The question for the ages is: Why is the Bible the Word of God? The answer is because the people who believe in the Bible say it is. Okay, so where exactly is the proof then? Well as Stuart Chase so aptly put it, “ For those who believe, no proof is necessary….”
No proof is necessary, you say? Why not? The answer is that when you’ve been indoctrinated with a belief system, your mind doesn’t require it; and doesn’t want it either! Proof is irrelevant when it comes to belief. So that if a person comes face to face with an indication that their belief system may be wrong, they simply ignore it or rationalize it away. One does not dare question their belief systems because to do so would be to undermine their own state of mind. Psychologically, you believe in a religious belief system not because it is correct but rather because you have a need to believe (in something, indeed in just about anything). Ludwig Feuerbach best explained it thusly, “Religion is the dream of the human mind.”
However, I have good reason to believe that there is a lot more to the Bible than what meets the eye. Sure, it has lots of inaccuracies and inconsistencies, as well as translation errors, and yes the interpretation of the actual words leave much to be desired. There’s that word – interpretation. It pops up every time one talks about religion. In Judaism for example, their faith is based on the Talmud, which is an interpretation of the Torah. The Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, is accepted at face value by most Christians but in Judaism it needs “interpretation”. Maybe, the question should be that if Judaism says the Torah needs to be reinterpreted, why don’t the Christians agree with them. After all, Jewish people wrote it!
Aside: No doubt that’s what George Bernard Shaw was referring to when he said that, “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says – he is always convinced that it says what he means.”
The Israelites didn’t believe that Jesus qualified as the messiah based on their own definition of a messiah; that in turn was based on their own tradition of prophecy. However, Christianity reinterpreted the Old Testament prophecies in order to have Jesus as their messiah. I say reinterpreted because Judaism would never have accepted a divine messiah since it has no basis in the Old Testament or in their culture, historically speaking.
Interpretation is the key. Holy books seemingly always have to be interpreted, and later reinterpreted to agree with the ideology du jour. Just go and talk to a Christian fundamentalist to see what I mean. That said, I’m going to try a little interpretation of my own.
The origins of the Israelites
The Old Testament wasn’t written down until the first century BC. That’s roughly 3,000 years after Adam and Eve, according to the chronology given in the Bible. Prior to that, the Old Testament stories were passed on orally from one generation to the next. So the oral traditions of the Israelites would have been handed down from their ancestors. According to the Bible, the patriarch of the Israelites/Hebrews was Abraham. Therefore, their culture, their history and their belief systems were handed down from or through him. Abraham, himself, was a Sumerian meaning that his family was from the area now generally known as Iraq (southern Iraq to be precise). We know that because the Bible said that he came originally from Ur (which was a city/state in what was then called Sumer). Therefore, the oral tradition of the Israelites had to have come from Sumerian history/mythology. The point to all of this is that the Genesis story is of Sumerian origin.
Here’s what people fail to understand and, if they understand it, they don’t realize the implications. That is, the Israelites were descendants of the Sumerians. To be more precise, they were Sumerians!
The Sumerians were the first advanced civilization on the planet (that we know of) and their writings are the oldest ever found. The Sumerians were far more advanced than even the great Greek civilization which came over 1,000 years later. The Sumerians wrote the very first creation story, the title of which was Enuma Elish (sometimes referred to as The Seven Tablets of Creation). Their creation story was written on six clay tablets with the seventh tablet devoted to honoring the Creator. That, of course, is exactly how the writer(s) of Genesis described the six days of creation with the Sabbath falling on the seventh day. The Sumerians also wrote the very first Flood story which was entitled the Epic of Gilgamesh. Both the Enuma Elish and the Epic of Gilgamesh are closely paralleled by the accounts of the Bible, which were written much later than their Sumerian counterparts.
It was the very same Sumerian gods mentioned in the Enuma Elish who brought with them this advanced civilization (wholly intact). By wholly intact, I mean that the Sumerian civilization appeared suddenly out of nowhere, with no antecedent whatsoever. History and civilization literally began in Sumer and the Sumerian knowledge and traditions would eventually be passed down to the Israelites. Keep in mind, the term Israelites came into being after Abraham. Before that they were known as Hebrews and in Abraham’s early days they lived in Sumer and were known as Sumerians. Yes, the Israelites were Sumerians.
Reinterpreting the Word of God
So when Judaism became a formal religion in the first century BC, the Levite priests reinterpreted the creation story to suit their new ideology (monotheism). At that time, Jehovah/Yahweh was converted from a tribal god (one of many) to the one and only god. However, if one understands that the Old Testament creation story is a retelling of Sumerian writings then it gives you a totally different picture of the genesis of man. Later, when Christianity subsequently adopted the Old Testament as gospel, they also accepted (unbeknownst to them) the old Sumerian gods which had been morphed into a single monotheistic god by Judaism. Oh, the strange twist and turns of biblical reinterpretation!
To complicate matters further, the Sumerian gods were not actually gods at all, but rather actual flesh and blood beings who looked very similar to us (homo sapiens). We know that because we have pictures which the Sumerians drew of their gods, along side of humans. The Sumerian writings clearly reflect that it was the Sumerian gods who created mankind, and not some divine Creator. All of which means that we really were created in the image and likeness of the “gods”.
Aside: It’s no wonder that that part of the story had to be suppressed because how could you have possibly built a religion around it.
