The God-Idea of the Ancients (or Sex in Religion)
By Eliza Burt Gamble

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Chapter IV. The Dual God of the Ancients a Trinity Also

Although the God of the most ancient people was a dual Unity, in later ages it came to be worshipped as a Trinity. When mankind began to speculate on the origin of the life principle, they came to worship their Deity in its three capacities as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer or Regenerator, each of which was female and male. We have observed that, according to Higgins, when this Trinity was spoken of collectively, it was called after the feminine plural.

By the various writers who have dealt with this subject during the last century, much surprise has been manifested over the fact that for untold ages the people of the earth have worshipped a Trinity. Forster, in his Sketches of Hindoo Mythology, says: “One circumstance which forcibly struck my attention was the Hindoo belief of a Trinity.”

Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, observes that the idea of three persons in the Deity was diffused amongst all the nations of the earth, in regions as distant as Japan and Peru, that it was memorially acknowledged throughout the whole extent of Egypt and India, “flourishing with equal vigor amidst the snowy mountains of Thibet, and the vast deserts of Siberia.” The idea of a Trinity is supposed to have been first elaborated on the banks of the Indus, whence it was carried to the Greek and Latin nations. Astrologically the triune Deity of the ancients portrayed the processes of Nature.

This recondite doctrine as understood by the very ancient people which originated it, involved a knowledge of Nature far too deep to be appreciated or understood by their degenerate descendants, except perhaps by a few philosophers and scholars who imbibed it in a modified form from original sources in the far East.

After the establishment of the Trinity, the creative energy, which had formerly been represented by a mother and child, came to be figured by the mother, father, and the life derived therefrom. Sometimes the Trinity took the form of the two creative forces, female and male, and the Great Mother.

Whenever the two creative principles were considered separately, there always appeared stationed over or above them, as their Creator, an indivisible unity. This Creator was the “Beyond," the “most High God"–Om or Aleim. It was the Mother of the Gods in whom were contained all the elements of the Deity. Among the representations of the god-idea which are to be observed on the monuments and in the temples of Egypt appear triads, each of which is composed of a woman stationed between a male figure and that of a child. She is depicted as the Light of the sun, or Wisdom, while the male is manifested as the Heat of the orb of day. She is crowned and always bears the male symbol of life– the crux-ansata.

Later, it is observed that the worship of Light has in a measure given place to the adoration of Heat, in other words Light is no longer adored as essence of the Deity, Heat or Passion having become the most important element in creative power.

After the ancient worship of the Virgin and Child had become somewhat changed or modified so as to better accommodate itself to the growing importance of the male, the most exalted conception of the Deity in Egypt seems to have been that of a trinity composed of Mout the Mother, Ammon the Father, and Chons the Infant Life derived from the other two. Mout is identical with Neith, but she has become the wife as well as the mother of Ammon. Directly below this conception of the Deity is a triad representing less exalted attributes, or lower degrees of wisdom, under the appellations of Sate, Kneph, and the child Anouk; and thus downward, through the varying spheres of celestial light and life involved in their theogony are observed the divine creative energies represented under the figures of Mother, Father, and the Life proceeding therefrom, until, finally, when the earth is reached, Isis, Osiris, and Horus appear as the representation of the creative forces in human beings, and therefore as the embodiment of the divine in the human.

The Deity invoked in all the earlier inscriptions is a triad, and we are assured that in Babylonia, where Beltis is associated with Belus, “no god appears without a goddess.”

The supreme Deity of Assyria was Asshur, who was worshipped sometimes as female, sometimes as male. This God doubtless represents the dual or triple creative principle observed in all the earlier forms of worship. Asshur had no distinct temple, but as her position was at the head of the Pantheon, all the shrines throughout Assyria were supposed to have been open to her worship.

According to Bunsen, in the Sidonian Tyrian district, there were originally three great gods, at the head of which appears Astarte–a woman who represents pure reason or intelligence; then follows Zeus, Demarius, and Adorus. Without doubt this triad represents a monad Deity similar in character to the one observed in Egypt and other countries.

In the minds of all well-informed persons, there is no longer any doubt that in Abraham’s time the Canaanites worshipped the same gods as did the Persians and all the other nations about them– namely, Elohim, the dual or triune creative force in Nature. As the Sun was the source whence proceeded all light and life as well as reproductive or generative power, it had become the object of adoration, and as the emblem of the Deity, it was worshipped by all the nations of the earth in its three capacities as Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer or Regenerator each female and male.

