Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ethics and Ancient Cosmology

Golden Horus of Nekhen, the son of God
His totem was the Falcon.

Alice C. Linsley

Cosmology is the study of the structure and dynamics of the universe. It involves our most fundamental experience and observation of earth and the heavens and the relationship of physical bodies.

Perhaps the best book on this subject was written by a Roman Catholic priest, Paul J. Glenn, Professor of Philosophy in the College of St. Charles Borromeo, Columbus, Ohio.The book is titled "Cosmology: A Class Manual in the Philosophy of Boldily Being." Glenn defines cosmology as philosophical physics to distinguish it from metaphysics, the philosophical science of non-material real being (p. 5).

The cosmology of the Bible is connected to archaic priests who observed the heavens and especially to their veneration of the Sun as the emblem of the Creator. Since they regarded the Sun as superior to its counterpart, the Moon, biblical cosmology necessarily involves recognition of the binary distinctions observed in the order of creation: Sun-Moon, Male-Female, East-West, North-South, and Heaven-Earth. Ancient peoples believed that the structure and dynamics of the cosmos speak of the Creator’s eternal power and divine nature.

Canopic jars
The Apostle Paul alludes to this in Romans 1:20. Here he insists that the eternal nature and divine power of God are expressed in the fixed order of creation. Therefore, seeing that the pattern is observable by all people at all times, none are excused on the basis of ignorance. There is here an assumption that the fixed celestial patterns are superior to the things that can change or be corrupted. This reflects a very ancient belief: "as in heaven, so on earth" and that belief is expressed in the Lord's Prayer that God's "will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

The Horite Hebrew believed that Horus established the cosmic boundaries and guarded the cardinal points. He set the East from the West and the North from the South and he commanded the wind and waves. Horus also established the "kinds" or essences of all the creatures (Gen. 1:21). The genetic boundaries beyond which a creature cannot develop (evolve) are even termed "horotely."

Horus controlled and guarded as the "Son" of the Creator. His four appearances or manifestations were as a man, a jackal, a falcon, and a baboon. These are found on the four canopic jars (shown above) that held the organs of the dead Nilotic rulers. The jars were set to guard the body at the north, east, south and west.

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is found at the twin cities of Nekhen and Nekheb. Nekhen is called the Falcon City as the falcon was one of the animal totems of Horus, the son of Re. Votive offerings at the Nekhen temple were ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine. Horite priests placed invocations to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose.

The Horite Hebrew spread their heliocentric cosmology throughout the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. The Sun was the emblem of the Creator (Ra, Ani) and the Son of the Creator (Horus, Enki). Each morning the priests greeted the rising of the Sun with prayers and praises.

The Sun and its daily east-west journey are a key feature of Horite Hebrew cosmology. The Sun rises in the East as a young lamb and sets in the West as a ram in mature strength. This supplies a clue to the meaning of the story of Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah. Isaac asked where is the lamb for the sacrifice? Abraham answered that the Lord God would provide his own sacrifice. The sacrificed animal was a ram and the symbol of the son of God. The ram also spoke of the West, the cardinal point associated with the future, so that, the provision was associated with a future event.

The binary distinctions impressed upon the ancient biblical Hebrew the reality of their limitations. They had no power to make the Sun follow a different course or to move the polar star. These spoke to them of a greater Power who had established these luminaries as dark reflections of a greater Light.

The Horite Hebrew ruler-priests were conscious of boundaries all around them. Many words related to boundaries are derived from the name Horus: horizon, hour, horotely, horologion, Harmattan, horoscope, etc.

Aristotle links essence to boundaries (horos, horismos) or to definition. He says, “a definition is an account (logos) that signifies an essence” (Topics 102a3).

Related reading:  Tracing Origins Using Comparative Cosmologies; Seven Planets, Seven Bowls; Plato's Debt to Ancient Egypt; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant; What Abraham Discovered on Mt. Moriah

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