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From Milieu Member Derek Gilbert
For mankind, whatever life it has, be not sick at heart,
be not in despair, be not heart-stricken!
The bane of mankind is thus come, I have told you,
what was fixed when your navel-cord was cut is thus come, I have told you.
The darkest day of mortal man has caught up with you,
the solitary place of mortal man has caught up with you,
the flood-wave that cannot be breasted has caught up with you,
the battle that cannot be fled has caught up with you,
the combat that cannot be matched has caught up with you,
the fight that shows no pity has caught up with you!
—Epic of Gilgamesh
More than five thousand years ago, the legendary Sumerian King Gilgamesh embarked on a single-minded quest to procure the secret of immortality. According to the story, he was so distressed by the death of his best friend, Enkidu, and obsessed with overcoming his own mortality, that he tracked down the Sumerian Noah, Utnapishtim the Far-away, for advice.
A thousand years or so after Gilgamesh succumbed to the fate that awaits us all, around 2000 BC, Amorites overwhelmed the native Sumerian and Akkadian rulers of the Fertile Crescent. By 1900 BC, the time of Abraham, Amorite dynasties controlled nearly every kingdom and city-state from the Persian Gulf to the Levant—modern Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. By the time of Jacob, Amorites had moved south and taken over northern Egypt, too.
To the pre-Flood magical and religious practices of the Sumerians, the Amorites added ancestor worship, but with a twist. From the evidence, some of which has only been found within the last hundred years and translated within the last forty, it appears that the kings of the Amorites believed they descended from the gods who ruled before the Flood—the ones who, in Babylonian, Hittite, and Greek cosmology (as well as the Bible),[i] were locked away in an underworld prison reserved for supernatural threats to the divine order.
Further, the Amorites, at least during the second millennium BC, performed rituals to summon the spirits of those gods to bless their kings.
Now, flash forward four thousand years to today: In the West, we’ve been so indoctrinated by positivism (a philosophy that teaches science is the only reliable tool for finding truth) that we’re more likely to believe the old gods were alien astronauts than supernatural beings. But the quest to unlock the secret of immortality continues. The modern transhumanist movement holds out the same promise offered to Adam and Eve in Eden: To paraphrase, “Ye shall not surely die; your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods.”
As Christians, we reject positivism. That’s not to say we’re anti-science, but admittance to our club requires believing (among other things) that an invisible, all-powerful deity spoke everything into existence; that He manifested as a fully human man in a dusty, backwater province of the Roman empire about two thousand years ago; that He died for our sins; and then that He, three days later, literally rose from the dead. There is no way to syncretize Christian faith with a philosophy that rejects theology and the metaphysical. And yet that’s exactly what transhumanists are trying to do—even if most of them don’t realize it or won’t admit it.
Transhumanism is a growing movement that wants to fundamentally transform human physiology through cutting-edge technology, with the goal of achieving eternal life through science. In other words, transhumanists are trying to weld together two diametrically opposed worldviews—one based on the supernatural and the other that denies its existence.
Of all people, then, it’s surprising to find that some Christians are making common cause with transhumanists. By so doing, these Christians are unwittingly summoning those old gods and offering them one last shot at knocking God off His mount of assembly.
That’s why The Milieu is speaking up.
Two generations before Gilgamesh, a Sumerian king named Enmerkar ruled the ancient Near East. Both men ruled from the city of Uruk in what is today southeastern Iraq—which, you might have noticed, is just a different spelling of the city’s name. In the Bible, it’s spelled a third way—Erech, which, along with Babel, was “the beginning of [Nimrod’s] kingdom.” From there, the legendary kings of Uruk ruled nearly the entire Fertile Crescent, the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in what is now Iraq, Syria, and southern Turkey. Scholars call this the Uruk Expansion, a period between about 4000 BC and 3100 BC. Logically, Nimrod and Gilgamesh would fit somewhere in that time frame.
