Our First Ancestors
Were our first ancestors civilised or uncivilised? Did they wander
constantly and hunt and fight for a living? Could they write?
Modern science once thought it had the answer to those questions, and
the answer, science said, was that our first ancestors were the most
ignorant of barbarians.
But the recent findings of archaeologists have altered this concept.
Dr. WW Bell-Dawson, a Canadian scientist has this to say in his book, The
Bible Confirmed by Science:
'Neither in Egypt nor in Babylonia has any beginning of
civilisation been found. As far back as archaeology can take us, man is
already civilised, building cities and temples, carving hard stone into
artistic form, and even employing a system of picture writing. And of
Egypt it may be said the older the country the more perfect it is found
to be. T'he fact is a very remarkable one, in view of modern theories of
development, and of the evolution of civilisation out of barbarism. Such
theories are not borne out by the discoveries of archaeology. Instead of
the progress we should expect, we find retrogression and decay; where we
look for the rude beginnings of art, wefind an advanced society and
artistic perfection. Is it possible that the Biblical view is right
after all, and the civilised man has been civilised from the
Archaeology Versus Evolution
WW Prescott, in his book, The Spade and the Bible, says:
'Not a ruined city has been opened up that has given any
comfort to unbelieving critics or evolutionists. Everyfind of
archaeologists in Bible lands has gone to confirm Scripture and confound
its enemies'. '
Life in the early ages centred around the temple. All the temple
towers of early Babylonia were of the same design; a series of vast,
almost square platforms rising one above the other, with stairways
leading up. The shrine of the god was on the top.
The Ziggurat at Ur had three platforms, some had as many as eight.
The shrine at the top was in blue glazed brick with a golden metal roof.
The Babylonian word ziggaratu means, pinnacle on top of mountain. The
theory that the ancient conquerors of these plains, in remote ages, were
mountaineers who, either from homesickness or from religious
conservatism, or both, wished to worship their god on the high places,
as they had always done. In Chaldea they had to make the high places
with their own hands, and the account of the building of the tower of
Babel could be the record of such an event.
In Genesis 11:2-4 we read, "And it came to pass, as they
journeyed from the east, ... they said one to another, Go to (come), let
us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone,
and slime had they for mortar And they said Go to, let us build us a
city and a tower, whose top (may reach) unto heaven, ... '
These temples were not merely places of worship - about their courts
were store-houses for the tithes and offerings brought in by the
faithful worshippers, or paid as rent by tenants of the sacred estates.
There were living quarters for the priests and the temple servants.
There were workshops and factories where the men and women attached to
the temple were employed, spinning and weaving into cloth the wool which
the farmers brought, casting and hammering into art objects the copper
and silver paid as tithes by the merchants of the city.
Exhaustive accounts were kept of what was received and what was
disbursed. Immense cattle yards were kept where the livestock given to
the temple were cared for. They found contracts setting forth their
responsibilities and regulating their profits - documents referring to
granaries, freight boats, etc.
The temple stood in relation to the people as the State does in
modern times, and the records here are of administration. They show an
efficient and well-organised community Each person had a cylinder seal,
they were rolled across the wet clay and used in place of a signature.
These seals are very small, some only -5/8ths of an inch long. It took
great skill and very tiny tools to carve on this small cylinder. Various
semi-precious stones were used, one of gold was found in the tomb of a
queen. About 3,750 BC, the art of the seal reached perhaps its highest
expression. They carved figures whose physical characteristics were
emphasised realistically, and at the centre of the composition there was
a panel containing an inscription. One shows a bearded hero watering
buffalos from a vase out of which flow two streams, then it shows water
and a rock border at the bottom. The inscription names Ibnisharrum,
as the owner of the seal, and dedicates it to Shargalisharri
king of Akkad. He was a grandson of Sargon, descendant of Ham.
This whole scene was on a cylinder seal less than an inch long. No
modern jewel engraver could do better.
Because it is difficult to imagine life other than in terms of that
which we know, after death they assumed that their occupations and needs
would be similar, that the next world is a continuation of this one.
Whatever a person used in their lifetime they will use after death. The
woman takes her spindle, her needle, her mirror and her cosmetics. The
carpenter takes his saw and chisels, the soldier his weapons of war. The
king must be provided with a goodly sample of his pomp on earth. It is
not surprising then that the archaeologist derives most of their
material from the cemeteries of the old world, and what they find
illustrates not only their beliefs and burial customs, but also their
From the Royal tombs at Ur dating about 3,000 BC. come some very
beautiful things. The famous gold dagger of Ur, a weapon whose blade is
gold, its hilt of lapis lazuli decorated with gold studs, and its sheath
of gold filigree work. With it was another object scarcely less
remarkable, a cone shaped container of gold, ornamented with a spiral
pattern and containing a set of little toilet instruments, tweezers,
lancet, and pencil also of gold. The royal graves all have a harp. The
most magnificent yet found has a sounding-box bordered with a broad
edging of mosaic in red, white and blue. The two uprights were encrusted
with white shell and lapis lazuli and red stone arranged in zones
separated with wide gold bands. Shell plaques engraved with animal
scenes adorned the front, and above these projected a splendid head of a
bearded bull wrought in heavy gold, with a lapis lazuli beard.
Queen Shubad on her deathbed wore an ornate headdress made of a long
gold hair ribbon covered by beaded wreaths with gold pendants, heavy
earrings of gold and a golden Spanish type comb with five points ending
in lapis centred flowers of gold. By the side of the body lay a second
headdress. On a diadem made of soft white leather had been sewn
thousands of minute lapis lazuli beads, and against this background of
solid blue were set a row of exquisitely fashioned gold animals, stags,
gazelles, bulls and goats, with between them clusters of pomegranates,
three fruit hanging together shielded by their leaves.
There is a helmet of beaten gold made to fit low over the head with
cheek-pieces to protect the face. It was in the form of a wig, the locks
of hair hammered up in relief, the individual hairs shown by delicate
lines. The ears are rendered in high relief and are pierced so as not to
interfere with hearing. Sir Leonard Wooley, who headed the excavation at
Ur said, "As an example of the goldsmith's work this is the
most beautiful thing we have found, and if there were nothing else by
which the art of these ancient Sumerians could be judged we should
still, on the strength of it alone, accord them high rank in the roll of
The contents of the tombs illustrate a very highly developed state of
society. A society in which the architect was familiar with all the
basic principles of construction known to us today. They commonly used
not only the column, but the arch, the vault, and the dome.
Architectural forms which were not to find their way into the western
world for hundreds of years. The craftsman in metal possessed a
knowledge of metallurgy and a great technical skill. The merchant
carried on a far-flung trade and recorded their transactions in writing;
the army was well organised and victorious, agriculture prospered, and
great wealth gave scope to luxury.
We do not mean that all the world had a high culture for basically
only those nations who have it now, had it then. Sir Charles Marston in
his book, The Bible Comes Alive! says, 'All stages
of civilisation exist today throughout the world, and so far as we are
aware, always have existed. And where glorious monuments certify to a
great past, those who now dwell around them often testify to a great
decay.' The old truths of the Bible, which are ever new, will
abide. Like their Author, they are "the same yesterday, and today,
and forever" They cannot be shaken. Current world history is
fulfilling its prophecies. Its truth is written on the ruins of earthly
kingdoms. Neither the Bible nor Babylonian excavation know anything of
uncivilised man. Life at the beginning of civilisation, was simple but
cultured, due to the influence of the Adamic people.