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Origin of the Giants--Biblical Account
Origin of the Giants--Biblical Account
Calculations by Bible chronologist James Ussher indicate that God created Adam and Eve about 4004 B.C.149 But they were not the earth's first people. That distinction, as Moses himself tells us, belonged to an evolved people called the Nephilim (i.e., the fallen ones). So, even on the day the first man and woman established their home in the Garden of Eden, this already ancient race lived outside God's divinely protected estate in great numbers.
Because the actual world to which Adam and Eve were later banished stands in so sharp a contrast to the popular notion, we perhaps need to review what archaeologists say it looked like. From the evidence they have dug up, we learn that after God drove the disobedient man and woman off His estate about the year 4000, they stepped not out into a virgin world, as most think, but into an already thriving society. Evidently they soon conformed to the ways of their Nephilim neighbors, for Cain and Abel, the firstborn of Adam and Eve, grew up and entered the same occupations--keeping flocks and farming--that provided most families of this advanced society with their livelihoods.150
From her study of the diggings, the eminent British archaeologist and historian Jacquetta Hawkes concluded that even three thousand years before Adam these evolved people were already living "relatively settled" lives in agricultural villages.151 Their building styles, she reports, "varied with local conditions, but in general houses were built to last and were equipped with fixed corngrinders, ovens and good provision for storing grain. In the southern Levant, with its strong Natufian tradition, the earliest houses were round. But after 7000 B.C. rectangular plans were adopted there and elsewhere; they were presumably found to be far better suited to compact buildings for villages and towns.
"Layouts," she adds, "differed from region to region, some houses had no more than a living room and storage area while others had several rooms, a courtyard, and even a second storey. Very often amenity and pride of possession was shown in highly polished plaster floors with rush matting, and decorated walls of coloured dadoes and simple painted patterns.
"One great craft invention was fired pottery. The earliest certainly known example (c. 7000 B.C.) is from the Zagros region.... Spinning and weaving, usually of wool, was another important invention of the seventh millennium. Weighted spindles were used but nothing is yet known of looms."152
About this time, some craftsmen began to engage in distant trade. As might be expected, this greatly speeded up cultural and commercial development. Traders now not only exchanged commodities but brought back to their communities reports on the advancements they saw in their travels. Obsidian, found in the volcanic regions of central Anatolia and around Lake Van, seems to have been the most popular article for trade. But their expanding commerce also involved items of luxury, the best of flints, and attractive things for adornment, such as turquoise and other semiprecious stones.
Meanwhile, the Nephilim population reached such proportions in some areas that a few cities of some size sprang up. Archaeologists say that the world's oldest was probably ancient Jericho. It sat on a fat oasis in the Jordan Valley nearly one thousand feet below sea level. Those who dug up the town estimate that it supported at least two thousand inhabitants as far back as 8000 B.C. An unfailing spring, which they used to irrigate their corn fields and vegetable crops, no doubt attracted Jericho's first settlers. But this perennial source of water evidently caught the envious eyes of aggressive outsiders. For the town's citizens, in an effort to fend off raiders and potential land-grabbers, erected a twenty-six-foot stone tower and surrounded their settlement with a massive stone-faced wall that stood at least thirteen feet high.
Jarmo, another preadamic town, sprang into existence about 6500 B.C. Located above the valley of the Touq Chae in the Kurdish uplands of northeastern Iraq, this settlement covered four or five acres. An estimated one hundred and fifty people lived here in multi-roomed, rectangular houses of compacted clay or pise set on stone foundations and outfitted with reed floors. To cook their meals, they used built-in baking ovens and lit fires in clay-lined basins sunk into their floors. Excavators say that the earliest inhabit-ants of Jarmo apparently knew nothing about pottery. Instead they cut their bowls and dishes from soft limestone, then polished them to a smooth, pleasing surface.
