Anthropology - Other

Andrew Collins and his Worlds of Angels Atlantis and Ancient Technology

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There is nothing very new about Andrew Collins' book From the Ashes of Angels. His main thesis is that modern technology was inspired by an advanced group of humans who appeared to primitive peoples as angels. These Atlanteans invested primitive humans in the Levant with the technology to begin agriculture and metal working. This has been the province of fiction for years, and Collins does not really bring anything new to the table. But he does manage to twist stuff around quite a bit.

Colling bases much of his argument on the Book of 1 Enoch. Now, this is really a collection of five different books: The Book of the Watchers, The Book of Parables of Enoch, The Astronomical Book, The Book of Dream Visions, The Epistle of Enoch. Now this book, 1 Enoch, is not to be confused with 2 Enoch or 3 Enoch, as those are from a different cultural background and tradition entirely, and are probably two or three hundred years older that 1 Enoch.

Collins uses the prophetic visions of angels in 1 Enoch to back up his ideas. 1 Enoch discusses the existence of angels that have fallen, that retreat to the earth, that set up with human women, that have monstrous progeny with these human women. Enoch is referring, of course, to the Nephilim mentioned in Chapter 6 of Genesis.

"Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. Then the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown." (Genesis 6.1-4)

This is a problematic passage and one that has inspired lots of creative interpretations beyond the common sense one that Enoch obviously adopts. Collins is perhaps more creative than most. Collins claims that these fallen angels teach man technology, and are actually an advanced group of humans. But his other works directly imply that extraterrestrials were involved, and that they were located in Atlantis at some point, as we can see in works like Alien Energy and The Cygnus Mystery.

Here are the problems with Collins' book.

1. Collins gets it wrong when he discusses why 1 Enoch is not included in Jewish or Christian canons as authentic. Collins thinks it's a conspiracy of Christianity and rational thinkers of the third century CE. He believes that these dead white men are hiding the truth, that they don't want us to consider the possibility that fallen angels, read demons, were capable of having relations with humans, nor that these demons are responsible for the technology which we enjoy.

The problem with this is that Tertullian claimed that the Jews did not regard the book as canonical because it contains obvious prophecy concerning Jesus Christ. That the book was apparently at least partially written during the period of the Maccabees pretty much puts it out of the realm of possibility that it was written by Enoch, the great grandfather of Noah.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church DOES regard the work as canonical. It even suggests that the first line of 1 Enoch, are the first words ever written down by man, since Enoch was the first to write letters.

The early church regarded 1 Enoch as not scripture, but still inspired. That is why they accepted the Book of Jude into the New Testament, even though it quotes directly from 1 Enoch. The Epistles of Peter do not quote from 1 Enoch, but it is obvious that Peter knew the work intimately. So why didn't the church place this book into the canon of scripture? Simply because the church fathers could not find any authoritative evidence that Enoch might have had a hand in writing the book. To them, and to us, it seemed a fairly recent creation put forth by Essenes, perhaps, or maybe pre-Gnostic philosophers. It was obviously taken very seriously at the time of Christ, the Essenes having kept fragments of the work in their Qumran creches.

2. Enoch's tale is not the origin of metalworking and agriculture. In Genesis chapter 4, it clearly shows that Cain, built the first city, which of course necessitates agriculture. This is several generations before the Enoch of 1 Enoch. The confusion arises because Cain's son was also named Enoch. But the Enoch of 1 Enoch is descended from Cain's brother Seth. Anyway, this passage in Genesis states that his descendants invented nomadic husbandry, harp and flute music, and bronze and iron tools and instruments of industry. It isn't until Chapter six, in the time of Noah, that there is any indication of the possibility of angels descending onto the earth to impregnate women.

If Collins wishes to base his new age theories about the development of superior human cultures, then he should at least examine the scriptures that are most authentic, and then examine them for what their common sense meaning is.

3. Collins attempts to explain the apparently sudden rise of civilization in several parts of the world at the same time by attributing the advances to a special culture of lost human ancestors who had advanced learning. These Atlanteans, perhaps gifted by extraterrestrial knowledge, are the source of the Sumer, Babylon, Egypt and Levant cultures.

The problem with this is that modern archeology really doesn't back it up. What we can see from the evidence is that these cultures did not spring up suddenly in the sense that Collins is talking about. It is true that the advance of these civilizations occurred relatively quickly, but we can see a steady pace from very humble attempts at planting semi-stable communities. The actual real stratospheric rise in these cultures only occurred after the rise of a despot who could administer the large civic projects necessary to build a civilization and culture.

Here's a more reasonable anthropological approach to the situation.
1) A group of nomads discovers wild grain that has fermented, and takes to the alcoholic by products.
2) In order to get more beer, and even begin a lively market for its trade, they plant permanent settlements in order to cultivate the wild grain, thereby beginning the domestication of grain.
3) In order to be close to this source of beer, and to provide for the owners of these breweries, others settle in the general area, continuing to enlarge the settlement until it becomes a major hub of commerce.
4) Some likely leader gets the idea to organize the thing, and hires thugs to impose his vision of a social order.
5) With more thugs he acquires the territorial rights to more of these city-settlements. He finds brainy types who improve his tools and weapons.
6) With technological advances allowed by a leisure class who are supported by the beer trade, this despot becomes a king and then an emperor by consolidating more and more people.
7) Through conquest, and the continuing improvement in agriculture, his society can support a slave class which can be used to build civic improvements, including some really nice statues of the despot.

Now, this is the general process that most anthropologists see as the rise of these river-basin civilizations. It makes a lot more sense than a special group of super-advanced humans giving away free technology to primitive people. There is actual archaeological evidence supporting this. Of course, this may not be as sexy as Collins' advanced angel theory. But it does have the advantage of being testable without resorting to psychics, divination, and past history regression therapy.

More about this author: John Devera

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