ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview
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ElShamah - Reason & Science: Defending ID and the Christian Worldview

Otangelo Grasso: This is my library, where I collect information and present arguments developed by myself that lead, in my view, to the Christian faith, creationism, and Intelligent Design as the best explanation for the origin of the physical world.

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What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?

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What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation? 

ChatGTP: Young Earth Creationism (YEC) is a belief that the universe, Earth, and all life on it were created by God as described in the book of Genesis, and that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. While this belief is held by a significant number of people, it is not supported by the scientific evidence and is widely rejected by the scientific community. Some of the major problems of young earth creationism include:

Contradiction with scientific evidence: The scientific evidence from fields such as astronomy, geology, and biology strongly support an old Earth, around 4.5 billion years old, and a long history of life on it. YEC contradicts these scientific findings, leading to conflicts with scientific knowledge.

Ignoring scientific method: YEC relies on religious texts, dogma, and personal beliefs, rather than empirical data and scientific methods to establish their claims. This leads to a lack of rigorous testing and validation of their claims and, consequently, their ideas may not hold up under scrutiny.

Inconsistencies with biblical interpretation: YEC proponents use a literal interpretation of the Bible, but this approach can lead to inconsistencies within the Bible itself and with historical and archaeological evidence.

Lack of evidence and empirical support: The YEC model lacks empirical evidence and support from the scientific community, with no experiments, data, or observations to support their claims.

Rejection of key scientific theories: YEC proponents reject several key scientific theories, such as evolution and the Big Bang, which have been thoroughly tested and supported by evidence.

Impossibility of reconciling with scientific discoveries: The YEC model cannot account for many scientific discoveries, such as the fossil record, radiometric dating, the expansion of the universe, and the existence of genetic diversity, all of which provide strong evidence for an old Earth and a long history of life.

Limited explanatory power: YEC provides little explanatory power for the natural world, as it attributes all events to a divine force, and does not offer detailed mechanisms for how things happen, leaving many questions unanswered.

Overall, Young Earth Creationism faces major challenges in reconciling its beliefs with scientific evidence, and its rejection of well-supported scientific theories has led to a lack of credibility in the scientific community.

The heath problem during Noah's flood:

The "heat problem" during Noah's Flood is a significant challenge for the young earth creationist model. According to the biblical account, the Flood covered the entire Earth and lasted for 40 days and 40 nights. During this time, it is estimated that the oceans would have had to boil to produce enough rain to cover the entire planet. This raises the question of how the Earth's climate could have remained stable during such an event, as the amount of heat energy released from the oceans would have been enormous.

Young earth creationists have proposed various explanations for this problem, such as invoking supernatural intervention or postulating that the Earth's atmosphere was different during the Flood, allowing it to dissipate heat more effectively. However, these proposals lack empirical evidence and have not been supported by the scientific community.

Furthermore, the heat problem raises additional questions, such as how the Flood could have affected different regions of the Earth uniformly, as the distribution of heat and moisture would have varied significantly across the planet. Additionally, the sudden and massive release of heat energy would have had catastrophic consequences for life on Earth, including widespread extinctions, which are not observed in the fossil record.

Overall, the heat problem during Noah's Flood presents a significant challenge for the young earth creationist model, and the proposed solutions lack empirical support and raise additional questions.

The "heat problem" during Noah's Flood is a significant challenge for the young earth creationist model, and there is no consensus on how to solve it. However, some young earth creationists have proposed possible solutions to address the issue. Here are a few examples:

Catastrophic Plate Tectonics: During the Flood, the Earth's tectonic plates shifted rapidly, causing massive volcanic eruptions and releasing vast amounts of heat into the atmosphere. This could have led to a temporary greenhouse effect, which would have helped to balance the heat budget of the planet.

Vapor Canopy: The existence of a vapor canopy surrounding the Earth's atmosphere, which could have shielded the planet from harmful radiation and helped to regulate its temperature. This vapor canopy could have also contributed to the floodwaters that covered the Earth during the Flood.

Thermal Conductivity: The Earth's crust has high thermal conductivity, which would have allowed heat to dissipate more quickly into the mantle, preventing the oceans from boiling.

