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). 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. Their bloodlines, especially that of the royal families, were mixed many times. One of the most famous mixing of the bloodlines was Sarah’s marriage to the pharaoh Tuthmosis III.
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 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. 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. 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 Yochanan/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