One of the most enigmatic (and theologically challenging) tales in the Bible is related in the first verses in Chapter 6 of Genesis—the tale of the Nefilim, sons of the gods who (in the days before the Deluge “and thereafter too”) took “daughters of man” as wives and had heroic children by them.
Some eighty years ago a schoolboy, fortunate to study the Bible in its original Hebrew, was reprimanded for asking why, though Nefilim meant ‘Those Who Had Descended’ (from heaven, to Earth), translators render the word as ‘giants.’ The schoolboy was me, and the unfair reprimand led me to study ancient myths, trace their origins to Man’s first known civilization in Sumer and to write The 12th Planet and subsequent books comprising the ‘Ancient Astronauts’ scenario: The Nefilim, also called Anakim in the Bible, were the Sumerian Anunnaki—“Those who to Earth came from the heavens”—and more specifically, from Nibiru, a far out planet in our own solar system.
They were the ancient gods whose feats, detailed in Sumerian texts inscribed on clay tablets, were recalled in the Genesis tales of Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, and the eventual intermarriages. It all made sense (at least to me); it explained enigmas ranging from biology to astronomy; it was supported by countless pictorial depictions on objects called cylinder seals. But could one prove it?
At that same time some eighty years ago, the famed British archaeologist Leonard Woolley, excavating in Iraq in the sacred precinct of Ur—the Sumerian city where Abraham’s journey to Canaan and monotheism began— unearthed a group of unusual tombs. They were, and remain, extraordinary in their construction and layout, astounding in the incredible wealth and craftsmanship of the artifacts found therein (even the most common utensils were made of gold) and above all unique in the “inhumation” of scores of attendants (seventy three in just one tomb!) who were buried alive alongside the deceased VIP’s—a practice unknown at any time then, before, or thereafter.
Who were the VIP’s so buried—in the third millenium B.C.—in what has since been known as the Royal Tombs of Ur? Various inscriptions linked them to the First Dynasty of Ur. Two of the VIP’s were identified by their inscribed cylinder seals as a female called Nin.Puabi and a male Mes.kalam.dug. Their skeletal remains were taken to London, x-rayed and examined for their anthropological peculiarities, listed as remains of a ‘queen’ and a ‘prince’ from Su-mer—and forgotten.
But now, eighty years later, the two occurrences have come full circle and in combination, provide the elusive evidence for an alien presence on Earth in the ancient past.
That after thirty-five years since The 12th Planet the Biblical Data Cycle and the Scientific Discovery Cycle, like two combination wheels in a safe, will click into the Opening Spot at Chapter 6 of Genesis was neither foreseen not premeditated by me; but it was perhaps predetermined and inevitable by the very nature of the subject: human origins.
Looking back, one now realizes that at every stage the tales of our creation (brief in the Bible, quite detailed in the Sumerian texts) are reports of DNA, genomics, and genetic engineering: The “seed of life” (DNA) is transmitted from Nibiru to Earth during a celestial collision; Man is fashioned by the Elohim/Anunnaki by adding some of their genes to those of a primitive hominid to attain a Homo sapiens; the infertile hybrid is given the ability to procreate by another genetic manipulation (the “Garden of Eden” episode); and then the cycle is completed by the mating of gods and Earthlings, bringing about the prized achievement, the demigods.
It is with the demigods that that chain of genetic mixing assumes a personal interest to all of us. The clues are brought into focus in the epic tale of Gilgamesh, the most famous of all known demigods, who was king in the city of Uruk circa 2650 B.C. His father was the demigod Lugalbanda; but because his mother was the goddess Ninsun, he was more than a demigod—he was “two thirds of him divine.” That, he believed, entitled him to the longevity (alias “immortality”) of the gods. But his search, he was forewarned, would be futile because, in the words of the Gilgamesh Epic:
When the gods created Man Wide understanding they perfected for him; Wisdom they had given him; To him they had given Knowledge— Everlasting life they had not given him
Come to think of it, that is exactly the lesson of the biblical Garden of Eden tale: Having partaken from the Tree of Knowledge, the Earthlings are expelled and denied access to the Tree of Life.
What was it, genetically, that the gods’ deliberately held back from us? What genes that grant longevity, ward off cancer?
With the revolutionary scientific advances of genomics, such genetic differences could be ascertained were we able to get hold of an Anunnaki god, or a demigod, to do comparison genome sequencing.
And that, I reveal in my latest book There Were Giants Upon the Earth, might now be possible—because Mes.kalem.dug was a demigod and Nin.Puabi was not a ‘queen’—she was a NIN, a goddess. Being a female, her Mitochondrial DNA that comes through the female line was 100% Niburian.
With her lineage established, I approached the Natural History Museum in London. They confirmed the existence of the skeletal remains, but turned down my suggestion that they conduct the comparison genome sequencing. After two years of prodding, the publication of There Were Giants has led the Museum to mitigate their absolute “No” to “we might consider it” if a qualified genomics institute will undertake the project.
I have approached some of the leading scientists in this field, offering to fund a “Goddess of Ur Genome Project.” So it now remains to be seen whether Science will rise to the challenge of possibly proving that—as Zecharia Sitchin has claimed all along There Were Extraterrestrials Upon the Earth.
© Z. Sitchin, June 2010
CRITICS REMAIN UNCONVINCED Even in the Alternative Science Community Sitchin’s Thesis Has Been Very Controversial
When Zecharia Sitchin first wrote his books, The 12th Planet and its sequels, only specialists could read the Sumerian language, but now anyone can check his translations by utilizing the 2006 book Sumerian Lexicon, and Michael S. Heiser, a scholar of ancient languages, has found many deviations in Sitchin’s translations.
Sitchin’s “planetary collision” view does superficially resemble a theory which is seriously entertained by modern astronomers—the giant impact theory of the Moon’s formation about 4.5 billion years ago by a body impacting with the newly-formed Earth. However, Sitchin’s proposed series of rogue planetary collisions differ in both details and timing. As with Immanuel Velikovsky’s earlier Worlds in Collision thesis, Sitchin claims to have found evidence of ancient human knowledge of rogue celestial motions in a variety of mythological accounts. In Velikovsky’s case, these interplanetary collisions were supposed to have taken place within the span of human existence, whereas for Sitchin these occurred during the early stages of planetary formation, but entered the mythological account passed down via the alien race which purportedly evolved on Nibiru after these encounters.
While Sitchin’s scenario for the creation of the Solar System is hard to reconcile with the Earth’s current small orbital eccentricity of only 0.0167, Sitchin’s supporters maintain that it would explain much of Earth’s peculiar early geography due to cleaving from the celestial collision, i.e., solid continents on one side and a giant ocean on the other.
The scenario outlined by Sitchin, with Nibiru returning to the inner solar system regularly every 3,600 years, implies an orbit with a semi-major axis of 235 Astronomical Units, extending from the asteroid belt to twelve times farther beyond the sun than Pluto. “Elementary perturbation theory indicates that, under the most favorable circumstances of avoiding close encounters with other planets, no body with such an eccentric orbit would keep the same period for two consecutive passages. Within twelve orbits the object would be either ejected or converted to a short period object. Thus, the failed search for a trans-Plutonian planet by T.C. Van Flandern, then with the U.S. Naval Observatory, which Sitchin uses to bolster his thesis, is no support at all.”
Sitchin claims that “from an equal start, the Nefilim evolved on Nibiru 45 million years ahead of comparable development on Earth with its decidedly more favorable environment.” Such an outcome is unlikely, to say the least, since Nibiru would spend over 99% of its time beyond Pluto. Sitchin’s explanation that heat from radioactive decay and a thick atmosphere keep Nibiru warm is absurd and does not address the problem of darkness in deep space. Also unexplained is how the Nefilim, who evolved long after Nibiru arrived, knew what happened when Nibiru first entered the solar system.
