The Genesis Chronicles: A Proposed History Of The Morning Of The World
Chapter 9: TEN GENERATIONS
This chapter covers the following topics:
Cain and Abel
Because sin was now loose in the world, it resulted in tragic consequences for the next generation. The narrative continues in Genesis 4 with the birth of Adam and Eve's first children, Cain and Abel. Both the Bible and Sumerian sources mention rural cultures--cultivation and shepherding--as well as urban settlements on the earth before the Deluge swept everything away. Cain is described as "a tiller of the earth," while Abel "was a herder of sheep." One day both made offerings, but the Lord only accepted Abel's sacrifice. Anger turned to jealousy; Cain killed Abel and God sent him away. He went east to a place called the land of Nod, had a son named Enoch and built the first city, also naming it Enoch. I'll begin by making a few points concerning the first violent crime:
1. Cain's name comes from a Hebrew root word meaning "to own or possess." It can also mean "to strike quickly," which we know he did. Though this was a serious offense, an understanding of the Hebrew text suggests that Abel would have had a hard time resisting, even if he had known what was coming. Judah Loewe of Prague, a late sixteenth-century rabbi, said that Abel's name comes from the root word Hevel, which means emptiness, vacuousness. Although Abel performed a good deed, he didn't do it out of an urge to be virtuous, but because of a feeling of obligation. In other words, he was a wimp, unable to stand for what he believed with conviction. Even if Abel had lived, it would have necessary for Seth to come along, as a more suitable heir for Adam.(1)
2. Cain offered an improper sacrifice. Adam must have taught them that from time to time they would have to bring an offering to the Lord. However, Abel had the animals. Instead of getting one from his brother, Cain offered "the fruit of the ground," meaning something like radishes or apples. In the previous chapter we noted that mankind probably started out eating a vegetarian diet, so Abel would not have raised animals for meat, but for some other purpose, like dairy or clothing. This also means Cain and Abel would have depended on one another; Abel would have had to go to Cain for food, and Cain would have had to go to Abel for an offering. Some think that Cain offered part of his crop because he had too much pride to ask Abel for a lamb, or that something had poisoned their relationship previously.(2)
3. Cain's offering was not accepted because he had an attitude problem. This made him depressed, so in verses 6 and 7, God tells Cain, "Why are you displeased? And why is your countenance sad? Behold, if you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door. You should return to your brother, and he shall be subject to you." This means that God did not see Cain as incurably evil at this point (some of us think he was), and that if he had submitted to God's instruction all would be well again. Instead Cain became an instrument of violence.
4. When God asked him about the murder, Cain lied and pretended to have no responsibility for his brother. ("Am I my brother's keeper?") Nobody can hide anything from God, so the earth he worked in for a living was doubly cursed. In Gen 3:18 God promised that wherever Adam worked thorns and thistles would spring up. Adam hadn't seen any thorns or thistles in the garden of Eden, because there weren't any before he sinned. But we've had more than we could need ever since.
5. Cain thinks his punishment is too great to bear, and fears for his life. Despite the seriousness of his crime, God does not want it repeated, so He puts a mark on Cain's forehead and warns that whoever kills him will suffer a worse fate. The Bible doesn't say what the mark was; most likely it was some kind of tattoo or brand, while one Hebrew tradition asserts it was a horn.
6. We normally think of Cain and Abel as being teenagers when the murder took place, but they could have been much older. Chapter 4 ends by reporting the birth of Seth, a righteous son who became a replacement for Abel; in fact Seth's name means "substituted." A few verses later we read that Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old. Normally parents who lose a child try to have another one right away, so it doesn't make much sense to believe that Adam waited a century after Abel's death to have Seth. It is more likely that Cain and Abel were grown men, perhaps over a hundred years old, when the story in chapter 4 took place. We know that Adam had a lot of children besides the three mentioned in Genesis because verse 5:4 says he beget "other sons and daughters." Also note that in 4:14 Cain says that somebody might find and slay him. Adam and Eve wouldn't do that, but there must have been other brothers and nephews to worry about. Before long I will show you how through multiplication the human population could have grown to hundreds, perhaps even thousands, by the time of Abel's death. Cain was concerned for his safety because a sizable mob might have gone after him, seeking revenge for his evil deed.
This is where the invention of agriculture comes in. Most historians have called it a good thing, because farming and herding produce so much more food than hunting and gathering. Indeed, you cannot feed the large number of people needed to build a civilization on hunting/gathering alone. Alas, I am starting to believe that is the only good thing about agriculture; and go to this essay to see the doubts I have about civilization as well.
In recent years historians, especially "politically correct" ¯ones concerned about the impact of humanity on the environment, have changed their minds about agriculture. Jared Diamond went so far as to write in Guns, Germs and Steel that the invention of agriculture was the worst mistake in history; while Tom Standage wrote in An Edible History of Humanity that agriculture is a "profoundly unnatural activity." So why do they feel this way? Well, agriculture has some drawbacks. Several of them must have been apparent to early man, if not to us:
1. Life got tougher when agriculture replaced hunting and gathering. There is a reason why everybody did not switch to farming when they learned how to do it. Probably for the same reason why some people go hunting and fishing today--they enjoy it. And with a lucky break, like finding a tree full of ripe fruit, or catching a fish within minutes of dropping a fishing line in the water, they would have the rest of the day free to do something else. In our own time, tribes that lived the hunter-gatherer lifestyle would typically only "work" fourteen hours a week. Compare that with the constant, back-breaking labor required to raise livestock or plow a field. What's more, the farmer's crops were vulnerable to disease and drought; unlike the hunter-gatherer, he couldn't move somewhere else to escape the consequences of a bad harvest. Some historians believe that switching to farming was an act of desperation, suggesting that early man did not adopt the peasant lifestyle until there were too many people to feed on wild game and berries.
2. The hunter-gatherer's diet was healthier. Any fan of the "paleo diet"¯ will tell you this. Hunters never knew what they might catch when they went looking for game, and the fruits and vegetables they ate changed with the seasons. Thus, nomads had more variety in their diet than farmers and city-dwellers did. Worse, the crops chosen for staples did not have all the nutrients essential for a healthy life; because farmers and city-dwellers ate the same foods all year round, they became susceptible to deficiency-caused diseases like rickets and scurvy. And because the settled person's diet was higher in carbs and lower in protein than that of the hunter, he was more likely to become overweight, with all the health problems that caused. Try eating a potato as the main course for every meal, the way many poor Irish had to do from 1600 onward, and see how long your health stays good! Finally, the combination of grains and sweets that went into the diet of settled people started decaying their teeth. To give a modern example, today's Mongolians did not have much need for dentists until the mid-twentieth century, because their teeth stayed clean and white when they had nothing but meat and dairy products to eat.
3. Herdsmen and farmers were too close to their animals. Sometimes they put their families and livestock under the same roof. Such close contact allowed diseases like measles, smallpox and influenza to spread through a herd and jump from animals to people. And you thought being allergic to your dog or cat was bad. In addition, overcrowding and poor sanitation in the cities encouraged still more diseases, and attracted vermin like rats and cockroaches.
