The History of Mankind, Written in Blood

Last week I took it upon myself to memorize world history from 10,000 B.C.* to current (as well as American history and Georgia history) in 5 days. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Well, maybe a lot crazy, especially considering everything else going on in my life right now.

During my week hiatus from posting on this blog – which, trust me, I would much rather have preferred to do – I stuffed my brain full of the historical account of humankind’s atrocities over the centuries, both created and endured. The realization of undeniable, inescapable human sin hit me like a ton of bricks whilst sipping my fourth cup of coffee around midnight in the middle of this cram session — which was for the sole purpose of finishing my degree as a secondary education social studies teacher.

I think my newly found awareness occurred somewhere around mile-marker 600 A.D., at which point I looked up from my flash cards and thought, “Good gracious. The history of humankind is literally written in blood.” I felt almost nauseous, and it was not on account of the diet of coffee and dark chocolate that had sustained me over the last few days. After all the rote memorization I had already completed, which was in large part outlined by conquests, invasions, battles and land expansion at the cost of whole civilizations, I realized I hadn’t even made it to the Middle Ages, the Crusades, the Bubonic Plague, the Salem Witch Trials, European Exploration, the American Revolution, Westward Expansion, the Trail of Tears, WWI, America’s Civil War, WWII, The Holocaust or 9/11, just to name a few.

I got up from my hiding place – how else was I going to cram this much information in a short amount of time with three children in the house? – and marched downstairs to inform Bill of my epiphany.

“God must be absolutely disgusted with us,” I blurted out, with no context. “I mean, it’s a wonder He hasn’t put an end to humankind already: wiped us right off the map just like Sodom and Gomorrah.”

I (and Bill) was previously aware of the various empires, dynasties and kingdoms throughout the ages who dominated the next for power, land acquisition and wealth, but lumping it all into my mind over the course of only a few days, human history marked from one death toll to the next, left me incredulous. Still shocked, and now fuming with disgust over the fact that we, as people, can’t seem to go 200 years without keeping the peace, I topped off my coffee cup and went back upstairs.

It was in high school that I first delved into the details of historical genocide, such as the millions of Jews murdered during the Holocaust. As absolutely atrocious as I thought those events were, I never gained a broader perspective of world-wide death over the course of thousands of years for the sake of “gain.” The Holocaust is just the very tip of the iceberg.



Still at the tip of the iceberg.

This infographic doesn’t provide a visual for all those who died during the prior and following wars, conquests and invasions:

