Proving the truth of the Bible, or more accurately, that events mentioned in the Bible are capable of verification, has been the goal of many writers. Sometimes the evidence is partial or lacking in persuasion; but often it is convincing to those of open mind. We have reviewed the accounts of the biblical authors which many regard as revealed truth in relation to giant beings. Revealed truth or not (depending on your perspective), the activities of giant beings in early history are indelibly printed on earth. We can now look at this evidence.
THE BIBLE AS HISTORY
Defining what is history is the basic problem. History is not a science which can be verified. As we saw in our first chapters, subjectivity is a besetting sin of the history (and Bible!) writer. Added difficulties are to do with the sources: are they first or second hand? (usually the latter) What is to be treated as myth and as legend? What IS history? One definition says that it is the “process by which we investigate sources, primarily documentary”. (Clarke, BIBLE COMMENTARY, p. 302) On this definition, archaeology is not history per se but it is a valuable and reliable concomitant.
Biblical archaeology, says Clarke, is the science by which the life of bible times is reconstructed and the message of the Bible illustrated. Archaeology describes the study of PRE-history and the unwritten evidence of the historical period. Pre-history may be defined as information about human culture drawn mostly from flints and other stone work from the ages preceding the invention of agriculture, pottery, metallurgy and writing. One well-known major difficulty facing archaeologists is the fact that interesting sites have often been covered and built on several times throughout the ages.
Palestine has yielded evidence of Paleolithic man (of the early stone age c. 2,000,000 years BC) since some skeletons found are clearly of a type akin to that of Neanderthal man. It is thought that they (the Neanderthals) lived contemporaneously with homo sapiens. One of the most famous of archaeolgical discoveries was the discovery (in 1798) and deciphering of the Rosetta Stone which effectively began Egyptology. Many Egyptian monuments have pictures of Semites which illustrate the entry of the Hebrews into Egypt. Excavations in Crete have revealed the existence of the Minoan age; the connection with the OT here is that the Hebrews believed the Philistines came from Crete – something we have already noted. Excavations in Egypt, (particularly) in the Sinai, and in Assyria (western Persia or Iran) have given some back-up to biblical stories such as those concerning Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Discoveries in Babylonia, especially in the southern part of Mesopotamia, shed light on the Sumerians, a non-Semitic people dating from the 4th millenium. Maybe Palestine and Syria yield most evidence for biblical history, as archaeological discoveries in for example, Jericho, Jerusalem, Samaria, Ugarit, where various constructions, camps, pottery sherds, and seals reveal the existence of ancient civilisations.
Recent excavations have suggested the biblical truth of the Flood or the fall of Jericho to Joshua. It is not only artifacts of course that are revealing but many documents have been found that shed light on the lives of the ancient people of the Bible. Egyptian kings have recorded their conquests in Palestine which are familiar to us in the Bible. Unearthed temples and strongholds bear witness to places described in the OT. Records from Assyria name such as Judah, Ahab, Joash, Hoshea and other biblical figures. Babylonian records tell of when king Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem.
Artifacts aplenty have been unearthed in Israel, dating from about 20,000 BC to 10,000 BC, such as tools and art objects. Many artifacts from subsequent centuries have been found in biblical named sites all proving that the territory was occupied by civilised races from the earliest times. After about 3,000 BC written records on papyrus and on stone added to the archaeologists’ discoveries. Excavated remains of city walls testify to the veracity of biblical stories. The Middle Bronze Age (2000 BC-1550 BC) is rich in ceramics, remains, artifacts of every kind; this age is usually linked to the biblical patriarchs.
The Late Bronze Age (1550-1200) is of special interest inasmuch as from this time on, archaeological evidence has a direct bearing on the Bible. This period is historical because we have literary and administrative records. This is also the era of Egyptian dominance about which evidence has been revealed. The exodus event is traditionally dated in this period as is the Israelite occupation of Canaan and archaeological excavations appear to substantiate these.
