Monday, July 25, 2011

Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel

Stone ossuary chest used for secondary burial of bones
dates to the Second Temple. Note the 6-prong solar image.

Alice C. Linsley

To understand Christianity, we must investigate the point of origin of Messianic expectation, which is the heart of the Christian faith. Such investigation will take us to Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors for whom the sun stood as an emblem of the Creator and his son Horus. This means we must to go back to at least 3500 B.C. to the oldest known shrine city of the devotees of Horus at Nekhen in Sudan.

Obviously, if we accept the substantial evidence that Horus is the pattern by which Abraham's people came to understand Messiah, we must also accept that this Faith is older than any other world religion. We will also recognize that Christianity has developed organically and is not a synthetic religion which cobbles together beliefs and ideas according to the spirit of the age.  Rather, Christianity emerges out of a belief that God made a promise a long time ago to a certain people living in a place called "Eden" and that He has been busy fulfilling the Edenic Promise (Gen. 3:15) in the God-Man Jesus Christ.

Most people think of Christianity as an off-shoot of Judaism, but the core beliefs of Christians that God would take on flesh, die and rise again were already evident among Abraham’s Horite people who understood the dying and rising of God in terms of the sun’s rising and setting.  They did not worship the sun as is erroneously stated in some books on ancient civilizations. Rather the sun served as the best analogy for the Creator who ruled over the whole world.  Unlike its lesser opposite the moon, the sun makes life possible on earth. It is the great light from which the moon receives its light. In Genesis 1: 16, the sun is called the “greater light” and the moon the “lesser light.” The sun and the moon are not equals as in Asian dualism.  The sun is to the moon what the male is to the female, superior in size and strength. This is characteristic of the binary distinctions of the Horite worldview and it is offensive to many in our egalitarian society.

What Jews in Jesus’ day believed and practiced emerged from the tradition that they received from their horim, their ancestors. The elements of this tradition align with the ancient Egyptian/Kushite beliefs surrounding Hor (Horus in Greek) who appears on ancient steles and monuments as a falcon-headed man or as a falcon flying above the sun on Re’s solar boat.

Aspects of the ancient solar symbolism are found in the Bible and in historical texts. Psalm 92:2 describes the Lord as “a sun and a shield.” The Victory Tablet of Amenhotep III describes Horus as “The Good God, Golden [Horus], Shining in the chariot, like the rising of the sun; great in strength, strong in might…” (Tablet of Victory of Amenhotep III, J.H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, p. 854).

Horus was the guardian of the ancient Egyptian and Kushite kings from as early as 4000 B.C. The kings were perceived to be the representatives on earth of the Ruler of the universe, the “sons” of God. From the earliest Dynastic Period, the king's name was written in the rectangular device called a serekh, which depicted a falcon perched on a palace fa├žade. Horus as guardian and deity was manifest within the palaces and the shrines as the king himself. The king’s “horus name” was associated with gold and the sun which is the meaning of the title “Golden Horus” in which a falcon appears on the hieroglyphic sign for gold.

Horus was sometimes shown with the sun as his right eye and the moon as his left. The right eye was the one with which he saw all things, but his left eye was weaker, having been injured in combat. This reflects the binary distinctions which characterize Nilotic religion.

In the Nilotic languages, as in all the Afro-Asiatic languages, there are only two genders: male and female. The sun was assigned a masculine gender and was greater than the moon which was assigned a feminine gender. This binary set of sun-moon reflects an observed reality. The sun gives light whereas the moon’s light is refulgent. Likewise creatures of the male gender are physically larger than creatures of the feminine gender. The binary distinctions of Abraham’s Horite people were based on observable patterns in nature. By observing celestial and earthly patterns they recognized that one of the entities in the binary set is superior to its other in visible ways. Thus the worldview of the Bible is binary, not dualistic.

The solar imagery for God is very ancient and is found among extant Nilotic tribes such as the Kalenjin of Kenya who are almost exclusively Christian. The Kalenjin believe in a Creator called Asis whose emblem is the sun. While Nilotic peoples are not the only peoples to have solar imagery, their view of the sun as superior to the moon was unique among the ancient Asian religions which tended to be dualistic. Likely this is what stands behind the criticism of the ruler-priest Terah who lived among Mesopotamians who worshipped the sun and the moon as equals.  Joshua 24:2: In olden times, your forefathers – Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor – lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods. It is evident that this is a late interpolation, and a rather ambiguous one at that.

Religious traditions such as that of the Horites develop in a traceable way from great antiquity. Such traditions are passed down through families, clans and tribes. The core belief of Christianity concerning the Son of God can be traced to Abraham and his Horite ancestors, long before there were Jews and Judaism. In this sense, Christianity isn't original, but what it lacks in originality, it makes up for in antiquity and herein rests its authority.

Related reading:  The Urheimat of the Canaanite YCelestial Symbols that Speak of God; Was Abraham an Idol Worshipper?; The Sun and the Moon in Genesis; Who Were the Horites; Of Dung Beetles and Red Herrings; A Tent for the Sun; Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans


Unknown said...

Hi alice, thanks for the blog. I read with great interest and have been following your blog ever since. I do have some questions though. Firstly, how would people in those ancient times knew that the light from the moon is only a reflection of the light from the sun?

Alice Linsley said...

The ancients were great mathematicians, astronomers and engineers. Here are some readings that you would find helpful and interesting: