Saturday, August 29, 2015

Adam According to Mesopotamian Tradition

An interesting presentation by Dick Fischer at the annual American Scientific Affiliation conference held in Tulsa, Oklahoma in July 2015. He makes an argument for Adam as an historical figure living in Mesopotamia.

I agree that historical Adam is the progenitor of biblical peoples who dispersed widely in the ancient world. I doubt that Adam lived in Mesopotamia, however. He was the progenitor of Abraham's Proto-Saharan cattle-herding ancestors who dispersed into Mesopotamia. Abraham is a descendant of the rulers Ham and Shem whose lines intermarried (endogamy). Abraham's father, Terah, was a priest with two wives: one in Haran and one in Ur.

A genealogical relationship exists between the Nilotic, Dravidian, Elamite and Sumerian languages. African languages were used by Henry Rawlinson to decipher the cuneiform script. Dravidian, Elamite, and Sumerian share features retained during a process of divergence from a common linguistic ancestor. The wedge or cuneiform script was used by the Sumerians, the Akkadians, the Babylonians, the Elamites, the Assyrians, and the Horites, Hatti, and Hittites of Anatolia.

Scientific analysis of the Genesis king lists reveals a specific marriage and ascendancy pattern. This information is essential to recovery of the original cultural context of the material in Genesis.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Joseph of Ar-Mathea: Fact and Fiction

When evening had come, and since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.

Then Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead for some time. When he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.

Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

Mark 15:42-64

This account is paralleled in the other Gospels. John 19 adds: Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.
Joseph and Nicodemus were fellow members of the Sanhedrin who came to be followers of The Way.

Alice C. Linsley

There is a great deal of medieval elaboration surrounding Joseph of Arimathea. One account says that he brought Jesus as a teenager to England. Local legends say that among the places they visited were St Just in Roseland and St Michael's Mount.  A 12th century account connects Joseph to the Arthurian legends and names him as the first keeper of the Holy Grail. It is said that he hid it in a well at Glastonbury, now called the Chalice Well. There is no evidence to support either of these inventions. The association of Joseph with Glastonbury in Somerset added to the status of Glastonbury by associating it with a prestigious Christian who was known to have been in Cornwall to the southwest.

In Matthew 27:57-8 and John 19:38-40, Joseph is described as a "man of means." Jerome's Vulgate version calls him nobilis decurio. The term decurion was often used for an official in charge of mines. It is also said to be part of Cornish tin-miners folklore that there is a saying and song that "Joseph Was a Tin-Man and the miners loved him well." Joseph apparently had business dealings in Cornwall where it is said he visited the The Ding Dong Mine.

Mining in Cornwall and Devon began as early as 2150 BC. The Ding Dong Mine is one of the oldest mines. An old miner told A. K. Hamilton Jenkin in the early 1940's: "Why, they do say there's only one mine in Cornwall older than Dolcoath, and that's Ding Dong, which was worked before the time of Jesus Christ." (Hamilton Jenkin, A. K. Cornwall and its People. London: J. M. Dent; p. 347)

The inhabitants of Cornwall were involved in the manufacture of tin ingots. The area has prehistoric tin mines, stone monoliths, and iron age fortresses. Joseph probably had Jewish friends and family living in the area. The presence of Hebrew is evident in place names like Marazion, meaning "sight of Zion" and Menheniot, which is derived from the Hebrew words min oniyot, meaning "from ships." Menheniot was a center of lead mining.

These metal workers and miners were among the Damoni, an early population of Cornwall. Dam-oni means "red people." Their ancestors were the builders of the great shrines like Carnac in Brittany because the stone monoliths in Damnonia are like those in Carnac, though smaller. On the Nile the ancient shrine at Karnak was built with huge stones by skillful craftsmen. Kar-nak means place of rituals. The red skin Annu/Onnu/Ainu also built Heliopolis on the Nile, called "On" in Genesis 41. They were the builders of pyramids also.

Kar is a archaic root that refers to a circular place of ritual. Ki-kar refers to a circle, as in Exodus 25:11: ki-kar za-hav ta-hor, meaning "circle of pure gold." (In the Anchor Bible Commentary on Genesis, E.A. Speiser recognizes that kikar refers to a circle.)

Tumulus in Cornwall
The original name for Cornwall was Kernow, which is related to the words Karnak and Karnevo. 

