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I wish the world was flat like the old days (Cosmological Dualism and Delitzsch’s Dilemma)

December 15, 2012

Introduction

(Originally posted on: May 7, 2012 00:36)

Cosmological dualism is a long standing tension in the realm of philosophies and religions. Mankind has been inspired and marveled at the wonder and majesty of existent reality while at the same time being perplexed that, from a subjective human perspective, a lifetime of existence in this reality is frequently unpleasant and at times extremely so (much of human history attest to that estimation). The order and meticulousness of apparent existent reality for many tends to affirm an extraordinary consciousness as its ultimate source (arch materialist should first check in here before proceeding further). Yet the human mind has been unable to satisfactorily reconcile the grand artifact of apparent existent reality with the actual experience of it. Cosmological dualisms generally in some fashion seek to address, as explanation, this fundamental dichotomy of the pervasive human condition.

We will ponder here in a roundabout fashion the cosmological dualism of gnostic traditions – especially the Gnostic Christians of the first three centuries of the Common Era. Since the fourth century Gnosticism has been suppressed at any time it has attempted to surface. In contemporary times it again has garnered notice. More than a few have descried interesting convergences of current state of knowledge with the various ancient Gnostic precepts. In that light, let us proceed with our musings and meanderings.

National/Tribal Gods – Babylonian Marduk, Hebraic Yahweh

The German Assyriologist, Friedrich Delitzsch, caused a firestorm at the time when he revealed in a high profile lecture series began in January 1902, that the arch story elements of the Hebrew Bible had been discovered in archeological artifacts of civilizations that were yet more ancient and were not monotheistic. What were most controversial of all, as revealed in his lectures, were three Cuneiform tablets dating from time of King Hammurabi (1792 – 1750 BC). A form of the name “Yahweh”, the Hebrew tetragrammaton, appears in one of the names on these tablets, indicating that this name was not a unique revelation to Moses at the latter time of the Exodus. (Joseph P. Farrell covers this in depth in his book, “Genes, Giants, Monsters and Men”, where there is a section titled: Delitzsch’s Dilemma: Babel und Bibel.)

Enuma Elish and the Lamentations Texts

The emerging kingdoms of the Babylonians and Assyrians were principal inheritors of remnant Akkad/Sumer civilization – the transition of cultural dominance occurring sometime around the progression of the historical sweep from the third millennium BC into the second millennium BC.

The Enuma Elish, also dated from Hammurabi’s time, incorporates the pantheon of Annunaki gods of Sumer while imposing the Babylonian high god, Marduk, at the head of the pantheon as noted in this Wikipedia excerpt:

This epic is one of the most important sources for understanding the Babylonian worldview, centered on the supremacy of Marduk and the creation of humankind for the service of the gods. Its primary original purpose, however, is not an exposition of theology or theogony but the elevation of Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, above other Mesopotamian gods.

The Enuma Elish appears as antecedent material in a number of passages in the Hebrew Bible, and most especially The Book of Job, which draws on Enuma Elish and texts such as the Lament for Ur. Job is an attempt to philosophically understand or rationalize the devastation that had brought Akkad/Sumer to its demise (what happens to Job’s family is paralleled in the Laments literature from that time period). The northern neighbor peoples, such as the early Babylonians, became the successors of what remained of the centuries long stream of Akkad/Sumer civilization.

Biblical scholar, Douglas Elwell, in his book, “Planet X: The Sign of the Son of Man”, expounds on these earlier literary influences and where portions of them appear literally in many scriptural passages of the Hebrew Bible (with the Book of Job being the most pronounced). The arch theme of the Enuma Elish, Marduk battling the great dragon Tiamat, likewise is retained in the Hebrew writings – and even appears in the Christian New Testament writing, the Apocalypse of John.

The great biblical patriarch Abraham leaves the city of Ur, where his father Terah is a high priest – the reasons aren’t precisely clear other than he is called out. The Book of Job, regarded as the oldest book of the Hebrew Bible, from our culture’s perspective looking back to this period in history, can be seen as essentially introspection into the twilight of Abraham’s civilization – and is thus perhaps an indicator of circumstances that impelled Abraham and his considerable entourage to migrate out of Ur.

