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Giants and Nephilim, Sumerian Myths, and Sea Monsters

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Question #1:   Hi again Doc! This man is trying to tell me that the phrase "sons of God" refers to believers. Here is his exegesis:

"1).There is only one direct, absolute definition, for the phrase "sons of God" in the scriptures, and that is believers. "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God"...."brethren, now are we the sons of God".....

2). A son is begotten, and that includes the only begotten Son (Jesus), AND believers. None of the angels are not begotten. Not one.

The world was not destroyed in the flood because of a cohabitation of angels and humans or a tainted line. The Bible says it was destroyed because the "wickedness of MAN was great".

Jesus tells us in the New Testament what men were doing before the flood...."marrying and giving in marriage". He mentioned NOTHING about the cause being any angelic beings. Now read Genesis chapter 5 and 6. Genesis 5 begins with the "generations of Adam". These BELIEVERS were doing alot of "generating". Then in chapter 6 it explains more details about those "generations"...It says they "took them WIVES". These guys were praciticng polygamy with unbeleivers. Then, later in chapter 6, it says that Noah was "PERFECT in HIS generations". What does that mean? Perfect means FLAWLESS. Noah was the husband of ONE wife, and that wife was evidently a believer. The Ark was a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Incidently.....Only beleivers are IN the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Noah was perfect in his generations. He generated God's way. And the book of Jude doesn't prove your theory either because those who try take it out of context.

Prove that Genesis 6. Job 1:7, Job 2:1 and Job 38 is speaking of angelic beings. You cannot do it."

Wow, I have no idea what to make of all this.

Response #1:  There are plenty of well-intentioned evangelicals who have a hard time with the obvious meaning of Genesis chapter six – for a variety of reasons. The problem is that, like denying the existence of the devil altogether, denying this particular satanic attack makes it more difficult to understand the reasons why God created mankind in the first place. The entire five part Satanic Rebellion series lays all of this out in detail, including the passage in question (see the link: "The Nephilim" in part 5). Perhaps the most important biblical teachings that will necessarily be misunderstood from a failure to grasp the truth of what happened in Genesis six regards the nature of antichrist who is himself the off-spring of the devil (see the link: "The Origin of Antichrist"); he is the serpent's seed (i.e., "your seed", anti-Christ, who opposes "her Seed", the Christ). Failure to understand this will make those who think such things "impossible" very vulnerable to the beast's claim that he is truly the Messiah, "the Son of God" -- how else, the argument will run, could he possibly do such miraculous things?

Here are my translations of the pertinent New Testament passages which discuss this event:

It was also by means of the Spirit that [Christ] visited the [angelic] spirits in prison (i.e., in the Abyss), and proclaimed [His victory]. [These are the angels who] were disobedient in the days of Noah at the time when God patiently waited (i.e., delayed judgment) while the ark was being built.
1st Peter 3:19-20a

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but plunged them into Tartarus with its gloomy pits (i.e., the Abyss), preserving them for the [day of] judgment, and did not spare the antediluvian world, but kept safe Noah as a proclaimer of righteousness and the seven with him when He brought the flood upon the ungodly inhabitants of the world, and condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes and making them an example to those bent on similar ungodly behavior, and rescued righteous Lot who was tormented by the depraved lifestyle of those lawless men - for through the things he saw and heard just by dwelling among them this righteous man was damaging his righteous way of life day by day on account of their lawless deeds. For the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment - especially those who in their lust pursue the polluting of the flesh and so despise [God's] divine authority.
2nd Peter 2:4-10a

Although you know all these things, I want to remind you that though the Lord saved [all] His people from the land of Egypt at the first, in the end He destroyed those who proved unfaithful, and the angels who did not keep to their own realm but deserted their proper habitation He has imprisoned with everlasting chains in the gloom below (i.e., in the Abyss) in anticipation of the judgment of that great day, just as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, for they all prostituted themselves in the same manner as these [angels] did, having pursued sexual relations (lit. "flesh") that were inappropriate for them (i.e., outside of the natural order). [And so it is that] they have been appointed an example, and incurred the penalty of eternal fire.
Jude 5-7

All three of these passages clearly teach angelic involvement of procreative kind in the run up to the flood. In the light of the above, it is very difficult to maintain that Genesis six is not talking about fallen angels; if these passages are not "literal", then what do they mean? Would they then mean anything?