It's important to note that these proposals lack empirical support and have not been widely accepted by the scientific community. Moreover, they raise additional questions and challenges that need to be addressed, such as the amount of energy needed to drive plate tectonics or the stability of a vapor canopy.

Overall, the "heat problem" during Noah's Flood remains a significant challenge for the young earth creationist model, and more research and empirical evidence are needed to address it adequately.




1. Cyrus‘ Decree, 539 BC – 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4; 6:3-5
2. Darius‘ Decree, 519/18 BC – Ezra 5:3-17
3. Artaxerxes‘ Decree to Ezra, 457 BC – Ezra 7:11-26
4. Artaxerxes‘ ―Decree‖ to Nehemiah, 445/4 BC – Nehemiah 2:1-8 11

What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?  Prophe13

Cyrus’ Decree of 538 B.C.

Neverthirsty:  The decree of 538 B.C. was issued by Cyrus, the first king of Persia, during his first year as king (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). It should be noted that the decree as described in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 does not include a directive to rebuild the city but only the temple. To believe that the city is included assumes facts not stated in the text.

Some advocates claim that Isaiah 44:26-28 supports the view that Cyrus’ decree in Ezra 1:1-2; 6:3 included the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

Isaiah 44:28 (NASB): It is I who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd!
And he will perform all My desire.”
And he declares of Jerusalem, “She will be built,”
And of the temple, “Your foundation will be laid.”

But a careful examination of the verse reveals that Isaiah 44:28 only says that God refers to Cyrus as “My shepherd” and He will rebuild the city and the temple. The Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) translated this verse more accurately,

Isaiah 44:28 (HCSB): Who says to Cyrus, “My shepherd,
he will fulfill all My pleasure”
and says to Jerusalem, “She will be rebuilt,”
and of the temple, “Its foundation will be laid.”

Note that God is declaring His actions and not the actions of King Cyrus. There is ambiguity in some translations.

Isaiah 45:13 is probably the strongest passage supporting the concept that Cyrus’ decree may have included the rebuilding of the city, but the questions must be asked: What does “rebuild the city” mean, and when was the rebuilding to occur? At first this might appear to be an attempt to avoid the obvious; but it is very clear in Nehemiah 2:11-17 that the temple was built first and not the city of Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:11-17 is important since it describes the city during the reign of King Artaxerxes who ruled after Cyrus (Nehemiah 2:1). In the passage we are told that the city is desolate and the walls are “broken down.” The Hebrew text in Nehemiah 2:13 states explicitly that the walls and gates were in utter ruin. Nehemiah 2:17 is also very significant since it states that Jerusalem is desolate and the gates were burned by fire. The Hebrew word for “is desolate” can also be translated as “to lay waste” or “to lay in ruins.” If Cyrus’ decree included rebuilding the city and the walls, why is the city in ruins during Artaxerxes’ reign? It is very possible that Isaiah 45:13 simply means that during the Persian rule the city of Jerusalem will be rebuilt. Therefore, Cyrus’ decree is rejected.

Artaxerxes’ Decree of 457 B.C.

Artaxerxes I reigned after Cyrus from 464 to 424 B.C. He was the sixth Persian king. Artaxerxes’ decree of 457 B.C. as given in Ezra 7:11-27 does not refer to a rebuilding of any city but to a decree allowing Ezra and others to return to Jerusalem for the purpose of worship. Some have claimed that Ezra 9:9 indicates that the 457 B.C. decree did include the rebuilding of the city, but once again a careful examination reveals that Ezra had a thankful heart for the Persian kings allowing them to rebuild the temple.

What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?  Time-o10

Artaxerxes’ Decree of 444 B.C. is the most plausible date

JOHN F. WALVOORD (2011): The most plausible explanation is the 444 BC date because this works out precisely to the fulfillment of the prophecy and also coincides with the actual rebuilding of the city. This interpretation provides the most literal explanation without disregarding some of the specifics of the prophecy. If 444 BC is accepted as the beginning date of the 490 years, the 483 years would culminate in the year AD 33 where recent scholarship
has placed the probable time of the death of Christ. In interpretation the Bible authorizes the use of the prophetic year of 360 days. The 360 days are multiplied by 483 years, or the 490 years minus seven. The computation comes out at AD 33. The concept that the prophetic year is 360 days is confirmed by the 1,260 days (Rev. 11:3; 12:6), with the forty-two months (11:2; 13:5), and with a time, times and half a time, or three and a half years (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 12:14). This interpretation permits the 483 years to run their course. The intervening time between the 483 years and the last seven years was provided in the prophecy itself as would be seen in examination of Daniel 9:26–27.30

Artaxerxes I issued another decree in 444 B.C. which is given in Nehemiah 2:1-8.

