When I was young, I recall reading an old Native American legend of how fire came to the Indians. According to the story, the only fire on earth was far away guarded by two old, but very powerful, women. This left the Indians cold and miserable. Because of this, Coyote assembled all the animals together and devised a plan. It would take time to accomplish and would involve most of the animals in the forest.
After going to great lengths to make friends with the women and earn their trust, Coyote stole a bit of the fire when the moment was right. He ran as fast and as far as he could until passing the burning stick to Cougar. The old women continued to chase until Cougar passed the firebrand to Wolf. Wolf passed it to Bear; Bear passed it to Squirrel; and finally, Squirrel passed it to Frog.
By this time, the women had caught up and grabbed Frog’s tail just as it jumped into the river. Fortunately, the old women couldn’t swim and had to watch as Frog swam to the Indians with the last glowing ember in it’s mouth.
Today, I believe we are in a similar situation. Modern historians would have us believe that modern man is the product of natural processes and that his place in history is insignificant and meaningless. The majority of museums, universities and scholars leave us “out in the cold” without a sense of place and purpose.
Although modern philosophy is to blame for much of the godless history promoted today, I don’t believe it is solely responsible. With each generation, we are increasingly removed from events of the past. As that gap increases, so does the effort required to preserve the truth for our families. Are we willing to let someone else tend the fire – maybe a godless someone else?
Obviously, it would take too much time to read all that history. However, reading ancient works that actually refer to the people and events in Genesis, brings Sunday School stories into startling reality. By moving beyond second-hand references, we become eye-witnesses to a world of real people who affirm the reality of our Creator and His Word.
If it weren’t for individuals like Flavius Josephus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius of Caeseria, we would be out in the cold indeed. Many of these historians compiled their histories from ealier sources and passed them along.
Although many original works have been destroyed over time, a surprising amount still remain. We can, for example, look at clay tablets from the library of Ashurbanipal – one of the Assyrian kings who took Israel into exile. The translations of many Assyrian tablets can be viewed online at www.archive.org in George Smith’s 1876 work The Chaldean Account of Genesis. Among other early manuscripts, one can find the works of Josephus, the Jewish historian.
Books like After the Flood by Bill Cooper, Annals of the World by James Ussher, and Matthew Poole’s 1685 Commentary on the Holy Bible (included in the Online Bible) contain a treasury of references to primary sources and early works. All three are available from AOI and are a good place to ignite the flame of history and begin passing it on.
Originally published in the January/February 2012 issue of Think and Believe newsletter.
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