Original sin, The Serpent, and Sacred Sex as seen in art from pre-history to the present
(The iconology of fallen humanity)
....What is this command God has given you, not to eat the fruit of any tree in the garden? To which the woman answered, We can eat the fruit of any tree in the garden except the tree in the middle of it; it is this God has forbidden us to eat or even to touch, on pain of death. And the serpent said to her, What is this talk of death? God knows well that as soon as you eat this fruit your eyes will be opened, and you yourselves will be like gods, knowing good and evil. And with that the woman, who saw that the fruit was good to eat, saw, too, how it was pleasant to look at and charmed the eye, took some fruit from the tree and ate it; and she gave some to her husband, and he ate with her. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they became aware of their nakedness... . And the Lord God said to the serpent, For this work of thine, thou alone among all the cattle and and beasts, shalt bear a curse; thou shalt crawl on thy belly and eat dust all thy life long . And I will establish a feud between thee and the woman, between thy offspring and hers; she is to crush thy head, while thou doest lie in ambush at her heels. Genesis 3: 1-7 *
While ignored or denied by many, or most, today, the doctrine of Original Sin is a core belief of traditional Christianity, i.e., through the malice of the Devil, our first parents were deceived with the promise from the "Serpent," that if they disobeyed the patriarchal authority of the Creator, they themselves would become as "gods." They did deliberately disobey the Divine command and the results were disastrous for ensuing humanity . (see: appendix, i)
For the Roman Catholic Church, the reality of Original Sin, is not only a matter of strict dogma, as defined by the Council of Trent, (see: appendix, ii) but an observable fact. In the words of Blaise Pascal, "As to myself, I confess, that as soon as ever the Christian religion has revealed to me this one principle, that human nature is depraved, and fallen from God, this opens my eyes to see everywhere the proofs of that fact. For nature is now in that state, that every thing, both in us and out of us, bespeaks our loss of God." [i]
Whether one takes the account of man's creation and
fall in the Book of Genesis as literal presentation of an historical
occurrence or mythopoetic presentation
of a truth via an imaginative narrative, [ii]
the facts are the same. The account speaks of four persons; Almighty God, Adam
& Eve, (the first two creatures endowed with a rational conscience and
immortal soul - neshamah, Hebrew) [iii]
and the Evil One, Satan, disguised as a serpent. (The "Evil Spirit" takes on the
appearance of the cunning serpent at the beginning of Biblical history just as
the "Holy Spirit" takes on the appearance of the gentle dove at the
Baptism of Jesus in the river
Just as in the Biblical account, the contemporary Sumerian myth of Gilgamesh acknowledges that it was the serpent who cheated man out of eternal life.
"Then Gilgamesh sat down and wept, tears streaming down his cheeks (having lost the possibility of eternal life)...For whose sake, Urshinabi, have I strained my muscles? For whose sake has my heart's blood been spent? I brought no blessing on myself.. I did the serpent underground good service."[iv] [emphasis added]
Revered or feared , the serpent is an ubiquitous figure in ancient Sumerian, as well as Egyptian art.
Sumerian serpent goddess, Ubaid , c.5000 BC
Sumerian serpent mask, c.4500 BC
Sumerian ritual libation vase, Gueda, c . 2100 BC
Egyptian serpent god, Apep, , Lord of the underworld, Middle Kingdom c. 2600 BC
Serpent Crown of Tutankhamen 1358 BC
In fact, depictions of deified serpents are by no means confined to the ancient Middle East The University of Oslo, Norway, published a paper In 2006 claiming that the site of oldest religious ritual of humanity thus far discovered is to be found is a cave in the Tsodila hills of Botswana and involved the worship of a stone python by the San people perhaps dating back to the early stone age (70,000 BC).[v] *
Serpent deities, it would appear, exist and have a central place in the mythologies of virtually all cultures. [vi] While scholars may dispute the origins and meanings of ancient fables, images of serpent deities, as well as other universal symbols and pictographs, presented below in this essay, are found in historic as well as prehistoric locations world wide as seen in the following images.
This universality gives credence to the unity of the human race, its origin and fall as described in Genesis
The Images below represent, the
"Rainbow Serpent" revered by Australian Aborigines (left), and the
Aztec Serpent god Quetzalcoatl, (center)
and an Anasazi painting from San Rafael Swell,
Some further example are; Shiva dancing with the "Naga"
serpent, Greek "Ophite" serpent worship, The Norwegian serpent god
"Gorunjand" who encircles the world, and finally a pre- Christian
Irish serpent herm cross. (It was not the physical serpents that St. Patrick
Frequently, as in the Sumerian Gueda vase and the Irish stele shown above, two intertwined serpents are depicted as the male and female or active and passive (good & evil) energies of the cosmos in need of balance.
According to the earliest Chinese creation legend, the land was swept by a great flood and only Fu Xi and his sister, Nüwa survived to become the progenitors of the human race. They are invariably shown as male and female anthropomorphic entwined serpents.
