Copyright 1994 - 2017 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
April 23, 1997
Last Updated :
December 7, 2010
Og - Of The Remnant Of The Giants, Og Said He Was Shrinking, Islam Qur'an And Giants - 'Ad, A'ad, 'Adid, The Empty Quarter, Hadith, Sahih al-Bukhari, Abu Huraira, Creation Of Big Adam, Ad Giants And Pyramids of Egypt, The Egyptian Slave Laborers Native American Creation Beliefs And Megafauna, Hinduism And Rakshasas Giants, Greek Gigantes Challenge Zeus & Olympians, Zeus And Olympians Defeat Cronus And Titans, Heracles Helps Defeat Gigantes, Titans And Gigantes Imprisoned In Tartarus, Tartarus Is Likewise The Hellish Prison Of The Fallen Angels, Revelation's Heavenly Warfare: Satan And His Angels Cast Out, Herodotus And Orestes The Giant, Plutarch And Giant Theseus, Sins Of Sardis, Pausanias And Giant Ajax, Giants Or Mammals?, Anti-Giant Resistance From The Modern Scientific Community, Homer The Iliad & Ajax, Philostratus The Athenian & Heroikos, Aquilles Was "Beyond Natural Size", The Orontes River Giant
Is it possible that this may also be one of the reasons why the author of the Book of Joshua referred to Og, the giant king of Bashan, as "of the remnant of the giants"? In other words, is it possible that Og was one of the few giants who remained, not only because the Israelites and other peoples had begun to smite and destroy them, and to drive them out, but also because their number had been greatly reduced as a result of the one thousand year period we've just discussed? Consider these verses:
"And the coast of Og king of Bashan, which was of the remnant of the giants, that dwelt at Ashtaroth and at Edrei,"
Joshua 12:4, KJV
"All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out."
Joshua 13:12, KJV
Earlier in this series, I shared with you the Jewish fable concerning Og of Bashan. As we have now seen, while the tale is indeed an embellished fable which Jewish parents tell to their children, some of the characters and events which form a part of the fable are in fact based upon actual Biblical events. If you were curious, and took some time to read the online full version of the fable, you may have noticed that at one point in the tale, Og the giant complained that he was shrinking, due to the lack of enough food to sustain him. Is it possible that this point was based upon an actual Jewish belief concerning these giants; that is, that they actually began to shrink in size over time? If so, it would certainly be in agreement with the theory I have proposed here.
While this series has concentrated on events concerning the giants, as they are described in the pages of the Bible and other Judeo-Christian texts, allow me to point out that the Judeo-Christian literature is not the only text where beings of a great size are discussed. In fact, within Islam, there is likewise a belief concerning huge people and shrinking giants, which ties in directly with everything that we have discussed here, including with the Patriarch Noah.
Islam's holy book -- the Qur'an -- speaks of an ancient tribe of giants who known as the 'Ad, A'ad or 'Adid. They are said to have descended from the Patriarch Noah, or Nuh. The A'ad established their kingdom -- with its capital of Ubar -- in the southern Arabian Peninsula, in an area which ran from the Arabian Sea up into the Dhofar Mountains, and to the edge of the Rub' al-Khali, or the "Empty Quarter". This huge area, which later became eastern Yemen and western Oman, is one of the largest sand deserts in the world. It spans approximately 250,000 square miles, and also happens to be the second most oil-rich region in the world. The first leader of the Adid is believed to have been 'Ad ibn Kin'ad, who lived somewhere between the 23rd and 10th century BC. As a point of reference, the 10th Century BC was also the time of King David and King Solomon.
Similar to the Nephilim, the Qur'an relates in quite a few Surah that the 'Ad were destroyed by Allah by way of a severe storm -- which sounds very similar to a hurricane being as it lasted for seven days and eight nights -- after they refused to take heed to the words of the prophet Hud, who had warned them to return to Allah. Over and over again, the example of the 'Ad is used to warn Muslims to not abandon their faith in Allah. According to the Wikipedia website, the 'Ad kingdom crumbled sometime between the Third Century AD and the Sixth Century AD, "due in large measure to a natural catastrophe which seems to have destroyed much of Ubar."