The Book of Job is akin to an Ecclesiastes manner of rumination (styled as a kind of play or opera) from this earlier patriarchal era where a once great stream of civilization fell into dissolution as resulting from devastating circumstances (refer to Elwell’s book for further speculation as to what that cause may have been – and Zechariah Sitchin’s writings have yet another perspective on a possible cause as well [i]).

This introspection is a kind of foreshadowing of the traumatic self-doubt the Hebrews underwent over a millennium later when carried off into Babylonian captivity. Job’s wife and Job’s friends ponder if somehow there was some discord with the deity as resulting from human weakness (indeed, they assume that must be the case); those in Babylonian captivity could only imagine that their national god, Yahweh, had abandoned them due to displeasure. In the case of Job, his misfortunes are portrayed as stemming from an inscrutable deity that evidently simply couldn’t resist being goaded into an interesting wager. The loss of life and human suffering are simply Man’s due lot in life in respect to the sovereignty of the deity. In such tales, if the principal great patriarch comes out okay (as Job does) then that constitutes a righteous conclusion of the matter. The great take away is to never question the ways of the deity but unflinchingly accept them.

The Attempted Editorializing Into Monotheistic Cosmogony

As the Hebrew Bible began to be written down at a much later time frame, drawing upon these earlier sources stemming from polytheistic civilizations, the Hebrew authors – as a net effect – editorialized a monotheistic filtering. As an example, when textual material that is paralleled from the Enuma Elish appears, proper names of deities were transliterated to depersonalized wording while the proper name Yahweh is superimposed. The Babylonians, in contrast, incorporated the earlier Akkad/Sumer source material, yet retained the pre-existing pantheon – only asserting their national god, Marduk, as preeminent.

The Hebrews imposed Yahweh as the supreme deity while mostly (but not absolutely) suppressing the earlier polytheism of their inspirational source material:

Deuteronomy 10:17 For Yahweh your God is the God of Elohim, and the Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty and the terrible, who regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward;

Here in Psalm 82 we see a highest echelon god speaking to an assembly of colleagues – urging them to govern with justice – for just as do mortal Mankind, they too will eventually die:

Psalm 82
1: God standeth in the assembly of Elohim, he judgeth among the Elohim.
2: How long will ye judge unrighteously, and accept the person of the wicked? Selah.
3: Judge for the needy and fatherless: do justice to the humble and the poor.
4: Rescue the poor and needy, deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.
5: They know not, neither do they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are moved.
6: I have said, Ye are gods, and all of you are children of the Most High;
7: But ye shall die like Adam, and fall like one of the Shining Ones.
8: Arise, O Elohim, judge the earth; for thou shalt inherit all the nations.

For further exploration of Yahweh and Elohim as appearing in the text of Genesis, I also recommend my 2010 article: Heiser vs. Sitchin

The Theistic Concept of the Gnostic Demiurge

In the early formative Christian era, Gnostic Christians rejected the deity Yahweh of the Hebrew biblical scriptures inferring that Yahweh, as described, was in-congruent to the Heavenly Father revealed in the ministry and teachings of Yeshua.

The concept of the Demiurge is an arch defining tenet of many Gnostic traditions – even Jewish Gnostics that were not adherents of Christianity. In the introduction section of their book The Gnostic Bible: Revised and Expanded Edition, authors Marvin Meyer and Willis Barnstone say this on Gnostic cosmological dualism:

“They [Gnostics] concluded that a distinction, often a dualistic distinction, must be made between the transcendent, spiritual deity, who is surrounded by aeons and is all wisdom and light, and the creator of the world, who is at best incompetent and at worst malevolent. Yet through everything, they maintained, a spark of transcendent knowledge, wisdom, and light persists within people who are in the know. The transcendent deity is the source of that enlightened life and light.”

(The Gnostics’ cosmological dualism, inherent in the concept of the Demiurge, is typically expounded upon in theological terms. My writing in Heiser vs. Sitchin, as well as that of others, takes a concretized literalist perspective of what [or who] the Demiurge is. A circumstantial case is made that Yahweh is a high overlord of the Annunaki of Sumerian fame. Identifying exactly who the Annunaki are remains an open ended investigation. There are, of course, various hypotheses.)