Nehemiah 2:1-8 (NASB): And it came about in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes . . . And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor before you, send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.” . . . And I said to the king, “If it please the king, let letters be given me for the governors of the provinces beyond the River, that they may allow me to pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress which is by the temple, for the wall of the city, and for the house to which I will go. And the king granted them to me because the good hand of my God was on me.

Only Nehemiah 2:1-8 and the following verses within the book of Nehemiah provide solid evidence that this decree was issued for the purpose of rebuilding the city and the walls. Notice that Nehemiah 2:17 clearly states that the city was desolate.

Nehemiah 2:17 (NASB): Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation we are in, that Jerusalem is desolate and its gates burned by fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem so that we will no longer be a reproach.”

Nehemiah 3 indicates that the Fish, Old, Valley, Refuse, Fountain, Water, Horse, East, Inspection, and Sheep gates and walls were all rebuilt. The rebuilding activity of the gates and walls are mentioned one by one. Nehemiah 4 describes the rebuilding of the wall and Nehemiah 6:15 says that the wall was finally completed. Then Nehemiah 11:1 tells us that the rest of the people were to be brought to the city so that it could be repaired.

Why would Artaxerxes issue another decree in 444 B.C. if one had already been issued in 538 B.C. or 457 B.C.? This implies that the 538 B.C. and 457 B.C. decrees were not edicts to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Therefore, we must conclude that Nehemiah 2 and following chapters refer to the rebuilding of the city and the wall. In summary, Nehemiah 2:1-8 documents the decree of interest, the utter ruin of the city and dilapidated walls, and the rebuilding of the city and its walls.

What is the date of Artaxerxes’ decree recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8? To answer the question, we will start by noting that Artaxerxes started ruling Persia in 465 B.C. Since Nehemiah 2:1 indicates the time is the 20th year of Artaxerxes we might assume that the date is 445 B.C. In reality the date is 444 B.C. since the Babylonians and Medo-Persians referred to a king’s first year as the ascension year. The date of 444 B.C. is correct since 445 B.C. was actually the king’s ascension year and should not be counted as part of the official reign of Artaxerxes.

Therefore, when Ezra says the decree was issued in the 20th year of King Artaxerxes, it is actually the 21st year in which Artaxerxes ruled the Persian empire or 444 B.C. It is also important to note that when the day of the month was not mentioned, it was customary to assume the first day of the month. Therefore, Artaxerxes issued the decree that Daniel 9:25 refers to for the restoration and rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem as 1 Nisan, 3317, in the Jewish calendar, or March 28, 444 B.C. in the Gregorian calendar or April 2, 444 B.C. in the Julian Calendar.

J. E. Walvoord (2012): Nehemiah 2:1–6. In 444 B.C. King Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah to Jerusalem. Nehemiah asked permission to go because he had heard that “the wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire” (Neh. 1:3). Nehemiah specifically asked permission to go to “Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it” (2:5). This is the first and only royal decree granting permission to “restore and build Jerusalem” (Dan. 9:25). Accordingly, the best explanation for the terminus ad quo in Daniel 9:25 is the decree relating to the rebuilding of Jerusalem itself given in Nehemiah 2:1–6, about ninety years after the first captives returned and started building the temple. Many commentators identify this reference as the royal edict of Artaxerxes Longimanus, who reigned over Persia 465–425 B.C., and who not only commanded the rebuilding of Jerusalem in 444 B.C. but earlier had commissioned Ezra to return to Jerusalem in 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:11–26).54 The date 444 B.C. is based on the reference in Nehemiah 2:1.