Melchizedek, who was a priest of the most high God, blessed Abraham, who was a worshipper of the same Deity. On this subject Dr. Shuckford says:

“It is evident that Abraham and his descendants worshipped not only the true and living God, but they invoked him in the name of the Lord, and they worshipped the Lord whose name they invoked, so that two persons were the object of their worship, God and this Lord: and the Scriptures have distinguished these two persons from one another by this circumstance, that God no man hath seen at any time nor can see but the Lord whom Abraham and his descendants worshipped was the person who appeared to them.”

We are told that when chap. xxi., verse 33, of Genesis is correctly translated, Abraham is represented as having invoked Jehovah, the everlasting God.

In the Hebrew name Yod-He-Vau (Jehovah), was set forth the triune character of the Creator; in other words, this name “comprehended the essential perfections of the great God,” and was used in their Scriptures as a “kind of summary or revelation of the attributes of the Deity.”

Although Abraham, while in Egypt, was the worshipper of idols, we are assured that “the peculiar privilege vouchsafed to him lay in the revelation of God’s holy name, Yod-He-Vau. There is indeed much evidence going to prove that the people represented by Abraham understood the earlier conception of a Deity, and that while the great universal principle whose name it was sacrilege to pronounce was still acknowledged, there was another God (the Lord), the same as in China, whose worship they were beginning to adopt. “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

So that I come again to my Father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God.”

He then declared that the pillar or stone which he had set up, and which was the emblem of male procreative energy, should be God’s house.

As at the time represented by Jacob there was evidently little or no spirituality among the Israelites, this Lord whom they worshipped was simply a life-giver in the most material or practical sense.

The reproductive energy in man had become deified. It had, in other words, come to possess all the attributes of a god, or of a powerful man, which in reality was the same thing. It is this god personified which is represented as appearing to Abraham and talking with him face to face. With this same god Jacob wrestled, while the real God–the dual or triune principle, the Jehovah or Iav, no man could behold and live.

To conceal the fact that the God of Abraham originally consisted of a dual or triple unity, and that the Deity was identical in significance with that of contemporary peoples, the priests have, as usual, had recourse to a trick to deceive the ignorant or uninitiated. In reference to this subject Godfrey Higgins says:

“In the second book of Genesis the creation is described not to have been made by Aleim, or the Aleim, but by a God of a double name Ieue Aleim; which the priests have translated Lord God. By using the word Lord, their object evidently is to conceal from their readers several difficulties which afterward arise respecting the names of God and this word, and which show clearly that the books of the Pentateuch are the writings of different persons."[39]

[39] Anacalypsis, book ii., ch, i.

Upon this subject Bishop Colenso observes:

“And it is especially to be noted that when the Elohistic passages are all extracted and copied one after another, they form a complete, connected narrative; from which we infer that these must have composed the original story, and that the other passages were afterwards inserted by another writer, who wished to enlarge or supplement the primary record. And he seems to have used the compound Jehovah Aleim in the first portion of his work in order to impress upon the reader that Jehovah, of whom he goes on to speak in the later portions, is the same Great Being who is called simply Elohim by the older writer, and notably in the first account of the creation."[40]

[40] Lectures on the Pentateuch and the Moabite Stone, p. 7.

We are informed by Bunsen that El, or Elohim, comprehends the true significance of the Deity among all the Aramaic or Canaanitish races, El representing the abstract principle taken collectively, Elohim pertaining to the separate elements as Creator, Preserver, and Regenerator. Each of these Canaanitish races had inherited these ideas from their fathers, and, although they had become grossly idolatrous, “Moses knew, and educated Israelites remained a long time conscious, that they used them not merely in their real but in their most ancient sense."[41] Maurice and other writers call attention to the fact that Moses himself uses this word Elohim with verbs and adjectives in the plural. That the God worshipped by the more ancient peoples, namely Aleim, or Elohim, the same who said, “Let us make man in our image,” was not the Lord adored at a later age by the Jews, is a fact which at the present time seems to be clearly proven; that it constituted, however, the dual or triune unity venerated by all the nations on the globe of which we have any record, appears to be well established.

[41] Bunsen, History of Egypt, vol. iv., p. 421.

