PREHISTORY – HISTORY – AND THE BIBLE:
Though no one doubts that the “biological history of humans” and “human origin” began during “prehistorical” times (the period of history prior to “medieval” and “ancient” history) the question still remains, even in the 21st century, as to whether this “biological history,” and “human origins,” are:
(1) only religious, history according to Genesis I, of the Hebrew Old Testament or King James version of the Old Testament or
(2) whether biological history and human origins should be “historical,” according to the original or foundations of Greek philosophical speculations based on Near Eastern and Ancient Egyptian religious foundations that later were transformed into Greek philosophical writings as we know it today, or
(3) biological history and human origins as established by the early Church and Medieval Age religious associations of Greek reasoning (Aristotle and Plato)_ to create a “rational” based on their interpretation of “reason” acceptance of early Church dogma and literalist interpretation of the Bible, or
(3) biological history and human origins “historical,” but in accordance with archaeological, molecular biological, and genetic evidence, using the ”scientific” method and empirical observations and conclusions with regard to nature and events or occurrences in human biological and cultural history as part of a “historical record” of the “history of civilization.”
Using the Bible As History:
Using the “Bible” as history would be a subject matter for a religious or “biblical” discussion and interpretation of the historical “events”:
According to Genesis, Chapter I of the Hebrew Bible generally referred to as the Old Testament, “mankind’s” origin began in the Garden of Eden after the creation of the world and Adam by God: Adam being created first and Eve created from one of Adam’s rib as indicated in Genesis.
Creation of the World:
- Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: the Old and New Testaments (Avenel Books: New York), 1981, p. 17:
- “Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” [Asimov 1981: 17]
- “The Jews of the Middle Ages calculated the date of the creation to have been October 7, 3761 B.C., and this is still used in calculating the number of the year in the Jewish calendar. Thus September 1968 A.D. is the beginning of the year 5729 by that calendar. [Asimov 1981: 36]
- “James Ussher, an Anglican archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, in 1654 decided that the creation had taken place in 4004 B.C. (At 9 A.M. of October 23 of that year, according to some).
- The date 4004 B.C. is often found at the head of the first pages of the Bible in editions of the King James version.” [Asimov 1981: 36]
- Creation of humankind:
- Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: the Old and New Testaments (Avenel Books: New York), 1981:
- Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
- “God creates a woman as a companion for Adam, forming her out of man’s rib.” (Genesis 2: 21-22: “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof: And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.”)
- Origin of Languages and the Races of Humankind:
- Isaac Asimov, Asimov’s Guide to the Bible: the Old and New Testaments (Avenel Books: New York), 1981
The mention of “Ethiopia,” Assyria, and the “Euphrates” river in Genesis:
- Genesis 2:8: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden … “
- Genesis 2:13 – 2:14: “And the name of the second river is Gihon: the same is IT (NOTE: THE “NILE RIVER”) THAT COMPASSETH THE WHOLE LAND OF ETHIOPIA (NOTE: AFRICA).
- And the name of the third river is Hiddekel (NOTE: “TIGRIS RIVEER”: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria.
- And the fourth river is Euphrates.”
The mention of “Sumeria” in Genesis:
- “While the descendants of Noah were still a relatively small group, ALL SPEAKING A SINGLE LANGUAGE (NOTE: ARAMATIC? HEBREW? GOD “SPOKE” TO THE ISRAELITES), they came to Shinar (NOTE: SAID TO BE “SUMER”) and decided to build a huge tower there (DECIDED TO HAVE BEEN BABYLONIA – “TOWER OF BABEL”), with which to ‘reach unto Heaven.’ However, God defeated their purpose by giving each man a different language, making it impossible for them to understand each other. Unable to continue their complex building activities, they had to leave off, and this tale is used to explain the name of the city in which the tower was built.
The mention of “the tower of Babel” and implied reference to Babylonia:
- “Genesis 11:9: Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth.
- “In other words, the writers of Genesis derived ‘Babel’ from the Hebrew word ‘balal,’ meaning ‘mixed,’ ‘confused,’ or ‘confounded.’ This derivation is, however, a false one, for in the Babylonian language, the name of the city is ‘Bab-ilu’ meaning ‘gate of God.’
- From this is derived the Hebrew ‘Babel’ and the Greek ‘Babylon.’
- There was as it happens, a tower in Babel; indeed, there were towers in most Sumerian and Babylonian cities. The temples to the gods took the form of stepped pyramids which were ascended by inclined planes about the outside. These were called ziggurats.
- A large ziggurat in Babylon was begun BY A SUMERIAN KING AND WAS LEFT UNFINISHED PERHAPS AS A RESULT OF THE DISORDERS INVOLVED IN THE SOUTHWARD MARCH OF SARGON OF AGADE.
- For many centuries, the ziggurat remained incomplete and perhaps gained fame because of its shortcomings (AS DOES THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA OR SCHUBERT’S UNFINISHED SYMPHONY). IT SERVED AS THE MODEL, ONE MIGHT ASSUME, FOR THE BIBLICAL TALE OF THE UNFINISHED TOWER IN BABEL.
- HOWEVER, (HISTORICALLY) IN THE SIXTH CENTURY B.C., NEBUCHADNEZZAR, KING OF BABYLON, FINISHED THE LARGEST ZIGGURAT EVER BUILT. IT WAS FORMED IN SEVEN DIMINISHING STAGES (ONE FOR EACH OF THE PLANETS). .. THIS WOULD MAKE A RESPECTABLE SKYSCRAPER NOW, AND IT WAS MUCH SMALLER THAN THE TREMENDOUS PYRAMIDS BUILT BY THE EGYPTIANS.
It was however, the largest structure in southwestern Asia and more remarkable still, it was WHAT IS NOW SO FAMILIAR TO US AS THE ‘TOWER OF BABEL’ – FINISHED AT LAST.”