Anderson has made a detailed study of a possible chronology for this period, beginning with the assumed date of 445 B.C. when the decree to Nehemiah was issued and culminating in A.D. 32 on the very day of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before His crucifixion. Anderson specifies that the seventy-sevens began on the first of Nisan (March 14) 445 B.C. and ended on the tenth of Nisan (April 6), A.D. 32.1

Dr. Thomas L. Constable (2022): The years of history that this book covers are 445-431 B.C., or perhaps a few years after that. In 445 B.C. (the twentieth year of Artaxerxes' reign, 1:1), Nehemiah learned of the conditions in Jerusalem that led him to request permission to return to Judah (2:5). He arrived in Jerusalem in 444 B.C. and within 52 days had completed the rebuilding of the city walls (6:15). 2

There is general agreement that Nehemiah reached Jerusalem in 444 B.C. during the twentieth year of Artaxerxes I. Archeological evidence has confirmed the Biblical information.

Frank M. Cross (1975): The dating of Nehemiah's mission to 445, the twentieth year of Artaxerxes I, has not been in serious dispute since the appearance of Sanballat in an Elephantine letter of 407 B.C. (The Elephantine Papyri and Ostraca consist of thousands of documents from the Egyptian border fortresses of Elephantine and Aswan)  The new list of Sanballatids further confirms the fifth-century date, and finally the discovery of a silver bowl inscribed by "Qaynu son of Gasm [biblical Geeem, Gasmu],20k ing of Qedar," would appear to settle the matter finally. The script of the bowl cannot be dated later than 400 B.C., placing Geshem, Qaynu's father, precisely in the second half of the fifth century B.C 3

Nathan Jarrett (2021): Since Gabriel states that the Messiah will be cut off 69 weeks after “the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem” (v. 25), a significant variable that must be established is the date when said commandment took place. Historically, there has been competition between different dates as the starting point to Gabriel’s countdown. One  possible option for the terminus a quo for Daniel's prophecy is the decree given by Artaxerxes I to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, which is recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8:

And it came to pass in the month Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes the king, that wine was before him: and I took up the wine, and gave it unto the king… And said unto the king, Let the king live forever: why should not my countenance be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' sepulchers, lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire? Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make a request? So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favor in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers' sepulchers, that I may build it… Moreover, I said unto the king, If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah; And a letter unto Asaph the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the palace which appertained to the house, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall enter into. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God upon me.

The text is transparent that the decree granted to Nehemiah by Artaxerxes I had the sole purpose of rebuilding the physical structure of the city of Jerusalem. This decree is impressively congruent with Daniel's prediction, as it notes that the building project will specifically pertain to "the wall of the city" (Neh. 2:8; cf. Dan. 9:25). Nehemiah even goes into great detail about the wall's construction and how enemy nations tried to hinder the builders' success (cf. Neh. 4:6-17). Nevertheless, “the wall was finished in in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days” (Neh. 6:15). The Hebrew word translated as “wall” in Daniel 9:25 in the KJV, which is “וץּחר ,is more difficult to define. It is a passive participle of חרץ meaning ‘to cut, to sharpen, to decide.’”  Regardless if one adheres to the popular scholarly position that וץּחר should actually be translated as “moat,” this decree is still the only option which corresponds with Daniel’s prediction. The other two decrees focus solely on the temple, hence the city of Jerusalem “was certainly not refortified, as the prophecy requires (‘with plaza and moat’). The first official decree for refortifying Jerusalem and building its walls was issued by Artaxerxes I… (Neh. 2:4-8 ).” Though proponents of the 457 BC date may claim that Artaxerxes' decree in 444 BC is an extension of his former announcement, this argument is simply unfounded. In fact, it is irrational to believe said claim because Nehemiah had to personally ask Artaxerxes for permission to rebuild the city 13 years after his former decree. Two noteworthy arguments commonly used in opposition to the 444 BC date concern (1) the use of 360-day years and (2) the insertion of a gap between the 69th and the 70th week. Proponents of the first objection must provide a reason as to why Genesis and (especially) Revelation would seem to incorporate 360-day years but Daniel would not. Until a valid argument is presented, the most hermeneutically consistent position is to infer that the prophetic years in Daniel are congruent with those in Revelation. Furthermore, adding 483 prophetic years to the one decree that actually references the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls and overall structure results in a miraculous conclusion. The mathematical and textual support for using 360-day years is simply too overwhelming to ignore. Concerning the presence of a gap between the 69th and 70th weeks, it should be noted that there are other instances of prophecy which contain gaps that would be unable to discern if it were not for Yahweh’s progressive revelation. For example, Luke records that near the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry, He went into a synagogue and read Isaiah 61:1-2 (cf. Luke 4:16-20). The passage in Isaiah discusses a character whom “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon” (Isa. 61:1) and Jesus identifies Himself as said character. However, Jesus did something remarkable while reading from Isaiah – He stopped mid-sentence of verse 2 and then “he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down” (Luke 4:20). Instead of stating that it was His job “to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God” (Isa 61:2), Jesus stated that His purpose was only “to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:19). Though a plain reading of Isaiah 61 does not imply a gap of time in the middle of verse 2, Jesus’ foreknowledge allowed Him to make such a distinction. Hence, Jesus deliberately cut the verse in half because while His first coming was concerned with God’s love and forgiveness (cf. John 3:16-17, 12:47), His second coming will execute God’s judgment and wrath (cf. Matt. 24:30; 2 Thess. 1:7-9). New Testament scholar David Garland acknowledges that “the reference to the day of vengeance in Isa 61:2b is absent… Jesus heralds that now is the time when God’s long-awaited promises are being fulfilled.” There are also other examples of these types of prophecies (cf. Isa. 9:6; Zech. 9:9-10), demonstrating that it is not unfounded to interpret a gap of time between the 69th and 70th week if the evidence supports such a view.