Like Nimrod, Enmerkar was the second generation after the Flood. In my book The Great Inception, I show why Babel is not to be confused with Babylon, which wasn’t founded until at least a thousand years after the tower’s construction was interrupted, and make the case that Enmerkar and Nimrod were one and the same. Babel was most probably at the ancient city of Eridu, and the tower was a ziggurat, the largest and oldest ever found in Mesopotamia, built as a temple to the Sumerian god Enki, the lord of the abyss.
According to a poem from the time of Abraham, Enmerkar/Nimrod hoped to build up the temple of Enki into a “holy mountain,” and to “make the great abode, the abode of the gods, famous for me.”[ii] An abode of the gods directly above the abzu, the abyss? No wonder YHWH decided to personally intervene!
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The Sumerian King List names Lugalbanda as Enmerkar’s successor as king of Uruk, and he was succeeded in turn by Gilgamesh. We don’t know whether Gilgamesh was Enmerkar/Nimrod’s grandson, but scholars generally consider him a historical character. A team of German archaeologists mapped Uruk in 2001 and 2002 using cesium magnetometry, and among their discoveries was a building under what was the bed of the Euphrates River in the third millennium BC that might be the burial crypt of the legendary king.[iii]
We don’t know whether Gilgamesh was Nimrod’s grandson, but he had his predecessor’s ambition and then some. Where Nimrod tried to conquer the known world and build a home for the gods in his kingdom, Gilgamesh set his sights on becoming immortal.
Evidence suggests that the king may have resorted to bringing back knowledge that had been lost beneath the waters of the Great Flood. According to the Book of Enoch, a group of angelic beings, called Watchers by the Hebrews, descended to the summit of Mount Hermon in the days of the patriarch Jared.[iv] As Dr. Michael Heiser noted in Reversing Hermon, there was more to the visit of the Watchers than producing monstrous offspring; the rebellious angels brought with them information mankind was not meant to possess: Sorcery, charms, the cutting of roots and plants (probably for mixing potions), metalworking and the making of weapons, makeup (and presumably the art of seduction), and reading fortunes in the movement of the stars. In short, the Watchers lured humanity into evil, and “all the earth was filled with the godlessness and violence that had befallen it.”[v]
Gilgamesh was referred to on a Mesopotamian cylinder seal as “master of the apkallu,”[vi] and by the time of Hammurabi the Great, who was probably a contemporary of Isaac and Jacob, Gilgamesh was viewed as the one who had returned to mankind the pre-Flood knowledge of the apkallus—the Mesopotamian name for the Watchers.[vii] In fact, it appears the sages and priests of Babylon believed it was precisely that arcane knowledge which (to borrow a phrase) Made Babylon Great Again.
Interestingly, the Old Babylonian text of the Gilgamesh epic establishes another link between Gilgamesh and the Watchers. To make a name for himself, Gilgamesh and his drinking buddy Enkidu decided to kill Huwawa (or Humbaba), the monster who guarded the Cedar Forest. In a sense, the pair aimed for a sort of immortality by performing a great deed.
Hear me, O elders of Uruk-the-Town-Square!
I would tread the path to ferocious Huwawa,
I would see the god, of whom men talk,
whose name the lands do constantly repeat.
I will conquer him in the Forest of Cedar:
let the land learn Uruk’s offshoot is mighty!
Let me start out, I will cut down the cedar,
I will establish forever a name eternal![viii]
The Old Babylonian text of the epic locates the cedar forest on the peaks of “Hermon and Lebanon.”[ix] After killing Huwawa, the two friends “penetrated into the forest, opened the secret dwelling of the Anunnaki.”[x]
This is significant for a couple reasons. First, the mission of Gilgamesh and Enkidu may have been far darker than it appears on the surface. The late Dr. David Livingston, founder of Associates for Biblical Research, pointed out that “Huwawa” may have sounded a lot like “Yahweh” in ancient tongues. If Livingston was right, then the real mission of Gilgamesh was to achieve immortal fame and glory by killing the guardian of the secret home of the gods—Yahweh.[xi]
Secondly, the Anunnaki, who were originally the great gods of Mesopotamia, had become the gods of the underworld by the time of Abraham.[xii] Marduk, after defeating the chaos dragon Tiamat, decreed that the Anunnaki, or at least half of them, should relocate permanently to the nether realm.[xiii] The Hittites, who lived north of Mesopotamia in what is now Turkey, identified the Anunnaki as primordial deities of the underworld, possibly “an earlier generation of gods who had retired or were banished by the younger gods now in charge.”[xiv]
This is relevant because Gilgamesh, despite his desperate effort to avoid “the bane of mankind,” died anyway—and upon his death, according to the legend, was made ruler of the dead.
