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A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

 

The Book of Genesis states clearly that the land of Eden was located in the area of the Tigris-Euphrates headwaters in what is now a region predominated by eastern Turkey.

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EDEN

It is where YHWH Elohim planted the garden in which He later placed Adam and Eve. The garden is initially characterized as a garden of trees—an orchard—“every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food.” The Greek Septuagint calls this abundant fruitful garden Paradise. The home of Adam and Eve was a place of divine perfection and both natural and spiritual order.    

Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris; it flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. [Genesis 2:10-14][1]

Eden was located in what is now the Armenian Highlands, an area rich in water resources, the location of several rivers, their tributaries, large natural lakes, and springs. The source of the Tigris River is primarily Lake Hazar and is also fed by many small tributaries in the area. The Euphrates begins not far from the headwaters of the Tigris at the confluence of two smaller rivers, the Karasu and Murat, which flow west from the eastern ranges. This area of confluence is now Lake Keban. (There are many relatively new hydroelectric dams on these rivers.)

The greater region has most probably changed appreciably since very ancient times. It was likely a relatively peaceful place with a different climate before the advent of much volcanic activity and the associated uplift which created mountains, etc. For example, Mount Ararat is presently an inactive volcano which last erupted in 1840.

WHEN WAS ADAM?

Christians have postulated various dates for the creation of Adam based on different criteria, one of which follows an exact rendering of the listed patriarch’s ages in Genesis which gives a date of about 4000BC (Young Earth). Others say such a late date is unreasonable because it fails to consider and/or ignores scientific facts. These place Adam as far back as 50,000 years ago, or at various dates since, including just after the Ice Age, known scientifically as the Last Glacial Maximum of 11,000-8,000BC when the Pleistocene ended and the Holocene began.

As the great glacial ice sheets began melting and retreating to the north, the resulting meltwater caused sea levels to begin rising precipitously. From approximately 20,000-13,000BC, the ocean level rose about 45 feet. Then from about 13,000BC to roughly 4,000BC sea levels rose another 375 feet for an overall total of approximately 420 feet. Since 4000BC the ocean level has remained constant.

It was not until after the Ice Age that evidence of human habitation appears on the historical record. Evolutionary theory claims that homo sapiens sapiens first appeared from out of nowhere 200,000 years ago (the big leap forward) but offers no actual evidence of transition or habitation at such an early date. According to Young Earth theory, the flood of Noah took place around 2300BC. Yet, interestingly enough, we have clear evidence of three roughly distinct cultures emerging circa 6000BC or even earlier in the same Armenian Highlands location where Eden once existed. We also know that Noah’s Ark came to rest after the flood in that same region.

So here we have (1) Eden, (2) the garden of Eden, (3) the place where Noah landed the Ark (the mountains of Ararat) and likely began his sailing journey, and (4) the evidence of human habitation and the rise of three distinct cultures all in the same geographic area. It is a great thing that over the last few decades among a few erstwhile researchers, proponents of both science/ancient history/archaeology/etc. and the Biblical record have utilized both to come to a meeting of the minds rather than stay incommunicado over perceived insurmountable differences.

THINGS TO PONDER

There are central differences of opinion among Christians regarding our origins and the Genesis record. Most of what we believe is what we have been taught. It is most often the case that Christians do not challenge their beliefs to any significant degree if at all and therefore rarely change their minds. If we continue to frequent institutions which support our beliefs and ban any and all challenges to them we develop a mindset of enforcement rather than enquiry and thus do not see the need of any research regarding them. When a person in another institution in another part of town has an opposing view which he also refuses to test properly we should see why we do not communicate and why fellowship is not possible.

There are some who believe Creation commenced in 4000BC. There are some who believe it was earlier and likely much earlier. There are some who believe that Noah’s flood was worldwide. There are others who believe it was a local flood. Some believe that the Genesis 1 Creation story is the same as Genesis 2 but that Genesis 2 is more specific. Others believe these two are separate accounts, which means God created human beings in general in Genesis 1 but created two specific human beings (among the others elsewhere) with a distinct purpose in Genesis 2.

I have found that the best way to go about finding the truth is allowing what we think is true to be challenged. Our own individual research can do that. Over many decades of open-minded truth-seeking Biblical study and research, I am absolutely convinced that the Biblical record is true. I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. But I can guarantee you that I have tested many Christian doctrines against the Word of God and found many to be unsupportable. We can do the same concerning our ancient origins if we have an inquisitive mind to do so. I believe the benefits gained are well worth the effort.