The twin serpents, Ida (f.) and Pingala,(m.) are fundamental to Indian Kundalini Yoga where the twin male and female forces rise through the "Chakras" to enter the brain and open the "Third eye" of divine wisdom. In the Tantric version of Kundalini Yoga called maithuna, the Yogin (m) and Yogini (f) unite in sacred intercourse producing rapture, but without passing the "seed," the Yogi thus retaining the "divine spark" which brings enlightenment and ultimate divinization.[vii]
The entwined serpents were often portrayed in Ancient Egypt as symbol of the mythical god Toth associated with harmony,wisdom, and healing.
The ubiquitous twin serpents, or the believed to be, male and female cosmic forces were worshiped
in pre Classical Greece as seen in the image
of the Minoan snake goddess (1600 BC),
as well as the Gorgon from the
In regard to the initial "Fall" or primal disaster, aside from the biblical and other ancient accounts, There are two which come down to us via the Greeks written down by Hesiod in his Works and Days and Theogany ( c. 651 -59 BC). Both point to man's desire for forbidden knowledge. First is the story of the Titan (demi-god) Prometheus "stealing the fire" from the gods for mankind. In punishment "The Father of the Gods and men" charges Hephaestus (Vulcan) to form the first woman, Pandora, of great beauty and skill, but "of shameless mind and deceitful nature", to cheat man of his happiness. Thus Pandora is sent carrying a "Gift" from the gods consisting of a great "jar" (pithos) [viii] containing all the miseries that are to henceforth plague mankind. In the opening of the jar, Pandora " loosed and scattered all these and her thought caused sorrow and mischief to men. Only Hope remained under the unbreakable rim of that great jar."[ix]
Early Christian writers, such as Tertullian, Origen, St. Irenaeus and St. Gregory of Nazanzius all saw parallels in the Greek legend and the Biblical account of the Fall with Prometheus, like Satan, offering false promises of divine knowledge, which, in fact, bring suffering and death, Pandora as Eve beguiling Adam, but, as in Genesis, a promise of hope.[x]
In a second account of the Fall, Hesiod, in his Thegony, speaks of Gaia (Mother Earth) inciting her offspring Kronos (Time) to emasculate Ouranos (the supreme sky god) with a flint sickle, because he would not share in his secrets or allow evil children to come forth from within her. Once Kronos has accomplished the deed, Ouranos' member falls into the sea causing a great foam from which Aphrodite (the fair goddess of sexual desire) is born.[xi] Kronos then devours his own children, which is to say, once time is born, death enters the world.
This myth, however, has far older roots as seen in the following image of a Rhodesian rock painting from 8,000 BC:
In the original image to the left, one sees the rebellious "horned god" holding aloft the severed member of the "sky god" while he, himself, brings forth life from his own ejaculation, emphasized in the modern copy to the right.
This mythology is echoed in the oldest Egyptian Pyramid texts ( c. 1248 BC) wherein Atum, (the all and the nothing) brings forth himself and subsequent creation via an act of masturbation. [xii]
According to Peter Tomkins, author of The Magic of the Obelisks, Atum's act of
self abuse is the proto-myth of
Renowned Swiss occult psychologist, Carl Jung, in his autobiographic book, Memories, Dreams, Reflections, relates his first dream at about four years of age, as visiting a dark underground chamber wherein there stood a huge 15 foot phallus that at first frightened him but later realized was "the underground god," and that etymologically, the Greek word Phallus was a derivative of the "shining light" [Lucifer] who is opposed to, but complementary to Jesus.[xiv]
abounded in antiquity and continues in Africa,
Below is one of the classic carved stone images of Shiva's "lingam" or phallus worshipped by the faithful., in this case encircled by the serpent.
The "Horned God" as initiator of life seen in the 10,000 year
old rock art of
"Lord of nature" - Sumerian seal, c. 3000 BC
"Pashtupati" "Lord of Nature"
Babylonian, c. 2500 BC
"Cernunos" as "Lord of Nature
While, as shown, the
worship of the "Horned god" is
ancient and widespread, his
depiction fecundating nature, as
seen in the Rhodesian rock art above,
goes back to one of the earliest
paintings known to man. The picture below is from the recently discovered
In fact, judging from art and artifacts going back to the Paleolithic , some form of "Sacred sex," involving a Phallic cult and the blind (The female figurines below have no faces) generative forces of nature would appear to be the default religion of Fallen man [xv]
Canaanite phallic stone from grave site,
Paleolithic "Venus" figurines from distinct sites, 32,000 - 10,000 BC
... [M]en imparted to stocks and stones the incommunicable name of God. ... Nor were they content with these false notions of God’s nature; living in a world besieged by doubt, they misnamed its innumerable disorders a state of peace. Peace amidst their rites of child murder, their dark mysteries, and vigils consecrated to frenzy.” Wisdom 13, 15
Cave art at
Perhaps the most well known depictions of "Sacred
sex" are found in the ruins of the Roman resort of
In the Villa of Mysteries, which itself contains several images of Priapus, one may see the famous murals depicting an initiation into the Mysteries of Bacchus and Priapus
Discovered in 1930, these murals are extremely well preserved and can thus give us a full visual representation of the "Sacred Mysteries." While scholars give different explanations of the full meaning of these frescos, there is general agreement as to the following:
In the right hand fresco below, an initiate is being prepared amidst music and dancing for an initiation, hieros gamos, or ritual marriage to the god Priapus represented by the phallic herm being uncovered in the left hand panel. Given the stance of the winged and booted priestess, the initiation involved some form painful flagellation..