"Terah took a wife and her name was Amsalai, the daughter of Karnevo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days." Jasher 7:50

The ancient masters of stone monuments, tombs and mining operations also built sacred circles in reverence to the Sun, the emblem of the Creator.

Joseph and the Ar Clans

Joseph was a kinsman of Mary and Jesus. They were of the Horite line of Matthew, and related to the Ar clans. That is the meaning of the name Ar-Mathea.

Many ancient Hebrew are associated by their names with the Ar patrimony. Two examples are Aroch (1 Chr 7:39, Ezr 2:5, Neh 6:18, Neh 7:10) and Ariel (Ezr 8:16, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:7). Ariel means “Scribe/Messenger of God.” It appears that the Ar clans were known as royal scribes, and messengers or prophets. This is further suggested by the name Ar-vad. Vad means “to speak” in Sanskrit.  The root is vd, which also refers to seeing. In Ancient Egyptian vidjet refers to the Eye of Horus, the son of the Creator. In Serbian, vidjet means "to see." There are many connections between ancient Nilotic words and those found in Serbia and Northern India were the Kushite Saka ruled for many thousands of years.

The association of the name Ar with the scribal caste is further demonstrated by the discovery of Aramaic scrolls from Arsames, the satrap, who wrote to his Egyptian administrator Psamshek, and to an Egyptian ruler named Nekht-Hor. (A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948, pp.116-117) Numerous historical persons are identified as Ar: Ar-Shem, Arsames, Artix, Araxes, and a Jebusite ruler called Araunah who sold King David a threshing floor upon which David constructed an altar.

The Ar are identified with the "sea peoples" whose range extended the length of the Mediterranean and to the Black Sea. They also ruled the major water systems of Central Africa. They were highly effective warrior-priests and kingdom builders. Dr. Catherine Acholonu explains, "In Nigeria the caste under reference is the Ar/Aro caste of Igbo Eri priest-kings, who were highly militarized in their philosophy." The rulers were served by expert stone masons and metal workers. The stone masons built their great temples and tombs and the metal workers fashioned weapons and symbols of authority. The metal workers were called the Nes, Neshi or Nehesi. The Neshi still function as priests in Igboland (Nigeria). The metal-working Nes of Anatolia are their kin. The Anatolian Nes (or Nus or Nuzi) spoke a language called Nesli.

Nehesi means "One who serves Hesi." Hesi was another name for Hathor, Horus' mother. Throughout the ancient world shrines were dedicated to both Horus and Hathor. These were mound cities with water sources. Tell-Hesi, a 25-acre archaeological site in Israel, is an example. It was the first major site excavated in Palestine, first by Flinders Petrie in 1890 and later by Frederick Jones Bliss in 1891 and 1892.

In southern Anatolia (modern Turkey) royal stone masons built Catalhoyuk beginning in 7500 BC. The Turkish words catal means fork and hoyuk means mound.) This was a settlement built on two mounds (east and west) and a channel of the Çarşamba River once flowed between them. The houses excavated in Catalhoyuk date between 6800-5700 B.C. Recent excavations have identified a shrine or small temple on the eastern side. At Horoztepe, in northern Anatolia, they built royal tombs dating from 2400–2200 BC. These are richly furnished with finely crafted artifacts in bronze, gold, and silver.

Bronze figure of a smith (7th-8th century B.C.) was discovered in Vranište, Serbia.

Joseph is identified in the New Testament as being of Ar-Mathea. That is not a location. It identifies his lineage and his caste. He was a mining expert and a tomb builder. He provided his own expertly excavated tomb for Jesus’ burial. Joseph visited the Ding Dong Mine in Cornwall.

Mining in Cornwall has existed from the early Bronze Age around 2150 BC. In 1600 BC, Cornwall experienced a trade boom driven by the export of tin across Europe. Pytheas of Massilia, a Greek merchant and explorer, circumnavigated the British Isles between about 330 and 320 BC and produced the first written record of the islands. He described the Cornish as civilized, skilled farmers, usually peaceable, but formidable in war. The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus named Cornwall Belerion, meaning “The Shining Land", the first recorded place name in the British Isles. Cornwall was one of the few parts of Britain where the dead were buried in ancient times.

