Truth That Matters

"What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" - Jesus Christ

RELIGIOUS THEMES ORIGINATING AT BABEL (OR BEFORE)

Introduction

The Bible teaches that all humans have descended from Noah. All of the world's great civilizations arose after people migrated in diffferent directions following the Tower of Babel fiasco. If this is indeed the case, we can expect similar themes in all the ancient religions. This article lists such ubiquitous themes. Some themes developed from the rebellion at Babel. The only major ancient religion surviving today is Hinduism. All other ancient religions associated with particular civilizations have either died out by themselves or been replaced by Buddhism, Islam or Roman Catholicism. Of course, these two religions are not “new and original”. They have elements of the earlier religions that they replaced.

Theme # 1: Worship of the sun, moon, and other forces of nature

Ancient people all over the world worshipped the forces of nature. Even today, Hindus perform “Surya namaskar” – a reverential greeting of the sun in the morning (see image). The following is a list of various gods based on the forces of nature.

  • Agni - fire (India)
  • Coyolxauhqui - moon (Aztecs)
  • Indra - war and rain (India)
  • Aditi - sun (India)
  • Ra - sun (Egypt)
  • Chandra - moon (India)
  • Hapy - the River Rile (Egypt)

Since the top of the Tower of Babel was meant to be "in the heavens" (Genesis 11:4), it is apparent that Babel religion included the worship of the stars and planets. As people dispersed from Babel, they carried this practice with them. The evolutionary explanation that primitive man everywhere began worshipping the sun because it provided the means for life is simplistic. This is evident when we recognize that the similarities in ancient religions go much beyond sun worship.

Theme # 2: Fascination with serpents

The Bible says that Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and deceived Eve. If this is true, humans should be fascinated (and terrified) by snakes. This is indeed the case! 

The prime deity in Pergamum, a city in what is now Turkey, was Asclepis, the serpent god of healing. The Hindu god Shiva is often depicted as being accompanied by snakes. Even today, Hindus in India celebrate a festival called Nag Panchami, in which snakes are venerated (see image). No such festival exists for venerating earthworms, donkeys, bears, or any other creature. Snakes were also an important part of Egyptian religion. The Mayans worshiped the feathered serpent god known as Kukulcan. The Incas worshiped their creator god, Viracocha in the form of a serpent. The Chinese worshiped Nuguawas,the serpent goddess of creation. Although some animals do get special treatment (cows in India), no one can deny the dominance of the snake in ancient religions.

Theme # 3: The concept of One Supreme God above all other gods

“The ancient Babylonians, just as the modern Roman Catholics, recognised in words the unity of the Godhead; and, while worshipping innumerable minor deities, as possessed of certain influence on human affairs, they distinctly acknowledged that there was ONE infinite and almighty Creator, supreme over all. Most other nations did the same. "In the early ages of mankind," says Wilkinson in his "Ancient Egyptians," "The existence of a sole and omnipotent Deity, who created all things, seems to have been the universal belief; and tradition taught men the same notions on this subject, which, in later times, have been adopted by all civilised nations." "The Gothic religion," says Mallet, "taught the being of a supreme God, Master of the Universe, to whom all things were submissive and obedient." (Tacti. de Morib. Germ.) The ancient Icelandic mythology calls him "the Author of every thing that existeth, the eternal, the living, and awful Being; the searcher into concealed things, the Being that never changeth." It attributeth to this deity "an infinite power, a boundless knowledge, and incorruptible justice." We have evidence of the same having been the faith of ancient Hindostan. Though modern Hinduism recognises millions of gods, yet the Indian sacred books show that originally it had been far otherwise. Major Moor, speaking of Brahm, the supreme God of the Hindus, says: "Of Him whose Glory is so great, there is no image" (Veda). He "illumines all, delights all, whence all proceeded; that by which they live when born, and that to which all must return" (Veda). In the "Institutes of Manu," he is characterised as "He whom the mind alone can perceive; whose essence eludes the external organs, who has no visible parts, who exists from eternity...the soul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend." In these passages, there is a trace of the existence of Pantheism; but the very language employed bears testimony to the existence among the Hindoos at one period of a far purer faith.” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons)

Here’s another ancient Hindu hymn, titled: “To the Unknown God” from the Rig Veda

"He the primal one, begetter of the universe, begotten in mystery, Lord of created things, Lord of heaven and earth. He whose word is eternal, giver of breath and life and power, sole ruler of the universe, swelling alone in his grandeur, to whom the gods bow. Lord of Death, whose path is life immortal! Thou alone canst fathom thy mystery, there is none beside thee. …Who is He? How shall we name Him, when we offer sacrifice?”