The Early Iron Age from about 1200 to 900 BC marks the transition from the use of bronze tools (and weapons) to iron. It was in this period that the Philistines, one of the Sea Peoples, settled for the first time in the eastern area of the Mediterranian lands, (12th century). Phillistine influence began to be felt in Palestine about 1200 BC; only after their defeat by the Egyptian king, Rameses 111, did the Phillistines settle in the southern plain of Palestine. Their main strongholds were Gaza, Ashdod and Gath (from where Goliath came). The word “Philistine” has come to have a bad press but this is to do the race a disservice. In fact, excavation has shown that the race was superior to the Israelites, revealing that the latter were generally content to follow their neighbours’ culture forms.
We have mentioned the Paleolithic period from which stone tools have been found (some 2. 5 million years ago). This early stage of human development, homo habilis, as it is called, was followed by homo erectus, who had the ability to use more advanced tools. This stage lasted till about 350,000 years ago. Neanderthal man appeared about 125,000 years ago, but it was not until about 40,000 years ago that fully modern skeletons (of Cro-Magnon man) have been found, the so-called homo sapiens or intelligent man. These dates are of significance in the light of theories of the development of man we shall be discussing later.
The Flood as we understand it was occasioned by God’s anger at mankind’s wickedness in which the giants and their offspring played a large part. Many attempts have been made to verify the biblical account of this catastrophe which must have taken place at a time when there were people on earth to experience, survive and describe it. The excavations of the famous archaeologist, Sir Leonard Wooley, in 1929, in the ancient city of Ur, the reputed birthplace of Abraham, have proved that the Flood really did happen. The earliest traces of settlement in and around Ur go back to about 5000 BC. Wooley’s account stated that evidence showed that the inundation engulfed an area north-west of the Persian Gulf, an area about 400 miles long and 100 miles wide – the whole world for inhabitants of the plains in those days. Judging from clay strata and traces of human habitation in them Wooley judged the Flood had taken place about 4000 BC.
At the turn of the twentieth century the amazing discovery of the story of Gilgamesh, now known as “The Epic Of Gilgamesh”, mentioned earlier, corroborated the archaeological evidence. Written in Akkadian, a diplomatic language of the second millenium BC, its hero was probably a historical character, the king of a Sumerian kingdom, who ruled in the third millenium BC (say c. 3,500 BC). Even this Epic is not by any means the original story; there is a predecessor in an Old Babylonian epic which may itself have had its origins in an eye-witness account. A series of expeditions has also tried to locate the final resting place of the Ark of Noah – on Mount Ararat, in Turkey. Much of the latest evidence does seem credible as to the exact location of the giant boat.
From the Bible we gather that Abraham left Ur 650 years before the Exodus. The Israelites wandered for many years in the desert towards the Promised Land under Moses’s leadership; this took place in the thirteenth century BC. Abraham himself must have lived about 1900 BC; these dates are evidenced by archaeology. Discovered documents from ancient sites have proved that the stories of the patriarchs in the Bible are not legends but happenings that can be accurately dated.
Scholars searching around the Jordan discovered remarkable structures of tall stones in oval formation and with huge stone blocks over them to form a roof. They are believed to be megalithic graves, often referred to, in many different parts of the world, as “Giants’ Beds”. The global incidence perhaps points to an ancient mass migration? In 1918 a dolmen (or megalithic grave) was discovered near the biblical city of Amman, modern capital of Jordan, which corresponded approximately to the measurements given in the Bible about the bed (or grave) of the famous king Og: thirteen feet long and six feet wide. Investigations have proved that huge dolmens are common in Palestine especially in the land where king Og of Bashan is said to have ruled. Bashan, we remember, is called the land of the giants (Deut 3;13) Other dolmens are to be found in the area of Hebron, where the scouts that Moses sent out saw the giants, the sons of Anak (Num 13;22) They must also have seen the massive stone graves which have been discovered at Hebron.
“These huge stone graves and the stories about giants bear witness to the colourful and varied history of the Land of Canaan…” (THE BIBLE AS HISTORY, Werner Keller, p. 149)
King Ahab, much mentioned in the Bible (see Kings) has several stories narrated about him some of which are proved by history. In the area over which he ruled for example, the huge stone blocks of the fortifications form walls 15 feet thick; other excavations have revealed similar gigantic constructions.
