Thursday

Chapter 1: The Lessons of Eden -- the two religions

Chapter 1

The Lessons of Eden: the two religions

The evolutionary hypothesis about the development of reli­gion pretends that a primi­tive belief in ghosts gave rise to faith in animism and fetish­ism, magical rites and local deities, nature gods, pantheons, and finally to a Sup­reme Being. But this hypo­thesis is flat-out falsi­fied by the evidence. Putting aside the propaganda and bias which still and always shows up in text­books, a compe­tent survey of the actual customs and cultures of tribal peoples re­veals that virtual­ly all societies — most nota­bly the most ‘primi­tive’ — retain a memory of the Supreme Being, without having moved through any ‘evolution­ary’ stages. While there is usually a lower tier of unruly spir­its which need to be placat­ed, there is always the high god, the sky god, the god of heav­en, the god who lives behind the sun or above the treetops. While the theological terms which nomadic peo­ples use may seem quaint to us, such descrip­tions have the effect of referring to the God who lives outside the universe.

We do not find an evolution toward mono­theism, but rather a degeneration into poly­theism. It is precisely the inversion of ‘evolution’ which anthro­pology reveals. “In proportion as we withdraw from the most primi­tive peoples and approach the semi-civilized ones, these three elements — magic, ghost wor­ship and nature worship — take deeper root and finally overrun the an­cient venera­tion of the Supreme Being to such a degree as to render it no longer visi­ble.”[1] Simple cultures have the higher concept of God, compared to more ‘developed’ societ­ies. This purer memory attributes to God “the highest essential and moral charac­ter, and [is] well calculated to inspire the peoples that ac­knowl­edge and honor Him with the high value of active life and solemn moral virtue. Heaven is His dwelling place; in early times He was usually on earth among men, but went away from them on account of a sin of theirs. Thus He is a person in heaven.”[2]

The post-Flood patriarchs were clearly monotheistic. For example, among the many rich finds recovered from the pre-dynas­tic tombs of Ur (which date very near the time of Abraham, by my recon­struction of ancient Babylo­nian history), no cultic objects have been identified. Several centuries lat­er, in the 1700's bc, there were social sanctions in place against idolatry (Job 31:26-28): “If I beheld the sun, when it shined, or the moon walking in bright­ness; and my heart hath been se­cretly enticed, and my mouth hath kissed my hand; this also were an iniquity to be pun­ished by the judge.” The debased cultic reli­gions — cen­tered around ghosts and totems and orgies and magic — certainly became the most prominent spiritual force in the an­cient cul­tures, but they were not the sole force. Behind the demons of the panthe­ons, with their rivalries and blood lust, pockets of true, ethical monothe­ists manifestly survived.

What can be said of the Old World is true of the New World as well. In the pre-Columbi­an Ameri­cas, from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, from Inca to Eskimo, the same attributes are univer­sally ascribed to the high god or sky-god. “We may safely pre­sume that the concept of sky-god belongs to the most anci­ent period in the histo­ry of religious feeling . . . . [He is] always identi­cal in essential defini­tion. . . .neither the migra­tions of races nor the diffusion of myths and folk-lore affords the slightest justifica­tion of the fact.”[3] The conclu­sions of ‘normal’ anthro­pology cannot reasonably account for this pheno­menon. But the Bible explains the data su­perbly, if terse­ly.

If all mankind diffused from a single region, then it is reasonable to expect that some vestige of the universal culture should be found, even in the most remote regions of human habi­ta­tion. We would expect all cul­tu­res to remember that deemed most impor­tant. As it turns out, what is remembered, above all else, is the presence and character of God. We find the evidence for this memory in a uni­versal ‘morpheme’ — a smallest mean­ingful part of a word.

Now, the earliest written word for ‘God’, in Sumer, stood also for the concepts of glory ("bright­ness" or "day") and rev­erence ("king" or "hero"). It came to be read vari­ously as El ("the Almighty"), JH ("the Eter­nal"), Anu or dingir ("the God of Heaven"), and even Ya-ti ("I am"). Most significantly for our purpo­ses, it was also pro­nounced as Ti ("the Most High").

In this Ti, we find a universal name for God as He appears in the Bible. We find a form of it in the Hindu generic term for "god", deva, said to derive most di­rectly from the Sanskrit div or shiv ("shine"); Arama­ic, the language of Babylon, has the cognate ziv, "bright­ness or splendor." But deva may also derive from the Aramaic thav (tov, "good") — which itself derives from Ti. In any case, deo or deus, theos and zeus derive from one or the other; the ‘v’ is added in, as demon­strated in the Greek neos and the Latin novus, both meaning ‘new’.

The morpheme /ti/ or /di/ “is present as a complete word in isolat­ing languages like Chi­nese and inflection­al languages like English. It is found as a prefix, suffix, or infix in ag­glutina­tive lan­guages like Finnish and Nava­jo and poly­synthetic lan­gu­ages like Algon­quin.”[4] In Table 1, I have summa­rized Fraser's informa­tion. Even a cursory look must bring home the corre­spon­dences, where we find effec­tively the same words in Mesopotamia and in the Pacific Islands. The emphasized words con­tain the morpheme, and material in paren­theses gives geograph­ical data, e.g. (lan­guage) or (tribe — location).




Table 1

"High God" Universal morpheme: /ti/ or /di/


Mesopotamia: Dingir, Digir, dimir; Anuti [Sumer­ian, "the God of Heaven"]; Shad­dai [He­brew]. Take note of where forms of these words can be found. Ya'ti [As­syri­an, "I am"].


Indo-European: Deity (English), Dio (Italian), Dieu (French), Dios (Span­ish), Deu (Catalo­nian), Deus (Lat­in), Theos (Greek), Dia (Old Irish, Gaelic), Duw (Welsh), Dew (Cornish), Doue (Breton), Dievas (Lithua­ni­an), Dieus (Let­tish), Dyu (Sanskrit).


Africa: Dyu (Bassa — central Liberia), Dyem (Angas — Nigeria), Deban (Agoas — Abyssinia), Asiata (Nanda — Gold Coast), Awondo (Munshi — Nigeria), Katonda (Bo­ganda — Bantus of East Africa), Tilo (Thonga — South Africa), Ti xo (Kaffir — Basutoland); Da [serpent god] (Daho­mey).
Asia: T'ien (Chow), Shang Ti (Manda­rin), Sheung Tai (Cantonese), Sing Di (Hainanese), Son Ti (Hakka — Kwang­tung), Shiong Doi (Kien Ning), Zong Ti (Tai Chow); N'du Chiong (Pnong — Indochina), Shiang Tho (Kamhow — Bur­ma), Sang Da (Chungchi — Kweishou Pro­vence); Shinto (Ja­pan) {related concept: Ta kama "the Plain of High Heav­en", Daiboth, Dia koku, Hotei [gods]}; Nis Ti (Ainu — Japan); Siang Tiei (Ko­rea) {related con­cepts: Tigyama, Tachue, [dei­ties]}. Relat­ed concepts: Wati "king" (Lisu); tuan "chief" (Malay); du "chief" — (Kachin).


North America: Tirawa Atius "Father Above" (Paw­nee), Tai komol "god of Heaven" (Yuki — northern Cali­for­nia), Yinantuwing­yan (Hupa, Chilula — n. Califor­nia), Tu Chiapa (Yuma), Tu kma (Juanenos), To chopa "the Benefi­cent One" (Havasupia — west­ern Arizo­na), Tgha, T'ta Nitosi (north­ern Canada), Ta hit (Tlingits — Alaska), Ti ho "the Power of the Shining Heavens" (Nootka — Van­cou­ver), Tachet, Taxet (Haida — Queen Charlotte Islands), Toiten (Kusko­win Eski­mos), Gutip (Greenland, Labra­dor), Wakenda, Orenda (Sioux, Iro­quois), Esauge Tuh emissee (Mus­kohegan). Related terms (Salish family, eg. Chinook): Sahale Tyee "Chief Above" [ethi­cal], Timanawas "sinis­ter forc­es" [degen­erate cult].