The Nephilim were on the earth in those days and afterwards as well (i.e., both before and after the start of the 120 grace period before the flood). For when the sons of God went in to the daughters of men, they bore to them those "mighty-ones" (i.e., the Nephilim) whose names are famous from ancient times.
Genesis 6:4

There is no reasonable explanation for the fact for how these Nephilim could be in any sense "mighty ones" apart from their unique parentage, just as this passage says: they are unique because they are the offspring of "the sons of God" rather than "men"; as the passage above distinguishes between those two class, any contrary interpretation would have to show just who the "sons of God" are since they are not "men".

As to the "sons of God", in fact, this phrase beney ha-'elohiym ("sons of God" in the Hebrew) and its variants most often refers not to men but to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 [anarthrous]; Ps.29:1 [cf. Ps.103:20; 148:2]; and Ps.89:6: beney-'elim). I'm not sure what "proof" this person requires. I would think that in reading the first two chapters of Job it would be obvious to anyone in Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 these "sons of God" are angels. Have a look. Whom else could they be there? Some things are beyond the necessity of serious argument. Here are more links to places where I discuss these matters in greater detail:

The Nephilim in Genesis 6

"The Nephilim" (in SR 5)

The Origin and Fate of the "Giants" of Genesis Chapter Six.

Antichrist and the Nephilim

Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.

Eschatology Issues:  The Nephilim

Doubts about the Nephilim

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #2: 

I have a simple question but first let me state that from all that I have read and watched on the subject I believe that the Nephilium were hybrid type beings with angelic (fallen angels) as fathers and daughters of men as mothers. The issue I am having is how this is "physically" possible...meaning how did the fallen angels physically consummate their "marriage" resulting in the mothers becoming pregnant with offspring which would become the Nephilium? As you have made clear in your "Satanic Rebellion Series" one of the biggest reasons the fallen angels followed Lucifer was probably the promise of obtaining physical bodies. But without the (excuse the term) but "right equipment" how did these angels physically mate with women WITHOUT a physical body? And before you direct me to the link (section III.1, Satan's antediluvian attack on the purity of the human line [the Nephilim]) I already have read that...twice, but I did not see that particular question addressed. Anyway I was just wondering your take on it. Im about to read the area you have written on the Antichrist actually having the devil as his father (not just spiritually I assume, which is what I always assumed). Maybe that will help answer my question above but just in case I thought Id shoot you a quick email and ask directly. Thank you for always getting back to me not only fairly promptly but also very detailed. I appreciate that very much. We do differ on some things but like I have said before I do so enjoy someone elses mind working like mine to search for the truth in all matters, not just the ones mainstream church thinks to teach upon.

Have you heard of Dr. Chuck Missler and his take on what the Nephilium are? From what I understand he agrees that they are hybrid beings but goes a bit further in a connection with what people have associated to be "aliens" but that these beings are in fact NOT from another planet but inter-dimensional beings demonic in nature. Anyway, it's just interesting to hear others point of view on the subject, no matter how extreme their views may be. I was just wondering your take on his views on this subject. He definitely isnt slack on the amount of time and research he has put in on the subject whether or not it is a correct theory or not. Thanks so much!

Response #2: 

Good to hear from you again. To take your last question first, I do remember hearing about Mr. Missler from his days at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa CA (I did my graduate work at Talbot Theological and then at UC Irvine in that general geographic area); on his teachings, I am not a particular fan. Long story short, my approach is to start with the Bible, study the Bible, and end with the Bible. The importation of external "knowledge", no matter how deep and no matter how interesting, seldom seems to fail to engender error on at least some level (pace the physics dept., we do not really even know for certain if there is such a thing as inter-dimensional space -- how could we know that this is where angels come from!?).

