Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Great Pyramid: Enigma of the Ancient World

By Matthew Zuk

The Pyramids of Giza (Great Pyramid on right)

The Great Pyramid is among the most famous structures in the world and it is the most famous megalithic structure in history.[1] It is located in the city of Giza (next to Cairo) in Egypt. The exact date of its construction is unknown, though it was most likely built during or shortly after the dispersion at Babel. Due to its incredibly advanced design there is a great deal of mystery surrounding its origin and purpose.

An Architectural Wonder

The Great Pyramid is the most precise and advanced feat of engineering ever discovered in the ancient world. The accomplishments of its builders are truly astounding and continue to baffle people in modern times. There are many aspects that exhibit this stunning engineering feat.

  • It is aligned with true north to within 3/60 of a degree (with its other sides also aligning with true east, west, and south).[2] This makes it more precisely aligned with true north than any other building on earth, including modern structures.[3]
  • The pyramid’s base, covering thirteen acres, is only ⅞ of an inch out of level.[4]
  • The sides at the base of the pyramid are almost equal to each other; the largest difference in length is not even eight inches.[5]
  • The mortar used was stronger than rock, and left less than 1/50 of an inch between the stones.[6]
  • The Great Pyramid, along with the other two pyramids at Giza, is astronomically aligned with the constellation Orion.[7]

Alignment of Orion's Belt with the Pyramids of Giza

There was a great deal of precise engineering that took place in the construction of the Great Pyramid. Add to that precision one of the largest building projects in history and it truly becomes a marvel. The Great Pyramid is estimated to have used one to two million blocks of limestone, averaging 2.5-15 tons each (the largest is 80 tons).[8] The pyramid rose to a height of 481 feet and its volume is around 90 million cubic feet, more than thirty Empire State buildings could be constructed with its masonry![9] It truly is among the most imposing structures ever built. All of this merely contributes to the structure’s mysteries as it begs the question of when, how, and why it was built.

Mysterious Origins

It is still unknown when the Great Pyramid was built and by whom. Egyptologists long claimed that the Pharaoh Khufu built the Great Pyramid, however there are several problems with this belief. The primary problem with this theory is that the only reason Khufu was correlated with the Great Pyramid is due to an inscription found in the King’s Chamber (the central chamber of the pyramid). However recent discoveries have shown that this cartouche (an oval that encloses a group of Egyptian hieroglyphs, typically denoting the name of a pharaoh) used hieroglyphs that did not exist until hundreds of years after Khufu’s reign. It has also been shown that the name itself was misspelled, thus the inscription was most likely faked to gain fame for its discoverer. Because of these recent discoveries it has become widely accepted that Khufu did not build the Great Pyramid, in fact many have concluded that it may not have even been built by Egypt.[10] 

Interior layout and map of the Great Pyramid

Other theories of who built it include the Atlantean civilization, Biblical patriarchs such as Seth and Enoch (we would reject both of these as they were around before the flood which would have surely destroyed the pyramids), Job, Noah, Shem, Melchizedek, and secular scientists have also suggested aliens.[11] However, because we do not have evidence to support any of these alternatives it is left to mere speculation as to who built this impressive masterpiece.

Inexplicable building mechanism

The question of how this magnificent structure was built is also a mystery. The traditional theory is that ramps were used to haul the stones to their positions; it was believed it took twenty years for over 100,000 workers to achieve this. However, there are many problems with this theory. In order for the ramp to be stable it would have to be built at a 1:10 gradient. If such a gradient was used in the construction of the Great Pyramid the ramp would have to be 4,800 feet long, making it more than three times as large as the Great Pyramid itself (the Great Pyramid is 2.6 million cubic meters, the ramp would have been 8 million cubic meters)! A ramp of this size would not be stable unless the same limestone material used for the Great Pyramid was used, thereby making it a larger building project than the pyramid itself.[12] Thus the ramp theory does not seem to work, other theories include: levitation or advanced technology unknown to us today. Levitation is commonly rejected due to its supernatural nature (the supernatural is often disregarded in today’s science). However, even secular historians have suggested levitation because there are not many other alternatives that can explain the building mechanism of structures like the Great Pyramid. Some have suggested that sound at a certain frequency may have been used to achieve levitation. Or that levitation was a form of technology that the ancients had but lost; Edward Leedskalnin claimed that he built Coral Castle by himself using the “technology of the ancients”. Some have speculated that Leedskalnin used radio signals at a certain frequency and an electromagnetic field to locally reverse gravity.[13] However, this is mere speculation and cannot be confirmed, Leedskalnin died taking his secret to the grave. Once again due to a lack of evidence we cannot know for sure how the Great Pyramid was built and it remains a mystery.