We have seen that although the two sex-principles which underlie Nature constituted the Creator, the ancients thought of it only as one and indivisible. This indivisible aspect was the sacred Iav, the Holy of Holies. When it was contemplated in its individual aspect it was Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, each of which was female and male.

The difficulty of the ancients in establishing a First Cause seems to have been exactly the same as is ours at the present time. When we say there must have been a God who created all things, the question at once arises, Who created God? According to their theories, nothing could be brought forth without the interaction of two creative principles, female and male; yet everything, even these principles, must proceed from an indivisible energy–an energy which, as the idea of the sex functions became more and more clearly defined, could not be contemplated except in its dual aspect. So soon, therefore, as the Great First Cause was separated into its elements, a still higher power was immediately stationed above it as its Creator. This Creator was designated as female. It was the Mother idea Even gods could not be produced without a mother.

In referring to the doctrines contained in the Geeta, one of the sacred writings of the Hindoos, Faber observes:

“In the single character of Brahm, all the three offices of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are united. He is at once the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer. He is the primeval Hermaphrodite, or the Great Father and the Great Mother blended together in one person.”

The fact that a trinity in unity, representing the female and male energies symbolized by the organs of generation, formerly constituted the Deity throughout Asia is acknowledged by all those who have examined either the literature or monumental records of oriental countries. The Rev. Mr. Maurice bears testimony to the character of Eastern religious ideas in the following language:

“Whoever will read the Geeta with attention, will perceive in that small tract the outlines of all the various systems of theology in Asia. The curious and ancient doctrine of the Creator being both male and female, mentioned on a preceding page, to be designated in Indian temples by a very indecent exhibition of the masculine and feminine organs of generation in union, occurs in the following passage: ’I am the Father and Mother of this world; I plant myself upon my own nature and create again and again this assemblage of beings; I am generation and dissolution, the place where all things are deposited, and the inexhaustible seed of all Nature. I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all things.’ “[42]

[42] Maurice, Indian Antiquities, vol. iv., p. 705.

According to Sir W. Jones, the Brahme, Vishnu, and Siva coalesce to form the mystic Om, which means the essence of life or divine fire. In the Bhagavat Geeta the supreme God speaks thus concerning itself: “I am the holy one worthy to be known"; and immediately adds: “I am the mystic [trilateral] figure Om; the Reig, the Yagush, and the Saman Vedas.” It is a unity and still a trinity. This Om or Aum stands for the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer or Regenerator, and represents the threefold aspect of the force within the sun. The doctrine maintained throughout the Geeta is not only that the great life-force represents a trinity in unity, but that it is both female and male. On this subject Maurice, in his Indian Antiquities, says:

“This notion of three persons in the Deity was diffused amongst all the nations of the earth, established at once in regions so distant as Japan and Peru, immemorially acknowledged throughout the whole extent of Egypt and India, and flourishing with equal vigor amidst the snowy mountains of Thibet, and the vast deserts of Siberia.”

We have observed that the idea of a trinity as conceived by the so-called ancients, although at all times founded on the same conception, viz., that of the reproductive powers of Nature and especially of mankind, differed in expression according to its application. Although in human beings this triune creative idea was expressed by the mother, father, and child, as set forth in the temples and on the monuments of Egypt, when applied directly to the sun and the planets, it appears as the Creator, Preserver, and Regenerator or Destroyer.

Destruction, or the absence of the sun’s heat, represented by winter, was necessary to life, and therefore the Destroyer was also the Regenerator and equally with the Creator and Preserver constituted a beneficent factor in the god-idea. In fact as this third element really embodied the substance of the other two, it finally became the supreme God, little afterward being heard about the Creator and Preserver. The Regenerator or Destroyer was of course the sun, which in winter died away and rose again in the spring-time as a beneficent Savior or renewer of life. The principle involved in these processes represented Fertility, Life, reproductive energy. As applied to mortals, it comprehended the power to create combined with perceptive Wisdom or Knowledge.

This idea, portrayed as it was by a mother and her child, linked woman with the stars. It produced the “Virgin of the Sphere," Queen of Heaven, “Isiac Controller of the Zodiac,” at the same time that it made her the mother of all mankind.