The contemporary Roman poet, Juvenal, made the following
observation regarding these sexual initiations:
"the secret rites of the Great Goddess are now made public when
these votaries of Priapus by the
music of the pipe and horn and raised by the vapors of wine...toss their heads
and make a strange howling. How their desires are inflamed, how agitated."
As well as the fixation on the serpent and phallic worship, sacred sex and the "horned one," fallen man worshipped the major forces of nature in general, especially the sun moon and stars.
“Instead [of recognizing their Creator] they have pointed us to fire, or wind,… to the wheeling stars, or sun and moon and Made gods of them. Wisdom: 12
Below are three well
know pictorial examples of pagan sun worship from
Lesser known examples appear world wide as in the two examples below, the first from North America (Utah) showing a sun symbol attached to a serpent along with some sort of horned creature, and the second from Europe (Sweden) showing a sun symbol above a group of belligerent men with erect phalluses.
Once again, the universality of these pagan images, sun, moon, stars, serpent, " horned one, " phallus etc. tie all these peoples together in single bond and clearly point to the unity of the human race and a common ancestry as described in the Book of Genesis.
These images also would tend to confirm the Biblical injunction that prior to God's salvific intervention, "The gods of the gentiles (peoples) were demons," as described in Psalm 96,5 as rendered in the Septuagint Greek text.[xvi]
This is not to say that there were not some holy men and women who did walk in obedience according to God's ways. As H.H. Pope Leo XIII explained in his1884 encyclical Humanum Genus, " The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, 'through the envy of the devil,' separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth."
When evil appeared to triumph, however, the Book of Genesis tells us that Almighty God advised Noah to build an "Ark" prefiguring the Church (Barque of Peter) as vessel of salvation. Then God made a covenant with Abraham and afterward revealed his law to Moses. In the fullness of time He sent his only begotten Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to redeem us via his propritiatary death on the cross. Thus: "... through one man guilt came into the world; and since death came owing to guilt, death was handed on to all mankind by one man ...but, If this one man's fault brought death on a whole multitude, all the more lavish was God's grace, shewn to a whole multitude, that free gift he made us in grace brought by one man, Jesus Christ" Romans 5:12,15
To participate, however, in this "free gift he made us in grace,", we must believe and be baptized in his name . "He through whom the world was made, was in the world, and the world treated him as a stranger.... But all those who did welcome him he empowered to become the children of God, all those who believe in his name; their birth came, not from human stock, not from nature's will or man's, but from God." John 1:10-13
Unfortunately even the elect, those redeemed in the blood of Christ through Baptism, are not free from the moral disorder and concupiscence inherited from the Fall.
In the words of St. Paul, "But I observe another disposition in my lower self, which raises war against the disposition of my conscience, and so I am handed over as a captive to that disposition towards sin which my lower self contains." Romans 7:23
The doctrine of Original sin has been under steady attack as religious superstition by the rationalists and philosophes since the 17th century whence it was proposed that man might build a more just and equitable society in the future via human reason alone. The cult of reason itself became a religion culminating in the enthronement of the "Goddess of Reason" in Notre Dame Cathedral in 1793, at the time of the French Revolution..
According to a contemporary account, having previously removed all altars and crucifixes, an artificial mountain was constructed where the high altar had been, and Mme. Monoro, the wife of a republican agitator, escorted by dancers from the Opera and common prostitutes, was enthroned as the new "goddess of reason" atop the mound wearing a transparent diaphanous white dress and red Phrygian cap[xvii]
As pointed out by James Billington in his seminal work, Fire in the Minds of Men, the origins of the Revolutionary Faith, while the orators in the Palais Royal at the center of Paris, preached republican ideals of political freedom, they also preached accompanying sexual license, and by night descended to the cellars to enjoy such distractions as a pornographic wax museum or the favors of a seven foot three inch Prussian prostitute, Mlle. Lapierre.[xviii]
republican ideals were not so strong in
Among the more illustrious members were Prime Minister, the Earl of Bute, First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Sandwich, the painter William Hogarth, and the fiery orator, John Wilkes,[xix]
(Above to the left is a modern diagram of the caves and to the right, a deteriorated bronze statue of Venus with a drinking bowl still to be seen in the caves today.)