As a member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph of Ar-Mathea was qualified to ordain priests, so it is likely that some of the Christian priests in Cornwall were ordained by him as early as 60 AD. Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 260-340) wrote of Christ's disciples in Demonstratio Evangelica, saying that "some have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain." This was likely a reference to the Seventy who Christ commissioned (Luke 10) and Joseph is numbered among them, according to John Chrysostom (347-407), the Patriarch of Constantinople, who wrote that Joseph was one of the Seventy Apostles.

According to Gildas's De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae there were Christians in Britain as early as 46 AD. Tertullian (AD 155-222) wrote in Adversus Judaeos that Britain had already accepted the Gospel in his lifetime. These Hebrew/Habiru Christians would have had priests among them. We know from the Bible that there were skilled metal workers among the Horite priests. Aaron fabricated a golden calf and Moses made the bronze serpent on a staff. The earliest high ranking rulers in Cornwall would have served as priests with powers equivalent to bishops as early as 46 AD and probably earlier than this. The episcopacy of Evodius of Antioch dates to 53–69 AD. The episcopacy of James of Jerusalem must correspond to that, as he died before 69 AD, and the episcopacy of Linus, the first bishop of Rome, dates to 67-79 AD.

Related reading: Stone Work of the Ancient World; The Priesthood in England; Red and Black Smiths; Was King Arthur a Horite Ruler?; Was Constantine as Saka Ruler?Haplogroup R1b

Monday, August 10, 2015

Jesus Fulfills the Edenic Promise

Alice C. Linsley

Messianic expectation predates Abraham and appears to have originated among the priest caste that served in the temples and shrines of archaic Eden which stretched from ancient Nubia to Syria. Some of these priests were called Horim or Horites, and they were known in the ancient world for their purity of life.

The Horite priests were an extremely ancient caste going back to biblical Eden. It was to their ancestors that the Creator made the promise that a woman of their ruler-priests lines would conceive the Seed of the Creator (Gen. 3:15) by divine overshadowing. This is called the "Edenic Promise." The Angel Gabriel told the Blessed Virgin Mary that she would conceive by the overshadowing of the Spirit. She is the Woman of Genesis 3:15. Her son is the Divine Seed.

Samuel's father was Elkanah, a Horite priest with two wives, so was Amram, Moses' father. Moses also had two wives, as did Abraham, Jacob, etc. It is the pattern of Horite rulers whose ancestors are listed in Genesis 4, 5 and 10. Some of these rulers dispersed far from their ancestral homes and established kingdoms in Syria, Southern Europe, Northern India and even the Tarim Valley of China. Horite priests were found among the "Saka." According to Hindu sacred texts, the Saka ruled the ancient world for 7000 years. They were ethnically Kushites. Genesis calls these rulers of the archaic world "the mighty men of old."(cf Nehemiah 3:16)

These mighty rulers controlled the water commerce and the high elevations which is where they built their fortified palaces. The boundaries of their territories were often marked by the the residential settlements of their two wives, and usually on a north-south axis. Nimrod's territory extended along the Tigris River between Calah and Ashur. Likewise, Cain's territory extended between Kano and Nok, Terah's between Ur and Haran, and Abraham's between Hebron (where Sarah resided) and Beersheba (where Keturah resided).

Wherever these rulers established territories they spread their Horite religion, including the hope of a Righteous Ruler who would overcome death and lead his people to immortality. A few even claimed to be that ruler in order to strengthen their power. Sargon is an example. Sar and gon are African words, and both refer to a ruler. The replication of the meaning king indicates that Sargon would have meant "King of Kings" or "Most High King." He claimed that his mother miraculously conceived him while she was praying in the temple at Azu-piranu, the House of God. Sargon was born in an O-pirû, House of the Sun. The Sun was the emblem of the Creator and gold (oros) was associated with the sun.

In the ancient world, a temple was considered the mansion (hâît) or the house (pirû/biru) of the deity. Those men who served in the temple were called Ha'biru, which in English is Hebrew. They served the Creator and the Creator's divinely appointed ruler. They preserved the ancient religious laws concerning ritual purity and sacrifices. Because they regarded the sun as the Creator's banner or standard, much of their religion is based on the solar arc. Horus rose in the east as a lamb and set in the West as a ram. Now we see the significance of the ram caught in the thicket. The Creator's qualities were often expressed in terms of the sun's properties: warmth, light, and constancy.

