The story of paganism begins after Noah’s flood with his son Ham and Ham’s grandson Nimrod. If you remember the story of Noah’s flood, the people on earth were extremely evil and so God killed everyone who wasn’t on Noah’s ark by flooding the earth. This would have left a very strong impression on Noah and his descendants (the Patriarchs) that God wasn’t someone to be messed with and that He should be obeyed and worshipped.
However one generation down the family tree starting with Ham, people started rebelling against God’s laws again and the guy who really got things going was Nimrod. We pick up the story in Gen 10:8-12:
Cush (Ham’s son) begot Nimrod, he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord, therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (Babylon). From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).
The key here is the cities Nimrod built – Babel (the tower that ended up with mankind being scattered and the centre of Babylon) and Nineveh the capital of Assyria. So two of the greatest Old Testament empires were started by Nimrod.
Initially Nimrod was everyone’s hero. After the flood there was real danger at night of being attacked by wild animals so the man who invented walled cities was very popular. He also was a great hunter which helped his popularity. What is less well known is that he invented warfare, the organising of men into armies, the subjugation of other peoples and he was one of the first kings after the flood. He was the first to carry on war with his neighbours and “Ninus the king of the Assyrians” conquered all nations from Assyria to Lybia, as they were yet unacquainted with the arts of war (Ninus is Nimrod).
Nimrod didn’t like the restrictions of God’s standards and so invented his own gods – worship of the celestial beings (astrology). He also brought moral depravity back into vogue and mixed it in with his pagan religion making both him and his religion extremely popular (not to mention he and his henchmen subjugated all who got in his way).
He had such an influence that all kings wanted to mimic him and be a hero too. Hence the Egyptian empire’s leader was called Pharaoh which is just ancient Egyptian for “hero”. Leaders the world over learned the trick of mixing themselves into religion to establish their power over the people. Even Caesar was considered to be a god under Roman convention.
Of course Nimrod’s greatest achievement (or failure) was the tower of Babel which incurred the wrath of God and had all the peoples suddenly getting new languages and a forced dispersion across the earth. As they dispersed, they took their pagan religion with them and it scattered to Briton in the West and South America in the East.
Shem (another of Noah’s sons) was a God fearer and was most concerned with the depravity of his great nephew Nimrod. Egyptian records say Shem entered into a conspiracy with seventy two of the leading men of Egypt who got Nimrod into their power, put him to death, cut his body into pieces and sent the different parts to many different cities. It was a warning of what would happen to those who didn’t follow God.
This sent reverberations throughout paganism. Suddenly it had to go underground to survive and so the “mystery religions” were formed. Also Semiramis, Nimrod’s widow was without a job. With no man on the scene she was about to lose all her power and position. Something had to be done.
Everyone knew the story of Adam and Eve and what God had said about redemption after the fall in Gen 3:14-15:
So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Everyone understood that the devil’s bruising of the Seed’s heel meant the devil would kill the coming Saviour and that the Saviour would then somehow get victory over the devil and “bruise his head.”
So needing a kingdom and a throne, Semiramis and her priests concocted a story that Nimrod was the saviour of mankind (after all he had built cities which saved them from wild animals and he had freed them from all the moral restrictions of God) and that Shem was the serpent who had bruised his heel. Now Semiramis announced she was pregnant by immaculate conception and her son was going to be Nimrod reborn! His coming would bring an end to the serpent and all his restrictions and mankind would be free once again. And voila a counterfeit pagan gospel was born thousands of years before Christ.
People so adored their heros (and given they claimed to be kingly gods anyway), it wasn’t long before legends of the gods were created to retell the stories of these people of old. After the dispersion from Babel the Semiramis immaculate conception story was carried with paganism across the globe. This “mother and child” started appearing in Egypt. Osiris was represented as at once the son and husband of his mother Isis, sounding familiar? This goddess and her son appear in Babylon (Rhea the great goddess “Mother” and her son Tammuz), Assyria, India (Isi and Iswara), China (Shing Moo), Asia (Cybele and Deoius), Rome (Fortuna and Jupiter), Greece (Ceres or Irene and Plutus), Thibet, Japan and even South America!
So now you know where paganism came from.