The Gospel of John is remarkably different from the other gospels. It states that Christians are born of God (John 1:12-13). The first letter of John contains similar statements (1 John 2:29, 1 John 3:9, 1 John 4:7, 1 John 5:1, 1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:18). Men cannot give birth so God could be a Mother. It appears that the gender of God may have been modified in this text. That raises an obvious question. If the early church leaders went to great lengths to remove all the evidence of God being a Mother then how could they have overlooked this? The answer is probably that they did not.
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The Gospels were written in Greek and the ancient Eastern Mediterranean was infused with Greek culture. Greek thought affected the way Jews looked at their religion. In Greek mythology, the goddess of wisdom Athena was born from the head of the male god Zeus. Jesus is referred to as ‘godhead’ in some of the letters of the Church Fathers (Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9). In modern translations, this is lost. According to the Church Fathers, Jesus is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22) and the Church is Jesus’ body (Colossians 1:24). It is a strange idea that begs for an explanation.
When the Church Fathers changed the gender of God, they may initially have used the Zeus and Athena analogy to make Jesus born of the Father. The head of their construct was then Jesus while the body was the Father. That probably seemed inappropriate so that the Church became Jesus’ body instead. The Church may have become a substitute for God, and this substitution may also have been applied to Jesus’ marriage. That may be the reason why Christianity teaches that Jesus is the bridegroom of the Church.
There may be more to the phrase born of God than the spiritual meaning Christians give it. If you are already born, you have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. When arguing with Jesus, the Pharisee Nicodemus noted that you cannot enter a second time into your mother’s womb to be born again (John 3:4). Nicodemus may have correctly understood what Jesus meant, which is that Christians are figuratively born of God’s womb. Jesus then gave it a spiritual interpretation with his answer, ‘No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.’ (John 3:5)
More evidence that God is a Mother can be found in the Odes Of Solomon. Ode 19 comes with the following lines:
A cup of milk was offered to me: and I drank it in the sweetness of the delight of the Lord. The Son is the cup, and He who was milked is the Father. And the Holy Spirit milked Him: because His breasts were full, and it was necessary for Him that His milk should be sufficiently released. And the Holy Spirit opened His bosom and mingled the milk from the two breasts of the Father, and gave the mixture to the world without their knowledge.1
It is an old Christian text already circulating around 100 AD. Therefore, it probably was older. There are no other ancient Christian texts mentioning gender-related attributes of God. Here, God is definitely depicted as having female physical characteristics despite being called Father. It is hard to imagine that early Christians made this up without believing that God is a Mother. And therefore, God most likely was a Mother before the gender of God was changed in this text.
Featured image: Bible: Only God Knows What Jesus Really Said. Loesje.org.
1. The Lost Bible: Forgotten Scriptures Revealed. J.R. Porter (2001).
FDuring several archaeological excavations, female figurines turned up. 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 featured mother goddesses associated with fertility. Women give birth, and humans in early cultures may not have known about fatherhood. And so, they may have believed that women create life. The ability of women to produce offspring may have been the essence of mother goddess worship. One of the best-known mother goddesses was Isis in ancient Egypt.
Women can be sure that their children are their own, but not men. When the fathers of children are unknown, families are matrilineal, which means that family lines depend on motherhood. Motherhood may have held families together. The worship of mother goddesses may have disappeared because men desired to control women and their sexuality. The transition from hunting-gathering to agriculture may have had something to do with this.
Hunter gatherers were wanderers. Territorial conflicts were rare as they could always move on.1 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 can also walk out when they doubt their fatherhood. This may have given them a position of power so that patriarchy emerged. Family lines then became patrilineal, which means that they depend on fatherhood.
One of the themes found in mother goddess worship is that the goddess gives birth to her mate. The tale of Eve and Adam is based on an ancient myth that Jewish priests have tailored to meet their own theological agenda. In the original story Eve appears to have been the mother of Adam as she is named Mother of All the Living. That makes more sense than Eve being made out of Adam’s rib. Eve being Mother of All the Living could refer to all living creatures. And so Eve may have been a mother goddess.
