World History

Ancient Mesopotamia: Religion and Government

Ancient Mesopotamia: Religion and Government - Crown

Temple Worship Begins

Deity Pantheon Invented

Kingship Initiated

Does the King List Prove the Genesis Seth Line?

Kingship Changes Hands

Did you see the note that brick temples were built in pre-flood Mesopotamia? The God of Adam never ordered temples, nor were they encouraged, because the Judeo-Christian God is everywhere at once. He does not need a house.

Temple Worship Begins

Yet brick temples popped up, complete with altars for sacrifice.

Strangely, I have not read of idols in these temples. Were they, then, first erected to the God of Genesis? But why?

It’s only speculation on my part, but perhaps it made Cain’s family more comfortable. Not daring to ditch God completely, they located the omnipresent, omnipotent God in a structure in which they could approach God and worship him, but he didn’t follow them around all week. They could do what they desired.

Deity Pantheon Invented

The next step would be to divide the immeasurable God into gods and goddesses of specific items. But these were not the same as God. These were humans with superhuman powers. They could be capricious in justice. They could be pranksters. Humans still needed to respect and worship them. But they could be bought. You could make a deal with them.

Yes, that’s a much more comfortable idea of deity.

It can be seen today in the behavior of many worshippers of the Judeo-Christian God who worship at church or temple then do as they please the rest of the week. Worshippers also attempt to make deals with God, forgetting that all they have originated from God.

This gives credence to my Mesopotamian scenario—but it’s not proof.

Kingship Initiated

And then came government. A scribe, who compiled a list of Mesopotamian kings from the most ancient sources available, says that “kingship descended from the heavens.” This means that one or more gods invented kingship and brought the idea to humans.

My guess is that it arrived via a convenient prophecy. I’ve seen similar things happen within my lifetime.

One example is that the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) originally held the position that members of the Negro race could not become elect (believers). During the Civil Rights era, other colleges refused to play Brigham Young University because of this. Then, a new prophecy declared that blacks were now acceptable believers, and college sports returned to normal.

How convenient!

Let’s look at the list of kings before the Great Deluge.

The list of kings dated by the scribe as 2125 B.C.

A compilation of ancient sources.



Enmenluanna43,000Bad-Tibira (probably Badgurguru*)


Dumuzi the Shepherd36,000Bad-Tibira


Enmendurana21,000Zimbir (Sippar/Akkad)


Ziusudra (Noah)36,000Shurrupuk

*means City of the Workers in Bronze

Does the King List Prove the Genesis Seth Line?

The first thing I notice is their extraordinarily long reigns! They are recorded as reining much longer than the patriarchs of Genesis lived—and we thought that was strange!

There is an answer, however. Numbers in Genesis were recorded in Egypt’s Base 10 system. Mesopotamian mathematics were calculated in Base 60.

In fact, there are still people today who count in Base 60. We still use the system in minutes and seconds, whether in time or geometry or navigation.

In Base 60, there is a unit of 60 times 60, or 3600. If that is the unit used in the above list, the years come down to being very close to what Genesis records for patriarch lifespans!

In fact, some Christians believe that this list actually relates to Seth and his descendants as recorded in Genesis. However, I see some problems.

The correlation must begin with Seth rather than Adam. Why would that be done?

Enoch’s counterpart, Ensipadzidana, was also said to ascend to heaven without dying. However, this resulted in Enoch’s lifetime being the shortest of the list. This is not true with his match.

Methuselah lived the longest life on record (in Base 10). Emmendurana did not.

Kingship Changes Hands

This is the order after “kingship descended from the heavens.” It remained in a city until it “fell” or was “defeated.” “Then the kingship was taken to” the next city on the list.

There are a variety of reasons why a city could fail. Some possibilities are war, bad location planning, natural disaster, crop failure, an inept king, a king so unpopular that the people moved out, or perhaps it seemed to the people that the god of that city failed them so they moved to the domain of another god.

There is nothing said about the scope of kingship. Mesopotamia is thought of as an area of city-states, each city ruled by one king.

But this sounds as if one person had the rank of king. It does not rule out leaders of each city, probably a priest.

Overall, it seems that there was a time before kingship. After the first king claimed his crown, civilization quickly degenerated into a state similar to the War of the Roses!

Photo credit: Nathan Mcgregor on Unsplash

World History

The Dawn of Mesopotamia

Dawn of Mesopotamia

The First Cities of Mesopotamia

Surprising Relics!

The Invention of Writing

The Dawn of Mesopotamia

Ancient cities exist that show a distinctive flood level. Debate rages between whether this was a local flood or a world-wide flood.

If one believes that the legend of Noah’s ark is true, these cities existed before a worldwide flood occurred and were rebuilt later. It was probably Cain’s family that originally populated the region.