As to your question on the Nephilim, there are things we know about angels; there are things we can reasonably deduce; but there are some things we cannot really know this side of eternity. Genesis chapter six (along with the supporting New Testament passages) is very specific about the fact of (fallen) angelic cohabitation with human women; it says nothing about the mechanics. Given that angels are comparable to human beings in their general physical shape and appearance (and that there are apparently female angels; see the link), positing that the mechanics and equipment are also comparable is no great stretch of logic. The main difference between us, of course, is that angels do not possess physical bodies. As I have often had occasion to explain, the fact that angels are "spirit beings" does not mean that they do not have substance. Indeed they do. After all, angels are recognizable as creatures, inhabit a single time and a very definite space, and must "physically" transit from point A to point B (even if the means and speed by which they do so is miraculous in human terms). Moreover, the Bible is filled with examples of angels affecting the material world. The angels who kept vigil at Christ's tomb rolled away the stone which sealed it. Thus, angels can affect the material world for good; they can also affect it for evil (as in the destruction of Job's family and livestock). They are spirits, but they are confined to a particular shape; they have what I term "spiritual corporeality" as opposed to being spirits intimately connected to a physical body in the case of human beings (see the link: "The Creation of Man").

We live in era when human science is beginning to manipulate the genome in all sorts of frightening ways. Since no one would be terribly surprised to hear of it if one day "scientists" somehow managed to synthetically construct a viable substitute for male seed in lower animals, it seems to me that the idea of angels (who are, after all, far more powerful, capable, and knowledgeable than we are – and who have been around since before the six day re-construction of the earth in Genesis chapter one) being able to do roughly the same thing should not occasion disbelief. That is as far as I should wish to take things except to note the following scripture:

Although you know all these things, I want to remind you that though the Lord saved [all] His people from the land of Egypt at the first, in the end He destroyed those who proved unfaithful, and the angels who did not keep to their own realm but deserted their proper habitation He has imprisoned with everlasting chains in the gloom below (i.e., in the Abyss) in anticipation of the judgment of that great day, just as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, for they all prostituted themselves in the same manner as these [angels] did, having pursued sexual relations [lit. "flesh"] that were inappropriate for them (i.e., outside of the natural order). [And so it is that] they have been appointed an example, and incurred the penalty of eternal fire.
Jude 1:5-7

Jude here does indicate that the nature of the union of angels to human woman is analogous in its inappropriateness (and its violation of God's natural order of things) to that of human men to human men. It seems likely, therefore, that in both instances we have two groups on each side of the equation who are capable of normal sexual relations but who have violated God's order in having illegitimate relations with an inappropriate group (outside of the proper kind in the first instance; outside of the proper sex in the second).

Angels, it does seem, do not procreate their own kind. While scripture does not say so, the conclusion to which I and many others have come on this matter is that God created the entirety of angelic kind at once, and no more have ever or will ever be created (after all, angels do not seem to be "choosing" for or against God at this point; they very clearly have already "chosen" and that must mean that no more are being produced who must subsequently choose sides).

What is lost even on many Christians is that human kind is likewise a consummate whole, and that the number of human beings, body and spirit, ordained in the Plan of God, a perfect number that "had to be" if the world were to be created, is likewise a precise, fixed total (see the links: "Faith: What is it?", and "Free-will faith and the Will of God"). The difference, of course, is that angels were created all at once; human beings come into the world through the creative act of God individually and over the seven thousand years of human history (mediated, of course, through the act of physical, human procreation -- but no life comes into being without God's provision of a human spirit at birth; see the link: "Life Begins at Birth").

To sum up, we know that angels can affect matter, we know they can accomplish all sorts of things which to human beings seem miraculous, and we know from Genesis six that fallen angels did cohabitate with human women (cf. Jude 1:5-7; 2Pet.2:4-10). You are correct in your assumption that I see antichrist as the result of precisely the same sort of operation: he is described in Genesis chapter three as "your seed" (i.e., the seed of the serpent possessed by the devil). Exactly how fallen angels are able to accomplish this travesty of nature (for which those involved in the Genesis six attack have been confined in darkness in the Abyss) the Bible does not say – for what would seem to be compelling reasons: beyond the obvious apparent mechanics of such unions, the "scientific" explanation would no doubt be beyond present science's ability to comprehend.

