1996: The Mars Face at Cydonia and the Tower of Babel

by John G. Cunningham

Update: The following article was written months before the recent news that scientists might have found evidence of life on Mars. I am thrilled at this possibility — though I realize that the final word is not in yet on the subject. Should scientists finally decide that the meteor from Mars does not prove Mars once had life, I will continue to think as I do now on the subject — that Mars once had life.

The Final Frontier issue of May/June 1993 had an article, “Is Mars Alive?” by Barry E. DiGregorio that dealt with this issue. Dr. Gilbert Levin, who was involved in studying the results of the 1976 Viking landings on Mars, was interviewed in this article. He believes that the results of the mission prove that Mars does contain life. The Hoagland web page (http://www.hoagland.com) also has articles about how NASA apparently found life on Mars in 1976 but subsequently turned their backs on the data.

For those of you who have visited this page prior to August 23, 1996, there is an update at the bottom of the page that deals with possible repercussions of the find both for Creationists and evolutionists.

Much has already been written about the connection between the face on Mars and the pyramids of Egypt — particularly the Great Pyramid at Giza near Cairo. The name “Cairo” means “Mars.” The Gisa area has the sphinx as well as the Great Pyramid and some smaller pyramids. The area of the Cydonia region on Mars has a face and a five-sided pyramid as well as some regular appearing structures that many people call a “city.” However, there is another possibility of a connection between Cydonia and a region on Earth that has received little if any attention.

In order for there to be any possibility of a connection between Cydonia and Earth, there had to have been a space program long before the present one. The first program would have had to have far surpassed ours — so much so that ours would appear to be feeble by comparison.

If you are interested enough in the subject to have turned to this page, you have likely read or heard of various speculations about who or what might have built the face on Mars. The standard view is that the objects are natural occurrences that have no connection with anything artificial. I do not completely discount this view. After all, as with anything else, moderation is in order.

However, there are mathematical relationships between the structures that make it hard for one to believe that these relationships are mere coincidence. The possibility should be discounted that the structures might be artificial. After all, none of us can claim we have enough knowledge on the subject to close the issue. So why would anyone be so dogmatic as to claim that his ideas are the only ones that can possibly be correct?

One reason is that most of us are hopelessly devoted to our world view. The standard world view of the ivory tower in our time is the evolutionary world view. According to this idea, the face on Mars cannot have an Earth connection because of two reasons: Earth and Mars. Really, this reason boils down to one in that evolution calls for progress with time and for mankind to have been more advanced at any time in the past than he is now goes against that world view. As for Mars, while the red planet probably once had a much different climate than it now has and probably once had liquid water, it did not hold on to these conditions for the millions of years that evolution says is needed for advanced life to form.

For the Creationists, all these problems go away. Millions of years are not needed and neither is an idea of progress. In fact, most Creationists’ theories state that man did not rise — he fell. Hence, it should not surprise most Creationists that there might be evidence of past human achievements that go beyond anything we now have.

Books have been written about these possible achievements. However, in most — if not all — of them, there is one incident that could clear up the whole picture; yet it receives very little attention. That incident is recorded in a well-known story in the Bible. A connection between this story and the face on Mars is seldom made.

Please turn to Genesis 11 (KJV):

1. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 2. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

3. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.

4. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

5. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.

6. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

7. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

If we believe this account, we find the human race engaged in an attempt to reach Heaven. Does that sound like a space program? How seriously can we take this story? So much so that the Creator — no less an Authority than He — said the project would have succeeded. He had no doubt about it; He did not say “possibly” or “maybe.” He said the people in the land of Shinar would be able to do what they had set their minds to do.

Now wait! A tower to reach to Heaven! We with our modern scientific minds know that is impossible. Yes, a tower that would reach even a few miles above the ground is an impossibility according to what we know about science. Then how could God have said they would succeed?

There is a principle of Bible interpretation that says a passage means what it says unless there is a really overpowering reason why it cannot mean what it says. Only then do we search for an alternate meaning. If it is truly impossible to build a tower that would reach all the way to Heaven, what were the builders trying to do?

Suppose a modern airplane manufacturer said, “We will build a plane that will reach across the Atlantic.” A hundred years ago, one would picture a structure that had one end of it on one side of the ocean and the other end on the other side. An impossibility? Yes. But with our modern way of thinking, we picture an airplane flying from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Now let’s imagine the builders of Babel building something that — wait a minute. The text says the top of the tower would “reach” unto Heaven. What if the top could detach itself and fly somehow. Would that not constitute a reasonable definition of “reach”? (You may notice that on the back of the American dollar bill there is a picture of a pyramid with its top detached or detaching — strongly suggesting the idea is ancient.)