Only a couple of centuries later, on the Konya plain of southern Anatolia, the Nephilim built Catal Hiiyiik. The pottery and other relics this city yielded to the archaeologists' shovels date it back to about 6250 B.C.--or more than two thousand years before Adam. These Anatolians enjoyed great prosperity. For a living, they farmed, raised cattle, manufactured things, and engaged in considerable trade. Artifacts unearthed here also reveal that Catal Hüyük produced beads and other trinkets from copper and imported Syrian flint to make its finest implements. This industrious town became widely known for its highly skilled wood workers, textile and basket weavers, stone polishers, and potters.153
In Egypt, some eight hundred miles southwest of Catal Hüyük, archaeologists discovered the Fayum and Tasian settlements. They flourished as early as the sixth millennium B.C. These inventive delta people adopted the world's first known calendar. Like our modern calendar, it consisted of twelve months, but with each containing thirty days and five holy days added at year's end. This calendar yields the first fixed date in history--4241 B.C.154 So even a calendar was being used more than two centuries before the coming of our "first" parents.
In addition to being correct timekeepers, the Tasians and Fayumis were evidently a stylish people. We know they used cosmetics, for modern diggers have found some stone palettes that still showed traces of red pigment or malachite green, with which these early Nephilim people probably highlighted their eyes. They also decked themselves with perforated shells from the Mediterranean and Red Seas and ornamented their persons with ivory beads and bangles. The Nephilim males here wore their hair long but kept their faces clean-shaven. The females wove their hair into braids and used ivory combs with carved animal heads for adornment. Archaeologists say the preadamic Tasians worked in flour mills, at looms, made rough pottery, and tended crops. The Fayumis raised domestic animals and grew emmer wheat and barley. Traces of linen found in the ruins prove that they also cultivated flax and practiced weaving. Both peoples fished with hooks made of shell and horn. They hunted with bows and arrows. The Fayumis, the digs showed, even stalked the hippopotami.
Some other cities that definitely preexisted Adam and Eve include Lepenski Vir on the Danube River, Byblos in Lebanon, Megiddo on the fertile Esdraelon Plain in Israel, Nippur in Iraq, Uruk (the Erech of Genesis) on the Plain of Shinar, Eridu and Ur in Babylonia, Abydos in Egypt, and Beycesultan in Turkey.
Besides the cities, several small villages were built on the fertile banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. As early as 7000 B.C., some of these evolved beings--now equipped with well-developed farming skills--began settling on the fertile alluvial soil of the Mesopotamian plains. Archaeologists who dug into the tells of Samarra, Halaf, and Hassuna determined that these early Mesopotamians hunted wild game, herded sheep and goats, raised pigs, and grazed a few cattle. They lived in round or rectangle pise houses, they almost certainly knew how to spin linen from flax, they developed painted pottery, they made figurines, and they painted dancing girls on vases.155 As in most other Neolithic settlements, all three groups revered the Mother Goddess and practiced fertility rites associated with her cult.
These ancient Nephilim people Moses mentions only briefly, but his few words reveal a lot about them. For instance, even though they lived in obvious, blatant opposition to God, he says they, like Adam, were called "sons of God." Moses also indicates, in Genesis 6:1-4, that after the disobedient man and woman were expelled from the garden, they established their new home among these fallen ones. Next he explains that the Nephilim in the neighborhood, smitten by the good looks of Adam's daughters, took them for wives. Then he reports that from this unholy mating of ungodly evolved beings with God's created people sprang a race of terrible giants.
