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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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The early invention of the arts, recorded in Genesis 4, agrees with the Greek tradition that Prometheus in the beginning stole fire from heaven, and taught people all the arts and ornaments of life (Grote, History of Greece, i., 68), especially to work metals. So Oannes long before the flood, in the Babylonian tradition, taught the Chaldaeans art and science, "so that no grand discovery was ever made afterward" (Berosus, Fragment 1:1). The earliest remains in Egypt and Babylonia soon after the flood indicate advanced civilization, with metallic implements. On the other hand, no instance can be given of a savage race having ever, without light introduced from without from civilized races, risen by their own independent efforts to civilization (see Whately's Civilization).

The inference follows that man began not with savagery but with a considerable civilization, especially its highest constituent the moral and religious element. At the same time, it is noteworthy that the arts of secular life began with the corrupt line of Cain. The fall soon developed a divorce between secular art, refinements and luxuries, and religious civilization. The two were joined, and shall be again, in the perfect state. So after the flood the Hamitic, which was the corrupter race, developed as to civilization the earliest; theirs were the first great empires, Egypt, Babylon, Canaan, Sidon; but they degenerated the soonest because apostates front true religion, the great conservator. So, though they were the foremost in commencing, however rudely, alphabetic writing, astronomy, history, sculpture, navigation, agriculture, weaving, they are now among the lowest.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Civilization'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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