Later, fanned by the 1792 trial of the Bounty
Among the German Romantics of the same period, the idea of unfettered progress was enshrined, not in reason, but in nature itself. Philip Otto Runge expressed his experience of the immanent divinity of Nature as "…the feeling of the whole universe with us; this united chord which in its vibration touches every string of our heart;…here is the highest that we divine - God"[xxi]
The painting below by Runge is titled "Morning" and shows the goddess Aurora bringing forth a new beginning. Along with three other paintings reflecting the times of the day, this work was to be enshrined in a chapel extolling the new religion of nature.
The concept of "radical evil," however, remained unresolved. Emanuel Kant, writing in 1794, recognized the "perversity of human heart," or simply the "evil heart" placing concupiscence and lust in violent conflict with reason resulting in disequilibrium[xxii]
This disequilibrium became quite obvious in the visual arts by the end of the 19th century, especially in works of German and Austrian schools. Below are examples by Eduard Munch, Gustav Klimt, and Franz Stuck.
Sigmund Freud, living in fin de siècle
In brief, the id, according to Freud, is the unorganized part of the personality structure that contains a human's basic, instinctual drives. The id is the only component of personality that is present from birth. The id is the source of our bodily needs, wants, desires, and impulses, particularly our sexual and aggressive drives. The id contains the psychic force that motivates the tendency to seek immediate gratification of any impulse. The id contains the libido, which is the primary source of instinctual force that is unresponsive to the demands of reality. The id acts solely according to the "pleasure principle."
Freud, himself, describes it thus: "It is the dark, inaccessible part of our personality,... we call it a chaos, a cauldron full of seething excitations.... It is filled with energy reaching it from the instincts, but it has no organization, produces no collective will, but only a striving to bring about the satisfaction of the instinctual needs subject to the observance of the pleasure principle."[xxiii]
Simply said, what Freud is referring to is what St. Paul called the "old man" or "old self," that the Christian must overcome: "...with regard to your former way of life, to put off the old man (self) which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires." Ephesians 4: 22
In contrast to the "id," Freud posited the "super ego" (das uber ich), to replace the Christian word "conscience" for religious and ethical formation, "The super-ego retains the character of the father, ...and the more rapidly it succumbed to repression (under the influence of [paternal] authority, religious teaching, schooling and reading), the stricter will be the domination of the super-ego over the "ego" (see below) later on—in the form of ... an unconscious sense of guilt."[xxiv]
For Freud the "Father figure" [God] must be destroyed to release the "id" from its bondage. To do this he invented a whole new myth, the "Oedipus Complex" to replace the fall recounted in Genesis.
According to Freud, in his seminal 1913 work Totem and Taboo, perhaps as far back as the Ice Age, the primal horde of humans turned on the dominant male who jealously guarded all females including mothers and sisters as his own exclusive sexual partners, thus depriving the other males fulfillment of their libidinous desire. This tyrannical father (Totem) was murdered and then eaten by the resentful young males, his sons, who then possessed all females, including mothers and sisters (Taboo).[xxv]
Having removed God from the equation, it is the task of psychoanalysis to allay the inherited feelings of guilt of modern human beings attached to this primal act which is reflected in jealousy of the father figure and desire for incestuous sexual relations. (Freud, himself was involved in an incestuous relationship with his sister in law, Minna Bernays.)
Freud in his overall theory, included, along with the id and the super ego, a third element called the ego (das ich) or rational principle, that keeps a balance between the forces of desire and repression in order to maintain civil society. As stated in one of his final works Civilization and its Discontents written in 1929, the need for societal repression of the pleasure principle, especially of sexual desire produces overwhelming discontent.[xxvi]
This sentiment was shared by his then colleague Carl Jung who had written to Freud in 1910 "...and must we not love evil if we are to break away from the obsession with virtue which makes us sick and forbids the joys of life."[xxvii] “ Jung went on later to state in his Zur Psychologie der Trinitatslehre,: "In our diagram, Christ and the devil appear as equal and opposite[xxviii]
While the other two major destructive forces of the modern era, Charles Darwin with his theory of mechanistic evolution, and Karl Marx with his theory of class struggle and socialist revolution, denied Original Sin, it was Freud who turned the doctrine on its head and unleashed the sexual revolution and moral decay that has overwhelmed Western Civilization today: premarital sex, rampant promiscuity, sodomy, pedophilia, pornography, contraception, abortion, sex trafficking, homosexual marriage - all promoted as a healthy liberation from patriarchal oppression i.e., God the Father, "...that Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its name," Ephesians 3:15).
This sense of patriarchal repression even wormed its
way into the bosom of
The sexual revolution is not just the triumph of the "id" or releasing of the libido, but is, in many cases, a return to the "sacred sex" of our pagan ancestors prior to the Gospel and Christ's propitiatory sacrifice on the cross.