Sitchin bases his arguments on his personal interpretations of Pre-Nubian and Sumerian texts and the seal VA243. Sitchin claims these ancient civilizations knew of a 12th planet, when in fact they only knew five. Hundreds of Sumerian astronomical seals and calendars have been decoded and recorded, and the total count of planets on each seal has been five. Seal VA 243 has 12 dots that Sitchin identifies as planets. When translated, seal VA 243 reads “You’re his Servant” which is now thought to be a message from a nobleman to a servant. According to semitologist Michael S. Heiser, the so-called sun on Seal VA 243 is not the Sumerian symbol for the sun but is a star, and the dots are also stars. The symbol on seal VA 243 has no resemblance to the hundreds of documented Sumerian sun symbols.
Peter James has criticized him both for ignoring the world outside of Mesopotamia and more specifically for misunderstanding Babylonian literature:
He uses the Epic of Creation Enuma Elish as the foundation for his cosmogony, identifying the young god Marduk, who overthrows the older regime of gods and creates the Earth, as the unknown “Twelfth Planet.” In order to do this he interprets the Babylonian theogony as a factual account of the birth of the other “eleven” planets. The Babylonian names for the planets are established beyond a shadow of a doubt—Ishtar was the deity of Venus, Nergal of Mars, and Marduk of Jupiter—and confirmed by hundreds of astronomical/astrological tables and treatises on clay tablets and papyri from the Hellenistic period. Sitchin merrily ignores all this and assigns unwarranted planetary identities to the gods mentioned in the theogony. For example, Apsu, attested as god of the primeval waters becomes, of all things, the Sun! Ea, as it suits Sitchin, is sometimes planet Neptune and sometimes a spaceman. And the identity of Ishtar as the planet Venus, a central feature of Mesopotamian religion, is nowhere mentioned in the book—instead Sitchin arbitrarily assigns to Venus another deity from Enuma Elish, and reserves Ishtar for a role as a female astronaut.
Similar ideas have been advanced by authors such as Immanuel Velikovsky, Erich von Däniken, Alan F. Alford, and Laurence Gardner. Alford later recanted his views and became a critic of Sitchin’s interpretation of myth. Sitchin in “the case of Adam’s alien genes” claims that 223 unique genes found by the Human Genome Sequencing Consortium are without the required predecessors on the genomic evolutionary tree. Later researchers have argued that the conclusion from the Human Genome Sequencing Consortium can not be drawn due to a lack of a comprehensive gene database for comparison. An analysis by Salzberg identified 40 potential genes laterally transferred into the genome from prokaryotic organisms. Salzberg also argues that gene loss combined with sample size effects and evolutionary rate variation provide an alternative, more biologically plausible, explanation.
William Irwin Thompson comments on what he calls Sitchin’s ‘literalism’:
What Sitchin sees is what he needs for his theory. So figure 15 on page 42 is radiation therapy, and figure 71 on page 136 is a god inside a rocket-shaped chamber. If these are gods, why are they stuck with our cheap B movie technology of rockets, microphones, space-suits, and radiation therapy? If they are gods, then why can’t they have some really divine technology such as intradimensional worm-hole travel, antigravity, starlight propulsion, or black hole bounce rematerializations? Sitchin has constructed what appears to be a convincing argument, but when he gets close to single images on ancient tablets, he falls back into the literalism of “Here is an image of the gods in rockets.” Suddenly, ancient Sumer is made to look like the movie set for Destination Moon. Erich Von Däniken’s potboiler Chariots of the Gods has the same problem. The plain of Nazca in Peru is turned into a World War II landing strip. The gods can cross galactic distances, but by the time they get to Peru, their spaceships are imagined as World War II prop jobs that need an enormous landing strip. This literalization of the imagination doesn’t make any sense, but every time it doesn’t, you hear Sitchin say “There can be no doubt, but…”