Program Description: Tom welcomes back Dr. Don Chittick, author of The Puzzle of Ancient Man, as they continue their discussion with a fascinating look at the pyramids, and explore the question “How on earth did they build them?”
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call, featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, Tom continues his visit with Dr. Don Chittick, author and speaker on the topic of origins and earth history. Now, along with his guest, here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. My guest today is Dr. Don Chittick. We’re in the second session, talking about his book The Puzzle of Ancient Man. Don’s an author and speaker on the topic of origins and earth history. His PhD is in physical chemistry, but for us non-science people, Don just lays it out very simply, very clearly, so those of us who have a little problem in that area – we can get it, and we have...last week’s program - if you haven’t listened to it, I highly recommend that you check it out.
Don, I want to pick up where we left off last week. We were talking about the pyramids, particularly the early pyramids. Now, why would I say “early pyramids”? I’m talking about the Great Pyramid at Giza as opposed to some of those that were…should have been better, should have been of higher quality from what they learned on the early ones, but why do you think that didn’t take place?
Don: Well, one of the things that puzzled me when we studied…when I studied the pyramids was the fact that the early pyramids were the best. Later ones were inferior quality, and they went down in quality until finally they didn’t build them anymore. So they developed that early technology very early, and the first ones were the best, and there’s no history of them experimenting and learning how to build the pyramids.
The first ones were the best and of the highest quality. So one of the puzzles of ancient man was the pyramids. How did they know how to build them? And they built them very first with their technology. So, man, at the beginning, had a high level of science and technology, and the mental capability to handle the concepts of geometry and mathematics and surveying and cutting the rocks, etc. They had all of that right from the very beginning, rather than coming up from an animal, as the other worldview would indicate.
Tom: Don, add to that. Last week, we mentioned that this was perhaps one of the great wonders of the world – the pyramids. We talked about lenses last week and how that was necessary for surveying, so they had a high technology to develop that. But then, there are so many other things about the pyramids. You don’t have to give us a lengthy explanation, but just enumerate some of the things that they were able to do then that we would have a really hard time doing now, even with our…in our computer age with our high technology.
Don: Well, one of the things was the cutting of the stones. There are millions of blocks to make a pyramid, and the capstones that were there originally – they fit together. The average separation between one block and another block – the average separation was only 1/20,000 of an inch, and that was…that really amazed me, to see how…the precision that was used. That indicates also that they probably used machinery to cut those stones. They didn’t just use primitive chipping methods. There’s indications on the stone itself that they were cut using machinery.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Don, give us the size. What was the size, the weight, of the blocks?
Don: Well, I’ve forgotten that, really. I know they were upwards of 10-15’ in one dimension, and several feet the other way, and 4-5’ tall, some of them. They were huge. And the weight of a block of stone that great would be immense, but I’ve forgotten the exact figures, I’m sorry. But they did…the thing that amazed me was the precision with which they fit together, even with their size.
Tom: Now, you talk about cutting…
Don: They had to cut those stones, and they didn’t chip them. Evidence is that…the evidence on the stones themselves shows that they were cut using machinery. How do we cut stones today? Well, the method that we use today, like for gravestones or other marble monuments, we use a system of wheels – two wheels with a wire running between them, and then an abrasive compound cuts into the stone, and it makes those kinds of marks. We see the same kind of marks on the pyramid stones. In research in doing that, we asked marble people today, “Could we duplicate that today?” And they said, “No, we really can’t. We don’t have the time to do it and it would take too long.” The pyramids were built in a very short period of time – in some cases, less than three years!
Tom: Don, you also mentioned in your book the placement…the interior to the pyramids. How they could carve these things out and make basically a hollow box, again, through an incredibly large object that weighs so much. I mean, we can’t figure it out.