However, that’s just the beginning of the story. Christianity became a formal religion in the 4th century AD. Some of the basis for their belief system comes from the New Testament. Here’s where things get very interesting. During that time, it was traditional for religious works to be written in what is referred to as a midrashic style of storytelling (e.g. see 2 Chronicles 24:27, International Standard Version). Midrash was a style of writing in which an old story is retold using contemporary figures. As such, it was never intended to be a history lesson. Actually, just the opposite was true as the writer would use a reconstructed story to drive home a point about morality. Therefore, these stories could not be read verbatim and were never intended to be taken literally. The true story was hidden beneath the surface and could only be understood by a handful of people who were spiritually advanced. Even Jesus’ disciples were unable to understand his parables.
Aside: Parables is a good example of midrashic writing and it was used extensively in both the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus.
Yet, despite this, a whole religion (Christianity) grew up around these gospel stories. One has to ask how was it possible for this to have happened. The answer is remarkably very simple – very few people understood the real message of the gospels and those that did intentionally left the masses in the dark. Further, the teachings of Jesus are, for the most part, not even included in the Bible. Actually, many of the writings about Jesus, for example the Gospel of Thomas, were intentionally left out of the Bible. After all, we wouldn’t want everyone to know about a mystical Jesus who taught about matters of the spirit (rather than the physical world), would we?
In the final analysis, neither Jesus nor the disciples ever taught Christianity. They were Jews and they followed the Torah. So the Old Testament was never about salvation but rather about the Law (the Torah). As for Christianity itself, it began as Roman Catholicism after the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, under the auspices of Emperor Constantine. It was conceived as a pagan-type religion so it could become the Roman imperial theology, a religion which would appeal to most Roman citizens (i.e. gentiles). As for modern-day Christianity, it has been about Christ in name only (i.e. accept Christ as your personal savior and be saved). Therefore, since you are already assured of salvation, there is no need for you to live your life based upon the teachings of Jesus.
Down through the ages, esoteric wisdom has always been reserved for the select few and therefore hidden from those who were not spiritually prepared to receive it. I refer to it as the “secret religion”. This secret wisdom, whether taught by Krishna, Buddha, Plato or Jesus was always conveyed behind a veil of allegory and symbolism. So, of course, it had to be withheld from the masses (see Ephesians 3:3,5; Romans 16:25; Corinthians 2:6-8 and Matthew 13:11). By definition then, the mysteries of the Kingdom of God could never have been included in the Bible. The Bible was intended solely for the masses, whereas this secret wisdom was taught, as church father Clement of Alexandria said, “to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.”
Like Adam and Eve, before they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, the vast majority of people today are spiritually naked. Their understanding of God is based solely on church dogma and a holy book. Those who know better would like to keep it that way. They prefer that the masses never learn about any secret religion. But, of course… now you know.
“ If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.”
It seems that Voltaire got it half right. To be more precise, though, God does exist but man invented him anyway. Isn’t reinterpretation a wonderful thing?
The “Anatomy of a Biblical Mystery” sounds like something out of a Dan Brown bestseller. Well, sort of. Actually, the bestseller is the Bible and the mystery is how the dogma of Christianity was developed – and when.
A number of heavy hitters have weighed in on this topic, as follows:
- Brian McLaren, a Christian pastor and theologian, said, “One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history – it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn church history.”
- John Allegro, a Dead Sea Scrolls scholar, said that the Scrolls provide overwhelming evidence that “…may upset a great many basic teachings of the Christian Church….”
- The Vatican has publicly stated that Christians will eventually need to reevaluate their faith and come to a new understanding of the Bible.
So why does Brian McLaren believe that Christians don’t understand their own religion and why does the Vatican state that Christians will have to learn the true meaning of the Bible? Those are pretty sweeping statements. What is it that Christians have not been told? Since the Vatican has yet to make a detailed public disclosure about their message (other than extraterrestrials are for real), let me try to fill in some of the blanks.
Biblical scholars have confirmed that the doctrines of the Christian Church have very little in common with the teachings of Jesus.
This all sounds boring enough, perhaps, until you start looking for clues in the least likely of places – the Bible itself. The gospels are considered to be the heart and soul of Christianity so one should expect to find the central tenets of the faith to be contained therein. That’s where the mystery begins. So let’s do a little sleuthing.
Mysteries, especially murder mysteries, usually require that one develop a timeline in order to understand what happened. With respect to Christianity, the timeline for the first 1,200 years after the Council of Nicaea (in 325 AD) is rather interesting as church doctrine at that time included the Immaculate Conception, the infallibility of the Pope and even certain books of the Bible which were later banned by Protestant denominations. That’s because for the first 1,200 years of Christianity, Christianity was the Roman Catholic Church (and, conversely, the Roman Catholic Church was Christianity). In other words, the Roman Catholic Church was the Word of God for all practical purposes. Today, however, many Christians deny anything Catholic which allows them to define the Word of God their way. The problem is that there is no universal agreement within Christianity as to what exactly defines the Word of God. For example, the Southern Baptists can’t even agree with the Baptists.
The more important timeline, though, is the one from the crucifixion of Jesus to the Council of Nicaea, a period of about three hundred years. After the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples continued to follow Judaism. The Torah was still their holy book. The stories about Jesus were spread to the general populace via oral tradition. In that regard, the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:1-4) states that there were several accounts of Jesus’ life at the time that the Gospel of Luke was written. So which one(s) do you suppose made it into the Bible and which ones got left out?
They say that history is written by the victors. Of course, that’s true of holy books as well. Accordingly, the Bible is a highly questionable work. The reason is that there are no bibles that predate the Council of Nicaea (the victors). Two of the oldest and most respected bibles are the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus both of which were written in Greek in the middle of the fourth century.
However, neither the Codex Sinaiticus nor the Codex Vaticanus include the last twelve verses of Mark (because those verses were added at a later date). Of what importance is that, you might ask? Well, without the last twelve verses of Mark, the only reference in the gospels to the ascension is Luke 24:51, which has only a passing comment about Jesus going to heaven (without any elaboration or explanation). So a central tenet of Christian faith is essentially missing from the Gospels.