There are many people who would say this definition of the word is just as impossible as the other. Maybe that is true in our way of thinking, but remember that the ancients — in order for any part of this speculation to have any validity — had to have had knowledge about which we are as yet unaware.

We in the modern world think we are the crown of achievement and that we know the answers to scientific questions. However, we find repeatedly in ancient literature references to a “golden age” when mankind lived on a higher cultural level than he does now. The Bible hints at this same thing with its account of a Garden of Eden and a record that mankind once lived much longer than he does now.

Anyway, back to what the builders at Shinar were constructing. They started out making brick. There is a reference to stone in this passage — a hint that the builders might have learned how to make stone. There has been some speculation that some of the stones used to build the pyramids in Egypt might have been made from a concrete-type mix. That is why the blocks fit together so tightly. Again, some people would find this idea fantastic.

Next they built a city and a tower — both from the bricks, stone, and mortar they had learned to put together. However, they also planned to build a name for themselves in case they were scattered over the whole earth. At least, that is what the text appears to be saying at first glance.

We need to look at the Hebrew word to begin to comprehend what they might really have been building. The Hebrew word translated “name” is shem. What is a shem?

First of all, this is the same word that is used for one of the sons of Noah. Shem, though probably not the oldest of Noah’s sons, appears to have been the favorite; for his name always appears first when listed in the Flood story. Furthermore, it was from him that the nation of Israel came. What then is the meaning of the word?

There is a chance that the word is similar to the Semitic word shamash which describes an inscribed monument. Mostly, it means such a monument pointing skyward. The Washington Monument would have been described as a shamash by the ancients.

The word shem might then have something to do with Heaven or space. If it were a flying object, it might explain why it was built in connection with the scattering abroad of the people. Either they were afraid of being scattered abroad, or they were hoping to scatter abroad; and the shem was the means by which they would do so.

If the tower were not a device by which to travel, maybe it was a means to communicate. Even today, towers are used as antennas to transmit or receive radio waves. If our ancient ancestors knew about radio communication, we can understand why they would want to build a tower because, if they were scattered all over the earth, they would be able to keep in touch with each other.

Now why would the builders have started to build a tower or shem? It might be they were building something they knew had existed before the Flood. After all, Shem was born 98 years before the Flood; and he might have been born about the time these devices were invented or at least were coming into widespread use. Ancient man named his children after things or events that were important at the time of birth the child. Sometimes a name stuck to a person because of an important event that happened during the lifetime of an individual.

There is another hint of interest in the heavens in the pre-Flood world. The name Jared means “came down.” According to the ancients, it was during his lifetime that the sons of God (the Hebrew bene ha Elohim translated “sons of God” cannot have any other meaning other than angels from Heaven — created by God but no longer having their Father’s character) came down to Earth to cohabit with the daughters of men (the Hebrew “men” here means Adam or the entire human race). The offspring of these unions became very evil and led to God sending the Flood.

Keep in mind too that before the Flood lifespans were longer than they are today. With better bodies, probably better minds, and with fallen angels to teach them, we cannot imagine what ancient man might have learned.

Then came the Flood. How much of all this knowledge did the survivors pass on to their descendants? Probably the basic concepts but not enough detail for them and their children to reconstruct what they knew had existed before the Flood.

Yet, once they had multiplied, they could begin to think about reconstructing the pre-Flood devices. That is likely what they were doing in the case of the tower of Babel. They knew in general what they planned to do, but they did not yet know enough to make the idea work. If given enough time, they would have figured out the many steps and succeeded.

As a modern analogy, let us think about our rockets. The basic principle is so simple. Send hot gases one way and the rocket goes the other. Even a child can understand that. Yet to build one that can go into space requires tens of thousands of processes and tens of thousands of employees. No one person can understand enough of the processes to make one work. Perhaps it was the same with our ancient ancestors.

Now what does this have to do witb the face on Mars? It might be that the D & M pyramid near the face is a shem. If so, the Flood could not only have been worldwide but universewide. Life on Mars, which could have existed when (not if) Mars had an atmosphere that was capable of sustaining liquid water, would have been destroyed in the catastrophe.

