Yahweh: A Volcano Fire God Of War?: Chapter 7


 Chapter Index:

Chapter 1: Wisdom In The Question
Chapter 2: God Of The Moon Mountain
Chapter 3: Exodus & The Voice Of God
Chapter 4: The Deuteronomy
Chapter 5: Plagues Of Egypt And The Nile Delta
Chapter 6: The Psalms
Chapter 7: Fire, Torment, And Human Sacrifice

— Chapter 7 —
Fire, Torment, And Human Sacrifice

Of all things, no other than Volcanoes have had such a frightening impact and influence on the psyche and nightmares of cultures past. From fire breathing dragons to the eternal torture of damnation in the fire pits of the underworld. A place of prison even for the Gods of the Greeks. To them, it was Tartarus as both a Deity and a place of torment where souls are judged. And although Hades has different interpretations depending on the Christian sect, Tartarus is surprisingly present in the New Testament:

The noun Tartarus does not occur but tartaroo (ταρταρόω, “throw to Tartarus”), a shortened form of the classical Greek verb kata-tartaroo (“throw down to Tartarus”), does appear in 2 Peter 2:4. Liddell Scott provides other sources for the shortened form of this verb, including Acusilaus (5th century BC), Joannes Laurentius Lydus (4th century AD) and the Scholiast on Aeschylus‘ Eumenides, who cites Pindar relating how the earth tried to tartaro “cast down” Apolloafter he overcame the Python.[9] In classical texts, the longer form kata-tartaroo is often related to the throwing of the Titans down to Tartarus.[10]
The ESV is one of several English versions that gives the Greek reading Tartarus as a footnote:
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [1] and committed them to chains [2] of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;”
Footnotes [1] 2:4 Greek Tartarus
1. ^ Jump up to:a b Georg Autenrieth. “Τάρταρος”A Homeric Dictionary. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
2. Jump up^ HesiodTheogony 116–119.
9. ^ A. cast into Tartarus or hell, Acus.8 J., 2 Ep.Pet.2.4, Lyd.Mens.4.158 (Pass.), Sch.T Il.14.296. Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by. Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940.
10. ^ Apollodorus of Athens, in Didymus’ Scholia on Homer; Plutarch Concerning rivers

Hell then proceeds throughout the OT and NT, and just to list a few among many, I thought these were some of the more interesting references. And what struck me the most is how the OT has fewer references of damnation than the New Testament:

Mark 9:48:
“where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
Revelation 14:10:
“he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
Revelation 14:11:
 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
Revelation 20:14:
 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
The man in Luke 16:24:
 cries: “. . .I am tormented in this FLAME.”
Matthew 13:42:
 Jesus says: “And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
Matthew 25:41:
 Jesus says: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting FIRE,. . .”
Revelation 20:15:
 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”
Numbers 16:32-33:
 And THE EARTH OPENED HER MOUTH and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They and all that appertained to them went down alive INTO THE PIT, and the EARTH CLOSED UPON THEM
Isaiah 33:14:
14The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites: “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” * 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:14:
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
MATTHEW 10:28:
 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One God who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

     What we have here is damning, to say the least, and damming to a hellish torment, or to a fiery end should we not embrace the Lord Jesus as our savior from the one god that can destroy both the body and soul. This concept largely espoused in the evangelical and born again Christian ideological culture. Although to be fair, others do not believe in hell to which they suggest was the invention of the Church to control the masses:

     Can’t say I disagree as I am sure there was a point in history when rulers realized religion as a powerful tool for having power and control over wealth, land, resources and the general population. And as we know, the Bible we read today is not in its original form as it has often been a product of the geopolitical environment of various Eras of biblical history. But despite this, they have seemed to keep true to the volcanic theme in what appears to be a cultural foundation rooted back as far as the Santorini Eruption while often referencing back to the narrative of Exodus.  Even more expected findings in my research on Yahweh’s volcanic nature were the cases of the various burnt offerings and how Yahweh loved the smell of burnt flesh. Hell in an ever-burning lake of fire would appear to be a major motivator to appease him.  It would seem that such offerings will appease Yahweh and keep him in one’s favor. Well, who doesn’t like a good burger fresh off the grill, right? However, projection of our own carnivorous appetites to appease our stomachs, and therefore Yahweh, do not appear to be enough to quite quench Yahweh’s desires.  Of such offerings, it would further seem that offering human sacrifice as a burnt offering, such as in the case of Jephthah’s daughter in exchange for victory over the Ammonites, had me imagining Jephthah tossing his daughter into a lake of fire, or roasting her like he had just caught a witch to burn at the stake. Though in his case he sounds more like having made a bargain with the devil:

Jephthah Burns His Daughter:
And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the LORD the first thing coming out of my house to greet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering….” “….So Jephthah led his army against the Ammonites, and the LORD gave him victory.
“Skipping ahead” –> her father kept his vow, and she died a virgin.  So it has become a custom in Israel for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter.”