Aside: It’s kind of interesting that in the additional verses added to Mark it says that Jesus ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father. After all, who observed this? I mean who was in heaven to know that Jesus sat next to God and that he specifically sat on the right side of God. Furthermore, how could you possibly give such a commentary without covering the real story – describing God himself?
The thing that people keep forgetting is that the Scriptures can only be viewed, and understood, through a Jewish lens. After all, the Bible was essentially written by Jews, about Jews and for Jews. Since the disciples were Jewish, the central tenet of faith of the disciples was the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), not the Bible. The only religion that the disciples ever espoused was Judaism and they continued to operate under the Mosaic Law long after the Resurrection. Christianity would only come later, as Paul spread the Good News to gentiles.
Of course, Paul was also Jewish and it was Judaism that he taught in the synagogue. In order to attract gentile converts, Paul liberalized Judaism by freeing it from the Torah. Without the Torah, however, the Judaism of the disciples effectively ceased to exist. Christianity took its place and became, in essence, a new pagan religion which maintained some of the old pagan heritage, including the following:
- Christmas was celebrated on December 25th, the day which originally honored the birth/rebirth of the pagan sun god. Note: The birthday of Jesus was celebrated on January 6th until the 4th century and January 6th is still observed today by some Christian groups.
- The observance of the Sabbath on Sunday (as opposed to Saturday which was observed by the disciples, inasmuch as Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath). This was a result of a Roman imperial decree in the 4th century.
- Easter, celebrating the resurrection of the sun(son) god.
While the Dead Sea Scrolls show that Christianity had Jewish roots, a Jewish religion would never have been accepted by an anti-semitic world (read: the Roman Empire); however, Christianity could be made palatable enough to be accepted by gentiles if it were to be completely removed from its Jewish origins. So, in the 4th century (300 years after Jesus), a Hellenized version of Christianity would be declared to be the Roman imperial theology and from that point on the Bible would be reinterpreted through gentile eyes. As a result, the Christian messiah was unrecognizable from the one that the Jewish disciples were expecting. So what was once a form of Judaism was now Christianity and what was once the teachings of Jesus was replaced by church dogma and as for Jesus, himself, he had been morphed from a Jewish messiah into a universal savior for all men.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Given that I’ve written much about the Old Testament, in general, and the Genesis story, in particular, people keep asking me to expound on the Creation Story. I generally eschew taking positions on such an issue because I prefer that people make up their own minds, rather than accept someone’s word for it (even my own).
My philosophy is that it’s not so much important what you believe in as that you keep an open mind to other viewpoints. That’s because I believe that Creation is supposed to be experienced, as opposed to understood. Besides as Albert Einstein said, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.”
Keeping that in mind, let’s try and break it down:
Old Testament background
As far as we know, the Old Testament was first written down in the 6th century BC after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon. Some books of the Old Testament were actually written even later. Prior to the 6th century BC, the stories were passed on as oral tradition. As with the New Testament, not all of the stories/scriptures made their way into the Old Testament. For example, one of the most important writings, The Book of Enoch, is not in the Old Testament though it was widely quoted, even in the Bible. The Book of Enoch was also the source of much of the material in the movie Noah.
The Old Testament is essentially a history of the Israelites/Hebrews. While Judaism is generally based on the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), traditional rabbinical Judaism also claims to have an oral law which was supposedly handed down from Moses and which can only be found in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud, as it is called because it was formulated while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon, is the basis for all codes of Jewish law and is considered to be the core text of Judaism. As the late Rabbi Stephen Wise, formerly the Chief Rabbi of the United States said, “The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism.”
The creation story
The first five books of the Old Testament, sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch, traditionally have been said to have been written by Moses. The first four verses of the Book of Genesis, however, took place some 2,400 years before Moses was born (according to the chronology given in the Old Testament).
The oldest known creation story is Eridu Genesis which predates the Old Testament by over 1,000 years. Eridu Genesis is a Sumerian text from a region of the Middle East (now modern-day Iraq) which is in the same vicinity as Babylon. Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, was originally from Ur, one of the city-states of Sumer. So all roads lead to Sumer, as follows:
- Abraham was a Sumerian. Later certain Sumerian tribes (Abraham’s descendants) would become known as Hebrews and after that some would be known as Israelites.
- The oldest creation story, Eridu Genesis, was written (in cuneiform) in Sumer on clay tablets.
- The Talmud and most of the Old Testament were written while the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon (located in what was once called Sumer).
If in fact the Israelites had an oral tradition about the Creation, that story had to have come from their ancestors and from their homeland and that meant it came from Sumer and from their patriarch Abraham, himself a Sumerian. In addition, the Sumerian creation story was available (in Babylon on clay tablets) to Israelite scribes during the writing of the Old Testament. In any event, the Creation story is essentially of Sumerian origin and was grafted on top of the Israelites’ ancient Mosaic belief system.
The god(s) of Genesis
The Old Testament is replete with stories that the Hebrews/Israelites were polytheistic (e.g. see Psalm 82:1). Their belief in God should be characterized as monolatry (the worship of one among many gods), rather than monotheism. Only much later when traditional rabbinical Judaism became the official religion of the Israelites, did they suddenly switch to a belief in the one and only god (monotheism) – for a fuller explanation see my postThe Old Testament – Fact or Fiction? which is two posts back.
So if ancient Hebrews were polytheistic, then the Genesis story should reflect exactly that – and, by the way, it does. For example, in Genesis 1:26 it says, “And God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’….” Obviously, there was more than one god and they all looked like each other (i.e. their image and their likeness were the same). In addition in Genesis 3:22, it says, “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’” It’s interesting that here in Genesis it says that man can become like “one of us”, a god.