As I note in the three-part series "2012 - New Age Deception And Psychobabble", in addition to the Qur'an, Muslims revere certain collections of writings known as the "hadith". The hadith are narrations concerning the teachings and practices of Muhammad. One hadith collection which is highly esteemed by Sunni Islam is the Sahih al-Bukhari. In fact, the Sunnis consider the Sahih al-Bukhari to be the most authentic book after the Qur'an itself. In Volume 8, Book 74, Number 246 of the Sahih al-Bukhari, Abu Huraira -- who became a follower and a companion of Muhammad -- narrates the following story concerning the creation of Adam:
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The Prophet said, "Allah created Adam in his complete shape and form (directly), sixty cubits (about 30 meters) in height. When He created him, He said (to him), "Go and greet that group of angels sitting there, and listen what they will say in reply to you, for that will be your greeting and the greeting of your offspring." Adam (went and) said, 'As-Salamu alaikum (Peace be upon you).' They replied, 'AsSalamu-'Alaika wa Rahmatullah (Peace and Allah's Mercy be on you) So they increased 'Wa Rahmatullah' The Prophet added 'So whoever will enter Paradise, will be of the shape and form of Adam. Since then the creation of Adam's (offspring) (i.e. stature of human beings is being diminished continuously) to the present time."
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So as you can see by the previous quote, not only do certain Muslims believe that our ancient ancestors were considerably larger than ourselves, but they also believe that humans have shrunk in physical size since those times. Again, this is in perfect agreement with the theory which I have proposed here concerning the descendants of the Patriarch Noah. Along these same lines, there is another Islamic source -- which I have not been able to verify yet -- which posits that the pyramids of Egypt were built by the Ad giants, which, as we have seen, were believed to stand one hundred and thirty feet in height.
While some people have proposed an alien intervention theory as a way to explain how the Egyptians were able to obtain and elevate such huge blocks from distant quarries, personally, I have my doubts about this theory. One obvious question which seems to expose the weakness of the alien intervention theory is this: If some, or all, of the ancient pyramids were built by an alien race, why is it that, to our knowledge at least, the only mummified remains to be found in such pyramids are of normal-sized human beings? Why would aliens be interested in burying humans in pyramids? The same question can be asked of the Ad giant theory as well. If the pyramids were built by a race of giants, why then do we only find normal-sized human remains within them?
A more plausible theory, which even the Scriptures appear to support, is that ancient Egyptian cities and pyramids were built in part using human slave labor. It has been proposed that the ancient builders of the pyramids simply constructed tiers of sand around the pyramids, as they rose higher and higher in the sky, thus enabling them to mount one block upon another as the project continued. Once the capstone was put in place, the slaves would work in reverse by removing the tiers of sand. In my opinion, this seems like a very logical explanation, which does not require the presence of giants, or intervention by an extraterrestrial race. Consider these verses which are found in the Book of Exodus:
"Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land. Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel. And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour: And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in morter, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour."
Exodus 1:8-14, KJV
Judeo-Christian and Islamic texts are by no means the only sources which discuss over-sized humans and violent giants. While conducting research on the topic of Intelligent Design and Creationism, I discovered that certain Native American tribes -- I wasn't able to pinpoint the exact tribes -- also have beliefs concerning such things. According to one story of creation -- that may actually be an amalgamation of a few different creation stories that was done by Native American author, theologian and historian, Vine Deloria Jr. -- in the beginning, giant people and "megafauna" -- i.e., very large animals -- once lived together in peaceful harmony. However, as a result of volcanic activity, the Golden Age came to an end, and both people and animals began to shrink in size.
Other cultures and religions have their stories of ancient giants as well. For example, in the mythology of India, the "Rakshasas" -- who were likewise known as "Daityas" -- were giants who reigned over the forests in a country known as Lanka. According to the Hindu epic "Ramayana", Vishnu, who was the chief of the trio of supreme Hindu gods, is said to have incarnated in a royal family, and then slew the king of the Rakshasas.
