THE ORIGIN OF TIME by Onyeji Nnaji

Time is one complicating issue to determine in trying to work out the actual human genesis. The world in its nature also contributed, for at the time when human beings were trying to gather themselves from the flood incident it was almost very difficult to conclude whether the whole part of the world was completely destroyed from the focal point of Noah, the man through whom it pleased God to recycle Adam’s linage. From this calculation in days as we found with the record about Noah, and which had prevailed among his ancestors as the method of measuring time, it became apparent that about the time when the entire earth was flooded, the human society (particularly the created man) had adopted the cyclic rating of time by morning, afternoon, evening; days and night as fits into the description by Moses. According to our Bible story teachers, Adam was created on the sixth day, invariably stressing the timely cyclic of day and night. This evokes a salient question about what the condition of time used to be at the period when there was no night; the period of the earth when darkness was far from it?

Generally the history of man has certain element of distorted timing which gave rise to the decision to make man from the earth. This distortion affected time majorly, as the divine timing eventually took up a new calendar thereby giving rise to a more calculation that apparently diverted man completely from the original counting as shown in the record of Moses’ “genesis”. It was not so from the beginning; time were not in days and night for the earliest human ancestors did not know darkness until there was a fall that led to a change of intention by the creator, God. By right, there is no how Middle East would have known time and spearhead the matters of creation such as keeping a concrete document that explains the truth about creation more than Africa. The reason is very obvious; the sons of God betrayed themselves of thrust and the result was the creation of an earthly being. Moses, perhaps, did not have a better insight about the original time when there was no darkness, so in his writings he used day and night, month and year. Jewish record insists that, for Mankind, Earthly Time began in 3760 B.C.; approximately the time when Egyptian civilization began. We know the exact date because, in the year 1992, the Jewish calendar counts the year 5752, while, this year the Jews record 5778 years. We may however blame this mode of measuring time on the fact that at the time of the Exodus, circa 1450 B.C., nowhere in the ancient world did an alphabetic script yet existed.  Sitchm insists that “for Earth, Time began with the Celestial Battle”.

Now, what could be the original time from the beginning? The original time should be the divine time. Thinking about the divine time evokes such a question as, did God make the earth in days as Moses had written or was Moses writing with reference to a term that requires mystic knowledge to decode? If what the Psalmist and Peter wrote is true, then it is apparent that Moses is not yet understood about the time of the genesis. From the book of Peter, we have the following information.
But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8).
Divine timing as shown here is approximated to one thousand years. In other words, a millennium with man is but a day in the divine time. By this it would be that from AD 0001 to 12.01pm of 31st December, 2000, the global history from the birth of Jesus has lasted but for two days. If this calculation as revealed by the Psalmist and Peter is what Moses means then he will be correct and germane to other ancient tablets that have information about the creation of man. This calculation will be correct because, it is the approximate estimation of human’s live. From the creation of Adam, the generation of man had been very close to a thousand year. In other words, God had proposed that man would live for a millennium or more which is the same thing as just a day or two in the divine time.  If this idea is correct, then Catherine Acholonu would be correct in her estimation of the pre Adam period in the book, They Lived before Adam, to be four thousand years. In other words, while time is calculated in days because of the creation of Adam which was assumed to be in days according to the Israeli oral tradition, other ancient tablets had measured this same day(s) in the light of the divine days (divine timing). This is the misconception which the intention of Moses to immortalize Israeli oral tradition had brought to man. 

The misconception about the date of the creation of Adam formed the genesis of the contortion of the human history from the genesis. We have sited some of such information in the book, Reminiscence, another in chapter one above; this time, the matter is particularly on the creation time. Nnaji says,
The human history is usually affected – particularly the origin of man – any time any historian considers the creation story in years as was done by Moses in the Genesis. This is the major challenge in deciphering the real information bothering on creation. Estimating creation in years tents certain aspects of the history, basically time. Time is the major difference between man and God in the attempt to calculate creation.
                                                                                      (Reminiscence, 17).
I have always asked for where the record lies about the day God created man as my children story teacher had told us that man was created on the sixth day. I have sought for it in the bible but could not find. According to the old King James Version of the scripture, the same six day has conflicting information with the information on the fifth day. Read Gen 1:23-24 and Gen 1:31. With this, western claim of fathering the knowledge of time proves indistinct.