Aside: There’s also a New Testament saying attributed to Jesus that is even more explicit.
However, how can man become a god, unless the gods are not really the Prime Creator? In the Genesis account of creation, God (translated from the Hebrew word “elohim” ) was said to have created man. Of course, elohim is a plural term which is consistent with the Genesis verses above. Obviously, there is a lot more to the Creation story than what’s in the Bible.
Yes, man was necessary to till the garden, or so the Bible says. In South Africa, the Zulu legends say that they were created specifically to work as slaves in gold mines, some 200,000 years ago. Interestingly enough, archaeology has uncovered ancient gold mines in South Africa that date back at least 100,000 years. Slavery, by the way, has always been a part of the human existence. The practice of slavery was even approved of in the Ten Commandments and the practice was blessed by the gods (according to certain Bible stories).
The Sumerian records are voluminous and very detailed. The Sumerian gods were a race of extraterrestrials (related to the Nephilim of the Bible) who came here from another star system primarily looking for gold and, interestingly enough, the Bible talks about the gods’ fascination with gold. The Sumerian gods genetically engineered modern man via in vitro fertilization, using in part their own DNA. Pictures of the Sumerian gods on clay tablets indicate that they look like modern man, only much bigger (again, there are references to giants in the Bible and the one-time existence of giants has been confirmed by archaeology).
The origins of man
The black race has almost no Rh negative blood and did not mate at all with Neanderthals, whereas other races did mate with Neanderthals and have much more Rh negative blood (e.g. approximately 20-30% of Basque people have Rh negative blood). This indicates that they resulted from a different genetic experiment, a different Adam and Eve if you will. Of course, the different races had their own Adam and Eve as well. The exact number of Adam and Eves is unknown but there had to have been at least two because of the differences between Rh positive and Rh negative blood.
Aside: Rh positive blood has a genetic link to the primate family, but Rh negative blood does not. All of which makes Rh negative blood the blood of the gods.
In addition, there has been interbreeding between the different human races over time so a complete genetic family tree may never be possible. Recent discoveries, however, indicate that:
- One of the origins of man can be traced back 400,000 years to Australia through Australian Aboriginal mitochondrial DNA. This study was done by Alan Wilson and Rebecca Cann who originally gained notoriety for their famous theory of Mitochondrial Eve.
- A new DNA study from the Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, found that ancient man interbred with a still unknown species (which is connected to the story in Genesis 6:4).
Back to Genesis
As for the Genesis story, the creation of the heavens and earth (in Genesis, verse 1) is just that, a story. The account of the creation of man has a basis in fact, although modern man was not created by God, the Prime Creator, but rather by an extraterrestrial race. That story is spelled out quite clearly in the Sumerian records and was the basis for Genesis, verse 2. The rest of the Old Testament is basically a retelling of the family history of the Hebrews/Israelites in order to try and establish a link back to the gods and the genetic experiment that produced them. Even the royal families of Europe today maintain their royal bloodline from the gods in order to give them what they consider to be a “divine right to rule”. The masses, however, are not supposed to know about their genetic heritage. They have been cut off from the Tree of Knowledge and don’t realize that they, like Adam and Eve, are naked. The gods of Eden believed in slavery. That’s why they created us, and slaves we are, even today.
“In the beginning, all there was was God. That’s God, with a big G. He created the Big Bang and all that came before it. Billions of years later, along comes god, spelled with a little g. Now the gods needed workers to help make their lives more comfortable, or as Genesis says – man was needed to till the garden. So they took the DNA from existing life forms on this planet and upgraded it with their own DNA (since they were a physical species themselves). In other words, we really were created in the image and likeness of god”.
– The Ethical Warrior, Genesis Revisited
The smartest man of all-time was arguably Socrates for he realized and acknowledged that, despite being one of the wisest men in history, he knew nothing at all. Fast forward to the 20th century and perhaps the smartest man of his time, Albert Einstein, who said that it was not possible for man to understand the Universe.
Nevertheless, many people today are seemingly sure of just about everything. Deists believe that the Garden of Eden was the place of man’s creation, scientists talk so knowingly about black holes, politicians carry on about global warming and atheists claim with certainty that God does not exist. My point is, as Voltaire once said, “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” Nevertheless, people claim to be certain, even in the face of an endless stream of contradictory information. As Stuart Chase so aptly put it, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
So, with apologies to Mr. E and deists everywhere, let’s try and break it down.
The universe consists of energy, and only energy. Familiar objects such as trees, rocks, animals and people are simply energy which have taken a familiar form, namely matter. A key component of energy is the rate at which it vibrates. As the rate of vibration changes, energy changes form. For example, ice has a very slow vibration rate and as you increase the vibration rate (say, through the application of heat) it changes form, going from ice to water to steam and then totally evaporating.
Everything in the universe is evolving, constantly changing shape and form. As Einstein stated, energy can be neither created nor destroyed, although it can change form. The Australian Aboriginals say that when we leave this world (i.e. “die”) we return home. In a religious sense, some people use the expression that we go to heaven. In actuality, we (i.e. our energy) merely change form and leave this dimension (Creation having many such dimensions).
Prophecy and the End of Days
People love to quote Nostradamus, Cayce or even biblical prophecy. It’s the End of Days, some would say. However, the End of Days was only necessary so as to redeem humanity from the Fall of Man which, in turn, was required to support the concept of Original Sin. All of this twisted logic was the result of trying to explain how God who is presumably good created man who is presumably evil. This concept is generally referred to as Creation Out of Nothing (creatio ex nihilo), as if anything could ever be created out of nothing.
