Eve in the Garden Of Eden

Mother Goddess Eve

Female figurines have been found during archaeological excavations. The most famous one is the Venus of Willendorf dating from around 23,000 BC. Some scholars believe these figurines depict mother goddesses. And indeed many ancient cultures had mother goddesses associated with fertility. Women give birth and humans in early civilisations may have thought that women have special powers that enable them to create life. One of the best known mother goddesses was Isis in ancient Egypt.

Venus of Willendorf
Venus of Willendorf

It has been argued that the worship of mother goddesses disappeared because men desired to control women and their sexuality. This may have happened when caring for children became a family matter rather than a communal affair. Women can be sure that their children are their own but for men this is different. The genes of men who are inclined to raise the children of others tend to die out. And so men may have sought reassurance that the children they cared for are their own. As they could walk out, this commanded a position of power. In this way patriarchy may have replaced matriarchy.

The Garden Of Eden is seen as a myth with no historical evidence to support it. Nevertheless the tale reflects the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture. The life of hunter gatherers was far more agreeable than the plight of the farmers that came later on.1 The Garden Of Eden provided for everything and resembled the life of hunter gatherers. After the fall Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden to work the ground,2 which was a life of toil.3 This reflects the transition to agriculture.

God appears to be male in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran but many believe that God has no gender. This is, above all, a politically correct stance. Historically Yahweh and Allah have been male gods. Yahweh and Allah even had a wife and children. Yet Jews and Muslims do not see God as a Father like Christians do, even though there are a few references to God as a Father4 and a Mother5 in the Torah. Remarkably the God of the Christians can give birth6 so perhaps God is a Mother after all.

Isis with Horus
Isis with the child Horus. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This universe could be a virtual reality that exists for entertainment so the script could come with such a plot. God may have devised a scheme to disguise Her identity using Virgin Mary as a substitute. The veneration of Virgin Mary as a mother already existed in early Christianity. Later on statues and images of Virgin Mary with the child Jesus have erected made similar to those of the Egyptian mother goddess Isis with her child Horus. In the Quran God claims to lead people astray.7 The Mother Goddess Mary, who may have been eliminated from the Gospels, re-entered the Church via a back door. As many prayers were directed to Virgin Mary, she became a proxy for God.

Saint Mary Bolnichka Icon
Virgin Mary with the child Jesus. Saint Mary Bolnichka Icon.

The early Christians may have believed that Eve was the mother of all the living, that Mary Magdalene was a reincarnation of Eve, and that Jesus was a reincarnation of Adam. They may have believed that Eve was not made out of the rib of Adam but that Adam was born as a son of Eve so that Adam and therefore Jesus were a Son of God. The Gospels have been redacted, perhaps to bring Christianity more in line with the Jewish religion. And so the birth story of Jesus from Virgin Mary may have been introduced to replace the birth of Adam from Eve, which was at odds with the account in Genesis.

Eve may have been a Mother Goddess before the creation story was redacted.8 Genesis 1 already contains a creation story explaining how men and women were created.9 Hence, the creation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 is at odds with Genesis 1. It is also peculiar that the woman was made from a rib of the man10 as women usually give birth to men. Adam is simply referred to as ‘the man’11 while Eve is referred to as ‘mother of all the living’.12 Adam calling Eve mother of all the living before they had any children also suggests tampering. Finally, it is hard to believe that Eve and Adam were the only people as their children married.

Eve being the Mother Goddess makes all these contradictions disappear. And that is a remarkable coincidence as Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were probably based on two different older creation myths from Mesopotamia or Egypt. If this universe is a virtual reality running a script, this may be less remarkable than it seems, as it might be part of the plot of the story. One can imagine that the original story was that the Mother Goddess Eve felt lonely and wanted a husband for Herself.

The Quran mentions the creation of Adam extensively but says little about the creation of Eve. The Quran blames Adam for the Fall and leaves Eve mostly out of the picture. And so Jesus might have suffered on the cross in order to redeem himself for he might have considered himself to be the reincarnation of Adam. Yet, in the Quran Adam repented and is forgiven. Hence, sin and redemption are not major issues in Islam.

