Tag Archives: origin of civilization

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.”

‘World’s Oldest Writing–and We Can’t Read It’ (2015)

I’m fascinated by the origins of civilization. If it’s “wired in,” why did it take so long to come along–or did it? The Bible hints that it didn’t take so very long. But if it’s not wired in, then why did it ever arise at all?

Anyway, here’s some writing that was carved into a piece of wood at least a millenium before anyone in Mesopotamia ever thought of writing on clay. Don’t you wish we could know what it says?


A Lost City… in Australia?

Image result for images of lost city of uluru australia

One of the things that fascinates me is the origin of civilization. If it’s wired into us as human beings, why does it seem to have taken so very long to appear in human history? And if it’s not wired in, why did it appear at all?

The Bible makes it clear that civilization started not long after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. God destroyed it in Noah’s Flood, and later scattered it to prevent the completion of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 6, Genesis 11). But if you reject the Bible and turn to what we are pleased to call science, then you’re stuck with no explanation at all.

Alone among the inhabited continents, Australia shows no sign of ever having developed its own indigenous civilization. How could that be? After all, there were people in Australia for thousands of years. Why no civilization? The closest thing to a lost Australian civilization was H.P. Lovecraft’s story, The Shadow Out of Time. And that civilization wasn’t even human!

So imagine my excitement when I read of a lost city discovered by satellite photography and radar at Uluru, a site in the middle of the Australian desert. Wow, this place had everything! Buildings, tombs, artifacts, skeletons–the whole ball of wax.

And then imagine my disappointment when I read that the Lost City of Uluru was only a hoax ( http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/centralian-advocate/ulurus-1500yearold-lost-city-a-fake/news-story/495f559bd7d1f7d520c6a1194091f5cc?nk=6a45170abbab194a2f952edbb50c2eba-1490462789 ).

This takes us back to where we started from, with no native civilization springing up in Australia. Why not?

As yet we have no answer to that question.

‘7,000-Year-Old Lost City’ Found

Image result for abydos in egypt

Abydos in Egypt–does this look “lost” to you?

I love archaeology. I’m fascinated by the distant past. So when I saw a headline that proclaimed “7,000-year-old Lost City Found” by Egyptian archaeologists, naturally I hastened to read the story ( http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/egypt-lost-city-found-luxor-a7435206.html ).

Hmm… Egyptian history has long been written up as starting sometime around 5,000 years ago, so 7,000 is quite a long extension of it. Also, “Abydos” is a well-known ancient site nearby–as well as a town by the same name in Asia Minor. So “Abydos,” the name given to the lost city in the headline, was never actually “lost.” Maybe just misplaced.

We are also told that Egypt’s tourist industry, since the fall of Hosni Mubarak and all that business with the Muslim Brotherhood, has taken a terrible hit. This discovery is expected to give it a much-needed boost. Hmmm… again.

In all periods of history, there have always been groups of people who did not partake of civilization, even as there are today. I’ve been coming around to the opinion that the “cave men” that we think we know so much about were really just people who weren’t part of any civilization–and that whatever civilization might have coexisted with them has been largely erased by the passage of thousands of years.

I’ve always wondered how what we call “civilization”–with buildings, writing, government, etc.–got started in the first place. If it’s “wired in” for us, why did it take so long to appear? And if it’s not, why did it ever appear at all?

The Bible tells us that the descendants of Adam, once they were expelled from Eden, lost little time in getting cities built, creating a civilization that was wiped out in the catastrophe of the Great Flood. Another civilization arose after the flood, only to be knocked down when God confused human language when they built the Tower of Babel.

So civilization comes and goes, and the ages roll on over its remains. Stuff only lasts so long. And then we’re puzzled when we discover something like Potbelly Hill in Turkey, or that wooden tablet full of indecipherable writing dredged up from a pond in northern Greece after 7,000 years at the bottom–discoveries that upset our preconceptions of the ancient world. Maybe this discovery in Egypt is on the level, and our preconceptions will take another hard knock.

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