Studies of the bones in prehistoric cemeteries around the world show first an increase, then a decline in the average person's height and lifespan, once intensive agriculture and animal husbandry become firmly established. For example, prehistoric skeletons from Greece and Turkey show a generous average height--5' 9" for men, 5' 5" for women. But after they switched from hunting to agriculture, their height dropped to as low as 5' 3" for men, and 5' for women; even today's Greeks and Turks have not regained the stature of their oldest ancestors. One could argue that primitive hunter/gatherers were better off than many citizens of today's Third World, or even better off than the "urban poor" of our more advanced nations.
4. Farming ruined existing human relations. While people were left malnourished and disease-ridden, farming also produced enough food to be stockpiled. This allowed settled communities to survive in times of famine, but it also meant that some people could spend their time doing something besides producing food. These people used their spare time to invent deadlier weapons, soldiers, warfare, and class divisions between those who had stored food and those who did not. In the typical hunter-gatherer tribe, everyone is more or less equal; one person's possessions are much like everyone else's, and only the chief and medicine man/shaman will have a higher rank than the others. By contrast, as civilizations advance, there is a tendency for social structures to grow more complicated and rigid, and for both wealth and power to be concentrated in the hands of a few individuals, until there are kings at the top of the pecking order, and slaves at the bottom.
5. Farming restricted where most people could live (to hot, irrigated places). In the ages before the mechanized agriculture of today, irrigation in a hot climate was the most productive way to farm the land. It was only in the countries where this was practiced that population density could exceed one hundred persons per square mile. Temperate rain-watered agriculture supported densities in the tens, and herding supported densities in single-digit figures. Pure hunting/gathering is about 100 times less efficient than herding; it only feeds an average of one person per ten square miles. These statistics are important because they explain why mankind is unevenly distributed around the world; what's more, civilization is most likely to appear where people are concentrated.
One of the ongoing themes in history is the struggle between settled, agricultural communities, and nomads who live either by herding or by hunting/gathering. Examples include Central Asians vs. Europeans, Persians and Chinese; Nilotic herdsmen vs. Bantu farmers in East Africa; Native Americans vs. the European settlers of the western hemisphere. We see this conflict from the time the first civilizations learned to write, and it only ended in the late 1800s, when the last uncivilized peoples in the world were conquered by civilization. Let the record show that if the Cain-Abel quarrel was the first conflict between farmers and herdsmen, more than 5,000 years of trouble started right here.
Over the ages, attempts have been made to increase agricultural yields, because bigger harvests meant more profit for the farmers, and more people could be fed. Early innovations included irrigation, water wheels, windmills, and selective breeding of plants and animals. But except for what irrigation did, the gains made were small and incremental. Then after 1800 A.D., labor-saving machines were put to work on farms, from reapers to tractors. The machines by themselves weren't bad, but look what came next.
When the industrial revolution's concept of mass production was applied to agriculture, it led to today's factory farms. These produce vastly more food than your conventional, family-run farm, but they force animals to spend their lives in stalls and cages, and can generate almost as much pollution as a regular factory. And increasing the food supply isn't the only way we have manipulated it. In the name of preserving food, improving the taste and appearance, adding vitamins and minerals, etc., we have put in all manner of chemicals, stuff that isn't always good for our bodies. For those who don't have the time or skill to cook meals right, we now have "fast food,"¯ but there is general agreement that a fast food diet is less healthy than your mother's home-cooked meals. As part of the "green revolution,"¯ we have created genetically engineered crops that arguably do more harm than good to our bodies; e.g., read what William Davis, the author of Wheat Belly, said about the modern wheat that has replaced ancient varieties like kamut, emmer, einkorn, and durum.
Now as I write this, scientists are experimenting with hamburgers made from beef stem cells grown in a lab. This is a case of science fiction becoming reality; sci-fi writers have predicted for decades that someday we will feed humanity with meat grown in a vat instead of on a farm (H. Beam Piper called it "carniculture"). While this promises to eliminate the suffering of animals raised for meat, will it also open a Pandora's box of new problems for us?
All things considered, the drop in human life expectancy after the Flood (see the next chapter) does not look like a mystery. Maybe instead, we should be surprised that with the way humanity has changed its diet over the ages, it did not happen sooner.
I can hear somebody now saying, "Whoa there! Incest is one of our oldest and most universal taboos! Doesn't the Bible proscribe it in no uncertain terms?" Well, it does now, but not originally. Since the human race began with a single couple, the second, third and fourth generations would have been forced to marry close relatives. The same situation arose after the Flood; the children of Shem, Ham and Japheth had only brothers, sisters, and first cousins as a choice of marriage partners. At first it was permitted because Cain and his wife came from genetically perfect parents; there had not yet been time for the dangerous mutations and defects we now associate with inbreeding to set in. This continued for several more generations before any problems were noticed; Abraham's wife Sarah was also his half sister, yet they had a healthy son (Genesis 20:12). Not until the time of Moses do we see incest and marriage between close relatives outlawed (Leviticus 18).
Today we have medical records and documentation warning us of the dangers of incest; I cited what it did to the family of Charles Darwin, for example. Primitive societies have also been aware of it. Our primitive brothers are not so dimwitted that they failed to notice that brother-sister marriages reduce the viability of the whole family, so in most cases they ban them. If there was an exception, it was with the elite of society. Whereas today marrying a first cousin is seen as something only uncultured people would do (Americans have plenty of jokes about rednecks doing it, while the British refer to an inbred person as "normal for Norfolk"), for most of history it was a royal custom. This happened because it didn't take an accountant to see how quickly a family's wealth can diminish when daughters are given away in marriage, especially if large dowries are expected. To keep the money at home, some important families risked marrying first cousins, and occasionally brothers to sisters.
I say "risk" because there was always the chance that a twisted family tree would produce a sick freak. Since the royal family could afford to support such a person, this was usually acceptable, so long as the freak could also have kids to keep the dynasty going. Among the pharaohs of Egypt it was a royal prerogative for brothers to marry sisters, to guarantee that future pharaohs would have royal blood in both their fathers' and mothers' ancestry. When the Ptolemies (a Greek family) took over Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great, they adopted this custom successfully, if all the press about Cleopatra's good looks is any indication. She came from the seventh generation in a series of brother-sister marriages; whereas most people have sixteen great-great-grandparents, Cleopatra only had six. The men of her family, however, were mentally deficient, so the family's genetic good luck must have ended with her.
More recently, the best examples of royal inbreeding come from Europe, where families at the top married each other again, and again, and again. The Hapsburgs of Austria were especially notorious for doing it. For a while they would marry any available heiress with lots of land, but when those opportunities disappeared, the Hapsburgs would marry other Hapsburgs as a first choice, and if no Hapsburgs were available, they would marry Bourbons. The result was an oversized jaw called the Hapsburg lip, the extinction of the Spanish branch of the family in 1700 A.D., and the War of the Spanish Succession. By 1900, Europe's royal families had intermarried to the point that Queen Victoria was related to all of them. That is how Alexis, the last Russian tsar's son, got the hemophilia that made him unfit to rule. Ironically, we'd probably see more royal families and emperors today, if they had been willing to marry a few peasants to keep the gene pool clean. So for those girls who want a fairy-tale marriage, where they get swept away by a handsome prince on a white horse, my advice is, "Forget it." The horse will have better DNA.
