How Did Civilization Start?

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Gobekli Tepe, “Potbelly Hill”

We’ve been talking a lot, lately, about how our civilization might suddenly and shockingly collapse–like, if the people don’t obey all the commands of the government–but I think a more interesting question is how civilization ever came to be.

Supposedly we were mere hunter-gatherers for untold thousands of years. Okay. Then how did we come to invent civilization? If it’s “wired in,” why did it take so long? And if it’s not, why did it ever get started at all?

“Potbelly Hill,” in Turkey, shocked scientists with its great age, apparently some ten thousand years old, if not more. Monumental sculpture, well-constructed stone walls–all before the appropriate tools, supposedly, were invented. And then the people who used it… buried it, which preserved it from the elements and allowed us to dig it up again. We don’t know who they were, why they built it, how they built it, or why they buried it.

There are other sites almost as old–Jericho, Catal Huyuk, just to name two–where it seems civilization was well on its way to emerging from a primitive culture. We are badly hampered by a lack of inscriptions at those sites. Not that we could read them, if we had them.

The Bible teaches us that God twice overthrew civilization in our world: once by Noah’s Flood, and again by confounding their language when men tried to build a great tower reaching up to heaven. Reputable Bible Scholars Inc. tell us these are only fables, none of it ever really happened. Like they know.

But what if sites like Potbelly Hill, Jericho, and Catal Huyuk, and baffling remnants like the Dispilio Tablet and the Vinca Alphabet–both of them way too old to be writing, but there they are–what if these are not evidence of civilization emerging, but of civilization re-emerging from first destruction, then confusion? What if these are evidence of people trying to claw their way back to a way of life known to their ancestors but imperfectly remembered?

If our own civilization were utterly destroyed, how long would it take the survivors and their descendants to rebuild? How much knowledge and know-how, in the meantime, would be lost to them? And very much would depend on who survived: it isn’t everybody who knows how things work, or can explain it to others. And as the centuries roll on, so much of what people used to know gets lost. How much got lost without leaving a trace of it for us to study?

The earth is the Lord’s, and we are made in His image. We have the capacity to create a civilization. Scripture tells us we abused it and were punished for that.

As we discover older and older evidence of nameless, forgotten, extinct civilizations, is it wise to write off the Bible? Because it stores information that we, with our limited knowledge of the past, refuse to recognize as information?

Someday God will say to us, “I told you, but you wouldn’t listen.”

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

4 responses to “How Did Civilization Start?

  • unknowable2

    Civilization, in our fallen state, comes from God’s teachings. Certainly, there have been other civilizations, but they weren’t very civil. Slavery was common in most of these civilizations. Most of their achievements came with an incredible price in human suffering.

    Civilization is a way of organizing the social order and, almost always has been a case of domination of one group by another. Without a moral compass, literally anything goes. Just look at some of what has happened in our own country of late; much of what is being advocated would have been unthinkable not that long ago. Equally outrageous things have happened in the past, but those civilizations are far gone and, in many cases, forgotten.

    The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    A lot of knowledge was lost when the Gutenberg printing press was invented. Only those books the Scholastics and later the Enlightenment men considered relevant were printed, so many of the hand written books became lost to us.

    Noah was able to build a fantastic boat. There is no telling how advance the Pre-Flood people had become (sadly excelling in evil thought and deeds). Building civilizations is in our human DNA – we are made in God’s image. Go around the world today and take a look at all the buildings, roads, bridges, dams etc that are built wherever man is found – it is astonishing.

  • Tee

    Ancient civilizations are so “yesterday.” We are advanced and keep advancing. That’s why new laws protecting infanticide, euthanasia, and all sorts of barbarism are being passed today.

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