As early as (A.D. 354-430) for instance, Augustine of Hippo, the Bishop in Roman Carthage was asked, "What is time?" His answer was, "If no one asks me, I know what it is; if I wish to explain what it is to him who asks me, I do not know." Augustine can only explain time in the area it affected him, not generally as what time originally connotes. The same situation has lingered in the human history. Time has been misconstrued, misrepresented, misinterpreted and miscalculated; time has been subjected to the mere instrument that formed the bases of the actions of men; the entire human population notwithstanding. This problem is dominantly in place because time has shifted from its original creation time. But time has remained what it originally was in the beginning down here in the east. A Sumerian tablet reveals that: 
Before that ancient story of Creation shifts to the newly formed Earth and evolution upon it, it is a tale of stars, planets, celestial orbits; and the Time it deals with is Divine Time. But once the focus shifts to Earth and ultimately to Man upon it, the scale of Time also shifts—to an Earthly Time—to a scale appropriate not only to Man's abode but also to one that Mankind could grasp and measure: Day, Month, Year (Stairway 14).
The Igbo of the east, who had been the architect of the sun mystery that was popularized by the ancient Egyptians, have three ways of calculating time. These three ways are Oge, Mgbe and Ogbo. And the ancient historians had insisted that the time which is associated with the creation of beings on earth is Ogbo. What informs the genuineness of the time formula in the Igbo cosmological concept is the belief that their father existed before the creation of the first man whom the Igbo insist that his name was Adama, not Adam.

Igbo use Oge to denote specific time. To several other language equivalent expressions which stress specific time, the Igbo equivalent of such expressions has always explored Oge to show specific or denotation. Words like: the appointed time, in the morning hours, evening hours, farming time etc. are directly translated into Igbo language as: Oge akara’ ka, Oge ututu, Oge ngbede, Oge oru-ugbo etc. With the use of Oge the audience becomes dully, accurate and particularly informed about what the speaker actually means. Ascribing time to the almighty to whom it is believed to have control over all time, the Igbo show this in the names given to their children. Popular among such names includes Ogechi (God’s time). References to Mgbe give a different idea in the Igbo cosmology.

The Igbo use Mgbe to denote time boundary other than being specific. It is used to explain ideas that cut from certain period to another period. Also to end an activity or a process, the Igbo use Mgbe to make such denotation. Drawing this to the issue connected with creation, Mgbe is used to denote time span between one thing created and another that succeeded it immediately. It is also used to denote when a particular creation ended to give rise to another thing that was created. Based on this denotation, Mgbe cannot form the bases for the determination of the creation timing. Ogbo, perhaps, would capture this notion better.

The Igbo make use of Ogbo when the referent term does not denote exact time or time boundary as experienced in the two paragraphs above. In the traditional Igbo setting, Ogbo is used to denotatively remark a group of people in the society that were born at the same time/period; usually a year. People born the same year or period are believed to share similar affiliation within them. Usually such affiliation may be that of the difficulty of surviving a war or other remarkable dreaded circumstance that surrounded the birth place of the group at their time of birth. This situation does inform the affinity and bond that holds the set together. From such dominant circumstance the Igbo of the traditional notion begin to number the days of the bearer, for the Igbo did not adopt a concrete way of keeping the event in mind therefore enables them to vividly say that such a group is thus and thus number of years. This was the concept behind the formation of Age Grade as a social stratum in the Igbo society.