Central/South America: Teo (Aztec, Toltec, Teo­ti­huani­can), Tupan (Tupi-Guara­ni — Ama­zon), Tumpa (Chorotes — Gran Chaco), Tuma (British Giuana), Tupa (Paraguay). Re­lated terms: Titicaca, Tiki (Easter Island).


Pacific/Australia: Toehan (Loda — Suma­tra), Tuhan (Pakkua — nor­thern Celebese & Battak — Suma­tra), Tuma (Makushi — British New Guin­ea); Anete (Rade — Annam), Anotu (Lat — Pa­pua), Anuti (Ragetta — New Guin­ea), Anutule (Kat — Papua), Anoto (Yabin — east­ern New Guin­ea), Anito (Ilcano — north­ern Luzon). Atnatu [the eter­nal, self-ex­isting God who ex­pelled rebels to earth] (Kaitish), Kela di, Dara­mulen (Kurnai). Atua "God of Space": Otua (Tonga) Aitu (Rotoma), Toa (Sa­moa), Atu Motua (Man­ga­reva) Akua [/t/ = /k/] (Ha­waii). Tan "Cre­ator": Tan Ma­huta (Maori), Kan (Hawaii). Tangaroa "Eter­nal": Tagaro (Banks Island), Ta'aroa (Tahiti), Tagaloa-lag "god of the Heav­ens" (Samoa), Hangaroa "god of Oceans" [/t/ = /h/] (Easter Island).

Ural-Altic, Turkic, Samoyed (northern Asia): Tengri (Kalmuck, Mongolian), Ten­geri (Buriat), Tangere (Tar­tar), Tanara (Yakut & Dolgan). Related term: tigir "holy sac­rifice to the sky god" (Turk­ish).


Dingir "the God of Heaven" (Sumerian).


Not only is the lofty concept of "dei­ty", and its very root, common to virtually all tongues, but so is even our familiar word, "God" (see Table 2). We can trace the root of this exact word in the mi­grations of its mor­pheme. In all the lan­guages in which it ap­pears, its mean­ing is everywhere pre­cise­ly as we would expect.




Table 2
Indo-European — "God"


Bhaga (Aryan), Bog (Russian, Serbo-Croa­tian), Bogu (Czech-Slo­vak), Buh (Bohe­mian), Baga (Avestan — In­dia), Bag Da, Vagh Deo (Kurkus — west central India), Bhagda, Khu­dai, Bhagwan (Balahis — w.c. India), Hudah (Balochi — Baluchi­stan), Hudai (Per­sian), Kudai (Kirghis — Asian steppes), Khu Da (northern India: Brahui — Baluchistan; Musalmani — Pun­jab; Urdu — Hindustan), Gu ti (Gutian [Qurti, Kurds]), Gtt (Ger­man), Gud (Danish, Swedish), God (English)



In our quest for truth, we may hear any number of con­flict­ing sto­ries. The one we choose to be­lieve is that in which we put our faith. Shal­low thinkers may scoff at the idea of actu­al­ly professing faith, but such ridi­cule may be dismissed as a symp­tom of adoles­cence. This is easi­ly proven, when we con­sider that the alter­na­tive to faith is con­fu­sion. Do not be deceived: every­thing we believe is accept­ed not by knowl­edge, but by faith. This too is easi­ly proven, with the simple realiza­tion that it is only faith which allows us to accept the evidence of our sen­ses, only faith which allows us to ac­cept the conclu­sions of our rea­son­ing, and ultimately only faith which allows us to distin­guish be­tween waking and dreaming.

The point is that, while there certain­ly are unknow­able things, certainly para­doxes, yet there is also truth and sure knowledge. This truth is inde­pen­dent of our agreement: it is true whether we believe it or not. We rec­og­nize it by the ele­gance with which it orga­nizes the evi­dence, explains the myster­ies, and fills in the blanks. If we should happen to stumble upon such a great truth, or have it revealed to us, well, good for us. But it is there, in any case.

The Bible contains and reveals precisely the truth about the nature of God and the mean­ing of human exis­tence. While (as we shall see) the structure and function of the uni­verse point to the character of God, nature is only implicit in its revelation. While the actions and emotions of the characters of his­tory point out human nature, yet the meaning of this evidence may be inter­preted in any number of ways. The unifying system, the key to the code, the end of the mystery, is reveal­ed in plain words in the Bible.

I will lay out, briefly, the relevant facts con­tained in the Bible which are perti­nent to our immediate topic. And what exact­ly is the topic? No more than one of all the world's religions can in the long run be true, and I maintain, without need for discus­sion, that the one true reli­gion is that which is revealed in the Bible. Let's consider what that reli­gion was and is.

Trinity

The earliest line-writing, on pre-cunei­form tablets, repre­sented the idea of God by using the symbol of three stars; this was sim­plified over time as a single star, which was further stylized into the precise form of a cross, which again was sim­plified into a sin­gle line.[5] It takes no imagination at all to find here the Trinity, the Crucifixion, and the One God.

God manifests Himself in this universe as One God, who makes Himself known in three Per­sons. These three Persons, who are One, are known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is, to our nat­ural minds, a par­adox: how can one God be three persons? Shod­dy objec­tions abound, such as "one plus one plus one do not equal one"; to this, we need only reply that "one times one times one does equal one." But the issue tran­scends mere fal­lacious reasoning. We cer­tainly cannot compre­hend the true subtlety of the Trini­ty, any more than we can com­prehend that light is both a particle and a wave. But we can appre­hend it. We do not master this idea, but we can recognize that it is true.

The idea of incomprehensible, un­provable truths is not in the least a religious one. It is the very heart of modern mathematics and physics, as demon­strated by, say, Gödel's In­completeness Theorem (which says the axioms of a system cannot be used to prove itself — a higher set of axioms must always be appealed to), or by Heisenberg's Uncer­tainty Principle (which says that either the velocity or the location of a specific elec­tron at a given moment can be known, but not both — by choosing one, you exclude the possi­bil­ity of knowing the other). Singu­lari­ties and quarks and virtual parti­cles, and the square-root of negative one and non-Eu­cli­dian geome­try and the concept of infin­ity — all partake of the nature of things that are true, but not compre­hendible.

On a more mundane level, we find the very fundaments of the universe affirm­ing the Trin­ity. In its broadest aspect, na­ture is a tri­nity, of space, matter and time.[6] There is no universe without these, and these do not exist without each other. Again, each of these is itself a trinity. Space is height, width and depth; each is fully and completely it­self, and total­ly per­vades space, yet space is not any one of these things, but all of them together. Matter is energy, movement, and phenomena — power, action and effect; motive, motion and mani­festa­tion. Time is past, present and fu­ture; it is not any abso­lute division of these, but the fluid interac­tion of all three.

As for human existence, it is experi­enced in space, exhib­ited by matter, and understood through time. We are body, mind or soul, and spirit; not mere matter, but some animating force; not mere mind, but tangible and eter­nal; not spirit alone, but physical and con­ceptual. Even our minds are a trinity, of in­tellect, emotion and will.

It is certainly true that the Bible no­where uses the term "Trinity", but we must dismiss out of hand such a vapid argu­ment, since nowhere does the Bible use the word "toenail" — yet of course there are such things. An argument from silence is a logical fallacy. Compe­tent study, in fact, reveals that the concept of the Trinity is spread throughout scripture in an unmistak­able way.

Whatever it is that a man worships, and prays to, and turns to for deliv­er­ance, this is his god (Is 44:7,17). The Bible tells us to worship Jesus, and He receives it (Phili 2:10, Heb 1:6; Lk 24:52). Steven prays to Jesus (Acts 7:59), and of course Jesus is the Deliv­erer. We are told in many places, expli­citly, that Jesus, the Word, is God (Jn 1:1,14). Witness the fol­lowing: “Christ, who is God over all, forever praised” (Rom 9:5); the “righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2P 1:1 — compare with 2P 3:18)[7]; the “glo­rious appear­ing of our great God and Sav­ior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13); about the Son, God (the Father) says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever” (Heb 1:8); doubting Thomas finally answered Jesus by calling him “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28). We are told that it is the blood of God that was shed (Acts 20:28), redeem­ing the lost. Of the Mes­siah, we are told: “Be­hold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is trans­lated, 'God with us.'” (Mt 1:23, cf. Is 7:14). Con­si­dering the fact that here we have Matthew, Luke, John, Peter, Thomas, Paul and the writer of He­brews, all teaching the doctrine that Jesus is God — surely this is sufficient testimo­ny.

As for the Holy Spirit, He is called God in a number of places (Acts 5:3-4; 1Cor 6:19,21; Lk 1:68,70 compared with Acts 1:16; 1Cor 3:16 with 2Cor 6:16, Jer 10:10; Ps 78:17‑18 with Is 63:10; Deut 32:12 with Is 63:14; Is 6:8-9 with Acts 28:25‑26; 2Cor 3:17). He is the Creator (Gen 1:2, Ps 33:6, 104:14-16,30, Job 26:13). He is eternal (Heb 9:14), sovereign (Jn 3:8, 1Cor 12:11), omnipres­ent (Ps 139:7), omni­scient (1Cor 2:10), and omnipotent (Micah 2:7). He is holy (Rom 1:4) and good (Neh 9:20, Ps 143:10 com­pared with Mt 19:17), and can be blasphemed (Mk 3:29‑30).

He is so much identified as a person of the Godhead, that against the rules of Greek grammar, He is called ‘He’, instead of by the neuter pronoun, as proper gram­mar would demand (Jn 15:26, 16:13-14). The Spirit speaks with a voice (cf. Heb 10:15; Act 10:19, 13:2; Jer 31:31; Eze 2:1‑3, 3:24, 8:11,43‑44). He has a sense of self-identity (Acts 13:2), and He has the three at­tributes of personali­ty, in mind, emotions and will. Thus, the Father knows the mind of the Spirit (Rom 8:27), and the Spirit searches, and knows the depths of the mind of God (1Cor 2:10-11). The Holy Spi­rit loves (Rom 15:30), grieves (Eph 4:30), is vexed (Is 63:10), kind (Ps 143:10), and de­sires (Jn 3:8). He wills (1Cor 12:11), is obeyed (Acts 10), and forbids (Acts 16:6,7). I have counted at least 39 separate types of actions which the Spirit is explicitly said to have done, all of which demand His being a person and / or God.[8]

So, a fair understanding of the teaching of the Bible rec­og­nizes that the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all identi­fied as God. Yet there is only one God, who somehow par­takes in some sort of plurality. We know this from the Bible, as in the very word for God, Elohim, which is a singular root with a plu­ral ending; this ending is not that Hebrew parti­cle which indi­cates a plural of two, but rath­er of three or more. Now, while elohim is used of mere men, as of judges or rul­ers, this use is employed only long after the word was used of God. If this were the only example of an indi­cation of the Trinity, we would cer­tainly dismiss it as an example of the semitic usage of the "plural of majes­ty" — something like the royal "we", to indicate "I". But taken in context, we cannot escape the plural­ity of God.

In Deut 6:4, we have the great declaration of Hebrew monotheism, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One.” What could be more plain? Yet the word for ‘one’, here, is 'achad. In Hebrew there is a word for an abso­lute unity, 'iysh, used of an individual — an in-divide-able. Then there is the word of a composite unity, a single thing which in some manner is made up of parts. Thus a mar­ried couple, which becomes one flesh, is 'achad flesh; a bunch of grapes is an 'achad of grapes. And "the Lord our God, the Lord is 'achad — a composite unity." When we consider that a much better word was available, if the intent had been to indicate a God of the Mos­lem type — utterly monolithic — then we are safe in concluding that 'achad, a com­posite unity, was chosen for a purpose.

So, while we cheerfully affirm that the Bible does­ not con­tain the word "Trinity", it certainly contains words which indi­cate the Trinity. Just as gravity is not in any way visible, yet its effect is everywhere — so with the Trinity: it is im­plicit, throughout the entire Bible. While this in itself is not proof that the universe actually is ruled by the Triune God, it is proof that the Bible, Old Testament and New, teaches that God is Triune.

The question may well be asked, Why must we search this out? Why isn't the Trinity explicitly stated? To this, we can reply only with reasoned guesses. Perhaps, in the pro­phets' efforts to combat idolatry and polythe­ism, the triunity of God was left implicit, to establish the correct concept of monothe­ism; there is no doubt but that apprehending the concept of the Trinity requires subtle contem­plation, which not everyone is in­clined to engage in. I favor another explanation: the Bible is not an encyclopedia which you can open to a page and learn all there is to know on a given topic. Rather, the Bible is like life: you learn its lessons by going through it; you pick up your knowledge piece by piece, from experience and from the contempla­tion of experience. The Bible is not written in out­line form, because its truths are too subtle for glib expli­cation; no outline will suffice to reveal the hues and depths which it contains. I realize that this may sound some­what mystical, but it is a simple recognition of complexity.

For our purposes, since this study is not ostensibly one of Biblical theology but rather of history, I will highlight only one other aspect of the religion of the Bible. How can we be saved? When rightly understood, the Bible is clear on this. There is a Savior, called the Seed of the woman, called Messiah, called the Angel of the Lord, called Son of God, called God and Mighty God and Creator. This Savior, then, is explicitly af­firmed to be God, in the cosmic and theologi­cal sense.

But He is also said to be a human being, though born mirac­ulously of a virgin. And He would destroy the enemy through His suffering (Gen 3:15, Is 53). This man, known to history as Jesus Christ, was executed in the Roman province of Judea in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, under the governor Pontius Pilate. Because His death was unmerited — because His life was sinless (cf. Jn 18:38, Heb 9:14) — death had no claim on Him, and so, as it were, Jesus paid a price which He did not owe, and so could redeem His sacrifice as He saw fit. Because His worth was infi­nite — because He was God — Jesus could ransom from death any and all whom He chose. He chooses those peo­ple who recognize the price He paid; He choos­es those who trust in the salvation He freely offers. Salvation is not free, but it is free to us.

I have told this briefly and in very simple terms. Of course I have not done justice to this Gospel, but my purpose has been met, of introducing the God of the Bible (the Triune God) and His plan for salvation (the Crucifixion).

These facts, regarding the nature of God and His salvation, were not unknown to the ancients. Indeed, initially they were well known. But as the population grew, the pro­portion of righ­teous people diminished. It was inevita­ble that ignorance, corruptions and lies about the true nature of God and his plan should abound. Even so, it can well be said that all pagan systems admit that behind the idols and the gods, there is the One God, cre­ator of all things.

In paganism, the ‘true’ god was called, for example, Adad, "The One". He was Isis, who according to Apuleius (c. 125 bc) was the “first of the celes­tials, and the uniform manifes­tation of the gods and goddesses . . . . whose one sole divinity the whole orb of the earth ven­erated . . . under a manifold form, with dif­ferent rites, and under a variety of appella­tions.”[9] Elioun "the Most High", Shamash, Brahma, Marduk, Baal (even Zeus or Saturn) — the chief god of every region was con­sid­ered in some aspect to be the ‘true’ god.