Dear reader, (especially if you are an Indian Hindu reading this) do you get the picture? One group of people migrated from the tower of Babel to India. They wrote the Vedas. It’s evident they still had memories of the great God that their ancestor Noah worshiped. Being a Christian living in India and used to seeing idols in all shapes, sizes and colors, I could barely believe my eyes when I first came across the above line from the Vedas: “Of Him whose Glory is so great, there is no image”.

This is exactly what we should expect if the Bible is true in its claim that there is one supreme God who revealed Himself to the first few humans.

Tragically, the knowledge of the great God of the Bible (who detests idols) was discarded in favor of idolatry.

Theme # 4: The concept of God as a trinity

Again, to quote from Alexander Hislop:-

In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolise that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard [Layard’s Babylon and Nineveh] prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day.  The Egyptians also used the triangle as a symbol of their "triform divinity." The image shows the Assyrian trinity (on the left) and the trinity worshipped by the ancient Serbians. In the Assyrian trinity, note the bird. In the Bible, the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22). Also note the circle: zero, the Seed.

In India, the supreme divinity, in like manner, in one of the most ancient cave-temples, is represented with three heads on one body, under the name of "Eko Deva Trimurtti," "One God, three forms." [See image on the far right - also notice the huge snake over the central person]. The image immediate right shows the Egyptian trinity.

In Japan, the Buddhists worship their great divinity, Buddha, with three heads, in the very same form, under the name of "San Pao Fuh."

The Chinese worship the trinity in the form of "Three Pure Ones" i.e Yuan-shi-tian-zong, Ling-bao-tian-song and Lao-Jun. 

Again, this is exactly what we expect from the Bible; since the Bible teaches that there is one triune God who revealed Himself to the first few humans.

Theme # 5: The element of mystery

Nimrod started his apostate religion at a time when memories of Noah, the flood and the true God that Noah had worshipped were still alive. In all likelihood, Shem, the righteous son of Noah was still alive. In such a climate, Nimrod would not have been able to promote his idolatry in the open. It would have to be in secret – those who wanted to follow him would have to be initiated into his confidence in secret. Needless to say, everything cannot be revealed at the start, but is in the nature of “mystery”. The concept continues in Hinduism and other Eastern religions today. The belief exists that spiritual enlightenment can be obtained by going to a secluded place in the forest, indulging in psychic meditation and so on.

Theme # 6: Mother and child

Shortly after Adam and Eve sinned, God promised a savior: the Seed of the woman. So the concept of God coming as man, being born of a woman was etched in the minds of the ancients. As mentioned earlier, Nimrod was an illustrious person who blatantly rebelled against God and set up his own idolatrous religion. Ancient history suggests that Nimrod may have had a violent death. After his death, his mother, Semiramis propagated the notion that he was the one whom God would send. She also assumed for herself a special role in the whole process. As various people groups migrated away from Babel, the idea of a goddess with a baby boy god with her developed. The following are examples of such mother and child pairs from various civilizations:-

 Nation

 Chief god

 Incarnation/child god

 Mother-goddess

 LEBANON

BAAL 

TAMMUZ 

ASHTORETH 

 PHOENICIANS

EL 

BACCHUS 

ASTARTE 

 SCANDINAVIA

ODIN

BALDER 

FREGG, FREYDA 

 MEXICO

TEOTL 

QUETZALCOATL 

COATTLICUE 

 CHINA

PAN-KU 

YI 

HENG-O, MA TSOOPO 

 INDIA

BRAHMA 

KRISHNA 

ISI, DEVAKI 

 EGYPT

RA 

OSIRIS, HORUS 

ISIS, HATHOR 

 ROME

JUPITER 

ATTIS 

CYBELE, DIANA 

 GREECE

ZEUS 

DIONYSUS 

APHRODITE 

 ASSYRIA

NINUS 

HURCULES 

BELTIS 

 BABYLON

BELUS 

RHEA 

ISHTAR 

This table has been taken from http://www.babylonmysteryreligion.com/motherandchild.htm.

Theme # 7: Water as purifying agent for sins and obtaining new life

Even today, Indian Hindus believe that they can be purified of their sins by taking a dip in the Ganges River. Such a belief is common to ancient religions. Where did such a belief come from? The Bible suggests the answer: The great patriarch Noah survived the great flood and had began life anew. Since then, passing through water became symbolic of getting new life.