On the whole, Ogbo is used as the English equivalent of a generation. The Igbo believe that Ogbo is the divine time and that the whole universe and its contents were created in generations; not in days. In other words, what Moses had considered as days – in the creation story – were actually generations. This is the problem with the account of Moses in the genesis story: the issue of time and how well time may be estimated. Moses’ interpretation of creation as affairs of different days was the genesis of the problem of timing. This also might be the reason he got stuck in the issue concerning the day God created Adam. He only intoned the related situation that led to the call for the creation of Adam, but could not state clearly when. Do you know why? The mystery surrounding the creation of the first man was not enshrined on the Egyptian tablets he had read the account from. Achebe reveals the following:
Since Igbo people did not construct a rigid and closely argued system of thought to explain the universe and the place of man in it, preferring the metaphor of myth and poetry, anyone seeking an insight into their world must seek it along their own way. Some of these ways are folks-tales, proverbs, proper names, rituals and festivals.
Even with the earliest development of writing the Igbo remained furtive about their knowledge of the universe. Rather than universalizing the mystery, the Igbo fathers chose to enshrine this great knowledge in folks-tales, proverbs, rituals, proper names and festivals. This makes it dully impossible for a stranger to just ask questions and write what he thinks is the answer. I remember what I went through while compiling the history of my small community, Nkalaha. I had to revisit the rituals I once partook in as a child, listen to festive songs and others. To end it up I offered a cola nut to the theosophist who made a long incantation that embodies our history. According to the theosophist, he would not tell the history ordinarily. The global history, in terms of the origin of man, lies upon the chest of the priest king, Eze Nri; the only priest whose is buried for seven days and exhumed before ordination. Seeing all this, it is obvious that for the serial history of creation that speaks of the accurate time to be written, it should be by a man who is on the run. Moses did not have the deepest information that is why he could not detail the account of the sons of God in Genesis chapter six. 

Now, time is number and figure, but when it comes to the estimation of time for creation, time shifts to the human life span. This we refer to as Ogbo, translated as generation. The Igbo believe that time began with one. This represents the first man created. This time, we do not refer to the man that was created from the dust of the ground, we mean the earliest ancestor of the Igbo race (Eri) who descended from the sky in the beginning of things on the earth. Eri formed the foremost generation. The next time was two; another generation which became the second. Another generation that became the third generation saw the appearance of another generation. With these we have the three earliest ancestors of the Igbo race in the people of Eri, DiOka (the Awka) and Umudiala (headed by Idu). These earliest population formed a triumvirate before the arrival of the fourth generation. With the fourth generation, the first creation which was for the sons of God ended. Speaking of the fourth generation over the rest of the sons of God, the Egyptian tablet, The Nag Hammadi says:
Then the saviour created […] of them all – and the spirits of these [are manifestly] superior, being blessed and varying in election – and also (he created) many other beings, which have no king and are superior to everyone that was before them. Consequently, four races exist. There are three that belong to the kings of the eighth heaven. But the fourth race is kingless and perfect, being the highest of all. (PP. 124-5).

And they were four generations. These ancestors formed the foundation of Igbo pillar whose cosmology is centered on four. They have no king. Ask why, the same Egyptian tablet relates thus, “They are kings. They are the immortal within the mortal” (p. 219). These ancestors were immortal living before the first man created from the dust came to be. Adama, as the Igbo history calls him, was created in the fifth generation. It was a significant creation, first of its kind and the first ever that man came from the earth other than the sky. Adam(a) was created from the part of the soil that was red. See the following Israeli tablets below,
Adam originated from Adama—earth, which emphasizes his insignificance, and from the word Adameh—similar (to the Upper One), which emphasizes his eminence. (The Zohar, 127)
 Adamah, from the dust of the ground, dust, form within form (otherwise, from the most ethereal portion of the refined element of earth, one within the other), (Jewish Cabbala.121). 
To record the event over the birth of the first earthly man, the Igbo assign impetus to the number Five. The Igbo myths relate that Adama was created from the dust of the earth in the fifth generation, which invariably was the fifth day in the divine calendar. This part is not found in mere history such that Moses could have read it in the Egyptians’ documents; it was enshrined in the mystic pyramids in Nsude which was replanted in Saqqara by Imhotep (according to Emily Teeter in Before the Pyramids. Pyramids are elevated statue which demonstrate rising earth in the nature of an anthill. The structure, which was dedicated to the earth goddess, was mystically sculpted in strata: five distinct steps from base to the top.
By this it became indicative that the symbol for the earth is five. This aptitude is demonstrated by the Igbo in two traditional concepts: when elders say prayers and when the idea of Ikenga (the Igbo legend of the cosmos) is brought to mind. Ikenga was the first human of the union between the sons of God and the daughters of Adam to ascend to the sky; he saw no death. Therefore in the Igbo tradition, five lobes of cola-nut epitomize his immortality in the Igbo thought. It is obvious when it is demonstrated dramatically as the Igbo affirm the prayers said in their midst. If a kolanut is broken and the Igbo say prayers, as soon as he mentions the blessings or wishes associated with lives, the attendants follow suit to affirm them thus: Isee! Then, dramatically, everyone points his fingers towards the soil, while those bearing staff strike them on the ground. This idea (five) was also replayed by the priest-artist, Imhotep when he completed the five stepped pyramid in Saqqara. But rather than imprint this in a clearer way, he chose to give the mathematical formula as 3/2. Calculating this fraction using Pythagoras theory, we arrive at five. This then became the meaning of the pyramid which Egyptology could not decipher until the 21st century when the symbols discovered in Abydos began to give insight into the genesis of potteries, monuments, politics and even the Egyptians origin itself.

The eight generation was also significant in the timing of the beginning. Seven is as well significant; one, as the day the creation God rested. Eighth generation of the human history was remarkable with the unlawful union between the daughters of men and the Sons of god. The sons of God fell from their spiritual elevated position when some of them took to the daughters of the created man for wives. This was the biggest disappointment to God, after the war of the gods which led to the creation of Adam(a).  God was deeply angry and He cursed them (Genesis 6: 1 - 9). Details of this union and the repercussion to the sons of God are discussed in chapter three of Reminiscence. This fall of the African fathers paid them with short life span; again, they lost their spiritual potency and became mortals. The Igbo demonstrate this spiritual deprivation through circumcision. The idea behind this act is that the Igbo ancestors remained spirit men until the eighth generation. In the same way, a new child remains spiritual till the seventh day, and on the eighth day he is welcomed into the world of flesh via circumcisions. That is why seven has remained the highest mystic height. See details in the book, Cosmic Chain “the mystery of the number Seven.

From the foregoing discussion, it is apparent that what man calculates as days is not actually days, but generations. In other words, what Moses had as the creation story had been based on the divine date (generational days); it is not the human actual days. It is pertinent to not that after the flood, the human chronicle chart shifted from the generational days in Noah’s records. But it did not change hand in the inner Africa. Of course, traditional Igbo society still rate their time (particularly the human life time) with Ogbo, generations.  

Time in the Post Flood

As contested by Zachariah Sitchm, at the time when the Israelites were in Egypt, there was nowhere in the world that had written alphabets existed. This is very true; but we must accept the fact that, at that time, scripted arts had existed down here in the east exhibiting certain mystic characters that fit mystic portrayals. However we may refer to them as “codes”, we should remember that they served the purposes of letters and they were retained till the modern era; they are however not sustained as standard codes for contemporary letters. A good example of them is Nsibidi which flourished in the East and South-Eastern Nigeria. Nsibidi is made up of letters and symbols (The history of Scripted Arts @ ajuede. The only reason why Nsibidi is not widely known is because the scholars restricted its knowledge to members of Ekpe scribes alone; again, the society did not see their arts as what they too should know, rather they were seen as mystic writings.  The same was the situation that prevailed in Egypt in the days of Pharaoh Naman. This situation eluded several aspects of the ancient writings with respect to timing. What has been used for rating the prehistory period is the historians’ Paleolithic era. This period has been differently observed by different parts of the world depending on the time evidences when proofs of the possibility of existence in the area began to become visible.

The European historians rated Paleolithic era from about 100,000 years ago. This cannot apply to the rest of the human society of the time. For instance, the prehistoric times of China has been rated from 1.7 million years ago down there in Asia. Coming to Anatolia, Turkey, evidence of a civilization that dates up to 1000000 years are seen. Strolling down to East Africa, towards the Ethiopia region, a storming excavation was made of bones that evidently dated up to 4000000 years. While the most astounding and recent discovering of 7000000 years skull in the region of the chad basin in 10th July, 2002 has remained the oldest discovering of the modern time. This latest discovery was made by the Michael Brunet led team of international researchers powered by University of Poitier. From these ideas it becomes apparent that the issue with time cannot be correctly resolved by westerners as virtually all their historical data have fallen below the inestimable evidence of the human dating in Africa; particularly West Africa.

