Tuesday, May 18, 2010

UFOs in Genesis?

When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Gen. 6:1-4)

Michael Heiser reads Biblical Hebrew and studies the history of UFO sightings. He thinks that people should keep an open mind about evidence for UFOs and contact with extraterrestrials or “watchers” in the Bible. Genesis 6:1-4 is one of the verses often cited in support of contact with extraterrestrial beings. Another is Numbers 13:33: “there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, which come of the Nephilim”.

Are the Nephilim beings from space or are they angels? Some believe that the Nephilim were fallen angels or demons who had intercourse with human females in Noah’s time and produced a race of giants. However, angels were not created to sexually reproduce. Jesus states that the angels neither marry nor are given in marriage.

The interpretation of fallen angels rests on the assumption that the word nephilim is the masculine plural participle of Hebrew naphal, meaning to fall, but this is not conclusive. In the book of Daniel, the Aramaic term used to denote angels is "watchers" (`îrîn). Such a being is also called "watcher and holy one" (`îr weqadîsh). The term "watcher" implies that angels act as God's sentinels, as did the angels appointed to guard the entrance to Eden. The existence of these angelic watchers could explain some of the mysterious appearances classified as contact with extraterrestrials since angels are assigned to watch over heaven and earth. Heiser, who has read thousands of pages of testimony about UFO sightings, notes that the majority of sightings involve lights.  Angels are associated with light in the Bible so perhaps there is some basis for believing that people have had unusual encounters with angels.  As to the claim of some that they were abducted, we have the story of Lot being taken from Sodom as a possible example of abduction by angels.

However, these `îrîn (watchers) appear in literature that post-dates the earliest material in Genesis. They are also mentioned in Vedic (Sanskrit) texts which tell of gods begetting children with humans. They appear in the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the Lamech scrolls, and in The Book of Enoch which states that 200 "Watchers" descended to earth in the time of Jared and instructed men in the arts and sciences.

These non-biblical sources lend support to the view that technological advances made by ancient man came as the result of contact with more advanced beings. This is more or less the position of Michael Tellinger who is promoting his new book Temples of the African Gods. Instead of recognizing that ancient Africans were observers of the heavens and regarded the cardinal points as the basis for understanding the order of creation he insists that the ancient ruins found at Mpumalanga, South Africa prove contact with extraterrestrial beings. Here is what Tellinger writes about that stone ruin:

This ruin has become the subject of much research and measurement by Johan Heine. It features prominently in our new book Temples of the African Gods. There are multiple alignments with the cardinal geographical points. The perfect hexagon is formed by extending the length of the flattened edge across the top right side into the circle. This has a very important significance since it suggests that the architects had a good understanding of particle physics and sacred geometry, since the hexagon is just a flattened perspective of a Star Tetrahedron. It is directly linked to advanced ancient knowledge. The Star Tetrahedron is a very important structure in the study of sacred geometry. Leading physicists believe that this is the fundamental structure of all matter in the universe.

These monoliths are found in the same region and date to the time of the mines from which miners were extracting red ochre, a symbol of blood.  Sophisticated mining operations in the Lebombo Mountains reveal that thousands of workers were extracting red ochre which was ground into powder and used in the burial of nobles in places as distant as Wales and Turkey. There is consensus among anthropologists (who agree on little, it seems) that this red powder symbolized blood, and its use in burial represented hope for the renewal of life. These mining operations suggest long-standing human industry rather than intervention from space beings.

Heiser’s idea of contact with UFOs is based on reading thousands of pages of reports by sighters, including United States military pilots. Tellinger insists that the discoveries of advanced civilizations in southern Africa dating between 80,000 to 100,000 years ago must be explained by contact with more advanced beings. The two men are building their arguments for UFOs based on different data. Genesis has something to say about angels and technological advances, but it doesn’t support the popular conception of UFOs from outer space.

Related reading: Who Were the Nephilim?The Mighty Men of Old


Anonymous said...

Ms. Linsley, "the discoveries of advanced civilizations in southern Africa dating between 80,000 to 100,000 years ago..."
1) So the much more recent Great Flood set back "advanced civilizations" to such an extent that civilization had to nearly start over?
2) Also, what is your view of "Nephilim"?
Respectfully and curiously, Brent

Alice C. Linsley said...

Brent, great questions!

The ancient civilization in southern Africa which considered the intersection of perpendicular segments between the cardinal poles as the sacred center (of a cross) and mined blood for the renewal of life is likely the point of origin of Noah's ancestors. (I'm going to post an essay on this when I have time.) Some of these people went all the way to India as evidenced by common language roots, artistic motifs, and mythology involving sun, cows, rivers and trees. The monoliths found in southern Africa are the oldest ever found so it appears that the point of origin for these people (Dravidians?) was Africa, not India or the Fertile Crescent, as is often argued. I don't see a set back as much as continuity across the Afro-Asiatic Dominion from a very ancient time.

I believe that the Nephilim are either angelic watchers (which fits the Babylonian view) or the guardian spirits of deceased holy ancestors (which fits the African view). In the Bible the two appear to be conflated, which suggests that an idea that may have originated in Africa morphed when it came into contact with Indo-European ideas outside of Africa.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Linsley, your sleuthing is so fascinating to me. We have a sketchy record in Genesis that so often makes little sense to Christians. But filling in some holes as you do brings the dynamics of the book to life. Thanks for your responses and I look forward expectantly to your "perpendicular segments" essay. Ain't God sumthin?
Best and blessings,

Sandra McColl said...

To every generation its Erich von Daniken, it would appear.

Alice C. Linsley said...

That's especially true for Tellinger who believes that aliens long ago manipulated Human DNA.

Tellinger writes: "So when we read in the Sumerian tablets that humans were cloned as a sub-species between Homo erectus and a more advanced human-like species that arrived on Earth some 445 000 years ago, it suddenly makes a little bit more sense. The tablets describe how our maker removed certain parts of the "Tree of life" to trim the ability of the new "creature" and how they struggled to make the perfect "primitive worker" so that it could understand commands but not be too smart to question their existence. Similar suggestions of genetic cloning are made in The Koran and Hindu Laws of Manu."

Tellinger blends evolution, biblical ideas and proof-texts from ancient writings to construct his bizarre view. He tours South Africa and Europe to promote his book. Maybe he'll come to Australia soon! I'm sure you're anxious to hear him. : )

Unknown said...

Ms. Linsley,

It is my understanding that not all references to the word "Lord" in the Old Testament pertain to a God. Is this correct? Even to the expected return of The Lord prior around to 500 BC as postulated by Z. Sitchin apparently refers to the cyclical return of a heavenly body. Do you agree with that?

Unknown said...

Another question to you Ms. Linsley is about the name Yaweh. How is YHWH a Tetragrammaton when the god Yaweh or Yah and his other names existed long before the time of Moses?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Rob, the word "lord" in the Hebrew and Aramaic texts of Scripture refer to various entities, not always the Lord God. Sometimes "lord" is used in English versions in place of the word "baal" which means lord or master. To clarify names for God often have attributes attached. Examples are El Elyon - The Most High God; El Shaddai - The Almighty God, from "shadad" (שדד) meaning "to overpower". In Exodus 6:3, El Shaddai is identified with YHWH. The word YHWH did indeed exist before Moses. It was well known among Moses's Horite ancestors. See this: