Sons of God and Virgin Births
By Sally Mallam
Many of the still-accepted tenants of Christianity have roots in beliefs and traditions found in many cultures and traditions of the ancient world.
The ancient Babylonians believed that their kings were gods upon earth
A passage from an inscription reads: “I am Nabu-kuder-usur …. the first-born son of Nebu-pal-sur, King of Babylon. The god Bel himself created me, the god Marduk engendered me, and deposited himself the germ of my life in the womb of my mother.” Spencer’s Principles of Sociology, vol.i p 421.
The Babylonian god Tammuz was hailed as the only begotten son of the god Ea. His mother was a virgin, by the name of Ishtar.
Even during their lifetimes Ancient Egyptian kings were believed to be “Beneficent Gods”
Horus of Ancient Egyptian belief had the epithet of “Savior” and was born of the virgin Isis. Ancient Egyptians paraded a manger and child representing Horus through the streets at the time of the winter solstice around December 21st or so.
A depiction on the wall of a Theban temple represents the god Thoth – the messenger of God – telling the maiden, Queen Mautmes, that she is to give birth to a divine son, who is to be King Amunothph III.
Characters in classic Greco-Roman mythology were often Sons of God
Hercules, the son of Jupiter by a mortal mother Alcmene, Queen of Thebes.
Bacchus, the son of the god Jupiter and a mortal mother, Semele, daughter of Kadmus, King of Thebes.
Perseus, son of the god Zeus by the virgin Danae, daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos.
Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were born of a Vestal Virgin whose father was Mars the God of War.
As were Greek and Roman historical figures
Plato – said to be born of the union of a virgin and the god Apollo.
Alexander the Great – said to be the son of his mother Olympias and Apollo. Romans initially rejected the idea that a human ruler should be worshiped as a god. In 44 BCE, Julius Caesar permitted a statue of himself with the inscription, “The unvanquished god,” and declared himself dictator for life. This resulted in his death. But from the time of Augustus people in much of the Roman Empire worshipped their Emperors as gods, right up to the time of Constantine’s conversion and beyond. According to some sources Emperor Worship continued on in the 400’s CE.
Zoroaster was born of an immaculate conception, of a ray of the Divine Reason. As soon as he was born the glory from his body enlightened the whole room. Plato informs us that Zoroaster was said to be “the son of Oromasdes, which was the name the Persians gave to the Supreme God.” Zoroastrian priests are called Magi.
The Persian god Mithra, originally the proto-Indo-Iranian god Mitra, is thought to have travelled with Roman soldiers to become established in the Roman Empire in the 1st century, until Mithraism’s rapid decline in the early 4th century after the acceptance of Christianity by the emperor Constantine. Mithra was born on December 25th ; the same day as the Roman festival of the Sun, Natalis Invicti. His birth was witnessed by Shepherds that brought gifts to honor him.
On the Indian Continent
Krishna is the god Vishnu in human form; he was born of a virgin named Devaki who because of her purity, was chosen to be the mother of God: “I (the Supreme One said), I am made evident by my own power, and as often as there is a decline of virtue, and an insurrection of vice and injustice in the world, I make myself evident, and thus I appear from age to age, for the preservation of the just, the destruction of the wicked, and the establishment of virtue.” (ch.iv) The Bhagavad Gita.
One legend has it that Gautama Buddha left Paradise and came to earth thanks also to a virgin whose name was Maya or Mary. In a manner similar to the Christian Christ, the Buddha sought to lead men to better paths; he took their sufferings upon himself, that he might expiate the crimes, and mitigate the punishment they must otherwise inevitably undergo.
The Chinese also had their god-begotten and virgin-born men called Tien-tse or “Sons of Heaven.” Among them was Lao-tzu who was worshipped as a god and was also, like the Buddha, born under a tree and out of the side of his virgin mother.
Yu was another virgin-born Chinese sage said to have lived many ages ago.
Even Confucius was said to be of supernatural origin. His disciples were 72 in number but, like Jesus, only 12 were his companions to whom he explained his doctrines and charged them to continue to teach after his death.