However, there are some cases where close inbreeding does not produce defective offspring. The Ali'i family of Hawaii, which gave us Kamehameha the Great, practiced brother-sister marriages regularly. Most remarkable is the record of the Incas, who practiced incest for at least twelve generations without any noticeable ill effects, while at the same time accumulating wealth and prestige. George Murdock said this about it:
" The long line of Inca emperors reveals only one man of mediocre talents; all the rest displayed exceptional energy, resourcefulness, tolerance, and magnanimity in the conduct of affairs. Certainly no dynasty with a higher average order of capacity has graced a throne in the whole of human history."(3)
Perhaps in ancient times, when a particular family could inbreed successfully, it was seen as being a superior "house," from a genetic point of view.
Most scholars point to few, if any parallels between the Biblical and Mesopotamian stories of creation. But the two civilizations are so close, in location, ancestry and similarity of culture, that more must have once existed. Zecharia Sitchin points to a clay tablet (No. 74329) in the British Museum that is classified as containing "an otherwise unknown myth," but he asserts that it may be a 4,000-year-old version of the story of Cain!(4)
The tablet speaks of a group of people who were ploughmen, corresponding to Cain's profession as a farmer. They are called Amakandu--"People Who in Sorrow Roam"--which also parallels Cain's experience, since he was forced to wander, now that the earth which had received his brother's blood refused to grow what he planted in it. Most remarkable, the chief of these people was called Ka'in! The Biblical tale is also echoed in what they did:
He built in Dunnu
The name of this place is an anagram. Because the order of syllables in Sumerian can be reversed without changing the meaning, DUN.NU could also be spelled NU.DUN, which the Bible may have shortened to Nud or Nod!
Nod means "vagrancy" or "wandering" in Hebrew, and the Bible says nothing about its location, except that it was east of Eden. If the Garden was in Armenia or Israel, then Iraq or Iran would be the most likely candidates, since they are the nearest lands to the east. It would appear from available Assyrian sources that the location of Nod can be narrowed down to northern Iraq, since two of the oldest Assyrian royal names are Ashur-bel-Ka'ini ("Ashur, lord of the Ka'inites") and Ashur-en-duni ("Ashur is lord of Duni"). Evidently the Assyrians had access to a copy of the same record mentioning Ka'in and Dunnu that now exists in the British Museum, and took it to be a part of their own history.
After the death (or murder, according to some Hebrew and early Christian traditions) of Ka'in, "he was laid to rest in the city of DUN.NU, which he loved." As in the Biblical tale, the Mesopotamian legends mentions a few of the generations that followed, in this case four; brothers married their sisters and murdered their parents, taking over the rulership of Dunnu and colonizing new places, the last of which was named Shupat ("judgment").
The Bible does not give us much information about the antediluvian civilizations. We may glean some, however, from the names of the characters mentioned, so long as we remember that we are making guesses and assumptions in a very foggy area. We can do this because it was often the custom in ancient times to give people names which reflect their status, character, or a major event in their lives. Enoch's name means "the initiated," which indicates that Enoch was a man of knowledge, particularly mystic knowledge. This suggests that Enoch City, which his father named after him, was meant to be a religious center as well as a political capital, with a temple and sacrificial system. The fact that we have a city only a generation after Adam should dispel any notions we may have about our ancestors being ignorant savages, who dragged their wives by the hair whenever they left the cave. Building a city requires knowledge of how to work stones and wood, plus mathematics and architecture to arrange them so they don't fall down right away. And once the construction is finished, there will be a need for a political and social organization to maintain and expand it.
After Cain and Enoch came Irad, whose name means "fugitive," possibly a reminder of his grandfather's status when he fled to Nod and built Enoch City. Irad can also mean "confiscate" or "sequester," which might mean that he was the first tax collector. Mehujael means "smitten of God," but we do not know whether he fell victim to disease, malformation, or a natural disaster; whatever it was, his condition was regarded as divine punishment. Methusael means "a man who is of God," though the text does not tell us whether he followed the Lord or a false god. Lamech means "strong young man," and he is credited with both polygamy and murder (the latter may have been an accident, what we call manslaughter, since he pleaded to be avenged many times in a poetic way).
We get a few concrete details with Lamech's family. The name of his first wife, Adah, means "ornament, decoration, elegant," so she may have been an artist. The second wife, Zillah, has a name meaning "a shadow figure, a maker of sound, a player," and may have been the first actress. The first son, Jabal, is called "the father of all who dwell in tents and are the owners of cattle," which makes him the first nomad and cattle-herder; perhaps even calling him the first cowboy isn't stretching the truth too much. The second son, Jubal, is called the first musician.
With the third son, Tubal-Cain ("weapon-smith of Cain"), we get some serious technological development. He is called "a craftsman in every work of brass and iron." It is unusual to see metallurgy practiced by anything less than a fully developed civilization. It presupposes knowledge of ore extraction and purification, and in the case of brass and bronze, how to make alloys. Since Tubal-Cain is called a weapon-smith, his profession also suggests that there was war, or at least the threat of war. Most archaeologists pooh-pooh the notion that any society before 3000 B.C. could have used metals regularly, but get a load of this discovery:
"In 1968, Dr. Koriun Megurtchian of the Soviet Union unearthed what is considered to be the oldest large-scale metallurgical factory in the world, at Medzamor, in Soviet Armenia. Here, over 4,500 years ago, an unknown prehistoric people worked with over 200 furnaces, producing an assortment of vases, knives, spearheads, rings, bracelets, etc. The Medzamor craftsmen wore mouth-filters and gloves while they labored and fashioned their wares of copper, lead, zinc, iron, gold, tin, manganese and fourteen kinds of bronze. The smelters also produced an assortment of metallic paints, ceramics and glass. But the most out-of-place discovery was several pairs of tweezers made of steel, taken from layers dating back before the first millennium B.C. The steel was later found to be exceptionally high grade, and the discovery was verified by scientific organizations in the Soviet Union, the United States, Britain, France and Germany.
French journalist Jean Vidal, reporting in Science et vie of July 1969, expressed the belief that these finds point to an unknown period of technological development. 'Medzamor,' he wrote, 'was founded by the wise men of earlier civilizations. They possessed knowledge they had acquired during a remote age unknown to us that deserves to be called scientific and industrial.'
What makes the Medzamor metallurgical site interesting to us is that it is within fifteen miles of Mount Ararat--the landing site of the survivors of the destroyed antediluvian civilizations."(5)
The August 1973 issue of Reader's Digest reported the discovery of an ancient iron mine in the African country of Swaziland. The excavation was dated as being 50,000 years old (remember what I said about faulty dating!), yet skulls found at the site came from very modern-looking men. We do not know why they were digging up iron ore, supposedly millennia before the "Iron Age"; the article suggested it was used for cosmetic purposes, like in those Cro-Magnon burials where the dead body was sprinkled with ochre to give it a lifelike color.
Is this what a pre-Flood temple looked like? In northern Italy is a complex of underground temples, carved and painted with incredible artwork. The designer of these temples, Oberto Airaudi, claims to have seen them in his dreams, and believes he was in them in an earlier incarnation, in the days of Atlantis or some other civilization that no longer exists. I would suggest that if there were places like that, they existed in the Antediluvian world, meaning that Airaudi's "Temples of Damanhur" could really be a recovered memory of the temples built by the Children of Cain, or the Children of Seth. You can check out more pictures of them at TheTemples.org.