Jesus is called Son of Mary in the Quran13 while Christians call him Son of God. This is peculiar because the name of God may have been Mary, a secret only God could know. In the Quran Sura 74 named The Hidden Secret or The Cloaked One it is claimed that the number 19 is related to a hidden secret. The Arabic name for Sura 74 can both be translated to a hidden secret as well as a man wearing a cloak. Sura 19 is named Mary while God appears to be a man but might have been a woman named Mary.

starcrescent

The star and crescent became the symbol for Islam. This symbol has a long history predating Islam and it was formally associated with a Moon goddess. In the Biblical context it has different meaning. In the Biblical story of Joseph the Moon symbolises the woman while the star symbolises the child.14 In this way the Islamic symbol may represent the Mother Goddess with the child, just like the Madonna with the child Jesus.

The St. Mary of Zion Church in Ethiopia is said to contain the Ark of the Covenant. It is claimed that the Ark came to Ethiopia with King Menelik after he visited his father King Solomon. Mary of Zion is symbolised by the Ark of the Covenant.15 That is a remarkable coincidence. As the ark was the residence of Yahweh, the God of Israel, this coincidence too may indicate that the God of Christianity was named Mary, and that the God of the Jews is a woman.

Featured image: Eve in the Garden Of Eden. Henri Rousseau (1906-1910). Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

Other images: Venus of Willendorf. Don Hitchcock (2008). Wikimedia Commons; Isis with Horus. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons; Saint Mary Bolnichka Icon. Public Domain. Wikimedia Commons.

1. A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.
2. Genesis 3:23 [link]
3. Genesis 3:17-19 [link]
4. Isaiah 63:16 [link]
5. Isaiah 66:13 [link]
6. John 1:13 [link]
7. for instance, Quran 4:88 [link], Quran 5:41 [link], Quran 11:34 [link]
8. Asherah – Wikipedia [link] Some scholars have found an early link between Asherah and Eve, based upon the coincidence of their common title as “the mother of all living” in Genesis 3:20 through the identification with the Hurrian mother goddess Hebat. Asherah was also given the title Chawat from which the name Hawwah in Aramaic and the biblical name Eve are derived.
9. Genesis 1:27 [link]
10. Genesis 2:22 [link]
11. Genesis 2:20 [link]
12. Genesis 3:20 [link]
13. for instance, Quran 2:87 [link], Quran 4:171 [link], Quran 61:6 [link]
14. Genesis 37:9 [link]
15. Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – Wikipedia [link]

Lucretia Garfield. Library Of Congres

The identity of God

Jesus was one of the end time prophets travelling around in Israel and Palestine at a time when the Jews began to resist Roman occupation. Yet he stood at the cradle of Christianity, a global religion with more than two billion followers, an enigma that baffles many historians. Six centuries later, in an equally astounding turn of history, a small band of Arab warriors created an empire that stretched from the Atlantic to India. They spread a religion called Islam. These historic turns made the God of Abraham the dominant deity on the planet, a promise allegedly made to Abraham.1

This universe might be a virtual reality created by an advanced civilisation for the purpose of entertaining someone we call God. If that is true then God might use avatars and appear as an ordinary human to us. The Gospels state that Jesus had a personal and intimate relationship with God so Jesus may have known the avatar of God personally. Scholars agree that the Gospels have been edited.2 Apparently God is a ‘Father’ who can give birth.3 Jesus is referred to as the Bridegroom and Son of God. So who was his Bride? And why do Christians call Jesus Son of God? There is a possible answer.

Mary Magdalene could have been the Bride and the Gospels may originally have stated that Jesus was a reincarnation of Adam and that Mary Magdalene was a reincarnation of Eve. Eve may not have been made out of the rib of Adam but Eve may have given birth to Adam. Eve is called Mother of All the Living,4 Adam is named Son of God5 while Jesus is the firstborn of all creation.6 Initially Christianity might have been about the marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus representing the Kingdom of God.

It makes little sense that a woman was created from the rib of a man. It makes more sense that the woman gave birth to the man. Mary Magdalene may have convinced Jesus that Eve was the mother of Adam. The Quran mentions the creation of Adam extensively but tells little about the creation of Eve. The Quran states that Jesus’ creation is like that of Adam and that they were both created from dust.7 It may indicate that Adam was born as the first son of the virgin Eve and that God can perform such miracles as the Quran also contends that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin.8

The Jewish scriptures allow for the idea that Abraham was a husband of God like Joseph, Moses and David. Muhammad might have been God’s husband too. At the age of twenty-five he married his boss, the forty year old merchant Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid. She was the first to convert to Islam and her support was invaluable to his mission. Muhammad didn’t marry other women until after she died. Avatars of God may have played a significant role in history. And God could still be dwelling amongst us like an ordinary human.

