Creation Studies Institute
moon god-islamic temple

I have been studying Genesis again, and this time I coudn't help but notice that it seems to me that Abram may have left for the land that the Lord would show him at the same time that the languages were scrambled. I have heard from an unremembered source that Eber is the name for the Hebrew language, and his position in the famiy line also seems to be in sync with that same event. I fully understant that this is an unusual question that cannot be answered with any degree of proof, but I don't really know anyone else to ask. I would appreciate if you have someone who has perhaps researched this time and speculated on who may have been there at the time.

I would also like to know if the Tower of Babel was built to honor the god of the moon, or Allah?

To answer your last question first, the building of the Tower of Babel predates the Arabian mythology of the moon god by approximately 2,300 years. The oldest manuscript of Arabian mythology dates back to 800-900 AD. The Tower of Babel dates back to approximately 3,500 BC (Before Common Era).

The religion of Islam has as its focus of worship a deity by the name of "Allah." The Muslims claim that Allah in pre-Islamic times was the biblical God of the Patriarchs, prophets, and apostles. The issue is thus one of continuity. Was "Allah" the biblical God or a pagan god in Arabia during pre- Islamic times? The Muslim's claim of continuity is essential to their attempt to convert Jews and Christians for if "Allah" is part of the flow of divine revelation in Scripture, then it is the next step in biblical religion. Thus we should all become Muslims. But, on the other hand, if Allah was a pre- Islamic pagan deity, then its core claim is refuted. Religious claims often fall before the results of hard sciences such as archeology. We can endlessly speculate about the past or go and dig it up and see what the evidence reveals. This is the only way to find out the truth concerning the origins of Allah. The hard evidence demonstrates that the god Allah was a pagan deity. In fact, he was the Moon-god who was married to the sun goddess and the stars were his daughters.

So, just using the historical record, “Allah” is not related to the ancient Babylonian culture that created the Tower of Babel. Indeed, many of the roots of Islam seem to be found in the pantheon of deities associated with the mythology of the Arabian Peninsula. Archaeology has uncovered temples to the moon god dating back to ancient times. In ancient Syria and Canna, the Moon-god Sin was usually represented by the moon in its crescent phase. At times the full moon was placed inside the crescent moon to emphasize all the phases of the moon.

A temple of the Moon-god has been excavated in Ur by Sir Leonard Woolley. He dug up many examples of moon worship in Ur and these are displayed in the British Museum to this day. Harran was likewise noted for its devotion to the Moon-god. In the 1950's a major temple to the Moon-god was excavated at Hazer in Palestine. Two idols of the moon god were found. Each was a stature of a man sitting upon a throne with a crescent moon carved on his chest . The accompanying inscriptions make it clear that these were idols of the Moon-god. Several smaller statues were also found which were identified by their inscriptions as the "daughters" of the Moon-god. What about Arabia? As pointed out by Prof. Coon, "Muslims are notoriously loath to preserve traditions of earlier paganism and like to garble what pre-Islamic history they permit to survive in anachronistic terms."

In Old Testament times, Nabonidus (555-539 BC), the last king of Babylon, built Tayma, Arabia as a center of Moon-god worship. Segall stated, "South Arabia's stellar religion has always been dominated by the Moon-god in various variations." Many scholars have also noticed that the Moon-god's name "Sin" is a part of such Arabic words as "Sinai," the "wilderness of Sin," etc. When the popularity of the Moon-god waned elsewhere, the Arabs remained true to their conviction that the Moon-god was the greatest of all gods. While they worshipped 360 gods at the Kabah in Mecca, the Moon-god was the chief deity. Mecca was in fact built as a shrine for the Moon-god.

The Muslim's claim that Allah is the God of the Bible and that Islam arose from the religion of the prophets and apostles is refuted by solid, overwhelming archeological evidence. Islam is nothing more than a revival of the ancient Moon-god cult. It has taken the symbols, the rites, the ceremonies, and even the name of its god from the ancient pagan religion of the Moon-god. As such, it is sheer idolatry and must be rejected by all those who follow the Torah and Gospel.

Your final question concerned the evolution of the Hebrew language. It is important to realize that the Hebrew spoken today in Israel is not the same as biblical Hebrew; this is equally true of the Greek we see in the ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. Ancient Greek, like ancient Hebrew, is similar to their modern counterparts, but there are substantial differences as well.

Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite group of languages. Hebrew (Israel) and Moabite (Jordan) are Southern Canaanite while Phoenician (Lebanon) is Northern Canaanite. Canaanite is closely related to Aramaic and to a lesser extent South-Central Arabic. Whereas other Canaanite languages and dialects have become extinct, Hebrew has survived. Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in Israel from the 10th century BCE (Before Common Era) until just before the Byzantine Period in the 3rd or 4th century CE (Common Era). Afterward Hebrew continued as a literary language until the Modern Era when it was revived as a spoken language in the 19th century.

Hebrew is classified as a Semitic (or Shemitic, from Shem, the son of Noah) language. It would appear that after the Tower of Babel, the descendants of Japheth traveled north with their language, the descendants of Ham traveled southwest with their language and the Semites traveled west with their language. It is also correct that Eber is thought to be the original term that later became the label for his decedents, e.g. the Hebrews.

A more interesting question might be what was the language spoken prior to the Tower of Babel? It would seem that Hebrew would be a good educated guess in that the names of the pre-Flood patriarchs and others were of Hebrew derivation e.g. all the names of Adam's descendent we find that all the names from Adam to Noah and his children are Hebrew names, meaning that their name has a meaning in Hebrew. For instance, Methuselah (Genesis 5:21) is Hebrew for "his death brings" (The Flood occurred the year that he died). It is not until we come to Noah's grandchildren that we find names that are of a language other then Hebrew. For instance, the name Nimrod (Genesis 11:18), who was from Babylon/Sumer/Shinar and possibly the Tower of Babel, is a non-Hebrew name. According to the Biblical record of names, Adam and his descendants spoke Hebrew. In addition, Jewish tradition as well as some Christian scholars believed that Hebrew was the original language of man. While ancient Hebrew has similarities too.

I hope that these facts will help answer your questions concerning this interesting subject. If we can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.

Always in Messiah’s amazing grace,

Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D. (c)
Chief Technical Advisor
Creation Studies Institute

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