How would the Jibu people react if a Gripen Jet, one of the world most advanced aircrafts as of today, suddenly emerges from the sky and lands in their village? These naked going primitive descendants of the Kwarafa kingdoms scattered around the mountains of Gashaka lands in the northern part of Nigeria, to whom clothing and civilization is alien.
If we try to imagine how these natives would respond upon sighting a well kitted white pilot emerge from such a spectacle, then maybe we could begin to appreciate what predicament our progenitors, those who ‘saw’ and compiled our religious texts- Torah, Bible, The Vedas etc. – faced in recording the events- many of which were oral stories picked from different cultures- of our past.
Like my unlettered grandmother who I believe would describe an airplane as a huge ‘metal bird’ for lack of the proper vocabulary to use, I think many of the stories in the Bible were ‘simplified’ for the same reason. For example, did the prophet Ezekiel see a spacecraft or a fiery chariot in his vision?
The same question applies to the story of the flood, the fall of man, the tower of babel, stories that by the way are not unique to the Bible alone as same can be found in many Mesopotamian religious writings in different versions, writings that predates the bible by many hundreds if not thousands of years.
Maybe another look at the Genesis account of the creation of man would drive my point home.
Genesis: 1. ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…’
Well, we now know the cosmos is all there was, all there is and all there will ever be. In fact, science suggests that the universe may not have been created, that the current universe as we know it may actually be the latest reincarnation of an infinitely old birthing and dying of the universe. That matter, from which the earth was formed, which the universe comprises of, was never created but rather, has always existed and will continue to do so in various forms.
Having discarded the flat earth, earth is the centre of the universe theories, we now know that there are over 200 billion galaxies in the universe, that each of these galaxies contains as much as 200 billion suns (stars) and many of these suns may have planets like our earth revolving round them. Then we also now know that Darwin is right and evolution is a fact. In the face of these huge numbers of planets, would our belief in the uniqueness of life on planet earth not be as absurd as arguing that, only one grain would sprout if one empties a sack of beans on a fertile land? In the face of this reality, would it be unreasonable to suppose that many of these planets may support civilizations, many of which maybe far older than ours to the extent that to our accentors their citizens may appear godlike. Do our religious texts suggest that one of such civilization visited our ancestors in the remote past?
Genesis: 2. ‘…and there was not a man to till the ground…and God said let US make man in our image…’
Does this verse suggest man was ‘created’ for the purpose of work, to ‘till the ground’? I think to get the answer all one need to do is to maintain a sedentary lifestyle and one will immediately notice the dangers of it because our physiology itself confirms the benefits of work or some type of aerobics. So, the Hebrew, borrowing from the ancient Sumerians before them and using the word Elohim for God, echoes the fact that man was created to work for the Gods. Who were these gods, this Elohim, or the ‘US’ at Genesis?
Let us paint a scenario. After millions of years’ evolution on this planet, our primate ancestors were visited by an extra-terrestrial race with the capability for inter-stellar travel. These beings saw in our primate forefathers some potential for intelligence and use? Our forefathers like the Jibu people saw the extra-terrestrials as Elohim, the gods? The Elohim engineered our ancestors’ DNA to ‘create’ a hybrid creature? Having created them, the gods felt these hybrid mutations were not matured enough to be given to eat of the ‘fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil’ which is to be taught the secrets of reproduction, an attempt to control the population of the workforce. A member of the Elohim-the one who would later be known as Satan today- rebelled against his own kind, and then genetically engineered the ability to reproduce into these new hybrids, an offence that led to their punishment? What if our scribes misrepresented this event as ‘the fall of man’?
Genesis: 3. ‘Then God said, ‘now the man is like one of us…and now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…’
I cannot imagine that anyone would argue that this was a literal tree as much as an almighty God fretting about a couple eating from another tree in a garden. But I can imagine that if the Elohim, who already have in their DNA the ability to live long-they would have needed to, because crisscrossing those stars separated by light years would not have been an easy task-, having discovered that their creatures could now reproduce, decided to shut them out of the secrets of longevity, the ‘tree of life’, to prevent an uncontrolled population, hence the reason for the ‘casting out’ of ‘Eden’.
Genesis: 6. ‘Now, it came to pass…that the sons of God saw the daughters of men…and they took wives for themselves…and bore offspring who were the mighty men of old…and God was sorry he had made man…so Elohim said…‘I will destroy man whom I have made…’
I cannot imagine an all-knowing, perfect God who is incapable of making mistakes regretting his actions. But it would make a lot of sense to me if, having taught man the secret of reproduction, this member of the Elohim, who by now was an outcast to his own people, convinced other members to join him to free humanity totally from its infantilism and help humans achieve the secrets of longevity. Because this ‘tree of life’ was protected by ‘a flaming sword turning this way and that’-or maybe it is actually a laser-, he could not access the labouratory and so he and his group decided to inter-marry the daughters of men so as to mix GENES. And this mixing of GENES appeared to have worked as even the bible itself described the off-springs of this union as ‘the great men of old’.
Maybe this really was what led to the ‘war in heaven’ which was fought on the basis if an ideological difference among extraterrestrials rather than one which was fought by angels on the basis of pride? Unless someone wants us to believe that war, an unholy enterprise, could break out in a perfect heaven where a holy God dwells. Maybe it was the culmination of these events that led to the destruction of the rebellious extra-terrestrial and their human collaborators, and the saving of a little- the Noah race? -, in a global deluge.
Finally, Genesis: 11. ‘Now the whole earth has one language…then men said, ‘let us build…a tower whose top is in the heavens…the Elohim came down and saw the tower…and God said, ‘come let us go down there and confuse their language…’
If this story was actually about a literal skyscraper why would the builders choose a plain rather than the highest peak of a mountain to build? Then I would expect an almighty God of all people to know that there are practical reasons why such a structure that ‘stretches into the heavens’ cannot be possible unless this story like others is also misrepresented. But it would more sense that, in time, having understood the ways of the gods, man made plans and decided to build space vehicles and a launch ‘tower’ by which they could ‘reach the heavens’. Then the Elohim, fearing that they would finally lose their workforce should man succeed in this ambition and finally achieve longevity, having been freed of ignorance, genetically altered human language to cause confusion.
I believe like many other stories in the bible, generations of religious Midrash have blurred the real stories behind events of our past. And what do we get as the result, a few charlatans swindling gullible Nigerians of their hard earned money daily, parading themselves as ‘men of God’. It is time to begin to take another look at the stories we were taught at Sunday schools and begin to ask questions, because knowing will put us in a better position…