The problem with prophecy, of any kind, is that science can’t even explain something so basic as how we can see. If you can’t correctly observe (see) Nature, how can you be sure of much of anything? So, perhaps A.E. was right after all. Besides scientists understand (by definition) that they can’t observe what exists beyond space and time. So no one knows what there is in the rest of Creation. That’s why all that so-called dark matter is “missing”.
The best that we can say about prophecies is that they may represent a possible future, as there are hypothetically an infinite number of possible futures. The interesting thing is that the timeline leading to the future is changing, if it hasn’t changed already. Consciousness is evolving rapidly. People are waking up to the virtual reality matrix that they exist in. Like Adam and Eve, we now realize that we are naked.
As for the End of Days, I’m sure that it will be the end for some. That’s the very nature of Creation, a circle of life that has no beginning and no end. However, in the bigger picture, we’re simply at the end of one cycle of life getting ready to evolve into the next. That’s the message of “My father’s house has many rooms” (John 14:2).
Yes, many people claim to already have all the answers. How sad! As Kevin Michel said, “Every conscious thought you have, every moment you spend on an idea, is a commitment to be stuck with that idea and with aspects of that level of thinking, for the rest of your life.” Of course, if you asked a thousand people the same question, you would no doubt get a thousand different answers from people who all claimed that they were certain.
But what if you weren’t suppose to know the answers at all? What if man’s purpose in life was to be an observer? For example, in quantum physics, the result of the experiment is changed by the observer. As they say, as above so below. So consider that man’s role is simply to allow Creation to observe itself, allowing it to evolve. Being an observer, man wouldn’t need to be certain of anything. Maybe that’s what was meant by the meek inheriting the earth.
“You are here to enable the divine purpose of the universe to unfold.”
- Eckhart Tolle
The Bible is the most popular book ever written. However, you wonder how many people actually have read it all the way through. For if a person truly read the Bible with a discerning eye, would it be possible for them to believe what has been written on its pages? Jack Miles, an American author who won a Pulitzer Prize for his book God: A Biography, said this about the subject, “Much that the Bible says about him is rarely preached from the pulpit because, examined too closely, it becomes a scandal.”
For example, would readers believe that there was actually someone physically present at the very beginning of creation who would have heard the famous words, “Let there be light”? Then again, would they believe that snakes could talk? Why would they believe in a god that lied (about dying if you ate the apple) whereas the supposed bad guy (the snake) told the truth?
So the enduring question is just how accurate is the information in the Old Testament, is it fact or fiction? After all, archaeologists have not been able to find a worldwide flood in the timeframe provided by the Bible. Perhaps even more telling is the dating given by the Bible for the creation of the first man since science says that homo sapiens has been around for hundreds of thousands of years, if not more. What’s more, the chronology given in the Bible is at odds with the chronology found in ancient Egyptian records. So let’s try and break it down.
The Old Testament
Genesis starts with a creation story which is brief, but somewhat detailed. Then there is no record, other than the family tree, for what takes place in the next three thousand years. So if you don’t know your own history, how would you have any concept about the Creation, unless…
you had borrowed the creation story from older writings.
What older writings would that be, you might ask? Well, the Israelites were a group of Semitic tribes, among many Semitic tribes. But exactly where did they come from? Well, the Bible says that Abraham was a Sumerian who came from the city-state of Ur. Archaeology claims that it has found this ancient city in southern Iraq and that it dates to 3800 B.C. The Sumerians were a very advanced civilization who invented modern writing (as far as we know). Among their writings, is the Eridu Genesis which is the oldest creation and flood story known to man. Since the Israelites forefather (Abraham) was a Sumerian, there is good reason to believe that they may have modeled the biblical Genesis tale after Sumerian writings.
The next detailed story in the Old Testament is the story of Noah and the flood. In the Noah story, we get the first reference to what is, in effect, a Chosen People. Noah and his family have been specifically chosen by god to be the only survivors of the human species. Along with Noah, the ark was said to have contained two of every species of animal.
Aside: Of course, that would have been physically impossible, although it would have been very possible for their DNA to have been stored on such an ark.
The Bible then goes on to say that the planet was peopled from the three sons of Noah. A couple of problems with that story are as follows:
- There’s no explanation as to how we went from eight people (Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives) to seven billion people in such a short period of time. Never mind that the children of the three sons would have had to have married each other as no one else was said to have survived the flood, unless…there were survivors (i.e. rather than a worldwide flood as the Bible states, the flood may actually have been confined to a rather small area of the Middle East).
- Genetically speaking, it’s never been shown how one human skull type can evolve into a different skull type (i.e. the different racial types could not have all evolved from Adam and Eve or from Noah, as the case may be), unless… there was more than one Adam and Eve.
After Noah, there is more genealogy stuff for seven or eight generations, but little, if any, real history. So the Bible story really starts with Abraham and continues with a telling of the history of his descendants. Here’s where it gets murky. You see, there’s no hard evidence in the archaeological record, or other writings, that many of the biblical patriarchs ever existed. Perhaps even worse, the chronology of the Bible doesn’t match the chronology of the archaeological record. What gives?
Origins of the Old Testament
Now the Israelites had been polytheists from the beginning (e.g. see Exodus 20:3). It’s true that they worshipped Yahweh (Jehovah), but only as one god amongst many. As late as the 6th century B.C., the Israelites worshipped the goddess Ashtoreth who was considered as important a god as Yahweh. Chapters 10 and 11 of Genesis give a list of all nations. It’s referred to as the Table of Nations. As for Yahweh, he was allotted Israel (see Deuteronomy 32:8-9). So the Israelites were in fact a Chosen People, chosen for Yahweh that is.
