"Sons of a Greater Goddess"
(Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel)
The God-Man Adam
In the mythology of ancient Egypt, the god who arrived first on the Earth was called Atum, signifying "Totality." Atum, as with Biblical Adam, was naked and required a civilizing influence. "The loincloth given to Atum served less to clothe him, in the strict sense of the word, than to permit him to manifest his royalty by means of a specific garment."a One cannot help but compare the royal undergarment of Atum with the fig leaf loincloth made for Biblical Adam. In the Egyptian creation story, the first goddess, Tefnut, was said to come forth out of Atum. One of her Mesopotamian nicknames was Nin-ti, meaning "Lady Life," or "The Lady (Who Makes) Live." S.N. Kramer states that ti is also the Sumerian word for "rib," therefore Nin-ti could variously be interpreted as "the Lady of the Rib."b In the Bible, Eve is of course formed from the rib of Adam.
The Hebrew name Adam means "a man, ruddy." Genesis 2:23 (KJV)c states: "she [Eve] was taken out of man." However, the Hebrew word translated in this particular verse as "man" is not Adam but iysh (376).d Like the Egyptian name Atum, this word iysh also conveys a sense of both unity and totality. It is commonly translated elsewhere in the Bible as "every, everyone," i.e., all men. There is an obvious phonic similarity between Adam and Atum. A true linguistic link is also not so unreasonable given that the names of all of the other major Egyptian deities have definite Semitic etymologies.1
In the Bible, Adam and Eve become the parents of rival sons Cain and Abel. Genesis 4:1 (KJV) states: "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord." The Schocken Bible translates the last part of this verse as, "I-have-gotten a man, as has YHWH!" The phrase "I have gotten a man" is the Hebrew kaniti iysh. Kaniti is a word play with the name Cain/Kayin. The use of iysh, "everyone," again serves to designate that it is a god who has been born. The final phrase, "as has YHWH," explains why. In the Patriarchal bias of Genesis, Cain was a god, because his father was also considered to be a god.
We are next told that Cain struck down his younger and more favored brother Abel, and that his blood cried out from the ground. Among the ancient pantheon, the god Anu can be identified as the Biblical Cain. According to the Hittite epic "Kingship in Heaven," Anu attacked his more favored brother Alal and caused him to go "down to the dark earth."e This is a metaphor for murder. After vanquishing his superior Alal (Abel), Anu (Cain) was then attacked by a mysterious avenger named Kingu.f Kingu was also defeated, but not before injuring the genitals of Anu. Kingu is not explicitly mentioned in the Book of Genesis, however Cain speaks personally of the injury sustained to his male organ in Genesis 4:13. The King James Version reads, "My punishment is greater than I can bear." However, the graphic, literal translation of this verse is: "My perversity/bent-nessg is more twisted/elongatedh than I can lift/make rise.i"
Cain (Anu) retained his throne, but was exiled. His chastening also included at least temporary loss of sexual powers. Yet, out of recognition of his importance and concern for his security, he was given a form of protection.2 According to Jewish tradition, the mark of Cain was a "set of horns ... capable of warding off potential attackers."j In Mesopotamian tradition, the horned cap designated a god-king. The god Cain (Anu/El) was strangely absent from the day-to-day affairs of the "world." It has been commonly assumed that this was by choice, but the Bible indicates otherwise. Nevertheless, he was celebrated for the triumph over his brother Abel (Alal), and was called "First Among the Gods." Consistent with this, the genealogy of Cain given in Genesis is that of the kingly succession among the gods known to us from archaeology and myth.
Biblical Cain was a farmer. For lack of rain, the ground was "cursed" and would not provide abundant yields during his reign. The gods did engage in agriculture, but also broke or "tilled" the soil in search of precious stones and metals. The name Cain does not actually mean "farmer," but a "smith." In a manner of speaking, Cain had beaten his ploughshare into a sword in order to strike down the herdsman Abel. This imagery reflects the author's bias that shepherding was a more noble occupation than farming. It was also a subtle denouncement of the great river cultures of Mesopotamia and Egypt. It was there that "Vulcan" kings claiming authority and descent from god-king Cain (Anu) put an iron yoke on their less fortunate brothers, especially for cultivating the irrigated fields of temple and state, and as conscripts in the military. In turn, those same kings came to see themselves as enslaved by a system that emulated the vicious cycle of the gods, and which was made all the more tragic given the shorter life spans of mortal men.
Her Story or His Story?
In the Greek (Olympian) creation myth, male and female roles are reversed. It was not a god, but Gaia ("Mother Earth") who emerged first from the watery chaos and produced Uranus (Anu of Mesopotamian), the "First Father." Uranus (Anu/Cain) then became the consort of Gaia and sired the first gods.k In another (Pelasgian) version of the Greek creation myth, it is again a goddess Eurynome ("Wide Wandering") who "moved upon the face of the waters."l Through her initiative she located Ophion, "Native Snake," and mated with him. However, strife soon arose between the first couple. Eurynome "bruised his head with her heel, kicked out his teeth, and banished him."m This event is echoed in Genesis 3: 15 (KJV), which reads: "And I will put enmity between thee [the serpent] and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Combining the two Greek accounts, the goddess first mated with an indigenous hominoid male, and then with her own son by that male. Her grandsons, the first gods, would have possessed 3/4ths of her own genes (in round terms). The next generation of gods, if also birthed by her, would have possessed 7/8ths of her original genes. From the Greek perspective, it is the sons of the goddess ("sons of Gaia")n who are all-important in the creation of the new race. Gaia may have required a wet nurse from among the indigenous females. However, after acquiring a son by the native male, she would have had no further use for him. Ophion (timid Atum/Adam) was literally kicked out of her garden.
In Egyptian mythology, the god Atum hovered over the Nun (waters of chaos) in the form of the Benu Bird or Phoenix until a dry place was found for him to alight. He was "self-created," and originally alone. In a variant of the Egyptian creation myth, Atum was animated and gave birth to the god Shu (Enlil) and the goddess Tefnut/Hathor (Nin-ti) while still in the Nun. Atum brought Tefnut and Shu into being either through the act of masturbation or by spitting them out of his mouth. Rather than acknowledge the need to mate with a goddess or native female, Atum was said to produce offspring completely on his own, or by some artificial means. However, the memory of an original goddess was preserved in part. "In general terms the feminine complement to the solar creator [Atum] is the goddess Hathor, but for the aspect of aide to creation the Egyptians used a more specific name, Iusaas 'She who grows as she comes'."o Iusaas is depicted as a goddess. The epithet "grows as she comes" seems to imply that she also was "self-created" in the same sense as Atum. In some accounts, she was considered the progenitor of Shu and Tefnut rather than Atum.p After the birth of Tefnut/Hathor (through Iusaas/Gaia or other means), Atum was then instructed by the Nun to kiss (couple with?) her so that his heart (genome?) might live. Although less explicit than Greek myths, Egyptian sources also suggest that reconstitution of genes may have been necessary. In both cases it was accomplished through a process of parent-child inbreeding.
Another common characteristic of Greek, Egyptian and Hebrew creation stories is that the original male and female are not "created equal" or together. One precedes the other in time, and therefore in importance. In Greek myth, the goddess appears to mate with an "Adam" of the older race or species and subsequently dominates him. In Egyptian myth, it is Atum who arrives out of the blue and becomes the first god. In the Hebrew account of Genesis, we are told that Eve was formed from the "rib" of Adam, and woman is therefore to be subjugated to man. However, the subtle word play of the patristic author encodes the critical role of the goddess "Ti" (Hathor/Nin-ti) in the creation of the human race. Looking beyond the age-old battle of the sexes,3 the Bible and other ancient stories may preserve that a new race or even species is "created" with help from a pre-existing one. In a practical sense, the new beings might not otherwise have a fully effective immune system, and possibly lack other genetic adaptations needed to survive and thrive.
Egyptian and Hebrew accounts may not be purely the product of misogyny. Creative procedure might be partly to blame. Let us assume that Greek creation myths are the more accurate, and that modern man resulted from interbreeding with a "superior" woman (from whatever origin). Ophion would have been of a previous "creation," and in that sense, was "first." Moreover, the mission of this newly arrived "goddess" would have initially been to produce male offspring (sons and grandsons) who possessed a high percentage of her own genome. The sons of the goddess Gaia were the "sons of God." Any daughters of Ophion/Atum would have been the equals of their brothers, but possibly still of secondary importance for inbreeding purposes.