Babylon and Jericho
Babylon is famed as one of the oldest cities in the world and as (in biblical times) “Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth” (Rev 17; 5) After a great deal of excavation part of the temple of Marduk, at Babylon, on the Euphrates, rebuilt by Nebuchadnezzar in about 560 BC, was exposed opposite to the Ziggurat pyramid or tower. In Gen. 11; 3,4, we read: “Come, they said, let us build ourselves a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves.” (Marduk and “making a name” will be discussed later in this book.) It is worth mentioning that archaeological evidence has corroborated the brick-laying techniques described in the Bible; i.e. the use of only special types of brick. Unfortunately most of the remains of the Tower of Babel lie in the water; the Ziggurat, which maybe was the Tower itself, was once, even when unfinished, three hundred feet high. Excavations have also revealed the city’s huge double encircling walls, with large statues at intervals.
If Babylon is one of the oldest cities of the world maybe the oldest is Jerich, inhabited since at least the early stone age. There was a communal life there in 7,000 BC. Excavations have brought to light a massive stone tower and city walls six feet thick. A fortress and a necropolis have been unearthed as have further walls. The walls of Jericho are of course famous for having collapsed under the onslaught of the Israelites’ trumpet blasts, but few remains have been found of these walls. However this does not prove one thing either way; it may just be that the walls were built of dried brick whose ruins have been dissipated by time and weather.
Some of the stories in the Bible have to be accounted myth in the modern sense, that is, not true – but only according to modern lights: if it sounds too far-fetched it may be myth. But proving it is another thing. Obviously the world was a very different place in those days, three thousand or more years ago. What is unbelievable today may not have been so then.
Myth itself is a literary genre. In the Bible, and in Near Eastern texts, myth is used to relate the deeds of gods or heroes, deeds which tend to be independent of a historical, geographical or chronological context and take the form of participation in a cult, usually of fertility. “These elements,” says Soggin, “are often presented as being ABOVE and coming BEFORE: above the world and before history.” (INTRODUCTION TO THE OT, p. 50).
Myth however, as it is presented in the Scriptures, is not non-historical; myth tends to deal with gods and heroes, it is true, but much, if not most ancient history tends to deal with kings and their actions, often grossly exaggerated. The biblical myth belongs not to the world of fantasy but to that of the cult, “actualizing a primordial event for the benefit of those who take part, the community”. (Soggin, p. 51). Myth therefore is capable of expressing historical facts, of producing tangible historical effects. A mythical narrative, as Soggin points out, may effectively retain the memory of real religious experiences, but which are hard to verify.
The biblical writers it may be believed, did try to eliminate the mythical view of the universe from their texts; God, in their writing aims, revealed himself in history and not in mythical narratives. Therefore it follows that personages (patriarchs or giants) are not to be treated as make-believe but as beings essential to the world view of the times. Clearly the biblical relation of the beginning of days is IN MODERN EYES mythical. On the other hand, there are “myths” which speak of the struggles of God the creator, against the forces of chaos. Admittedly it is not easy to tell what exactly is historical and what is pure myth; as Soggin says, ancient myths have been taken and inserted into historical contexts, thus losing the ahistorical character of myth. In practice, therefore, much of what appears to be mythical is in fact allegorical or symbolic of a higher truth: as an instance, pertinent to our subject, is the story (or myth) of the Titans who tried to scale heaven, which really it may be thought illustrates the arrogance of the king of Babylon (Isa. 14): and several biblical stories MAY be so interpreted. In distinction is the death and resurrection of Jesus which took place in a real place (Jerusalem) and in real time (under Pontius Pilate in 30 or 33 AD) and so this is no myth.
Often we can date biblical events with corresponding events in history of which there is no doubt. Israel did try to “demythologize” the universe and on many occasions it succeeded. Clearly a three-layered universe and one where God constantly intervened in human affairs to reward or punish, is a reflection of a mythical conception of the universe. Germane to our topic are the fragments of ancient myth which tell of the origin of a race of giants and heroes, offspring of intercourse between divine beings and mortal women. (Soggin).
