Scientists seem to always be at a loss when it comes to talking about the origins of ancient people. Too often they simply state that they do not know where certain groups of people come from. In one of his books, which forget which one, WF Albright stated that out of the ancient nations, only Israel knows their origins. The Indians, the Egyptians, The Assyrians, the Germanic tribes and the list goes on,, he stated, do not have any idea how their people and nation came to be.
We find the same situation with Sumer and the Ubaid people. Here is what one ancient encyclopedia has to say about both:
The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE. This date has been contested in recent years, however, and it now thought that human activity in the area began much earlier. The first settlers were not Sumerians but a people of unknown origin whom archaeologists have termed the Ubaid people – from the excavated mound of al-Ubaid where the artifacts were uncovered which first attested to their existence
These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. At what point the people who came to be known as Sumerians entered the area is not known ( both quotes come from https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)
It is accepted that Sumer and subsequent civilizations resided around the Mesopotamia region near or between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.
Sumer was the southernmost region of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq and Kuwait) which is generally considered the cradle of civilization. (Ibid).
And that occupation came about 4500 BC
The region of Sumer was long thought to have been first inhabited around 4500 BCE (Ibid)
We do not agree that the flood took place around 3000 BC as some people place the date. That is just to close for comfort and we would accept an earlier date because we do not actually know when the flood happened. The Bible dating and the human calendar do not follow the same rules and produce competing times. If we attribute the construction of the pyramids at Giza and the Sphinx to the pre-world era, then 3000 BC does not sound too far off.
But dating is subjective and not always as accurate as we would like it to be. So for now we will go with the 4500 BC date knowing it could and should be revised. Scientists may not know much about the Ubaid people, we will skip the Sumerians for now, believers can find a clue to their identity and source by reading two passages of scripture.
Ge 11:1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
Ge 11:2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there (NIV)
This particular NIV version places Shinar in the fertile Crescent at Babylon, which seems right as the second passage of scripture mentions who founded that city:
Ge 10:8 Cush was the father of Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on the earth.
Ge 10:9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
Ge 10:10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar.
Ge 10:11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah
Ge 10:12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city
From what we can deduce, given help from archaeology, the Ubaid people were probably the one world, one language civilization that got divided by God and scattered throughout the earth. City building would not be a new idea for them as in the pre-flood civilization cities were quite common. Cain built a city and we cannot be sure how many others followed that example.
From the numerous buried cities found around the world and mysterious buildings that remain, it seems that quite a few people followed Cain’s example. It is also possible that Cain was not the first to build a city and he was the one who followed one of his brothers’ or more example. Thus, it was not impossible or out of the capability of Nimrod and the probably Ubaid people to build the cities in that list.
The ancient encyclopedia backs that point up with the following:
Whoever these people were, they had already moved from a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one prior to 5000 BCE. Excavations from al-Ubaid and other sites throughout southern Iraq have uncovered stone tools from the Ubaid people such as hoes, knives, and adzes and clay artifacts which included sickles, bricks, painted pottery, and figurines.
These people were the first agents of civilization in the region. (Ibid)
That encyclopedia is supported by the History Channels section on Sumer. That channel says:
This early population—known as the Ubaid people—was notable for strides in the development of civilization such as farming and raising cattle, weaving textiles, working with carpentry and pottery, and even enjoying beer. Villages and towns were built around Ubaid farming communitie
Architecture on a grand scale is generally credited to have begun under the Sumerians, with religious structures dating back to 3400 B.C., although it appears that the basics of the structures began in the Ubaid period as far back as 5200 B.C. and were improved upon through the centuries. The buildings are noted for their arched doorways and flat roofs.
Elaborate construction, such as terra cotta ornamentation with bronze accents, complicated mosaics, imposing brick columns and sophisticated mural paintings all reveal the society’s technical sophistication (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)
Unless something changes, we are quite confident in our identification of the Ubaid people as the civilization that built the Tower of Babel and got itself divided.