I hope this is of some help to you. Kudos to you for actually reading the links provided in emails past! I put them in my responses for a reason, but, like the verse citations, I have a feeling that following these things up is for most more of the exception than the rule.

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ for whose return we breathlessly wait,

Bob L.

Question #3:

Hi,

I recently stumbled upon this website while I was searching to fill the Genesis gap. I wanted to give my thanks for all that you are doing. A lot of my questions have already been answered, although I do still have a few remaining. First, what of this preadamic race? do you know anything about it and can you give me any biblical references to refute or support this idea? Second, I've always wondered about the giants spoken of in Genesis 6. Were they all destroyed in the flood? I wonder this because in verse 4 it states, " There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that." Which I always took to mean after the flood. Taking Goliath into account as an example of one of these giants "after". I look forward to receiving any insights you have regarding these questions.

Thank you for your time in reading and responding

Response #3:   

Good to hear from you again. On your first question, please consider the following verses:

Then God said, "Let us make Man in our image, according to our likeness, so that he may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over the beasts and over the whole earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth". So God created the man in His image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:26-27

Genesis makes it quite clear that this creation of Adam and Eve on the sixth day is the creation of human beings. Scripture never speaks of "a pre-Adamic race" – that is a construct of the imagination of certain interpreters who are trying to explain various biblical passages, especially Genesis chapter six (see below). Moreover, whatever preceded the re-creation of the earth during the seven day of Genesis chapter one will have to have taken place on the far side of the Genesis gap; there may be fossil evidence for creatures who, from their long-ago ossified bones, look to some "scientists" to be similar to human beings, but these would have been destroyed in the far distant past when the Lord judged Satan's rebellions and turned the lights out on the universe (before this there was no darkness) and subjected the earth to a deep-freeze that was only reversed during the period of re-creation. Consider the great apes; just because a creature has a skeleton similar to man does not mean it has a human spirit, free will, and the image of God. That cannot be deduced from bones or rocks.

I think it is a red-herring for people to demand something like "show me where in the Bible it proves there was no _____ ", as a necessary proof of non-existence (as some seem to be doing with you). As every practiced rhetorician knows full-well, it is impossible to prove a negative in such circumstances. The Bible never mentions many things which do not exist; the Bible never mentions aliens and still they do not exist: earth is the place God made for mankind (and originally for angel-kind as well); this is the theological center of the universe. Certainly, we do not need the Bible to specifically state that certain fanciful categories of imagined creatures do not exist to know that they do not exist (otherwise we be spending all our time trying in vain to find a scripture to prove that ghosts and goblins and elves and vampires and bigfoot etc. don't exist). It is of course is a bit easier in this case, since scripture is very clear about the actual origin of all mankind.

As to "giants", this term occurs in the KJV as the result of an unfortunate translation choice. The Greek version of the Hebrew Old Testament (i.e., the Septuagint or LXX), in order to make the Hebrew term nephilim (lit., "fallen ones") understandable to an audience versed in classical culture, translated the word as gigantes (finding a rough parallel to the nephilim in the Greek myth of the giants). KJV picked that up, but now people are mislead by the translation since 1) what we think of as a "giant" today is quite different from the Greek idea and 2) people today tend to see the KJV as almost inspired, little realizing that the translators expected an educated audience to understand that this was just a translation (one which was accommodating a difficult Hebrew term to a more familiar mythological one). In short, "giants" in the KJV are actually nephilim – these creatures were not necessarily larger than other people nor different in appearance (whereas the Greek giants were monstrously large and grotesque, having a hundred hands each!). It was their origin that made the nephilim so different: as half-human half-angels, there were exceptionally powerful and gifted individuals (although hostile to God and horrific from the divine point of view), "mighty men which were of old, men of renown" (giboriym asher meol'am anshey hashem).

