Cycling through time
you have tried to read the old testament, it's confusing and full of
contradictions. In it we have a creation story and the histories of characters
and groups of people. To make sense of it, we must consider the historic facts
and context as they can be known through all the written history and
archaeological evidence of the past 10,000 years.
10000 years ago the last ice age ended allowing global warming, a rise in sea
levels, the filling of the Black sea and the emergence of defined territories.
The "Land of Canaan" is said to have existed from about 6200 BC and extended
from Turkey to Egypt and eastward to the Jordan River Valley. It was ruled by
vassal kings and their religion was polytheistic - influenced by Vedanta. One
sub kingdom was Judea which would later become Israel (Children or followers of
the God El and Asherah). It was destroyed by the Babylonians, most of the people
taken as slaves and during this exile the Old Testament was complied in the new
developing language of Hebrew, a language distinctly different from the Akkadian
In this period we also have the more advanced development of the Sumerian
Civilization in the land of Mesopotamia and the western origins of writing as
cuneiform script while
further East, Sanskrit may have been more advanced with migrations out of India
due to to desertification and sea level rise.
Egypt is growing as the Sahara region turns to desert, the Babylonian Empire
develops over 1900-1100 BC and assimilates the entire region including Egypt,
Canaan, most of modern Turkey and Persia.
Who was God and Beliefs of the Time?
I have described the origins of religion prior to this story and as we come into
the current period, we have theocratic rule, a form of government in which God
is the Religious and Civil Ruler and the official policy is governed by
immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
pursuant to the doctrine of the particular religion or religious group. From the
time of the first cities like Uruk and the growth of the Sumerian civilization
6000 years ago this is how things were.
The kings were the high priests and from the peasants perspective actually
representations of Gods which was also the Egyptian custom commencing a 1000
The role of the God King was widespread throughout the Middle East, Persia,
India, South East Asia, China, and it survived into Tibet where the status was
quashed by the
Chinese takeover in the 1950. In Thailand today the King is seen as a God Like
figurehead. Maybe that's because the kings lived like Gods as well as
interpreting diving will although historically the actions of many kings were
The God Kings did not interfere with local beliefs, all localised deities were
accepted by the state and the peoples were all polytheistic, the Canaanite's
included. We must remember that the Jews were actually Canaanite's and that they
had many Gods and the principal God was El and his female counterpart known as Asherha. Like the Egyptians this was a time of God Kings.
The king functioned as a link between the divine realm and the earthly realm,
mediating the relationship between his people and the gods, and his role in the
sacred garden reflected this. He was granted access, by the gods, to the garden,
in order to tend it and to cultivate it. In essence he was the gardener of the
gods and secular head of state.
The Creation Story
This bible story is far to simplistic and some of some questions to be answered
- How long is a day?
The bible says that the universe was made in six days - if a day is as long as
a day of Brahma as in Vedanta, this would make better sense i.e. 6 x 155
- The process of Creation
As described in Genesis, the creation is directed/managed intelligently, but
in the beginning there was only God, nothing else existed, so therefore
everything created came out of God, perhaps in a big bang, or a birth of the
universe from something greater.
Here the creation is described as Vishnu giving birth to Brahma, the principal
personality which contains our universe. Within Brahma, there are many lesser
creative elements which may be referred to as Gods and deities as they exist
on a cosmic scale.
- Is the God of the old testament one of the lesser gods who assisted in the
creation, and the story taken from Vedanta and embellished
into the regional dialect with regional versions of history?
- Just as the Romans tweaked the new testament to shape Christianity and
human nature being what it is, I seems logical that earlier writers would have
coloured the old testament to suit their own agenda.
The King was the crucial link between the human and heavenly worlds enjoying a
special relationship with the gods, and this tells us exactly who Adam was in
the Eden story.
