Alice C. Linsley
I recently received an email from a Japanese friend in which she details some of the horrors and hardships endured by many Japanese in the aftermath of natural disasters. She wrote: "In my country, fear of earthquakes always haunts us. We don't know when it gonna hit us and kill us. As a small child, I remember nights I could not sleep because of the fear of death by earthquake. I grew up with fear. However, because I encountered with Christ, I am no longer haunted by fear of death anymore. It is the unchanging truth, but it is quite scary when it happens. I lost words when I saw cars and houses carried away by water and drown in it as weapons to steal so many lives. I thought hell would be a place like this."
Hell is probably very like this, a chaotic state without hope of the victorious order that comes with God's Presence. That chaos was in the beginning, according to Genesis 1.
The Victory of Tehut Over Tehom
The Genesis creation stories are often contrasted, recognizing that the first story ends with the creation of Man whereas the second story begins with the forming of man from the dust of the earth (or from the soil of the ground). However, it should be noted that both stories begin with a watery chaos - tehom, which suggests a cultural context of a river people, probably Nilotic.
In Genesis 1, the Earth was without form; darkness was on "deep", and the "spirit" moved over waters (1:1-2).
In Genesis 2, we read "In the day when the Lord-God made the earth and the heavens . . ." (2:4) there was
nothing on earth (2:5) until a mist or water rose from the ground and watered all the surface of the ground.
Tehom (Hebrew: תְּהוֹם) is an ancient concept of a watery and disordered deep which God put in order by His Word (Egyptian hu or hut). Tehom is subdued by Tehut.
A central experience of ancient Egyptians was the annual Nile inundation. As rains fell during the spring in the Ethiopian headlands the Nile River in Egypt rose above its banks, flooding the Nile Valley between June and October. The flooding lasted for 40 days. This turned the valley into large lakes and deposited fertile silt which renewed the earth. As the waters receded, only the highest mounds of earth would been seen at first. Even after the waters crested and began to recede, families didn't return to their homes for another 40 nights. This is the origin of the biblical phrase "forty days and forty nights" and again the context is Nilotic.
The victory of Tehut over Tehom relates to the annual inundation of the Nile and helps us to understand the Egyptian concept of creation. One of the oldest creation myths of the ancient Egyptians envisioned the first place in the world as a mound emerging from the waters of a universal ocean. Here the first life form was seen as a lily, growing on the peak of the primeval mound. The mound itself was named Tatjenen, meaning "the emerging land".
In Hindu and Buddhist mythology the mound that emerged is called Mount Meru. It emerges from the center of the Cosmic Ocean, and the Sun and 7 visible planets circle the mountain. Mount Meru in Hinduism is a mythological mountain. However, there are 2 mountains called Meru in Africa, one in Kenya and the other in Tanzania.
The name meru is meri in Egyptian and Mary in English. The Virgin Mary, whose womb swelled with the Son of God, is sometimes portrayed in icons as the mountain of God. The Prophet Daniel saw a mountain, from which a stone was cut by the hand of God (Dan. 2:34, 45).
This conception of Earth emerging from a universal ocean likely originated in the Upper Nile region where stone pillars and mounds of earth were erected. In the Lower Nile region small pyramids were carved from a single block of stone. These were known as a bnbn (benben), from the root, bn, meaning to "swell forth". The image of the sun resting at or swelling forth from the peak of the pyramid or mountain is represented in the sign of tnt (tanit) and in the Agadez crosses made by the Inadan metalworkers of west cental Africa. The Egyptian word for the rising sun is wbn, which comes from the same root as benben.
Recently discovered tombs of officials from the 4th Dynasty were surmounted by conical mounds that represent the benben. These tombs, along with the royal tombs at Giza, indicate that the ancient rulers hoped to rise from the place of death as the Sun rises.
The Egyptian royal pyramids correspond in form to the number 72, as does Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The number 72 represents the precession of the equinoxes, that is it represents the numerical sequence linked to the earth’s axial precession, which causes the apparent alteration in the position of the constellations one degree every 72 years. It has been noted also that Angkor Wat is located 72 degrees of longitude east of the Pyramids of Giza.
This worldview spread with the Horite ruler-priests who moved north and east from ancient Nubia. They were a caste of priests who were devotees of Horus, called the "son of God." The name Angkor correlates with the ancient Egyptian Anhk-Hor, meaning "May Horus Live". Horus' totem was a falcon. Falcon-shaped fire altars have been found across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Vedic tradition teaches that "he who desires heaven is to construct a fire-altar in the form of a falcon." Here we have further evidence of the spread of the Horite cosmology, suggesting that Abraham's priest caste was missionary minded.
The victory of God's order over chaotic waters is even more evident when we realize that it was along the water ways that the worldview of Abraham's Horite people spread across Arabia, Mesopotamia and the Levant. This migration of Abraham's ancestors is well documented.
Related reading: The Nilotic Substrata of Genesis 1; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; Who Were the Horites?; Afro-Asiatic Kingdom Building