Among the desert Nilotes the dung beetle (scarab) also spoke to them of the Creator. This beetle rolls balls of dung along the ground and deposits them in its burrows. The female lays her eggs in the dung ball and when the larvae hatch, they feed off the dung until they emerge from the earth. The orb of the lowly beetle replicated on earth the solar orb of the Creator. Both were seen to sink below the earth and were believed to give life to those buried in the earth.

When it came to resurrection of the body, the heart would be weighed in the afterlife. The body of the pure heart would rise from the dead, as the sun rises in the morning. This is the significance of the dung beetle scarab, placed over the mummy's heart. The emphasis on having a pure heart is found throughout the Scriptures, especially in the Psalms.

Create in me a pure heart, O God. (Ps. 51:10)

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. (Ps. 51:6)

I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:11)

The ancient rulers of the Nile Valley observed that the beetle buried the dung ball and that the beetle's young fed off the dung underground. This was symbolic of the food placed in the graves of rulers in hope that they would come forth from the grave and lead their people to immortality. The scarab beetle was given the name Khoprer, which is derived from kheper, meaning to become.

The expectation that a Righteous Ruler would come who would overcome death and save his people, has a very early expression in the Re-Horus-Hathor narrative. HR (Horus) was regarded to be co-equal and co-eternal with his father Ra. He was spoken of as the fixer of cosmic boundaries. Horus was invoked to send favorable winds. The four winds often appeared as birds at the four quarters of the heavens announcing the accession of Horus' deified ruler on earth. On the walls of Amenemhat III's burial chamber at Hawara Horus is depicted at the cardinal points and associated with the resurrection of the ruler. The four forms of Horus: the man, the jackal, the falcon, and the baboon top the canopic jars holding the ruler's organs.

Jesus showed Himself to be the eternal Son of the Father when he calmed the wind and the waves on the Sea of Galilee. This understanding of the Cosmic Ruler is reflected in many words of ancient origin. Horos refers to the boundaries of an area, or a landmark, or a term. From horos come the English words hour, horizon, horologion, horotely, and horoscope. The association of Horus with the horizon is seen in the word Har-ma-khet, meaning "Horus of the Horizon." Today the word horoscope connotes astrology, but the word originally referred to an "observer of the hours."

In the time of Abraham's ancestors, the priests of Horus (called "Horites" in the Bible) were dedicated to observation of the planets and constellations. They observed that the planets and the constellations have an orderly clock-like movement. They conceived of this order as fixed and established by the generative force which makes existence possible (logos, nous, ruach, etc.) The Horite priests were the earliest known astronomers and it is likely that horo pertains to the celestial archetypes surrounding Horus, the son of Ra, born to Hathor. Hathor's animal totem was a cow. She is shown at the Dendura Temple holding her newborn in a manger. He was often shown as a calf with the solar orb between his horns as a sign of divine appointment.

The Horites were devotees of Ra (R) and his co-equal son HR (Hor, Horus) an Hathor (HTR) who they believed was conceived miraculously by the overshadowing of the Sun. This is about celestial archetypes, not about a historical person. The idea that God might appear in human flesh did not yet exist, only the celestial archetype which was acknowledged in funeral practices and in popular feasts and fasts.

One such festival involved a 5-day ceremony in which Horus was said to have died by his brother's hand. The people fasted as a sign of grief for his death. On the third day the priests led processions to the fields where grain was sowed in the fields. Jesus described his death as a seed of grain falling into he ground and dying (John 12:20-26). St. Augustine noted that the Egyptians took great care in the burial of their dead and never practiced cremation, as in the religions that seek to escape physical existence. Abraham's ancestors believed in the resurrection of the body and their ceremonies and celestial archetypes express their yearning for a deified king who would rise from the grave and deliver his people from death.

At some point the Horim came to believe that the ancient hope would take the form of a Divine Man. This happened well before Simeon's time. 

There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:25-26)

The "consolation" extends back to Eden. The Horites believed that the promised Seed of the Woman would be born of their ruler-priest lines and they expected Him to visit them. In Mark 7:24, this expectation was fulfilled when the Son of God visited Tyre. Mark explains that there Jesus “could not pass unrecognized.” Though Jesus was rejected in Jerusalem,he was recognized in Tyre. Tyre is associated with the Edenic Promise. 