The Garden of Eden
Many places have been suggested as the Garden of Eden site and scholars are
beginning to agree that it was in fact the palace and garden complex of Temple
built by Solomon in Jerusalem - The Temple on The Mount. The theory that the
Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem as the Garden of Eden was suggested by Lawrence
Stager, Professor of the Archaeology of Israel at Harvard. Some important
evidence for this theory is a reference in the Book of Ezekiel to Eden, which
identifies Eden with the Mountain of God, Zion.
In Persian tradition, sacred gardens were built and maintained by kings where
there was no distinction between religion and politics and the king embodied
this. It is thought that the temple was lined with timber and richly adorned in
keeping with Persian tradition to represent God's paradise, an ideal of heaven
in a land slowly succumbing to desertification.
The characteristics of the sacred garden are illustrated by an Assyrian relief
in the British Museum. It shows a garden of trees built around a mountain. At
the summit of the mountain is a palace or temple, which is the dwelling-place of
a king with the King as Gardener of God with privileged access to his god in the
garden, but he is placed in Eden in order to tend and cultivate the garden which
is consistent with Ancient Near Eastern belief systems.
Francheska Stavrakopoulou described the Alhambra in Spain as representative of
this Persian tradition and that the temple on the mount as a reflection of that
tradition. We must also remember the historic context, Zoroastrianism and the
idea of the one God was moving west as Vedanta was strong in India.
Adam and Eve
After the creation, it is written in Genesis 1:26 that God created man and woman
in his own likeness (Adam and Lilith), but over the page we come to Genesis
2:21-25 which tells of woman (Eve) being created from Adam's rib even though men
and women have the same number of ribs contrary of what some believe?
Why are there two contradictory accounts? Perhaps the second story is a fantasy
to justify men's rule over women? Scripture, as well as science and philosophy,
declares the eternity and equality of sex. This is a fact, without which there
could have been no perpetuation of our species. The masculine and feminine
elements, exactly equal and balancing each other, are as essential to the
maintenance of the equilibrium of the universe as positive and negative
electricity, the centripetal and centrifugal forces, the laws of attraction
which bind together all we know of this planet whereon we dwell and of the
system in which we revolve.
It seems that the perpetrators of this creation story were not happy in their
relationships and that the battle between the sexes was well entrenched and the
story of the tree of forbidden fruit an invented myth to justify morality and
provide someone for man to blame when thinks go wrong. The only evil in the body
is in using the body to cause harm to self and others while the requirement for
clothing stimulates business for the farmers, garment makers and traders,
capitalism and social engineering has been around for a long time.
The story I like is that God was such an annoyance to Adam and Eve that they
threw God out of the garden... But this is a metaphysical construct about our
lives today. Ain Dara is a recently excavated temple and garden complex
contemporary with the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem supports the idea that Adam
fulfilled the role of a king who had privileged access to his god in the garden
where he is placed in order to tend and cultivate the garden, an idea consistent
with Ancient Near Eastern belief systems.
The Expulsion from Paradise
In 587 BCE, Jerusalem was sacked by King Nebuchadnezzar, the Temple of Solomon
was destroyed, and the Jews were taken into exile. Here 'Adam' as the god king
and the deities failed to protect the people from the wrath of King
Nebuchadnezzar who sacked Jerusalem because for the second time the Canaanite's
failed to pay their taxes to him.
Cain, Able and Seth
The sons of Adam and Eve then went on to have children and the lineage is
described, but where did their wives come from? Genesis 4. Did they mate with
their sisters and daughters? Now in Egypt, Seth was the brother of Osiris and
worshipped as a god in Egypt and maybe Adam and his family never existed, rather
they are metaphorical to provide and explanation of life where there was none?
There is little evidence of a king David, there is one small archaeological
reference to a house of David which most agree is insufficient to place him as a
significant historical figure.
The Moses story is interesting as he is said to have written the 10 commandments
of which the real value is that they are a formula for world peace. Also
interesting is that the time of Moses is about the time of Pharaoh Akhenaton who
lived about 1351bc-1336bc and was the first known Pharaoh to introduce the idea
of the one God, a Zoroastrian idea. There is much speculation that Akhenaton
upset the priests of the old temples so much that when he died and his young son
Tutankhamen took command, the priests actually assumed control and restored the
temple of Amun which is why Tutankhamen is also written as Tutankhamun.