Ironically, the male would be given priority in a new creation brought on by a goddess (Gaia). Only after "gods" were created would the task change to producing sister-wives for them who were of like quality (see next chapter). In this two-step process, mother-son conjugations would precede father-daughter unions. Both types were prominent among the first gods and goddesses as attested in mythology. Half-sister marriages were also common, especially among the younger gods and goddesses. Upon the "arrival" of a new genetic strain, the goal would have been to first mate with an older line, and then breed out most of their traits. Assuming this was the case, it may make the extent of our genetic inheritance or lack thereof from extinct ancestors such as Neanderthals very difficult to determine. However, we can't expect to fully understand the various creation myths until we better understand our own genome and its relation to earlier hominoids.
From analysis of the paternal Y-Chromosome, the common male ancestor of modern man is estimated to have lived about 50,000 years ago. This does not necessarily mean that this "Adam" was "created" 50,000 years ago. It may only mean that all competing lines died out. Based on studies of the maternal mitochondrial (mt) DNA, the common female ancestor was once thought to have lived at least 200,000 years ago. However, it has recently been discovered that the mutation rate of mtDNA is twenty times greater than that of the Y-Chromosome. This means that genetic "Eve" is not far older than genetic "Adam" after all, but could be of equal age or even considerably younger.4 It is not at this time possible to say whether there is a mismatch between the Y-Chromosome and mtDNA of modern humans. Nor does it seem possible to determine whether our common ancestors started with a clean genome, i.e., were created in the traditional sense. Therefore, exploration of the full inner workings of DNA emerges as the ultimate historical pursuit.
- Meeks and Favard-Meeks, Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods, p 59, citing Goyon, Confirmation, p 62 (III, 13).
- S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians, p 159.
- King James Version
- Numerical values represent the index number in Strong's Concordance.
- James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, p120.
- See next chapter for additional discussion of Kingu.
- Heb. avon (5771) from avah.
- Heb. gadol (1419) from gadal.
- Heb. nacah (5375).
- James Kugel, In Potiphars House, p 164.
- Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, (3.a, 6.a), pp 31, 37; World Mythology, Roy Mills, ed., p 129. Exegetes have long perplexed over the identity of the wife of Cain!
- Cf Genesis 1:2
- Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, (1.c), p 27.
- Biblical Jehovah embodies Gaia. The phrase "sons of God" can reasonably be interpreted as "sons of Gaia."
- Stephen Quirke, The Cult of Ra: Sun-Worship in Ancient Egypt, p 31.
- Anthony Mercatante, Who's Who in Egyptian Mythology, p 76.
The Biblical place name Etham (spelled variously as attem in Hebrew) is of Egyptian origin, and may be related to the Hebrew words uwth (225), meaning "to come," and athah (857), "arrived." The Hebrew word atten (865) means "heretofore, yesterday, times past." According to Strong's Concordance, the Hebrew atham (6272) means "prob. to glow, i.e., (fig.) be desolated: - be darkened." Compare atham ("glow") with adam ("ruddy").
Laurence Gardner identifies the mark of Cain (Heb. K'ayin) as the insignias of divine kingship, the the rosi-crusis ("fiery red cross") enclosed by the ayin ("all seeing eye").
(Genesis of the Grail Kings, p 103-104.)
Laurence Gardiner notes that a variant of the rosi-crucis is that of the Venus symbol. The Venus symbol is a cross that is attached to a circle, and used today as the icon of the female gender. Gardiner further states that the cross was the female element of the Venus symbol, and the enclosed circle, or ouroboros, was the male element. In the Venus symbol, the cross is below (subservient to) the circle. The Egyptian Cross, or Ankh symbol, was a Venus Symbol. The cross is suspended from a ring, which the king or queen clasped in their hand. However, when the cross is instead placed on top of the circle, the Venus symbol becomes "the Orb of sovereign regalia." (Genesis of the Grail Kings, p 104, citing Robert Graves and R. Patai, The Hebrew Myths - Genesis, p 106.)
In 1987, it was announced that the mtDNA of modern humans is about 200,000 years old. 10 years later, scientists announced that mtDNA mutates 20 or more times faster than the Y-Chromosome. This has led to a significant reduction in the estimated age of mtDNA. Creationists argue that the mtDNA of modern man may be only 6,000 years old. The age of modern man based on mutation of the Y-Chromosome is estimated by scientists to be about 50,000 years old. Creationists also argue that this date needs to be lowered. Although it once appeared that mtDNA was far older than the DNA of the Y-Chromosome, the opposite may actually be the case. Alternatively, a new male and female may have indeed been introduced on Earth at the same time. If true, one or both may have also mated separately with indigenous hominoids to ensure long-term viability of the new race or species.
Selected DNA articles on the web: