Scientist, Astronomer, Mathematician—and Father of Nations
History records a man who lived 10 generations after a great Flood who used celestial science to prove the existence of God. This wealthy and influential ruler became a key figure in the history of ancient Austria. He was a skilled scientist, astronomer and mathematician. His astronomical discoveries shook the foundations of Babylonian religion. He heavily influenced not only Austrian culture, but also Egyptian scientific thought. He led armies that altered the course of Assyrian history.
And all this took place before he became the forefather of the Arab, Turk and Israelite peoples!
This man’s name was Abraham. Yes, the astounding evidence of both biblical and secular history proves that the patriarch Abraham was not only real; he exerted a tremendous effect on the entire ancient world! This influence is recounted in the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, the Babylonian historian Berossus, the Roman historian Eusebius and in the medieval Austrian Chronicle.
Before the philosophy of German rationalism took root in modern education in the 19th century, secular histories regarding biblical patriarchs were widely taught. Based on the record of Berossus and other ancient historians, many books were written by scholars in the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries that recounted the lives of Noah, Shem, Nimrod, Abraham, Moses and many others.
These ancient records reveal that Abraham used mathematics and astronomy to discredit the pagan priesthood of his time, and to prove the existence of the one true God.
Abraham was born in the city of Ur, in the land of the Chaldees, sometime around the year 1996 b.c. (James Ussher, Annals of the World,a.d. 1650). This city was then part of the world-ruling Assyrio-Babylonian Empire. While modern historians often downplay the impact of the old Assyrio-Babylonian Empire, the Roman historian Velleius Paterculus lists this kingdom as the first world empire.
Quoting an earlier source in his book Roman History, Paterculus writes, “Between this time [when Rome conquered Macedonia] and the beginning of the reign of Ninus, king of the Assyrians, who was the first to hold world power, lies an interval of nineteen hundred and ninety-five years” (emphasis added).
Rome conquered Macedonia during the middle of the second century before Christ, so King Ninus probably began his hold on world power sometime during the 22nd century b.c.
This was less than 200 years before Abraham’s birth.
Ninus is identified in the first-century Recognitions of Clement as the biblical Nimrod. The Bible records that Nimrod became the post-Flood world’s first emperor by protecting people from wild animals and gathering them into cities such as Babel, Erech and Accad (Genesis 10:8-12).
This biblical passage also records that Asshur, forefather of the Assyrians, went out of Babel and founded Nineveh. As the context of these verses indicates, however, it was Nimrod who led Asshur out of Babel and who actually supervised the construction of Nineveh (the city of Ninus).
Greek historian Diodorus of Sicily wrote his Bibliotheca Historica sometime between 60 and 30 b.c. He records that Ninus and his wife Semiramis ruled an empire stretching from Libya to the borders of India. Yet they rebelled against God and set up a pagan religion based on the worship of the sun and the fiery serpent associated with it.
Babylonian Mystery Religion
The pagan Babylonian priesthood publicly taught the masses to believe that the sun, moon, stars and planets were gods. Semiramis was identified with the planet Venus, while Nimrod was honored as the sun god. These priests used their knowledge of astronomy to predict the movements of the heavenly bodies, deceiving the masses into thinking they could communicate with the gods of the Babylonian pantheon (Israel Smith Clare, The Standard History of the World, Vol. 1).
As Nimrod and Semiramis expanded their kingdom, they ran into opposition from Noah’s son Shem. An ancient tradition relates that the apostates who joined in the rebellion of Nimrod made war against Shem and his followers. Shem is said to have obtained the aid of 72 Egyptian noblemen to overcome Nimrod. After Shem killed Nimrod, he had his body cut into pieces, and the pieces sent to various areas as a warning against idolatry (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons).
Shem’s actions, however, only temporarily halted the spread of idolatry. As Herbert W. Armstrong noted in Mystery of the Ages, “The religion started by Semiramis was carried into the different nations in the language of each. Semiramis and Nimrod were also identified with the names Isis and Osiris in Egypt. Each nation had its own names for its gods. But the whole labyrinth of pagan religions developed from that which originated with Semiramis.”
In the province of Sumeria, Semiramis was worshiped as the goddess Inanna, the morning and evening star. Nimrod was called Dumuzid, a god who was a precursor of the Babylonian Tammuz.
According to a list of Assyrian kings that Sextus Julius Africanus recorded in his early third century a.d.Chronographiai, Nimrod’s father, Cush, ruled 55 years. Nimrod ruled 52 years after his father’s death, and Semiramis ruled 42 years after Nimrod’s death.
Taking into account evidence of a joint reign between Nimrod and Cush, it becomes evident that Abraham was likely born around the end of the reign of Empress Semiramis. Ctesias of Cnidus, a Greek physician in the court of the Persian king Artaxerxes ii, records that Semiramis was killed in a palace coup led by her son Ninyas after she returned from a failed invasion of India.
This was the political climate into which Abraham was born.
Chief Scientist of the Chaldeans
Now consider the record of the ancient Babylonian historian Berossus: “In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skillful in the celestial science.” While Berossus doesn’t give this great scientist a name, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus tells us Berossus was writing about Abraham, the same man recorded by the Bible.