You are correct in your assumption that these all perished in the great flood. Goliath and his ilk were abnormal in size but that is all (i.e., they were 100% human). Other Canaanite peoples are recorded as being likewise far above average in their physical size, but they too are only abnormal humans with no exceptional powers. The spies who entered Canaan and brought back the bad report to the children of Israel do call some of the peoples there nephilim, but they are clearly only using the word in a propaganda sense in order to dissuade Israel from entering the land. One of the reasons for the flood was that Noah and his family were apparently not only the last to fear God but also the last (or among the last) to still be of pure human blood (Noah is called "perfect in his generations" for a reason). Had God not acted when He did, the human race would have been effectively extinguished in that no pure human beings would have been left, and then the Messiah could not have been born (since Jesus had to be of pure human seed: cf. Gen.3:15: "her Seed").

I have written all this up elsewhere in detail and invite you have a look at the following links:

The Nephilim in Genesis 6

"The Nephilim" (in SR 5)

The Origin and Fate of the "Giants" of Genesis Chapter Six.

Antichrist and the Nephilim

Dinosaurs, the Nephilim, Noah, et al.

Eschatology Issues:  The Nephilim

Doubts about the Nephilim

Thanks for your interest in this ministry. Incidentally, I maintain an email announcement list for major new postings to the site. If interested, I would be happy to add you to it.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

They said that the Sumerian Text is much older than the Bible itself, and that it copied most of its tales. Please clarify this claim made by an archeologist. Do you believe in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Are your interpretations coming from the Spirit or is it just pure research and human knowledge?

Thanks,

Response #4: 

Good to make your acquaintance. I'll try my best answer your questions.

On Sumerian, well, I'm no Sumerologist, but it is true that the Sumerian texts are very old. Most people are unaware that even scholars in this field are not 100% sure of the translations of these cuneiform texts. Most translations of literary texts (the "stories" you ask about) are based upon later Akkadian translations of Sumerian rather than on a true understanding of Sumerian itself. That said, just because a literature has a "creation story" or a "flood story" (as Sumerian does – these are the primary ones your source is alluding to) does not mean ipso facto that they have anything to do with the Bible. Indeed, the only way there could be any relationship between any secular literature and the Bible would be if that literature copied or quoted or paraphrased or otherwise drew from the Bible. The Bible comes from God. It does not come from any secular literature, Sumerian included, despite the attempts of many unbelievers over the centuries to attack the faith of believers with this phony argument.

As to the Dead Sea Scrolls, no belief is necessary. They exist and can be seen in person in Israel or online (many images of them, at any rate). What they mean and what help they may provide for biblical criticism is another story. The non-biblical texts I have never found of any particular use. The biblical texts do demonstrate that our current text of the Hebrew Bible, aka "the Masoretic Text", is highly accurate. In other words, these scrolls support the principle that the Bible we have is the Bible God meant to give us (something we already did know by faith).

I am a Christian, and, like all genuine believers in Christ, I have the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9). I have also done in my life what in my reading of scripture any Bible teacher should do: prepare diligently, research assiduously, pray fervently, and follow the Spirit uncompromisingly. But don't take my word for it. Were I deceiver, I would tell you "Yes, of course!" Christ told us to evaluate all teachers "from their fruits"; for "that is how you shall know them". Therefore, I always prefer to let these writings "speak for themselves". No human being is perfect, and no Bible teacher is inerrant. I do my best to find the truth and teach it with a clear conscience; I also make it my policy not only to give voluminous scriptural support for everything I teach, along with the arguments and explanations and reasons why I believe from the Bible what I believe, but also stand ready to answer questions and defend all the positions I have taken. I invite you to have a look at the actual writings themselves; doing so, I am confident that with the help of the Holy Spirit you will be well able to tell whether or not what you are reading is "good fruit" or whether it is otherwise.

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in whom we trust and whom we serve,

Bob Luginbill

Question #5:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I have been following ichthys for almost a year right now. And felt so blessed that I found your website- a website with no intentions or whatsoever except to help God's people in strengthening their faith to the Lord God Jesus Christ. I am blown away by your words and felt like the Holy Spirit is talking to me. From the depths of my heart and soul and spirit- I thank you.