Author Dan Brown in his 2003 mega best seller (over
80,000,000 copies sold) the Da Vinci
Code, tells us via his
protagonist, Robert Langdon: "The
ancients believed that the male was spiritually incomplete until he had carnal
knowledge of the sacred feminine. Physical union with the female remained the
sole means through which man could become spiritually complete and ultimately
achieve gnosis—knowledge of the divine. Since the days of
While many will dismiss Brown's book as simply a work of fiction, silly, non historical and irrelevant, the effects are demonstrable. For example, in two towns near this writer's former home in once Catholic Spain, the crucifixes in the in the public squares have been recently replaced with erotic monuments
"Los Enamorados" Antequera (Málaga) "Pareja" Coin (Málaga)
In fact, throughout once Catholic Europe, where once stood statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary, statues of the female pudenda proliferate.
"The Queen's vagina"
On October 12th, 1992, at the Metropolitan Opera House of New York, an opera, written by renowned composer Phillip Glass and directed by maestro James Levine, titled The Voyage, had its opening premier. Staged as a commemorative of the 500th anniversary of Columbus discovery of America, it was in fact, a blasphemous portrayal of a female extraterrestrial (goddess) illuminating primitive humans via a sexual ritual and later appearing to Columbus in the guise of Queen Isabella dressed as the Virgin Mary claiming to be divine while engaging in a simulated sexual act on stage. [xxxii]
"I take many forms
In 2011, To great critical acclaim, (New York Times, Washington Post, etc.) Sarah Small, presented a show, quasi opera, titled Tableau vivant in which she posed Christ like, including stigmata, surrounded by a virtual mob of naked men and women in various stages of sexual arousal..
Sarah Small, Tableau Vivant Performance, New York City 2011
In February of
2012, a "Punk Rock" group named Pussy
Riot dedicated to radical feminism and "gay rights" desecrated the
sacred space of the Russian Orthodox church of Christ the Savior in
Yet more disturbing , at this same Grammy awards ceremony of 2012, a third super star, Niki Minaj, after what can only be understood as a rock musical variation of a "Black Mass," presided over a final scene described in official press coverage as the destruction of the Catholic Church as black clad girls seduced altar boys and the stained glass and stone structures came tumbling down.
To celebrate the supposed demise of
the Catholic Church, in 2013, a topless
member of the radical feminist group
"Femen" leaped on the altar with the words "I am
God" painted on her naked torso during
the Christmas mass being celebrated at the Cologne Cathedral in
The "Serpent's promise" ostensibly fulfilled - "You shall be as gods." Below is card No. VI, "The Lovers" from the 1911 Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Although denied by occultists, the angel emerging from the sun is clearly Lucifer, the "Angel of Light" presenting the forbidden knowledge to our progenitors via the "Serpent" coiled about the tree.
Along with "Sacred sex", as Christianity wanes, the old "Luciferian" Sun worship returns. Below is a painting titled "danza al sol" (dance to the sun) by acclaimed (adored by her followers) Mexican artist Frieda Kahlo in the 1930s. Note that in the upper left corner that it is the horned black creature with enlarged sexual organ that leads the dance.
Sun worship, in fact, is a growing phenomenon as demonstrated in
the 2012 gathering at
And the "Horned God" is alive and well both among the neo-pagan Wiccans, and the Freemasons.
Wiccan Cernunnos by Ephy Drow Masonic Baphomet by Elephias Levi \ 33 ͦ
Icnographically, Cernunnos carries a single serpent in his left hand, while the Baphomet displays twin serpents entwined about his phallus.
The "Horned One" performs in the l
ritual the inaugural ceremony of he new
See more: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-36428799/
As we enter deeper and deeper into a post-Christian age, modern "iconography" becomes more and more indicative of our devolution into the diabolical religion of our ancestors. The image shown below by Dan Lomahaftewa titled Rainbow Myth was featured on the Spring 1998 cover of Teaching Tolerance, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center. This painting, is reminiscent of the ancient petroglyphs shown at the beginning of this essay. It portrays a classic pre Christian cosmos, between the celestial rainbow above and the infernal horned serpent below (emerging from the flames). Within this hermetically enclosed environment one sees a horned male and a feather decked female The male figure carries a shield with the male sun symbol and is flanked by spermatoid serpents. The female caries the feminine spiral involuted uterine symbol and is flanked by the same symbol. The allusion is to the all sacred generative principle of post lapasrian man cut off from his Creator and Heavenly Father. Between the two, above, is the sacred sun disk, and below are their offspring, a harmonious union of man and beast.
statue of Quetzalcoatl the feathered serpent god of the Aztecs was
placed in the main
Thus today the serpent of Genesis still raises its ugly head, however, the prophesy is clear. "...And I will establish a feud between you and the woman, between thy offspring and hers; she is to crush thy head, while thou doest lie in ambush at her heels. Genesis 3: 7
Our Lady of
(Coatlaxopeuh "Quatlasupe" in the Aztec Nahuatl language meaning "she who crushes the serpent")
Pray the Rosary
Offer acts of reparation
Assist worthily at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Please see following article: http://www.agdei.com/Massinart.html
[i] Blaise Pascal, Pensées, Section VII, Morality and Doctrine, 1660
[ii] [ii]"[Mythopoetic] accounts are products of the imagination,
but they are not mere fantasy. It is essential that true myth be distinguished
from legend, saga, fable and fairy tale. All these may retain elements of the
myth. ...True myth presents its images and its imaginary actors, not with the
playfulness of fantasy, but with compelling authority. It represents the
authority of a 'Thou'. ... It is nothing less than a carefully chosen cloak for
abstract thought." H. & H.A.
