Holy Week reflections: Jesus Christ, God-Sun

Holy Week reflections: Jesus Christ, God-Sun Featured

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SINCE the dawn of time, one object that has dominated man is that orb in the sky. The sun’s movements were ever changing yet immutable — a conundrum that man learned to live with yet left him astounded. By being observed over the eons, the sun revealed the secrets behind the daily occurrences and phenomena that governed and gave meaning to man’s life. The sun liberates man from the dangers of the dark, giving him warmth and comfort when it appears at dawn, slaying the dark. It sustained life. Without it, plants will not grow and there would be no harvests.

At night, man started to parse the stars, tracking its movements corresponding to the vagaries of the seasons. And when the sun appears unfailingly, heralding the day, over the year, its path began to follow a recurrent cadence — the song of the universe, the rhythm of life pervading all earthly wonders and those unearthly ones too. Man personified the sun to venerate it properly. Thus, the sun became a god. The giver of life.

Since 10,000 BC the sun held the primary place among the pantheon of gods, depicted in carvings and writings, engraved in stone. It appears in the pyramids of Egypt, the stelas of Mesopotamia and the carvings in the temples and pyramids of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica (Aztec, Inca and Maya).

The zodiac
And this god became the center of the oldest conceptual icons — the zodiac. The first people after the Egyptians to observe and track the sun’s interminable travel across the heavens from season to season; the intermittent eclipses of the moon and the ominous intrusions of comets; codifying the same were the Babylonians in 2000 BC. They mapped out the fixed stars, noted the relations with the seasons, the solstices and equinoxes and grouped them into the 12 constellations, following the 12 months of their calendar (which depicts too the 12 disciples of Horus, Mithras and Jesus). The ancients interpreted its movement through the heavens as influencing man’s affairs — determined by one of the 12 zodiac signs under which he was born. To establish intimacy, these symbols were anthropomorphized with elaborate myths woven around their movements establishing the relationship between them and man’s fortunes.

The god-sun has many names in many cultures. In Egypt he is Amun-Ra. But the more popular one worshiped over time in their mythology was Horus. He had an enemy, Seth, god of darkness; so, every morning, Horus fights Seth conquering him, and, in the evening, Seth vanquishes Horus sending him into the underworld. This is the metaphorical battle between night and day — light against dark — good versus evil.

The star rising from the East
The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius, the star in the East. Seen from the northern hemisphere, after midnight it rises from the southeast seemingly lingering in the south until dawn. In the constellation of Orion’s belt are three bright stars. At the winter solstice, marking long days and short nights, the three bright stars, called the “three kings” are perfectly aligned with Sirius. Thus, the three kings look towards the star of the East. All four stars point toward the sunrise on December 25.

Paradoxically, another phenomenon occurs from the summer to the winter solstice when the days become shorter and colder. The sun travels south and by December 22, it reaches its lowest position in the sky. For three days — December 22, 23 and 24 — the sun seemingly stops moving. During those three days, the sun resides in the vicinity of the Crux constellation. It is composed of four bright stars in the southern sky forming a cross. The ancients looked at this as the sun’s demise. But on the third day, December 25, the sun rises a degree north, foreshadowing longer days of warmth and spring continuing its travel towards the summer solstice — the sun’s rejuvenation, the anastasis.

Mythological structure
Over time, the interpretations by the ancients over these predictable behavior of heavenly bodies were incorporated into a corpus of primitive knowledge and concepts of divination explaining how things work as the machinations of “some others” greater than themselves. Thus is explained the common attributes of the gods — differentiated only by nuances among different cultures. The sun god or progeny of the sun — Horus, Mithra, Krishna, Jesus — must be born of a virgin woman as these beings are gods and should not pass through the process of impregnation through natural carnal sexual acts.

All were born on December 25 depicting the sun’s rebirth. The three bright stars aligning with the star in the East — signifies the three magi paying adoration to the “rebirth” of the god-sun or the son of god. It is easy to infer the crucifixion of these gods through the star Sirius seen around the constellation of the same name. The death of these god-suns for three days, and their resurrection, are thus the ancients’ translation of the sun emerging from the winter solstice.

The biblical Jesus
The narrative of Jesus Christ and his divinity was formalized in 325 AD in the First Council of Nicaea. After years of tumultuous religious disagreements over the centuries, particularly within the church of Alexandria, between St. Alexander with Athanasius against Arius and Arianism, the consensus of the bishops and archbishops upheld Jesus as the begotten son of the Father by his own being and therefore co-equal with God the Father for eternity.

The Nicene Creed
“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God; begotten not made, one in being with the Father.”

This was acceptable as the Christian statement of faith by the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and many major Protestant churches. Another version was later simplified into the Apostle’s Creed (used with the holy rosary) in the Roman Catholic Church.

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.”

With the promulgation of the Nicene Creed, the astro-theological literary hybrid depiction of the attributes of the gods were in effect eradicated by the collective agreement of the leaders of Christendom — thus by fiat, headed by Emperor Constantine, the Christian Roman Emperor in 325 AD, who was once a Roman pagan.

Horus, Mithra, Krishna who existed 3000 to 500 years before Christ, were relegated to the dustbin of religious history and remained just part of a constructive mythology.

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