Truth never fears a challenge.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

 

In Part 1 we discussed the basis for the great sin of those who decided to settle on “a plain in the land of Shinar” to eventually build the Tower. What was their motivation?

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I posted Part 1 last Thursday. I had hoped to post Part 2 the next day. Then my research took me to places I had not planned to go. The trail kept going deeper into uncharted territory. I had to keep following it. And as is often the case, new research has a tendency to take precedence over schedules…

For example, I found one interesting quasi-scholarly article from several years ago which put forth a thesis that the Biblical land of Shinar was not necessarily in the southern region of Mesopotamia, the place scholarly consensus locates ancient Sumer, but actually quite a ways further to the northwest in what is now eastern Syria. The author made many good points. He made enough good points that I had to question what I had come to believe in the past on this subject. And if you may be wondering, I have done some deep dives into far ancient history and the origins of mankind over many years. It is always interesting what one discovers.

I always start with Scripture. I believe Scripture is inspired by God. I use the Book of Genesis as an ancient factual foundation and framework from which to build out the historical record. Of course, Genesis is relatively brief and often starkly brief but God always gives the pertinent information necessary to get His point across. Due to its concise nature, however, it allows for many different scholarly opinions and perspectives regarding the actual ancient historical and chronological record. There are a few basic reasons for such differences:

(1) Some scholars are less interested in being open minded and going where the truth takes them and more interested in maintaining whatever status quo belief they have accepted as the truth. Such people have a vested interest in their interpretation of ancient history in that their churches, ministries, and Bible schools have adopted a particular viewpoint which disallows any further light or updates based on new information. In other words, it would be significantly inconvenient to modify their mindsets since such would cause systemic change which the majority within their institutions et al simply would not understand. They make the decision, therefore, to protect the institution and the majority opinion thereof at the expense of truth.

(2) Some scholars simply are not very good at their profession. It is why some have put forth the wackiest of ideas from somewhere out in left field. They either do not have the proper background information which usually easily disproves their notions, simply do not know any better, and don’t seem to care about becoming better informed, or maybe they are taking a sensationalist tack with their theories to gain attention and notoriety.

(3) And then there are those compromised by money. Most people are apparently unaware that money talks and in this case paychecks and prestige talk. If one knew the percentage of people in society who were willingly compromised in this way they would be shocked. It is not a small number. In fact, it is most likely a decided majority. That includes academic professors who generally teach what they are taught to teach and told to teach. There is no room for modifying their curriculum to include newly discovered information if it somehow puts a damper on what they have been teaching for years. But this is due primarily to economic reasons in that the entity—colleges, universities, etc.—are built on specific knowledge models which may or may not be true because such models work best for making monetary profits. Many churches work the same way.

I could go on but those are the basics. One may notice that it was all three of these, at least in part, that essentially got the Lord Jesus killed. He came in as a shining Light proclaiming pure Truth and those who didn’t put Truth first hated Him for it. They didn’t appreciate their hidden darkness being exposed. And keep in mind that some of the most wonderful, nice, and polite people, including ministers, can suddenly be transformed from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde when they are exposed for what they really are.  

RETURNING TO THE GENESIS NARRATIVE

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. [Genesis 11:1-2][1]

We must therefore understand that simply because a general consensus of opinion exists does not mean that opinion is necessarily correct. Most people are not of a mind to question authority or check their betters but simply believe what they are told in that they allow themselves to be indoctrinated. They have been taught that having everybody on the same page is healthy and good for society when the opposite is true.

I’m going to be running some things by you, my readers, in this series, that may appear to be somewhat foreign or unusual and it will require you to think deeper on the subject and consider doing some additional research. It’s all for the sake of truth. Also, please keep in mind that I don’t have any ulterior agendas. The preceding three points do not apply to me. This is a free site. You can take it or leave it. Of course, your contributions are most welcome. I certainly believe in community involvement, dialogue, and discussion. Comment threads on this subject will likely be quite revealing and informative.

Remember, the issue at hand is the sad truth that Unreal Christianity has built a modern Tower of Babel that puts to shame the original that existed millennia ago out on the distant windblown plain of Shinar built by religious rebels too fearful of Truth to honor it and too disobedient to God to honor Him.

Both stories have the same outcome.   

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 1)

 

Throughout our Christian Age, countless Christians have taken liberties to create and adopt beliefs and practices which were never granted or supported by the Lord Jesus.

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There is only one New Testament. It contains the only original record of the teachings of the Lord Jesus. It is upon His teachings that Christianity bases its entire existence. He is the chief Cornerstone. His teachings are the foundation of our instruction. They contain the code by which real Christians live—the standard—the only means by which to bring forth spiritual fruitfulness and please God. There should therefore never be any deviation in any direction to any degree from His original perfect curriculum.

