Ive been interested in the devil for some time. Ive often blamed him for the bad things that have happened in my life and in the world around me. I thought of him as someone to fear, yet someone whose influence on me is always subject to my own free will. Perhaps you have similar beliefs?

You would not be surprised to learn that the concept of the devil is very much the same around the globe, and has been recognized in just about every culture for the past millennia. Even people who do not have a clear understanding of God, or believe in a heaven or hell, harbor belief in something akin to the personified master of evil.

I would like to take you on an adventure to explore the origins of the devil, but you will have to be responsible for what you will learn. You can treat it as fiction, which it is not, or you can accept it as another odd tale from the internet, which is how I will present it. A third option is for you to be curious enough to see if what I will tell you has any truth to it, which it does. And when you make this discovery on your own, then you may well wish you had not read it at all.

If you are ready, we will begin with what most people consider the oldest book. In the original Genesis, chapter 6, there is the following passage:

The Nefilim were upon the earth in those days, and thereafter also, when the sons of the gods cohabited with the daughters of Adam, and they bore children unto them. They were the might ones of eternity - the people of the shem.

If you check your modern Bible you will find that this original passage has been reduced to a phrase, "There were giants upon the earth," while other translations have left the term "nefilim" intact. The Hebrew origins (N.F.L) of this word mean, literally, "to be cast down." But to gain a more detailed view of the nefilim and their true origins we must go back further than the book of Genesis, to a time that you most likely have never read about in school, or elsewhere.

The truth about the nefilim has been known for many years now. Earlier this century, archaeologists were sifting through mounds of ancient debris in a place called Nippur in what is now Iraq. As they dug deeper, looking for stone artifacts, they hauled countless loads of tiny clay fragments that looked like broken pottery, adorned with designs made of short straight lines. Carelessly piled some distance from the dig, this debris was considered an annoyance and treated with disinterest. The stone artifacts were surprisingly rare at this particular site but, eventually, one was uncovered that left the archaeologists stunned. Like the famous Rosetta Stone that contained Egyptian hieroglyphs and ancient Greek, the stone at Nippur contained ancient Mesopotamian as well as a collection of the same straight lines that had decorated the clay debris. Archaeologists then realized that the clay fragments were not useless pottery, but were part of a vast library written on clay tablets in the oldest known human language.

Translating the odd lines was not easy, but persistence eventually won and the archaeologists had their second great surprise. A tablet written in this new language, called cuneiform, described the library as being "very old" and credited its collection to the Mesopotamian king, Ashurbanipal, who lived about 3000 years ago. In his dedication tablet, Ashurbanipal boasts that he could read several old languages, "including the old writing from before the great flood." But before you draw any comparisons to the Biblical stories in Genesis, you must hear the rest of what was found.

The archaeological site at Nippur was manned by a diverse group with affiliations to universities all over the globe. When the realization set in and attention was focused on the mounds of debris that had been carelessly dumped in various locations around Nippur, fragments were collected and whisked off to different countries for examination. The small clay fragments had to be carefully pieced together to be read and, often, missing pieces were in collections of other museums and universities. Nevertheless, great progress was being made in assembling several great works that were found duplicated and almost complete. But the nature and content of what was being translated was disturbing.

Ashurbanipal had assembled and translated literature from his own antiquity. How far back in time was "very old" to a king who lived 3000 years ago? Conservative estimates dated many of the written epics to a time before writing, perhaps before 10,000 BC, since they appear to have been composed in a rhythmic verse, to make them easy to memorize. The library thus gives a unique view into mans past. But the library had many surprises.

For over a millennium, about 5000 years ago, there was one dominant and unchanging belief in what we would today call a religion. In this ancient time religion and culture were identical. The leaders and rulers of men were described as being in intimate contact with the "gods," who were collectively known as Anunaki.