Don: No! And we’ve found vaults in there that had to be precision-cut to have them in there so it didn’t destroy the mechanical structure – let it collapse. They had to survey those out very accurately, and not only did they do that, but they polished them! One of the toughest to work with was red granite, and there’s a red granite object in the pyramid carved precisely, even though that’s the hardest type of granite to carve, and not only was it carved – it was polished and placed in the pyramid, so they had surveying and mathematical techniques to know exactly where they were and exactly how to do it. It’s totally fascinating. The whole project required a high level of intelligence and technology.
Tom: Now, was that just unique? I mean is the Great Pyramid at Giza – is that the only example that we have?
Don: The Great Pyramid at Giza is the best one, and it has the most fascinating objects like that. The other pyramids have some of that, but their quality went down as they continued to build pyramids until finally they were not very impressive at all. But the Great Pyramid at Giza is the one that was the best, the leader in all the requirements and the technology used and the smarts used to build it.
Tom: Don, what about the Americas? What about South America?
Don: That idea of pyramid building wasn’t unique to Egypt, but because they were sailing around the world early, as we mentioned last week, there are pyramids – a theme of pyramids – all over the world. There are pyramids in China, there are pyramids in South America, and they used the same type of structure, but they don’t have the finesse that we see in the Great Pyramid. But the idea of pyramid building and large stone structures is not unique to Egypt. Stonehenge in England has big stones, and they are mathematically placed quite accurately. In fact, we didn’t even figure out how they could line them up so accurately astronomically until recent times when we used a modern digital computer to figure it out at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
So, pyramids and large megalithic stone structures – megalithic meaning “big stones” – are not unique. They were located around the world, and that pattern seemed to be carried elsewhere besides Egypt.
Tom: The other thing about this development – you mentioned in your book how astronomy was obviously used to guide travel over the seas, but there was also astrology involved. Tell us the difference.
Don: Well, astrology is science fiction, as it were, of going to the stars to find out how to live rather than to God. And Nimrod, in the Tower of Babel, built the Tower of Babel in rebellion against God, as we mentioned last week, I believe. And so he wanted to be top…head honcho, and he built the pyramid to observe the stars – [to] look at those to see how to live rather than going to God the Creator, his creator. He tuned his creator out. So they developed the idea that the stars and their locations influenced life down here on earth, and that continued to degenerate into the concept of astrology. You can find out what your future is or who you are by looking at the stars.
And that – even today, even Christians sometimes use astrological ideas.
Tom: Right. Don, now, mentioning South America – you talk about designs on the earth (I can’t remember exactly from your book where it was) but these were things that could only be observed from above, and not just a few feet above! Something that, to see these things, to recognize the designs, if you’re on the earth, it just looks like troughs that go on for miles, and so on. But what’s…
Don: That’s exactly right, Tom! Your perception and memory about that is right. In the book I talked about the Nazca Lines in South America, and those are in the desert there in Peru. And those lines in the desert are perfectly straight. They’ll go for miles. In fact, they are so straight that if you stand on one edge of the line, one end of the line, you cannot see the other end because it’s over the edge – over the curvature of the earth. The only way those can be observed is from the air.
And skeptics came along and said, “Well, people back then were primitive. They couldn’t have had air travel!”
Well, several years ago, people said, “Oh, is that really true?”
And I said that if they were as smart as we know they were, they certainly knew, for example, that hot air is lighter than cold air. They could have built hot air balloons and gone up and observed them. And they believed that when a person died, he went back to be with the Sun God. They worshiped the sun. So several years ago, some people went down there – scientists – and built a hot air balloon like they figured that the Nazca people used, and it did…they built it out of a very finely woven black cloth, weft count of over 400 to the inch – that’s just super fine- and it was good material for making a hot air balloon. And then when a person would die, they’d build a little fire under one of these balloons, they’d put the body in a little basket, and it’d start to rise, and they said, “The body’s going back to be with the Sun God.” Of course, what happened at night, the sun didn’t shine on it any more, and there was no hot air, and they were buried at sea.
So the technology to weave and to understand about lighter-than-air craft – at least, hot air as being lighter-than-air craft.