I really need to know, why some scholars claim that The Christian Bible copied the Sumerian Text. They say that Sumerian text existed first before our Bible. Please shed light unto this one.

Response #5:   

Good to hear from you again – and thanks for your patience!

I believe I wrote you something on this topic before so I won't repeat that (let me know if it didn't come through for whatever reason). But I can tell you that there are all manner of "scholars" out there who have believed the lie (they are just more erudite in their false theories). Think about it. The events of the great flood (and that is perhaps the main place where scholars see similarities) actually did happen. This event happened long before the first five books of the Bible were written by Moses in ca. 1400 B.C. (the first verse of the Bible describes the original creation of the universe, after all, and so had to be written after the fact by any calculus); the great flood also happened long before the epic of Gilgamesh was written (the Sumerian tale about a flood). Now it is entirely possible that Gilgamesh has a kernel of truth in it going back to the actual flood of Noah's time (just as it is entirely possible that myths about the Greek gods have a kernel of truth going back to the pre-flood Nephilim of Genesis 6). But, clearly, Gilgamesh is a story, not the truth, even if it is loosely based on a prior historical event. The Bible, on the other hand, is not like any other human literature. That is primarily because it was inspired by God. That is to say, no verse of the Bible exists independently of God's plan, God's actions, and every verse of the Bible is precisely what God wanted it to be.

For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the coming return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21

That is to say, the Bible is 100% true; other literature may or may not have some element of truth. If the Bible had been written before the epic of Gilgamesh, there would be nothing further for anyone to say. Because the Sumerians lived over a thousand years before the Bible began to be written, "scholars" will say, "I see similarities; therefore the Bible borrowed; that explains the similarities". You have to understand the hardhearted thought-process here. First, they don't believe there was a great flood (so Gilgamesh can't have even a sliver of truth behind it); second, they are positive that the Bible is not inspired by God (because they don't even believe there is a God); third, since we have two made-up stories in their view, and since there are similarities between them, therefore the later story borrowed from the earlier one. What they fail to understand is that the Bible is not "a story". In the case of the flood and all other such things, it relates the truth, because God gave Moses to see the truth in order to write it down for us in the book of Genesis (through the inspiration of the Spirit – he communed with the Lord for forty days and nights on Mt. Sinai, after all). But these so-called scholars also are sure that ancient literature must be completely fictitious. The latter viewpoint is also very arrogant. Ancient people were not stupid; if anything, they had higher I.Q.'s than people today do. It is amazing how a little bit of knowledge has the ability to puff people up to the point of saying and doing really dumb things (and false knowledge at that!). Just because Gilgamesh relates a world-wide flood does not mean by any test of logic that there was not one!

I hope this gets closer to answering your question. Do let me know if the previous email didn't get through for any reason (and please do let me know if you get this so I can figure something out if I don't hear back from you).

Thanks you sir for all your very kind words! I'll try to be worthy.

In our dear Lord Jesus, on whose grace we all so mightily rely.

Bob L.

Question #6: 

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you so much for the reply. But pardon my curious mind about these things:

* 7 tablets of Sumer - 7 days of Creation

* Adapa in Sumer(First Man) - Adam First Man in the Bible

* The Tower of Babel is also mentioned in the Sumerian Text

My other non-related question is: Why did God created a vast Universe and only chose to put life on Earth?-amidst the billion of stars and solar systems out there.

These things were in the Sumerian text long before the Bible. If so, why has God allowed this type of situation wherein most of the things that happened in the Bible, were already written thousands of years ago by the Sumerians.

Please enlighten me on these things.

Very truly,

Response #6: 

Good to hear from you again. Let me assure you at the start that there is no cause for alarm at the existence of loose parallels to the Bible existing in other literature. The Bible is the truth. All other literature is man-made.