According to biblical scholars, Akhenaton and Moses lived about the same time
and there is a reasonably good theory that Moses may have been close to
Akhenaton as a priest or advisor. When the priests of Amun regained power, he
got out of town with his followers to avoid losing their heads. At that time
Sinai was much less of a desert than it is now. There were forests and
grasslands so life as wandering herders may have been reasonably pleasant aside
from harassment by thieves.
There is also a story that the Canaanites were a constant thorn in the side of
the Pharaohs and that the ruling Pharaoh, possibly Ramses II gave the land of
Canaan to the wandering Jews as he reasoned that they would become more peaceful
citizens and pay taxes. These Moses stories are just stories and speculation and
as much as people try, there is as yet no proof, just a possibility.
The archaeological record regarding Israel
By the 1920s, the idea of an Israelite conquest of Canaan - the story of the
book of Joshua - was not supported by the archaeological record. The response of
the time was to propose that the main biblical idea was still correct, but that
the Israelites entered Canaan peacefully instead of through conquest. Later,
this compromise was abandoned, and the Israelites were interpreted to be
indigenous Canaanites. The revision of Israelite origins has implications for
Israelite religion: whereas the Bible had depicted them as monotheists from the
beginning, the new understanding is that they were polytheists who harboured a
small and ultimately successful group of monotheistic revolutionaries.
The new understanding, even if it recognised the Israelites as Canaanites by
origin, still treated the post-Conquest biblical story as real history. But
eventually this came under challenge. The most radical reconstruction states
that the Jews originated as a "mixed multitude" of settlers sent to Jerusalem by
the Persians, where they concocted a past for themselves. There are few scholars
who believe this, but it demonstrates how the paradigm has shifted.
Dating of remains to the biblical history is made difficult by the Bible's lack
of datable events and its unreliable internal chronology; the interpretation of
remains has been influenced by religious and nationalistic arguments, as
evidenced by arguments over burials from the highland settlement phase; and no
material remains have been found which can reliably separate Israelite from
non-Israelite (Canaanite) sites in the earliest period.
is not an attempt to disprove God or religion, it is to show the role of Gods
and Relationships, and perhaps reduce the confusion. While the old testament
portrays great characters and events featuring great seduction, incest,
perversion, genocide and mass slaughter, the importance is that the concepts of
social justice were evolving and that people were attempting overcome their fear
of nature, the earthquakes, storms, growing desertification, crop failure, and
to understand the world and live more harmoniously with each other.
The expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise, described in the book of Genesis,
reflected the real historical event of the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem.
We have a historic and political context in which the Jewish patriarchs
redefined what they wanted people to believe and establish social behaviour.
The Canaanites with their Gods headed by El and his wife Asherah along with
pantheon of deities flourished up to the period of slavery in Babylon, defeated,
the exiles redefined themselves during captivity and threw out all the old Gods
and Deities in favour of the new Zoroastrian idea of the one indefinable God.
The recent BBC television series "The Bible's Buried Secrets", presented by
Francesca Stavrakopoulou featuring the latest archaeological discoveries and
ideas of researchers in the fields of history, archaeology, linguistics and
genetics have helped to revise the Old Testament covering the story of Eve and
the Fall from Paradise, goddess worship in Ancient Israel, and the fall: Asherah,
Eve and the Shekhinah or female aspect of God.
The Modern Impact
Belief in the Old Testament which non believers often refer to as "The Book of
Lies" has shaped of understanding of ourselves and contributed to who we are
today. It matters not if we believe in anything at all as belief can either make
or break us.
Weaving and Magic
African Origins of Western Religions
Exodus Decoded on
The origins of religion
the history of Israel and Judea
Lies; The New Truth
East vs West
The word Amen
The Old Testament