     Such sacrifices can be seen clearly as evidence of a cult of fire and war to which includes such sacrifices in various forms in regards to other volcano Gods such as Roman volcano god Vulcan. Vulcan and Yahweh share many similarities such as when we discussed, priorly, in concern to the voice of God. Among these deal with burnt offerings as offerings to Vulcan are Volcanailia sacrifices in which animals were offered up as burnt offerings during the Volcanailia festival in the place of humans. Fish often represented human souls, and like in the case with Yahweh, they are sin offerings or bargainings in exchange for whatever it is one desired. Furthermore, it is noted by the Encyclopedia of Britannica that the burning of children as sacrifices is not an unknown occurrence among the Canaanites and Israelites and may have been common among the followers of El Shaddai. So like the case with Jephthah’s daughter, we see that it even goes into the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his own son,  and how E may have edited the story to try and differentiate Abraham’s “El Shaddai” from the Canaanite El Shaddai in order to distance themselves from a deity who was appeased by human sacrifice, especially that of children. I would go as far to argue this is was done in futility giving Abraham took on the Patron deity of the city of Shaddai. Hence there were no logical means to suggest there were two separate El Shaddai Godheads among the Canaanites, Amorites, and Israelites.  What E basically did was try to re-image El Shaddai as a more compassionate deity, and one that was suddenly against child sacrifices to appease him. This seems to be geopolitical between E and J bidding for position, power, and influence in a growing political climate where such sacrifices became evermore seen as immoral or taboo. Perhaps a conflict between E and J, but It’s also entirely plausible they tried to usurp each other to the point where they had become equated as the same GOD.   However, Yahweh was regarded as a usurper and was a Fiery jealous God to which would further explain the Yahwist monotheist’s need to usurp El Shaddai into the Persona of Yawheh by equating him with El Shaddai in Exodus 6:2. Even here we find the volcanic nature of this deity raging from his own jealousy as I further take note of this within the imagery of Songs 8:6, Deuteronomy 4:24,  and Solomon 8:6:

Songs 8:6Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.”
Solomon 8:6 6“Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the LORD.
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),
See also:
Nahum 1:2
Ezekiel 39:25
Ezekiel 36:6
Ezekiel 36:5
Joshua 24:19
Deuteronomy 5:9

— Concluding Thoughts —

     I am sitting here rather overwhelmed when I really step back and look at this as a whole, I can’t really help but notice the evidence is rather apparent, and quite sufficient to support Freud’s argument as a viable hypothesis since it does indeed appear to be quite consistent with the descriptions in Psalms, Revelations, Exodus, Daniel, Proverbs 1, Acts 2, and many other areas of the Bible in concerns with the awe and fears of ancient civilizations surrounding such natural phenomenon. The volcano God hypothesis seems a strong one or at least a very significant part of what has become the Iconography of Yahweh. Comprehensibly I would argue as the Anthropomorphic description of the geological and volcanic activity that may have it’s birthing in the cataclysmic events surrounding the Thera eruption, and among others. Events often considered civilization ending, and this one in particular that had led to the downfall of the Hyksos rule over much of Egypt.   Thus pending further investigation,  I concluded that Yahweh is very likely to be a Volcano GOD of Fire And War through a very complex process of the usurping and the evolution of various deities and pantheons deeply rooted in Pagan mythology, oral traditions, cultures, rituals, and beliefs. Processes and events that changed most notably the worship of  Ba’al, Sin, El, El Elyon, and El Shaddai.  Thus Yahweh has seemed to have become much like what we find in other Volcano Deities such as Pele to where in the Hawaiian religion. Pele, pronounced [ˈpɛlɛ], English: /ˈpeɪleɪ/pay-lay) is the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes.  The Hawaiian religion even has a flood myth to go with it as flood events and Tsunamis are often caused by Volcanic activity. Hence, it is common to find such stories in relation ..:

“A sea! a sea! Forth bursts the sea, Bursts forth over Kanaloa (Kahoʻolawe), The sea rises to the hills. . . .” “Thrice” (according to the chant) the sea floods the land, then recedes. These floodings are called The-sea-of-Ka-hina-liʻi.[2]:158

     This really shows how some primitive cultures likely, but primitively, understood volcanoes, geological activity, and the unexplained natural phenomenon around them as gods or that of the creation and will of them. They did not fully understand these things in any modern scientific sense as they attached personas to that which they did not understand.  So this, in conclusion, puts me in a position to want to agree with Sigmund Freud’s hypothesis as it has substantial weight in a reflection of the body of evidence.

     Now to be fair, we have to consider that the OT had been influenced by many other sources such as Zoroastrianism. Therefore, I cannot say that Yahweh was ever entirely or completely constructed from Volcano or Mountain God worship as his iconography appears to be more of a Frankenstein of various religions, oral traditions, rituals, and beliefs that have influenced the books that make up the OT and the identity of who Yahweh’s is and has become.  However, I would argue that mountain god worship had a very strong influence, especially on the volcanic side of it when the OT was written and when Yahwism arose to become the precursor of today’s Abrahamic religions. Therefore I would argue that Freud was both right and wrong in regards to his hypothesis.


<– Chapter 6: The Psalms

2 responses to “Yahweh: A Volcano Fire God Of War?: Chapter 7

  1. Pingback: Yahweh: A Volcano Fire God Of War?: Chapter 3 | TheJackal's Column·

  2. Pingback: Yahweh: A Volcano Fire God Of War?: Chapter 6 | TheJackal's Column·

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