As I may have mentioned before, just what the Sumerian texts said is a matter of great debate in the scholarly community. It has been quipped that "there are as many Sumerian languages as there are Sumerologists", and that witticism tells us quite a lot. Much of what we know of Sumerian comes from Babylonian-Assyrian translations of their documents; the Sumerian language itself on its own terms has not been completely and adequately deciphered. This, and the issue of transmission of their texts through the Semitic, Babylonian-Assyrian language (Sumerian is generally considered an isolate; it is not Semitic), means that there is more than a little doubt about what was actually written, not something that is the case for the Bible.

To begin with the seven tablets, what we are dealing with here is the Enuma Elish, the Sumerian creation epic. However, our texts for this epic are not in Sumerian but in Babylonian-Assyrian, and they do not date to the days of the Sumerian civilization, but to the 7th cent. B.C., that is, 800 or so years after the writing of Genesis. There are some loose parallels (man created on the sixth day, for example), but it does not take much comparison to see that the two documents are more different than they are similar. It is a politically unpopular position, but I think it is actually much more likely that the Sumerian epic, whatever it originally looked like, was modified over the centuries and adapted to the Babylonian-Assyrian likes and dislikes, and that in that process of modification the biblical story was molded into it (i.e., the Bible influencing the final form of the Enuma Elish rather than the other way around). After all, it is not as though these civilizations were unaware of one another or of one another's literature. Even if we would wish to see this epic as pre-dating the Bible, that does not mean that it influenced Moses. It most certainly did not. He received the truth of what actually happened directly from God.

How, in such a case, would some semblance of truth have ended up in the Sumerian epic (again, assuming that it really does pre-date Genesis – something not at all clear since what survives does not)? Satanic influence should certainly not be overlooked. The demons know who God is – and they shudder. They were around when these events transpired, and the devil is the father of lies; he always delights in twisting the truth. Indeed, his best lies always have some semblance of truth contained within them and highlighted (as bait in order to get the innocent to accept the lie: see the link: in BB 3A "The Fall of Man"). If he and his minions led the writer of this epic to fabricate the seven Genesis days to some degree, it wouldn't exactly be the first lie the devil has sponsored.

There is second possibility as well (although it is not mutually exclusive of the first). What the Bible relates about the creation and the flood is true; these things happened precisely as the Bible says. We can be sure that Adam and Eve did not forget about the garden once expelled from it; we can be sure that Noah and his sons and daughters in law did not forget about the flood once it was over; and it is certain that all involved in the tower of Babel would remember it their whole life long thereafter. These are three of the most significant pieces of historical information that one generation could pass on to the next, and it is certain that they did so – not with accuracy, of course. The verbal transmission of these events would alter the story, especially once it was combined with paganism as in the case of Sumer. So what we may have here are two tracks: 1) the human one, wherein truth becomes more and more obscured over time, mixed with lies, legends and pagan conceits, but retains some loose connection with the original events; and 2) the divine one, wherein God through His Spirit caused Moses to understand the precise truth of what had happened, and then write it down accurately in an eternal, divinely inspired record.

In either case, as I say, the idea that the Bible borrowed from pagan literature is an incorrect one (to say the nicest thing I can say about it). Those who reject the existence of God, the power of God, and the wisdom of God search for such solutions (and are often enlisted by the devil in concocting them), and invest them with a patina of scholarly authority – but that does not make them right.

Why does God allow this to happen? For the same reason He placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden and did not restrict the devil from tempting Eve: we are here in this world to demonstrate how we shall choose; we are here to exercise our free will in responding to God (or failing to do so). That would be impossible to do in a real and meaningful way if there were no opposition. In this world of darkness, the light shines out perspicuously for those who desire to see it – precisely because it stands out in the darkness. But for all who choose darkness over light, "even their light becomes darkness" and "how great is that darkness" (Matt.6:23)!