Son of Man, raise a lament over the king of Tyre and say to him: Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. You were in Eden, in the Garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment... and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, prepared the day you were created. (Ezekiel 28:11-18)

The New Testament speaks about Jesus as both ruler and priest. He is the firstborn from the grave and by his mighty resurrection He delivers to the Father a "peculiar people." He leads us in the ascent to the Father where we receive heavenly recognition because we belong to Him.

Heavenly recognition for the Horites was never an individual prospect. Heavenly recognition came to the people through the righteousness of their ruler-priest. Horite rulers took this seriously, some more than others. The best were heavenly minded and the worst were so earthy minded that they shed much blood enlarging their territories. All failed to be the One long-expected as evidenced by their failure to rise from the grave. The true Righteous Ruler-Priest did rise from the dead. Therefore, Jesus, the Son of God, has the power to deliver captives from the grave and to lead them to the throne of heaven (Ps. 68:18; Ps. 7:7; Eph. 4:8).

Related reading:  Genesis in Anthropological PerspectiveTheories of Change and Constancy; The Re-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Ignoring Anthropologically Significant Data; The Dung Beetle and Heavenly Lights; Righteous Rulers and the Resurrection; Miners Venerated Hathor

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Curse of Ham Falls Also on Shem

My botanist friend Ann recently wrote to me:

In my agricultural work in Africa, I met African Christians that believe they are cursed still because of the story of Noah and Ham. They are very sad. I was surprised to encounter that idea. God seems so active in Africa-- he has so many believers there! Surely the work of Christ liberates Africa too from that curse, --whether one believes it is literal or symbolic? Does your work give any insights about that?

Alice C. Linsley

The so-called "curse of Ham" has been used to justify racism by people who are ignorant of what Genesis tells us about fathers who curse their children out of anger, something that greatly displeases our Heavenly Father.

Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father's nakedness and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father's nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem! May Canaan be the slave of Shem. May God extend the territory of Japheth; may Japheth live in the tents of Shem, and may Canaan be his slave. (Gen. 9:20-27)

To understand this in the proper biblical context we must investigate the pattern. In the following account, we find two themes: the anger of the father and the ranking of sons. We notice also that it is not Ham that is cursed, by Canaan. This supplies a clue as to when this story entered the biblical narrative. It comes from the later Deuteronomist Historian who is anxious to assert Shem's right over his brothers.

However, since the rulers of the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried, the curse of Ham would have to fall on Shem's descendants as well. In this sense, Noah’s curse falls upon both his Hamitic and Semitic descendants, which is what happens when a father acts out of self-loathing.

Noah’s cursing and blessing of his three sons parallels Jacob’s cursing and blessing of his twelve sons at the end of Genesis. The two accounts highlight the reality that fathers are often displeased by the actions of their sons. In both narratives there may also be an element of self-loathing.

There are other interesting similarities as well. Noah was angry because his son Ham had looked upon his nakedness. Jacob was angry because his son Reuben has slept with his concubine. In both cases we find the idea of exposing the father's nakedness. Noah’s curse falls on Canaan, Ham’s son, which is a deflection of guilt. Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s sons falls on the youngest, a deflection of blessing. The excuse given for Jacob’s behavior is that he was blind. The excuse given for Noah’s behavior is that he was drunk. (The theme of drunken fathers bringing disgrace upon their children is taken up here.)

Another parallel exists between the curse of Canaan and the curse of Cain (Gen. 4:11). Cain’s curse involves his being expelled from his homeland. The curse of Canaan is clearly intended to justify Israel’s conquest of the land of Canaan by the driving out of the inhabitants know as the Canaanites. Although it is clear that some Habiru/Hebrew married Canaanites. Rahab’s marriage to Salmon, of the tribe of Judah, is one example. More importantly, the Genesis genealogical information makes it clear that the descendants of Ham intermarried with the descendants of Shem.

The fact that the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried underscores the stupidity of claiming the curse involves only black people of black. Further, we know today from molecular genetics that these peoples were diverse in their appearance, some having a red skin tone and waving dark hair, and some having a black skin tone with wooly hair.

