Pagan Origins of the Mother of God
“In one sense, it is comparable – by the religious and mythological context of the archetypical personality of the Virgin Mary (who from that century at the Ephesian Synod was pronounced to be Theotokos), it could have been, we believe, converted into the cult of the Mother of God which had already been prepared in the traditional religions of the East and the West. In various ancient cultures, both Oriental and Hellenized, she was known as Isis, Aphrodite, Inana, Sybil, Maya, or Shakti.”
The successors to the apostles, the elders of the fellowships at that time, in many cases proved negligent in maintaining the “faith once and for all delivered unto the saints”, and in the early church communities there began to sprout beliefs that had not originally been Christian, but had origins in the pagan religions of the people and various philosophical movements. One such belief was the proclamation of Jesus’ mother as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven.
God’s fiercest enemy, Satan, knew the Lord’s prophecy about the birth of the Savior from the womb of a virgin mother and planned for centuries a vicious hoax.
As was the case in the fallen world before the Flood, and even after the great catastrophe of the Flood, the devil seduced people with pagan polytheism. One of the characteristics of paganism in ancient Sumer was the mockery and imitation of the divine Trinity, in the form of the triad of gods who are named Nanna (Sin), Inanna, and Utu (Shamash). Nanna was the “god of the moon” and the father of Inanna and Utu. Inanna was actually the planet Venus (the Dani star), the goddess of fertility, love, and war, and Utu was the sun god.
Professor Miroslav Markovic in his Study of Classical Religion, speaks about the Greek goddess Aphrodite and notes that it does not come originally from its local area areas (from Greece), but was “imported” from the Middle East:
“So let us start from the beginning. A long time ago (circa 3000 B.C.) there lived in the Mesopotamian cities of Uruk and Babylon a powerful Sumerian goddess named Inanna. She had many lovers, but her beloved was a mortal shepherd named Dumuzi. Unfortunately, Dumuzi died young. Starting around 2400 B.C., the Akkadian name of this goddess is Esh-tar, and the Babylonian name is Ishtar.”
“Now let us turn to the ancient Aphrodite, also known as the Sumerian goddess Inanna and the Akkadian Ishtar. She was a powerful goddess of sexual love and fertility since the beginning of the third millennium B.C. But as war was the main activity of every king of Assyria, and as Ishtar was his divine spouse, she felt it her duty as his wife to become the goddess of war. She followed her husband to the military expeditions to ensure success of his many conquests. The third feature was for her to become the ‘Queen of Heaven,’ which shows that Ishtar was identified with the planet Venus.”
So this goddess Ishtar was called the “Queen of Heaven” and had a significant role in the Pantheon of the gods at that time. Encyclopedia sources tell us that this goddess was portrayed mainly in statues as a mother holding in her arms a little male child. This goddess was probably known before the dispersion from the area of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11), such that all the tribes brought with them its worship cult following the confusion of their languages. Thus, each nation continued to submit to the Queen of Heaven, just under a different name. In China, it was known as Sheng-mu (Holy Mother). She was depicted with a child in her arms and rays of glory around his head. The old Germans worshiped the Teutonic virgin goddess Hertha which is also shown with a child in her hands. The Scandinavians knew this goddess under the name of Disa, the Etruscans Nutria, and the Druids Virgo Partitura (Mother of God). The Indians had several of these “divine Mothers” – Krishna, the son of Devaki, and Isi with the child Iswary. The Greeks knew the heavenly queen as Aphrodite, the Romans Venus, in Asia Cybele. The Egyptians celebrated the Mother Goddess Ist (Isis) and her child as Horus. The Old Testament Israelites knew her as Astarte, which came from the religion of the Phoenicians.
Speaking about Adonis, the lover of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, historian N.A. Kuhn tells us some of the characteristics of the goddess:
“Aphrodite was originally a goddess of the sky – which sent the rain – and also, it seems, the goddess of the sea. In the myth of the goddess, Aphrodite really showed the impact of the East, mostly from the cult of the Phoenician goddess Astarte. Aphrodite, however, gradually became the goddess of love. God of love is Eros – Amor – her son.”
“The Greeks borrowed the myth of Adonis and Aphrodite from the Phoenicians. The name Adonis is not of Greek origin, but Phoenician, and means ‘lord’. However, the Phoenicians borrowed this myth from the Babylonians: the myth of the Babylonian goddess of love Ishtar and her beautiful son Tammuz, who died and every spring would resurrect.”
Over a period of several centuries, with short breaks when they were ruled by God-fearing kings, the Israelites worshiped the pagan gods Baal and Ashtar (Queen of Heaven) instead of Yahweh God (Jehovah):
“Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals; 12 and they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the LORD to anger. 13 They forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtoreths.”
It is tragic that those who had God’s Law (i.e. the Scriptures) and knowledge of the true God still turned their backs on Him and served pagan idols. Moreover, under the influence of paganism, the wise Solomon, king of Israel, fell because of his attraction to his many pagan wives, who later caused him to minister at the altar of Ashtar i.e. the Queen of Heaven:
“For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David.”
At the time of God’s prophet Jeremiah (7th and 6th century B.C.), the Lord used sharp words to warn the Israelites of their apostate behavior. Among other things, he warned them not to worship or serve the “Queen of Heaven”:
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.”
The end result of rejecting worship of the True God and glorifying the false Queen of Heaven was not exactly a happy one for the Jews. The Lord allowed the Babylonians to conquer their land, kill many of the Israelites, and take the rest into slavery.