Perhaps you are also familiar with the "Gigantes" of Greek mythology. Said to be the children of Gaia -- or Gaea -- and Uranus, the Gigantes challenged Zeus and the Olympians, who themselves had achieved power after defeating Zeus' father, Cronus, and the Titans. The latter were then imprisoned in Tartarus. Ultimately, the Gigantes were likewise defeated by the Olympians with the help of Heracles -- known in the West as Hercules -- and the Olympians imprisoned the Gigantes in Tartarus, where the Titans were already. According to Greek mythology, it is the writhing of these imprisoned giants which causes earthquakes and volcanic activity.
As I mentioned earlier in this series, and also explain in more detail in the article "Hell And The Lake Of Fire", it is rather interesting to note that Tartarus is the very same place in the bowels of the Earth where the rebellious Fallen Angels -- or Watchers -- are currently awaiting their final judgment from the Lord. As I explained in part one, in his Epistles, the Apostle Peter writes:
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Peter 3:18-20, KJV
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;"
2 Peter 2:4, KJV
Please note that in that latter verse, the word "Hell" is in fact derived from the Greek "tartaroo". This word originates from "tartaros", which is defined in my Greek lexicon as "the deepest abyss of Hell". To my knowledge, the previous verse from the Apostle Peter's second Epistle is the only place in the entire New Testament where this Greek word is used. If we add to this the fact that Tartarus is "the deepest abyss of Hell", in my mind, it suggests that Tartarus is a very unique prison, which may be reserved for the very worst of beings. The lexicon also states:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) the name of the subterranean region, doleful and dark, regarded by the ancient Greeks as the abode of the wicked dead, where they suffer punishment for their evil deeds; it answers to Gehenna of the Jews
2) to thrust down to Tartarus, to hold captive in Tartarus
----- End Quote -----
Considering the previous facts, is it possible then that the aforementioned tales from ancient Greek mythology may really be based upon earlier accounts concerning the giant Nephilim and the fate of the Fallen Angels? While we have discussed the fact that the Fallen Angels were imprisoned in the Earth according to the Book of Genesis, we never concentrated on exactly how this was achieved. In other words, if the Book of Revelation informs us that the Archangel Michael and his Angels fought against Satan and his Angels, and cast them out, is it not reasonable to assume that very similar wars must have been waged in order to subjugate the Fallen Angels in the Book of Genesis? Or are we to believe that they just willingly allowed themselves to be imprisoned in the deepest darkest recesses of Hell without a whimper or a fight? These verses would seem to suggest contrariwise:
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night."
Revelation 12:7-10, KJV
So again, perhaps -- and I do stress "perhaps" -- the wars of the Greek gods and giants were simply a retelling of certain events which had transpired much earlier in human history. If we consider how easy it is for historical accounts to become distorted, corrupted and embellished over time, particularly over extended periods of time long after the original actors are dead, then this seems like one plausible explanation in my view.
However, it's not the only possible explanation. In his only known work "Historia" -- or "The Histories" -- which was an investigation into the root causes of the Greco-Persian Wars, and which chronicles the lives of four Persian kings, that is, Cyrus, Cambyses, Darius and Xerxes, 5th Century BC Greek historian, Herodotus, who some people refer to as the "Father of History", relates an account of the discovery of the body of Orestes -- who was the son of King Agamemnon of Mycenae -- by Spartans in Tegea.
Herodotus describes in Book 1, Chapter 68, how the Oracle of Delphi -- oracle was the name given to seers at that time -- prophesied that the Spartans would not be able to defeat the Tegeans, until they had moved the bones of Orestes to Sparta. Herodotus relates that a Spartan named Lichas discovered the bones of Orestes; and that his remains measured seven cubits in length. Using the short cubit of eighteen inches, Orestes would have been ten and a half feet tall. However, if we use the long cubit of twenty-one inches, Orestes would have stood twelve feet and three inches in height; clearly a giant of a man by anyone's recognition.