Gilgamesh, in the form of his ghost, dead in the underworld, shall be the governor of the Netherworld, chief of the shades![xv]
This has special significance because of the importance of the ancestor cult among the Amorites, who founded the old kingdom of Babylon. For more than a thousand years, Amorites in the ancient Near East (modern Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and northern Egypt) venerated their dead, especially the dead ancestors of their kings.[xvi] Although Gilgamesh was a Sumerian king who had departed this world a millennium before the great kings of Babylon, it seems he epitomized the venerated royal dead, and he played an important role in the ancestor cult and magical healing rituals of Babylon.[xvii]
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Dr. Thomas Horn and Jimmy Evans Explain The Greatest Threat Transhumanism Poses To Humanity On Daystar
In The Great Inception, I quote Canaanite (western Amorite) texts that describe rituals to summon the Rephaim—the spirits of the Nephilim (note that the Hebrew word rapha is sometimes rendered “shades” in the Bible)—and something called the Council of the Didanu, which was apparently an underworld assembly of the old gods.
Now, get this: Didanu was the name of an ancient Amorite tribe from which the kings of Babylon, old Assyria, and Canaan claimed descent, and—here’s the good part—it was the word from which the Greeks got the name of their former gods, the Titans.[xviii]
Pause for that to sink in. Kings of the Amorites, neighbors of the ancient Hebrews from the time of Abraham through the time of the Judges, apparently believed they descended from gods later known to the Greeks as the Titans—the elder generation of deities who were overthrown by Zeus and the Olympians and banished to Tartarus.
Let’s take a moment to stop and summarize here. This is starting to make my head spin, and I’m the one writing.
- Gilgamesh, a legendary (but probably historical) post-Flood king of Uruk in the fourth millennium B.C., was obsessed with finding the key to immortality.
- He died anyway sometime around 3000 BC, give or take a few centuries.
- Amorites more than a thousand years later linked Gilgamesh with the “shades” (the Rephaim?), the apkallu (the Watchers/Titans), and the Anunnaki, the gods of the underworld.
- If the Hittites were correct in identifying the Anunnaki as “former gods” who’d been overthrown and banished to the netherworld, then they, too, can be identified as the Hebrew Watchers and Greek Titans.
- The Anunnaki and the Watchers (and thus the Titans) were linked to Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon is also where Gilgamesh and Enkidu killed the monstrous Huwawa.
- By comparing their stories with the Bible, we can identify the Titans, the Anunnaki, and the apkallu as the Watchers of Genesis 6, “the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority” who are “kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day.”[xix]
All well and good, you might say, but what does any of that ancient history have to do with modern transhumanism, and especially with Christians who call themselves transhumanists? Glad you asked.
Without realizing it, today’s transhumanists are replicating the quest of Gilgamesh for the secret of immortality. Most transhumanists are atheists, which makes their mission easier to understand. (Although Gilgamesh wasn’t an atheist, the Mesopotamian afterlife couldn’t have been much fun if he was driven to such lengths to find a way to avoid it.)
Christian transhumanists, on the other hand, are more like Adam and Eve, or those who lived during the time of the Watchers’ descent—people who should have known better (Adam lived another 470 years after the birth of Jared), but who willingly traded away their lives for secrets that would make them like gods. Or so they thought.
First things first: Your view of end-times prophecy has a powerful effect on how you live out your Christian faith. For example, if you believe that Jesus won’t return until the end of the millennial reign prophesied in Revelation 20, or that the thousand-year reign is symbolic rather than literal, then it’s understandable that you might believe a Christian’s duty is to work toward the creation of heaven on earth.