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?
Just trying to make his way home
Like back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the Pope maybe in Rome
And yeah, yeah, God is great
Yeah, yeah, God is good
And yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah

– Joan Osborne, What If God Was One Of Us

Featured image: Lucretia Garfield. Library Of Congres.

1. Genesis 12:3 [link]
2. Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Saviour. Bart Ehrman (2016). Harper Collins Publishers.
3. John 1:12-13 [link]
4. Genesis 3:20 [link]
5. Luke 3:38 [link]
6. 
Colossians 1:15 [link]
7. Quran 3:59 [link]
8. Quran 3:47 [link]

Christ with Mary Magdalene

Who was Mary Magdalene?

Who was Mary Magdalene? This question has been asked many times before. A Pope in the Middle Ages proclaimed she was a prostitute. If you think about Mary Magdalene this may be the first thing that comes to your mind. Negative slurs stick far better than positive ones. Evidence doesn’t matter much in this respect. The Gospel depicts her as the most important person in Jesus’ life. She witnessed the crucifixion from the foot of the cross after the male disciples have fled. She was also the first to see the resurrected Jesus.

There has been some speculation as to whether or not she was Jesus’ wife. The official position of the Church is that Jesus was, and still is, married to the Church. There is no evidence in the Gospels to be found on this matter. Jesus is referred to a the Bridegroom several times. A few Gospels that are not recognised by the Church suggest that Mary Magdalene may have been Jesus’ wife. One passage names her as Jesus’ companion.1 Another mentions that Jesus loves her more than the other disciples and kisses her often.2 A third notes that Jesus loved her more than the other women.3

The Gospels state that Jesus had an intimate and loving relationship with God. It seems that he knew God personally. There is an explanation for this. Mary Magdalene could have been an avatar of God. Jesus may have thought that she was a reincarnation of Eve and that he was a reincarnation of Adam. She may have married Jesus after convincing him that he was her eternal husband. Jesus hay have believed that Eve was not made out of the rib of Adam but that Adam was born as a son of Eve so that Adam and therefore Jesus were a son of God. This can explain why Jesus thought that he had an eternal life and that he would return.

The pieces of the puzzle don’t fit perfectly and assuming this idea to be true gives rise to new questions. Still, the evidence for this position, also in the official Gospels, is too substantial to be dismissed out of hand. However, the most important argument in favour of this idea is logical consistency on a higher level. Let’s start out with a joke to get you in the mood. Nothing happens by accident as the licence plate on Franz Ferdinand’s car suggests. Hence, the following lyric from Queen is a bit curious:

Here I am, I’m the master of your destiny,
I am the one the only one, I am the god of kingdom come

– Queen, Gimme The Prize

These lines come from a song named Gimme The Prize. Freddy Mercury had a good time when he was performing his act. He probably didn’t realise that he had become part of a queer joke. “I am the God of kingdom come,” became a line sung by Queen. Some Christians believe there are Satanic messages hidden in pop music. The joke may be on them too. That shouldn’t surprise us as this universe might exist for entertainment.

Possible avatars of God can be identified in the Torah, the Jewish part of the Bible. The idea can also shed some new light on the origin of Islam. Muhammad married his boss Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid. Only after she died he married other women. Khadijah may have been an avatar of God too. Avatars of God may have played a significant role in history. The idea doesn’t contradict science as this universe could be a simulation of a real world that is billions of years old where life emerged by accident and evolution.

Featured image: Christ with Mary Magdalene, West Nave, Kilmore Church, Isle of Mull made by Stephen Adam. B. Galbraith. Victorian Web.

1. Gospel of Philip: There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary, his mother, and her sister, and Magdalene, who was called his companion. His sister, his mother and his companion were each a Mary.
2. Gospel of Philip: And the companion of the saviour was Mary Magdalene. Christ loved Mary more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Saviour answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her?”
3. Gospel of Mary: Peter said to Mary, “Sister we know that the Saviour loved you more than the rest of woman. Tell us the words of the Saviour which you remember which you know, but we do not, nor have we heard them”. Mary answered and said, “What is hidden from you I will proclaim to you”. And she began to speak to them these words: “I”, she said, “I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to Him, Lord I saw you today in a vision”.