Some think that in composing the Genesis 6:1-4 verses, Moses drew upon a traditional account, popular in his day, that explained the origin of the giants. Those holding this view say he then reduced the story to its briefest possible form, writing it down as follows: "When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [i.e., the Nephilim] saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.... The Nephilim were on the earth in those days--and also afterward--when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown."156
Early Jewish tradition interpreted this passage as a reference to the fallen angels. The Greek Septuagint, the earliest extant trans la-ti on of the Hebrew Old Testament, for example, renders bene Elohim as "angels of God."157 And so the words were understood by many prominent ancient writers. The Jewish historian Josephus so translated them, and the Jewish philosopher Philo also gave them this meaning.158 Moreover, many Early Church Fathers, such as Justin Martyr, Tatian, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Lactantius, adopted this reading. And the apocryphal Book of Enoch contains a passage similar to Genesis 6:1-4. It tells in the plainest language that those who lusted after the "beautiful and comely daughters" of men were none other than the fallen angels.159
Most modern commentators agree. Merrill F. linger, for instance, maintains that the thought of Genesis 6:1-4 "is of spirit beings (fallen angels, demonic powers) cohabiting with women of the human race [and] producing what later became known in pagan mythologies as demigods, partly human and partly superhuman. This is not mythology but the truth of the intermixture of the human race with the angelic creation from which later mythology developed 'the Titans' (giants, partly superhuman). Greek mythology (Hesiod, Pseudo-Apollodorus) recalls such beings. Zeus,160 one of the great gods, had to battle with a group of giants known as Titans. Phoenician lore (earlier than the Greek) also echoes a similar tradition. Hittite texts containing Human myths have been discovered that carry the idea back even earlier to the source of all of this sprang either from the love of a god for a mortal woman, or of a mortal man for a goddess." Quoted by Marcus Dods, The Book of Genesis (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, n.d.), p. 32. in the revealed facts given in 6:1-4. Gilgamesh, the hero of the Babylonian flood story, was himself a demigod, partly human, partly divine."161
But since angels are spiritual beings without sexual and reproductive powers, Moses' words perplex many scholars. For this reason, the noted German commentator C. F. Keil, among others, found himself unable to reconcile what the great Hebrew lawgiver said. The Genesis 6:1-4 passage, he admits, "may be very well interpreted, as they were by the earlier Christian theologians, as relating to the fall of Satan and his angels." But if we give it this interpretation, he argues, then we must be prepared to attribute to these fallen spiritual beings bodies of flesh that would enable them to copulate with the fleshly daughters of men and get them pregnant with children. Otherwise, he concludes, the idea that these sons of God refer "to the angels must be given up."162
But even while they admit being baffled by the problem, Keil and those of like minds readily identify the sons of God mentioned in Genesis 6:1-4 with the disobedient angels castigated by Jude (v. 6). The Apostle treats this subject with even fewer words than Moses, but his one bit of information helps complete the primeval jigsaw puzzle. For he reveals that the 6:1-4 angels, who had joined themselves to the rebellious archangel Lucifer in some former age, did not afterward "keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode." Many scholars correctly interpret this to mean that the defiant angels, after abandoning heaven, descended upon earth and made it their new home. But then they stumble over the trouble-some question that Keil and some others always ask: How could angelic spirits become flesh, with sexual powers that would enable them to get the daughters of men pregnant with children?
To clear up this scriptural difficulty, let us suppose that in their war against heaven the fallen angels schemed to create a people on earth first. The immediate objection to this, of course, is that, according to the Bible, only Almighty God has powers to create. That granted, how can it be explained that noncreative angels still managed to originate such a race? Jude 6, combined with Genesis 6:1-4, provides a possible answer. For these verses show that the rebels resolved the problem by simply clothing themselves with flesh that already existed. That which already existed included the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the beasts of the field. Of course, they found that the beasts best suited their purpose. But how did they eventually evolve out of them a people bearing their image? In this fashion: when they abandoned their natural abode, Lucifer and the many angels loyal to him made their way into this material world and started playing around in the animals. As spirits, they entered the beasts at will. And as beings of a higher order, they quickly gained complete control over them. Their play with the animals no doubt took many forms, but they probably derived their greatest fun and pleasure in matings. Naturally, the more these spirits played around the more they got themselves entangled in the flesh and its lusts. In time, the world of the flesh began to exert such an irresistible pull upon them that they became permanent incarnations in the beasts. From these incarnations sprang the Nephilim who--millenniums later--fathered the giants.
Of course, even while they lived in Nephilim bodies these fallen angels still bore God's image.163 So it happened that after a long period of evolution the outward appearances of the animals, particularly the two-footed ones, began to undergo changes that brought their facial and bodily features into a closer resemblance to the images of the rebellious spirits within them. Thus, by the year 4004 B.C., they looked strikingly similar to Adam. Studies of their fossilized skeletal remains show that they stood tall and were well built.