Nothing that Moses did changed the fact that the Israelites were polytheistic. The Israelites eventually rejected Moses and his Ten Commandments and remained polytheistic for the next 1,000 years or so. As for the Ten Commandments, they apparently were lost to history and then miraculously reappeared and were accepted at face value (see 2 Kings 22:8-13).
The Old Testament was compiled in the 6th century B.C. (or later) after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon and rebuilt the Second Temple. Prior to their exile, the Israelites were still polytheist. However, when they returned they (the scribes/priests) had mysteriously become monotheists.
“So what changed? Simply this: Beginning in the 6th century BCE, the Persians became rulers over most of the ancient world (the Achaemenid Empire it was called). Now the Persians worshipped Ahura Mazda as part of their religion which was called Zoroastrianism. One little known fact about Zoroastrianism is that it was the very first religion based on the concept of monotheism. Ahura Mazda was omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Creation was accomplished in six days and began with a single couple. God (Ahura Mazda) gave his commandments to the Persian prophet Zoroaster on the top of a holy mountain (like the Moses story on Mt. Sinai). All of this, of course, is eerily similar to the Pentateuch” (The Greatest Story Never Told – The Ethical Warrior).
So the Old Testament was in reality an attempt by the ruling Persian king to convert the Israelites to monotheism, with Yahweh getting a promotion to “the one and only god”. The overarching concept of this monotheism was the dualistic religion of Zoroastrianism which was grafted on top of the ancient Mosaic belief system of the Israelites. In the process, the nature of God was radically altered from an angry, jealous tribal god to the Zoroastrian’s omnipotent, universal God Ahura-Mazda. Only now, he would be known as Yahweh.
Except Yahweh wasn’t the Most High, now was he?
“When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations
When He separated the sons of Adam
He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.
For the Lord’s (Yahweh) portion is His people
Jacob (Israel) is the place of His inheritance.”
- Deuteronomy 32:8-9
The recent news from Iraq about the plight of the Yazidis has a few wrinkles in it. First of all, the media typically identifies the Yazidis as Christians, although they are not. The media also has overlooked a major element of the story. You see, the Yazidis are Caucasian and some of their children are indistinguishable from many American children. For example, here’s a picture of one Yazidi child.
Historically the Yazidis, mostly Kurdish-speaking people, have lived primarily in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey as well as further north (e.g. Armenia and Georgia). Yazidis are monotheists who trace their roots back to Adam (sound familiar). Many of their religious beliefs were derived from Zoroastrianism, arguably the first monotheistic religion and a forerunner to Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Yazidis, Aryans and the pharaohs
So what do the Yazidis, Aryans (ancient Persians) and some of the Egyptian pharaohs have in common? Well, for one thing, they were all Caucasian. So too, the mummies of other ancient Caucasian people have been found ‘round the globe (from China to North and South America to the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa). According to the history books, this is considered to be impossible. Yet, impossible it is not (for obvious reasons).
DNA tells the story
So you might ask how come we haven’t heard of this before? Well, the story has been intentionally suppressed for hundreds of years. However, DNA testing has recently cracked the door wide open. DNA tests on King Tut, the famous child pharaoh of Egypt, proves that he is directly related to most men in modern day Europe. Further, King Tut and these European men all have a common Caucasian ancestor who lived in the area near the Black Sea some 10,000 years ago.
Aside: The Black Sea is bordered by Turkey and Georgia, among other countries. Turkey and Georgia, can you spell YAZIDI?
The origins of Caucasians
The history books say that the Caucasian race can be traced back to the Caucasus Mountains of the Black Sea some 10,000 years ago. While Caucasians still live in that area (Russians in the south of Russia, for example), some of them were said to have migrated in ancient times with many migrating into Europe which resulted in the establishment of Western Civilization. That theory is based in part on language with respect to the Indo-European family of languages (which include Spanish, French and German, among many others) which is said to have originated in the area generally between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Today, over 3 billion people on the planet speak a Indo-European language making it the largest language family in the world.
Of course, Caucasians also migrated east to China and to parts of India and Pakistan. Anatolia (modern day Turkey), which lies just south of the Caucasus Mtns. was originally home to various groups of Caucasians. Caucasians also migrated to Iran (where they were known as Persians or Aryans). Then to, there are the Yazidis who migrated to Iraq and Syria (where they still live today). In North Africa, the Berbers and the Tuaregs have been the dominant ethnic groups for thousands of years and they are also Caucasian. So Caucasians have lived from China all the way to America, including portions of India, Pakistan, the Middle East and North Africa. After the King Tut DNA results, plus the existence of assorted mummies of Egyptian pharaohs, Egypt was definitely home to a Caucasian population in ancient times and still is today to some extent.
Aside: I’ve left out the Middle East’s Arab population although as Semites they’re also Caucasian!
A biblical perspective
The Hebrews of the Old Testament and the ancient Egyptians both descended from Noah, the Egyptians from Ham and the Hebrews from Seth. So to begin with they were kissing cousins (literally). Their bloodlines, especially that of the royal families, were mixed many times, one of the most famous of which was Sarah’s marriage to the pharaoh Tuthmosis III.
Of course, they lived a stone’s throw away from each other. At times Egypt controlled Canaan and at times the Hebrews migrated to Egypt, often because of famine. For good measure, the Bible even states that Esau and King David had red hair. So too, Mary Magdalene has always been portrayed by artists as having red hair although it is uncertain where that idea originated from.