Frankfort] Before Philosophy (
[ It should be remembered that in the ancient world prior to the 6th century BC Milesian philosophers , Thales, Anaximander, & Anaximenes, virtually all truth was conveyed in this manner - via imagery.]
[iii] The Hebrew language has three words for the human soul: Nefesh, Ru'ha, and Neshamah. All three coincide with the words for breath. Hierarchically, Nefesh corresponds to the vital principal animating all life forms, Ruah corresponds to the rational principle which is only found in humans and the Neshamah or "higher soul" which is immortal and a participation in the divine life. - see: Dan Cohn-Sherbok The Blackwell Dictionary of Judaica, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992) pp. 394, 516. see also: Grershom Scholem, Kabbalah (New York: Dorset Press, 1987) p. 155
Thorkild Jacobson, Before Philosophy (
[v] Sheila Coulson, Appolon, http://www.apollon.uio.no/english/articles/2006/python-english.html
* ( all dating of prehistoric images used in text is based on standard radioactive carbon tests)
Also of interest: In the No. 2 - 2003 issue of 30 Days magazine there is an article by Italian theologian, Massimo Borghesi, on the "Cult of the Serpent."
Serpent, the tempter, appears in the guise of the liberator, the one who raises
man beyond good and evil, beyond the God of old, foe of freedom. The last two
hundred years have rediscovered the ‘the liberator principle of the world
[affirmed] by the Ophite sect’, a principle foreshadowed in the notions of Shabbatai
Zevi with his Messiah consigned to the ‘serpents’"… "Hegel,
with his dialectic of the negative, was to give rich theoretical guise to this
idea. Man must sin, must come out of natural innocence to Become God. He must
realize the promise of the serpent: must know like God, good and evil. This
knowledge ‘is the origin of sickness, but also the fountainhead of health, it
is the poisoned chalice from which man drinks death and putrefaction, and at
the same time the wellspring of reconciliation, since to posit oneself as
wicked is in itself the overcoming of evil’." …[Jakob] Bőhme,
according to Hegel, ‘struggled to understand in God and from God the negative,
evil, the Devil ‘. God is the unity of contraries, of anger and love, of evil
and good, of the Devil and his contrary, the Son. On this view Christ and Satan
become in some way brothers, sons of the one Father, parts of him, moments in
his polar nature." … This is an idea set down by Carl Gustav Jung
in his esoteric Septem Sermones ad Mortuos written in 1916, circulated
as a monograph among his friends and never published. The text, which borrows
conceptually from the Gnostic Basilides, affirms the ‘pleroma’ nature of
God, composed from pairs of opposites of which, God and devil are the prime
manifestations." … "Everywhere at work – Romano Gurdini wrote in 1964
– there is the fundamental Gnostic idea that contraries are polarities: Goethe,
Gide, and C.G. Jung, Th [omas].
[vii] June Singer, Ph.D, ANDROGENY Toward a New Theory of Sexuality (New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1997) pp. 181 - 184
[viii] The original Greek refers to a" jar" (pithos) rather than box (pyxis) introduced by Erasmus in his 1520 Latin translation. - Dora & Erwin Panofsky. Pandora's Box (New York: Harper & Row, The Bollingen Library, 1965) p.18
[ix] ibid. Panofsky, p. 4
[xi] Richard Litimore (Translator) Hesiod (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1984) pp. 132 - 135
[xiii] Peter Tompkins, The Magic of the Obelisks ( New York: Harper & Row, 1981) p. 446
[xiv] C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. (New York: Vintage Books, 1963) pp. 12,13
[xv] Sacred sex is, even today, an integral part of diabolical cults. Abbé Boullan, a defrocked Catholic priest, wrote “Since the Fall from grace resulted from an illicit act of love, the Redemption of Humanity can only be achieved through acts of love accomplished in a religious manner”. It was believed that “guilty love must be combated through pure love, through a sexual approach, but in a heavenly manner, to the spirits in order to raise onself: this is the union of wisdom”. or, “The created principle is [yod] the divine phallus; and the created principle is the formal [cteïs] female organ. The insertion of the vertical phallus into the horizontal cteïs forms the cross of the Gnostics, or the philosophical cross of the Freemasons.” – Élephias Levy, Dogma et Rituelle de la haute magie. (Paris: Chacon Frères, 1930), pp. 123-24.
[xvi] ὅτι πάντες οἱ θεοὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν δαιμόνια, or in St. Jerome's Latin translation thereof: Quoniam omnes dii gentium dæmonia The Septuagint Greek text was used by the Evangelists, St. Paul and the Church Fathers as well as St. Thomas. See also: (Lev.17:5-7; Dt.32:12-18; 2Chron.11:13-16; Ps.106:34-38; 1Cor.10:18-22).