According to the scholar Samuel Noah Kramer, “The first ruler of Sumer, whose deeds are recorded, if only in the briefest kind of statement, is a king by the name of Etana of Kish, who may have come to the throne quite early in the third millennium B.C. In the King List he is described as he who stabilized all the lands” (The Sumerians, 43). The Sumerian King List is a cuneiform document, written by a scribe of the city of Lagash, sometime around 2100 BCE which lists all of the kings of the region, and their accomplishments, in an attempt to show continuity of order in society dating back to the beginning of civilization (https://www.ancient.eu/sumer/)
We are not going to talk much about the Sumerian King’s list except to say that it provides evidence for the global flood. Also, how else would the author of that list know about pre-flood rulers if there was no connection to Noah and his family? There is no reason to create a false list to justify a ruler’s reign. Once it was found to be false, the ruler’s validity would be undermined and his authority destroyed or seriously weakened.
it is the following that we will contend with
The Sumerian language is the oldest linguistic record. It first appeared in archaeological records around 3100 B.C. and dominated Mesopotamia for the next thousand years. It was mostly replaced by Akkadian around 2000 B.C. but held on as a written language in cuneiform for another 2,000 years. (https://www.history.com/topics/ancient-middle-east/sumer)
It may be the oldest linguistic record but we highly doubt that. Since we do not know what language the post flood one world civilization spoke, no one can truly claim that Sumerian is the oldest. The archaeologists’ inabililty to find inscriptions or written records from the Ubaid people doe snot mean that they did not write their language. Also, since we do not know what language they spoke, how would we recognize it if it was discovered?
With dating as flexible as it is, the language examples from the Ubaid nation could easily be attributed to another society. What we are sure of, is that the one world society or the Ubaids, spoke the same language as the pre-flood world. Noah and his family would have brought it with them when they survived the ark. Since we cannot determine what language the pre-flood civilization spoke, we can never truly identify the true beginning language of the world.
Ge 11:7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
Ge 11:8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
While scientists think that there is a link holding all the languages in the world to some hierarchical structure, this passage seems to go against that idea. Yes, some languages do descend from other ones, but that cannot be said for all languages of the world.
Currently, about 7,000 languages are spoken around the world. They belong to different language families and their origins date back thousands of years ago. Researchers are still finding it difficult to determine which language is the oldest. However, the earliest written languages on record are the cuneiform script that was discovered in Mesopotamia that dates back to 8th millennium BC (https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/2018/01/what-are-the-worlds-oldest-languages-10620/)
|Origins of language
|The origins of human language will perhaps remain for ever obscure. By contrast the origin of individual languages has been the subject of very precise study over the past two centuries.
There are about 5000 languages spoken in the world today (a third of them in Africa), but scholars group them together into relatively few families – probably less than twenty. Languages are linked to each other by shared words or sounds or grammatical constructions. The theory is that the members of each linguistic group have descended from one language, a common ancestor. In many cases that original language is judged by the experts to have been spoken in surprisingly recent times – as little as a few thousand years ago. (http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?historyid=ab13)
Scientists think that there is one mother language but we doubt that thinking. When we read the passage about God confusing the languages, it does not give us details of how exactly he did it. But from what evidence we have seen and God’s power, it is more likely that God made 20, more or less, new languages. We are not even sure if he kept the original pre-flood tongue. The Bible does not tell us.
We cannot be sure but it seems highly unlikely that he used a process such as the one described by scientists. The result was instantaneous and affected different numbers of different groups all with their own portion of the then population. In other words, the establishment of the many different languages was a product of God’s supernatural power, like he displayed at creation. He created the new tongues out of nothing.
He didn’t use a process at creation so why start now? We will conclude, that the people known as the Sumerians were the group that stayed behind and watched their once brethren depart to other lands. Notice that God did not take away their memories and the Sumerians were able to build, write, communicate and much more. They made fine achievements, even being credited with inventing the wheel, as were all the other nations.
We also forget which book Graham Hancock wrote it in, but in his searches, he claimed to have found a group of people that were afraid to build their homes on the flat plain. They built them in the hills and on the sides of mountains. He concluded that this particular group of people were afraid of a flood. If true, this would bring us a little more evidence for the global deluge.
It is also possible that this group thought a lot like the ancient Koreans, who saw how little farm land they had possession of and decided to build their homes on the hills and sides of mountains to preserve the farmland for crops.
As we study the Bible, these little insignificant passages provide us with a large amount of information. We should not be too quick to dismiss them or take the word of unbelieving scientists who ignore scriptures and the answers or clues it provides. As we read those early chapters of Genesis and the life of Abraham, we get the origins for a lot of nations. We know more than the scientists and ancients about the origins of these old nations.
Getting knowledge is something that Solomon encouraged in Proverbs. To be able to handle apologetics correctly, we need to know these historical details. They may save us a lot of embarrassment. Intelligence and knowledge are not wrong to have and help us preserve our faith as well as teach our children the facts that they need to know to preserve theirs.