Amillennialism, which teaches the latter view, is the majority view among the world’s Christians. It is the official position of the largest Christian denominations—Roman Catholicism, the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox churches, and some of the mainline Protestant denominations. While many of the believers in the Catholic and Orthodox churches hold a supernatural worldview, it’s no surprise that the combination of a scientistic culture and an eschatology that foresees the world getting better and better until Jesus returns would produce a subset of Christians who accept, at least in part, the philosophy of the transhumanists.
NEXT: So, What Is Transhumanism, Exactly?
[i] “God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2 Peter 2:4, ESV). The only place in the Bible where we are told of angels sinning is Genesis 6:1–4 (the Watchers/apkallu, who took human wives and produced the Nephilim). The Greek verb translated “cast them into hell” is tartaroo, which literally means “thrust down to Tartarus.” In Greek cosmology, Tartarus was a special place of punishment located as far below Hades (Hell) as Earth was below Heaven. Since Peter wrote under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we assume he knew the difference between Tartarus and Hades. It is the only place in the Bible where that word is used.
[ii] “Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta: translation.” The Electronic Corpus of Sumerian Literature, (http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/section1/tr1823.htm), retrieved 12/27/17.
[iii] Becker, Helmut and Fassbinder, Jörg W. E. (2003), “Magnetometry at Uruk (Iraq): The City of King Gilgamesh,” Archaeologia Polona, 41, pp. 122–124.
[iv] 1 Enoch 6:6. Although the scholar Edward Lipinski suggested in his 1971 paper “El’s Abode” that “days of Jared” should read “days of the yarid,” which was a ritual libation—a drink offering for the gods. As Lipinski noted, the summit of Mount Hermon is scooped out, and earlier scholars, such as Charles Clermont-Ganneau in 1903, speculated that this may have been where worshipers poured their liquid offerings.
[v] Nickelsburg, George W. E. 1 Enoch: The Hermeneia Translation. Fortress Press. Kindle Edition, p. 26.
[vi] Greenfield, J. C. (1999). “Apkallu,” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. Van der Toorn, K., Becking, B., & Van der Horst, P. W. (Eds.). Brill, p. 73.
[vii] Annus, Amar (2010). “On the Origin of Watchers: A Comparative Study of the Antediluvian Wisdom in Mesopotamian and Jewish Traditions.” Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, Vol 19, Issue 4, pp. 277–320.
[viii] George, Andrew (1999). The Epic of Gilgamesh (London: Penguin Books), 111–112.
[ix] Lipiński, Edward (1971). “El’s Abode: Mythological Traditions Related to Mount Hermon and to the Mountains of Armenia,” Orientalia Lovaniensa Periodica II, p. 19.
[xi] Livingston, David (2003). “Who Was Nimrod?” (http://davelivingston.com/nimrod.htm), retrieved 12/27/17.
[xii] “Anunna.” Ancient Mesopotamian Gods and Goddesses. (http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/amgg/listofdeities/anunna/index.html), retrieved 12/27/17.
[xiii] Pritchard, James B., ed. (2010). The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton University Press), p. 34.
[xiv] Lieck, Gwendolyn (1998). A Dictionary of Ancient Near Eastern Mythology (New York City, New York: Routledge), p. 141.
[xv] George, op. cit., p. 199.
[xvi] This is well established, but see, for example: Spronk, Klaas (1986). Beatific Afterlife in Ancient Israel and in the Ancient Near East. Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker, Neukirchen-Vluyn.
[xvii] Frölich, Ida (2014). “Mesopotamian Elements and the Watchers Traditions,” in The Watchers in Jewish and Christian Tradition (ed. Angela Kim Hawkins, Kelley Coblentz Bautch, and John Endres; Minneapolis: Fortress), p. 23.
[xviii] Annus, Amar (2000). “Are There Greek Rephaim? On the Etymology of Greek Meropes and Titanes,” Ugarit Forschungen 31 (1999), 13–30.
[xix] Jude 6.