Australian well site geologist: Timothy Casey B.Sc.(Hons.) Timothy Casey  B.Sc.(Hons.)

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The Messengers of God & Messianic Cyclicity

 

Abstract

Emergence of religious and philosophical thought is very old, possibly as old as humanity itself. However, religious revelation and philosophical inspiration appear and appear to be propagated in response to climate change. The hardship of colder periods seems to inspire slowly propagated bursts of contemplation in numerous geographic centres, whereas the hardship of oppression resulting from expansionism of warmer, more agriculturally generous periods, seems to bring about rapidly propagated belief systems that spread on the front of the empire. This idea is reinforced by the coincidence of singular emergences of widespread belief systems with climate-optimums, and of clusters of relatively isolated philosophical systems with climate-minimums.

 

The Mystery of the First Messenger

In one of his Tablets Baha'u'llah wrote:  `The first person who devoted himself to philosophy was Idris.  Thus was he named. Some also called him Hermes.  In every tongue he hath a special name.  He it is who hath set forth in every branch of philosophy thorough and convincing statements.  After him Balinus derived his knowledge and sciences from the Hermetic Tablets and most of the philosophers who followed him made their philosophical and scientific discoveries from his words and statements...'.  In the Qur'an, Sura 19, verses 57 and 58, is written:  `And commemorate Idris in the Book; for he was a man of truth, a Prophet; And we uplifted him to a place on high.'

Although some may dispute the credibility of this quote, it reflects a broad perception that Hermetic tradition was written and not oral. Although many renaissance forgeries and fabrications attributed to Hermes are in extent, it has been found that “Hermes Trismegistas easily predates the earliest Greek philosophers and is at least contemporary with the earliest Jewish traditions” (Scarborough, 1988, p20). The name Trismegistas refers to the three bodies of philosophy: Mineral, Plant, and Animal. Hermes had a son to whom he wrote. This son was named Tat and later became known as Thothe (Scarborough, 1988, p22). Tat is named as the inventor of writing by the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and so it would seem that the Hermetic Writings long predate earliest Jewish traditions, and are at least contemporary with the earliest Sumarian Tablets. According to both Greek and Arabic texts, Hermes is Enoch descendent of Seth of Biblical fame. Hermes was known a number of other cultures by other names including Mercury, Idris and Thothe. Hermes was deified on account of his royal descent. His teachings were originally inscribed upon clay to survive fire, and also upon stone to survive a flood. It was obviously his concern that a major fire or flood might deprive future generations of his teachings. It is believed that these tablets were inscribed by the family (descendants or members) of Seth (Scarborough, 1988, p23).

A striking parallel is observed in the Irish legend of Bright (later Brighid, then Brigit), a triple goddess who may relate to the earlier Catal Huyuk of Anatolia around 7500 BC, like Hermes, bore three bodies of knowledge; poetry, smithing, and healing. Unlike Hermes, Bright was a woman. However, discrepancies between bodies of knowledge attributed to Hermes and Bright are no greater than the discrepancies in the names given to certain Hermetic writings. For example, the Emerald Tablet as it is known in Europe was referred to in the Middle East as the Chrysolite Tablet. Such parallels as those between Hermes and Bright become very interesting in view of the fact that both Celtic and Semetic peoples originate from the region surrounding the Black Sea.

The flood accounts of Gilgamesh and Genesis likely relate the flooding of the Black Sea circa 5600 B.C (Ryan & Pitman, 1998). If we assume that the line of descent portrayed by Genesis is in correct sequential order, Hermes would predate these flood accounts and this is supported by the lack of a Hermetic flood account made conspicuous by the abundance of Hermetic analogues for other traditions. The flooding of the Black Sea is an event that could explain the great journey of both Celtic and Semitic peoples if we assume that both originated from the valley became the Black Sea around 7600 years ago. This could also speak to a substantial period during which these cultures were influenced by significant nomadic elements.

 

The Appearance of Progressive Revelation

This history speaks to the age and possible origin of some of our oldest surviving religious traditions. The Baha'i concept of Progressive Revelation takes us from the first divine message to humanity through a progressively advancing historical series to the most modern such revelation. For example:

5600 BC Sabaean Revelation
1300 BC Hindu Revelation
1290 BC Hebrew Revelation (Moses)
600 BC  Zoroastrian Revelation (Zoroaster)
590 BC Buddhist Revelation (Buddha)
30 AD Christian Revelation (Christ)
613 AD Islamic Revelation (Mohammed)
1844 AD Babi Revelation (The Bab)
1863 AD Baha'i Revelation (Baha'u'llah)

Although this appears to be a series, notice the clustering. If we include some of the other major religious and philosophical dates of origin, this clustering becomes more pronounced:

7500+ BC Matriarchal Commentator (Bright?)
5600 BC Sabaean Revelation (Hermes?)
3228 BC Krishnan Hindu Revelation (Krishna)
1300 BC Vedic Hindu Revelation (Unknown)
1290 BC Hebrew Revelation (Moses)
600 BC Dao (Laozi - "One of the Three Pure Ones")
600 BC Brahmic Hindu Revelation (Unknown)
600 BC  Zoroastrian Revelation (Zoroaster)
550 BC Confucianism (Confucius)
440 BC Elenchus (Socrates)
420 BC Buddhist Revelation (Buddha)
330 BC Tao (Zhuangzi)
330 BC Humanism (Mengzi)
30 AD Christian Revelation (Christ)
613 AD Islamic Revelation (Mohammed)
1844 AD Babi Revelation (The Bab)
1863 AD Baha'i Revelation (Baha'u'llah)

One can observe clustering of philosophical emergence around 1300 BC, 600 BC, 430 BC, 330 BC, and 1850 AD with the emergence of Krishnan Hinduism at 3228 BC, Christianity at 30 AD, and Islam around 610 AD, whose isolated emergences are marked by extent of propagation. This is not so much a progressive pattern as suggested by Baha'i thinkers, but a pattern reflecting cyclic influences. Climate is well documented as a cyclic phenomenon, which raises the question of possible correlations with philosophical emergence.