We don't know for sure how many children Adam & Eve had, since only three of them are mentioned by name; Josephus, however, credits them with thirty-three sons and twenty-three daughters. Under these circumstances we must conclude that a family of eighteen or twenty children was quite commonplace. If each generation was that prolific, the growth of the antediluvian population would have been something like this:
Anyhow, the years given in Genesis 5 allow us to calculate a total of 1656 years from Adam to the Flood. I have chosen the date given by the Orthodox Churches--5508 B.C.--as the most likely date for the Creation, for reasons I will explain toward the end of this work. Counting forward from this, we can figure that Adam lived until 4578 B.C., and that the Flood took place in 3852 B.C.
We don't have too much information on Seth (5378-4466 B.C.). All we can gather is that he did not build or dwell in any city, so apparently he lived quietly on the land near Eden that he inherited from Adam. Yet all was not well, for his son (5273-4368 B.C.) bore the name of Enosh, which means "mortal." Traditional Hebrew literature claims that during his time idolatry became widespread, so God punished the human race by introducing disease into the world (see what I wrote on the removal of the Shekinah where I discussed the fourth day of creation); the Aggadah also comments that during Enosh's lifetime men's faces became more apelike.
The name of Enosh's son, Kenan (5183-4273 B.C., called Cainan in some Bible translations), means "fixed," meaning he was one who builded upon and occupied the land. Perhaps this is when the Sethites began to build cities of their own. Noorbergen translates his name as "craftsman," so if he is right, we have a hint that the children of Seth were not behind their Cainite kin when it came to technology--this was three generations before Tubal-Cain began to make weapons. Whichever is correct, it must be emphasized that both metallurgy and the building of cities require several earlier inventions and professions, like simple tools, carpentry, pottery, weaving, masonry, etc. Since these are not mentioned in the account we must assume that they developed previously (in the generations of Seth and Enosh), and that the human community had gotten big enough for its members to diversify, specialize, and become experts in one particular field, which has been the case in every civilization since. The next patriarch, Mahalalel (5113-4218 B.C.), has a name meaning "praise of God"; all we can determine from that is that he lived in righteousness.
Apparently the children of Seth fell into serious depravity in the days of Jared (5048-4086 B.C.), the sixth patriarch. His name means "a descent," and Hebrew tradition asserts that this is when the following events took place:
"And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; so they took them wives of all whom they chose. Then the Lord said, 'My spirit shall not dwell in man forever, because he is made of flesh; let his days be a hundred and twenty years.'
There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, for the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them, and they became giants who in the olden days were mighty men of renown. And the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was of evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. So the Lord said, 'I will destroy men whom I have created from the face of the earth; both men and animals, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the air; I am sorry that I have made them.'" (Gen. 6:1-7)
A lot has been read into those verses. One is from the mention of 120 years. Some take that to mean that this is how much time Noah had to build the Ark. Maybe God warned him that far in advance, but another interpretation is that God chose at that point to reduce man's lifespan from 900+ years to 120. Later the life spans of Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Joshua would all be close to 120; we'll look at this some more in Chapter 11.
Some interpret the term "sons of God" to be angels, and that the worst sin occurred when angels (presumably those in league with Satan) came down to earth, had affairs with human women, and the product of those unions was a hybrid race of giants, called Nephilim in Hebrew. The term "sons of God"--b'nai elohim--means angels when used in the Book of Job, but elsewhere in the Old and New Testaments it refers to righteous men. In his Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason Archer argues that a sexual union would be impossible, since angels are spirits without bodies, who cannot function sexually (Hebrews 1:14, Matthew 23:30). A better interpretation makes the children of Seth "sons of God," and the children of Cain "daughters of men." Paul warned us with good reason not to "be unequally yoked with unbelievers," (2 Cor. 6:14) and sure enough, the mixed marriages encouraged the Sethites to practice the same sins as their Cainite spouses, thus contaminating the entire human race. We usually think of the Sethites as being more righteous than the Cainites, but remember that by the time of the Flood even they were so bad that only eight of them entered the Ark.(6)
As for the resulting giants, they were not so much the result of hybridization as the product of the superb living conditions which existed in the antediluvian world. Goliath for instance, was big enough to be a pre-Flood giant, but nowhere is he called the descendant of an angel or some other extraterrestrial being.(7) Earlier we saw evidence that our pre-Flood ancestors were larger than us, when we looked at the Paluxy river tracks, and some oversized bones and teeth in the section on cave men (Meganthropus & Gigantopithecus). After Noah it appears that the combination of poor diet, lack of minerals (which were no longer available because the Flood had washed them to the bottom of the sea), exposure to radiation and reduced lifespan worked to reduce our stature to little over half of what it had been previously. For most of recorded history we have been a race of "little men," not much more than five feet tall. For instance, two thousand years ago the average height was 5' 4"; if Jesus had been much taller than that Judas wouldn't have kissed him, he would have said, "Get the big one." Today we seem to be overcoming this impediment. Our children are growing up faster than we did (the age of puberty was lowered without a constitutional amendment!), and taller, thanks to vitamins and more variety in the diet (The average height of the Japanese went up four inches in a single generation after they discovered McDonald's.). As I write this a popular athlete known for his size is basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, who is 7' 1" and weighs over 300 lbs., but recently I also read that many of the athletes of the next generation will stand taller than Shaq.
Anyway, the most believable part of the extrabiblical Second Book of Adam and Eve is the account of how the children of Seth fell into sin. According to this, for several generations Seth's descendants lived happily on a mountain (or plateau?) just outside the Garden of Eden, while the children of Cain lived in the surrounding lowlands, breeding like rabbits and turning their land into a place of robbery, murder and sin. Seth, Enosh, Kenan and Mahalalel kept the Sethites in purity by forbidding them to go down to the lands of the Cainites, warning that if they did so they could not return. After Mahalalel's death Jared was lured by the devil to visit the Cainites, and he barely escaped with a clean heart. Then the Cainites came to the foot of the mountain and threw a wild party, with colorful clothing, raucous music, dancing and strong drink. The children of Seth could not miss hearing the celebration; temptation got the better of them, and in one group at a time they went down and joined in the children of Cain. Jared died shortly after this heartbreaking experience, and only four of his descendants (Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah) remained on the mountain; because of this God's plan to flood the world became inevitable.(8)
After Jared came Enoch (4886-4521 B.C.), the most intriguing figure to live between Adam and Noah. This is because Enoch is one of the only two men on record who never died (Elijah is the other). In Hebrews 11:5 we read that Enoch lived such a good life that God took him away; he simply walked into Heaven. During the three hundred years following the birth of his son Methuselah, Enoch "walked with God," meaning that he lived a righteous life and kept all of God's commandments. According to Jude 14-15, he was a prophet, traveling and warning that God would judge the world because of the sins of man. Ginzberg says that he also resolved disputes between kings and princes, and was so successful that peace prevailed for the rest of his earthly life.(9) His career as a wandering prophet continued for 243 years, until Adam died. After Adam's funeral Enoch tried to become a hermit, isolating himself so he could serve God rather than men. But the men of the day would not leave him alone; they knew that God was with him because lengthy communion with God had caused him to glow fiercely, like it did to Adam and Moses. Enoch agreed to show himself at regularly scheduled times so the people could be instructed. Even kings came to these meetings, and continued to bring to him problems they could not solve, so Enoch became the wise man everyone looked to--a teacher-king.
