Category Archives: Ancient Civilizations

The Whole World Knows There Were Giants

Chang The Chinese Giant c1870Ever wondered if the Bible could be right about a nine foot [3 m] tall warrior? Do we have any evidence outside God’s testimony to such tall people?

Let’s look at some of the things we can check out to compare!

Most of the information we have about giants come from stories passed down as legends around the world.  I’m not going to post a bunch of links because you have to be careful what you read.  As we all know from David and Goliath, giants weren’t exactly God-fearing. In fact, most of the stories people told about them are like Jack of the Beanstalk or Odysseus’ experience.

I found a page with dozens and dozens of accounts of giants or their remains around the world.  Wikipedia has a list of at least 100 names people have given to giants around the world.

The Bible itself lists 7 different groups of Post-Flood giants.  There were the Philistines (with Goliath & co: II Samuel 21:15-22), Amorites (Amos 2:9–10; Numbers 13:29,32), Emim (Deuteronomy 2:10–11), Zamzummim (Deuteronomy 2:20–21),Rephaim [giants] (Deuteronomy 3:11), Anakim [sons of Anak] (Numbers 13:33), and an Egyptian near-giant in 1 Chronicles 11:23.

David and Goliath, a colour lithograph by Osma...All of these groups of people mentioned in the Bible were especially wicked.  As you can see from the accounts of the Emim and Zamzummim, it wasn’t just the Israelites who wanted them dead.  Giants never made comfortable neighbors, although they seemed to make good champions or kings until God caught up with them!

Answers in Genesis has a long article talking about all this. It also has some interesting information on Egyptian records of giants.

There is one more group that the Bible mentions: the Nephilim.  Numbers 13:32–33 says, “And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.  And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”  The Hebrew word translated “giants” is the word Nephilim.

This is important to early Genesis study because of an odd account in Genesis 6.  We are told almost nothing about how people lived before the Flood, but the Nephilim are one of the things God wanted us to know about.  Here’s the story:

There were giants [Nephilim] in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. Gensis 6:4-6

Many people, including me, have wondered what these “sons of God” who had giant, evil children were.  There is a theory that they are actually demons who married human women and bore children.  Jude verse 6 is used to back this idea up.  Cool (and horrible) as this sounds, there are some major problems with this view that make it impossible.

  • Dr. Lisle pointed out recently that Jesus said it is impossible for spirit beings to have phisical relations and therefore children.  Matthew 22:30 suggests this.  It is at least true for good angels
  • If this theory were true, there would have never been any more giants after the Flood destroyed them all and the demons who had done it were chained in darkness.
  • “Sons of God” does not have to refer to spirit beings (although it does in the Old Testament, like in Job 1:6).  Six times the New Testament refers to Christians as Sons of God.

That there were giants again after the Flood by itself makes the demon theory impossible.  This leaves us with some kind of human line being the “sons of God.”  I’ve heard ideas that this is talking about the children of Seth, who were still following God, marrying women from the line of Cain, who had  rejected God’s authority.  I don’t know, but it seems likely that something like that is meant.

God is greater than the largest enemy we will ever face.  The Bible’s stories of Caleb, David, and his mighty men defeating giants is recorded to encourage us to trust God and not follow in the despair of the 10 spies of evil report!

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

I got a lot of my info by starting from this article: Answers in Genesis, Giants in the Old Testament 

You might also enjoy these articles I found:

The Aldworth Giants Rated G

THE QUEST FOR TOM HICKATHRIFT about trying to find the truth behind a giant legend. Rated G

THE CAVE OF THE RED HAIRED GIANTS Rated PG

Human Giants by Gary Nelson. Rated PG (opens with immodest Indian warrior facing away from us)

The Ancients and the Year

May - Oct 2006 Calendar

Today, we know the earth comes back to the same position around the sun every 365.2425 days, but, did you know the first post Flood civilizations all used a 360 day year? They also used the cycles of the moon to measure out months (the word “month” means “moon”).  Some people, like the Egyptians, realized quickly things didn’t stay in line without adjustments. Others continued to use the old system for thousands of years.

When you compare the Bible’s use of days and months with years, you will find it uses the 360 day year all the way through. In Revelation, 3 1/2 years is used to measure the same length of time as 1,260 days. To find the length of a single year, you divide those days by 3.5 which equals 360 days.

Why would something so badly off from what we see today be so common?

moon-in-phases

If you start from the idea that people are getting smarter and smarter, this is easy to solve: people back then were too dumb to figure out the months and years weren’t matching up.

 

But, since we know the ancients were really smart, we’ve got to look further. Let’s start with the first time we hear about the 360 day year in the Bible:

On the 17th day of the second month, when Noah was 600 years old, the springs under the earth broke through the ground, and water flowed out everywhere. The sky also opened like windows and rain poured down. Genesis 7:11

The water continued to cover the earth for 150 days. Genesis 7:24

After 150 days the water was low enough that the boat touched land again. The boat stopped on one of the mountains of Ararat. This was the 17th day of the seventh month. Genesis 8:3,4

(7 months and 17 days) minus (2 month and 17 days) gives us exactly 5 months. We are told these 5 months equal 150 days. 150 divided by 5 gives us 30 days per month, which matches the 360 day year. It looks like all these early civilizations got their calendar from Grandpa Noah.