Artaxerxes' decree in Nisan of 444 BC is the only option that truly fits the description of Daniel's prophecy. Though Nehemiah did not state the exact day in the month of Nisan when the decree was issued, his description at least provides a narrow range of dates that can be established. Aramaic papyri which were excavated from the city of Assuan appear to indicate that in 446 BC, the Jewish months Tishri and Kislev began on September 19 and November 15, respectively. In 1942, historians Richard Parker and Waldo Dubberstein attempted to reconstruct the Jewish calendar of the fifth century BC by extrapolating data from the materials they had available to them at the time. However, they mistakenly assigned Tishri and Kislev of 446 BC as occurring one month later than what the ancient papyri from Assuan indicate.  If the calendar constructed by Parker and Dubberstein is adjusted to correlate with the Aramaic papyri by being shifted backward one month, Nisan of 444 BC would begin on March 4. This is consistent with astronomical calculations which show that a new moon would have been visible after 10 PM on March 4, so a Jewish month would have begun on or shortly after this date. Hence, both lunar and historical data support a start date for Nisan of 444 BC to be approximately March 4.  4

Critical Issue With Hebrew Calendar

Now we must discuss a critical issue related to the Jewish calendar. That issue is how was Nisan 1 determined in the Babylonian and Hebrew calendar? The heart of the issue depends upon how the calendar was corrected to remove inaccuracies in the calendar. Since the Jewish calendar was based on the orbit of the moon and not the orbit of the sun, the Jewish calendar was a lunar calendar. What follows next is a necessary and important brief history lesson on the Jewish calendar.

Hebrew Calendar Before Babylonian Invasion

Before the Babylonian invasion of the Kingdom of Judah in 605 B.C. the Jewish calendar had twelve months and the first month of their calendar year was called Abib (Exodus 12:2; 13:4; 34:18; 40:2; Deuteronomy 16:1). The second month of the calendar was called Ziv (1 Kings 6:1, 37). The seventh month was called Ethanim (1 Kings 8:2). Bul was the eighth month of the calendar (1 Kings 6:38).

Hebrew Calendar After Babylonian Invasion

In 605 B.C. the Babylonians invaded Judah, defeated the nation of Israel and took many captive. 2 Kings 24:10-20 describes the invasion of the Babylonian army into the city of Jerusalem, Jehoiachin was taken captive and a new king, Zedekiah, was installed. The new king was the uncle of the Babylonian king (2 Kings 24:17). He was a puppet king. After the invasion the names of the months in the Jewish calendar changed. For example, in Nehemiah 2:1 and Esther 3:7 we discover that the name of the first month is now Nisan. The names of other months were changed, such as Sivan, the third month (Esther 8:9). Elul is the sixth month (Nehemiah 6:15). Kislev is the eighth month (Nehemiah 1:1). The tenth month is Tevet (Esther 2:16). Shevat is now included (Zechariah 1:7). Adar is the twelfth month (Ezra 6:15; Esther 3:7, 13; 8:12; 9:1, 15, 17, 19, 21). Note that Nehemiah 1:1 the Hebrew word that is translated as Nisan in the Bible was a word borrowed from the Babylonian month of Nisanu. In summary, the Jewish calendar changed as a result of the Babylonian conquest and captivity. This point is very important since the month Abib became Nisan and the month Ethanim became Tishri. That is, the Jews followed the Babylonian calendar.