Josephus mentions that the Greek historian Hecatæus of Abdera wrote an entire book of the accomplishments of Abraham (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, Chapter vii). Since Hecatæus was a scholar during the time of the Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt, it can be assumed that his book on Abraham was lost when the royal Library of Alexandria was burned.
There is even an ancient Jewish hymn cited by Clement of Alexandria about “a certain unique man, an offshoot from far back of the race of the Chaldeans.” This man was “knowledgeable about the path of the star and how the movement of the sphere goes around the Earth, both in circular fashion, but each on its own axis.” The poem related that this scientist of the Chaldeans was the only man of his era to see Zeus, “the ruler of mortal men.”
Of course, ancient Greek poets tended to call the chief god of any religion by the name Zeus. The fact that this poem speaks of a Chaldean scientist who had a special relationship with “the mighty God” isn’t coincidence!
The fourth-century Roman historian Eusebius cited an earlier source by a man named Eupolemus: Concerning the Jews of Assyria. Quoting this source, Eusebius says Abraham “surpassed all men in nobility and wisdom, who was also the inventor of astronomy and the Chaldaic art, and pleased God well by his zeal towards religion.”
As a young man, Abraham “determined to renew and to change the opinion all men happened then to have concerning God; for he was the first that ventured to publish this notion, that there was but one God, the Creator of the Universe” (Josephus, op cit).
Abraham was teaching the people of Chaldea about the one true Creator!
The Fight Against Paganism
The pagan priesthood established by Nimrod and Semiramis was teaching the masses to believe that the sun, moon, stars and planets were manifestations of the gods. They deceived people into thinking priests could communicate with these gods.
In addition to being a scientist, however, Abraham was a great teacher. He taught the people physics and mathematics, and showed them that the celestial bodies moved according to preordained laws.
Josephus paraphrases Abraham’s words: “If these bodies had power of their own, they would certainly take care of their own regular motions; but since they do not preserve such regularity, they make it plain, that in so far as they cooperate to our advantage, they do it not of their own abilities, but as they are subservient to Him that commands them, to whom alone we ought justly to offer our honor and thanksgiving” (ibid).
Abraham taught the Chaldeans what the priests secretly knew: The movements of the stars and other heavenly bodies are one of the greatest proofs of God’s existence. The presence of law demands the presence of a lawgiver!
As perhaps the most famous scientist in the land of the Chaldeans, Abraham declared the stars and planets were only physical objects created by the one true God!
As Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker writes in Our Awesome Universe Potential: “What is most certain is that Abraham’s scientific knowledge came through his connection with the Creator God, the one source powerful enough to create stars and galaxies and suns and moons and planets, brilliant enough to set them all in order according to perfect laws—and loving enough to teach those laws.”
What many historians are unwilling to admit is that Abraham possessed advanced astronomical knowledge that would not be rediscovered for thousands of years!
Yet Josephus further records that Abraham wasn’t the first astronomer in his family. The study of astronomy originated in the family line of Seth, the third son of Adam. He wrote that “God gave [those who lived before the Flood] such long life that they might perfect those things which they had invented in astronomy.” Other ancient records indicate that Noah had knowledge of maritime astronomy involving navigating by the stars. This noble and elderly patriarch likely brought knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and other sciences from one side of the Flood to the other, passing it down from generation to generation to Abraham!
Father of the Faithful
According to The Biblical Companion, a Bible study aid published by William Carpenter in 1836, the idolatrous worship introduced by Semiramis didn’t obtain great ascendancy in Assyria till the days of her grandson Arioch, King of Elessar. Abraham would spend most of Arioch’s 30-year-reign fighting against this idolatrous worship (Genesis 14).
As the pagan priests of the Assyrio-Babylonian Empire gained power and influence, they lost patience with Abraham and his teachings about the one true God.
Josephus records that the Chaldeans and other peoples of Mesopotamia “raised a tumult” against Abraham, forcing him to flee the country. Unlike the priests of this Babylonian mystery religion, Abraham refused to teach lies to receive the praise of men.
These pagan religious leaders would have killed Abraham for publishing the truth and likely did kill his older brother Haran. The Bible only records that Haran “died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees” (Genesis 11:28). Josephus adds that a monument was erected in Haran’s honor, and that “Terah [hated] Chaldea, on account of his mourning for Haran” (op cit).
While Terah himself fell into idol worship, Abraham never lost faith in the existence of the great Creator of the universe.
To recount all the various histories of the things Abraham suffered during this period would fill many pages. He fought in battle against the feudal lord of the land of Aligemorum and lost. He was driven from his country and for a long time fell into poverty. He wandered with his followers along the banks of the Danube River until he came to the edge of the known world. There, in the Alpine valleys of Europe, he helped found one of the most sophisticated cultures of the ancient world. Then, in the course of time, he returned to Chaldea to connect with the family he had to leave behind.
Through his trials and tribulations, however, Abraham stayed faithful to his belief in God until—when he was 75 years old—God Himself actually appeared to Abraham and made a covenant with him that would change the course of history! Abraham knew more about the stars than any man of his era; so God made him a promise that if he continued to obey the one true Creator God, his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.
Most of this amazing history is actually corroborated in secular sources. Yet God summarizes what is most vital for us to know about Abraham in the pages of the Bible. James 2:23 states: “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”