Thales, the Greek philosopher, was called by Aris­totle "the father of natural philoso­phy". This has caused some people to assume that Thales was an athe­ist, which is simply wrong, as we can tell from the few quota­tions surviving from Thales. From these, we hear him say: “Of exist­ing things, God is the oldest — for he is un­gener­a­ted.”[10] Hardly the words of an atheist.

In distant China, long before there could have been any "Christian" influ­ence, Lao-tsu annunciated the ancient high concept of God: “Before time, and through­out time, there has been a self-existing being, eternal, infinite, complete, omni­present . . . . Outside this being, before the beginning, there was no­thing.”[11] Lao-tsu went on to invent a philo­sophy about God, but the initial con­cep­tu­al­ization of this God is common through­out the world.

At the very beginning of Chinese civilization, when that race was newly arrived in the east from Babel, the Emperors sacrificed to the single God of Heaven, Shang Ti, with a prayer: “Of old in the beginning, there was the great chaos, without form and dark [Gen 1:2]. The five ele­ments [planets] had not begun to revolve, nor the sun and the moon to shine [Gen 1:16] . . . . Thou madest heaven; Thou madest earth [Gen 1:1]; Thou madest man [Gen 1:27]. . . .Thy sovereign goodness is infi­nite. As a potter, Thou hast made all living things [Is 64:8]. Thy sover­eign good­ness is infinite. Great and small are shel­tered (in Thy love) [Mt 5:45]. As engraven on the heart of Thy poor servant is the sense of Thy good­ness [Rom 1:19] . . . . With great kindness Thou dost bear with us, and not with­standing our demer­its, dost grant us life and pros­peri­ty.”[12] The images are bib­li­cal not because one copied from another, Hebrew or Chinese, but because both refer to the same God.

Two millennia after this prayer was first spoken in China, the heresy of polytheism was taking hold, so that a court offi­cial was driven to write: “It is indeed certain, that from the most ancient times, all who have been wise, and deemed masters of the nation on account of their reputation for distin­guished wisdom, have known but one Shang Ti, eminent over all, on whom all things depend . . .”[13]

Even Hinduism, the last survivor of the ancient pagan sys­tems, avers: “The supreme Brahm, the most holy, the most high God, the Divine being, before all other gods; without birth, the mighty Lord, God of gods, the uni­versal Lord.”[14] Brahma is the supreme crea­tor-deity of India. The name Brahm may derive from Rahm, Hebrew or Aramaic (Chaldean) for "the merciful or com­passionate one", but also meaning "womb". The Moslem Turks used the term Er-Rahman, "the all-merci­ful"; Ex 34:6 uses a form of rahm. From this, we may see the underlying monothe­ism of Noah and his fathers, which later became so corrupted.

One of the things which utterly enraged the Bible proph­ets was the high­jacking by pagans of the vocabulary of monothe­ism, used to glorify local idols. So Isaiah (66:17) is incensed, proclaiming that those who “sancti­fy themselves to the rites of the Only One, eat­ing swines' flesh, and the abomina­tion, and the mouse, shall be consumed together.” We will look at these symbols later, but here let's notice that "the Only One" ('achad) is used of God in Deut 6:4 — the famous procla­mation of Hebrew monotheism. The name of the chief Assyrian god, Adad, is evidently an emphatic form of this 'achad.

When Paul spoke on Mars Hill to the phi­losophers of Athens, he comment­ed on the neg­lected shrine of "the unknown god", who was the true God (Acts 7:23). For all the count­less temples and millions of gods of India, there can hardly be found a tem­ple dedicated to the "god of gods", Brahma. Pagan­ism does not do well in honoring God, for all its many gods. The Great In­visible God is “to be wor­shipped through silence alone”[15] — that is, he is to be ignored.

Not God the Father alone, but the very concept of the Trin­ity was remem­bered and twisted. The primal Trinity was depicted idolatrously, as in “the triune emblem of the supreme Assy­ri­an divinity [which] shows clear­ly what had been the original patri­archal faith. First, there is the head of the old man [Father]; next, there is . . . the circle, for ‘the seed’ [Son]; and last­ly, the wings and tail of the bird or dove [symbol of the Spir­it].”[16] The Trinity degen­erated into tri­ads of gods in many cultures, as we will see. This dete­riora­tion has led some into grave confusion, when they imag­ine that the Trinity is a pagan idea. The fact is that paganism distorted and forgot the true nature of God as He reveals himself in this universe.

In this same way, the imagery of the Com­ing ‘Seed’ has caused shallow thinkers to ima­gine that some sort of vegetable cult was the source of the image. An empty circle, in the ideo­graphic writing of Chaldea, stood for ‘noth­ing’ — exactly as our zero does. In fact, the very word zero is handed down to us through the Arabs, from Baby­lon, in the root zer, "to encompass" (saros means an era, or a great circle of time.) The circle ideograph al­so stood for ‘a seed’; when the Aramaic root zer is used as a verb, it becomes zwero, zvero, or spero — which is related to the Greek speiro, from which we derive ‘spore’ or ‘sperm’. Obviously, the importance of the symbol was deeply embedded, and so ut­terly primal, in the intellectual system of the most an­cient civi­lizations. As to how the theological concept of the Seed was applied, we shall see.

What was the "correct" religion by which God was to be worshipped? Well, first we must understand what is meant by ‘religion’. In the broadest sense, religion is man's attempt to make him­self acceptable to God. What image or symbol to face; what prayers to say, and how often, facing what direction and in what position; which mountain to climb; what animal to kill, and how; what incense to burn, and when; what hat or robe to wear; what hairdo to have; which foods to eat, which to refrain from, which buns or crackers to use in one's sacra­ments; what dance, what song, which in­toxi­cant, which ointment, which paint — these are the obvious accoutrements of religion.

On a deeper level, however, these are mere forms. More substantively, ‘religion’ deals with the relation­ship that an individual has with either his idea of God, or with the actu­al God Himself. In the end, false religion is the worship of the god of one's own imagina­tion. Worship of the actual God of the uni­verse is what is termed real ‘sal­vation’. This worship, this religion, is not forms and rituals and set prayers and rote practices. It is a relationship, between Father and adopted children, between Friend and friends.

Those who are confirmed in their hostility to the Bible are fond of saying that all roads lead to God, or that all religions worship the same God, just under different names. To this, I agree: all religions lead to the same place, and all gods truly are the same god. I agree, with one exception: the God of the Bible speaks not of all roads, but of the nar­row road; He speaks of the many gods, as His ene­mies. And this, finally, brings us to the devel­opment and diffusion of false religion, from its very beginnings, into historic times.

We will spend considerable time, now, explo­ring the religion of Satan, which is all reli­gions but one. We will study it because of its monumental effect upon history. We will see that false religions, no matter the details of a particular manifestation, have one thing in common: You are good enough. Do these things, say these words, eat this or refrain from that . . . and God will be so impressed with your wonderfulness that you'll get the goodies of Heaven, whatever they may be. Whether the celes­tial whores in the Moslem heaven, or the myriad wives and personal deification in Mormon heaven, or the non-exis­tence, the escaping from the wheel of reincar­nation, of Buddhist and Hindu heaven — in all these cases, the reward is based on the merit of the person. The deity, here, is an adding machine, who calculates your worth and dispens­es your pay. This deity is a vending machine, into which you feed your good works, and then select your treat.

In absolute contrast to this, the religion of the Bible says that you are not good enough, and never can be. “All your right­eousness is as filthy rags” (Is 64:6). “There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understand­eth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. None seek after God, no not one. All have gone astray and follow after their own way” (Rom 3:10-12). People hear this and think, "How grim, how negative!" But such a response ignores the rest of the message. You cannot be good enough, but God is good enough. You cannot live the perfect life, but Jesus did, and you can ally yourself with Him.

