Lucretia Garfield. Library Of Congres

The identity of God

We may live inside a virtual reality created by an advanced humanoid civilisation for the personal entertainment of an individual who is God to us. God could be like us in many ways and use an avatar to appear as an ordinary human in this world. The entertainment thus could be playing roles in God’s imaginary world. And we may best understand God in this way. Hence, the deities and religions humans have made up tell us little about God. Still, Judaism stood at the cradle of Christianity and Islam, and that may not be a mere historical accident. And so, avatars of God may be present in the Bible.

Archaeological evidence does not corroborate the narrative in the Hebrew Bible from before the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Jesus has lived and preached even though there a lot of uncertainty about what he did and what he preached. Scholars believe that Jesus was just one of the many end-time prophets of his time. According to the Gospel, Jesus had a close personal bond with God. We can infer this from writings that may reflect his own words. And so, Jesus may have known the avatar of God.

That may explain why Jesus stood at the cradle of Christianity, nowadays a global religion with more than two billion followers. That is a most remarkable turn of history. The message of Christianity is that God loved the world so much that God sent Jesus to sacrifice himself for our sins. And this can save us from hell if we accept him as our saviour. That begs for an explanation. Six centuries later, in an astounding turn of history, a small band of Arab warriors created an empire stretching from the Atlantic to India, spreading Islam. Nowadays, Islam has close to two billion followers. And God allegedly promised Abraham that all peoples on Earth are to be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3).

Apart from the Son of God, Jesus was also called the Bridegroom, but the identity of the Bride is unknown. Being the Bridegroom appears to have been his mission and the Kingdom of God is compared to a wedding banquet. Christians believe that the Church is Jesus’ bride. There was no Church at the time Jesus was preaching so this is an anachronism. Perhaps Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and maybe a wedding of the Son of God to an ordinary woman was deemed inappropriate. Another explanation is that Mary Magdalene was God. She may have convinced Jesus that She was the reincarnation of Eve and that Jesus was Adam, and that they were an eternal couple from the beginning of creation until the end of times.

That would have raised controversy as it is at odds with the the Jewish scriptures. Christianity may have been shaped by dealing with this issue. The evidence of a controversy is still visible in the Gospels. The Gospel of John has a very distinct character and theology that is absent in the other Gospels. Scholars agree that the Gospels and the letters of the Church Fathers are edited. The Gospel of John adds a few insights into the nature of this controversy. Christians are born of God (John 1:12-13). Hence, God could be a Mother. And Jesus felt that he had an eternal bond with God and that he existed from the beginning (John 14:6).

Jesus may have believed that he was a reincarnation of Adam, that Mary Magdalene was a reincarnation of Eve, and that Eve did not come from Adam’s rib, but that Eve gave birth to Adam. There is evidence for these claims in the scriptures. Eve is called Mother of All the Living (Genesis 3:20), Adam is named Son of God (Luke 3:38) while Jesus is the Firstborn of all Creation (Colossians 1:15). And so, Adam may have been born. It makes no sense that the woman came from the rib of the man. It is more natural that the woman gave birth to the man. It makes sense but the Jewish scriptures and Greek thought provide us with alternative explanations.

Initially Christianity might have been about the marriage between Mary Magdalene and Jesus representing the Kingdom of God. The love of God Jesus was speaking of (John 17:23-26) may have been the love of a Goddess for her husband. This could explain why Christians believe that God is love (1 John 4:16). It sheds another light on Jesus’ assertion that he is one with God (John 10:30) as marriage is the usual way to become one flesh with another person (Mark 10:8, Matthew 19:5).11 It can clarify why Christian marriage is a sacred union between one man and one woman. Judaism and Islam do not sanctify the institution of marriage in the way Christianity does.

Christianity probably at first had a distinct creation myth and fall story. It may not be an accident that the Quran differs from Genesis on these matters. The Quran describes the creation of Adam extensively but tells little about how Eve came into being. The Quran claims that Jesus and Adam were both made from dust (Quran 3:59). As the Quran corroborates that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a virgin (Quran 3:47), Adam may have been born from a virgin too. The Quran further blames Adam for the Fall while leaving Eve out of the picture (Quran 10:115-121). It does not include the account of Eve convincing Adam to eat from the forbidden fruit. It is however merely a matter of emphasis. The Quran does not contradict the Bible on these matters.

Abraham, the mythical founder of Judaism, was married to Sarah. In family affairs, God consistently sided with Sarah, the Hebrew Bible tells us. And Egypt was beset by plagues when the Pharaoh tried to make Sarah his wife. There is no evidence that Abraham has ever lived, but even if he did, the story about his life is probably a myth, as it was written down over a thousand years after he allegedly had lived. But at least this myth is consistent with God being a woman who can have human avatars. Sarah could have been an avatar of God. And we cannot know that Mary Magdalene was an avatar of God either, even though She, unlike Sarah, probably has lived. At this point, Islamic accounts come to the rescue, making it a more convincing case.

The stories about the life of Muhammad probably are reliable, at least for the purpose at hand. At the age of twenty-five, Muhammad married his boss, the merchant Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid. She was a widow and fifteen years his senior when She proposed to him. Their marriage was both happy and monogamous. Only after Khadijah had died did Muhammad marry other women. Khadijah was the first to convert to Islam immediately after Muhammad received his first vision, which is odd as She was still his superior to the point that Muhammad depended on Her rather than the other way around. Her support was invaluable to Muhammad’s mission, and Islam would not have existed without Her. One can imagine no plausible political or religious agenda for misrepresenting the facts in this way. So, if God did have human avatars, then Khadijah probably was one of them. Women hardly ever were boss over their husbands in seventh-century Arabia, so the odds that the founder of Islam has found himself in this position by accident appears close to zero. Avatars of God may have played a significant role in world history. And God could still be dwelling among us today.

Featured image: Lucretia Garfield. Library Of Congres.