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

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

World History

Evolution or Intelligent Design: Which is Correct? Part 1

Evolution or Intelligent Design

Two points of View

A Treasure Hunt for Facts

Facts “Everybody Knows” that have not been disproven

What can folk legends tell us?

The Split between Science and Religion

Evolution or Intelligent Design: Which is Correct? Part 1

I’m not going to tell you.

Instead, I’ll walk you through pros and cons of each position and let you make up your own mind.

Two Points of View

Throughout the years, Darwinian evolution has been polished and refined in a half-dozen directions, but they all agree that everything existing today was caused by natural means.

We could call these positions “Materialism Theory.”

Intelligent design also consists of a group of theories. The creator could be any of the following:

The Judeo-Christian God

A creator god or goddess within a pantheon of gods such as Gaia

Mother Nature

An unknown creator who devised a computer game in which we live or a situation similar to the movie Matrix.

The commonality among Intelligent Design theories is that everything that exists is the result of a consciousness. We could call these theories “Mind Theory.”

A Treasure Hunt for Facts

Of course, we want to base our decision on facts; but where do we find them?

As a reminder, a fact is something known or proved to be true. A “known” fact is sometimes unseated by a “proven” fact.

Where does this treasure hunt take us?

“Known facts” existed long before the scientific process was determined, so let’s start there. Are there any facts that “everybody knows” that have not been disproven?

Well, yes, there are.

Facts “Everybody Knows” that have not been disproven

  1. Living matter is not made from non-living matter.
  2. The proof of a mind is the work it produces. In other words, if you see a beautiful clock but don’t see anyone working on it, you still know that it was made by a human somewhere at some time.

What can folk legends tell us?

They don’t tell us much.

Each culture has legends of the first human. The stories are remarkable similar. A god or other supernatural being created the first human by intelligent design.

Rule: Many similar stories indicate some truth within.

Being the most ancient sources, a rule kicks in that highlights another strength.

Rule: The closer a witness is to the actual event, the more reliable the source.

The weakness is that we don’t know if these legends were meant to be believed literally or merely told as moral stories. It could be both, of course, but there is no way for us to know that.

Also, most of us have played telephone. We know that within a few minutes a message can be warped out of recognition. Even given that storytellers were highly esteemed and very capable of memorizing these legends, we don’t know if the version we have heard is the original.

Overall, it seems to be a wash. We lack important facts.

The Split between Science and Religion

The earliest cultural legends are bathed in religion in an attempt to explain the world. Early temples were centers of both learning and religion. This did not change until the works of scientist Francis Bacon.

During the Middle Ages, science was encouraged “to the glory of God” by the Catholic church. This continued with the Anglican church of Britain.

Scientists whose results differed from the standing science supported by the churches and their dogmas were harassed and excommunicated.

Dissenters, who claimed that each person could interpret the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, often disagreed with official interpretations. For instance, some disagreed with the position that the world of their time was identical to the original creation.  

Dissenters could accept dinosaurs. Good Anglicans and Catholics could not.

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, philosopher and politician Francis Bacon declared that scientific inquiry should be inductive. That means that precise observations should be gathered then considered logically before forming an explanation.

Inductive reasoning can be used to study philosophy, the natural world, and proofs of the existence of God, according to Bacon, but God’s specific attributes can only be learned from the Bible.

A century later, the Enlightenment demanded that the only authority for knowledge was reason. Its supporters taught “reason over superstition, and science over blind faith.” They reserved the right to define “superstition” and “blind faith.” They applied both to religion.

But they don’t allow “superstition” and “blind faith” to be applied to evolution, although I have met many people whose belief in evolution is really “blind faith.”

This, then, is the split between science and religion we see today. Only evolution is taught in public schools and some private schools. Christian schools teach intelligent design.

Why aren’t we studying both theories? The answer in both cases is bias.

Suggested reading:

Behe, Michael J. Darwin Devolves.

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