Today, when we think of “The Holy Trinity,” we instantly think of “The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit” as found in Catholicism. Yet it is possible that this trinity influenced by another that came a thousand years before. We’re talking about the Egyptian trinity of The Father Osiris, The Mother Isis and The Son Horus. In this blog, I will not say that the Osiris/Isis cult is the same thing as Christianity, but it is very probable that a lot of the ideas from this early trinity later had an influence on the development of Christian ideas.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE OSIRIS/ISIS/HORUS MYTH
I will give you a very brief summary of the Osiris/Isis/Horus myth so that you will understand what is going on in the rest of this article. Osiris was the first son of the Gods. He married his sister Isis and the two became queen and king over Egypt. This was at a time when mankind was corrupt and was in need of justice. It is said that men even practiced cannibalism and human sacrifice before the advent of Osiris and Isis. Perhaps this is an Egyptian metaphor for the depraved state of mankind before civilization.
Osiris’s brother Set was jealous of his power. As a result, he had Osiris chopped up into several pieces and had these pieces of his body scattered throughout the land. Osiris’s wife Isis went on a quest to find the lost pieces of her husband, used her magic to put him back together and then Osiris got his revenge on Set. In later versions of the story, it was their son Horus who avenged his father by killing Set.
A MERCIFUL GOD OF REPENTANCE AND ETERNAL LIFE
I’m going to tell you about a God who was referred to as the “king of kings” and the “Lord of Lords.” He died, but then was resurrected from the dead. With his resurrection he brought humanity the promise of eternal life. This God was referred to as a “Merciful Judge of the Dead.” Am I talking about Jesus? No, I’m talking about a Deity much older, I’m talking about Osiris.
Here are some quotes about Osiris.
Osiris as Lord of Eternity
Hail to thee, Osiris, lord of eternity, king of the gods (Hymn to Osiris)
Lord of Heaven and Earth
O thou lord to whom commemorations are made, both in heaven and in earth. (Hymn to Osiris)
Similarities Between The Pyramid Text and The New Testament: (The birth of Osiris and Jesus)
PT — This is my son, . . . my beloved, . . . with whom I am pleased.
NT — This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.
Osiris takes on a human form.
Here we see that the condition of Osiris has changed; he has taken on the clothes of human form. His spirit was among the gods, but now it has changed to earth. He is exhorted to be careful in his earthly habiliments, that he not exceed the boundary of the earthly form. He could, as God, exceed the limits of the human form he took on voluntarily. Hymn 224:
More on the Merciful Judge of The Dead
Osiris was the God of the Afterlife who humans would confess their sins to in death. When a human died, they would come to the hall of Ma’at (justice) and make the 42 negative confessions, a list of things that they did not do in their mortal life. If the human lived a pure life, they would get to reside in heaven for eternity, and if not, they were eaten by Ammit, a gruesome part lion, part crocodile, part hippo creature. Some legends even say that Ammit would cast the heads of sinners into a Lake of Fire.
Did Egypt Influence Christian Ideas About Heaven and Hell?
If you read The Old Testament, you will find that there is very little mention of Heaven, Hell or The Afterlife. This is a concept that is more elaborated upon in The New Testament. The Christian Lake of Eternal fire certainly relates a lot to the Egyptian Lake of Fire. Heaven, as an eternal paradise for those who are pure of heart is also very similar in both ideologies.
Osiris was referred to as “Chrestos”
Among the days of the early Christian fathers, Jesus was referred to as Jesus the Chrēst. This is an epithet that closely resembles “Chrēstos,” which was also applied to Osiris. It often meant “anointed” or “good.” This was a term that was applied to several deities in Ancient Times.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JESUS AND HORUS?
Egyptian myths changed over time, as any myth would over more than a thousand years. Over time, Horus, the son of Osiris, took on many of the characteristics of his father. Where Osiris was originally the one who defeated the evil Set and restored balance to Egypt, Horus eventually took over this role. Horus is the falcon headed son of Osiris and Isis. He was a God of The Sky, Warfare and Hunting.
There have been attempts to say that Jesus was a direct rip off of Horus. However, it has been later found that many of these claims are exaggerated.
Horus was not the result of a virgin birth, he was not crucified and he did not have 12 disciples. However, one thing to note is that depictions of Isis suckling her son Horus were very popular in Rome at the time that Christianity first came about.
A MURAL IN THE ROMAN ERA OF ISIS AND HORUS
THE “REGINA CAELI LAETARE”
This was the early Roman “Madonna” with her son so to speak.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE CULT OF ISIS AND EARLY CHRISTIANITY?
Isis was originally worshiped in Egypt as Queen alongside her brother Osiris. Her name literally means “Throne.” She was the mother of magic, life giver and the one who used her magic to bring Osiris back from the dead. In other words, she was a Goddess of Resurrection. Through the process of Hellenization her worship eventually spread to the Greco-Roman world where her Cult became tremendously popular, especially among women and members of the lower class. The other appeal of the Isis Cult is that it was a universal religion, meaning anyone could join regardless of class or gender.
The Roman emperors were originally afraid of this “Eastern Cult.” Augustus called it “pornographic” and tried to stop it. This is probably because of his antagonistic relations with Antony in Egypt at the time. However, the later emperor Caligula embraced the religion. Temples to Isis were permitted and Isiac festivals became a part of the public and civil calendar.
The Cult of Isis satisfied many concepts that were missing in the Greek and Roman religion. It brought ideas of freeing oneself from moral pollution, reconciliation, equality of the sexes and equality among the rich and poor.
When Christianity later came to the Roman World, it had a similar appeal among women and members of the lower classes. Many of the statues to The Mother Mary were even built upon places where statues to Isis once were. However, in this new Christian Cult, the role of The Goddess was diminished. In the Roman Cult of Isis, The Goddess was arguably the most powerful member of The Trio, since she is the one who had the power of resurrection. Yet as the Romans constructed their official version of Christianity, they replaced The Cult of Isis with Patriarchal ideas that were more fitting to the Roman Public.
Some say that The Cult of Isis was destroyed by the arrival of Christianity, others say that it was absorbed by the new Religion. However, it can’t be denied that The Cult of Isis was an incredibly popular religion in Rome at the time that Christianity arrived. There is no doubt that Christianity wasn’t at least influenced by this very popular Egyptian Cult.