The widow of best-selling British author Laurence Gardner has no
worries about being left to face controversy over his new book,
published posthumously, which concludes there is no evidence for the
existence of God.
For one thing, Angela Gardner helped to set up a publishing company
to rush The Origin of God
into print so it would be available in the
year of her husband's death.
And for another, she says that her husband expected 'as much
controversy as possible in order that the truth can be known in a
world where people believe too much and know too little'.
Gardner, 67, lost a long battle against cancer last August soon
after completing the book.
Dash House Publishing was then set up by Angela and her sister and
brother-in-law, Susan and David Hunter, of Hampshire. In this way,
the book could be brought out by the end of 2010, said Angela, and
they would be publishing the sequel, Revelation of the Devil, next
'I expect The Origin of God will be controversial but I hope those
who take the time to read it will do so with an open mind and not
dismiss it out of hand,' she said. 'As with Laurence, I believe that
everyone has the right to pursue their own path in life and to be
tolerant of others, no matter what their religious views might be.'
In the book's introduction, Gardner says: 'Our quest is to discover
from all available sources what evidence there is, if any, to
support the long-standing and widespread notion of God's existence.
Is there a creative, supernatural, intelligent entity in the
universe, or is the concept just an abiding superstition?'
He examines all biblical and other historical data and concludes
there is 'absolutely no proof, nor even circumstantial evidence'
that God exists: 'God can only be said to exist as an optional
concept based on individual choice,' he says. 'He is a subject of
unsubstantiated belief, not of certainty.'
Gardner was no stranger to religious controversy. Among his
international best-sellers was his 1996 book, Bloodline of the Holy
Grail, which was instrumental in inspiring Dan Brown's blockbuster
novel The Da Vinci Code of 2003. Laurence suggested Jesus did not
die on the cross but married Mary Magdalene, fathered children and
created a bloodline of descendants existing to the present day.
Foremost in the 'alternative history' genre - presenting
controversial revisionist theories and challenging orthodox views of
world history - Gardner's other works include The
Grail Enigma (2008) and Lost Secrets of the Sacred Ark (2004).
He was unhappy that, as he saw it, the 'cult of celebrity' had taken
over the publishing industry, but he joked with Angela that no one
was likely to find any bigger celebs than the subjects of his two
new books - God and the Devil.
'Since 2005, when Laurence was diagnosed with a particularly
virulent form of cancer,' said Angela, 'he told me that before he
died he was determined to complete The Origin of God and
Revelation of the Devil, books which he'd had on the go for many
years and was adding to all the time. It gave him the purpose he
needed to keep going during those difficult years of illness.
'We didn't know how long Laurence had to live, so he immersed
himself in his research, drawing on documents that pre-date the
Bible by thousands of years to construct a biography of God through
'It was never his intention to be confrontational. He was not
egotistical or biased in the manner in which he presented his work.
He wrote for those who were questing and seeking the truth on
religious issues in the firm belief that his work would be a force
'The Origin of God sets out well-recorded and well-referenced
historical knowledge which has clearly been overlooked by religious
interests and beliefs at a time when so many people are losing faith
in the value and credibility of religious organizations.'
Angela said her husband would have welcomed the opportunity to open
up debate. He had never shied away from controversy and would often
discuss aspects of his work in lectures and in radio interviews,
particularly in America where he was a frequent speaker. 'Sadly, he
is no longer with us and cannot take part in such discussions,' she
In his proposal and synopsis for The Origin of God, Gardner said the
book undertook a biographical exploration of the character known as
Yahweh, Allah or simply the Lord: 'It seeks to uncover and evaluate
his original identity, as against his eventual religiously motivated
portrayals. Then, following the course of his story into biblical
scripture, we discover a strategy of pure literary evolution.'
Following successive disasters post-9/11, churchmen and theologians
had written books giving various reasons for God's inexplicable
methods of divine judgment. Meanwhile, scientists and atheists had
published works of anti-religious dogma saying there was no God.
Traditionally, those who wrote books about God were either stalwart
believers or confirmed non-believers. Their books emerged with
immediate vested interest, and there was a lack of anything newly
objective. The Origin of God minimized the 'science versus religion'
debate and substituted a straightforward and impartial historical
Beyond the traditions of belief and disbelief, scant attention has
been paid to the personal history of God from a standpoint outside
the Bible - and it is this unbiased premise that makes The Origin of
God different. It is, indeed, a masterly study, and must be one of
the most important and comprehensive works in the history of
Gardner asks the awkward questions. If there was nothing before God
created everything, then where was God before that? Where did he
come from? If the Bible had never been written, would we know about
God from any more original source? Did the Israelite scribes invent
God for some reason, or did they have access to earlier records
concerning him? If so, what were they?
The answer to this query could lie in the work of the late Christian
O'Brien, a Cambridge scholar and exploration geologist, who proposed
in the 1980s that members of an advanced race - known in the records
of Sumeria, the world's oldest known civilization, as the Anannage
or 'Shining Ones' - re-started civilization in southern Lebanon
around 9,000BC. The Anannage seem to have been the first beings ever
to be regarded as 'gods' - and one of them in all probability was
In the last 10 years, the independent researcher Edmund Marriage, a
relative of O'Brien's, was a frequent visitor and friend at the
Gardners' home in Devon because so much of Gardner's work resonated
with that of O'Brien, whose books were an invaluable source of
reference material. Further research by Edmund Marriage and the
Golden Age Project suggests the Anannage were the survivors of a
civilization decimated by planetary catastrophe in about 10,400BC
when interstellar debris collided with the Earth.
The Anannage appear in the historical record for thousands of years,
but it is not explained that the various descendent godly figures
died or went elsewhere. The documentary perception simply changes
about 1,400BC from one of actual physical presence to that of
mysterious spiritual presence - by a remarkable coincidence, just
Whoever the Anannage might have been, and from wherever they might
have come, says Gardner, who supports and expands on the O'Brien
thesis, the Sumerians were absolutely sincere about their existence
at a time when their social, academic and technological cultures
leapt forward way in advance of any other region on Earth:
'seemingly out of position in time and place, these highly advanced
individuals appear, like a cast-remnant from Atlantis, to create the
most impressive and influential civilization of the era'.
Text © Geoff Ward 2011.
Presented with permission.
No reproduction without prior permission.