Of course good works are expected, but these play no part whatsoever in one's salva­tion — they are the expec­ted outcome of one's salvation. Works cannot save you, but if you are saved, you should do good works, as is explicitly stated in Eph 2:8-10: “For by grace you have been saved, through faith; and that not of your­selves, but by the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His work­manship, creat­ed in Christ Jesus for good works . . .” There is, of course, much to be said on this, but the point here is that only the Bible teach­es this message — all other religions require personal merit from their followers before they can be ‘saved’.

Sacrifice

In Eden, Adam had a religion, a relation­ship, of intimacy and immediate fellowship. I discuss this in some detail, in Chapter 4 of The Pillars of Heaven. Eden was a place of inno­cence, rather than righteous­ness. The differ­ence is that inno­cence is untested, whereas righteousness is proven. The com­mand­ment, to not eat of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, was given to provide an opportunity for Adam to grow out of mere innocence, and become righ­teous. Need­less to say, he missed that opportuni­ty, and instead brought catas­trophe down upon himself and the entire universe.

After the Fall, the form of true religion was changed, to accommodate Adam's changed condi­tion. The new ver­sion was based on the fact that intima­cy was lost. It centered around sac­r­i­fice, which was first instituted immedi­ately after the Fall, when the nakedness of Adam and Eve (symbolizing their state of sin) was covered by the skin of a sacrifice (Gen 3:21). This covering was a symbol of forgiveness and salvation, of being "in Christ Jesus", or of being "covered by the blood of the Lamb". The Old Testament word for forgiveness means "to cover".

Blood sacrifice had the intent of calling to mind the fact that death is an interloper, invited into the universe by sin. The sacri­ficed animal took the place of the sinful human, and was a symbol of the Messiah, who would take the place of humani­ty. The blood of the animal, on the hands of the priest, was meant to be an unmistakable reminder of the fate of the unsaved. But the very act of sac­rificing the animal was meant to call to mind the prophesied Savior, whose death would ulti­mately remedy the effects of unrighteousness.

Never, at any time, was animal sacrifice itself meant to be anything other than a reminder of the future event at Calvary (see Heb 9:12). But the mean­ing of this rite was twisted and corrupted, so that it took on the crude meaning given to it even in modern times, where the act itself is imagined to impart some sort of magical benefit. The sym­bol replaced the reality.

Liar

In the Garden, we find another player in the drama, in the person of Satan. This is one of the few times in Scripture that he is an actual character, rather than, as it were, a director. In his dialogue with Eve, we find the spark of the original false religion which would burn across histo­ry, quenched only for a time by the Flood.

There are two tenets in the ‘theology’ of Satan. Given these two, the particular form of idolatry is incidental — as long as the truth is ignored, it does not matter which lie is believed. The two tenets which Satan annun­ciated to Eve were that [a] God is a liar, and that [b] humans can be gods. Let's take a closer look at this interchange.

Satan says to Eve (Gen 3:1), “Yea, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden’?” By asking this question, he may be pretend­ing to a false ignorance, and so flattering Eve; or he may be asserting what he knows is incorrect, inviting correction from Eve; again, he may be saying that Adam has just been lying, and that God never said any such thing. The word ‘God’ is Elo­him, used of God in His role as Creator — ‘Lord’, or Jehovah, is the more intimate, personal name of God, used in His covenant relation­ships; the inten­ded effect of Satan's choice of vocabu­lary is to make God seem remote. By delibe­rate­ly being incor­rect, in saying God forbade the eating of all fruit, Satan im­putes a petti­ness and irrationality to God.

Eve corrects Satan, referring to the Tree of Knowl­edge, but she adds that she was not even to touch it, which God is not recorded to have said. It may be that God did say to not touch it, because she had no business near it. Or it may be that she simply did not listen carefully, and invented another com­mand­ment. In any event, the penalty was death.

Hearing this, Satan responds by telling his first recorded lie. “Ye shall not surely die”. In this lie, he is saying that God is a liar. Furthermore, he is laying the founda­tion of various false religions, with their misconcep­tions about death and immortality. He tells his second lie immediately afterward: “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” First, he makes God petty and fearful. Next, he says that humans are as gods. What precisely this means is open to debate, but what is clear is that false reli­gions do claim the divinity of man­kind, even into our day, with the rise of the New Age religion, which is nothing more than westernized Hinduism — which itself is just the longest-lived system of paganism, little different than the religion of Babylon or ancient Rome. That Satan was lying about the benefit of the fruit is evident from the fact that all its consumption immedi­ately accom­plished was an awareness of what it was to be naked — hardly an example of godlike knowledge.

In this dialogue, Satan first doubts what God has said, then denies it, then slanders God, and finally substitutes his own words. We shall see such substitu­tions every­where in the religions which were invented by Satan and his pagans. This tactic depends foremost upon the gullibility of humans. Where there is rational skepticism and a spir­it of discern­ment, lies may sprout but they do not flourish. But where blind faith, igno­rance and sloth abound, corruption does also. In such a climate, the truth must be replaced with a lie.

It is here that a crucial, or rather fatal, decision was made. Here, “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise” (Gen 3:6). Eve is the first to demonstrate “the lust of the flesh” in her dangerous craving of the fruit, the first to demonstrate “the lust of the eyes” in her pleasure at its appear­ance, and the first to savor “the pride of life” in her desire to be perceived as wise (see 1Jn 2:16). This is the three-pronged pitchfork of "the flesh, the world, and the Devil", and Eve was the first to be skewered.

Whores

We have been talking in general terms about false religion, but let's get specific. All of the elements of the events in Eden became mythologized and incorpo­rated into pagan ritu­als. Indeed, they were reinter­preted, so that sin was seen as virtue. For example, the eat­ing of the fruit of the Tree of Knowl­edge was not viewed as a tragedy, but rather it was celebrated by pagans as the gift of knowledge. So Astarte, or Cybele, in Phrygia was called Idaia Mater, the Mother of Knowl­edge; and her husband, whom we know as Adam, was there wor­shipped as Atis, "the sinner" — from Aramaic hata, "to sin".

These first of all parents were deified by later genera­tions, and wor­shipped in the place of God. So, Janus (who de­cides men's desti­nies, as Adam decided the destiny of all man­kind) is in Latin, Eanus, which in Aramaic is E-anush, "the man". In a duplicated form, Inuus (the Pan of the Romans) is Enos in Hebrew — "the man". ‘Adam’, of course, simply means ‘man’. Again, the goddess Semelé was called Hue, which is the semitic form of Eve.

According to Berosus (c. 3rd cent. bc), the pri­mitive Baby­lonian goddess is Omorka, from am ("mother") and arka ("earth") — mother of the world. This goddess is linked with the goddess Thalatth, whose name shares its root with the Hebrew tzalaa, "rib" or "side" — used of Eve in the Garden. Her husband would be Baal-thalatth, meaning "lord of the rib" (the Roman god of marriage was Thalasius, "the man of the rib").

But the name "Baal-thalatth" can also be interpreted as "he who turned aside" (the link between "rib" and "side" being self-evident), and from this meaning evidently came the practice of the priests of Baal, who limped in their worship (1K 18:26). Because of this affectation, the sideways moving crab was a symbol of the Mysteries, an emblem of, for exam­ple, Diana, and remembered even today in the Tarot cards; as we shall see, the constel­la­tion Cancer is a pagan perversion of an older, truer idea. The name Pan, too, means "turned aside". The wife of Pan was Pitho, from peth, "to beguile" — the same root gives us Python, the evil ser­pent, and latin­ized gives us such words as ‘infatu­ate’. I will not comment on all of this, since the cor­respondences to the Bible are self-evident.