Lionheaded figurine from Stadel in the Hohlenstein cave in Germany

About the origins of religion

According to the historian Yuval Harari humans became the dominant animal species because they can cooperate on large scale in a flexible way. Social animals like monkeys and dolphins can cooperate flexibly, but only in small groups. Other animals like ants and bees can cooperate in large numbers but not in a flexible way. Humans are special in this respect. Language enables this distinctive human feature. Some animals use signs and calls but humans use far more words than any other specie.1 Cultures define how people cooperate. Cultures change and that makes humans flexible.

Another distinct feature of humans is that they can think of and to talk about imaginary things. To make large scale cooperation possible humans have invented laws, money, property, corporations and nation states. These collective imaginations only exist in the minds of humans, not in reality as such.1 I can tell a dog about the benefits of using money to pay a corporation to produce dog food, why there are regulations that guarantee the quality of the product and governments to implement these regulations, but all a dog can think of is dog food. And you cannot make dogs work together in a corporation to produce dog food by paying them money. The ability of humans to collectively imagine things exists longer than agriculture and civilisations. Already 32,000 years ago humans made a sculpture of a lionman, which is a lion head upon a human body.

Religions can be seen as a method of making humans cooperate. Gods are figments of human imagination just like laws, property and nation states. People who share a religion can go on a holy war together and slaughter a lot of infidels. Alternatively they can do charitable work or build a house of prayer. Above all, religions promote social stability by providing a justification for the existing social order and promising rewards in the afterlife for those who accept the existing social order. This is what makes humans special. Their imagination makes them do things other species aren’t capable of. You can’t make a dog do tricks and subject itself to the order of the pack by promising that if it is a good dog it will go to dog heaven and enjoy an everlasting banquet of delicious dog food after it dies.

Early humans were hunter gatherers who believed that every place, animal, and plant has an awareness, feelings and emotions. Harari came up with the example of a deer hunter who addresses a herd of deer, and asks one of the deer to sacrifice itself for the hunt. If the hunt succeeds, the hunter then asks forgiveness of the dead animal so that its spirit will not trouble him later on. These early beliefs preceded religions and they concerned visible objects like animals, plants, rivers and rocks. Over time humans began to imagine beings like fairies and spirits. Early humans felt that they were more or less on an equal footing with the plants and animals surrounding them.1

Then came agriculture. As soon as humans started to subjugate plants and animals for their own use, the need emerged for an ideology that justified this new arrangement. To this aim, gods were invented as well as myths in which those gods created the universe and ordained that humans are destined to rule all the plants and animals in the world. In polytheistic religions there are a number of gods, each with a different role. Monotheistic religions emerged because people became so emotionally attached to a particular deity that they came to believe it to be the only god that rules the entire universe.1

Harari contends that monotheistic religions won out because monotheists are more intolerant. If you are very fond of a particular deity, other religions can be an affront. On the other hand, if you believe in many different gods then it is no big deal when others choose to love a particular deity more than others. To the monotheists there is only god worthy of worship. Often they think that the worship of all the other gods should be eliminated.1 Yahweh is a jealous god, the Bible claims. Those who had other views and religions were often forcefully converted or killed.

Most people prefer a god who cares for them and answers their prayers. There is no point in worshipping a deity that is indifferent. There is no point in praying if prayers aren’t answered. This particular desire evoked some difficulties. Not all prayers are answered and there are many bad things going on, so how can an almighty god let this happen? The obvious answer is that there is no god or that God doesn’t care but that wasn’t the answer people were looking for. And so they came up with Satan, God’s evil adversary who makes all these bad things happen.1

Science found a possible explanation for the origins of life and human existence. Humans could be the product accident and evolution and serve no higher purpose. That isn’t an inspiring discovery so most people remained faithful to their religions at first. Over time the gods were replaced by the idea that all humans are unique individuals, each with his or her own destiny and entitlements. And indeed, humans are unique because their imagination can make them do things others species can’t. Science may have enabled humans to make their fantasies become reality. Humans may have turned into gods themselves when they became immortal and created virtual reality universes for their own entertainment. We may be living in one of those universes.

Featured image: Lionheaded figurine from Stadel in the Hohlenstein cave in Germany.  J. Duckeck (2011). Wikimedia Commons.

1. A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker.