty for garbling even a syllable of the message would be certain death, there is not a group of children in the world who would not successfully “hand on” the message. The children “know” that transmitting the message is not important to them or to anyone else and that they are expected to butcher it—so they do.
But that is a far cry from the oral tradition of our ancestors.
The Historicity of Genesis
The significance of the historicity of the Genesis genealogical records can hardly be overestimated. In his famous work, How Christians Said the First Mass, Fr. James L. Meagher shows how the interconnecting life-spans of the antediluvian patriarchs explain how an accurate record of the history of mankind from creation and the fall down to Abraham could easily be accomplished in four life-spans:
Adam died in the year 930 when Mathuselah was ninety-four years old. The latter lived till Sem, called also Melchisedech, was in his fiftieth year. Sem, or Melchisedech, died on Sion when Isaac was thirty-three years of age, and the latter lived till he was 180--2288 years after the creation of Adam, but a short time before the birth of Amram, Moses’ father. Thus history came down from Adam and the patriarchs to Moses the great lawgiver, Founder of the Hebrew nationality and writer of the five books of the Bible.
It is well-known that non-literate peoples who rely on their memories for the accurate transmission of important information often achieve prodigious feats of memorization. The history of Buddhism records the preservation of the entire corpus of Buddha’s teaching by oral transmission for 500 years at a time when life-spans had fallen drastically below their antediluvian levels. If short-lived pagans could preserve intact a human revelation for a minimum of seven life-spans of 70 years or more, can one doubt that an accurate history of mankind from Adam to Abraham could be transmitted with divine assistance over four life-spans? The question is all the more telling in view of the fact that genetic mistakes had accumulated in the human genome to a much greater extent by the advent of Buddha than in the days of Noah, with a consequent weakening of the physical and mental powers of the entire human race.
Indeed. it is a remarkable fact that the same chronology contained in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament appears in pagan chronicles independent of Jewish or Christian influence. The Irish bards who recorded the history of their people and the genealogies of their leading families dated events from the Creation of the World approximately 1654 years prior to a Global Flood. According to the pre-Christian Irish chroniclers, a certain descendant of Noah’s son Japheth named Partholan established the first colony in Ireland 864 years after the Great Flood. The same chronicles record the fourth colonization of Ireland by a people called the Milesians in the year 3500 after creation, or 504 B.C. According to historian Bill Cooper:
The city of Miletus, whose ruins stand on the present-day Turkish mainland, was finally overrun and destroyed by the Persian army in the year 494 BC, (14) and in the decades prior to this disaster, the people of Miletus had been under an ever-increasing threat. Life, such as it was, was neither comfortable nor certain, and nothing would have been more natural than that a colony of Milesians should decide to flee the Persian menace. They would seek a land sufficiently far away to be safe, was fertile, and which was well-known to the mariners (in particular the Phoenician mariners) of the Eastern Mediterranean. That the city of Miletus should be known to us today as having been an essentially Ionian outpost should be of no real consequence, for we have already seen the Irish accounts traced descent of the Irish variously from both Phoenician and Scythian stock, and both Phoenicians and Scythians would certainly have been found amongst the city's population; and we are thus compelled to take the claims of the early Irish chroniclers very seriously indeed.
The reliability of the Irish chronicles can be gauged by the fact that the bards who transmitted them functioned as the sole repository of laws and genealogies. According to one historian:
The Books of Genealogies and Pedigrees form a most important element in Irish pagan history. For social and political reasons, the Irish Celt preserved his genealogical tree with scrupulous precision. Property rights and the governing power were transmitted with patriarchal exactitude on strict claims of primogeniture, which could only be refused under certain conditions defined by law...and in obedience to an ancient law, established long before the introduction of Christianity, all the provincial records, as well as those of the various chieftains, were required to be furnished every third year to the convocation at Tara, where they were compared and corrected.
The convocations at Tara insured that the bards preserved the genealogies and laws intact. Although an Irish bard enjoyed a dignity next to a king, a single significant mistake in his recital of a law or a lineage—easily detected by his fellow bards in the audience—could cost him his rank. Like the Irish bards, the poets of the Angles, Saxons and Vikings recorded the genealogies of their leading families from Noah’s Flood until their day without reference to any Jewish or Christian sources of information. The Irish chronicles bear witness to the truth of the Biblical account of Noah’s Flood, as well as the post-flood migrations and population explosion after the Tower of Babel. Given the longer life-spans of people in the immediate post-Flood era—which gradually tapered off to a stable level after ten generations—the Biblical population figures make complete sense. Beginning with the three sons of Noah and their wives in 2238 B.C., and assuming an average of ten children per family, it would be possible for them to have a total of two and a quarter million great-grandchildren within seven generations, or after 210 years.
“He Has Made From One Man All the Nations on the Earth” (Acts 17:26)
Skeptics assume that the agreement between the chronologies handed down by pagan tribes in Europe and the Biblical chronology reflects the later influence of Christian monks who redacted the ancient genealogies and chronologies and made them fit the Biblical record. It is not difficult to show that the agreement between the pagan genealogies and the Biblical ones pre-dates contact between the pagans and Christian evangelists, but we can also find examples of non-European pagan nations whose traditions and genealogies perfectly harmonized with the Biblical record for centuries prior to their first contact with Catholic missionaries.
Missionary Edgar Truax labored among the Miao tribes of China and learned that they preserved the genealogy of their ancestors all the way back to St. Adam and St. Eve. According to an article in Acts and Facts magazine :
The Miao tribes, or as it is spelled in most encyclopedias "Miautso," at one time occupied most of inland China south of the Yangtze River, but have been gradually driven into the mountains of the southwest by the better-armed and better-organized Chinese. The Miao of our section claim to have been driven out of Kiangsi Province.
The Miao traditions are very precise, as compared with those of many primitive peoples, because they are not only handed down in metrical form, but, also, they are in couplets, in which the same or similar meaning is expressed in different wording, so that the second sentence acts as a definition of the first, where it might otherwise not be clear. This is very much like one form of Hebrew poetry - an example of which is found in Psalm 21:1,2 . . .
According to the Miao genealogies, the Miao tribes trace their descent from Japheth, the son of Noah:
The Patriarch Jahphu got the center of nations.
The son he begat was the Patriarch Go-men.
Who took him a wife called the Matriarch Go-yong.
Their grandson and his wife both took the name Tutan.
Their descendants are given in order as follows:
Patriarch Gawndan Mew-wan,
Matriarch Cawdan Mew-jew;
Patriarch Jenku Dawvu, Matriarch Jeneo Boje;
Patriarch Gangen Newang (wife not given);
Patriarch Seageweng, Matriarch Maw gueh.
Their children, eleven in number, was each the head of a family.
Five branches became the Miao nation.
Six families joined with the Chinese.
The story continues through many more pages, telling of the separation of the Chinese and Miao; their travels and demon worship, their division into families.
The Miao at funerals and weddings recite the ancestry of the principal or principals clear back to Adam. Their frequent use of it may account for its accuracy.
The Miao account recalls the whole sacred history of Genesis 1-11. Their account of creation locates the creation of the Earth at the very beginning, and distinguishes, as Moses does, between the creation of “light” in the beginning of the creation period, and the creation of the sun and moon, later in the creation period:
On the day God created the heavens and earth.
On that day He opened the gateway of light.
In the earth then He made heaps of earth and of stone.
In the sky He made bodies, the sun and the moon.
In the earth He created the hawk and the kite.
In the water created the lobster and fish.
In the wilderness made He the tiger and bear,
Made verdure to cover the mountains,
Made forest extend with the ranges,
Made the light green cane,
Made the rank bamboo.
On the earth He created a man from the dirt.
Of the man thus created, a woman He formed.
Then the Patriarch Dirt made a balance of stones.
Estimated the weight of the earth to the bottom. (Note 1)
Calculated the bulk of the heavenly bodies.
And pondered the ways of the Deity, God.
The Patriarch Dirt begat Patriarch Se-teh.
The Patriarch Se-Teh begat a son Lusu.
And Lusu had Gehlo and he begat Lama.
The Patriarch Lama begat the man Nuah.
His wife was the Matriarch Gaw Bo-lu-en.
Their sons were Lo Han, Lo Shen and Jah-hu. (Note 2)
So the earth began filling with tribes and with families.
Creation was shared by the clans and the peoples.
The World Wicked
These did not God's will nor returned His affection.
But fought with each other defying the Godhead.
Their leaders shook fists in the face of the Mighty
Then the earth was convulsed to the depth of three strata.
Rending the air to the uttermost heaven.
God's anger arose till His Being was changed;
His wrath flaring up filled His eyes and His face.
Until He must come and demolish humanity.
Come and destroy a whole world full of people.
So it poured forty days in sheets and in torrents.
Then fifty-five days of misting and drizzle.
The waters surmounted the mountains and ranges.
The deluge ascending leapt valley and hollow.
An earth with no earth upon which to take refuge!
A world with no foothold where one might subsist!
The people were baffled, impotent and ruined,
Despairing, horror stricken, diminished and finished.
But the Patriarch Nuah was righteous.
The Matriarch Gaw Bo-lu-en upright.
Built a boat very wide.
Made a ship very vast.
Their household entire got aboard and were floated,
The family complete rode the deluge in safety.
The animals with him were female and male.
The birds went along and were mated in pairs.
When the time was fulfilled, God commanded the waters.
The day had arrived, the flood waters receded.
Then Nuah liberated a dove from their refuge,
Sent a bird to go forth and bring again tidings.
The flood had gone down into lake and to ocean;
The mud was confined to the pools and the hollows.
There was land once again where a man might reside;
There was a place in the earth now to rear habitations.
Buffalo then were brought, an oblation to God,
Fatter cattle became sacrifice to the Mighty.
The Divine One then gave them His blessing;
Their God then bestowed His good graces.
Lo-han then begat Cusah and Mesay.
Lo-shan begat Elan and Nga-shur.
Their offspring begotten became tribes and peoples;
Their descendants established encampments and cities.
Their singing was all with the same tunes and music;
Their speaking was all with the same words and language.
Then they said let us build us a very big city;
Let us raise unto heaven a very high tower.
This was wrong, but they reached this decision;
Not right, but they rashly persisted.
God struck at them then, changed their language and accent.
Descending in wrath, He confused tones and voices.
One's speech to the others who hear him has no meaning;
He's speaking in words, but they can't understand him.
So the city they builded was never completed;
The tower they wrought has to stand thus unfinished.
In despair then they separate under all heaven,
They part from each other the globe to encircle.
They arrive at six corners and speak the six languages.
The Sacred History of Genesis 1-11: The Common Heritage of All Mankind
Desperate to deny the truth of the sacred history of Genesis and to replace it with an evolutionary myth of their own making, modernist thinkers like psychologist Carl Jung and his followers postulate a “collective unconscious” from which mankind draws forth universal “archetypes.” By this means, they try to explain away the fact that non-industrialized people groups all over the world have retained a memory of all the major events recorded in the first eleven chapters of the sacred history of Genesis. At the end of the day, the Jungians’ attempts to “explain away” our common historical heritage are as laughable as Carl Sagan’s attempts to explain away the overwhelming evidence for human and dinosaur co-existence—as the result of man’s having preserved a “genetic memory” of the age of reptiles!
In our next newsletter, we will examine the dire consequences of allowing our common heritage to be stolen away from us. In the meantime, I remain
Yours in Christ through the Immaculata in union with St. Joseph,
P.S. In September I will make a far-reaching road trip for the Kolbe Center with a mid-point presentation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on September 19. If anyone can arrange a talk or a seminar anywhere between Virginia and Kansas-Missouri to the west or between Kansas-Missouri and Wisconsin to the north before the 19th, or between Wisconsin and Virginia after the 19th, please let me know, so that we can plan accordingly.
 Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D, How Christians Said the First Mass (Tan Books: Rockford, IL, 1984).