Evidence of giant existence
Apart from the biblical pages is the ever growing evidence unearthed all round the world of the existence of giant races in the remote past. The discovery of huge hunting weapons, of stone implements, of axe-heads which would be impossible for ordinary men to handle suggests some larger than modern life creatures. Large teeth, proved not to have been of animal origin, have also been discovered. There appears to be no doubt from all available historical evidence, that creatures of giant size once existed (for example the dinosaurs) and that at one time everything was larger; why then not man himself? – his huge footprints have been discovered. We are on the trail of the intelligent giants who built the vast stone monuments seen around the world. Reports of findings of huge skeletons exist but not the skeletons themselves; the unearthing of fossilized bones, of any kind, is a comparative rarity. These reports of finds and of giants themselves are however legion. How do we explain them?
A reason for giantism
Roy Norvill’s book, GIANTS, has a fascinating potential reason for ancient giantism, in his chapter on Cause and Effect. It is important because it relates closely to one of our later chapters. Radiation he maintains is a cause of gigantism (or giantism). In past times there may have been certain distortions of earth’s protective atmospheric blanket. There are mentions of a larger sun and a shorter day in old records. This indicates that our planet may have had an orbit which took it nearer the sun, and consequently the radiation would have been greater. Theories have been advanced to indicate that upheavals may have occurred in the remote past sufficient to throw the earth into a different orbit. (Remember we read earlier of the “tilt” of the world when considering a Judaic text.)
A more mundane theory (unprovable one way or the other) is that the giants came from the now sunken land of Atlantis. of which more later. Escaping from their doomed continent, the Atlanteans could have gone west into the Americas as well as going east into the Mediterranean area. The immense and aged constructions descovered in South America give rise to this thinking. While ancient legends abound regarding giant beings in the Americas, it may be that the most convincing evidence is the building on a majestic and gigantic scale that is found there. Blocks of stone weighing upwards of one hundred tons were carefully put in place – after being transported over rough terrain. We cannot now envisage how they did this. If giants had a hand, literally, in the construction it would seem to bear out the traditional belief that the giants possessed some secret knowledge, notably about scientific skills. Sachsayhuaman and Tiahuanaco contain some of the most remarkable building remains where gigantic stones were used. In fact, there are numerous legends of a race of WHITE giants known by the Indians as the Viracocha race.
Not only great building feats but tunneling feats have been attributed to the giant activity. These tunnels are found in several places in the world but when they were built, why they were built and how, remains a mystery. The only thing we know for sure is that these tunnels, especially those that stretch for hundreds of miles in Peru, are very old and extensive. Many huge earthworks made by man can be seen from the air in South America. Several interpretations of these, especially of the Nazca Lines, have been advanced, such as guides or signals to extra-terrestials. (See my section on the ideas of Van Daniken.) The purpose of these designs and lines has still not been convincingly explained, however. A great many standing stones, dolmens and menhirs (prehistoric tall upright stones) are found all over South America, as well as megalithic (prehistoric) stone circles, all of which come to be related to giant activity. Regarding monoliths, (monuments consisting of only one stone) there is no better example than the Easter Island statues; one explanation for their existence is that they are life-size models of long gone giants.
Southern and Central America retain memories and legends of a giant race and indeed there are many puzzling similarities between the constructions, artifacts, even beliefs of the two land masses. Keen interest in time, the movements of the heavens and astronomy are characteristic of both areas, Egypt and the Mediterranean lands on the one hand and the Americas on the other. These similarities are too close to be dismissed as coincidence. So what is the explanation? Answers range from mass migration (from Atlantis, as mentioned), land bridges lost in the mist of time, now disappeared, but happening countless thousands of years ago, the spread of a common “culture” by enigmatic visitors, including those from outer space, voyages (and maybe trade) between the continents, presuming sufficiently sea worthy vessels were around then (whenever it was) – recalling the voyage of the Kon Tiki.
All of the South American tribes have their legends of an ancient giant race that once inhabited their land; a race of white people, exceptionally tall, who imparted much wisdom, then strangely vanished. In North America, finds of huge human bones have been reported as well as the discovery of mysterious burial mounds of great size. What evidence has been discovered in North America and around the world indicates a pre-historic era when giants walked the earth. Megalithic sites, traditionally associated with giants, found in the USA indicate their past presence in this land, if such associations are valid.