There are several other noted Greek historians who provide us with brief descriptions which suggest men of unusual stature. For example, in "The Comparison Of Romulus With Theseus", 1st Century AD Greek historian Plutarch relates how the people of Athens discovered the body of their city's founder; that is, Theseus. In writing about this event, Plutarch notes that the remains of Theseus were "of more than ordinary size". It is interesting to note that Plutarch was a strong critic of the writings of his predecessor, Herodotus.
While not specifically classified as a Greek historian, but more as a Greek traveler and geographer, Second Century AD writer Pausanias also offers us a glimpse into the ancient past, and provides us with a small piece of information that suggests the existence of giant men in bygone times. He was a careful writer, and one who had traveled extensively from his probable native land of Lydia in Western Asia Minor, the capital of which was Sardis. As you may recall from the New Testament's Book of Revelation, Sardis was one of the seven churches in Asia Minor, to whom John was directed to send a letter; although in this case, it wasn't a very positive one. Consider the following verses:
"Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea."
Revelation 1:11, KJV
"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Revelation 3:1-5, KJV
At any rate, the most notable work by the widely-traveled Pausanias is the ten-volume "Description Of Greece"; which, as its name implies, provides the reader with an in-depth description of ancient Greece, based upon his own personal observations during his many travels throughout the lands of the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. In one of his books, Pausanias describes how what were believed to be the skeletal remains of Ajax -- who, like his friend and fellow Achaean warrior, Achilles, was a great hero and formidable adversary in the army of King Agamemnon -- were found on a beach near Sigeum, on the Trojan coast. In describing these remains, Pausanias wrote as follows. I have included some words in brackets in order to clarify his statement:
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"The man [who discovered the exposed bones on the beach after the sea had suddenly washed away part of the beach] told me to judge the size of Ajax like this. The kneecaps, which doctors call the millstones, were exactly the size of a discus for the boy's pentathlon."
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The size of the discus that is mentioned by Pausanias was probably about 12 to 14 centimeters, being as discuses which have been found in more recent times, and which are believed to have been used by adult athletes, have measured 6.5 to 9 inches in diameter, or 16.5 to 23 centimeters. If we assume that the discus that would be used by a boy athlete in such an event was five to six inches, or 12 to 14 centimeters, it provides us with a clue regarding the actual size of Ajax. In other words, if we consider that the normal size of a patella in an adult human is about five centimeters in diameter, this suggests that Ajax may have towered as much as fifteen feet in height; again, clearly a giant of a man.
This same writer -- Pausanias -- who some people believe may have been a doctor, and who seems to have possessed quite an interest in examining unusual skeletons, also mentions in his writings that in the sanctuary of Asklepios at Asopos, he had an opportunity to examine some bones which were "enormous but apparently human". Would a trained doctor make such a comment unless he was reasonably sure of himself?
Of course, as is to be expected, there exist quite a number of modern skeptics who are quick to propose that Pausanias may have in actuality, and unwittingly, examined the remains of a mastodon, or some other large mammal. They use this very same approach as a blanket statement to try to explain away or to totally discredit similar tales regarding the discovery of the ancient remains of giants throughout the world. In an attempt to neutralize anything which does not fit into their narrow-minded, rigid, tightly-controlled understanding of the natural world, these modern skeptics argue that just as that area of the world is the home of many tales concerning giant human beings, it is also replete with the fossilized remains of many large, ancient creatures; too many for me to mention in the scope of this series.
Well, obviously, I cannot disagree with that point. However, at the same time, to only accept their view to the exclusion of all other possibilities is just as dangerous in my view. The slow, careful, methodical, scientific approach no doubt has its merits; and strong ones they are; but is it possible that in certain instances, men of science have built so great a wall of reason and scientific dogma around themselves, that they have in fact become blind, and cannot see the forest for the trees? If Pausanias was a doctor of some kind, as certain people have surmised from his writings, doesn't it seem a bit odd that he would mistake a mastodon skeleton for giant human remains?