What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?  Prophe18

Babylonian and Hebrew Calendars Compared – Similarities

Both the Babylonian and Hebrew calendar were lunar calendars and were off by approximately 11.2468 days in non-leap years in comparison to the solar year. Consequently, an additional month was added to the calendars periodically every two or three years to make the calendar more accurate. The insertion of this extra month, called an intercalary month, occurred in the 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 14th, 17th and 19th years of the Metonic cycle. This cycle is referred to technically as an intercalary cycle of 19-year years. It is composed of 12 common years and seven leap years. The additional months are added in the seven leap years. A quick calculation demonstrates that over nineteen years the calendar is off by 206.775 days (11.2468 days/year x 19 years = 213.6892 days). By adding seven months of an average of 30 days the calendar is almost corrected (7 months x 30 days/month = 210 days). Then it was off by only 3.6892 days (213.6892 days – 210 = 3.6892 days).

What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?  Prophe19

Babylonian and Hebrew Compared – Differences

While the names of the months in the Babylonian and Hebrew calendars are identical, except the spelling, there were differences. First, Parker and Dubberstein have demonstrated from archeological data that the Babylonian lunar calendar started with the reign of Nabonassar in 747 B.C. in the month of Nisan 1.

Hebrew Civil Calendar Used In Nehemiah 2:1

The Hebrews had both a civil and a religious calendar which were shifted by six months. The religious calendar started with Nisan 1 (Exodus 12:2; Leviticus 23:7). The civil calendar started with the month of Tishri 1. In the tractate, Rosh Hashanah of the Babylonian Talmud very explicitly states that the regnal year of kings began on Nisan 1. This may seem to be incorrect, but we must remember that Israel was a theocracy.

Observe that when Nehemiah 2:1 refers to Nisan as the date of the decree to rebuild and restore the city of Jerusalem, it is referring to the middle of the Jewish civil calendar since Nehemiah 1:1 states that the king was reigning in the month of “Chislev, in the twentieth year.” Chislev is an alternate name for Kislev. The twentieth year of King Artaxerxes occurred in both Chislev (Nov./Dec.) and Nisan (Mar./Apr.). That is, the civil year was Tishri-to-Tishri. The two calendars were offset by six lunar months.

This reveals that the author of Nehemiah is using the Hebrew civil year to track the reign of Nehemiah and not the Babylonian calendar. Therefore, updates to the civil calendar are what we are interested in.

What are the major problems in a Young Earth interpretation ?  Prophe20

Uncertainty Timing of Nisan 1, 444 B.C.

Parker and Dubberstein indicate that based on extensive archeological data that the Babylonian years of 445 B.C. and 443 B.C. were intercalary years or leap years in which the Babylonian calendar was updated by the intercalary month of Addaru II, just prior to Nisanu. Consequently, we discover that the Babylonians did not recognize the year of 444 B.C. was a leap year. That is, Nisanu 444 B.C. was not preceded by the intercalary month of Addaru II. The correction did not occur until the following year of 443 B.C.

It is highly unlikely that the Hebrew calendar differed from the Babylonian calendar since they were still ruled by the Medo-Persians and under the rule of King Artaxerxes I. This means the Hebrew calendar of 444 B.C. would not have had the additional intercalary month of Adar 2 inserted before Nisan. This is contrary to modern Hebrew calendar software which assumes that 444 B.C. is a leap year and adds Adar 2 before the month of Nisan. Modern Hebrew calendar calculations are based on a formal process that was adopted later. Consequently, modern Hebrew calendar software computes backwards into the B.C. era and concludes that 444 B.C. was a leap year, but the archeological data indicates that this did not occur. Parker and Dubberstein provide a great amount of archeological data that proves there were some significant errors in the updates to the Babylonian calendar. Here is a concluding comment,

These letters also make it clear that no established system which fixed the seven interactions [intercalary months] at definite points within the nineteen-year period existed at the beginning of the Persian period . . .In the fourth century — in 367 B.C. according to our scheme but possibly as early as 383 B.C. — the intercalations became standardized, and the nineteenth-year cycle thus came into being.