Red and black Nubians
Detail from a Champollion drawing
These red Nubians resemble the Nabatean warriors of Edom
Image: Dr. Arthur Brack

There is no justification of racism in the book of Genesis. Race itself is a non-starter, anthropologically and genetically speaking. What people looked like has no bearing on their intelligence, their technological development, or their way of life. If a white person lives a simple country life, this is viewed by whites as "simplicity" but if black person chooses the same way of life, whites are likely to regard that person as lacking ambition.

Related reading:  Seligman's Legacy;  Who Were the Kushites?; Abraham's Kushite Ancestors; The Seven Bowls of Revelation 16; Edo, Edom, Idumea

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Join Me in Prayer

Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself." Isaiah 44:24

I will be on the steps of the Kentucky capitol building tomorrow to pray for Mitch McConnell and other Kentucky legislators that their hearts will be convicted by the Holy Spirit to press for a thorough investigation of Planned Parenthood.

Let your state representative know that this "Planned Parenthood scandal" is not going to go away. They can no longer ignore the evil, and if they do, you will not vote for them again.

Please join me in prayer wherever you may be at 10:00 a.m. eastern time.

Alice C. Linsley

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Of Lions and Downton Abbey

This shard dates to the Ramesside Period, Dynasties 19–20 (ca. 1295–?1069 B.C.). The hieratic writing above the lion reads: "The slaughter of every foreign land, the Pharaoh—may he live, prosper, and be healthy." This may have been a votive offering.

The rulers of the Ramesside Period were well known for their personal piety and their tombs were not the traditional T-shaped private tombs as found in earlier dynasties, especially at Thebes. These tombs were instead mortuary temples with emphasis on religious themes.

Ostracon of Egyptian ruler killing a wounded lion

This ostracon was found in the Valley of the Kings during excavations conducted by Howard Carter for the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, who was the chief financial backer of many of Carter's Egyptian excavations. Gaston Maspero, then Director of the Antiquities Department, proposed to Lord Carnarvon that Carter might be an appropriate assistant. George Herbert's country house, Highclere Castle, serves as the location of the television series Downton Abbey, though the downstairs scenes are filmed on a set in London, as Highclere's basement is the home of Carnarvon's Egyptian collections.

George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon
(1866 – 1923)

For the Egyptians, the king was a "son" of Re the Creator, and was under divine appointment to rule the peoples with equity. The king was to maintain order in the world and to protect Egypt against her enemies. Horus, the Son of Re, was the patron of the rulers of the Nile Valley. Horus was regarded as the fixer of cosmic boundaries and the one who directs the currents and winds.

Among the Nilotic Luo, piny horu (soft h) refers to the dawning of a new day. Horu refers to Horus of the two horizons, the son of Re, in ancient Nilotic mythology. Horus was said to have set the rising and setting of the sun. The temporal sacred center was high noon when the sun rested exactly over the Nile. this is depicted by the Egyptian Akar, an image of twin lions (ruti) carrying a sun disk on their backs while facing opposite directions.

Akar relates to the solar arc, the sun's big stride over the earth, a sign of the Creator's sovereignty over all. The two lions referred to as ruti are still called ruti/rute/rude in modern Luo which means twins or things coming in twos.

Jacob refers to his son Judah as a Gur Aryeh גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה, which means "young lion" (Gen. 49:9). The totem of Shobal's clan was the lion fierce in it youthful strength (young lion). Shobal was one of the Horite chiefs named in the Genesis 36 king list.

Psalm 91 is a Messianic passage that speaks of the victory of the Righteous One. Here we find a reference to the serpent (cf. Gen. 3:15) and the lion. "They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down. "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.…" (Psalm 91:12-14)

Related reading: The Fatted Calf; The Red Heifer; History of Egypt, Babylon, Syria by Gaston Maspero; The Lion and Judah; Ancient Egyptian Lexicon"Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” Hosea 11:1; King Tut and the Dispersion of R1b

Friday, July 31, 2015

In the beginning God created...

Greg Goebel

Did God create the world instantly ten thousand years ago? Or did he start the process of evolution in order to create the world?

For several years I led a parish book study, and it was one of the most personally fulfilling aspects of ministry for me. But it was also often quite provocative. One such moment came when we were reading Alistair McGrath’s book Theology: The Basics.

