Scarcely less prevalent than sex worship was the worship of the sun. While
sex worship was confined chiefly to the generation of human life, sun
worship comprehended the generation of all life. The sun was recognized as
the generative power of the universe. He overshadows the receptive earth
from whom all life is born. I quote from M. Soury: "Amid all these forces,
the mightiest is, without contradiction, the sun, the fire of heaven, father
of earthly fire, unique and supreme cause of motion and life on our planet.
There is no need or reason to understand that the very life, and as it were
the blood of our celestial father flows in the veins of the Earth, our
mother. In the time of love, when the luminous heaven embraces her, from her
fertilized womb springs forth a world. It is she who quivers on the plains
where the soft moist air waves gently on the grasses; it is she who climbs
in the bush, who soars in the oak, who fills the solitude with the joyous
twitter of birds beneath the cloudlet, or from the leaf-lined nests; it is
she who in seas and in running waters, or mountains and in woods, couples
the gorgeous male with the ardent female, throbs in every bosom, loves in
every life. But all this terrestrial life, all this warmth and all this
light are but effluents from the sun." (Religion of Israel, pp. 3,
Prof. Tyndall says: "We are no longer in a poetical but in a
purely mechanical sense, the children of the sun." "The sun," said Napoleon
Bonaparte, "gives all things life and fertility. It is the true God of the
John Newton, M.R.C.S., of England, says: "The glorious sun, that 'god of
this world' the source of life and light to our earth, was early adored, and
an effigy thereof used as a symbol. Mankind watched with rapture its rays
gain strength daily in the Spring until the golden, glories of Midsummer had
arrived, when the earth was bathed during the longest days in his beams,
which ripened the fruits that his returning course had started into life.
When the sun once more began its course downwards to the winter solstice,
his votaries sorrowed, for he seemed to sicken and grow paler at the advent
of December, when his rays scarcely reached the earth, and all nature,
benumbed and cold, sunk into a death-like sleep. Hence feasts and fasts were
instituted to mark the commencement of the various phases of the solar year,
which have continued from the earliest known period, under various names, to
our own times" (The Assyrian Grove).
The most prominent deities in the pantheons of the gods were solar deities.
Among these were Osiris, Vishnu, Mithra, Apollo, Hercules, Adonis, Bacchus,
and Baal. In the worship of some of these gods sex and solar worship were
The early Israelites were mostly sun worshipers. And even in later times,
the sun god, Baal. divided with Jehovah the worship of the Jews. Saul,
Jonathan, and David named their children in honor of this god. "Saul begat
Jonathan,...and Esh-baal. And the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal" (1 Chron.
viii, 33, 34). David named his last son, save one, Beeliada, "Baal Knows" (1
Chron. xiv, 7). Solomon's worship included not merely the worship of
Jehovah, but that of Baal and other gods. His temple was filled with Pagan
ornaments and emblems pertaining to solar worship. Regarding this the Rev.
Dr. Oort of Holland says: "Solomon's temple had much in common with heathen
edifices, and slight modifications might have made it a suitable temple for
Baal. This need not surprise us, for the ancient religion of the Israelitish
tribes was itself a form of Nature-worship just as much as the religions of
the Canaanites, Phoenicians, Philistines, and other surrounding peoples
were. Most of the Israelites certainly saw no harm in these ornaments, since
they were not aware of any very great difference between the character of
Yahweh [Jehovah] and that of Baal, Astarte, or Moloch" (Bible for
Learners, Vol. II, p. 88). Long after the time of Solomon the horses and
chariots of the Sun were kept in the temple (2 Kings xxiii, 11). Many of the
stories concerning Moses, Joshua, Jonah, and other Bible characters are
solar myths. Samson was a sun god. Dr. Oort says: "Sun-worship was by no
means unknown to the Israelites.... The myths that were circulated among
these people show that they were zealous worshipers of the sun. These myths
are still preserved, but, as in all other cases, they are so much altered as
to be hardly recognizable. The writer who has preserved them for us lived at
a time when the worship of the sun had long ago died out. He transforms the
sun god into an Israelite hero [Samson]" (ibid., I, p. 414). St. Augustine
believed that Samson and the sun god Hercules were one.
Charles Francois Dupuis, in his Origin of Worship, one of the most
elaborate and remarkable works on mythology ever penned, shows that nearly
all the religions of the world, including Christianity, were derived largely
from solar worship. All the solar deities, he says, have a common history.