Coral Castle - Florida

Unknown Purpose

It is also still a mystery as to why the Great Pyramid was built. It was long held to be a tomb (primarily due to Herodotus’, a Greek historian, account), however, recent discoveries have brought this theory into question. Firstly, no mummies, inscriptions or any other mark of a tomb has ever been found at any of the pyramids. Secondly, those who discovered the chambers within the Great Pyramid noted in their records that they were the first to ever penetrate that far. Thus they were the first to enter the chambers, but they found nothing in the Queens Chamber and just a granite coffer in the King’s Chamber.[14] Thus it does not appear that the pyramids were used as tombs, other theories for the pyramids purpose include: using it as a power plant, an astronomical observatory, a weapon, a beacon for aliens, etc.[15] However all of these are either far-fetched or absurd and do not have evidence to support them (with the exception of the astronomical observatory as there are shafts that look out to celestial bodies, though it still seems unlikely that a structure of such magnitude was built merely as an observatory). Another theory is that it was built shortly after the dispersion of Babel as another attempt to build a grand tower, and thus it is simply a rehash of the failed Tower of Babel building project. However, once more most of these theories can be summarized as mere speculation and the true purpose of the pyramids, particularly the Great Pyramid remains a mystery. 

Pyramids of Giza (Great Pyramid on left)


In conclusion the Great Pyramid is one of the most mysterious structures in the world. The questions of when, how, and why it was built remain unanswered. There are people currently working on scanning the pyramids to find more hidden chambers and recently there have been discoveries of tunnels found below the Giza plateau.[16] At this point in time it is impossible for us to say for certain when, how, or why the Great Pyramid was built, however one thing is clear: the Great Pyramid is the greatest monument displaying the genius of ancient man. There is no other building on earth to match it and even today it is a marvel of engineering. The skill and precision utilized in the building of the Great Pyramid is so great it is unlikely we could duplicate it with such quality even with today’s technology. All of this is in line with the Biblical account that man was created in the image of God and was therefore extremely intelligent as soon as he was created.

Chapter 8 of The Genius of Ancient Man contains more information on the Great Pyramid as well as other pyramids and mounds around the world displaying not only intelligence but also eerie similarity. Our post about the Cahokia mound site in Illinois gives details about one such fascinating structure.

[1] Landis, Don. The Genius of Ancient Man: Evolution's Nightmare. Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2012.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Desalvo, Dr. John. Decoding the Pyramids: Exploring the world's most enigmatic structures. New York, NY: Metro Books, 2008.
[4] (Landis 2012, 63)
[5] Hancock, Graham. Fingerprints of the Gods. New York, NY: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1995.
[6] (Landis 2012, 63)
[7] (Desalvo 2008)
[8] (Landis 2012, 63)
[9] (Desalvo 2008)
[10] Ibid.
[11] Ibid.
[12] (Hancock 1995, 278-306)
[13] (Desalvo 2008)
[14] (Hancock 1995, 278-306)
[15] (Desalvo 2008)
[16] Ibid.


  1. Hi.

    Nice post! I like it very much. Egypt is a top destination for some of the world's most famous sights and monuments. The Great Pyramid of Giza is a fairly typical pyramid. This Egyptian Pyramids exemplifies the advancements and accomplishments of architecture in Egypt. Thanks a lot…..

  2. The article gives undue weight to the Tower of Babel. It assumes that such a tower existed, or was attempted. That weakens the article, as there is no evidence for the Tower of Babel than esoteric literature. "...Job, Noah, Shem, Melchizedek, and secular scientists have also suggested aliens." That is biblical and whacko gloss, which only diminishes the effort. The Bible is a book of allegory, and cannot be taken literally. (And we know what these personalities personified. But they were not humans.")

    The questions asked are good questions, and we still know little about these structures. The purpose for which they were built must first be answered to understand why the location was chosen and when the structures went up. I do subscribe to the supposition that the structures were intended to correlate with the night sky.

    1. Thanks for your comment! You have noticed that we give a lot of weight to the building of the Tower of Babel – but this is secondary to our foundation, our cornerstone, of the revealed Word of God (the Bible). In contrast to your statement that the Bible is allegory and cannot be taken literally, we believe that in every area the Bible speaks, it is completely true (as properly interpreted in its context). It is the only completely reliable source of knowledge and wisdom (Proverbs 1:7), so we start there with our studies.

      In Genesis 11, God records that mankind built the tower of Babel; because Scripture is completely authoritative, we can be certain that this tower was actually built and the ensuing dispersion by God had great effects on the civilizations that came afterwards.