 

Philosophical Emergence and Climatic Influences

Using the climate data of Daansgaard  et. al. (1969) and Schonweise (1995), we can compare the times of "revelation" with the high and low points of global climate. The emergence of modern philosophies such as Christianity (Roman Climate Optimum), Islam (Medieval Warm Period), and the Baha'i Faith (current period of global warming) are marked by above average global mean temperatures, marking periods of relative plenty. The emergent cluster comprising Mosaic Judaism and Vedic Hinduism at around 1300BC is marked by the temperature minimum preceding the Minoan Climate-Optimum. The emergent cluster comprising Dao, Brahmic Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and to a greater extent, Confucianism, around 600-550BC is marked by a rapid temperature decline following the Minoan Climate-Optimum; with temperatures matching those of the previous minimum. The emergent cluster of Elenchus & Buddhist thought emerging around 420BC, correspond to the temperature minimum between the Minoan and Roman Climate-Optimums. The Zhuangzi Tao and Mengzi Humanist schools of thought emerged around 330BC when temperatures were increasing but still at or below that of the minimum prior to the Minoan Climate-Optimum.

graph of climate data over the past 11000 years depicting two major Holocene Optimums 
(warm periods), the Minoan Climate Optimum, the Roman Climate Optimum, the Medieval Warm Period, 
and the less significant current warm period.
Average near-surface temperatures of the northern hemisphere during the past 11,000 years compiled by David Archibald after Dansgaard et al. (1969) & Schönwiese (1995).

Although Krishnan Hinduism appears during a below average optimum during a period of extended cold. In the sense the the timing of Krishnan emergence coincides with a relative optimum buttresses the idea that the opportunity for communication and thus propagation of ideas as a result of warmer, more prosperous climates may result in an initial school of thought spreading before competing schools emerge, or spreading on a wave of expansionism that may suppress competing schools of thought. This is similar to the emergence of Christianity and Islam during climate-optimums, from which they ultimately spread with the empire in which they emerged. Given the emergence of the Baha'i Faith during the modern climate-optimum, it would not be unreasonable to predict a rapid expansion of Baha'i thinking. In terms of values embodied in the Baha'i Principles, this is certainly the case. However, the sparse propagation of strict religious adherence may either reflect the lack of any definitive imperial front in what has become very much a global community, or perhaps the modern freedom of individuals to choose for themselves a philosophical identity other than that favoured by their leaders.

Otherwise, it seems that philosophies generally tend to emerge in clusters of geographically isolated schools of thought during times when when cold and drought impose much more severe and universal hardship. Perhaps philosophy is a compound empathic response human suffering. During such times, it would not be unreasonable to expect communication of ideas to be hampered, possibly by a reduction in travel and trade that follows the collapse of empires formerly protected by standing armies. It is noteworthy that philosophies originating during such periods are not nearly so widespread as those originating during climate-optimums. In this respect, it is interesting to note that the Little Ice Age dominated the first half of the Renaissance, during which numerous ideas flourished, but were initially localised in extent.

 

Conclusion

It would appear that philosophical contemplation as a product of advanced empathic consideration (given the popularity of the Empathic Principle or Golden Rule as axiom and Maxim of diverse philosophies and religions) emerges cyclically in accordance with climatic conditions. Generally, clusters of philosophical thought and prophetic revelation emerge during colder periods, possibly as an empathic response to the poverty endemic to such times, and are moreover geographically limited in their extent. During times of expansionism, fuelled by the better agricultural yields of warm periods, singular religious schools emerge. While this is possibly occurs from within an underclass which draws the empathy of such thinkers, the ideas and beliefs of such system soon overtake the empire, and spread rapidly with the empire, perhaps to the exclusion of competing systems of contemplation. From this we may infer the cyclic nature of messianic revelation, wherein climate is a controlling factor in the emergence and propagation of ideas and belief systems. Perhaps when taking exception to various antics of religion, we might consider it as well to blame the weather.

 

Bibliography

Baha’u’llah, 1988, "Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas", Bahá'i Publishing Trust, U.S.A., Footnote, pp. 147-148.

Dansgaard, W., Johnsen, S.J., Moller, J., 1969, "One thousand centuries of climatic record from Camp Century on the Greenland Ice Sheet.", Science v. 166(3903), pp.377-381.

Ryan, W. & Pittman, W. 1998, "Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries about the Event that Changed History", Simon & Schuster, New York,  ISBN: 0-684-81052-2.

Scarborough, J. 1988, "Hermetic and Related Texts in Classical Antiquity", E. Merkel & A. G. Debus, (Eds.), Hermeticism and the Renaissance, Associated University Presses, London.

Schönwiese, C., 1995, "Klimaänderungen: Daten, Analysen, Prognosen", Springer, Heidelberg

Scott, W. 1924, "Hermetica", Oxford University Press.