Alice C. Linsley
But what was the substance of Abraham's faith? That important question can be answered by investigation of Abraham's cultural context using Genesis and extra-biblical sources of information such as linguistics, kinship analysis, archaeology, anthropology and DNA studies. When we bring together the evidence of these disciplines we draw the following conclusions:
1. Abraham's people originated in Eden
Abraham's people originated in the Upper Nile region which includes western Sudan, southern Ethiopia and northern Somalia. This is the region of ancient Eden (eden is derived from the Kushite word egan, meaning garden). It was here that the first Bible promise was made to Abraham's ancestors. The Edenic Promise of Genesis 3:15 foretells how the Woman would bring forth a son who would crush the serpent's head and restore paradise.
The region of Eden is where we find the oldest agricultural practices, metal-working, circumcision of priests, and the oldest temples and shrines.
The Genesis king lists indicate that Abraham's ancestors migrated from ancient Kush to Mesopotamia. Nimrod, the son of Kush (Gen. 10:8), built a vast kingdom in the Tigris-Euphrates River Valley. This Kushite migration has been confirmed by DNA studies. Nimrod's brother was Ramaah who settled to the southeast of Dedan in northern Arabia.
2. Abraham's people were Horites
Abraham's people were Horites. Horite isn't an ethnicity, but refers a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of Horus, called the "son of God". The temple at Hierakonpolis in Sudan had the oldest known Horus shrine. The Horite priesthood of Abraham's ancestors was dedicated to a Divine Triad which included the Creator God and his Uniquely Begotten Son by a Chosen Woman.
Abraham's people believed in a supreme creator God with lesser assisting semi-divine powers in a hierarchical ranking, like a pyramid. This is called henotheism. Each clan was headed by a hereditary ritual leader and had guardians from among the lesser powers (along the idea of guardian angels). In ancient Egypt these powers were represented by animals totems. Only one power was represented as a man - Horus -God's uniquely begotten son, who was served by a caste of royal priests called Horites. The biblical priesthood originates here among the devotees of Horus. The Horite priesthood was restricted to males and was concerned with ritual purity, especially the avoidance of blood guilt.
3. Abraham's people trace their lineage from two founders
Genesis presents two founding ancestors for Abraham's people. One is Adam, the archetypal first Man and the other is the historical patriarch Enoch. Adam and Eve are etymological, not proper names. "Adam" is traceable to "dam" in the Chadic and Kushitic languages, which means red and refers to the earth which the ancient Kushites believed was the source of blood. So we are told that the first man was made from the red earth. The first historical persons in Genesis are Kain, Seth and their wives, the daughters of a chief named Enoch. The name Enoch is probably the name Nok which pertains to a region west of Lake Chad as well as to an historical individual.
Genesis poses Adam as the first man and Enoch as the first ancestor of the historical persons listed in Genesis 4, 5 and 11. The biblical writers understood this because the names Adam and Enoch are parallel in Psalm 8, verse 4:
What is man (Enoch) that you are mindful of him,
or the son of man (ben adam) that you care for him?
Here we see that the historical first ancestor Enoch is paralled with the archetypal first man Adam. This means that the author of the Psalm understood the difference between the two figures, and we should as well, if we want to understand Genesis.
4. The Horite ruler-priests are Jesus Christ's ancestors
The kinship pattern of Abraham's people indicates that the ruler-priests married two wives. In his youth, the ruler-designate married his half-sister, as did Abraham with Sarah. Before ascending to the throne, he married his second wife, a patrilineal cousin or niece. The cousin wife named her first-born son after her father, a pattern which begins in Genesis 4 and can be traced to Mary and Joseph. The pattern of ruler-priests having two wives disappeared among Jews with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.
The origins of the faith of Christ, the Son of God, came to Abraham, not as special revelation, but as a tradition received from his forefathers. The distinctive traits of this tradition align remarkable well with the key features of catholic faith and practice:
- All-male ruler-priests who were mediators between God and the defiled
- A binary (versus dualistic) worldview
- Blood sacrifice at altars whereby sin was propitiated
- Expectation of the appearing of the Son of God in the flesh
- God's will on earth as in heaven - interpreted by morehs (prophets)
- Belief in an eternal and undivided Kingdom delivered by the Father to the Son.
Because of God's promise in Eden, Abraham and his ancestors lived in expectation of the Son of God and taught their children to do so. Their priestly lines intermarried exclusively in expectation that the Seed of the Woman would come of their priestly lines. The Edenic Promise was a central belief of the Horite family-tribal tradition. They believed that the son would be born of the Woman of Genesis 3:15. She would conceive by being "overshadowed" just as was announced to Mary by the angel (Luke 1:35).
The Virgin Birth is one of many signs that the One born to Mary is the Son of God. This is not about the birth of the Sun at the winter solstice. This is not a reworking of the Egyptian tale of Horus. The Horus archetype provides the pattern whereby Abraham's descendants would recognize Messiah. It points us to the Virgin who gave birth to the Son of God under humble circumstances. In the Horus myth, Hat-Hor gives birth in a cave. In Orthodoxy, icons of the Nativity show the Theotokos with the newly born Christ in a cave.
Christianity is an organic religion that emerges out of a belief that God made a promise in Eden and that He has been busy fulfilling that promise in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The core of Christianity can be traced to the beliefs of Abraham and his ancestors. It predates all the great world religions. Christianity isn't original, but what it lacks in originality it makes up for in great antiquity, and herein rests its authority.
Related reading: Archaic Rulers, Ascendancy and the Foreshadowing of Christ; Two Named Esau; Jesus: From Lamb to Ram; Ram Symbolism in the Ancient World; Did Abraham Believe Isaac Could be the Messiah?; The Calling of Abraham