Right.

In reality, there is likely no other major belief system or “religion” of any kind that contains more deviations, more divergences, more departures, more differences, and more digressions from the original. It is truly the saddest state of affairs among all such sad states, from a New Covenant perspective, which illustrates a complete disregard for the Author and Finisher of our Faith and the high price He paid to bring us the only perfect belief system in existence—so perfect that it’s full and correct application results in the only means to actually rescue people from eternal damnation.

But whatever.

LET’S PUT THIS IN PERSPECTIVE

There was a time in the very early days on this lovely earth of ours many millennia ago when all the people of the earth (a relative few compared to later billions), instead of venturing forth over the planet as the individual adventurers they should have been in obedience to the Lord’s commandment and positive desire for them, decided to instead all hang out together as an ancient collective, so to speak. They had an entire planet to explore but opted instead to be a congealed mass of low common denominator conformists believing only what everyone else believed. Sound familiar? It helped that there was only one language:

Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. [Genesis 11:1-2] [1]

The Biblical Shinar is the same as ancient Sumer. Though much research has transpired regarding this geographical area, one cannot be definite regarding all aspects. For example it is said that there was another people that existed in the area prior to the Sumerians. These are termed the Ubadians. They are said to have arrived as early as 4500BC. Some sources claim they spoke an earlier language than the later Sumerians who arrived roughly 1000-1200 years later.

Incidentally, I have researched ancient Sumerian, the language of ancient Sumer circa 3500-2000BC, and discovered that it was a language isolate in that it belongs to no known language family. This has been contested by a few but remains the consensus view. It is also the oldest known written language in the world. Archaic Sumerian, its oldest form, has been proven to exist as early as 3100BC. Sumerian gradually began disappearing as a spoken language in circa 1750BC but continued to be used in cuneiform writing until that medium ceased to exist at around the time of our Lord. [2]  

Is Sumerian also the oldest spoken language in history? The debate at present usually names Sumerian and Sanskrit, the latter language indigenous primarily to India, as the earliest of the world’s spoken languages (Sumerian no longer exists), although there is ongoing debate about the actual origin of Sanskrit. Some claim it also originated circa 3000BC but this is a reach. However, Sanskrit is an Indo-European language (Indo-Aryan branch) which must share origins with whatever was the first Indo-European language spoken. That language was obviously distinct from Sumerian and must have come into existence later.

From the Biblical perspective, it certainly appears that Sumerian was the very language spoken at the time of the Tower of Babel incident, which would make it the one language spoken then and the original common language of world history. In this regard, one must keep in mind that the Old Testament historical texts contained the only general written world history for many centuries, going back to well over 2500 years ago. Moses had collected the world’s history through Egyptian sources during his time (1526-1406 BC). His history was passed down orally among the Hebrews until committed to writing centuries later. Yet, it was not until roughly two to three centuries ago that much ancient history as we now understand it was developed, aided in large part through the new science of archaeology.

During this entire time, then—three and a half millennia—the world had already possessed the record of Genesis. Of course, with the advance of science, primarily in the 1800s, the Biblical record of Genesis suffered ongoing attacks as being merely a collection of ancient myths unworthy of modern scientific knowledge. Yet, archaeology continued to prove the Biblical record as correct and the early “scientific” naysayers as wrong.

I have studied the beginnings of archaeology which took place in the early 1800s. I have studied the work of those men as they continued their pursuits in the Middle East and primarily the “Holy Land.” It was modern archaeology in its infancy. Palestine was one of their first targets. They wanted to dig up the tells (buried stratified city mounds) of ancient Israel to prove or disprove the Biblical record. From there they branched out to other lands mentioned in Holy Writ. Their discoveries were astounding. Hidden beneath the sands and strata of the Middle East were the actual long lost cities of the ancients and the Biblical record, proving to all but the most incredulous skeptics that the Bible was historically accurate.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Moses, the writer of Genesis, was right. The God who spoke to him was obviously right. The only legitimate time-tested record for the ancient origins of mankind, therefore, continues to name that ancient land between two rivers—Mesopotamia—as the place where it all began.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] The Graeco-Babyloniaca Once Again © 2007: “The latest datable cuneiform tablet that we have today concerns astronomical events of 75 AD and comes from Babylon. It provides a terminus post quem, at least for Babylon.”

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 2)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 3)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 4)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 5)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 6)

A CONFUSION OF BELIEFS AND TRADITIONS: OUR CHRISTIAN TOWER OF BABEL (Part 7)