The uniformity in the matter with times compelled Joseph Fazing to insist that Africa, especially “West”, did not have the complete circle of the human development with respect to times. Discussing the development of iron in Nigerian, he related thus, 
Early dates undoubtedly make the Taruga iron-smelting furnaces the earliest ones known in West Africa until the Opi figures were produced. Some specialists on this subject have seen them as evidence of an independent invention of iron metallurgy in West Africa, but others, who have studied the technical aspects of the question, have argued that this is unlikely since, except in Mauritania, West Africa had no Bronze Age (Origin, 33).                                                                   
Nsukka is a proof that, without any intermediate copper and bronze metallurgy, it is possible for a late Stone Age people to know the use of iron by themselves and mastered it so quickly without any outside influence. The reason is simple; iron was fashioned to meet the various needs of the society that fashioned it. Unlike bronze which were produced to sustain certain cultural and historical evidences of a people, iron production was fashioned to meet various social needs such as protection, showcasing of authority and levels of attainment in the society and other reasons as the Nsude/Nsukka civilization had proven to us. While this civilization was on, it was evident that a similar activity was taking place around Okiwge region about that time. Flickers of this view were unearthed in the excavations carried out in the early 1970s by a team of archaeologists from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka led by Prof. F.N. Anozie. These archaeologists found evidence of Prehistoric habitations of late Stone Age people in Igbo land dating back to 500,000 B.C. and beyond. Their excavations carried out in Ugwuele, Isiukwuato in Old Okigwe (present day Abia State), makes a case for an Igbo-based earliest habitation of Homo Erectus in the world and that Igbo land was the global industry of Stone Age tools that might have supplied other parts of the world with hand-axes.

The surprise of expertise in iron production in Western Africa, Nigeria was the reason for this seeming confusion. It should be noted that the Stone Age which may be dated back to over 2000000 years ago could not have usurped the rise of Bronze Age simply because of the duration of the Nsude Stone Age civilization before the offshoot of the later Nsukka civilization epitomized through the invention of iron. For while Nsukka was initiating iron production in the intermediate era, 700,000 – 520,000 B.C., Nri sustained the continuation of arts of Awka technocrats through bronze prefabrication.  Every reasonable Igbo knows that at the time when the ancestors of Nsukka have not arrived, Nri had existed for centuries (precisely three thousand years). This situation made it difficult to determine the exact genesis of iron in Nsukka. Another factor that may be argued to have delayed the emergence of Bronze Age in Africa has been blamed upon the evolution of the human population out of West Africa in the earliest time. Africa had Bronze Age. The difficulty in determining time results from the fact that Africa. All these reasons created the sharp contrast in the dates as shown below. 

Dark Age
From the flood to about 2,270000
Stone Age (Nsude Civilization)
2000000 – around 800,000
Intermediate Period
700,000 – 520,000

Early Iron Age (Dunu Oka)
550,000 – 4,000 B.C.

Late Iron Age (Opi Nsukka)
3450 B.C. – 0027 AD.

Late Bronze Age (Nri Bronze).
0009 AD.

Curious minds might ask, when was Nri known for Bronze? Thurstern Shaw found that there was possible proof that Nri owns the bronze, not Igbo Ukwu. The owners of the land in whom Shaw carried out his excavation are the Oraeri people who were the offshoot of Nri kingdom. 
They (Oreri people) also said that the ground where the excavations were taking place used to lie in Oreri, but that the Igbo-Ukwu people had captured it from them. I collected traditions in Igbo-Ukwu also which confirmed the story. I mentioned this tradition in my interim report on the excavations, but was strongly taken to task for doing so at a meeting of  the Igbo-Ukwu Local  Council in 1964, to discuss a project for a museum, since it was felt that any statement might endanger Igbo-Ukwu’s claim to the land.
Great altercation between different members of the council followed, finally quelled by the Chairman’s firm pronouncement: Of course everybody knows that the Oreri people used to be on that land and that we drove them back in war, and therefore we hold the land by right of conquest (Unearthing, 94).


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