Anyone who has studied photographs of Mars and, for that matter, of the entire solar system can see evidence of disaster. Mars is pockmarked by craters, indicating it was impacted by huge meteorites. They apparently hit Mars so hard that most of the atmosphere was knocked away as well as a lot of water. We are now finding rocks on Earth that appear to have come from Mars — knocked here by tremendous impacts.

As a Creationist, I believe the planets were not made the way we see them now. They were much more perfect and possibly were capable of supporting life. Even Venus, which today is the hottest body in the solar system, is suspected by some scientists of having once had liquid water. Who knows? Maybe it once was habitable.

I will not spend a lot of time speculating how the ancients might have used shems to travel. Maybe something in the pyramid shape bends gravity and focuses it in a way we do not understand but in a manner that would cause the top of such a tower to lift itself off. A lot might have depended on the alignment of the planets as well as on where the tower was located on a planet. Or the towers could bend electromagnetic waves or cosmic waves such as to enable a vessel to leave one planet and go to another. We might someday know.

Further Update

The possible find of life on Mars could needlessly damage the faith of some people. Oppositions to the ideas of leading Christians by the findings of science have done so before.

For instance, when Copernicus said that the earth was not the center of the universe, he ran into opposition from church leaders. Science appeared to have taken Copernicus’s side and the church was hurt. Then there was the Church’s opposition to Galileo with similar results. In both cases, church scholars had taken the position that the earth was the center of the universe. When it appeared that the sun was the center of the solar system, Christianity received a big blow.

Along came Albert Einstein and he said that all motion was relative. Therefore it is correct to say that the Earth stands still and the universe relvolves around Earth every day. After all, any place in the universe can be considered stationary. Then has come recent observations in the heavens that would make it appear that the earth is the center of the universe after all. Oh, I know this idea cannot yet be proven, but it cannot be disproven either.

After being supposedly proven wrong in its controversies with Copernicus and Galileo, the church was hesitant in taking up controversy with Darwin. The result has been disastrous for the church, for science, and all of society as a whole.

There is the possibility of another major controversy brewing between Christianity and science over the issue of life on other planets. I hope the church will not be caught on the wrong side of the issue this time.

Late in the 1960’s, some members of the Creationist movement expressed the possibility that there might be life on other planets. This idea was strongly opposed by leaders of the movement such as Henry Morris and David Whitelaw. Their idea was that only God could create life (an idea I strongly support) and that He only Created it on Earth (again, I would not argue). Therefore we will not find life anywhere else, so the reasoning goes.

These Creationists appear to have had their ideas confirmed when we discovered no life on the moon and that all the planets and moons in the solar system were inhospitable. In 1976, when it was announced there was no life on Mars, Creationists appeared to be happy. How will these same scientists react when their ideas prove wrong?

I believe that it was not only Creationists who feared the implications of the discovery of life on Mars. After all. Creationists were not in charge of the Viking operations in 1976. People who believe in evolution also have their pet ideas which they will hold to and strogly suppress any evident that disproves these ideas. One of these pet ideas twenty years ago was uniformatarianism — the belief that there had been no major disasters since the beginning of time. In recent years, uniformatarianism has been undermined and most scientists now believe their have been numerous disaster. One of the supposed biggest of these disasters was an asteroid smash in the Yukatan peninsula that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Might not the people in charge of the Viking Mission in 1976 feared the implications of finding life on Mars even more than Creationists did? After all, which side really had the most to lose? If life evolved, Mars does not appear to be a likely place for it to evolve. Mars did not have a suitable climate long enough for life to have formed there, so the reasoning went. Then if Mars had once held life and lost it, would not that find undermine uniformatarianism? Anyone looking at Mars, as well as any other place in the Solar System can see evidence of what appears to by disasters. Mercury, the moon, Mars, Mars’s moons, all the other moons in the solar system, and all the asteroids we’ve had a close view of — all are pockmarked by craters — suggesting disaster. Many scientists believe there was once a planet between Mars and Jupiter that blew up — a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

Now that scientists are more ready to talk about disasters, maybe they are more ready to admit to at least the possibility of past life on Mars. If they fear anything from the Creationsist, it might be that their discoveries will prove that there has been a major disaster since Creation — one that nearly wiped out all life that had been created. It might have been this possibility that influenced the Viking team to suppress the evidence they had for life on Mars in 1976.