Note that the standardization occurred after the year of 444 B.C. That is, we should not be surprised that irregularities occurred in the year of 444 B.C. The Jewish Encyclopedia reports that inaccuracies also occurred in the Hebrew calendar. Every two or three years, as the case might be, an extra month was intercalated. The intercalation seems to have depended on actual calculation of the relative lengths of the solar and lunar years, which were handed down by tradition in the patriarchal family. Moreover, it was possible to judge by the grain harvest. If the month of Nisan arrived and the sun was at such a distance from the vernal equinox that it could not reach it by the 16th of the month, then this month was not called Nisan, but Adar Sheni (second). On the evening before the announcement of the intercalation, the patriarch assembled certain scholars who assisted in the decision. It was then announced to the various Jewish communities by letters. To this epistle was added the reason for the intercalation. A copy of such a letter of Rabbi Gamaliel is preserved in the Talmud (Sanh. xi. 2). The country people and the inhabitants of Babylonia were informed of the beginning of the month by fire signals, which were readily carried from station to station in the mountain country. These signals could not be carried to the exiles in Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece, who, being accordingly left in doubt, celebrated two days as the new moon. The Sanhedrin tract of the Talmud reveals that sometimes Adar 2 or an intercalary month was skipped altogether and implemented the next year.

But we are not . . . to suppose that Nisan was always officially fixed by the strict astronomical rule just mentioned. The actual practice is . . . represented by the Talmudic tract Sanhedrin, 10b-13b, according to which the Sanhedrin, when considering whether to intercalate or not, might have regard to the state of the roads, the bridges, and the Passover ovens, to the possibilities of pilgrims who had already started arriving in time for the Passover, to the growth of the kids, lambs, and pigeons, of the corn and of the fruit, and to the number of days that had to elapse before the equinox. According to some rabbis, intercalation was to be avoided in a year of famine or in a sabbatical year, and a court might be influenced by the fact that the next year would be, or the last had been, a sabbatical year. We must, therefore, allow some margin of uncertainty in selecting the month which we are to regard as having been Nisan in a particular year. Today computers are used to calculate the correct month, day and year of events back into the 7th and 4th century B.C. based on mathematical algorithms. Those mathematical equations do not allow for irregularities in the actual updates to the calendar. Therefore, in a study such as this one, the mathematical equations will not give us the correct calendar information. Jack Finegan captures the problem with this brief comment,

. . . caution is advised in the use of calendars and astronomy for chronological purposes.

That is, sophisticated Hebrew calendars most likely will not give the correct calendar information about the actual day on which Nisan 1 occurred before the 4th century B.C. Therefore, it is an error to conclude that modern Hebrew calendar software can be trusted to accurately report what actually occurred in the year of 444 B.C. Consequently, it is concluded that the Babylonian archeological data will be trusted and not modern Hebrew calendars to give us the start date of Nisan 1, 444 B.C. Further, we conclude that the Babylonian and Hebrew years of 444 B.C. were not considered to be leap years in that year. Therefore, the month of Nisan in the year of 444 B.C. was proceeded by the additional intercalary month Adar 2.

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As a result, the start date of Nisan 1, 444 B.C. or Nisan 1, 3317 was declared to have started on February 27, 444 B.C. in the Gregorian calendar. The February 27, 444 B.C. date results from observing that the month of Adar 2 which contains 29 days must be manually subtracted from Nisan 1, 444 B.C. to obtain the correct day and month in the Hebrew calendar since the Babylonian and Hebrew calendars are off by one month compared to the modern Babylonian and Hebrew computerized calendars. Modern computerized Hebrew calendars assume that the month Nisan in the year 444 B.C. occurred per their algorithms. But the month of Nissan in 444 B.C. started 29 days earlier. That corresponds to the first day of the month of Adar 2 in modern computer algorithms. Therefore, to compensate we must use the date of 1 Adar 2, 3317 in the Hebrew calendar. This pulls Nissan 1 backward and the date corresponds to Nisan 1 is February 27, 444 B.C.

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