In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, but which god? Yahweh? Isis? Zeus? Or is it Astarte? Did the worshippers of those ancient gods have any divine experiences? Or was it all along a political agenda? Every day children are born into a world full of influences. Whether it may be from parents, teachers, or peers, each child is affected by the things that they watch, feel, or hear and as they get older their influences develop their world view. For instance, a child may have been influenced by different belief systems such as Judaism, Christianity, or Islam and that everything was created by a male deity. Hence, these major world views teach that the supreme deity gave the authority to the first created human, the male, to rule over the second created human, the female. But is this true? Were these major world faiths inspired by a Heavenly Father? In the book When God Was a Woman, author Merlin Stone discusses incredible findings of ancient artifacts that traces from our earliest ancestors and that could prove that the original deity was not a male but a female. Stone does not stop there, she explains in full detail the history of early cultures that practiced goddess worship and how the status of women in those societies were much higher then the cultures who replaced them. In order to discuss the significance of ancient deity worship and how it is relevant to our society today, we must first: have an understanding of the author’s influence to write this book, the history of early cultures & societies, the author’s perception on the status of women in early societies, and critique the overview of the author’s perspective.
Merlin Stone explains that during her childhood, her Sunday school teachers taught that the Hebrew God Yahweh created the “heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and that the first created human being was a male named Adam, who was formed from “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7). God placed Adam in a garden called Eden and commanded him that he could eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or else on that day he will “surely die” (Genesis 2:7). Afterwards, Yahweh saw that the man should not be alone and desired to create a help mate for Adam. Yahweh caused a “deep sleep to fall on Adam” (Genesis 2:21) and took a rib from Adam to form Eve the first female. Stone describes once she learned that Eve was tricked by a deceitful serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge, that Eve “defied God and provoked Adam to do the same [eat the forbidden fruit], thus ruining a good thing- the previously blissful life in the Garden of Eden” (Page 5). Once Yahweh found out He punished both man and woman and allowed death and evil to enter into the world, thus ending paradise and the fall of man began. Stone explains in her book that she found it difficult to accept that the reason for all of life’s suffering was from the result of one gullible woman’s mistake and that the entire blame was solely because of the female. She also questions why “Adam himself was never thought to be equally as foolish was apparently never worth discussing” (Page 5). The author admits that she never became very religious and once she reached adolescence she rejected what organized religions offered. However, the Adam and Eve story intrigued her to research on other religions and examine their explanation on the creation of life. She discovered ancient cultures that believed it was not a “god” but a “goddess” that created the world and that females were the higher authority. She proclaims that Adam and Eve story was just a fable and states that it was “an innocent attempt to explain what happened at the very beginning of existence” (Page 7). Therefore, Stone was inspired to expose the other religions views on the truth behind the gender of the deity.
According to the author, information about the earliest goddess worship dates back from 25,000 to 7000 BC, while biblical records of...
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