Meyer and Barnstone list five distinguishing traits of gnostic religions. Third on this list is cosmological dualism as an explanation of a transcendent divine spirit vis a vis the evident fact of the estrangement of the world as it is experienced from a human perspective.

Meyer and Barnstone go on to point out that even among the non gnostic Christians there was a tension over this matter. The influential Marcion of Sinope advocated a theological dualism:

“Marcion preached that the good and loving god, revealed in Christ, must be distinguished from the just and righteous god of the Jewish people.”

“Marcion wrote a book, a rather simple-minded piece called the Antitheses, with quotations from Jewish and Christian texts that seemed to Marcion to show the striking contrasts between the Jewish god and the Christian god.”

Eventually Marcion too was denounced as heretical as the congealing orthodoxy of Christianity at the time decided to opt for continuity of the salvation story in respect to the history of Judaism. None-the-less, Marcion evidences the point that the Gnostic Christians were not unique in advocating theological “Demiurge” dualism.

The Cathars of 11th through 13th century in the Languedoc region of France likewise held the Old Testament god, Yahweh, to be the Demiurge:

“Before the persecutions started, Cathars seem to have regarded the Roman Church much the same as everything else in this material world. But increasingly evidence seemed to confirm that the Roman Church was actively allied to the wrong God. In the first place the Roman Catholics venerated the Old Testament. But the God of the Old Testament was not the Good God that Cathars recognized.”

Coming down to more recent times, the above mentioned Friedrich Delitzsch, as cited by Joseph Farrell’s book, also took umbrage with the deity portrayed in the Hebrew Bible:

“In the early 1920s, Delitzsch published the two-part The Great Deception, which was a critical treatise on the book of Psalms, prophets of the Old Testament, the invasion of Canaan, etc. Delitzsch also stridently questioned the historical accuracy of the Hebrew Bible and placed great emphasis on its numerous examples of immorality”

In the 2012 book, Yahweh, the Two-Faced God: Theology, Terrorism, and Topology(Apocalypse Theater) [ii], Joseph Farrell and coauthor Scott deHart bring the long line of Yahwist critique up to the very present time. Here are excerpts from the book’s preface:

This book is the product of our many discussions and conversations over the twenty years of our friendship. In it, we have tried to summarize our own observations about the religions of Yahwism and the types of behavior engineering that they foster.

By “Yahwism” we mean simply to connote those monotheisms that have as their basis some version, be it Jewish, Christian, or Islamic, of the Old Testament character of Yahweh.

This is a key point, for it is the character of Yahweh itself that is our focus here, and the social effect of that character on creating “regions” of light and darkness, of “revelation” and “idolatry”, of “believer” and “infidel” or “skeptic”.

And this brings us to what, in our conversations, we have called the “Apocalypse Theater,” by which we mean to imply that many of these memes and “macro-scenario-creating activities” are to some extent deliberately contrived experiments in social engineering: the deliberate creation of certain types of expectations of “fulfillments”, which can then be manipulated.

So is the 21st century Demiurge our ancient Gnostic fathers’ Demiurge? Perhaps not in detail yet perhaps so in essential consequence.

[i] Downfall of Akkad/Sumer: The account in Genesis of Abraham’s visit by Yahweh and the subsequent destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah would tend to reinforce Zacheriah Sitchin’s explanation for the demise of this southern Mesopotamian civilization. This region suffered an unfortunate side effect of the devastation of the Sinai area. Also in Genesis, Abraham’s journey to the land of Canaan could be viewed as a harbinger of an agenda that is not taken up again to completion (by the Yahweh Moses encountered at the burning bush) until a few centuries later. Abraham’s descendants ultimately go into the land of Canaan, being lead by Joshua; one outcome is a near extermination of remnant Nephilim. Such extermination continues even down to the time of King David, around the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. Goliath was slain by David in the field of battle and then Goliath’s brothers are late slain in the town of Gath where they resided.

[ii] Farrell, Joseph P.; deHart, Scott D. (2012-01-05). Yahweh The Two-Faced God: Theology, Terrorism, and Topology (Apocalypse Theater) (Kindle Locations 2-3). Periprometheus Press. Kindle Edition.

MyCoreArticles (and some related links)
[awakening, synchronicity, Gnosticism, AAT, nature of reality/consciousness, etc.]
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RogerV

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One Comment
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