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 not have known about fatherhood. And so they may have believed that women create life. One of the best known mother goddesses was Isis in ancient Egypt.
Women can be sure that their children are their own but for men this is different. When the fathers of children are unknown, there is matriarchy. It has been argued that the worship of mother goddesses disappeared because men desired to control women and their sexuality, perhaps as the result from the transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture when caring for children became a family matter in which men played a greater role.
Hunter gatherers were wanderers so territorial conflicts were less likely to be intense.1 Hunter gatherers could always move on. This changed with the advent of agriculture. Farmers had to defend their property and family. Men may be more willing to defend women and children they consider their own. Men could also walk out when they doubted their fatherhood. This may have given them a position of power so that patriarchy emerged.
The tale of Eve and Adam may originally have reflected the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture. The tale may have been edited. Eve may have been the mother of Adam as she was the Mother Of All The Living. This makes more sense than Eve being made out of Adam’s rib. The life of hunter gatherers was more agreeable than the plight of the farmers that came later on.1 The Garden Of Eden provided for everything. Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden to work the ground,2 which was a life of toil.3
Yahweh and Allah were male gods. Before monotheism took over they had a wife and children. 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. Christians refer to God as Father but there is no Father in the Torah, only Eve is the Mother Of All The Living. The question is what imagined deities of humans can tell about the owner of this universe if there is one. This is a very open question. The predominance of the God Of Abraham might be a clue.
The Jews invented the God Of Abraham but this universe might be a virtual reality created by an advanced civilisation to entertain someone we can call God. God could use avatars and appear like an ordinary human to us. 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 may have been redacted, perhaps because the relationship between Eve and Adam appeared incestuous. And so the birth story of Jesus from Virgin Mary may have been introduced to replace the birth of Adam from Eve.
Eve might be the Mother Goddess of the Bible and God may have devised a scheme to disguise Her identity using Virgin Mary. The veneration of Virgin Mary or Mother Mary existed in early Christianity. It may have been a substitute for the earlier worship of the Mother Goddess Mary Magdalene. Centuries later statues and icons of Mother Mary with the child Jesus have been made similar to those of the Egyptian mother goddess Isis with her child Horus.
This is in violation of the command not to make images for worship.7 Nevertheless, the transgression could be part of the scheme. 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 Mother Mary, she became a proxy for God. The protestant reformation aimed at returning to the roots of Christianity. But their reform was based entirely on the scriptures and ignorant of the possibility of church traditions like Mother Mary veneration being reflections of the original message of Christianity.
The creation story in Genesis may have been redacted. The designation ‘mother of all the living’ suggests that Eve may have been a Mother Goddess.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 suggests tampering. It is also 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 remarkable as scholars believe that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 were based on two different traditions. Perhaps the original creation myth was that the Mother Goddess Eve felt lonely and wanted a husband for Herself. And so She created one by giving birth. It seems unlikely that Jesus figured this out all by himself so Mary Magdalene may have told him this. The Quran mentions the creation of Adam extensively but says little about the creation of Eve, hence Eve may not have been created. The Quran primarily blames Adam for the Fall and leaves Eve mostly out of the picture. The Quran claims that Adam listened to the voice of Satan, without implicating Eve.13
Adam seems to have been present while the serpent was talking to Eve.14 So why didn’t Adam participate in the discussion? And why could Eve talk to a snake, and perhaps why could Adam not? Ordinary humans can’t talk to snakes. Serpents have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind. The serpent is a universal symbol of death, healing, and rebirth. It could represent wisdom, good as well as evil. Mother Goddesses sometimes had serpents as their sidekicks helping them in doing their magic.15
And so the discussion between Eve and the serpent might have been about whether or not Adam could be introduced into their knowledge represented by the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent may have convinced Eve that it was a good idea. Apparently it didn’t work out well. And so Jesus might have sacrificed himself on the cross to redeem himself and mankind as he might have believed himself to be the reincarnation of Adam.
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.16 Hence, the Islamic symbol may represent the Mother Goddess with the child, just like the Madonna with the child Jesus. It could reflect the relationship between Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and her husband Muhammad because she was his boss and so much older that she could have been his mother.
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.17 That is a remarkable coincidence. The ark allegedly was the residence of Yahweh, the God of Israel. This coincidence too may indicate that God is a woman, also for the Rastafarians.
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. Exodus 20:4-5 [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. Quran 20:115-121 [link]
14. Genesis 3:6 [link]
15. Serpent (Symbolism) – Wikipedia [link]
16. Genesis 37:9 [link]
17. Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – Wikipedia [link]