  1. Egyptian Invasion of Asia                                   1479 bc
  2. Persia Empire Wars                                             546 – 539 bc
  3. Persian-Greek Wars                                             499 – 401 bc
  4. Peloponnesian Wars                                            460 – 404 bc
  5. Greek City-States Wars                                       395 – 362 bc
  6. Alexander & Macedonian Conquests               338 – 322 bc
  7. Hellenistic Monarchies, Wars of the                318 – 170 bc
  8. Punic War, First                                                   264 – 241 bc
  9. Punic War, Second                                              219 – 202 bc
  10. Invasion of the Hsiung-nu                                 203 – 200 bc
  11. Third Macedonian War                                      168 bc
  12. Punic War, Third                                                 149 – 146 bc
  13. Gallic Wars                                                             58 – 52 bc
  14. First Triumvirate, Wars of the                            53 – 45 bc
  15. Second Triumvirate, Wars of the                       43 – 31 bc
  16. Roman Empire Wars                                            27 bc – 476 ad
  17. Byzantine Empire Wars                                     395 – 1453
  18. Muslim Conquests                                              624 – 982
  19. Charlemagne, Conquests of                              773 – 796
  20. German States, Wars of the                              891 – 1789
  21. Norman Conquest of England                          1066
  22. Crusades                                                               1096 – 1254
  23. English-French Wars                                         1194 – 1337
  24. Mongol Wars                                                       1214 – 1402
  25. English Scottish Wars                                        1314
  26. Hundred Years War                                           1337 – 1453
  27. Venetian-Turkish Wars                                     1416 – 1573
  28. Wars of the Roses                                               1455 – 1487
  29. Spanish-Moslem Wars                                      1481 – 1492
  30. Spanish Conquest of Mexico                            1519 – 1521
  31. Mogul-Afghan War                                            1526
  32. Spanish Conquest of Peru                                1531 – 1533
  33. English Spanish Wars                                       1588
  34. Thirty Years’ War                                               1618 – 1648
  35. English Civil Wars                                             1642 – 1651
  36. Spanish-French Wars                                       1648 – 1659
  37. Jacobite Rebellions                                           1689 – 1745
  38. Great Northern War                                         1700 – 1721
  39. Spanish Succession, War of the                     1701 – 1714
  40. French and Indian War                                   1754 – 1763
  41. Seven Years’ War                                              1756 – 1763
  42. American Revolution                                       1775 – 1783
  43. French Revolutionary Wars                           1792 – 1802
  44. Napoleonic Wars                                              1803 – 1814
  45. Indian Wars in United States                        1811 – 1887
  46. War of 1812                                                       1812 – 1815
  47. Peruvian War of Independence                    1824
  48. Texan War of Independence                         1836
  49. Afghan-British War, First                              1839 – 1842
  50. Mexican War                                                    1846 – 1847
  51. American Civil War                                        1861 – 1865
  52. Seven Weeks’ War                                          1866
  53. Franco-Prussian War                                     1870 – 1871
  54. Afghan-British War, Second                        1878 – 1880
  55. Zulu-British War                                            1879
  56. Sudan, War for the                                         1881 – 1899
  57. Spanish-American War                                 1898
  58. Boer War, Second                                           1899 – 1902
  59. Russo-Japanese War                                     1904 – 1905
  60. World War I                                                    1914 – 1918
  61. Afghan-British War, Third                           1919
  62. Turkish War of Independence                     1919 – 1923
  63. World War II                                                   1939 – 1945
  64. French Indochina War                                  1946 – 1954
  65. Arab-Israeli War                                            1948 – 1949
  66. Korean War                                                     1950 – 1953
  67. Hungarian Uprising                                      1956
  68. Vietnam War                                                  1965 – 1975
  69. Six-Day War                                                   1967
  70. October War                                                   1973
  71. Iran-Iraq War                                                1980 – 1988
  72. Persian Gulf War                                           1991
  73. Terrorism, War on                                        2001 –

I am horrified.

I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around the total number of people who have died because of political, territorial and economic conflicts; greed; corruption; vanity; threats to status, superiority or standards of living; encroachment on personal or national religious beliefs; or over means of obtaining or growing national wealth.

The leaders of each and every one of these tragic events in human history made the decision that the anticipated gain from conflict, such as resources, power, glory, territory, etc., outweighed the expected costs, which would have included loss of property and life.

How in the world does one come to that conclusion?

Second to my horror, but now first on my list of concerns, is God’s wrath. I imagine the stink of our sinful filth absolutely disgusts Him. He’s taken out whole civilizations before. I see no reason why He wouldn’t do it again. And, God is vengeful.

…leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

He’s probably also quite sad. There will come a day when God will have had enough of our slaughtering of one another, of our trampling on top of whomever we consider inferior, our strife over who will be the last one standing or the one with the privilege to plant a flag at the top of a hill. How silly and futile it all must seem to the eyes of the The Third Party; we’re just squirming and fidgeting like amoebas in a petri dish.

If only we’d put as much effort into the struggle towards eternity.

You have been wasting your time if you have been praying for world peace; it isn’t going to happen. We are far too sinful for that to ever be realized. God tells us point-blank that there will be no peace on Earth until Jesus returns. I knew this, but it’s hard for a person living in the suburbs of America in the 21st century to truly comprehend it. It wasn’t until I spent time studying the numerous, actual historical events that I realized just how factual this point in scripture is.

God also tells us that not only will there always be war, but war and everything that goes with it will just be the start: the “beginning of birth pains.” What’s more, there will be no mercy for Christians, the children of God. They too will be persecuted, hated and killed.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold… Matthew 24: 6-12

However, God does promise that those who keep their faith will be rewarded.

…but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24: 13-14

Make no mistake. This is no heaven on Earth. All around us is anger, fear, resentment, jealousy and insecurity, elements that lead to hostility and instability. I have moments of peace, found on my couch snuggled up with my family, but these moments are not secure. We live and die by the sin that surrounds and embodies each of us.

Change for all cannot happen on account of one person, but one person can change their account. Find your hope and inner peace in a new life, given over to your savior, Jesus Christ.


*For the record, I do not believe that the world is 10,000 years old. For more on this topic, please see Dr. Hovind’s lecture series.

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1 Response to The History of Mankind, Written in Blood

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