One of the most interesting places on earth with regard to mysterious remains is the island of Malta. Here strange huge stones, a temple constructed of immense blocks, many dolmens and the “cart ruts” worn into the rock dating from some 5000 years ago, indicate an ancient once flourishing civilisation, but mysterious, one whose members must have been physically much greater than modern day man. Closer to home, France has its share of giant monuments, many dolmens and, most famous of all, the most immense arrangement of stones in Europe, those of Carnac. The essence of the mystery of all these strange constructions in the world is that their PURPOSE is still unknown, despite several theories. No-where can we read why these monuments were built. It is all guesswork on our part. They may have been astronomical in nature; they may have been temples or some sort of meeting place; the only thing we are sure about from the evidence of our senses is that they were built or erected on a giant scale with great precision. The question we ask ourselves when seeing these ancient constructs is: why so large – and why so precise?
The detectable presence of giants?
As far as we can ascertain, giants were present in Britain in about 2000 or even 3000 BC which would coincide with the construction of the oldest burial ground (and it might be more than this) in Europe, Newgrange in Ireland, and the most enigmatic, Stonehenge in England. If indeed the latter is a type of computer which some adduce, predicting among other things eclipses of the sun and moon, the building of Stonehenge reveals a far advanced knowledge of the heavens: a science of the giants – which was then lost to us for millenia. Near to Stonehenge is the Avebury circle of stones; equally strange, and like the Nazca Lines having a significant design only when seen from the air.
It seems likely therefore that the technical skill shown in buildings, roads (once thought Roman), huge constructions of all kinds, has been lost over say the last three thousand years and only now is being partially emulated with the benefit of modern tools and equipment. More startling still, as indicated above, is the inescapable fact that megalithic people possessed not only great physical attributes but also knowledge on a truly advanced scale – of such as geometry, mathematics, and astronomy. Add to this their knowledge of what they knew as “energy” sites, lay-lines, springs of water, as places for their stones and monuments, and the mystery deepens further – unless it was part of the “secret” wisdom the giants possessed: as a gift of the gods.
Disappearance of the giants: a theory
Why are the giant beings no longer with us? A pertinent question. An ingenious theory begins with the premise that the age of the giants started to decline about 1000 BC, with the coming of the Iron Age. Before this the metals in use were bronze, copper and of course, gold and silver; non-metallic materials all. Iron may be thought able to nullify man’s ability to detect radiation and man i.e, the ancient giants, would no longer be able to find these (and their) centres of power.
A mysterious race
Archaeologists admit that it does seem that “a mysterious race of ancient times engaged in a gradual spread across the globe constructing massive buildings as they went. Their endeavours…have scarcely been approached in our modern day, let alone surpassed, despite the technological achievements of …putting a man on the moon”. (Norvill, p. 129) It is the amazing accuracy with which this race placed huge stones that is so baffling; how could they do it? One has only to consider the pyramids at Giza, or the city remains in South America. In every ancient site there is the tradition that giants were the builders.
The Egyptian pyramids and their (apparent) guardian, the Sphinx, still puzzle us today, although many hypotheses have been put forward to explain them. The difficulty is that no writing, no pictures, no hieroglyphs are to be found on the surfaces, inside or out, to give us a clue – very strange indeed when we realise that the ancient Egyptians lost no opportunity to embellish their monuments’ surfaces with records and information. Although our historical knowledge of Egypt goes back only to some 4000 years BC it is realistic to presume that Egypt’s civilisation goes back many years before then; probably millenia. All indications are that Egypt had an advanced technical knowledge that may have begun about the end of the last ice age, roughly 10,000 BC.
Looking at the pyramids is to be awe-struck. How was it possible to raise such huge stone blocks so high off the ground? We can not do it now. If the builders of the pyramids were giants or were ordinary people helped and instructed by giants, this only goes part of the way to explain these amazing constructions. Another theory advanced is that the pyramids were designed and built by a race whose origins were not on the earth. Semi-divine beings or creatures from an infinitely more advanced civilisation might have had the ability. (See later chapters.) Whoever the builders were, one thing is inescapable: they had knowledge of a skill which has now been lost to modern man. The secret of levitation may have been part of this skill. The power to levitate has been in man’s consciousness for aeons. It may once have existed. In any consideration of man’s remote past nothing can with confidence be ruled out. Who two hundred years ago would have taken seriously the idea of flying machines, to say nothing of rockets to the moon?
