• The Strange Genesis of Jesus in Hebrews

    [By] applying to “Christ entering the world,” the modified verse from Psalm 40:7-9: You wanted neither sacrifice nor oblation, but you arranged a body for me (…) Then I said: See, I have come(…)” (Heb. 10.5-7) the author seems to say that Jesus received his body before leaving heaven. In any case, he excludes that Jesus could have been born and have had a human family because he is a priest according to Melchizedek’s order, who was “without a father, without a mother, without gneealogy, having neither beginning or ending of days, resembling the Son of God: (Hebrews 7:3). Page 208, Jean Magnes, From Christianity to Gnosis and Gnosis to Christianity (Scholar’s Press, 1993).

    As you can see. this passage has Jesus speaking this thanks for his body as if he shape-shifted or his soul flew into a fully grown body without a normal birth. Note that the time of this speech is “when he cometh into the world”:

    Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. (Hebrews 10:5-7)

    This is very odd, and, as Magnes notes, congruent with Philippians 2:7 where Jesus “took the form of a slave, and was made in the likeness of men.” The Ascension of Isaiah depicts Jesus moving through the heavens and changing form to the angels of that level each time before changing into the form of a man upon entering the world. Inanna’s descent depicts Inanna taking off a garment (p.362) each time she enters a new level of the cosmos. Clothes and garments were often metaphors for the body. Inanna’s nakedness in the underworld is tantamount to having no body after death; the icons of the myth lend themselves to such an interpretation whether intended that way originally or not).

    Could Hebrews be saying anything other than that Jesus’ entered the world as a fully grown man and not through ordinary descent? The Melchizedek comparison (7:3 “no genealogy… made like the Son of God.”) seems to rule this out plainly. Nonetheless, if the “time when Jesus came into the world” it was meant that he entered an infant’s body, let’s say, is the author depicting Jesus speaking as a baby, much as Luke depicts the infant John the Baptist praising God from the time of his circumcision (Lk 1:64)? On the other hand, one would think ancients believed the soul entered the body not at birth, but in the womb. The fetuses are living, conscious beings according to Luke (John leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb, Lk 1:44). The only possibility left to meld Hebrews’ origin story of Jesus with an ordinary birth is that the author imagined a fetal Jesus blubbering these words inside the womb after his soul entered the body in Mary’s womb (Remember, the text is insistent that the praise of God for “preparing a body” for Jesus was spoken when he entered the world).

    But that’s a stretch. The most natural interpretation is clearly that Jesus took on an adult body when he “entered the world” which perhaps means only that he descended a bit lower than the firmament in the sky. Such an origin is clearly congruent with the mythicist theory of Christian origins (see Jesus From Outer Space). In fact, given the examples above (similarity with the mythical dying and rising goddess Inanna) it is suggested by the theory. Hebrews is first-century corroboration for this prediction.

    It is at least logically possible that a weird supernatural origin story was made up for a real man who lived within a generation or two of the author of Hebrews. But it is not one’s first expectation if that’s the case: you would sooner expect they would have believed Jesus was born just the same as everyone else. Trying to meld a historical Jesus with a weird genesis is an option at least logically, but it is an option that comes with consequences: if Jesus came into existence that way then he has no literal brothers, only symbolic ones (Hebrews mentions symbolic brothers [2:11], but never literal ones) was not ‘born of a woman’ unless this ‘woman’ is a metaphysical entity like the Holy Spirit creating the adult body for Jesus to ensoul. The origin story in question also means that Jesus was only metaphorically ‘the seed of David’ (perhaps as David’s successor, the king of the new Israel) or literally by way of supernaturally preserved Seed being used to make Jesus’ body; just like the Sayoshyant and Aprodite, and, to some degree, like Attis was). All of which follows whether the mythicist theory or historicist theory is true. Thus, Hebrew’s origin story for Jesus is more expected under mythicism than historicism, and under the possibility that historicism is consistent with it, it undermines practically every other proof text used for a historical Jesus in first century Christian literature.

    I feel scholars should have the Christ myth theory (in its various forms) in the back of their mind as they read these ancient texts. How many texts hold valuable implications for Christian origins that are not known because no one is watching for them? After all, it is easy enough to read Hebrews even multiple times without catching on to what the text is really saying. Most people (even most scholars!), I suspect, have done exactly that for hundreds of years. But Magnes, a mythicist, was able to spot the strangeness in the text. I suspect if a large enough number of scholars become familiar with the mythological theory and give it due consideration and discussion it will be viewed as a firmly plausible theory. It might be that enormous “hidden support” for the theory could be teased out of the texts by experts who are properly informed on the theory, its related concepts and arguments for it.

    Category: Uncategorized


    Article by: Nicholas Covington

    I am an armchair philosopher with interests in Ethics, Epistemology (that's philosophy of knowledge), Philosophy of Religion, Politics and what I call "Optimal Lifestyle Habits."