Babylonian records seem to agree with us here. The Babylonian historian Berosus, whose work we will discuss in the next section, reported that the seventh king before the Flood, Euedorachos, was a mystic and expert in divination, through which the gods spoke to him.
How Enoch left the earth is very hazy, since all we have on the subject is Jewish and early Christian literature of questionable authorship (The Book of Enoch, Secrets of Enoch, etc.). If anything in these legends is to be trusted, one day God took him alive into Heaven and showed him all the wonders up there. Then he returned and told everyone what he saw. Sometime after that God took him again, to save him from the upcoming judgment of the Flood; this time he did not come back.
The peace that prevailed in Enoch's time ended after his disappearance. The name of his son Methuselah means "man of the dart" or "man of war," meaning he was a war leader, and a successful one, too, for he lived 969 years, longer than anyone else on record (4821-3852 B.C.). Since he was in the same generation as Tubal-Cain, the aforementioned weapon-smith, could it be that a major war between the Cainites and Sethites was fought during this time? Others translate Methuselah's name as meaning "in his day it shall be sent." To us this can only mean the Flood. As long as Methuselah was alive the world was safe; seven days after his death the Flood began.(10)
In the section on the Cainites I noted that Lamech means "strong young man," and it could be that Methuselah's son had that name because he followed in his father's military footsteps. Also interesting is that he lived for just 777 years (4634-3857 B.C.), and died five years before Methuselah did. Noorbergen asks if wounds in battle caused his premature death.(11)
The first part of the list ends with "Then the Flood swept over," obviously a reference to Noah's Flood. Some versions of this list also include a king named Kichuna of Larsa, and a Zinsuddu of Shuruppak.
Early in the third century B.C., a Babylonian priest named Berosus wrote a history of Mesopotamia in Greek called the Babyloniaca. Unfortunately an original copy of his work no longer exists; only bits and pieces, quotations of Berosus from later authors are all we have to go on now. And none of these authors had an original document, either; the oldest of them, Josephus (1st century A.D.), got his material third-hand. Naturally we have to assume mistakes crept into the text as it passed from one scribe to the next. Here is his version of the King List which has come down to us:
The names on the list of Berosus have been changed into names pronounceable to Greek readers; there is no letter "o" in the Sumerian or Akkadian languages.
In the 1990s, David Fasold proposed a new interpretation of Berosus' list.(12) Fasold noticed that every number on the Berosus list is divisible by 3,600. This was not a deliberate rounding off but a translation of an earlier document that listed the reigns in a number of "saros-cycles" (Saros is a Chaldean astronomer's term, representing the average amount of time between eclipses, or between 10 and 20 years), rather than years.
Fasold proposed that the original author of the Sumerian King List listed the reigns of the kings in days, not years. He went on to propose that the pre-Flood world rotated more slowly than today's world, so that consequently the antediluvian calendar had only ten months of thirty days each, or 300 days in a year. By dividing the reigns of the kings on the Berosus list by 300, we get reigns of 36 to 216 years per king. This is much more credible, and follows the chronology in Genesis 5 more closely. Divide the whole list by 300, and 432,000 years becomes a mere 1,440. This is less than the 1,656 years normally claimed for the period between Adam and the flood, but Fasold solves this by suggesting that Adam did not call himself "king" until he was at least 216 years old.(13)
Berosus explains that he became king by claiming divine right:
"Aloros, a Chaldean from Babylon, was the first king of the land and he reigned for ten Saroi [120 years as Fasold figured it, C.K.]. They say that he spread the story about himself that God appointed him shepherd of the people."
Obviously Berosus was declaring the world's first king a Chaldean from Babylon to make his own city look like both the oldest and the best place to live. By his time the chronicles had been so distorted that he would have had trouble giving Adam a nationality he had never heard of; even if the complete, true story had been available he probably would not have recognized it. We saw that the Sumerian account identified his home city as Eridu, a very old city on the Persian Gulf that had become deserted by 1000 B.C.
It may be that there was no need for a king during the first 200 or so years because everyone gave Adam the respect due to an elder, and he could rule without any need for a formal government or trappings of authority, like the judges of the Old Testament. By the third century of his life, however, there were at least four generations of people around, and some of the young people did not believe Adam's story that he was created, not born!(14) Even Berosus seems to have doubted the story. Rumors may have been started by Cain himself, because even though he was in exile, it is likely he would have continued to claim his birthright from Adam because he was the firstborn. If this is the case, Adam would have declared himself "shepherd" (king) over all the people to make sure that Seth would be his heir. As it turned out, he only succeeded in ruling over the children of Seth.
After the flood the earth's rotation speeded up, and perhaps its orbit changed as well. Most of the world's cultures used 360-day calendars for a long time to come. Egyptians, Mayans, Arabs, Chinese, Greeks, and many others all had either twelve 30-day months or ten 36-day months in their year. Immanuel Velikovsky thought this happened too often to write off as a mere rounding of 365 1/4 days into 360. Surely the ancient astronomers would have noticed if their calendar was 5 1/4 days off, for if they had let it go uncorrected, they would have found winter beginning in June 34 years later!(15)
In the 8th century B.C., the earth adjusted its rotation another time, changing from a 360-day year to a 365.24-day one. This occurred with less disaster to mankind, and may have involved the other planets, if Velikovsky's theory is correct. Isaiah witnessed it, by noting the change in the shadow on Jerusalem's main sundial (2 Kings 20:9-11). So did people from other cultures, and during that century they adjusted their calendars accordingly, usually by adding 5 days. The Greeks, for example, introduced a new calendar that counted from the year 776 B.C., the year of the first Olympic games. Late in the century the Romans followed suit, with a 12-month calendar that counted from the founding of Rome (753 B.C.). The Babylonian king Nabonassar (747-734) established a lunar calendar (354 days, with 7 leap months over a 19-year period to keep it accurate); it was adopted by the Jews during the Babylonian captivity, with all the month names unchanged, thus becoming the Jewish calendar of today.
The Sumerians and Babylonians also believed that seven wise men (apkallu) were important. According to Berosus, the first was a creature named Oannes (also called Adapa, Musarus, or simply Uan), who came out of the Persian Gulf and taught the ways of civilization to the people he met. Berosus described Oannes as a demon that was half-man, half-fish, and the city of Eridu was founded where he revealed himself. Nowadays most scholars dismiss this story as just a myth; if they pay attention to it at all, they suggest that Oannes was an extra-terrestrial visitor.
Oannes comes ashore.
Mesopotamian legend identified Enki, the Sumerian water god, as the sender of Oannes; that's why he had a "fishy" look about him. Consequently, Eridu becam the holy city of Enki; the city's main landmark was a temple to that god. Anyway, Oannes became an advisor to the first antediluvian king, Alulim/Aloros. He was followed by six other sages: Uandugga, Enmeduga, Enmegalanna, Enmebuluga, Anenlilda, and Utuabzu. Each of them in turn advised one of the early kings, and they were credited with introducing the Me (the original code of laws and morals), as well as arts, crafts and sciences. When the last sage, Utuabzu, finished teaching what he knew to Emenduranna, the seventh pre-flood king, he "ascended to heaven." This should remind the readers of Enoch, who is also considered a teacher and who also did not die.