Another example of perversion by paganism is in Eve's wan­dering gaze. In the pagan sys­tem, the tempta­tion and fall of Eve was a good thing, and so the attri­butes which brought it about are celebrated. Alexan­der Hislop[17] — whose re­search provided much of the infor­ma­tion in this work — sees a link between the Chinese goddess Shing Moo, and the Aramaic shngh ("to look or gaze") combined with the Egyptian goddess Maut (symbol­ized by a vul­ture's-winged eye or a vulture's eye itself, equivalent to an eagle's eye — see Job 28:7). Shing Moo, then, would be shngh Maut, "the gazing mother goddess". The link is validat­ed, Hislop maintains, by a further correspon­dence between the similar goddess Ma Tsoppo — queen of heaven in a province of China — and the Babylo­nian goddess Ama Tzupah (which means "the Gazing Mother").

The name of the goddess Rhea shares its root with the He­brew rhaah, meaning "a gazing woman"; it is a homonym of the Aramaic for "vulture". In "neolithic" towns, we find that the “principal deity was a goddess who is shown in her three aspects, as a young woman, a mother giving birth or as an old woman, in one case accompanied by a bird of prey, pro­bably a vulture.”[18] The temples asso­ci­ated with this religion were “decorat­ed with wall-paintings of vultures pecking at human bodies. . . .a second vulture shrine . . . [shows] two vultures with human legs attacking a headless human body.”[19] Chro­no­logy has been so cor­rup­ted by the re­li­gion of Evolutionism that thou­sands of years have been invented and placed between contem­porary cultures, all of which revered the same "goddess", wheth­er in her aspect of Eve, or (in the context of dead bodies) of Semiramis.

The name Rhea also implies "she who is gazed at" — that is, "the Beauty". Athena bore the title Ophthalmi­tis, "the Eye"; she wore a helmet with two eye-holes, calling attention to this symbol. The motif of single or paired eyes was “specifi­cally associated with designs on seals and other arti­facts of the Jemdet Nasr peri­od”[20] — which started af­ter the Sodom catastro­­phe, last­­ing from c. 1967-1900 bc (by the standard reckoning [*], from *3100-2900 bc)[21]. Again, at Tell Brak (just over 20 miles south of Turkey on a branch of the Habor) excava­tions of a tem­ple terrace (c. 1900 bc / *2900) yielded thousands of black and white alabaster "eye idols" — pairs of eyes of some deity.[22] Later we will again encoun­ter these goddesses — or rather, this god­dess. But here, it is Eve who seems to have provided the first model. The upshot is that this moment in Eve's life be­came an important fix­ture in the apostate religion of idolatry.

As for the object of Eve's gaze — the fruit itself — there has been much specula­tion, but little of sub­stance. Whether or not it was an apple we cannot say, since it is simply not iden­ti­fied in Scripture. In the Near East however, the pome­granate — rimmon — was con­sidered the fruit of knowledge, and was a com­mon symbol of the god­dess. In climates where the pomegranate could not thrive, the orange was the symbol (hence the ‘golden apples’ of the Hesperi­des which were guarded, rather than of­fered, by the serpent). The pro­hibition which in the Bible came from God, in myth co­mes from the evil one — which has the effect of casting the God of the Bi­ble in the role of Satan.

Adversary

This brings us to Satan himself. While the Bible is not a handbook for the study of demons and angels, the passing refer­ences to these beings give us some signifi­cant clues as to their nature. As for Satan, his char­acter is consistent throughout Scripture.

He instigates rebellion (Gen 3). His malevolence is con­tained in his name (or title): ‘Satan’ means ‘Adver­sary’, and in this role, he prowls to and fro about the earth, up and down on it (Job 1:7). He is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1P 5:8). Another of his titles is Beelzebub, which means not only "Lord of the Flies", but also "Lord of Restlessness", since flies are named after their behavior, even in English. He brings accusations — the word "devil" is sim­ply Greek for "slan­derer"; his native lan­guage is lies (Jn 8:44). Most relevant to our study, he seeks worship (Mk 9:4, Is 14:13‑14).

The peculiar form of Satan in the Garden was of a serpent. The Hebrew word used of the serpent in Eden is nachash, which derives from the word meaning both "to whis­per" and "to observe diligent­ly" — referring no doubt to the hissing and hypno­tic stare of snakes. Since only God knows our thoughts, and given the reality of hostile spi­ritual entities, we have in the word nachash an in­sight into how "demons" seem to know our thoughts — by close and careful observation.

Whether or not the Bible is using symbolic language, or whether Satan ‘possessed’ some individual snake, or something else (such as his being a cherubim with the head of a ser­pent, as some other has the head of an eagle, or of a lion, bull, or man), what is clear is that the literal form of a serpent became the image of the tempter of Eve. The worship of this shape may be the oldest form of ido­la­try. Serpent worship is explic­itly referred to by Paul (Rom 1:23): pagans changed God for the image of "creeping things" — which is a specific term for reptiles.

Paganism, because it was invented piece-meal, recasts many of its charac­ters in con­flicting lights. The same historical charac­ters show up within the same mythological sys­tems, as both hero and villain. We find this of Eve, of the Serpent, of Shem, of Nimrod, and so on. Thus we find the serpent, Satan, as hero.

In the myth of the Mystery religion, Aescu­lapius was aish ("man"), shkul ("to in­struct"), and apé ("a ser­pent") — "the serpent who teaches mankind". To the ‘uninitiated’, the name was broken down into aaz ("strength") and khlep ("to renew") — and so Asclepios was publicly the god of health. We will see that this figure was originally a prophesied type of Christ, but that paganism utterly subsumed the true meaning.

The Phoenician Sanchoniathon wrote that it was Thoth who “first attributed something of the divine na­ture to the serpent and the serpent tribe . . . . For this animal was esteemed by him to be the most spiritual of all the reptiles, and of a fiery nature, inasmuch as it exhi­bits an incredible celerity, moving by its spirit, without either hands or feet. . . .Moreover, it is long-lived, and has the quality of renew­ing its youth . . . . as Thoth has laid down in the sacred books; upon which accounts this ani­mal is introduced in the sacred rites and mysteries.”[23]

We will discus the identity of Thoth later — but from this pas­sage, we see the esteem in which the serpent was held.

When myth-makers and kings wanted to indi­cate deity, they summoned the serpent as father. Thus, Dionysus was born of a union between his mother and the father of gods in the form of a speckled snake.[24] Alexander the Great claimed as his father Jupiter, in the form of a serpent, and Augustus claimed Apol­lo, in similar serpen­tine form. Pharaoh wore the Uraeus, the ser­pent, as the crown of Lower Egypt.

The religion of ancient Elam (the region around the northeast­ern coast of the Persian Gulf) was notable for “a worship of snakes . . . a true leitmotif of Elamite civiliza­tion.”[25] The religion recognized a divine, empowering force which chas­tises and rewards, which is represented as a totem (the form of which is presumably the serpent). The name of this force, sent from the gods, is pronounced kidenn. I suggest that this is the Kundalini, the "serpent power" of the occult.

The Elamite image of the snake coiled “round the tree of life [sic: knowl­edge] . . . and the Elamite fertility symbol of two snakes mating penetrated as far as Egypt. Snakes with human heads provide evidence of the dei­fication of those reptiles, a deification of a type un­known in Mesopotamia.”[26] On Elam­ite artifacts the image of a flaming serpent with the head of a man is depicted, two male fig­ures standing in the background (one raising a cup), over which a crescent is suspended in the sky.[27] These elements have a symbolic mean­ing, which we will consider in another chap­ter; for now let's just notice the promi­nence of the snake.

Minoan Crete was the birthplace of Zeus, to Rhea. The goddess commonly represented on Crete was identified by Arthur Evans as the mother-goddess, and she is repre­sented with outstretched hands, each holding a serpent. Given that the serpent cult is often associated with the earth deity, and that Crete is no stranger to earthquakes, it is no surprise that its priests should link the two.

We also find the serpent as villain. We have already seen that the name ‘python’, the evil serpent, derives from peth, "to beguile". Python, or Typho, Leviathan, Set, Surt or Loki — any of the monsters of chaos — are celestial serpents, vanquished by the hero gods of myth­ology. The infant Hercules in his crib strangled a serpent. Again, in the myths of the golden apples and the golden fleece, the serpent is a hostile monster. This is the ‘correct’ image, consistent with the evil Dra­gon (Rev 12), that old serpent, the Devil.

Satan was worshipped not only in the guise of a snake, but also as the king of the ele­mental Titans. Of course, myth-mak­ers jumbled their imagery here as well, but let's examine the case of the Titans.

Where does the word ‘titan’ come from? Teitan is merely the Aramaic form of Sheitan; our “titan” and ‘Satan’. The Hebrew ‘S’ becomes the Aramaic ‘T’, as when shekel becomes tekel (Dn 5:25) — both having to do with weights and measures. The king of the titans, Teitan or Sheitan, was symbolized by the Kerastes, the horned serpent.[28] In order to console and ap­pease the titans, and Satan him­self, the pagans worshipped them. For exam­ple, in Rome, Titan or Satan was a noble being — in­deed, the sun itself. Given the prevalent worship of snakes in Rome (as we shall see), this should not sur­prise us.

In Kurdish Armenia, around Lake Van and the grassy lower slopes of Ararat, the Yezidis — an an­cient people whose customs have sur­vived into modern times — worship their snake and fire deity by the name Sheitan; hence, they are termed "Devil-wor­ship­pers". Kurds are nominal­ly Moslem, but many seem still to ob­serve secret pagan ceremonies, and retain occult doctrines remembered from very early pagan days.[29] The Kurds claim the mountain of Ararat is the haunt of devils. It is like­ly that their fear of the mountain is “a hold-over from the very earli­est days of ser­pent, or devil, worship of the ancient Semira­mis matriarchal cult . . . [with a cultic-center around] Lake Van only a few miles away.”[30]

As with serpents, mythology also consid­ered the titans as enemies of the pagan gods. In such cases, we find the dis­torted memory of events associated with Babel, which we will look at later. In this regard, Homer informs us that the gods of Tartarus, or Hell, are all Ti­tans. Hesiod (c. 776 bc) says they get their name from their chief, who committed some grave offence and so was cast down. Teitan is a synonym in Babylon for Typhon, who slew the be­loved Tammuz; this identity is cer­tain as we know from Lactantius Firmianus (c. 300 ad), who re­bukes the pagans for “worshipping a child torn in pieces by the Teitans.”[31] There is more to say with regard to the cult of the serpent, and of fire, and of Tammuz, but it must wait.



True religion

(limit­ed to its era)
False reli­gion

(not lim­ited to any era)
In Eden

Religion of In­no­cence:

di­rect com­mu­nion with God
Worship of self

("Ye shall be as gods")
After the Fall

Religion of Guilt:

blood sac­rifice, an­tici­pa­tion and iso­la­tion
Worship of serpents and fire; astrolo­gy, poly­the­ism
After the Crucifixion

Religion of Grace:

di­rect com­mu­nion with the Holy Spir­it and im­put­ed righ­teous­ness through Je­sus Christ
The Mys­tery Re­li­gion
I



pre-Flood

So. We have considered the nature of re­ligion itself. We have seen the fact of the One God, and His triune nature, and the diffusion of his revela­tion in every human culture. We have looked at the events in Eden, which neces­sitated a change in the original form of worship, the original religion; after the Fall, intimacy was replaced by anticipation, and the mnemonic which was intended to keep this antici­pation fresh, was blood sacri­fice. We have seen how Satan, that deceiver, pol­lut­ed and twisted the truth, taking for himself the worship due to God. We have seen the form of primi­tive paganism, which was the di­rect and undisguised wor­ship of Sa­tan, as serpent or Titan. The table shows the evo­lu­tion of the two reli­gions, true and false — we anticipate some­what the story to come, but we will catch up lat­er.

We might ask, Is possible from Scripture to pinpoint the time of the pre-Flood apostasy? Perhaps. In Gen 4:26, we find mention of Enosh, son of Seth: “And to Seth, to him also there was born a son, whom he called Enos. Then it was begun to call by the name of the Lord.” Enosh, whose name means "frail" or "incurable", is listed in the section dealing with Cain and his descendants, and perhaps it is this context which motivated “the majority of the ancient Jewish commentators”[32] to supply a grim ellip­sis, making the verse read: Then men began to profane the name of the Lord, or Then men began to call themselves, or idols, by the name of the Lord. The Targum of Onkelos has it that in the days of Enosh “the sons of men desisted from praying in the Name of the Lord,” and the Targum of Jona­than says “That was the generation in whose days they began to err, and to make themselves idols, and surnamed their idols by the Name of the Word of the Lord.[33] Aside from the context, the most compelling reason for assuming such an ellipses is that Adam, and Abel and Cain, all worshipped the Lord, and so presumably must already have "called on His name."

It is not inelegant to assume that the generation of the apostasy should be hidden in this reference to Enosh, since in Gen 10:25 there would be a perfect counterpart, in the generation of the Confusion at Babel: “And unto Eber were born two sons, the name of one being Peleg, because in his days was the earth divided” into languages and nations (as we shall see). Just as divided Peleg represents scattering, futile Enosh repre­sents idolatry. Further, just as David (recipient of the Davidic Covenant) had a grandson, Rehoboam, who oversaw the disintegration of the kingdom (1K 12:16,17); and just as Moses (recipi­ent of Israel's Covenant) had a grandson, Jonathan, who was the first Israelite priest of idolatry



(Josh 18:30)[34]; and just as Noah (recipient of the post-Flood Covenant — Gen 9:9-11) had a grandson, Cush, who was the archi­



tect of post-Flood paganism (as we shall see); in just this way might Ad­am (recip­i­ent of the post-Fall Covenant) have a grandson, Enosh, who presided over the first general apostasy. Whether or not such reasoning is correct is debat­able. But if we are to find a refer­ence to the first spread of false reli­gion, it must be here.

Between the Fall and the Flood, 1656 years passed. In terms of civi­lization, during this time the intel­lec­tual and techni­cal achieve­ments of human­ity were great. Many people of that age must have lived hundred of years — as indicated by the long lives of the patriarchs. During such long lifetimes, the poten­tial for advance­ment and the accumulation of wisdom was tremendous.

In Sumerian myth, the pre-Flood world was remembered as the land of Dilmun, which sup­posedly existed be­fore mankind was created, and was peo­pled by gods. What is meant by this is that it existed before the mankind of the era of Sumer — pre-Flood. The term ‘gods’ is con­fusing, and this confusion can be dis­pel­led with a sim­ple example. In Exodus 22, the judges of Israel, who decide criminal cas­es, are called ‘elohim’. Elohim, as we have seen, is the word which is translated ‘God.’ Further­more, in the Bible, those to whom the word of God has come have been called gods; the meaning of this is that those who stand in the place of God, as his agents, are called by His name. They are not God, but they are god­like in their power over the fate of men. It is in this sense, of power, that the ante­dilu­vians were called ‘gods’. Consid­ering the power and wisdom of the patri­archs, with their mil­lennium-spanning lives, we can easi­ly ima­gine the awe in which they were held by their descen­dants.

We are told very little about this age, but what is given for us to know is found in chap­ter four of the book of Gene­sis. Cain was a farmer, who became “cursed from the earth” (v. 11). What the mark was is not stated, but it was not a punishment, but rather a pro­tec­tion (v. 15). He was ordered to be a vaga­bond, wandering over the earth, but he dis­obeyed and settled in the land of Nod (vv. 12,16). He married a sister or niece, and one of his sons, Enosh, built a city (v. 17).