Norvill has an interesting comment on the passage in the Book of Enoch where he (Enoch) hears a voice speaking to beings (guardians or watchers) in one of “the Heavens” who are clearly immortal and where at the same time a contrast is implied between them and ordinary men who are mortal. We have here, maintains Norvill, a distinction between material man and what he calls “astral man”. A school of thought has it that astral man was the first intelligent being on earth who later evolved into material man. According to this theory, appraisal of the Bible allegories has shown that the giants evolved as progeny of semi-spiritual beings; not only the giants but all mankind. (Refer to ideas of Sitchin and others in later sections.)
The Golden age
Deducible from all ancient writings and aged oral tradition is that there was once a Golden Age (mentioned earlier) and that mankind has degenerated or recessed ever since. This first age was one of some innocence and a goodness supreme; the second age of silver saw something of a deterioration; the third age of bronze sees more degeneration; and the fourth (our age), that of iron, is worst of all. (These concepts will be treated in more detail in relevant later chapters.) It is difficult not to agree with Norvill: “Man has held a cyclic existence on earth for millions of years – a series of rising civilisations that have achieved a peak and then been wiped out by natural upheavals. It is my feeling that opinion should also now be revised to allow for the existence of giants”. (p. 155)
THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
It would be opportune at this stage to consider a theory or belief that giants were associated with the building of the “Seven Wonders of the World”. We have already to an extent mentioned one of them, the pyramids, mainly because it is the only surviving wonder of the seven. The reason for their construction on such a giant scale is more obvious in some cases than in others; some have clear utilitarian purposes. But the motive force? I believe it is convincingly encapsulated in Peter Clayton and Martin Price’s book, THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD, where the authors say that “it was the search to outlive the mortal limits set upon us that was at the very root of the idea …to give some semblance of immortality in overcoming the frailty of life’s short span”. (P. 4) It was the Greek historian, Heredotus, in the 5th century BC who first gave the world the idea of “wonders” of the then world (the “seven” had not all been built by his lifetime). The two most impressive for him were the Egyptian pyramids and the city of Babylon. Above all, it was the walls of this city that impressed. These were gigantic in construction. The city’s “Hanging Gardens” bespoke a technical skill in construction engineering that was awesome. History tells us that king Nebuchadnezzar had the hanging gardens built in about 500 BC. All ancient accounts of the gardens emphasise the ingenuity and sheer massivity of the construction which like all the wonders reveal an astonishing skill for those times. It was not until the end of the second century that the concept of “Seven Wonders” had been formed.
The Statue of Zeus at Olympia was built about 450 BC, a shrine of the god, massively sculptured by Phidias, the most famous of Greek sculptors. All the other wonders as far as we can judge, were also on a massive scale representing the height of achievement for those days: the Temple of Artemis at Ephesos, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Pharos (lighthouse) at Alexandria. So supreme were these achievements that it is not surprising that there is a feeling that ordinary mortals had some sort of a supranormal helping hand. I believe, however, all these constructions were capable of erection by human muscle and skill. The exception, the one that still fails to submit to the sentiment of the last sentence, is the greatest and oldest of them all, the pyramids of Egypt, built, according to conventional dating, about 2500 BC. when, it must be remembered, the ancient Egyptians had no knowledge of the pulley and block and tackle.
Ineluctably, we are drawn to the conclusion admubrated in the above quote from Clayton and Price, that the concepts of mortality and immortality adhere to the very stones (and design) of the ancient monuments. This would indeed be a fitting theme for the semi-divine progeny of “fallen angels” who could have been the master builders.
This chapter has been a broad survey of archaeological evidence for the truth of the Bible with regard to the existence of the giants. It has largely followed conventional lines and proved theory. In the next chapter we will explore some of the more unconventional ideas of mainly modern writers on the subject of giants and their activities in ancient times.
© A.B. Finlay Ph.D