Monday, December 27, 2010

The Sun and the Moon in Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

A total eclipse of the moon occurred on Tuesday, December 21, 2010 slowly turning the silver moon into a crimson disk. A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth's tilt is such that it casts its shadow on the full moon and blocks the solar rays that reflect off the moon’s surface. This event also marked the winter solstice. It was the first total lunar eclipse to fall on a winter solstice in 372 years.

In the ancient world this celestial event would have been a portent. The principal "as in the heavens so on earth" is also part of the Christian worldview, though we usually don't consider this when we recite these words: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Solar and lunar eclipses occur in cycles known as the Saros, and this was known in antiquity by peoples who kept records over a long period. (Neugebauer, The Exact Sciences in Antiquity. Brown University Press, p. 195)

For the ancient sky-watching priests, the eclipse of the moon was less significant than the eclipse of the sun because in their binary worldview the sun was regarded as superior to the moon. This was not an arbitrary preference for one over the other, but a description of reality since the sun gives light whereas the moon merely reflects the sun's light (refulgent). The sun's superiority is expressed in Genesis 1:16: "God made the two great lights: the greater to rule the day, the lesser light to rule the night."

In ancient Egyptian symbolism, the right eye is the Eye of Ra the Creator and represents the sun. The left is the Eye of Thoth and represents the moon. Together they are the Eyes of Horus, but the left (moon) is weaker than the right (sun). This is consistent with the binary worldview of Abraham's Afro-Arabian people and suggests why Abraham's father was accused of idol worship in Joshua 24:2: “In olden times, your forefathers – Terah, father of Abraham and father of Nahor – lived beyond the Euphrates and worshiped other gods.

The implication is that Terah, whose ancestors were Nilotic ruler-priests, fell into worshiping contrary to the tradition of his Horite Hebrew ancestors while living “beyond the Euphrates.” However, there is no evidence that Terah strayed from that tradition. The word "terah" refers to a Nilotic priest.

Abraham's Horite Hebew ancestors never worshiped the moon as a deity. To them, this was idolatry since the moon was regarded as the lesser celestial power.

The Horite Hebrew worldview was binary, unlike Asian dualism. Within this binary framework there is consideration of the heavenly and hidden Third, so the angelic Three appear to Abraham at the time of his visitation in Mamre. A shrine to the Three God was located at Baal Shalisha. Among the Horite Hebrew of ancient Mesopotamia the Three God was understood as God Father (Anu), God Son (Enki) and God Spirit (Enlil).

In the binary worldview the sun and the moon were male and female. This is why the male rulers of ancient Egypt appeared with darkened skin, but their queens appeared with whitened skin (as shown in these images).

The sun's rays were thought to inseminate the earth over which the sun has dominion. The moon was associated with feminine virtues as the sun's companion. Like a great queen of old, it reflects the ruler's glory. Ancient peoples recognized that the moon influences the woman's monthly cycle.

In the Song of Songs, there is possibly a gender reversal, suggesting a sacred mystery. The royal female is described as dark "as the tents of Kedar".  This was not the normal custom for the Horite Hebrew ruler-priest caste, and in 6:10 she is described as "fair as the moon."

The ancient Horite Hebrew were great observers of the celestial bodies. This was part of their work. Plato reported that the ancient Nilotes had been recording celestial events for 10,000 years.

They imagined a great battle in the heavens between the Light and the Dark. They viewed the Milky Way as the celestial path to immortality. This is why their rulers were buried with scarabs. The scarab is a stylized dung beetle, a creature that navigates at night by the Milky Way.

They believed that the Light is victorious, just as the sun is the greater light (Gen. 1). Solar eclipses were perceived as moments of combat, but Horus, the son of God, was believed to be the victor.

Temple architecture of ancient Egypt provides evidence that Egyptians observed solar eclipses over 4,500 years ago. The Zodiac of Dendera shows two disks in the constellation of Pisces. One is the moon and the other disk contains the Wadjet or Eye of Horus decorated with the markings of the eyes of a falcon, the totem of Horus. When the right eye is shown it indicates a solar eclipse.

David Smith explains that "a nearly total solar eclipse occurred on a date corresponding very closely to the actual depiction of the positions of the planets in the constellations and the position of the disk containing the Wadjet eye in 51 B.C. This symbolism reminds us of the myth of Horus losing an eye in his fight with Set and raises the possibility that this may have had its origins in a very early observation of a solar eclipse." (David G. Smith, Total solar eclipses in Ancient Egypt)

The solar eclipse also is portrayed in the ancient Egyptian myth of Apophis, the cosmic water serpent who attacks the Creator's solar boat in an attempt to devour it.  In ancient Egyptian mythology, Horus is victorious over the enemies of his Father.

The oldest known Messianic texts are not found in the Bible. However, the Bible alludes to them. In Genesis 3:15 where we are told that the divine Seed will trample the enemy, a Messianic reference. Psalm 110:1 alluded to the same: The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

This expectation was expressed in the Pyramid Texts about 1000 years before the Psalm. "Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)" Utterance 388

Some will argue that this has nothing to do with the Seed of God who was born of Mary. Jesus himself claims to be the Seed when he told his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to die.

"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernal of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:23)

Among the ancient Horite Hebrew the sun was the emblem of the Creator and it was believed to inseminate by overshadowing. When Mary asked the angel how she as a virgin would conceive (virginal conception), Gabriel told her:

"The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

Biblical archaeologists have recognized for years that the ancient Horite Hebrew (Abraham's people) regarded the sun as The High God's emblem. They believed that the Moon was the lesser light and, though there was veneration for the Moon as a reflection of God's glory, the Sun was the most sacred symbol. (Read about that here.)

In ancient Horite Hebrew theology the Creator and his Son Horus were worshiped, and Hathor, the mother of Horus, was venerated much as the Virgin Mary is venerated today in Christianity.

Related reading: The Ra-Horus-Hathor NarrativeThe Substance of Abraham's FaithRoles Reversed in the Song of Songs?A Tent for the Sun; The Solar Imagery of the Proto-Gospel; Two Powers in Heaven


Anonymous said...

Isn't worship of the Moon-god praticularly condemend in the Bible. Do you think that it is just a coincidence that Allah, from al-ilah, "the deity," was originally a phrase used for the Moon-god as the chief diety? It is my understanding that Mecca became his center of worhsip and the crecsent moon was his sign apearing throughout the archeological record. The Koran also seems to have been put togther as an assortment of writings to be in oppposition to Christianinty - especially the claim the Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Its interesting to me that the sign in opposition to the cross is the cresent.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The Koran is an interesting book, very unlike the Bible. The Koran is more akin to the Talmud than the Bible. And yes, both attempt to refute the claim of the Apostles and of Jesus Christ Himself that he is the Son of God who came into the world to call sinners to repentance and to grant those who believe in Him eternal life.

Mohammad himself broke with the pattern of Abraham by setting his two wives' apartments on an east-west axis. In the Bible only Lamech the Braggart did this (Gen. 4). Mohammad's orientation of his wives resulted from his alignment of his mosque in Medina to Jerusalem. The alignment was later changed to Mecca.