A descendent of Cain was named Lamech (not the Lamech who was the father of Noah). Lamech is the first to be identified as a poly­gamist. His first wife, Adah, was the moth­er of Jabal (v. 20), “the father of such as dwell in tents, and tend cattle” — that is, nomads; his name means "flowing" — as his nomadic descen­dants ‘flow­ed’ across the land. Adah was also the mother of Jubal (v. 21), who was “the father of all such as handle the harp and pipes”; his name is the root of "jubila­tion". Zillah, the second wife of Lamech, bore Tubal-cain, “an instructor of every arti­ficer of brass and iron” (v. 22). It is he who is the reality behind the myth of Vulcan — in fact, Vul-can is a form of Tubal-cain, after the Babylonian Bil-kan. (Other fac­tors also con­tri­buted to the compos­ite fig­ure known as Vulcan, as we shall see.) The sis­ter of Tubal-cain was Naamah, of whom we know nothing save that her name means ‘pleas­ant’.

Sumerian mythology “deliberately ignored all myths relevant to the discov­ery and use of metals”[35], but gave a divine ori­gin to (Cain's) agriculture. Tubal-cain is snubbed. Perhaps we find here the memory of a rivalry between Lamech's two wives, with the Sumerians descen­ded from Adah, mother of the nomadic Jabal and the musical Jubal (Gen 4:20-21). This may mean that at least one of the wives of Noah's sons was a descendent of Adah, and that this latter wife brought up her (Sum­er-founding) chil­dren chau­vinistically, to honor Adah's — and Cain's — agrar­ian legacy over Zillah's urban or technolog­ical one. Since the sons of La­mech are indi­cated as having an influence af­ter the Flood, we may suppose that their de­scendants were repre­sented in the Ark, through the wives of the sons of Noah; or, it may be that their influ­ence was only as innovators.

Lamech boasted of being an even greater murderer than his forefather Cain, taking seven-fold revenge on those who offended or hurt him (4:23‑24). The horror of Lamech's character was no uncommon thing — so much so, that (6:5) “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The earth was corrupt (6:12), “for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”

And so there was a Flood. The entire world was totally covered with water. It is at this time that the world-continent broke apart, and the high mountains and the layers of sedimenta­ry rock were formed. The mass extinc­tions of the geologic re­cord occurred now, and the climate was utterly transformed. The Ark performed the task for which it was designed, and the ani­mals diffused from its resting place on the mountains of Ararat, in Armenia. After the Flood, the hot oceans gen­erated tremen­dous evaporation, which fell as snow on barren continents. The Ice Age lasted for many hun­dreds of years, longer of course in some regions than in others.

As to how there could be a Flood, how the continents moved, how the Ark could do the job the Bible assigns for it, how the animals got to their modern locations, how the Ice Age came about, and so on — I deal with all these questions and more in The Pillars of Heaven and Dragons in the Earth.

This ends our history of the pre-Flood world. As to any details of the culture, such as architecture, litera­ture, music, etc, we could only guess, which is beyond the scope of this work. But whatever that culture was, it was at least in part transported into the post-Flood world via the Ark.

In the chapters which follow, we will con­sider some of the developments of the earliest descen­dants of Noah, through the events at the Tower of Babel. But it is necessary to make some­thing of a detour in the next chapter, and go into some detail on a rather peculiar topic: the signs and true meaning of the zodiac.






Chapter 1: The Lessons of Eden (endnotes)

[1].Wilhelm Schmidt, Primitive Rev­ela­tion, trans. J.J. Baierl (St.Louis: R. Herd­er, 1939), p. 123; quoted in G.H. Fra­ser, "The Gentile Names of God," in A Sympo­sium on Creation, Vol. 5, ed. D.W. Pat­ten, (Grand Rap­ids: Baker Book House, 1975), p. 14; dashes replace commas, for clarity.
[2].Schmidt, p. 125; in Fraser, p. 14. A new paragraph starts after ‘virtue’.
[3]."Sky Gods, Universality and Antiq­ui­ty," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, ed. J. Has­tings (NY: Scrib­ner's, 1908-1927), Vol. 11, p. 580; in Fraser, p. 16.
[4].Fraser, p. 23.
[5].See R.E. Brnnow, A Classified List of Simple and Com­pound Ideographs (Leyden: 1897), p. 26; in Fraser, p. 21.
[6].For a detailed discussion on this top­ic, see H.M. Mor­ris, The Bibli­cal Basis for Mod­ern Science (Grand Rap­ids: Baker Book House, 1984), ch. 2.
[7].Translations vary, with regard to these vers­es, and it is nec­essary to examine the origi­nal Greek if one wish­es to be se­cure in un­der­standing them. This is not the place to dis­cuss such matters; I will only urge any reader to be cau­tious to the ut­most, when lis­tening to people who deny the Trinity.
[8].In my The Holy Spirit: Person or ‘Force’?
[9].In Hislop, p. 302.
[10].J. Barnes, Early Greek Philosophy (Harmondsworth: Pen­guin Classics, 1987), p. 61.
[11].Tao-te-ching, tr. Leon Wieger, p. 13; in B. Cooper, Af­ter the Flood (Chiches­ter, West Sussex: New Wine Press, 1995), p. 16.
[12].J. Legge, The Notions of the Chi­nese Concern­ing God and Spirits (Hong Kong: Hong Kong Register Office, 1852), pp. 28, 29; in C.H. Kang and E.R. Nel­son, The Discov­ery of Gene­sis (St. Louis: Concor­dia Publish­ing House, 1979), pp. 15, 16.
[13].Regis, Yih-king, Vol. 2 (no date), p. 411; in Kang, p. 18; comma omit­ted after "na­tion".
[14].Hislop, p. 15, citing Moor's Pan­the­on, "Gita," P. 85.
[15].Jamblichus, On the Mysteries, sec. 8, ch. 3; all refer­ences from Hislop.
[16].Hislop, p. 18.
[17].Hislop, p. 294.
[18].Mellaart, p. 92.
[19].Ibid., fig. p. 90.
[20].E. Porada, "The Relative Chronology of Mesopotamia. Part I. Seals and Trade (*6000-1600)," p. 156; in Ehrich.
[21].See my work on chronology, Most Ancient Days.
[22].E.M. Yamauchi, "Archeology of Pal­es­tine and Syria," in ISBE, Vol. 1, p. 272.
[23].Bunsen, Hieroglyphics, Vol. 1, p. 497; in Hislop, p. 227, who says Sanchoniathon lived in the time of Joshua.
[24].Ovid, Met, Bk. 6.
[25].Hinz, The Lost Kingdom of Elam, p. 41.
[26].Hinz, pp. 41-42.
[27].Hinz, p. 42.
[28].Hislop, p. 295.
[29].See Cummings, pp. 50-51.
[30].Cummings, p. 50.
[31].Lactantius, p. 221, in Hislop, p. 276.
[32].Bullinger, in Appendix 21 of The Companion Bible, appendix page 26.
[33].In Bullinger, ibid.
[34].Some translations read "Manasseh" instead of "Moses". This is one of the four places in the Hebrew Scriptures with a "suspended letter", which did not appear in the original word, being added by later scribes; here, a nun hovers above the line, transforming MSH into MNSH. The reason for this emendation is given as either [1] to spare Moses from the in­dig­nity of having such a dishonorable grand­son, or, as the Talmud has it, [2] "to place the sin upon one who com­mitted so gross a sin" — which I take as a reference to Manasseh and his idolatrous tribe. The Chaldean para­phrase here substitutes for Jonathan the name Shebuel, meaning "returned to God"; if this identity is correct, then it is Jonathan who is meant in 1Chr 23:16 and 26:26.

[35].Grimal, p. 57.



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