I am far from the first to draw parallels between Genesis and the Sumerian King List. However, most scholars note that both Berosus and Genesis 5 listed ten patriarchs before the Flood; they give less attention to the fact that the original list had eight kings in the first section, not ten. Is there a list of eight patriarchs in the Bible? Yes, we saw one in Genesis 4: Adam, Cain, Enoch, Irad, Mehujael, Methushael, Lamech and Tubal-Cain. Therefore, I propose that the first section of the Sumerian King List is not the lineage of Seth, but the lineage of Cain. We will see later on that to the builders of the Tower of Babel, the real heroes of the past were the civilization builders who perished in the Flood, not those who obeyed the god who caused the Flood in the first place. The seven sages, however, could be the lineage of Seth; we certainly have a Mesopotamian representation of Enoch in the last one. I mention elsewhere that there was probably war between the Cainites and Sethites, but it did not have to be continuous. A parallel to that in modern history could be the rivalry between England, France and Germany; they did fight some very nasty wars, but during times of peace, trade and cultural exchanges between those three European countries were possible.
Of course this is speculation on my part, but I am going to suggest that relations weren't too bad at first. As long as Adam, Cain and Seth were alive, everybody knew they were related to one another, and all parties were probably on speaking terms. The Cainites and Sethites traded and exchanged ideas during this time, giving the impression (from a Cainite point of view) that the Sethite rulers were teachers or advisors to the kings of the children of Cain. This impression would have been even stronger if the children of Seth had some government besides a monarchy, calling their leaders "chiefs," "presidents," or some other title that suggested they had less than absolute power.
The antediluvian period of relative calm lasted until Enoch's time on earth ended; in the previous section I mentioned the Jewish tradition that described Enoch as a peacemaker. Then all-out fighting began when Methuselah led the children of Seth, and either Lamech or Tubal-Cain led the children of Cain; because of that, the Sumerians did not preserve a tradition of Methuselah, his son or his grandson advising the kings of their day.
There is also a distinct possibility that because the Biblical and Mesopotamian record of our origins have much in common, the oldest Mesopotamian cities might have names which come from the events or people in the first chapters of the Bible. More than one Bible scholar has suggested that Kish, the oldest city in central Iraq, was named after Cush, the oldest son of Ham (see Chapter 12). Before the Greeks came along, most forms of writing did not use vowels, which would make "Cush" and "Kish" both look like "Ksh." David Rohl has proposed that both Uruk and Ur were named after Enoch, because their actual Sumerian names were Unuk and Unuki, respectively. Rohl goes on to see a connection between Bad-tibira and Tubal-Cain, because Bad-tibira means "City of the Metal Worker." Finally, Eridu, which archaeologists and Sumerian historians believe is the oldest city of all, could have been named after Irad (according to Rohl) or Jared (according to Zecharia Sitchin).
Anyway, it is possible that ultramodern technology was also available in the final years before the Flood. In our discussion of the antediluvian civilization, the last generation of Cainites mentioned was that of Tubal-Cain, the seventh since Adam. If Tubal-Cain was born about the same time as Methuselah (the seventh-generation descendant of Adam by Seth), he could have started his work 900 years before the Flood. Now what have we accomplished in the last 900 years? We have gone from a mostly illiterate, agricultural society with no printing or gunpowder, to one with atomic energy, rockets and computers. If our ancestors were smarter than us, what more could they accomplish in the same amount of time? On top of that, humans lived so long that they could teach what they knew to many generations of descendants; Adam could have known just about everyone mentioned in Genesis 4 & 5; only Noah is recorded as born after Adam's death. Imagine how much we could learn if our great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents were still alive to teach us.
Every so often someone finds an object which violently clashes with established theories on the history and prehistory of the world. Ivan T. Sanderson, a zoologist who wrote several books about unexplained phenomena, called these strange discoveries "out-of-place artifacts"--ooparts for short. They are called that because they are artificial objects found in rocks supposedly older than the human race, or from people supposedly too primitive to make them. They are too authentic to dismiss as frauds, yet to accept them would overturn the idea that man evolved from the stone age to become what he is now. They first gained popular attention in the 1960s and 70s, when Erich Von Daniken wrote a series of sensationalist books (Chariots of the Gods?, Gods From Outer Space, etc.), which claimed that early man could not possibly make them; therefore aliens from another planet must have visited Earth and left them here.
Noorbergen argued that this is selling our ancestors short. In Secrets of the Lost Races and subsequent books, he presented an alternative view which I consider more believable: humans with advanced technology made the ooparts, thousands of years ago, and the ooparts are the only artifacts we have from the antediluvian (pre-Flood) age. The handiwork behind the ooparts often requires a technology as advanced as ours, and in a few cases it looks like our ancestors were even more advanced than us! Although I do not consider Noorbergen a Christian (he also wrote books on Jean Dixon and Nostradamus), I feel he is dead right on this issue. To start with, our ancestors believed that man was not evolving upward so much as spiraling downward from a more godlike state; what we call progress is more of a recovery to previous levels we had once reached than an outright venture into uncharted realms of research. Solomon seems to have felt this way when he wrote in Ecclesiastes: "The thing that has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun. Whosoever speaks and says, 'Look, this is new,' should know that it has already been in the ages which were before us." (Eccl. 1:9-10, emphasis mine, C.K.)
Now get a load of these:
1. In 1967, at a depth of 400 feet underground in the Rocky Point Mine in Gulman, Colorado, human bones and a four-inch-long copper arrowhead were found embedded in a silver vein. According to geologists, the rock deposit was several million years old, so neither bone nor arrowhead belongs there. Because there was no way to fit this into conventional theories like evolution, the find made a few headlines, and then was conveniently forgotten.
2. The June 1851 issue of Scientific American reported that an explosive charge blew a metal vase out of solid rock in Dorchester, Massachusetts. The story said, "On putting the two parts together it formed a bell-shaped vessel, 4 1/2 inches high, 6 1/2 inches at the base, 2 1/2 inches at the top and about an eighth of an inch in thickness. The body of this vessel resembles zinc in color, or a composition metal in which there is a considerable portion of silver. On the sides there are six figures of a flower, a bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel, a vine, or wreath, inlaid also with silver. The chasing, carving and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning craftsman. This curious and unknown vessel was blown out of solid pudding stone, fifteen feet below the surface."
Nobody ever figured out who made the vessel, though an attempt to date the rock it came from gave a figure of several million years. The vase circulated between museums for a while before it disappeared; presumably it is lying forgotten in some curator's basement.
3. In 1891 Mrs. S. W. Culp of Morrisonville, Illinois was shoveling coal into her stove when a piece of coal broke in two, revealing a gold chain that held the two pieces together. Nobody could explain how the gold chain got into the coal, since most coal is supposedly 300 million years old. A similar discovery was made in Oklahoma in 1912, when an iron pot resembling Aladdin's lamp was found embedded in coal. Unlike most the other ooparts, the whereabouts of this one are apparently known, because I recently saw a photograph of it in a book.