The First Cities of Mesopotamia

The cities discovered to pre-date the flood are: Eridu (Abu Shahrein, Iraq), where tradition says Adam and Eve lived after ejection from the Garden of Eden, Obeid, Erech, Susa, Tepe Gawra, Fara (Shurppah/Shurrupuk), which tradition says was the home of Noah, Ur, Kish, Sippar (Akkad), Larsa, and Jemdet Nasar.

The legends of Adam and Eve and of Noah’s Ark in Genesis have surprisingly similar counterparts in Mesopotamian cultures. Other cultures also support these legends as facts.

Surprising Relics!

A variety of surprising relics have been discovered in the pre-flood layer:

  1. Pottery painted in geometric patterns and figures of birds. Some pottery is vitrified; that is, some of the clay has turned to glass at high heat, making it waterproof. Wow!
  2. Tools of copper and stone, including flint and quartz. These include hoes, sickles, and fish hooks.
    1. In fact, primitive inscriptions brag that Babylonia (Mesopotamia, near the mouth of the rivers) was never inhabited by a people who were unacquainted with the use of metal!
  3. Models of boats hint at life on the water, perhaps fishing and/or trade.
  4. A chariot that proves the domestication of the horse, including breeding of small, stocky wild horses into a breed with enough bone and muscle to pull a chariot.
  5. A rich community is indicated by vanity items: turquoise vases, copper mirrors, and cosmetics to darken eyebrows and eyelids.
  6. Structures include an underground kiln and ruins of brick temples that were painted red or covered with plaster.
  7. Seals to assert ownership and/or authority have been found, but also inscriptions on clay tablets.
    1. In fact, an ancient Babylonian king recorded that he “loved to read the writings of the age before the Flood.”
    1. Assurbanipal, founder of the great library of Ninevah, referred to “inscriptions of the time before the Flood.”
    1. How did they come to survive the Great Deluge, as the Babylonians called it? Berosus was a priest who wrote a three-volume book of Babylonian history in Greek and dedicated it to Antiochus I around 300 B.C. In it, he relates the tradition that Ziusudra (the Babylonian name for Noah) buried the sacred writings at Sippur before the Flood and afterward dug them up. (Why do that at Sippur?)

The Invention of Writing

Jewish and Arab tradition says that the Enoch who was descended from Seth invented writing. There is no proof.

He did, however, write three Books of Enoch. They are considered non-biblical texts by many Christians but contain spiritual events and prophecies. Therefore, it is safe to say that he adhered to the God of his ancestors.

But being an author does not mean one has invented writing. I should know!

What is the argument that it was Cain’s son Enoch who invented writing? According to Genesis, all of the inventors were from Cain’s family. And, being much older than the Sethite Enoch, the latter benefitted from a writing system that by his time had advanced in practicality.

Unless significant, specific proof is unearthed, we will never know who invented writing.

Well, this artsy, luxurious lifestyle is far from the Caveman Culture envisioned in most history texts, isn’t it?

Photo credit: Patrick on Unsplash

World History

Problem Child: Murderer

Problem Child Murderer

Murder Motive

Crime Scene

Courtroom Drama

The Wanderer

Problem Child: Murderer

Cain was every parent’s worst nightmare.

When he was sixty-eight years old and should have known better, he murdered his younger brother, according to Genesis.

Murder Motive

Why? Because his brother followed the rule for sacrificing to God: give the first of your harvest. Abel went further: he sacrificed the fatty potions from the best of his flock. His sacrifice was accepted.

Cain offered some of his produce, which implies that he kept the best for himself. This man was selfish, greedy, and he had a bad attitude! There’s no way I would do business with him.

Of course, Cain’s sacrifice was rejected. He was furious, and he pouted.

God wanted to re-establish a relationship with Cain and fix his attitude. He said, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it.” (NIV)

Crime Scene

Here’s problem solving for you: Cain said to Abel, “Let’s go to the field.” (That’s where Cain feels most comfortable.) There Cain killed his brother. That’ll show the little twerp to upstage him!

Courtroom Drama

God is back. “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” What a lying, snotty response!

“What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground.” God tells Cain that as a result of his sin, the ground will no longer respond to his farming and he will become a restless wanderer.

Stubborn Cain tries emotional sabotage. “Today you are driving me from the land. (Not true: he just isn’t able to farm it.) I will be hidden from your presence. (Not true: the Judeo-Christian God is omnipresent. We’ll see that Cain doesn’t care about this anyway.) I will be a restless wanderer on the earth. (True.) And whoever finds me will kill me. (God never said this. Even so, doesn’t he deserve it?)

God puts a mark or seal on Cain to prevent his murder. This is the beginning of what will later become writing. It is probably the source of the early practice of a personal seal with which to “sign” documents.

The Wanderer

So Cain and his wife “went out of the Lord’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.” East of Eden covers a large area. However, if Eden is, as I proposed, the eastern section of the Turkish plateau, then Cain traveled beyond the mountains.

The Bible does not tell us where “Nod” was, but the important thing may be that it means “away from the presence of God.” As pointed out earlier, this is impossible with the Judeo-Christian God. Therefore, this must refer to where Cain connected with God: his parents, the angel with the flaming sword blocking the way to the Garden of Eden, and his own judgement.

In other words Cain not only “went out from the Lord’s presence” but he also lived there. He never repented, never returned.

Genesis says Cain built a city and named it after his son Enoch. We have no idea where that city was. There are educated guesses, but no proof.

My guess is that traveling east instead of south indicates that he followed the Tigris River instead of the Euphrates River into what is today called Mesopotamia. There, he built the city. In my opinion, it no longer exists, but I could be proven wrong!

Since he was “a wanderer,” he probably did not remain there, but continued to travel along the Tigris.

Suggested reading: Genesis 4:1-17

Photo credit: Alex Mihai C on Unsplash

World History

Göbekli Tepe: What Have We Learned?

held upright fork

We’ve spent a lot of time on Göbekli Tepe. We’re done. It’s time to “put a fork in it” and examine what we have learned.

The facts are what we see at the site. The rest is speculation.

What is the strongest line of logic?

  1. The site must have been chosen for a purpose since there were so many negatives: scaling the highest mountain in the range and hauling supplies up to it, no fresh water, quarries some distance away, and ignorant locals. That purpose seems to have been an unobstructed view of the sky. It was the world’s first observatory.
  2. The site was probably engineered and supervised by the Swiderians, who seemed to have the habit of absorbing knowledge of various groups they encountered in their travels, synthesizing that knowledge, and using it to control the local population.
  3. The Swiderians had engineering knowledge we don’t have, at least regarding how to erect the structures with only tools of stone and wood. They probably had knowledge of sailing. What else did they know for which they left us no clues?
  4. The local population consisted of hunter-gatherers and, therefore, they moved from site to site. This disproves the theory that culture always arises from hunter-gatherers who subsequently adopted agriculture.
  5. Göbekli Tepe required a large work force, but no settlements have been found. Nor are there dwelling places within the site.
  6. With the observatory, and the catalog of animals carved into T pillars, it seems that Göbekli Tepe was the first university. People came to learn, then returned to their homelands.
  7. If you believe the Genesis account, learning would have been easy because everyone was already closely related by blood and spoke the same language.
  8. The Swiderian belief system was different from other cultures. Instead of man being an equal part of the world with animals, the enormous humanoid T Pillars that dwarf carvings of animals indicate that man was now considered of supreme importance.
  9. Ideograms were used. It also seems that at least some groups of carvings are positioned purposefully to give information.
  10. As tempting as it is to call this a temple, the logic seems to be very weak. One can’t say that later similar structures were temples and therefore this one is, because this site is the first and later structures could be corruptions…as we see within Göbekli Tepe itself. There is no altar. Feasts can be held without religion. There are no burials, as are often seen with later religious sites. We don’t know what the ideograms and carved groups mean.

     Let’s look at the vulture with the circle on its wing. It doesn’t have to be a vulture cult. First, the carved vultures are far from being large enough to be the religious center. If the circle does represent a human soul, the carving does not have to mean that the vulture, the bird of death, is responsible for transporting the soul to its final destination. It could be simply a statement of belief that after death the person lives on.

  1. If there is religion at the site, it would probably be centered on the most impressive structures: the seeing stone and the humanoid T pillars. If the pillars represent gods, that would indicate religion, but they could just as easily represent heroes or ancestors.
  2. The navigation they learned from Western Europe and the massive architectural structure imply an extensive use of mathematics. In navigation, the captain has to know how to plot his position and how to navigate to his destination.

In architecture, the Swiderians didn’t choose the circle, a shape easily made with a stake and a string. Instead, they preferred an oval.

Maybe they had someone who could freehand an oval the size of a structure, but that would be washed out by the next rain. Perhaps they knew advanced geometry using stakes, lines, and arcs to construct one. Or they knew the algebraic formula for the perimeter of an oval: π × (a + b) [1 + (3 × h/ (10 + √ (4 – 3h)))].

  1. The final mystery: why were the various structures filled in? The ones most carefully packed with skulls and tools and construction rubbish and dirt would have been constructed under Swiderians. The best guess is that they were already constructing the next enclosure because of a shift in the constellations they chose to observe. The first enclosure was packed carefully, almost reverently, as no longer useful.

     The second one was packed almost as carefully, but damage was done or it was completely emptied before being backfilled.

The Swiderians seem to have left during the construction of the third enclosure, leaving ignorant workers whose construction and later backfilling was sloppy.

Göbekli Tepe and the advances in knowledge that it represents are truly mysterious and awe inspiring!

Photo credit: Valiant Made on Unsplash