Theme # 8: Good works as a means of appeasing the gods or attaining salvation

Of course, this is what everyone takes for granted. To get a good deal after you die, you need to do good deeds on earth, or do penance for all the bad things you’ve done. This is a universal teaching in all religions, but is in direct contradiction to what the Bible teaches. Also see: Can we compensate for our sins by doing good deeds?

Theme # 9: Obsession with sex and fertility

Sex was considered an act of worship or appeasement to the gods. In Greece and Rome there were vestal virgins and temple prostitutes. In the Middle East, the worship of the goddess Ashtoreth was accompanied by sexual rituals. The Canaanites in ancient Israel believed that rain is the semen of the god Baal. Therefore, to get rain, one needed to arouse him with wild sexual activity. In Indian Hinduism, there still are temple prostitutes and sexually explicit temple sculptures. This fits in perfectly well with the Biblical narrative: Nimrod's Babel religion was characterized by sexual immorality, and this theme was carried along by the dispersing tribes who developed the various ancient religions of the world.

Theme # 10: Astrology

All peoples have some belief that the stars and planets are divine (or represent gods, or are the homes of the gods) and that the motion of the stars, in particular the signs of the zodiac, have some bearing on their lives. There is no reason why this has to be so if man migrated all over the world while still a hairy brute, and then slowly developed culture independently in different places, as evolutionists would have us believe.

Let me quote from Griogio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, respectively professors of the history and philosophy of science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and of the history of science at the University of Frankfurt:-

"It is now known that astrology has provided man with his continuing lingua franca throughout the centuries. But it is essential to realize that astrology presupposed an astronomy. Through an interplay of these two heavenly concepts, the common elements of preliterate knowledge were caught up in a bizarre bestiary whose taxonomy has disappeared." [Griogio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston: Gambit, 1969), p. 345]

Bizarre bestiary indeed! All over the world, the signs of the zodiac are made to represent more or less the same animals and people to whom the star patterns bear little resemblance. What explains this? In the same work, Santillana and Dechend tried to trace the origins of these myths:-

"The trail, pursued necessarily by induction, leads around the world through many lands... It also recedes in time until the beginning is reached several millenia ago in Mesopotamia [the region near Babel]...As innumerable clues emerge and begin to interlock, several conclusions become inescapable. First, all the great myths of the world have a common origin. Next, the geography of myth is not that of the earth. The places referred to in myth are in the heavens and the actions are those of celestial bodies...the strange hologram of archaic cosmology must have existed as a conceived plan at least in certain minds, even as late as the Sumerian period..." [ibid, p. 347]

Interesting! A common origin for myths based on the stars, originating in Sumeria (also called Mesopotamia, Babel, Shinar, Babylon, and in modern times, Iraq) several millenia ago as a "conceived plan" in certain minds. David Hughes (on the faculty of astronomy at the University of Sheffield) even dates these people at 2500 BC, or around Genesis 11!

This makes NO SENSE in the light of the theory of evolution, but fits in absolutely well with The tower of Babel episode in Genesis 11 of the Bible!! In fact, from the Biblical record, we can even make an educated guess about the "certain minds" that Santillana and Dechend refer to: it must have been Nimrod and his buddies!
 
But where did Nimrod and his buddies get the idea that the stars hold the destiny of people? Was it their original invention? That's unlikely. The Bible says that God made the stars to be signs (Genesis 1:14). Psalm 19 says that the stars declare the glory of God, and this Psalm is quoted by Paul in Romans 10:18 in connection with the good news about God's saving provision for man. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions that godly ancestors of Nimrod such as Seth occupied themselves in the study of the stars because they indicated God's purposes for man. The Magi from the East came looking for Jesus after seeing a star that signaled his birth. Putting all this together, we can conclude that the main messages of creation and redemption were somehow expressed in the stars. Nimrod and others corrupted this message into astrology - the notion that stars can be used to predict the future of individuals.

Conclusion

An examination of the various ancient religions (and even their modern counterparts, to some extent) shows considerable similarity in their themes. According to evolution theory, monkeys became man in Africa and then this man moved to various parts of the world, and religion developed independently. The correlation we observe in various religions fits better with the Biblical account - the entire human population was civilized and adopted a prototype religion, rejecting the true faith of their fathers, as the Bible narrates in Genesis 11:1-9. This population split into clans and spread all over the world, taking (and modifying) this prototype religion. The fact that none of the ancient cultural religions (including Hinduism) has any known founder fits perfectly well with this Biblical picture.