4. While we're talking about coal, Ed Conrad, a reporter from eastern Pennsylvania, recently announced that he had found human bone fragments in the coal deposits of his home state. He reminds us that if coal comes from the Carboniferous period, as evolutionists assert, then even dinosaur bones found in it will cause paleontologists serious problems. And that's not all; he has pictures of a human skull, a long piece of tooled wood resembling an axe handle, and even some soft body parts (he identified a brown loaf-shaped object as a petrified human lung). Skeptics immediately said they were nothing more than rocks, so in May 1997 Conrad posted his pictures on the Internet. Unfortunately that website, EdConrad.com, is no longer running. The best page I could find on Mr. Conrad's discoveries and ideas is over here.
5. In 1851 a businessman named Hiram de Witt dropped a fist-sized piece of quartz he had found in California; it broke in two to reveal an iron sixpenny nail in almost perfect condition! Six years earlier another nail was found embedded in a granite block from the Kindgoodie Quarry in northern Britain. A two-inch metal screw was discovered in a piece of feldspar from the Abbey Mine in Treasure City, Nevada, in 1865. The rocks containing these nails and screws are supposedly millions of years old--unless our techniques for dating rocks are more out of whack than geologists will admit.
There are also ooparts which come from civilizations we already know about, which show a technology far ahead of what we credit those people with. Many of them were cited in Von Daniken's books, so you may have heard of some of these:
6. Several two-thousand-year-old clay pots have been found near Baghdad, each containing a cylinder of copper and a rod of iron; the tops were sealed with asphalt. Both cylinders and rods showed signs of acid corrosion. When copper sulfate, acetic acid or citric acid (all were known to chemists in classical times) was poured inside, the iron rods gave off an electrical charge of 1 1/2 volts, the same as today's Eveready batteries! Yet in encyclopedias you will read that Alessandro Volta invented the battery, around the year 1800.
It is thought that the Baghdad batteries were used to electroplate gold onto jewelry, a technique modern man developed in the nineteenth century. Yet gold items thin enough to have been electroplated have turned up at archaeological sites in Egypt and Iraq, some of them in deposits as old as 2000 B.C. It has also been suggested that the owners of the batteries used them to shock people, fooling them into thinking the battery owners had magical powers. Indeed, in the early twentieth century, the chief holy man of Mongolia pulled the same trick with car battery.
7. Various Peruvian artifacts made of platinum have turned up at pre-Inca (before 1200 A.D.) sites. Platinum, however, requires a temperature of 1,755 C. before it melts. How the ancient South American jewelers produced such high temperatures in their forges and furnaces has not been explained.
8. When the Chinese excavated the tomb of Zhou Zhu, a general who lived from 265 to 316 A.D., they found an ornate metal belt-fastener. Analysis of the metal in the fastener showed it to be an alloy of 5 percent manganese, 10 percent copper--and 85 percent aluminum. When I studied chemistry in school, I was taught that aluminum was discovered in 1803, and the processes involving in smelting it consume so much energy that aluminum could not be used on a large scale until the 1940s. How did the ancient Chinese work this metal?
9. In the courtyard of the Qutb Minar, the largest mosque of Delhi, India, stands an iron pillar confiscated from a demolished Hindu temple. Called the Ashoka Pillar, we know it to be at least 16 centuries old, because it contains an inscription from the Indian king Chandragupta II, who died in 415 A.D. It is more than 23 feet tall, sixteen inches wide, and weighs six tons, so casting it was a major task in itself. What is more amazing, although it has been outdoors, exposed to the monsoon climate of north India for centuries, it shows only a few traces of rust, in a tropical environment that would have corroded any other piece of iron long ago. Apparently the ancients had metallurgical techniques that have been forgotten over the ages.
Professor Clifford Wilson got a first-hand look at an unusual metal artifact while working at the Australian Institute of Archaeology. One day the institute received from Israel a bronze statue of the ancient Canaanite god Baal. It had a leg missing, and they tried to replace it so it would look good in a museum display. When they hired metalworkers to make the new leg, they found the original bronze was harder than any they could make. Wilson concluded that the ancient bronze workers of the holy land used a technique similar to the one used when the Japanese made samurai swords: the metal used in the sword was cast in a block shape, hammered into a sheet, and then recast; this was done many times before they shaped it into the final blade. Every time they hammered the metal it became harder than it had been previously.
10. In 1900 sponge divers working off the Greek island of Antikytheros found a ship full of bronze statues and other artifacts, which sank between 80 and 50 B.C. One of the finds, a corroded lump of bronze and wood, was sent to the National Museum in Athens. Nobody could figure out what it was until 1958, when Dr. Derek J. De Solla Price of Cambridge University tried to rebuild the device. To his amazement, it turned out to be an intricate clock, used to tell not only the time of day, but also the risings, settings, and phases of the moon, and the positions of five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), all with astonishing accuracy. The reconstructed machine was a small box containing more than twenty gears, intermeshed in a differential arrangement. A crank spindle set all of this into motion, and was turned by an unknown power source not preserved in the shipwreck. Here is a video showing the rebuilt gearbox in action:
Classical historians like to claim that the ancient Greeks were the smartest people who lived before us, and have written whole books on certain aspects of their intellectual accomplishments, like philosophy, art, and literature. The Greeks, however, were terribly impractical when it came to applying their knowledge. For example, around 200 B.C. a Greek named Hero invented a steam turbine, but he couldn't think of a practical use for it! To him it was just a toy, and he ended up using it to open and close the doors of a temple in Alexandria, fooling the gullible into thinking the gods or some kind of magic opened those doors. It remained for the steam engine to be reinvented in England nearly 2,000 years later.(16) To the Greeks, anything involving manual labor was something true thinkers should avoid, so they never developed machinery, letting their whole civilization run on the strength of animals and slaves instead of steam power. This clock or computer which turned up in the Greek shipwreck would not have been built by somebody with a typical Greek mind set. Therefore it is more likely that the technology behind it came from an older, more advanced culture, perhaps even that of the pre-Flood world.
11. In 1898 a bird-shaped model made out of sycamore wood was found in an Egyptian tomb at Saqqara, dated to 200 B.C. It was labeled as a "bird object" and put in the Cairo Museum's basement, where it lay in a box for the next 71 years. In 1969 Dr. Kalil Messiha found it while cleaning out part of the basement, and noticed an un-birdlike feature: the object has a bird's head, but the tail of a modern airplane. After examination by several aerodynamic engineers and pilots, they concluded that it was not really a bird, but a model airplane; not only is it designed according to well-known aerodynamic features, but it glides a respectable distance with a slight toss from the hand! Since then thirteen more gliders have been identified from other Egyptian tombs, leading Dr. Messiha to wonder if a full-sized glider is lying under the sands of Egypt, waiting to be discovered.
12. The Colombian government has in its possession a number of gold objects found in the graves of the Sinu, a pre-Inca tribe that lived in northern Columbia between 500 and 800 A.D. After they made a tour of the United States, one of them, described as vaguely animal-like, caused a sensation when Ivan Sanderson got a cast made from it in 1969. Sanderson noticed several unusual features not found in animals, like delta wings located far back on the body and a tail like that of a modern aircraft. He and several aerodynamic engineers tested it in a wind tunnel and found it "flew" quite well. Their conclusion was that it did not represent any kind of winged animal (not a bird, bat, insect, flying fish, skate or ray), but it was a jet plane! As with the Saqqara glider, several more objects like it have been found, which are in museums today. Where did our ancestors learn to fly?