Now we’ll think about why this man, smart and godly enough to build the greatest floating zoo ever, didn’t use a 365.2425 day year.

  • Some creationists side with the evolutionists and say he used the 360 day year even though it was never accurate. This doesn’t make them bad, but I see no reason to believe Noah was so careless
  • Others say Noah was probably using what was accurate up to the Flood. The Flood was a massive, world-wide event. It could easily be powerful enough to have messed up our year

So, how could the earth have changed? There are two possibilities:

  • The earth might have slowed down the circle it makes around the sun so it took longer
  • The earth could have started spinning faster so it took more spins to get to the same point
And Spin...

And Spin… (Photo credit: Sangudo)

We’re pretty sure the earth’s circuit around the sun hasn’t slowed down because it would take such a gigantic force nothing would have survived. But, getting the earth to spin faster isn’t nearly as difficult and can be explained by the changes of the Flood year.

Here’s the idea. If you go ice skating and spin around in place, you can change how fast you turn by sticking out your arms or leg (to go slower), or by pulling them tightly together (to spin faster). So, if the earth had a way to pull its weight closer to the middle, it would speed up in the same way.

We know there was a huge amount of underground water before the Flood. It was this escaping water which started the Flood with the rain helping out. Water’s heavy, but rocks are even heavier. As the water spewed out, the rocks began to fill their old spaces pulling earth’s weight closer to the middle.

There could have been other things going on at the same time causing the earth to spin faster, and we haven’t talked about the moon and its months no longer matching, but I’ve run out of space for today. What we do know for sure is there is no reason to look down our noses at our earliest forefathers for being silly enough to not figure out the true length of months and years.

I was reminded of this ancient reality by this article at the Creation Science Hall of Fame: 360 day year: no coincidence

Ancient Technology (sort of): Musical Scales

Sibiu Cathedral (King David)

Someone recommended a really cool book at my writer’s conference last month.  The Music of the Bible Revealed (by Suzanne Haïk-Vantoura) is a technical tome [thick book] about how she figured out the musical meanings of the little dots, dashes and squiggles alongside the words of the Hebrew Bible.

I might eventually write about what all that means (for example, she is convinced the Bible music was written at the time each book claims to be written, by the people who claimed to have written them!), but today I’m going much wider.

We have enough facts to be able to recognize the kind of music Noah and his family would have played on the ark.

Whoa, that’s a big statement!  How can this be?

Ok, we’ll start with the basics.  Ever taken a music lesson?  Learned to play the recorder or something, even just a little?  Then you’ll be able to understand what I’m about to tell you.

List of Chinese musical instruments

Have you ever messed around on a piano making “Chinese” music with just black keys?  You can even play the melody “Jesus Loves Me” doing this (the tune’s name is sometimes called “China”).  This is a kind of scale known as “pentatonic” which means 5 tones.

The pentatonic scale is a very ancient form of music that is still popular in the Far East and has been used in every corner of the world.  You can never make a mistake with those tones because nothing is pitched close enough to “fight” and grate your ears.  But it is limited in power.  It can’t really make you sad, happy, or angry.  The guitar, altos, or piano give “Jesus Loves Me”  non-pentatonic harmonies to help you feel the happiness.

The modern keyboard is based on the intervalli...

The modern keyboard is based on the diatonic scale

Along with that musical system, all the most ancient societies also used the same basic music system we use in the West.  You know the notes, CDEFGABC?  Those are the ones I’m talking about.  This is called the “diatonic scale” and it is built based on mathematical principles (that’s the first point where “technology” comes in).

The easiest way to see how this music is set up is to use a piano.  A base note, C (on the far left), followed by whole step, whole step, half step (no black key between), 3 whole steps, and a half step back to C.  Pythagoras, Bach and others have fiddled with the fine tuning for Westerners, but the idea is far older.

Any music that uses tones like a piano’s white keys gets the name diatonic scale.  When a melody ends on a different note, it is called a “mode,” but I’m not going to cross your eyes explaining them to you!

English: Harper playing before Shu Atum.

We know that the people of ancient Sumer (Babylonians) tuned their instruments to a type of diatonic scale.  The ancient Vedic Indians used it.  Ancient Egypt used this tuning system, but were most fond of all white keys from D to D.    Even the Chinese are known to have used this scale for some of their music.

So, did Pythagoras invent the diatonic scale in c550 BC? Was this tuning not used until Guido of Arezzo during the Middle Ages of Europe?  They were helpful , but no person outside the Bible can be credited with being the very first ever.

Jubal was the father of people who play the harp and flute.  Genesis 4:21b

If you really want to get into the math of music, you can check out Thinkzone’s 12-tone page and Uni. of South Carolina Music’s Pythagorean tuning.