We were reading his overview of the Apostle’s Creed, starting with his discussion of “God the Father, creator of heaven and earth.” McGrath discusses five basic ways that Christians have understood how God accomplished the creation of the world, including young earth creationism, intelligent design, and theistic evolution.

When we got to that point, the room seemed to instantly divide into camps. All of us were fellow Christians, fellow parishioners, and we respected one another. We were also all book lovers. Yet we literally divided physically into camps. I’m not sure how it happened, but it seemed like I looked up and people had actually changed places to be near their group.

One group said that the only way to truly and faithfully read the Genesis account was to believe that God created the world about ten thousand years ago. Another said, no, Genesis is obviously poetic and intended to convey a theology of God, not a mechanism of creation itself. This led to the conclusion that God began the process of evolution. Still another group believed that God didn’t just start evolution’s march, he guided it in a process called Intelligent Design.

The creed was sitting there on the page. It simply read, “God the Father, creator of heaven and earth.” That’s it.

Think about this for a moment. The undivided church gathered in a series of ecumenical councils (there were no separate denominations then). They knew Genesis, they knew Paul’s letter to the Romans. They knew the Gospels. And it may surprise many to know that they knew about evolution too. No, not the modern scientific theory. But they knew about the Greek philosophical schools that had developed a vision of life evolving. And they also knew about Jewish (mostly poetic) readings of the book of Genesis.

So they could have agreed to sacralize one of these views for all time as creed. And yet they didn’t. They were content to simply require all Christians to believe that God purposely created the universe. They left the how outside of what is required for salvation.

We might want to try that today.

That’s not to say that we should stop debating, arguing, and advocating one or the other viewpoint. We should keep on vigorously working and promoting and talking about this, because its important.

Yet rather than advocating the simple creed, and then making space for believers to discuss varies theories, some parishes identify as “Creationist” or “Intelligent Design” or pro “Theistic Evolution.” But our churches shouldn’t be presenting one or the other interpretation or theory as if it is the only authoritative way to understand creation. That’s not the pastor’s job. We weren’t ordained to promote creationism, but creed. We aren’t called to preach evolutionary biology, but to preach Bible basics. Our job is to present God the Father as creator of heaven and earth. Period.

Why? One reason is evangelism.

Here is an example of how staying with the creeds can help evangelism: I got a call from a family member, who said, “I am almost ready to be baptized and become a Christian. But, I can’t because I accept the theory of evolution as proven science. If you can show me that evolution is wrong, I can consider becoming a Christian.”

This was a critical moment. In my past I might have marshaled evidence that evolution is false, hoping to clinch that final argument that would bring him to faith in Christ. At another point in my life I might have argued that God did indeed use evolution to create the world.

But does our faith rest on arguments? Does it rest on scientific refutations? Does baptism require us to first develop a detailed theory of the mechanism of creation? Nope. Just an affirmation of the creed. Period.

So thankfully I was able to say, “Yeah, a lot of Christians wrestle with that. Not a problem. You can be baptized and become a Christian and keep on wrestling with the rest of us Christians. We only require an affirmation that the world is not an accident, or purposeless, and that God the Father is the creator who decided the world would exist and made it happen. He is the source of life.”

So you may be sad, at this point in my musings, to find that I’m not going to try and advocate for one or the other interpretations of Genesis, or philosophies of “death before Adam.” There are many great studies out there on these issues, and they are important questions.

As a priest and pastor, I simply affirm that God created the world. Period. And that is a beautiful, amazing and challenging belief in and of itself.

From here.

Pastors should be informed on the four aspects of evolution: mutation (fact), adaptation (fact), natural selection (evidence, but not a law) and common ancestry (a theory). Bible-believing Christians must reject the common ancestry theory when it comes to human origins as this is contrary to the biblical assertion that humans were a special creation. The growing evidence of archaic humans increasingly supports the biblical assertion of humans as a special creation.

Likewise, pastors should understand that Young Earth Creationism (YEC) does not align with what Genesis reveals. It is neither scientific nor biblical. The Earth is very old, and humans have been on the Earth for close to four million years. From the beginning they were fully human: walked upright, used tools, controlled fire, had human dentition, etc.

Pastors should also be informed about the cultural context of Abraham's ancestors from whom he received the hope of a Righteous Ruler who would overcome death and lead his people to immortality.