The Fall could reflect the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture. The life of hunter-gatherers was more agreeable than the difficult plight of the farmers that came later on.1 The Garden of Eden provided for everything. Adam was banished from the garden to work the ground (Genesis 3:23), which was a life of toil (Genesis 3:17-19). The Agricultural Revolution can be seen as a curse.
The Jewish deity Yahweh and the Arabian deity Allah were male gods. Both had a wife and children before monotheism took over. Jews and Muslims do not see God as a Father like Christians do, even though there are a few references to God as a Father (Isaiah 63:16) and a Mother (Isaiah 66:13) in the Hebrew Bible. Christians are born of God. (John 1:13) This is at odds with God being a Father. And there is no Father in the Hebrew Bible. Only Eve is there as Mother of All the Living.
And so Eve could be the Mother Goddess of the Bible and God may have devised a scheme to disguise Her identity using Virgin Mary. The veneration of the Virgin Mary or Mother Mary may have existed in early Christianity. The Church made the Virgin Mary the ‘Mother of God’, effectively turning her into a Mother Goddess. From then on, statues and icons of Mother Mary with the child Jesus have been made. Some of them were similar to those of the Egyptian mother goddess Isis with her child Horus.
This violates the command not to make images for worship (Exodus 20:4-5). 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 and eliminated Virgin Mary veneration. But their reform was based entirely on the scriptures and ignorant of the possibility of church traditions being reflections of the original message of Christianity.
The star and crescent became the symbol for Islam. This symbol has a long history predating Islam. It was formally associated with a Moon goddess. In the Biblical context, it has a different meaning. In the Biblical story of Joseph, the Moon symbolises the woman while the star symbolises the child (Genesis 37:9). 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. She was fifteen years older so 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.2 That is a remarkable coincidence. The ark allegedly was the residence of Yahweh, the God of Israel. This coincidence may indicate that God is a woman, also for the Rastafarians.
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.3 Genesis 1 already contains a creation story explaining how men and women were created (Genesis 1:27). 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 man as women usually give birth to men. Adam was simply a ‘man’ (Genesis 2:20) while Eve was ‘Mother Of All The Living’ (Genesis 3:20). Adam calling Eve Mother Of All The Living before they had any children is peculiar. Probably Eve and Adam weren’t the only people around 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 creation myths. Perhaps the original creation myth was that the Mother Goddess Eve wanted a husband for Herself and created one by giving birth. It seems unlikely that Jesus figured this out by himself. Probably Mary Magdalene made him believe this.
The Quran does not contradict the Bible but it has a few noteworthy deviations regarding Creation and The Fall. The Quran mentions the creation of Adam extensively but says very little about the creation of Eve. It only mentions that men and women are created from a single soul and that a spouse was created from it (Quran 7:189). The common interpretation is that Eve was created from Adam. But why does the Quran not mention that? In fact, Adam is not mentioned in the surrounding verses either, so that it may apply to Eve and Adam. The reason might be that Eve was not created. The Quran primarily blames Adam for the Fall and leaves Eve mostly out of the picture. Adam listened to the voice of Satan without implicating Eve (Quran 20:115-121).
The origins of the myth of the Garden Of Eden support this perspective. Serpents have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind. The serpent was a 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.4 Snake goddesses were worshipped in ancient Egypt and Crete.
In ancient mythology, the tree with a serpent represents the Tree of Life of the Mother Goddess. In these mythologies, the Mother Goddess could take the form of a serpent dying and renewing like the Moon. In these mythologies, Her husband died too and was reborn her son.5 Only, the Garden Of Eden may be the myth upon which this world has been created, and Eve may have been the primal avatar of God. If this is true then we are in for a big surprise.
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Born of God
The phrase ‘born of God’ can be found in the Gospels and the letters of the Church Fathers. It is now believed to have a spiritual meaning but the origin may have been quite different.
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. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain; Saint Mary Bolnichka Icon. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain; The younger ‘snake goddess’ from the palace of Knossos. Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.
1. A Brief History Of Humankind. Yuval Noah Harari (2014). Harvil Secker. 2. Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion – Wikipedia [link] 3. 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. 4. Serpent (Symbolism) – Wikipedia [link] 5. Eve: the Mother of All Living. Anne Baring and Jules Cashford (1991). Penguin Books. [link]