Tom: Now, Don, to me, what you’ve just described to me, I would call extrapolation. There’s evidence out there. You’ve put together the evidences. And then scientists developed these things to see if this indeed, you know, is practical – could this work out?
On the other hand, we have incredible wild speculations, Von Däneken, for example. All of these that were described came from ancient travelers – what were extraterrestrials and so on. Now, what do you say to that?
Don: Erich von Däniken has speculation, right, in his book Chariots of the Gods. He believed that man couldn’t have developed those things. It had to be coming from extraterrestrials. But to figure, now, if they did come out from space, there had to be landing strips – all that. Rocket blasts for slowing a rocket down from space and stuff. We see none of that! No evidence, whatsoever, other than trying to speculate to avoid the evidence pointing directly to creation and a Creator. So, yes, there are a bunch of speculations out there about ancient astronauts. But it doesn’t match with observational scientific reality. I could see that.
Tom: Plus there are some really basic problems for those who take a biblical worldview, a Christian worldview – well, first of all, with regard to evolution/creation, it doesn’t solve the problem. It still says that these entities, whoever they are, wherever they came from, they evolved? So…
Don: That’s exactly right! It doesn’t solve the problem of the origin of life and intelligence. It just displaces it from earth to someplace else, some speculated place. You’re absolutely right, Tom. That’s a good observation.
Tom: You know, also what we’re seeing today in the church by those who profess to be Christians in terms of speculation – we have the Nephilim; we have star people, and so on. There’s a mixture – a kind of rehash of Von Däniken ideas that we have these entities that are on the earth, and so on. Again – not one shred of evidence! That’s what I said last week, Don, and I repeat it now - that’s why I appreciate your book. You don’t take that track. You don’t go off on that trail. You stay with not only what the Word of God says, and holding everything up to the Scriptures, but to the evidence that’s out there that would support, and does support, overwhelmingly, a biblical worldview.
Don: The biblical worldview does, I’ve found out, every time I’ve checked it out. There can be other worldviews out there, other explanations, but the biblical worldview does match reality, observational reality. And I have to stick with reality. As I give my lectures around on the topic of origins and earth history, I have to stick with reality. If I didn’t and find out…someone found out that I speculated, didn’t match reality, that would destroy all the rest of what I wanted to say. But the plain fact is the biblical view matches with reality.
Tom: Don, we mentioned this – you mentioned it a bit last week, but give us a brief scenario, for those who say, Well, you’re talking about the biblical view. What’s the deal here? In a sense, give us an overview of creation. I know we could do six programs on this, but I’m just saying, lay it out simply – as simply as you can – the biblical worldview on creation.
Don: There are…the biblical worldview on creation as opposed to the naturalism world view that man came up from an animal, the biblical worldview on creation is that man was created in the image of his Creator, male and female. And they weren’t primitive. They were highly intelligent, and man in that worldview developed very early a high level of scientific technology. That’s why we see these…some of the things we’ve been discussing. This matches with reality. So the biblical worldview is that man didn’t start out as an animal. He started out as a highly, healthy, observant, capable, intelligent being, and developed from there – not upwards from an animal.
Tom: And as we move the story along, Genesis tells us that what God created and what He created was good. He said it was good, it was good, it was very good. It was perfect in every way. But man, then, first with Eve, and then Adam – Eve deceived by the adversary, by Satan, disobeyed God. That changed everything, didn’t it?
Don: Yes, man was in rebellion against his Creator. He became a sinner. We are all sinners. We came from Adam and Eve, so that's…this whole point is why we need a Savior. We need to be saved from the results of our…before our Creator…the result of sin is death. And so we can be separated from God eternally, and so this whole scenario that God created man in His image and he needs a Savior – that’s the point we’re talking about. And lots of questions have come up, and do come up, but the whole point is God is the Creator of man, and man is in rebellion against Him, but by God’s grace and mercy, He has a Savior. He sent His Son to be our Savior, and we can be saved through that. God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, suffered death. He paid the penalty so that we can we can be free.
Tom: Don, and then, looking at the technologies, you know, we’re saying that at the beginning, high technology, but then it went south. It went wrong. And the reasons that we mentioned – man was given the ability technologically to see the stars, to direct his travel by the stars – this would be astronomy. But then, it regresses to astrology, which is really turning away from God. So you wouldn’t expect those things to continue to develop. And that’s what we see around the world, isn’t it? Societies that had a technology but then turned to other gods (there is no God but the Creator of the universe, but to false gods), and you see historically, you see architecturally, the devastation that took over because of turning from the true and living God.
Don: Yes, and it hurt science. Science has degenerated as a result from it. There was an article several years ago – you no longer can trust what a scientist says because instead of matching with reality in obedience to a Creator, he invents – man invents substitute ideas. Like Romans:1:25 says, “…who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Man served the creature, that which has been created, instead of the Creator. How does modern man do that? Modern man does it by pretending that we weren’t created; we evolved up.
We still see that today, and so man still changes that out and introduces such things as races. That is totally foreign to the Bible and to scientific observation. Science knows no such thing as race. Only people groups. The correct term is “people groups.” And there’s no such thing as race. Race, biologically, would be different speciation, but we – all people can have children, we’re inter-fertile. So we’re one race, and just one species. And so it’s people groups. Some of that degeneration is where we try to say, “We want to play one-upmanship, either in technology or mental ability or social gatherings and so forth.”
Tom: Don, these errors that we see today that are pervasive. As you said, science has really become scientism. It’s become a religion. And it’s become a religion that’s antithetical to not just creation but biblical Christianity as a whole. You know, evolution, one of the…those who buy into that, you find, after you peel it all away, they have no evidence. But they reject the idea that they’re going to be held accountable before God. So that’s one of the…
Don: That’s exactly right. I’ve talked to people who say, “Well, why do people believe in evolutionism?” I always but the “ism” on the end because it is a belief system; it’s not based on observations. Everyone has the same evidence. We all have exactly the same evidence. Everyone can look at stars, everyone can see geological features like the Grand Canyon. We all have the same evidence, at least potentially. But how that evidence is explained depends on our worldview. And so, the worldview that man came up from the animal is the explanation by a culture that rebels against a creator and doesn’t want to be responsible to Him.
I’ve asked some of my scientific friends, “Why do you believe that?”
And they say, “Well, we don’t want to be responsible to a creator.”
So, I don’t want to put words into their mouths, that’s their reason. That’s their motivation for avoiding responsibility to a Creator. A loving Creator!
Tom: It’s hard for us, obviously, those of us who have committed ourselves to the Lord, who believe what you described earlier – what He did for us, paying the full penalty for our sins, reconciling us to Himself, forgiving our sins – past, present, and future. You know, Don, sometimes I think about it, and I’m so thankful for what God has done that it just becomes overwhelming to me what a great God, what a loving God, what a perfect God that we serve! So, you know, I hate to say it this way – it sounds a little crude – but biblical Christianity presents the full package. In other words, grace, eternal life, Jesus said He had come that we might have life and have it more abundantly, and so on. That’s not always necessarily temporal or material gain, but it certainly, in the short time that we have on this planet, our temporal time compared to eternity, there is no comparison, is there, Don?
Don: Absolutely no comparison. When I finally realized that God had this biblical account of history match reality, it was exciting! It was almost like a new conversion experience all over again for me. I can trust what the Scriptures say. It makes sense! And science became interesting, and I heard other people say the same thing. If I could have learned science that way, it would have made much more sense.
Tom: My guest has been Dr. Don Chittick. His book is The Puzzle of Ancient Man; we have it here at The Berean Call. If you’re interested, Gary will tell you how you can acquire the book. As I said, it’s exciting. It’s like a boost to our confidence. And, you know, sometimes we get to a situation where we need to be encouraged. Don, your book is just a great encouragement. So I thank you for it, and I thank you for being with me.
Don: You’re welcome.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638. Or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could join us, and we hope you can be here again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.