Sunday, December 9, 2012

Father Abraham had many sons...but I am not one of them.

One of my favorite songs to sing in church when I was growing up was "Father Abraham." There is no real deep spiritual significance to the words, but being able to move your arms around sure made it fun to sing.

Father Abraham had many sons
And many sons had father Abraham
I am one of them, and so are you
So lets just praise the Lord! (right arm, left arm and so on)

Somewhat recently I was looking up some stuff about DNA and how much it would cost to do some genetic research on my ancestry. Since both of my parents descend from ancestors in the Netherlands (mostly from Friesland) I don't think there would be much new information I could get out of doing the test, except maybe find some genetic relatives or something.

Based on what others have posted and also info on Wikipedia, it looks like my Y chromosome haplogroup would most likely be R1b, which is the most frequently occurring haplogroup in western Europe.


So I compared this information with the Table of Nations in Genesis 10, and what scholars have traditionally said about it. The Table of Nations is the passage in the Bible that talks about the descendants of the 3 sons of Noah after the great flood that destroyed every living thing on the earth that wasn't in the ark. They are Shem, Ham and Japeth. Here is a map that shows the approximate areas of the descendants of Noah's sons according to Genesis 10.


The descendants of Shem are Shemites or Semetic people (Jews, Arabs, middle east and Asia regions). One side note on this that I don't understand is that Semetic people include what would now include Islamic nations, and Islamic nations are anti-Semetic right? I thought anti-Semetism was hatred toward Jews, but it looks like it should include all descendants of Shem. And since the Muslims traditionally descend from Ishmael, son of Abraham and Isaac's half brother, they would definitely be included in that. I think they should come up with a better name for it, or maybe just stop hating people. It maybe also be that not all Muslims actually descend from Ishmael, they just follow.

The sons of Ham traditionally settled Canaan, Egypt and eventually Africa. I am pretty white. It's fairly obvious I don't have any Ham in me. I think it's interesting that the genetic material in Shem, Ham and Japeth (and their wives) had the genetic information for all the variety of people there are in the world. I'm sure that many would disagree that all the people in the world came from the descendants of Noah, but I would argue that even if they all came from the first humans that sprung out of east Africa (as seems to be the prevailing theory these days), my thought is still the same, it's interesting how the people of the world all have a common ancestry even though skin color and eye shape are different.

So it looks like I would be a descendant of Japeth then. I'm not from the middle east and definitely not from Africa. But Abraham is not a descendant of Japeth, which means I'm not a son of Abraham. How can I in good conscience swing my arms and legs while singing about being a son of Abraham when I am not? I guess I need to start singing about Japeth then. It just doesn't roll off the tongue as nice though, Father Ja-apeth...

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