This history, summarized, is substantially as follows: "The god is born
about December 25th, without sexual intercourse, for the sun, entering the
winter solstice, emerges in the sign of Virgo, the heavenly Virgin. His
mother remains ever-virgin, since the rays of the sun, passing through the
zodiacal sign, leave it intact. His infancy is begirt with dangers, because
the new-born Sun is feeble in the midst of the winter's fogs and mists,
which threaten to devour him; his life is one of toil and peril, culminating
at the spring equinox in a final struggle with the powers of darkness. At
that period the day and night are equal, and both fight for the mastery.
Though the night veil the urn and he seems dead; though he has descended out
of sight, below the earth, yet he rises again triumphant, and he rises in
the sign of the Lamb, and is thus the Lamb of God, carrying away the
darkness and death of the winter months. Henceforth he triumphs, growing
ever stronger and more brilliant. He ascends into the zenith, and there he
glows, on the right hand of God, himself God, the very substance of the
Father, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
upholding all things by his lifegiving power."
Dr G. W. Brown, author of Researches in Oriental History, says:
"Strange as it may seem whilst Mithras and Osiris, Monysos and Bacchus,
Apollo and Serapis, with many others [including Christ] in name, all
masculine sun gods, and all interblended, a knowledge of one is generally a
knowledge of the whole, wherever located or worshiped."
If Christ was not originally a solar god he wears today the livery of one.
His mother, the Virgin, was the mother of the solar gods; his birthday,
Christmas, is the birthday of all the gods of the sun; his Twelve Apostles
correspond to the twelve signs of the Zodiac; according to the Gospels, at
his crucifixion the sun was eclipsed, he expired toward sunset, and rose
again with the sun; the day appointed for his worship, the Lord's day, is
the dies solis, Sunday, of the sun worshipers; while the principal feasts
observed in memory of him were once observed in honor of their goals. "Every
detail of the Sun myth," says the noted astronomer, Richard A. Proctor, "is
worked into the record of the Galilean teacher."
The cross we have seen was a symbol of Phallic worship. The cross, and
especially the crucifix, was also an emblem of solar worship. It was caned
or painted on, or within, a circle representing the horizon, the head and
feet and the outstretched arms of the sacrificial offering or crucified
Redeemer pointing toward the four quarters of the horizon. The Lord's
Supper, observed in memory of Christ, was observed in memory of Mithra,
Bacchus, and other solar gods. The nimbus, or aureola, surrounding the head
of Jesus in his portraits represents the rays of the sun. It was thus that
the ancient adorers of the sun adorned the effigies of their god. There
still exists a pillar erected by the sun worshipers of Carthage. On this
pillar is caned the sun god, Baal, with a nimbus encircling his head.
The Christian doctrine of the resurrection had its origin in sun worship. As
the sun, the Father, rose from the dead, so it was believed that his earthly
children would also rise from the dead. "The daily disappearance and the
subsequent rise of the sun," says Newton, "appeared to many of the ancients
as a true resurrection; thus, while the east came to be regarded as the
source of light and warmth, happiness and glory, the west was associated
with darkness and chill, decay and death. This led to the custom of burying
the dead so as to face the east when they rose again, and of building
temples and shrines with an opening toward the east. To effect this,
Vitruvius, two thousand years ago, gave precise rules, which are still
followed by Christian architects."
Max Mueller in his Origin of Religion (pp. 200, 201), says: "People
wonder why so much of the old mythology, the daily talk, of the Aryans was
solar what else could it have been? The names of the sun are endless and so
are his stories; but who he was, whence he came and whither he went,
remained a mystery from beginning to end.... Man looked up to the sun,
yearning for the response of a soul, and though that response never came,
though his senses recoiled, dazzled and blinded by an effulgence which he
could not support, yet he never doubted that the invisible was there, and
that, where his senses failed him, where he could neither grasp nor
comprehend, he might still shut his eyes and trust, fall down and worship."
This worship of old survives in the worship of today. A knowledge of the
location, the limits and the nature of the sun has gradually convinced the
world that this is not God's dwelling place; but somewhere in the infinite
expanse of the blue beyond they fancy he has his throne. To this imaginary
being is rendered the same adoration that was rendered to him by primitive
man -- the adoration of childish ignorance.