The Belief in God Almighty
A STUDY of ancient Egyptian religious texts will convince the reader that the Egyptians believed in One God, who was self~existent, immortal, invisible, eternal, omniscient, almighty, and inscrutable; the maker of the heavens, earth, and underworld; the creator of the sky and the sea, men and women, aninlals and birds, fish and creeping things, trees and plants, and the incorporeal beings who ,vere the messengers that fulfilled his wish and ,yord. I t is necessary to place this definition of the first part of the belief of the Egyptian at the beginning of the first chapter of this brief account of the principal religious ideas which he held, for the "'hole of his theology and religion was based upon it; and it is also necessary to add that, however
the origin in Egypt of the belief in the existence of an almighty God \vho was 011e, the inscriptions show us that this Being was called by a name which was S0111e.. thing like Neter,! the picture sign for which \vas an axe-head, made probably of stone, let into a long wooden handle. The coloured picture character shews that the axe-head was fastened into the handle by thongs of leather or string, and judging by the general look of the object it must have been a fornlidable \veapon in strong, skilled hands. A. theory has recently been put forward to the effect that the picture character represents a stick ,vith a bit of coloured rag tied to the top, but it will hardly comnlend itself to' any archaeologist. The lines which cross the side of the axe-head represent string or strips of leather, and indicate that it was made of stone \vhich, being brittle, ,vas liable to crack; the picture characters wllich delineate the object in the latter dynasties she,v that Dletal took the place of the stone axe-head, and being · tough the new substance needed no support. The mightiest man in the prehistoric days ,vas he who had the best weapon, and knew how to wield it with the greatest effect; when the prehistoric hero of many fights and victories passed to his rest, his own or a similar weapon ,vas buried \vith him to enable him to ,vage war successfully in the next ,vorld. The
rnightiest man had the largest axe, and the axe thus became the symbol of the mightiest man. As he, by reason of the oft-told narrative of his doughty deeds at the prehistoric campfire at eventide, in course of time passed from the rank of a hero to that of a god, the axe likewise passed frOln being the symbol of a hero to that of a god. Far away back in the early dawn of civilization in Egypt, the object which I identify as an axe may have had sonle other signification, but if it had, it was lost long before the period of the rule of the dynasties in that country.