On an even larger scale, are we to assume that the Greeks, who contributed so much to the world in the way of the arts, science, literature, mathematics and other disciplines, were at the same time so ignorant, that they were not capable of differentiating a human skull from that of a mastodon or some other large ancient creature? Or are we to suppose that all of the remains that they discovered were simply headless for some odd reason, and that this led to their confusion? As I am sure you realize, this line of reasoning is nothing short of ridiculous; yet I am sharing it with you to point out how the reasoning and arguments put forth by some skeptics is no less ridiculous.
In his "Iliad", noted Greek epic poet Homer seems to offer a degree of support concerning the claim of Ajax's great size. In an English translation of the Iliad by Canadian professor Ian Johnson, in Book Seven entitled "Hector And Ajax", Homer describes the notable Ajax using phrases such as "like some gigantic Ares", "huge Ajax, bulwark of Achaeans", "moving his feet with giant strides" and "godlike".
On a related note, in his classic work "Heroikos" -- or "On Heroes" -- Second Century sophist Philostratus the Athenian, through the voice of his character the vinedresser, describes Achilles as possessing a body that "was beyond natural size, since he grew more easily than do trees near springs". When the Phoenician merchant -- who plays the role of the devil's advocate -- reveals to the vinedresser his doubts regarding the belief that some of the Greek heroes stood ten cubits -- fifteen feet -- in height, the vinedresser replies in part:
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"Then let the ancient things which you find unconvincing be the beginning of my story. You say, I suppose, that you disbelieve that human beings were ten cubits tall. When you can sufficiently accept this, you ought to demand the rest of the story about Protesilaos and whatever else you want about Trojan matters. You will disbelieve none of these things."
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The vinedresser then recounts a story which had been told by his grandfather concerning the remains of Ajax, which is very similar to the account that was written by Pausanias in his "Description Of Greece", as we saw earlier:
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"Listen now, my friend. I had a grandfather who knew many of the things you do not believe. He used to say that the tomb of Ajax was destroyed by the sea near which it lies, and that bones appeared in it of a person eleven cubits tall. He also said that upon his arrival at Troy the emperor Hadrian embraced and kissed some of the bones, wrapped them up, and restored the present tomb of Ajax."
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At this point, the doubting Phoenician merchant challenges the vinedresser by saying that everything he has shared with him is based upon things he has heard, and not upon his own personal eyewitness experiences. To this, the vinedresser then replies:
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"Indeed, if I were versed in legendary lore, I would describe the seven-cubit-long corpse of Orestes, which the Lacedaemonians found in Tegea, as well as that corpse inside the bronze Lydian horse, which had been buried in Lydia before the time of Gyges. When the earth was split by an earthquake, the marvel was observed by Lydian shepherds with whom Gyges then served. The corpse, appearing larger than human, had been laid in a hollow horse that had openings on either side. Even if such things can be doubted because of their antiquity, I do not know anything from our own time that you will deny. Not long ago, a bank of the river Orontes, when it was divided, revealed Aryades -- whom some called an Ethiopian, others an Indian -- a thirty-cubit-long corpse lying in the land of Assyria. Moreover, not more than fifty years ago, Sigeion -- right over here -- revealed the body of a giant on an outcropping of its promontory. Apollo himself asserts that he killed him while fighting on behalf of Troy. When sailing into Sigeion, my guest, I saw the very condition of the earth and how big the giant was. Many Hellespontians and Ionians and all the islanders and Aeolians sailed there as well. For two months the giant lay on the great promontory, giving rise to one tale after another since the oracle had not yet revealed the true story."
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The giant corpse that was discovered near the Orontes River in Syria is also discussed by Pausanias in his "Description Of Greece". Pausanias notes that a certain Roman emperor, who remains unnamed, made plans to build a canal from the Orontes River near Antioch to the Mediterranean Sea. It was during the construction phase that the giant corpse was unearthed.
Please go to part eight for the conclusion of this series.
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