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