Every year this Virgin of the Sphere as she appeared above the horizon at the winter solstice gave birth to the sun. Astronomically this new sun was the Regenerator, by which all Nature was renewed. Mythologically, after the higher truths contained in these doctrines were lost, it came to be the Savior, the Son of the Virgin, the seed of the woman, which was to bruise the serpent’s head.

That the religion of an ancient race comprehended a knowledge of the evolutionary processes of Nature may not be doubted. The myths still extant, and even the oldest Assyrian inscriptions which have been deciphered, reveal the fact that the seeds of the visible universe were hidden in the “great deep"–that animal creation sprang from the earth and the sea through the influence of the sun’s rays.

It is now known that the philosophy of an older race involved a belief in the Eternity of Matter. The abstruse doctrine of Reincarnation and the Renewal of Worlds seems to have formed the basis of their philosophy. According to these speculations, a portion of the earth was destroyed or resolved into its primary elements every six hundred years, while at the end of each Kalpia, or great Cycle of several thousand years, the entire earth was renovated or absorbed into the two fecundating principles of the universe. These two indivisible forces represented by Vishnu rested in the water, or brooded on the face of the deep. When stirred by love for each other they again became active, and from the germs of a former world, which had been absorbed by themselves, created again the earth and everything upon it. In other words, “the earth sprang from the navel of Vishnu or Brahme.” According to the Buddhists of Ceylon, the universe has perished ten different times, and each time has been renewed by the operations of Nature, or by the preservation of germs from a former world. In their mythology these germs are represented by a parent and a triplicated offspring. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that this monad trinity is the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer with their great parent, the Mother of the Gods, which in process of time came to be regarded as male. According to Wilford, Hindoo chronology presents fourteen different periods, six of which have already elapsed; we are in the seventh, which began with the flood. Each of these periods is called a Manwantara, the presiding genius or Deity of which is a Menu. At the close of each dynasty a total destruction of the world takes place, everything being destroyed except the ruler, or Menu, who “escapes in a boat.” Each new world is an exact counterpart of the one destroyed, and each Menu is a representation of all preceding ones. Thus the history of one dynasty serves for all the rest. This doctrine of a triplicated Deity appearing at the beginning of a new creation may be traced in nearly every country of the globe. Among the Buddhists of China, Fo is mysteriously multiplied into three persons in the same manner as is Fo-hi, who is evidently Noah. Among the Hindoos is observed the triad Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva springing from the monad Brahm or Brahme. This triad appears on the earth at the beginning of each Manwantara in the human form of Menu and his three sons. We are assured that among the Tartars evident traces are found of a similar God, who is seated on the lotus. It is also figured on a Siberian medal in the imperial collection at St. Petersburg. The Jakuthi Tartars, who are said to be the most numerous people of Siberia, worship a triplicated Deity under the three denominations of Artugon and Schugo-tangon and Tangara. Faber tells us that this Tartar God is the same even in appellation with the Tanga-tanga of the Peruvians, who, like other tribes of America, seem plainly to have crossed over from the North-eastern extremity of Siberia. Upon this subject the same writer remarks thus:

“Agreeably to the mystical notion so familiar to the Hindoos, that the self-triplicated Great Father yet remained but one in essence, the Peruvians supposed their Tanga-tanga to be one in three, and three in one: and in consequence of the union of hero worship with the astronomical and material systems of idolatry they venerated the sun and the air, each under three images and three names. The same opinions equally prevailed throughout the nations which lie to the west of Hindostan. Thus the Persians had their Ormuzd, Mithras, and Ahriman: or, as the matter was sometimes represented, their self-triplicating Mithras. The Syrians had their Monimus, Aziz, and Ares. The Egyptians had their Emeph, Eicton, and Phtha. The Greeks and Romans had their Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto; three in number, though one in essence, and all springing from Cronus, a fourth, yet older God. The Canaanites had their Baal-Spalisha or self-triplicated Baal. The Goths had their Odin, Vile, and Ve, who are described as the three sons of Bura, the offspring of the mysterious cow, and the Celts had their three bulls, venerated as the living symbols of the triple Hu or Menu. To the same class we must ascribe the triads of the Orphic and Pythagorean and Platonic schools; each of which must again be identified with the imperial triad of the old Chaldaic or Babylonian philosophy."[43]

[43] Faber, Pagan Idolatry, book vi., ch. ii., p. 470.

The history of the catastrophe known as the deluge, which, it is claimed, took place either in Armenia, at Cashgar, or at some other place in the East, is observed, in later ages, to furnish a covering beneath which have been veiled the mythical doctrines of the priests. Of the catastrophes which from time to time have visited our planet, and of the belief which has come to be entertained by ecclesiastics that the earth will be destroyed by fire, Celsus writes:

“The belief has spread among them, from a misunderstanding of the accounts of these occurrences, that after lengthened cycles of time, and the returns and conjunctions of planets, conflagrations, and floods are wont to happen, and because after the last flood, which took place in the time of Deucalion, the lapse of time, agreeably to the vicissitude of all things, requires a conflagration; and this made them give utterance to the erroneous opinion that God will descend, bringing fire like a torturer."[44]

[44] Origen against Celsus, book iv., ch. xi.

The mythologies of all nations are largely founded upon the “religious history” of a flood. The doctrine of a triplicated God saved from destruction by a storm-tossed ark which rested on some local mountain answering to Ararat, and which was filled with the natural elements of reproduction, is found amongst the traditions of every country of the globe. In Egypt, the destructive agency drives the God into the ark–or into the fish’s belly, where he is obliged to remain until the flood subsides. In other words, at the time of the destruction of the world, the creative agency is forced within the womb of Nature, there to remain until it again comes forth to recreate the world; nor does the symbolism end here, for this God–the sun, or the reproductive power within it, which every year is put to death by the cold of winter, must for a season remain lifeless, but, at the proper time, will come forth with healing in his wings. This God must issue forth to life through female Nature.

The god-man, Noah, who appears under one appellation or another in all extant mythologies, was slain, or shut up in a box, ark, or chest in which he or his seed was preserved from the ravages of a mighty flood, or from destruction by the calamity which had befallen the rest of mankind. In one sense he represents a Savior, in another sense he is the saved, for he is the seed of a former world and is born again from a boat, a symbol which always represents the female energy. Sometimes he is shut up in a wooden cow, from which he issues forth to new life. Again this storm tossed mariner is born from a cave, or the door of a rocky cavern, within which he had been preserved from some terrible catastrophe, caused either by water or fire.

Sir W. Jones, Faber, Higgins, and many others who have investigated this subject are confident that the Noah of Genesis is identical with Menu, the law-giver of India, and that both are Adam, a man who appears with his three sons at the end of each cycle, or six hundred years, to renovate the world. In the six hundred and first year of Noah’s life, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth. The drying of the waters, and the beginning anew just at the close of the six hundred years, are thought to refer to the end of the cycle of the Neros. A year of Menu or Buddha had expired and a new dynasty or Mamwantara was to begin.

Regarding this trinity, Faber remarks:

“Brahm then at the head of the Indian triad is Menu at the head of his three sons. But that by the first Menu we are to understand Adam, is evident, both from the remarkable circumstance of himself and his consort bearing the titles of Adima and Iva, and from the no less remarkable tradition that one of his three sons was murdered by his brother at a sacrifice. Hence it will follow, that Brahm at the head of the Indian triad is Adam at the head of his three sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth. Each Menu with his triple offspring is only the reappearance of a former Menu with his triple offspring; for, in every such manifestation at the commencement of each Mamwantara, the Hindoo Trimurti, or triad, becomes incarnate, by transmigrating from the human bodies occupied during a former incarnation; Brahm or the Unity appearing as the paternal Menu of a new age, while the triad, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, is exhibited in the person of his three sons. . . . But the ark-preserved Menu–Satyavrata and his three sons are certainly Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japhet.”

Hesiod teaches that, after the flood, Chaos, Night, and black Erebus first appeared.[45] At this time, when there was no Earth, no Heaven, and no Air, an egg floated on the face of the deep, which, being parted, brought forth Love, or Cupid. Out of Chaos this God created or formed all things. Now Cupid is the same as the Greek Phanes, and Phanes is Noah, the egg being the ark or female principle from which he was produced. The Greek God Phanes is the same as the Egyptian Osiris, who was driven into the ark by the “wind that blasts,” or by the evil principle.

[45] The Theogony.