History, the lie commonly agreed
So what’s been missing from the history books? Well for one thing, the Yazidis look pretty much like some of the major figures of the Bible – and why not. Caucasians presumably originated from the Caucasus Mountains which is very close to the Middle East (something akin to New Yorkers crossing the Hudson River to live in New England). After all, Abraham’s ancestors hailed from Turkey at one time. Even today, you can go to Iraq, Iran and Syria and see children with light-colored hair and eyes. Just ask the Yazidis.
What’s missing is the history of the Caucasian race in the ancient Middle East, where they originally came from and where they went to. Ancestry is a funny thing. You never know who you’re related to. Just ask the U.S. presidents (who are virtually all related) – even Barack Obama!
“History is the lie commonly agreed upon.”
Growing up in a Christian family, I may have taken certain things for granted. Take Christianity, itself, for example. Most of what I learned about Christianity I learned from our minister. It never occurred to me that I should ask him how he knew the things about which he spoke, especially since they had happened 2,000 years (or more) ago. As Brian McLaren, a Christian pastor himself, said, “One of the problems is that the average Christian in the average church who listens to the average Christian broadcasting has such an oversimplified understanding of both the Bible and of church history – it would be deeply disturbing for them to really learn church history.”
So here’s a little pop quiz, the answers to which may surprise you.
Fact or Myth:
The Bible is a religious book . True, but incomplete.
The Bible is actually a compilation of a number of religious scriptures. Some of the stories relate to events that occurred over 5,000 years ago (according to the chronology given in the Bible itself). The Old Testament stories were purportedly passed on through oral tradition, some for as much as 3,000 years before they were written down.
The Bible is the Word of God. Myth.
The Bible is more correctly the Word of Man about God. Certainly, God didn’t write the Bible and there is no proof certain that it was even inspired by Him. To confuse the matter even more, some Christian denominations use different Bibles which include or exclude various scriptures, so there is no one universal “Word of God”. Finally, some scriptures have never even been included in any bible. Even early church father Origen of Alexandria did not take the Bible literally. Origen had this to say about the Genesis story, “For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally.”
The Bible was written by Jews, about Jews and for Jews. Fact.
For example, Jesus and his disciples were Jewish. For the most part, Christianity did not even exist when the events of the Bible took place.
Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus. Fact.
However, it would be more correct to call them by their Hebrew names (Mattithyahu/Matthew and Y’hochanan/John).
The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were eyewitness testimony. Myth.
Except for Paul’s letters, the various books of the Bible were not written contemporaneously with the events that they were describing. Most historians/theologians agree that the gospels were based on older sources. Therefore, the Bible is not based on eyewitness testimony. In fact, except for Paul’s letters, there is no proof as to who wrote the different books of the Bible.
The first Christian church was founded by Paul in Antioch. Fact.
However it must be noted that after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples were initially led by James, the brother of Jesus, through the auspices of what is referred to as the Jerusalem church. The Jerusalem church was the first movement to spread the teachings of Jesus. To some extent, the teachings of Paul conflicted with the teachings of the disciples as can be seen in the New Testament.
Christian dogma is based on the Bible. Myth.
While some Christian dogma can be found in the Bible, some can not. For example, the words “the Trinity” are not in the Bible. As for original sin, that concept is attributed to Saint Augustine (354-430 AD).
The Christian belief in monotheism is supported by the Bible. Myth.
Prior to the establishment of rabbinical Judaism (circa 6th century BCE), the Israelites were polytheist which has been confirmed by archaeological findings and as can be seen in the Old Testament itself. For example, Psalm 82:1 says that, “God stands in the assembly of El; in the midst of the gods he renders judgment.” Actually, the concept of monotheism is attributed by scholars to the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten (circa 1300 BC). Prior to that, people (by definition) had to have worshipped many different gods.
So, how many questions did you answer correctly? It might surprise you to know that many Christian ministers didn’t know many of the correct answers either. As I’ve said before, though, sometimes it’s easier to simply repeat what you were indoctrinated with than to seek the truth.
“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
– Stuart Chase
So Nancy Pelosi is at it again, essentially stating that Hamas is a humanitarian organization. Way to go Nancy! John Kerry, for his part, has the backing of nearly all of the world’s major governments and yet has been ineffective in brokering a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. So the needless violence continues.
A series of maps of Palestine have been making the rounds recently with no serious explanation of the context as to how this area has changed over the years. Therefore, a little history lesson probably is required.
To begin with, the country of Palestine has never existed. Never. No kidding. The way that everyone talks about Palestine one would swear that Palestine was a real country, at least at some point in history; but no, Palestine has never been a country.
Palestine was the name given by Western powers to a large part of South Syria after the end of WWI, which ended with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire who ruled that area for the previous 600 years or so. As for the Palestinians, the word was then used to refer to all people residing in the general region of Palestine, regardless of religion or ethnicity (even Christians and Jews).
After World War I, the Ottoman Empire was carved into little pieces by world leaders. It was at that time that Iraq and Syria, for example, became nations for the first time. Don’t ask what gave them the authority to do that – more on that later. The League of Nations, a forerunner to the United Nations, mandated that a large area of the old Ottoman Empire would be set aside for a Jewish homeland. That area was given the name Palestine, and accordingly their action was referred to as the Palestine Mandate. Once that was accomplished, they then carved out three-fourths of Palestine to create a new Arab state. Of course politics being what it is, the new Arab nation called Transjordan (later renamed Jordan), was given to the Hashemite family (Saudis) to rule because they aided the British in fighting the Turks (Ottoman Empire). The Palestinians, who made up the vast majority of the people living in Jordan (and still do), were left out in the cold. Politics is wonderful, isn’t it?
