Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Desire for God Creates Civilization

For years archaeologists have worked with the idea that the domestication of plants and animals such as wheat and sheep allowed humans to begin constructing and settling in cities.  Humanity moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural society giving birth to cities and civilization.  A find currently being explored suggests it was the other way around. 

Gobekli Tepe

 

Klaus Schmidt, a German archaeologist exploring Gobekli Tepe has found what appears to be the world's oldest temple in southeastern Turkey.  But curiously, there is no evidence of a permanent settlement at the site.  Everything points to a hunter-gatherer society constructing this temple, even though it consists of massive pillars and huge megaliths weighing many tons each.  To support such a large construction project the hunter-gatherers would have had to stick around for a while and learn how to live in one place.  The domestication of wild sheep and wheat in the area would have this easier.  So it was the construction of a temple and a city that lead to agriculture instead of vice versa. 

Gobekli Tepe

 

But this was not just a desire to build something big.  It was a desire to build a temple--an early attempt to connect with God that lead this early society to change their very way of life.  Carvings on the megaliths, which date to around 9,000 B.C., are of animals such as lions, scorpions, spiders, and vultures.  The nature of the animals possibly points to a desire for a powerful and mystical God (or more likely gods) with the ability to defend against the constantly-threatening forces of chaos.  Whether or not they actually did connect with God, it was their desire to do so that gave birth to civilization.

 

Although culture has changed dramatically in 11,000 years, the desire that produced civilization still exists.  Ours is a predominantly secular culture looking to science and technology for protection from the forces of chaos.  But science and technology have fallen short of providing the spiritual connection that every human being yearns for.  That connection, however, is available through Jesus Christ, and those who know Him should be examples of hope in the midst of a threatening and chaotic world.  If those who were seeking God created civilization, how much more should those who are in relationship with Him be creating culture today?

 

(photos are from a photo gallery at the article linked above)

 

Josh R

1 comment:

Ron Giesecke said...

Great point in that last paragraph.