“As Cupid is indifferently said to have been produced from an egg at a time when the whole world was in disorder, and from the womb of the marine goddess Venus, the egg and the womb of that goddess must denote the same thing. Accordingly we shall find that, on the one hand, Venus is immediately connected with the symbolical egg; and, on the other hand, that she is identical with Derceto and Isis, and is declared to be that general receptacle out of which all the hero-gods were produced. Now there can be little doubt in what sense we are to understand this expression, when we are told that the peculiar symbol of Isis was a ship; and when we learn that the form assumed at the period of the deluge, by the Indian Isi or Bhavani, who is clearly the same as the Egyptian Isis, was the ship Argha, in which her consort Siva floated securely on the surface of the ocean. Venus, therefore, or the Great Mother, the parent of Cupid from whom all mankind descended, must be the Ark: consequently, the egg, with which she is connected, must be the Ark also. Aristophanes informs us that the egg out of which Love was born, was produced by Night in the bosom of Erebus. But the Goddess Night, as we learn from the Orphic poet, was the very same person as Venus; and he celebrates her as the parent of the Universe, and as the general mother both of the hero-gods and of man. The egg therefore produced by Night was produced by Venus: but Venus and the egg meant the same thing: even that vast floating machine, which was esteemed an epitome of the world, and from which was born that Deity who is also literally said to have been set afloat in an ark. Sometimes the order of production was inverted; and, instead of the egg being produced by Night or Venus, Venus herself was fabled to have been produced from the egg. There is a remarkable legend of this sort which ascribes Venus and her egg to the age of Typhon and Osiris, in other words, to the age in which Noah was compelled by the deluge to enter into the ark."[46]

[46] Origin of Pagan Idolatry, book i., ch. iv.

The Preserver of the Persians, who is seated on a rainbow in front of their rock temples, is Mithras, who is identical with Noah. Sometimes this ancient mariner is represented as riding on the back of a fish, and again as floating in a boat. The God of Hindostan, like the classical Dionysos, was enclosed in an ark and driven into the sea. According to the Gothic traditions as recorded in the Eddas, there once existed a beautiful world, which was destroyed by fire. Another was created, which, with all its inhabitants save a giant and his three sons, who were saved in a ship, were destroyed by water. With this triad, which originally sprang from a mysterious cow, the new world began. This new world, which represents the present system, will in time be devoured by flames; but another earth will arise from the ocean,–an earth far more beautiful than this, upon which all kinds of grain and delicious fruits will grow without cultivation. Veda and Vile will be there, for the conflagration will have been powerless to destroy them. While the flames are devouring all things, two human beings, a female and a male, will be concealed under a hill, where they will feed upon dew, and will propagate so abundantly that the earth will soon be peopled with a new race of beings. During the catastrophe, the sun will be devoured by a wolf, but before her death she will give birth to a daughter as resplendent as herself, who will go in the same path formerly trodden by her mother.

The doctrines of the Gothic philosophers, as they appear in the Eddas, concerning the eternity of matter, the renewal or succession of worlds, and reincarnation are the same as those taught by Pythagoras, the Stoics, and other Greek schools of thought.

Brahme or Vishnu, resting on the bottom of the sea–a goddess who was symbolized by the self-generating lotus–was in later ages the mysterious Cow of the Goths.

After the natural truths concealed beneath their religious symbolism were wholly forgotten, and human nature through the over-stimulation of the animal instincts had become corrupted, Adam and Eve, names which doubtless for ages represented the two fecundating principles throughout Nature, with their sons, Cain, Abel, and Seth, comprehended the god-idea. The fact has been observed that just six hundred years from the creation of Adam, or at the close of the cycle, Noah appears with his three sons to save or perpetuate the race.

It is now believed that this account of Noah and his three sons is an allegory beneath which are concealed the religious doctrines, or perhaps I should say, the philosophical speculations of an older race. The God of the ancients was identified with the life of man individually and with that of mankind collectively. As men die each day, and as every day men are born, this Deity is said to die and to be renewed each day; and as he is the sun, or the incarnation of the sun, the rising and setting of this luminary depict the constantly dying and regenerating God of Nature, the same as do the changing seasons. A similar idea reappears in their system of the renewal of worlds and reincarnation.

Regarding the doctrine of the eternity of matter held by the ancients, Origen mentions a belief of the Egyptians that the

“world or its substance was never produced, but that it has existed from all eternity. Neither is there any such thing as death. Those who perish about us every day are simply changed, either they take on other forms or are removed to some other place. God cannot be destroyed, and as all things are parts of the Deity everything lives and has always lived, seeming death being simply change. Remnants of these doctrines are found in every portion of the globe; among the Mexicans of the west as well as among the rude mountaineers of the Burman Empire.”

