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article imageOp-Ed: Sitchin's '12th Planet' book still fascinates after 40 years Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Apr 29, 2016 in World
The question of “where did we humans come from” has been spinning around for thousands of years, much like the classic question, “what is the meaning and purpose of life?”
This question has had scientists, philosophers and religious thinkers debating, arguing and speculating over and over. For the past 40 years the Evolutionist theory versus the Creationist theory has been challenged by yet another theory, that Extra-Terrestrial intelligence intervened in human development.
What makes this theory stimulating is that it stirs up both the scientific and religious aspect to the question. Citing ancient Sumerian texts which archaeologists can trace and note is where most of the Old Testament comes from. The theory has been growing and can be found on the web as a major topic.
Scholars such as Zecharia Sitchin and his 1976 book “The 12th Planet,” explain that long ago perhaps more than 3,000 years back, highly evolved beings entered into Earth’s orbit and made themselves known to ancient man. This idea is not exclusive to Sitchin, other books have claimed something similar, such as Erich Von Däniken's controversial 1968 book "Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved Mysteries of the Past."
Sitchin claims that this is clearly stated through the ancient texts found in the Sumer and Mesopotamia region of the Middle East. Variations of the stories and accounts these texts recorded were retold throughout Babylon and so on. Which, over the centuries then found its way into the Hebrew scriptures in the forms we know today as The Old Testament. He believed that the Annunki of the Mesopotamian story and Elhohim Nephilim mentioned in the Bible, were one and the same - "those that came down."
Intrigued by this theory, this reporter asked my former high school science teacher what he thought of Sitchin's book. "I read it years ago," said retired science, math and biology teacher Phil Amormino. "It's fascinating and I have my own theories on Sitchin's ideas. Yet, I am a man science but also of deep faith in God and have reservations on how he arrived at such conclusions."
Sitchin’s “12th Planet” spurred on an entire series of his books expanding further on this idea. Sitchin claims that these higher ET beings came to Earth to create humans to help them mine for gold. According to Sitchin's theory, ET beings arrived to Earth by way of a planet that entered into Earth's orbit over 3,000 years ago. These beings needed gold to help their home planet. A very stunning theory no doubt. Questions in this reporter’s mind then ask, “well, if these beings were so highly intelligent to have something to do with, navigating a planet and making humans then why couldn’t they mine the gold themselves? Or better yet, with all that ET power why not make gold?
Subsequently, over the years other scholars have joined in and added their perspectives. Among the most recent is Lloyd Pye, among others. He died in 2013. But like Sitchin his legacy lives on through his writings, etc. Speaking on behave of Lloyd Pye's official web site, Amy Vickers noted. "Lloyd and Sitchin vary primarily on the point in history where they say the alien intervention occurred. Lloyd believes the aliens crossed their DNA with Neanderthal to create Cro Magnon. Lloyd's work is heavier on detail about pre-humans and anatomy etc. While Sitchin's work is based far more on the Sumarian tablets. The two men had a great mutual respect and worked together on many occasions, said Vickers and their work is fundamentally in agreement."
Yet, Sitchin's theory has its critics, like Biblical scholar, Michael S. Heiser, PhD. He claims that Sitchin had some errors in the translation of the ancient texts and what Sitchin believes are ET beings from another galaxy/solar system are really spiritual beings from another realm.
Here is where things get complicated as far as the ancient Sumerian/Babylonian texts are concerned. There is mention of gods, but then also of giants and then of spirit beings. It seems for Sitchin the ETs were larger than humans, had advanced powers (like gods) and could be tremendously benevolent or dastardly, (like angels or like demons). So, as some scholars point out, the translations to Hebrew then on to Greek and Latin, over the centuries the original meaning gets moved around.
Zecharia Sitchin s book  The 12th Planet  gets its title from the theory that Extra-Terrestrial bein...
Zecharia Sitchin's book "The 12th Planet" gets its title from the theory that Extra-Terrestrial beings came to earth by way of a planet that entered into Earth's orbit over 3,000 years ago. From that point of reference, Earth would be the 12th Planet from the sun, not the third.
Heiser points out that the word for serpent in ancient texts of the Hebrew scriptures is also the same word for "shining ones.” There is also mention of the mistranslation of the word “watcher” and giant. So, were these beings, giants, watchers of humans from another planet or realm? Or, are they angels in some form?
Heiser who has taught at both Protestant and Catholic seminaries and colleges has an entire series of lectures posted at his web site. He also mentioned in one lecture that the Greek story of The Titans and the conflict of the Olympian gods perhaps has some link to the ancient Sumerian/Mesopotamian texts on which the Bible creation story is formed.
Some religious people dispute this connection of the Bible to ancient Sumerian/Mesopotamian texts, known as the Enuma Elish. Yet, most scholars agree like Heiser and others that the creation story in the Bible is an expression of faith in the one God rather than an actual accurate historical account of creation.
With regards to Sitchin’s understanding of the ancient Sumarian texts, Heiser points to a translation that uses the term “serpentine beings” in that they are bright shining ones as one translation of the Old Testament might suggest. Two lines of thought and idea emerge.
Referring to the creation story in Genesis, the serpent that speaks to Eve, mentions the tree of life and eating of the fruit which allows for the knowledge of good and evil. The creation story found in the Bible is as scholars say traced to ancient Sumer and Mesopotamia.
This then opens up another topic of questioning. What then was the original meaning of the story? What is the original symbolism of “the serpent?”
Some historians and archaeologists point out that the use of a serpent in the Genesis story and then later in the story of Moses, pre-dates the Bible and may have some sort of universal meaning. Many ancient religions use the serpent as a symbol of some sort, not necessarily as a symbol of evil. The cobra on the headdress of the Pharaoh for example is there as a protector. The feathered serpent as depicted in codices and temples in Mexico is part of ancient Aztec mythology and is the one who imparts knowledge and wisdom. Even to this day, the symbol of medicine has the serpent as part of the emblem on many ambulances and signs indicating hospitals and medical centers.
The list of ancient cultures throughout the world that used a snake or serpent in their religion or set of symbols gets long. Which leads to the question of, did all humans as they emerged and traversed the globe, believe in the same ideas and concepts?
Some see the serpent as symbol of what is called ‘the Kundalini” or sex drive. Since the human brain has both a reptilian aspect and a mammalian one, is the use of a serpent as a symbol a reference to the part of the brain that is basic and impulsive?
Another thought is that if the serpent represents some aspect of the brain and basic instincts does that mean there is another realm of knowledge there that has been lost over time?
What makes Sitchin’s theories difficult is that if our current concept of a monotheistic God is actually based upon ancient references to gods or beings from another world, be they Extra Terrestrial or not, how did all these ideas and symbols get mixed up?
Sitchin and others believe they are references to ETs. Heiser believes the mistranslation of the word serpent and shining ones or watchers implies that they are angels or spirit beings. Both he and Sitchin note that a reference to a council in the Bible and the use of the plural in the creation myth and the story of Job, suggest more than one being present in the making of or governing over of humanity.
Author, Jason Colavito is another critic. He considers Sitchin's theory of ETs involved in human creation as the pseudo-science alternative to fundamentalist religion explanation for creation. He cautions people's eagerness to accept such a compelling explanation.
Heiser is also cautionary when speaking about an ET theory. Yet he upholds a biblical scholarly view. He sees the mention of the Annunaki and Elohim Nephilim as more of a spiritual aspect that an ET one.
Well, then this opens up another door of conversation that goes off onto another train of thought. Heiser clarifies the distinction between pre-Judaic concepts and the gradual forming of the Judaic/Christian idea of Monotheism. Some people in various fundamentalist religious groups believe that ETs are some form of spirit being like an angel. What is important to point out is the fact that the idea or concept of angels has evolved through the centuries. And, how they are defined, what their role is in human history depends upon which source referred to.
Illustrations from Zecharia Sitchin s book  The 12th Planet  of the ancient Sumerian/Mesopotamian de...
Illustrations from Zecharia Sitchin's book "The 12th Planet" of the ancient Sumerian/Mesopotamian depiction of one the gods (seated and with horn-headress) who created humanity.
Of the three main religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) that hold the idea of angels in teaching, each one views angels differently. Much of what our current idea about angels is from The Bible. But theologians from various religious denominations often rely on traditions and honored scholarly interpretations.
For example, Thomas Aquinas. He is referred to as “the Angelic Doctor” in the Roman Catholic tradition. While his “Summa Theologica” is fascinating on the topic of angels, where did he get such ideas?
There is no explanation for angels like his in the Bible. Even if he arrived at the existence of angels by sound logic and reasoning, The Bible says little about them; at least not enough for Aquinas to expand upon as much as he does in his famous “Summa Theologica.” Professor Peter Kreeft, PhD of Boston College at this to say about the subject of angels. "The main line Christian tradition has always held that angels are pure spirits with no bodies and therefore no families and therefore they are individualized more exclusively than we humans are. To this Aquinas added his Aristotelian doctrine of matter and form."
It is arrogant to think that there are no intelligent or higher life forms out there in the universe, other than humans. But if Sitchin’s theory is to hold up, this reporter asks, where is the tangible, tactile proof? Could a planet-like space ship or asteroid be maneuvered by higher life forms and enter into Earth’s orbit? And then be done so solely for the purpose of creating and or harnessing human beings? Heiser disputes this idea and says Sitchin misinterpreted various words.
The theory that the Great Pyramids at Giza in Egypt or the ones in the America’s were the result of Extra Terrestrial life forms influencing humanity is compelling. But archaeologists like Zahi Hawass believe that to hold such theories is misguided. He has said numerous times (based upon archaeological evidence) that the pyramids in Egypt were built and designed by the Egyptians themselves, not ETs.
Even so, scholars like Heiser and scholar-authors like Sitchin continue to stir up and fascinate the imagination. Even though Sitchin died in 2010, his official web site continues to provide information about him and his series of books. If nothing else, his book clearly points to even more ancient texts and artifacts that pre-date the Bible as we know it. And, continue the ongoing quest of the question, "where did we humans come from?"
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Zacharia Sitchin, Extraterrestrials, Michael S Heiser, The 12th Planet, Creation myth
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