13. The western Chinese province of Qinghai is located on the Tibetan plateau, so most of it is a cold desert, with an average elevation nearly two miles above sea level. The province is so remote that it did not become part of China until 1723; for most of history Chinese settlement stopped--along with the Great Wall--in Gansu, the next province to the east. That explains why the outside world did not hear about the Baigong Pipes until 2002, when a group of US scientists, looking for dinosaur fossils in the Qinghai mountains, stumbled upon the site.
Twenty-five miles southeast of Delingha, a city in the heart of Qinghai, is a strange mountain, Mt. Baigong. On top of the mountain is what appears to be an eroded pyramid, 200 feet high. At the mountain's base are three caves, two of which have collapsed over the ages. The cave that can be entered has a triangular opening, and a 16-inch pipe running along the ceiling. The end of a second pipe comes out of the cave floor, and dozens more such pipes stick out of the face of Mt. Baigong, above the cave. Still more pipe-like features have been spotted on the beach of a nearby lake. An analysis of the pipes by a local smeltery stated they were made mostly of iron, but also contained silicon dioxide, in amounts up to 30 percent--not a common alloy in manmade metals.
The local government is promoting Mt. Baigong as a tourist attraction, but so far a thorough investigation of the site has not yet been performed, by either Chinese or foreign scientists. As you might expect, in the meantime, UFO enthusiasts are promoting them as evidence that aliens once visited earth. Using the theme promoted in this section, I would instead suggest that this was an ancient manmade building; the last surviving base or bunker from a pre-Flood war, perhaps? Meanwhile, some geologists are calling everything at Mt. Baigong a natural formation, because similar hematite "pipes" have been found in the sandstone of Utah and neighboring states. If the Baigong Pipes turn out to have been formed by nature, kindly disregard this oopart.
14. In 2008 some archaeologists opened a Chinese tomb from the Ming dynasty. There was no sign of anybody disturbing the grave in more than 400 years, so the archaeologists were surprised to find a 100-year-old Swiss watch in there. This is definitely a man-made object, and not as ancient as the other items listed here; I included it to show how much variety is possible, when artifacts turn up in unexpected places.
Remember what I said about some of the ooparts showing evidence of a technology more advanced than ours? Perhaps some are so advanced that we cannot recognize them. For instance, today we commonly use laser-disk technology to store information on compact disks (CDs) and digital video disks (DVDs). We started using optical storage disks around the year 1980; if somebody came along before that time and showed you a CD, what would think it was? You probably wouldn't guess that it can contain more information than a hundred books; you'd just notice that it is round and has a pretty "rainbow look" to it. I wouldn't be surprised if a lady ran a string through the hole to make a necklace of it, or if a jeweler carved it up to make smaller pieces of jewelry. How many advanced artifacts have been lost or are gathering dust in basements somewhere, because nobody can figure out what they are?(17)
The ancient Egyptians had a myth which declared the invention of writing to be a step backward, rather than forward. In his book Phaedrus the Greek philosopher Plato tells how the Egyptians believed their hieroglyphics were invented by Thoth, the god of learning. Thoth took his invention to the pharaoh of the day, a certain Thamus, and claimed that it would help wisdom. Instead the king replied that just the opposite would be true. Writing, he judged, would encourage forgetfulness, because the educated would no longer need to remember as much--all they would have to do is keep their books nearby. Students would know the appearance but not the reality of wisdom, learning and reciting words without knowing their true meaning. With the Egyptians, this indeed happened; many of the religious texts in what we call the Book of the Dead are so old that as early as 2300 B.C. the scribes seem to have trouble understanding what they were copying.
Despite King Thamus' objections, writing caught on. It helped some, but it also had a limitation: storehouses of books now became more important than personal memory for the preservation of knowledge. This concentrated knowledge in the hands of those who could afford libraries (usually kings and temples), with a privileged few as the custodians of this knowledge. Often when a war took place, those libraries became innocent victims in the destruction. Much of our heritage was lost every time it happened. "The famous collection of Pisastratus [Pisander] in Athens (sixth century B.C.), was ravaged. Fortunately the poems of Homer somehow survived. The papyri of the library of the Temple of Ptah in Memphis were totally destroyed. The same fate befell 200,000 volumes in the library of Pergamum in Asia Minor. The city of Carthage, razed by the Romans in a seven-day fire in 146 B.C., is said to have possessed a library of half a million volumes. But the greatest blow to history was the burning of the Alexandrian library in the Egyptian campaign of Julius Caesar, during which 700,000 priceless scrolls were irretrievably lost."(18) One might think that the generals of the ancient world belonged to a "book-burning-of-the-month" club!
The Alexandria library recovered, only to fall victim to three more burnings. One was done in 273 A.D., when the Roman emperor Aurelian reconquered Egypt, while putting down the rebellion of Zenobia. The next happened under the direction of another emperor, Theodosius I, around 391 A.D.; in his day Christianity was made the official religion of the empire, so he decreed the destruction of all pagan temples, and/or their conversion into churches. This included the famous Serapeum at Saqqara, which had surplus books from the Alexandria library. Apparently the great library was heavily damaged, too, when a mob came to destroy the library's occult literature, and the fire they started burned more than just books on necromancy and witchcraft. The last burning followed the Arab conquest of the city in 642 A.D.; for six months the scrolls were used to heat the city's bath water. Caliph Omar, the Arab leader, decreed: "The contents of these books are in conformity with the Koran or they are not. If they are, the Koran is sufficient without them; if they are not, they are pernicious. Let them therefore be destroyed."(19)
The fate of libraries in other times and places was hardly better. China's first emperor, Shi Huangdi, ordered the burning of most Chinese books in 212 B.C.. Emperor Leo III sent 300,000 books to the furnaces of Constantinople during the iconoclastic controversy of the eighth century. The largest library of the Middle Ages, the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, was lost when the Mongols sacked Baghdad in 1258. A Persian scholar, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, reportedly rescued 400,000 manuscripts from that library, but still, we have reports that enough books were thrown into the Tigris to stain the river black with all the ink from the books! "The number of manuscripts annihilated by the Inquisition . . . in the Middle Ages can hardly be estimated. Because of these tragedies we have to depend on disconnected fragments, casual passages, and meager accounts. . . . The history of science would appear totally different were the book collection of Alexandria intact today."(20)
We may never know how much of the antediluvian world's knowledge was lost. Noah's family could only bring so much of it with them (the Ark was designed to carry people and animals, not libraries). This would be a major setback when they began working to rebuild their world after the Flood. And while the eight passengers on the Ark had technical knowledge and personal memories of an advanced civilization, their children did not. I can just picture little Gomer, Magog and Javan asking Daddy Japheth and Grandpa Noah for stories about "the world of the old ones," without any way to find out if what they are hearing is true. They would lose the knowledge of the basic principles that make their gadgets work. As equipment broke down, they would discard it, because it could no longer be repaired.
This is the End of Chapter 9.
The Genesis Chronicles
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