While contemplating the philosophical speculations of an ancient race Bailly gave expression to the belief, that a “profoundly learned race of people existed previous to the formation of any of our systems.” The wiser among the Greek philosophers, those who, it is believed, borrowed their philosophical doctrines from the East, declare that “there is no production of anything which was not before; no new substance made which did not really pre-exist.” Equally with matter was spirit indestructible. “Our soul,” says Plato, “was somewhere, before it came to exist in this present form; whence it appears to be immortal. . . . Who knows whether that which is demonstrated living, be not indeed rather dying, and whether that which is styled dying be not rather living?”

To one who has given attention to the various legends relative to the destruction of the world by a flood, and a storm-tossed mariner saved in an ark or boat, it is plain that they all have the same significance, all are but different versions of the same myth, which in an early age was used to conceal the philosophical doctrines of an ancient people.

That the early historic nations understood little concerning the origin and true meaning of the legends which they had inherited from an older race is quite evident. The ignorance of the Greeks regarding the significance of these legends is shown by the following: When Solon, wishing to acquaint himself with the history of the oldest times, inquired of an Egyptian priest concerning the time of the flood, and the age of Deucalion or Phroneous or Noah, this functionary replied:

“O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children, nor is there an old man among you! Having no ancient traditions nor any acquaintance with chronology, you are as yet in a state of intellectual infancy. The true origin of such mutilated fables as you possess is this. There have been and shall again be in the course of many revolving ages, numerous destructions of the human race; the greatest of them by fire and water, but others in an almost endless succession of shorter intervals."[47]

[47] Quoted by Plato; also by Clement of Alexandria.

We have observed that the symbol of the universe was an egg. The egg was also the symbol of the earth and of the ark, which meant universal womanhood. From the mundane egg the triplicated Deity sprang. There can be little doubt at the present time that Adam, Noah, Menu, Osiris, and Dionysos all represent the fructifying power of the sun. In process of time they each came to figure as male reproductive energy, and during certain periods of the earth’s history they have each in turn been worshipped as the Deity. That not only the ark was female, but that the god element or reproductive principle within the ark was both female and male, is a fact which has been lost sight of during the historic period, or during those ages of the world in which the attempt has been made to prove Nature motherless.

All the germs and living creatures which were within the ark, and which were to reanimate the earth, were in pairs, females and males; and, besides, the Dove (female), the emblem of peace, was also present. Even Noah himself was produced from an egg, which, as we have seen, is the symbol of Venus, or universal womanhood. In after ages the female principle was not mentioned, but, on the contrary, was concealed beneath convenient symbols; and as the philosophical ideas underlying natural religion were lost or forgotten, and mankind had become too ignorant to perceive that a dual force, female and male which was also a Trinity, pervades Nature, the notion came gradually to prevail that the creative agency, which is spirit, is altogether male. Hence the formulation of the inconceivable doctrine of a Trinity composed of a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Preface  •  Introduction  •  Chapter I. Sex the Foundation of the God-Idea  •  Chapter II. Tree, Plant, and Fruit Worship  •  Chapter III. Sun-Worship--Female and Male Energies in the Sun  •  Chapter IV. The Dual God of the Ancients a Trinity Also  •  Chapter V. Separation of the Female and Male Elements in the Deity  •  Chapter VI. Civilization of an Ancient Race  •  Chapter VII. Concealment of the Early Doctrines  •  Chapter VIII. The Original God-Idea of the Israelites  •  Chapter IX. The Phoenician and Hebrew God Set or Seth  •  Chapter X. Ancient Speculations Concerning Creation  •  Chapter XI. Fire and Phallic Worship  •  Chapter XII. An Attempt to Purify the Sensualized Faiths  •  Chapter XIII. Christianity a Continuation of Paganism  •  Chapter XIV. Christianity a Continuation of Paganism–(Continued)  •  Chapter XV. Christianity in Ireland  •  Chapter XVI. Stones or Columns as the Deity  •  Chapter XVII. Sacrifices  •  Chapter XVIII. The Cross and a Dying Savior

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The God-Idea of the Ancients or Sex in Religion
By Eliza Burt Gamble
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