Fast forward to 1967. In 1967, Israel was attacked by neighboring Arab states and at the conclusion of the Six-Day War took possession of certain parts of Jordan (generally known as the West Bank), among other lands. The United Nations has since declared that these are occupied territories. Again, what gives the United Nations the right to dictate to sovereign nations? Besides, down through history the winner of wars has always acquired so-called “occupied territories”. Otherwise by the same logic, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas are occupied territories because they were acquired by the U.S.A. as the result of their war with Mexico. So once again, politics rules the day.
The seeds of discontent in the Middle East were sown by politicians at the end of World War I and their meddling continues to this day through the United Nations, or otherwise (for example, the U.S. government provides substantial financial support to both Israel and Hamas). The truth is that, in politics, war benefits many people whereas peace does not. Because of their financial support provided to both Israeli and Hamas, don’t you think that the U.S. government could pretty much dictate terms of a Middle East peace if they wanted to? After all, they committed large numbers of troops to Iraq and Afghanistan to presumably bring stability to those countries. Why not to Palestine? Politics is why not.
So the next time you hear the call for a Palestinian homeland, just remember that for politicians it is just rhetoric – part of the process of continuing the conflict rather than ending it. After all, the Palestinians already have a homeland – it’s called Jordan.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
- H. L. Mencken
In 2006, Mitch Albom wrote a book entitled The Five People You Meet In Heaven. You may have heard of it as it was a best-seller at the time. The premise of the book is that you won’t know what impact you have had or will have had in your lifetime until you die and go to heaven.
It’s an interesting premise and a great book too, in case you haven’t read it. The premise is somewhat true, although incomplete. Here’s the reasons why:
Reason #1: You are not born, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #2: You do not die, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #3: There is no place called Heaven, at least not as you understand it.
That’s saying quite a lot so, if I haven’t lost you already, let’s try and break it down.
It was none other than Albert Einstein who said that reality is an illusion. Max Planck, the father of modern science, added another layer to the mystery by declaring that the physical world is organized by consciousness. Despite the mystery, scientists have had some insights, though, into the nature of reality. Here are some interesting ideas on the subject:
- The act of observing is an act of creation – physicist John Wheeler
- Man experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. – Albert Einstein
- Our reality is an expression of a deeper order of existence that exists beyond space and time. – Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe
So according to a number of scientists, our reality is really an illusion of consciousness, which harkens back to indigenous people who have always believed that reality is nothing more than a dream and that when we “die” the dream ends and we return home. If that is the case, what do we make of the physical world and our physical bodies? One way of looking at our physical selves is that they are a container, a suit if you will. Our bodies, then, can be more aptly viewed as vehicles for Creation to observe itself.
As Michael Talbot says, the source of Creation (heaven, for some) is beyond space and time and that is where we truly exist, and have always existed. Not here, but there. Think of the Source as a flashlight in a dark room (the universe). When you are “born”, the flashlight projects your light onto a wall of the room and when the flashlight is turned off you “die”. Of course, when you are ready to be reborn, your light can be projected onto another wall and you would then don a new suit.
Going back to The Five People You Meet In Heaven, I believe what needs to be added to its premise is this – since you have always existed you can not be born, nor can you die. It’s an eternal circle of life. Further, when you “die” and go to “heaven” you will be surprised to find that all of your loved ones are there, be they “dead” or “alive” in this world! Such is the illusion of life. Of course no one, not even religion, is going to tell you that.
Unfortunately, man is too preoccupied with surface values to notice the magnificence of nature, his true reality or his purpose in life. We blindly accept other people’s definition of good and evil, right and wrong or our place in the universe. Hopefully, you’ll eventually meet your five people in heaven. However when you do, I highly doubt it will be what you expected.
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.”
- Australian aboriginal proverb
In 1996, John Horgan, a writer for Scientific American, wrote the book The End of Science. Ever since, it seems that certain scientists have been fretting over whether the role of science is diminishing because there is a limit to knowledge.
Andrew Strominger, a physics professor at Harvard University, would certainly disagree with Horgan. In a 2013 interview, Strominger said that while science knows very little about understanding the fundamental laws of Nature the “fun is just beginning” with regards to new discoveries. However, while Strominger admitted that there are a lot of things that scientists are sure that they don’t understand, they can still describe them in a very precise way. Really! One can precisely describe something that they don’t understand. It’s probably better to just admit that you don’t understand it and leave it at that.
Actually, I agree and disagree with both Horgan and Strominger. Strominger is right, but for the wrong reason. While it’s true that we have not fully explored the cosmos, there are limits to our knowledge of Creation. Science has actually admitted as much. It was none other than Albert Einstein who declared that, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” In other words, the fundamental laws of Nature are beyond man’s ability to comprehend them.
Einstein’s thinking goes like this: ““As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Science’s own theory of quantum mechanics partially explains why. According to that theory, our physical world vanishes into vortexes of energy, into a quantum world beyond space and time, a world which is beyond our ability to experience. Since science is a process of observation and measurement, it can not prove what lies beyond our world, be it in a parallel universe or in another dimension within the Multiverse, or wherever else. Assuming that we even have the ability to understand the unexplainable (which is doubtful), there is still a limit to our knowledge because there is a limit to our ability to observe all of Creation (i.e. Creation, not just the Universe).
Max Planck, the father of modern physics, said that there is no such thing as matter, per se, and yet science continues to look for it (dark matter, for example). It’s sort of the trade secret of quantum physics – all there is, is consciousness. According to Planck, it’s consciousness that organizes quantum energy to produce “matter”. Of course, they don’t want you to know that you exist in a virtual reality matrix because that would imply the dreaded G word (i.e. “intelligent design”). After all, it was Jim Gates, a physicist at the University of Maryland, who said that there are computer codes embedded in the fundamental nature of the Universe!
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” - Max Planck