[xvii] "The Pictorial History of England During the Reign of George the Third:1792-1802," volumeIII, by George Lillie Craik, Charles MacFarlane.
[xx] John Chodes, Mutiny in Paradise - in Chronicles; A magazine of American Culture, Rockford Institute, Feb. 1983
Chodes points out, quoting from the diaries of the mutineers as well as from the contemporary French
explorer Bouganville, life for the natives of
[xxi] R.M. Bizanz, German Romanticism and Philip Otto Runge (Dekalb: Northern Illinois Univ. Press, 1970) pp.48-51
[xxii] Kant, Die Religion innerhalb der grenzen, 1,3: "Der Mensch ist von Natur böse." (Akademie-Augsburg VII), 37
[xxiii] Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (Penguin Freud Library 2) p. 105-6
[xxv] Freud, Totem and Taboo, 1913 pp. 141 - 143
[xxvi] Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1969)
[xxvii] C.G. Jung Letters, Ed. Gerhard Adler & Aniel Jaffé (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973) p.17
[xxviii] Carl Gustav Jung Zur Psychologie der Trinitatslehre, “translated in Vol. 11, 2nd ed. Of his Complete Works (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969). p. 174
[xxx] Dan Brown, The Da
Vinci Code (
* Biblical quotes are generally from the Ronald Knox translations of the Old and New Testaments
Although this episode is recorded in the Pentateuch, normative Judaism rejects the theology of original sin and the intervention of Satan, however, "...maintains that humans are not born in a state of sinfulness, but that each person is motivated by innate evil and good inclinations." i While denying an original "fall from grace" requiring a redemptive act on the part of God, Judaism acknowledges human sinfulness and the need for acts of human reparation, as via mitzvoth, good deeds, the holocausts listed in Leviticus or the yearly loosing of the "Scapegoat" into the desert to carry off he sins of the community.
In Cabalistic thought, an ever increasing phenomenon, both within and out side Judaism, the polarization of good and evil in man and the cosmos will eventually be resolved via tikkun olam, the reestablishment of the balance of good and evil in the upper and lower worlds, and unity of the divine and human wills. ii Cabalists believe in a personification of evil named Samael who will, however, via various transmigrations be mingled once again into the divine source from which he proceeded. iii
For Christians, with faith based on the Old and New Testaments, it appears that the reality of Original sin and redemption are core beliefs : "It was through one man that guilt came into the world; and since death came owing to guilt, death was handed on to all mankind by one man ... If this one man's fault brought death on a whole multitude, all the more lavish was God's grace, shewn to a whole multitude, that free gift he made us in grace brought by one man, Jesus Christ" Romans 5:12,15
Differing Christian denominations, however, have varying views on the nature of the Biblical narrative, original sin itself and its effects. ― Martin Luther in his Commentary on Romans sets forth the general Protestant point of view: "But what, then, is original sin? According to the Apostle it is not only the lack of a good quality in the will, nor merely the loss of man’s righteousness and ability. It is rather the loss of all his powers of body and soul, of his whole outward and inward perfections. In addition to this, it is his inclination to all that is evil, his aversion against that which is good, his antipathy against light and wisdom, his love for error and darkness." iv Calvin went a step further by saying that after the Fall, man was left in a state of "total depravity." According to Luther and those who followed him, postlapsarian man was incapable of good works even with God's aid (Grace), but that Faith alone was necessary for Salvation. “Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly.” v Thus, "Faith alone is necessary for salvation" is the bedrock belief of most all protestant denominations.
For the Eastern Orthodox Churches, as explained by Fr. Alexander Shmemann, "... 'original' sin is not primarily that man has 'disobeyed' God; the sin is that he ceased to be hungry for Him and for Him alone, ceased to see his whole life depending on the whole world as a sacrament of communion with God. The sin was not that man neglected his religious duties. The sin was that he thought of God in terms of religion, i.e. opposing Him to life. The only real fall of man is his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world". vi For Eastern Orthodoxy, participation in the Eucharistic liturgy, more than the re-creation of the redeeming sacrifice of Christ, is a foretaste and participation the heavenly banquet.
For Roman Catholics, the defining statement on the nature and effects of original sin was promulgated by the Council of Trent in 1546 during the fifth session, and is printed below as an appendix in its entirety. *
This view is still the normative doctrine for all faithful Catholics. The current edition of the Universal Catechism of the Catholic Church in reaffirmation has this to say:
414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.
415 "Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him" (GS 13 § 1).
416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.
419 "We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, ( see:Appendix II) that original sin is transmitted with human nature, "by propagation, not by imitation" and that it is. . . 'proper to each'" (Paul VI, CPG § 16).
420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Rom 5:20).
i Dan Cohn-Sherbok The Blackwell Dictionary of Judaica, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1992) p. 409
ii Grershom Scholem, Kabbalah (New York: Dorset Press, 1987) p. 154
iii ibid. p. 128
iv Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, (Grand Rapids, MI: 1976)
v Letter From Luther to Melanchthon Letter no. 99, 1 August 1521, From the Wartburg (Segment) Translated by Erika Bullmann Flores from: _Dr. Martin Luther's Saemmtliche Schriften_ Dr, Johannes Georg Walch, Ed. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, N.D.), Vol. 15,cols. 2585-2590.
vi Fr. Alexander Schmemann For the Life of the World, (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 1973) p.18
* Biblical quotes are generally from the Ronald Knox translatios of the Old and New Testaments
The Council of
The Fifth Session
The canons and decrees of the sacred
and oecumenical Council of Trent,
Trans. J. Waterworth (London: Dolman, 1848), 21-29.
Hanover Historical Texts Project
Scanned by Hanover College students in 1995.
The page numbers of Waterworth's translation appear in brackets.
Celebrated on the seventeenth day of the month of June, in the year MDXLVI.
DECREE CONCERNING ORIGINAL SIN
That our Catholic faith, without which it is impossible to please God, may, errors being purged away, continue in its own perfect and spotless integrity, and that the Christian people may not be carried about with every wind of doctrine; whereas that old serpent, the perpetual enemy of mankind, amongst the very many evils with which the Church of God is in these our times troubled, has also stirred up not only new, but even old, dissensions touching original sin, and the remedy thereof; the sacred and holy, ecumenical and general Synod of Trent,--lawfully assembled in the Holy Ghost, the three same legates of the Apostolic See presiding therein,--wishing now to come to the reclaiming of the erring, and the confirming of the wavering,--following the testimonies of the sacred [Page 22] Scriptures, of the holy Fathers, of the most approved councils, and the judgment and consent of the Church itself, ordains, confesses, and declares these things touching the said original sin:
1. If any one does not confess that the first man, Adam, when he had transgressed the commandment of God in Paradise, immediately lost the holiness and justice wherein he had been constituted; and that he incurred, through the offence of that prevarication, the wrath and indignation of God, and consequently death, with which God had previously threatened him, and, together with death, captivity under his power who thenceforth had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil, and that the entire Adam, through that offence of prevarication, was changed, in body and soul, for the worse; let him be anathema.
2. If any one asserts, that the prevarication of Adam injured himself alone, and not his posterity; and that the holiness and justice, received of God, which he lost, he lost for himself alone, and not for us also; or that he, being defiled by the sin of disobedience, has only transfused death, and pains of the body, into the whole human race, but not sin also, which is the death of the soul; let him be anathema:--whereas he contradicts the apostle who says; By one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned.
3. If any one asserts, that this sin of Adam,--which in its origin is one, and being transfused into all by propogation, not by imitation, is in each one as his own, --is taken away either by the powers of human nature, or by any other remedy than the merit of the one mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath reconciled us to God in his own blood, made unto us justice, santification, and redemption; or if he denies that the said merit of Jesus Christ is applied, both to adults and to infants, by the sacrament of baptism rightly administered in the form of the church; let him be anathema: For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be [Page 23] saved. Whence that voice; Behold the lamb of God behold him who taketh away the sins of the world; and that other; As many as have been baptized, have put on Christ.
4. If any one denies, that infants, newly born from their mothers'
wombs, even though they be sprung from baptized parents, are to be baptized; or
says that they are baptized indeed for the remission of sins, but that they
derive nothing of original sin from Adam, which has need of being expiated by
the laver of regeneration for the obtaining life everlasting,--whence it
follows as a consequence, that in them the form of baptism, for the remission
of sins, is understood to be not true, but false, --let him be anathema. For
that which the apostle has said, By one man sin entered into the world, and by
sin death, and so death passed upon all men in whom all have sinned, is not to
be understood otherwise than as the Catholic Church spread everywhere hath
always understood it. For, by reason of this rule of faith, from a tradition of
the apostles, even infants, who could not as yet commit any sin of themselves,
are for this cause truly baptized for the remission of sins, that in them that
may be cleansed away by regeneration, which they have contracted by generation.
For, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter
5. If any one denies, that, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is conferred in baptism, the guilt of original sin is remitted; or even asserts that the whole of that which has the true and proper nature of sin is not taken away; but says that it is only rased, or not imputed; let him be anathema. For, in those who are born again, there is nothing that God hates; because, There is no condemnation to those who are truly buried together with Christ by baptism into death; who walk not according to the flesh, but, putting off the old man, and putting on the new who is created according to God, are made inno-[Page 24]cent, immaculate, pure, harmless, and beloved of God, heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ; so that there is nothing whatever to retard their entrance into heaven. But this holy synod confesses and is sensible, that in the baptized there remains concupiscence, or an incentive (to sin); which, whereas it is left for our exercise, cannot injure those who consent not, but resist manfully by the grace of Jesus Christ; yea, he who shall have striven lawfully shall be crowned. This concupiscence, which the apostle sometimes calls sin, the holy Synod declares that the Catholic Church has never understood it to be called sin, as being truly and properly sin in those born again, but because it is of sin, and inclines to sin.