However this 1976 report has proven to be a big disaster for the space program. When it was reported there was no life on Mars, people fast lost interest in the program. In recent years, the program is threatened with extinction unless it gets more money. That is exactly what the recent find will probably prove to do for the program — get people enthused about it again and get it more government money.

A find of life — both past or present — on Mars would embarrass anyone who said it was not there and could not be. Both top level scientists and religious leaders sometimes have one trait in common — they do not like to admit they have been wrong. This is especially true when it is shown that the evidence that they were wrong was there all along. Dr. Gilbert Levin in the Final Frontier article mentioned at the top of this web page reports that one top level scientist involved in the Viking project was ready to engage in a fist fight after Dr. Levin tried to show him that the 1976 data showed there was life on Mars. One thing that the ivy tower demands, it seems, is conformity.


Some of the mail has said that I do not prove what I am saying. I readily admit that the final proof is not there. Does that mean we should not pursue the issue further? of course not.

While there is no proof, there is evidence but nothing conclusive. There are the pyramid shapes on Mars and we do not know how these could be formed in nature. In addition, there are pyramids all over the earth. How and why were they constructed?

If we could prove that the word shem means “spacecraft,” we would have enough evidence to almost draw a conclusion. As with everything else, although some us think we know the meaning of the word, the final proof is not available.

The word shem was not just used in the Bible. It was used in ancient times throughout the near east. The word is often used in connection with flying. It is furthermore used when talking about communication with the gods or with immortality. An inscribed monument (which many scholars believe is the meaning of shem) gives man as close a feeling as he can achieve to immortality.

A Big Secret

It is with great hesitation that I write this, but underneath this discussion is something that, if true, will inevitably have to be brought to the surface.

There has been rumored all through time that there is a big secret, known only to a chosen few, that there is a vast body of ancient knowledge that is waiting to be tapped.

The Greeks suspected that the Egyptian initiates had such a secret. Several Greeks, including Solon, Socrates, Plato, Euclid, and Pythagoras are said to have gotten their knowledge from the Egyptians.

Solon. The Athenians were experiencing a class struggle. Civil war seemed inevitable. Solon was sent to Egypt to find there a solution to their social problems. Solon went to Egypt and returned with a plan of government that pleased no one — at first that is. Then, as time went on, Solon’s the advantages of Solon’s government was seen and he was proclaimed one of the greatest statesmen of all time.

What was Solon’s plan? Basically it was democracy based on a constitution. We in America take such a government for granted, but for the Greeks it was a novel idea.

Plato. He too went to Egypt. They told him the story of Atlantis and they taught him geometry. He bought this knowledge back to the Athenians.

Euclid and Pythagoras. Both of these men made contributions to mathematics that have given them fame. However both men went to Egypt where it is said that they learned their craft. Then they taught it to the Athenians.

In later times, people were said to have come across ancient knowledge. Roger Bacon’s discoveries are said to have come from ancient documents. So have Frances Bacon’s. Sir Isaac Newton is rumored to have been reading secret papers and made all his discoveries from them.

The Templars of the Crusades are said to have discovered a secret while guarding Solomon’s temple. They used the secrets they learned to set up a successful military order and to set up a banking system that amassed a tremendous amount of wealth.

Which brings us to a warning we cannot overlook. Most everyone who has dabbled in any depth into this subject has had to put it down. Why? In the case of Socrates, the knowledge cost him his life. Newton came close to going insane in the middle of his life until he permanently separated himself from the papers he is rumored to have looked at. None of them experienced as much suffering as the Templars did for they were tortured to death in mass and all their wealth was confiscated. Roger Bacon also is said to have finally had to leave this secret knowledge alone because of disasters that over took his life.

What could be so disastrous about this knowledge? The fact that it is associated with the occult? Possibly. Also it is associated with tremendous disasters. The Flood of Noah appears to be connected with this body of knowledge. Not to mention the disaster at Babel. Nimrod met disaster when he, among other things, tried to revive a body of knowledge that had existed before the Flood.

Why mention this at all? Because it is whispered about in connection with the above topic and one cannot examine the topic for long without running into rumors about some sinister and disastrous secret that has rumored to be with us for some time.

This phenomena has been connected with UFO’s, and possible government cover-ups about this tropic and similar topics. I do not know if there is a cover-up or not or a world wide conspiracy to keep a secret, but the rumors persist.

© 1996, John G. Cunningham / Shekinah House Publishers