Construction of Monotheistic Belief

In assessing the background giving rise to one-god-only faith systems it is necessary to consider the Yahweh culture in the small settlement of Jerusalem circa the eighth century BCE. Whereas all Pagan cultures affirmed that all things were made manifest out of a single Source, the gods that they recognized were but personifications of various creative energies which they could observe in the panorama of life around them. Thus the ocean, for example, could be addressed as a god, for its might and power was received and reflected from the Source and therefore it could more directly transmit personal appeals through its interaction with the Source. Any energy-as-matter phenomenon was also theorized to hold this capability, which accounted for a pantheon of gods endowed with various degrees of power. The Pagan’s closeness with nature and the observable universe provided a sense of intimacy with the creative power which is lacking in monotheism.

In the timeframe of the struggling Yahweh cult in the hill country of Canaan, the small region which became Judah was being encroached by powerful forces (Assyria). The wily priests of Yahweh in the little village of Jerusalem had long yearned for broader control over regional happenings, and what they contrived was a psychological management system by which the people could be manipulated by claiming that the ultimate creative power could be approached directly through a system which the priests alone could provide. If the priests could convince the people that the priests possessed a system of exclusive access to the Creative Source, the people would stand defiant against any threatening forces of man.

As noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data (pages 108-110): Jerusalem burst forth in sudden expansion c. 720-717 BCE. The little kingdom of Israel to the north had fallen to the Assyrians two years earlier (722 BCE), and the Assyrian provinces and Assyrian vassals surrounded Judah. Under the steady influx of refugees the village of Jerusalem (the so-called city of David) that had covered no more than ten to twelve acres rapidly mushroomed out of its narrow ridge-site to engulf the entire western hill, growing to one hundred and fifty acres of closely packed residences, workshops, businesses and public buildings.

Jerusalem was not yet regarded as a “holy city”–except perhaps by the priests of Yahweh. There was, in fact, a widespread diversity of worship practiced throughout Judah, and there was a widespread mixing of other gods with that of YHWH inside the Jerusalem Temple complex itself. Archaeology has proven that the claimed golden age of tribal and Davidic fidelity to Yahweh was not a historic reality. Cults of various gods and goddesses were prevalent throughout Judah, with “high places” (referring to hilltops, roofs, etc.) being the popular sites for acts of devotion, which included burning of incense to the sun, moon and the planets (especially to Venus, “Queen of Heaven,” Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:15-25). Furthermore, inscriptions from one archaeological site (Kuntillete Ajrud) in northern Sinai indicate that the goddess Asherah was regarded as the consort of YHWH. The priests in Jerusalem, of course, regarded this as blasphemy.

Despite the biblical accounts (written by priests in Jerusalem), Israel and Judah had never been equally powerful sister kingdoms: the implied early united monarchy claimed as being comparable with Israel was nothing more than priestly falsification. As the kingdom of Israel had battled with Assyria, the priests in Jerusalem were well aware that priests in the northern kingdom had composed a “holy” account of beginnings, and so the Yahweh priests busied themselves in writing a similar account which, of course, featured the Creator as Yahweh. The perspective of the two accounts were quite similar, and as Judah rose in power after the fall of Israel and the temple in Jerusalem became the focus of religious attention, the influx of refugees from the north brought a need to blend the two versions of Creation into one text. The result was somewhat uneven. Thus chapter one and chapter two of Genesis as we now receive it seem to present somewhat different versions in the Creation sequence and in the presentation of Adam and Eve. This is marked enough that biblical scholars speak of the version written by priests in Judah as “J”, which called their god Yahweh: the version incorporated from Israel sources is known as “E”, whose authors referred to the Creator as Elohim.

In the “J” version the priest-authors seemed to be uncertain over whether or not Yahweh was the sole Creator of heaven and earth and man. Vacillating between the “J” and “E” accounts of Creation, the “J” version’s singular God thus suddenly and unexpectedly says,”Let us” create man in our image” (Genesis 1:26). In the second chapter, however, it is declared that God (again singular) carefully formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life… (Genesis 2:7). This cunning verse about man being fashioned from dust effectively blocked any idea that man might share some divine attributes of the Creator as Pagan versions seemed always to accept. This “dust” assertion intentionally invalidated all earlier Pagan versions of Creation which routinely presented primal energy conditions (presented as the Almighty) as essentially active within any and all defined matter forms.

The priest-authors of the “J” version of Creation then purposely sought to bind Creation activity into ordinary time and in this manner fashioned a pseudo-“history” of their “chosen” status. The priests of Yahweh thus brought God (personification of the almighty Creative Principle) down to Earth. In this dimension of energy-as-matter, the Creator-God then allegedly interacted directly with man and participated with his “chosen people’s” national events instead of presiding over universal management from within sacred time–i.e. the pre-creation conditions. For this reason the progression of life development as narrated in Genesis speeds along rapidly until Genesis 12 where Abram is introduced and from whom the “history” of Israel allegedly descended. When the archetype of life form, which is referred to as Abram, takes up mortal life (rather than remaining an energy-archetype), God renamed him Abraham and allegedly told him that he had a special destiny and his descendants would one day possess the land of Canaan. Monotheism, which the Yahweh priests thus introduced, and the alleged promotion of Abraham’s descendants into some “special destiny”, would expand to become permanently etched upon western man’s conscience and set the stage for constant religious conflicts over which one of today’s three interrelated faith systems supposedly holds God’s especial favor.

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