INSTITUTE OF BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY

"The Nephilim and the Roots of Civilzation"

HOME
MISSION
STAFF
DEPARTMENTS
COURSES
MEDIA
PROJECTS
ARTICLES
LIBRARY
BULLETIN
BOOKSTORE
CONTACT US

by Judd H. Burton, MA, ABD

  We often take the roots of Western Civilization for granted. Yes, we are taught by convention that such roots find a strong hold in Mesopotamia around 3500 B.C. But, have you ever stopped to ask yourself how deep those roots go, and better yet, "who planted the tree?"

  It is very likely that the key to understanding the founding of the world's great cities and civilizations rests on a fundamental understanding of giants, or as the Bible calls them, Nephilim. These creatures were the offspring of fallen angels and human females, and according to scripture, contributed to the very downfall of antediluvian society (Genesis 6). Some of them, it would seem, even survived the great deluge, cropping up in later millennia under various other names, such as the Old Testament's Rephaim and Anakim. The perseverance of their race could account for many of the world's great cities or monuments. If we broaden the Biblical interpretation of this colossal line of creatures to include world mythology, then possibilities emerge after the most cursory of glances at man's religions.

  In extrabiblical sources, such as The Book of Enoch, one can find the very work of transforming hunter-gatherers into a more sophisticated society. The fallen angels waste no time in developing a scheme to influence man for their own ends. We are told that under the guidance of their leader Semyaza, the fallen angels trade knowledge and technology for access to human females for the purposes of breeding offspring. To the great misfortune of mankind, civilization was a high price to pay for what would soon become oppression and violence. At any rate, the fallen angels along with the Nephilim taught men metallurgy, war craft, farming, husbandry, and a host of other bodies of knowledge defining civilizations.

  The great Mesopotamian hunter and king, Nimrod, is often regarded as a giant. We read clearly in Genesis of his renown, no doubt contributing to the memories preserved by Abraham, himself born of Sumeria. Consequently, Nimrod is also credited with having built the Tower of Babel, preserved to us in image as a ziggurat, one of the stepped temples of ancient Mesopotamian society. The very Cradle of Civilization provides an early example civilization and its connection to the giants of old.

  Egypt, whose legends whisper to us in the present, was most likely not without its own giant origins. At least as much may be said about its monuments, and in particular the pyramids. Some scholars who entertain historical ideas outside of convention, such as Patrick Heron, posit that the antediluvian giants constructed the pyramids. This design spread with them as they spread to other lands east and west of the Holy Land.

  In the Old Testament, we get a picture of the descendants of these giants. You may recall from Sunday School that the spies Moses sent into Canaan on the eve of its conquest were all terrified save Joshua and Caleb. They related that they were as "grasshoppers" compared to these enormous men. Jewish tradition tells us that one giant, Arba, built the great fortified city of Hebron. Another giant, Og, who allegedly had survived the great flood, ruled over Bashan, a vast kingdom northeast of the Sea of Galilee.

  Moving away from the Near East leaves one with no fewer examples of giant-founded societies. Most of us remember to some extent the myths we were taught in grade school about the Greeks and the Romans. Scholars have long been aware of the influence of the Near East on Greek ideas and religion. Similar residues may be found in the pottery and art of ancient Greece, an indicator of trade with Phoenicians and other peoples of the Near East, and something known to scholars as "orientalizing." The very gods were all believed to hail from Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Egypt, and other lands to the east. As for feats of city-building, Poseidon and Apollo were believed to have built the great walls of Troy. The Greeks also contended that the Cyclopian giants had built the city of Mycenae.

  In the case of the Romans, we learned that the twins Romulus and Remus, descendants of the great Trojan refugee Aeneas, founded Rome. For obvious reasons, teachers leave out the gory details which Roman historian Livy relates to us. Mars, god of war, raped the Vestal Virgin Rhea Sylvia, and the products of this violation were Romulus and Remus. The twins, as with other children sired by gods, were of great stature. Somewhere between myth and history, we learn that Romulus built the city of Rome in the eighth century BC, promptly after killing his brother. The conditions of their conception, their size, and their violence all smack of traits borne by the Nephilim.

  Even beyond the scope of Western Civilization proper, evidence of giant engineering abounds, as do the legends pertaining to such structures. German mythology relates to us that the walls of Asgard were built by a frost giant to separate the realm of the gods from that of the giants, known as Niflheim (which is phonetically similar to Nephilim). Mesoamericans, likewise had firm ideas about the origins of their civilization and giants. The Maya believed their civilization to have been founded by giants. The Aztecs too, believed their cities and their society had been established by giants and gods. The great monuments of Machu Pichu, the earthen tombs of China, Angkor Wat, the great earthen pyramid of the ancient Indian city of Cahokia-they all speak to engineering feats that defy foundations in human sweat and toil alone.

  If you look, you can see that our civilization bears the touch of humanity. A closer look still, reveals the possibility of deeper roots and gigantic origins. The next time you look at the photo album from your Egypt trip, watch a documentary on Mesopotamia, or thumb through that humanities text you just couldn't throw away, pause. Pause and ask yourself "what does the evidence say, and who founded these societies?" You just may find the maker's mark of the Nephilim in subtle imprint.

BACK TO ARTICLES

(c) Institute of Biblical Anthropology, 2009-2016, all rights reserved, a branch of Burton Beyond