As to the question on the universe, I find the immensity of it thrilling and very humbling. Contemplating that there are over 100 billion stars in our galaxy and 100 billion galaxies or more in the universe ought to be enough to demolish the arrogance of the most prideful person and put him in dust begging for God's mercy. For not only does the immensity of the universe – created by the Lord in an instant of time and maintained by His powerful Word (Heb.1:3) – bring us to see how great He is but also how small and insignificant we are. Surely, this is a large part of its message. After all, God could have made the universe much bigger or much smaller; He made it exactly the right size in relation to our size and the size of the angels to teach us the lessons He wanted us to learn and to accomplish all His good purposes.

In my reading of Revelation, the New Heavens and New Earth (see the link) are likely to be much larger than today, and proportionately so in comparison to the greatly increased size of New Jerusalem. We will have all eternity to explore them, and in an eternity we will not be able to get to the bottom of them. But however great the universe is today, and however much greater it will be on that great day of eternity, it will always be insignificantly small in comparison to the One who made it. He made it for us, and we shall inhabit it forever with Him. Praise be to our Lord Jesus who died that we might experience all these things with Him forevermore!

In our dear Savior.

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Doc!

I've written to you before concerning the sons of God in Genesis 6. But I was wondering if these fallen angels possessed human beings and mated with women, or they had their own type of bodies when they left heaven as stated in Jude. Also, what does the bible mean when Paul speaks about satan being the "prince of the power of the air"? This may sound odd, but I sort of believe that it means that he dwells in the atmospheric region and the stars and uses children of disobedient as his tools through their minds from up there. I've seen flying objects in the sky when I was younger that clearly cannot be explained away, and I kind of think that they are piloted by demonic beings. I would like to know what your take on this is. Thanks in advance!

Response #7:   

I think Jude and Genesis both make it very clear that there was no human male intermediary in these cases but rather direct angelic contact (such will be the case in antichrist's pseudo-"virgin-birth" as well). See the link: Satan's antediluvian attack on the purity of the human line (the Nephilim).

As to Ephesians 2:2, I explain it this way in SR #1 (see the link):

"the ruler whose realm of authority is the atmosphere" (Greek aer, referring to the first heaven and thus stressing Satan's temporary, limited authority over the earth), [means that the devil] does not remain here at all times, but on specified occasions assembles with the other angels in the presence of God, the third heaven (Job 1:6; 2:1; and cf. 1Ki.22:19)."

See also in BB 2A: "The limits of Satan's control over the earth".

That is to say, the title shows the devil's realm is limited in control as far as the earth is concerned since he and his are unable to physically occupy it in the way human beings can, and this frustration on his part and the part of his followers explains much about the origin of his rebellion (see the link: "Satan's Revolutionary Platform").

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bob L.

Question #8:

My friend wrote me this letter on sea serpents and what he believes about them. This is what he wrote:

"I heard a theory about a year or two ago, I think from Hovind or Ham, that they found it funny that for hundreds of years, stories of sea serpents where common and accepted. Then, when ships started using loud engines, and no one saw them anymore, smarty pants people dismissed thousands of sighting as myth from "stupid" people of the past. The theory is that now they avoid ships because of the noise. Keeping this theory in mind, I've collected some past and modern accounts of sea serpents, including some of the latest discoveries of some huge and weird creatures in the last couple years. Did you know something doesn't exist until an egg head at an accredited university says it does? lol."

What do you think?

Response #8:   

The Bible does of course talk about great creatures of the deep. The Hebrew word for these is taniyn, and it is variously translated by the lexicons and dictionaries depending on the context (Gen.1:21; Ex.7:9-12; Deut.32:33; Job 7:12; ; Ps.74:13; 91:13; 148:7; Is.21:7; 51:9; Jer.51:34; Ezek.29:3; 32:2). As you can see from looking at these references (esp. Gen.1:21), rather than being specific the term seems to be somewhat generic, and as such could encompass all manner of giant sea creatures / serpents. Thus the word may comprise only those creatures of which we are aware or it may also include some of which we are presently ignorant (extinct or not). So beyond this, I don't see anything that can be derived specifically from scripture about the existence or non-existence of hypothetical creatures not presently included in the scientific "inventory". You might have a look at the following link as well: "Dragons in the Bible?"

In Jesus,

Bob L.

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