In the Table of Nations (genealogies) recorded in Genesis 10, most names are listed without additional comment. However, when you get to verse 25, you read: “To Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.” What does this little phrase, “in his days the earth was divided” mean?
Some Christians have suggested that it means the dividing and separating of the continents occurred during the life of Peleg, but there are some major reasons to reject this idea. The following are taken from Bodie Hodge’s book, Tower of Babel: The Cultural History of Our Ancestors (pp. 98-99).
1. When Genesis 10:25 is read within the context of the whole of Genesis 10, the four other verses (5, 18, 20, and 32) speaking of the division clearly emphasize that this was a linguistic and family division of all post-Flood people into different lands (geographical locations).
2. Had the division of continents occurred during the days of Peleg, then the associated catastrophism would have resulted in another worldwide Flood, in violation of God’s specific promise to Noah. [Note: This would have happened due to earthquakes and tsunamis generated by catastrophic movement of continents.]
3. Had the division of continents occurred during the days of Peleg, then the ark (with Peleg’s ancestors) would have had no place to land, as the mountains of Ararat produced by continental collisions would not have yet existed.
4. There is tremendous fossil and geologic evidence for continental division having occurred only during the Flood.
Hodge deals with several other objections in his book, but they are out of the scope of this short article. He concludes that the event occurring in the days of Peleg, refers to the division of languages, not the division of the continents. For anyone interested in pursuing this further, I would suggest getting the book and studying it, along with his references. (For more on the division of the continents, see – Drifting Plates or Flying Saucers? Continental “Drift” and Plate Tectonics.)
Originally published in the May/June 2013 Think and Believe newsletter.