Excerpted from the book A Historical Lie: the Stone Age
Archaeological Finds from Egypt and Mesopotamia
The Mesopotamian plain, not far from the civilization of ancient Egypt, is known as the â€œcradle of civilizations.â€
Among the most important information to emerge from archaeological research in these areas came from discoveries regarding these societiesâ€™ religious beliefs. Inscriptions tell of the activities of countless false deities. As more information was discovered and researchers discovered better methods to interpret the data, some details about these civilizationsâ€™ religious beliefs began to emerge. One of the most interesting things is that above all the false deities these people believed in, they also believed in one God. Historical evidence shows that true religion always existed. The following pages will examine the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Indian and European civilizations together with the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans to prove that they all believed in one God and were visited by messengers who communicated true religion to them. The first researcher to discover that polytheism had originally contained monotheism was Stephen Langdon of Oxford University. In 1931, he announced his findings to the scientific world, saying that they were quite unexpected and totally at odds with previous evolutionist interpretations. Langdon explained his findings as follows:
. . . the history of the oldest civilization of man is a rapid decline from monotheism to extreme polytheism and widespread belief in evil spirits.
Five years later, Langdon would state in The Scotsman as follows:
The evidence points unmistakably to an original monotheism, the inscriptions and literary remains of the oldest Semitic peoples also indicate . . . monotheism, and the totemistic origin of Hebrew and other Semitic religions is now entirely discredited.
Excavations at modern Tell Asmar, the site of a Sumerian city dating from 3,000 BCE, unearthed findings that completely corroborated Langdonâ€™s ideas. The excavation director, Henry Frankfort, gave this official report:
In addition to their more tangible results, our excavations have established a novel fact, which the student of Babylonian religions will have henceforth to take into account. We have obtained, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, religious material complete in its social setting.
We possess a coherent mass of evidence, derived in almost equal quantity from a temple and from the houses inhabited by those who worshiped in that temple. We are thus able to draw conclusions, which the finds studied by themselves would not have made possible.
For instance, we discover that the representations on cylinder seals, which are usually connected with various gods, can all be fitted into a consistent picture in which a single god worshiped in this temple forms the central figure. It seems, therefore, that at this early period his various aspects were not considered separate deities in the Sumero-Accadian pantheon.
Frankfortâ€™s discoveries reveal very important facts about how a superstitious, polytheist system comes into being. The theory of the evolution of religions claims that polytheism arose when people started to worship evil spirits representing the powers of nature. But it was not so. In the course of time, people developed different understandings of the various attributes of the one God, which eventually led to distortions in belief in one God. The various attributes of the one God turned into the belief in several.
Long before Langdon had made his translations of the Sumerian tablets, a researcher by the name of Friedrich Delitzsch made similar discoveries. He found that the numerous deities in the Babylonian pantheon all devolved from the various characteristics of Marduk, as they called the one Deity that time. Research has shown that belief in Marduk resulted from the deterioration, over time, of the belief in one true God.
This one Deity, Marduk, had many names. He was called Ninib, or â€œthe Possessor of Power,â€ Nergal or â€œLord of Battle,â€ Bel or â€œPossessor of Lordship,â€ Nebo or â€œthe Lord of the Prophet,â€ Sin or â€œIlluminator of the Night,â€ Shamash or â€œLord of all that is Just,â€ and Addu or â€œGod of Rain.â€ Over the course of time, it seems that the attributes of Marduk became detached from him and assigned to different deities. In the same way, false deities such as the Sun-god and the Moon-god came into being as the products of peoplesâ€™ imagination. Belief in Marduk, along with the other names of this false deity, shows that this belief system actually developed over time through distortion of belief in the One God.
We can also see traces of such perversion in ancient Egypt. Researchers have discovered that the ancient Egyptians were first of all monotheists, but that they later dismantled this system and turned it into Sabeism, or sun-worship. M. de Rouge writes:
It is incontestably true that the sublimer portions of the Egyptian religion are not the comparatively late result of a process of development or elimination from the grosser. The sublimer portions are demonstrably ancient; and the last stage of the Egyptian religion, that known to the Greek and Latin writers, heathen or Christian, was by far the grossest and the most corrupt.
The anthropologist Sir Flinders Petrie says that superstitious, polytheistic beliefs emerged through the gradual corruption of belief in a single deity. In addition, he says that this process of corruption can be seen in present-day society as well as in societies in the past:
There are in ancient religions and theologies very different classes of gods. Some races, as the modern Hindu, revel in a profusion of gods and godlings which continually increase. Others . . . do not attempt to worship great gods, but deal with a host of animistic spirits, devils. . . .
Were the conception of a god only an evolution from such spirit worship we should find the worship of many gods preceding the worship of one God . . . What we actually find is the contrary of this, monotheism is the first stage traceable in theology. . . .
Wherever we can trace back polytheism to its earliest stages, we find that it results from combinations of monotheism. . . .
The Origins of Superstitious Polytheism in India
Even if Indian culture is not as old as Middle Eastern cultures, still it is one of the oldest surviving cultures in the world.
In Indian paganism, the number of so-called deities is virtually endless. After long study, Andrew Lang has determined that polytheistic religions appeared in India as a result of a process similar to that in the Middle East.
Edward McCrady, writing about Indian religious beliefs, observed that the Rig Veda shows that in the early days, the deities were regarded simply as diverse manifestations of a single Divine Being. 78 In the hymns in the Rig Veda, we can see traces of the destruction of the monotheistic idea of a single God. Another researcher in this area, Max MÃ¼ller, agrees that at first, there was a belief in one God:
There is a monotheism that precedes the polytheism of the Veda; and even in the invocation of the innumerable gods the remembrance of a God one and infinite, breaks through the mist of idolatrous phraseology like the blue sky that is hidden by passing clouds.
From this, it is again obvious that there has been no evolution of religions, but that people added false elements to true religion, or neglected certain commands and prohibitionsâ€”which finally resulted in the perversion of religious belief.
Contamination of Religions in European History
We can see traces of a similar contamination in the beliefs of historical European societies. In his book The Religion of Greece in Prehistoric Times, Axel W. Persson, a researcher in Ancient Greek paganism, writes:
. . . there later developed a larger number of more or less significant figures which we meet with in Greek religious myths. In my opinion, their multiplying variety depends to a very considerable degree on the different invocating names of originally one and the same deity.
The same traces of alteration can be seen in Italy. An archaeologist by the name of Irene Rosenzweig, after researching the Iguvine tables, which date from Etruscan times, concludes that â€œdeities are distinguished by adjectives, which in their turn emerge as independent divine powers.â€
In short, all of the last centuryâ€™s anthropological and archaeological evidence indicates that throughout history, societies first believed in one God but altered this belief with the passage of time. At first, peoples believed in God Who created everything from nothing, Who sees and knows all things and Who is Lord of all the worlds. But in time, the titles of our Lord were wrongly considered as separate deities, and people began to worship these false deities. True religion is the worship of the one and only God. Polytheistic religions developed from the contamination of the true religion, which our Lord has revealed to humanity since the time of Adam (pbuh).