Further Cracking the Symbolic Meaning of the Genesis Creation Account

by Joshua Tilghman on April 24, 2014

Atum and Apep Further Cracking the Symbolic Meaning of the Genesis Creation AccountI want to show you something pretty neat if you compare the Genesis creation account to one of my favorite creation myths from ancient Egypt. After a comparison I think you’ll agree that the Genesis account was definitely influenced by it. The similarities are astounding. What I hope you’ll notice is that both the Bible and ancient the Egyptians were trying to explain complicated aspects of consciousness, science, and physics through the same myth and allegory.

The creation myth I’m speaking of comes from one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, Heliopolis. Heliopolis is the name given to it by the Greeks, which means “city of the sun.” Heliopolis was occupied as early as the predynastic period, which most scholars place as early as 6,000 BC. The creation myth I’m speaking of involves the deity named Atum, which was one of the earliest Egyptian Gods. As you read my brief summary below, keep in mind that the creation account of Atum evolved many thousands of years before Genesis was written.

A quick summary of Nun

No Egyptian creation myth can be understood without first discussing the concept of Nun; the Egyptians described it as the primordial waters which their self-created Gods stepped out of. While many of the Egyptian Gods evolved into other gods, Nun is a concept that remains the same in all of them. What exactly is Nun?

I believe many scholars have come up short by missing the deeper significance of “Nun.” Nun is commonly just known as the primordial chaotic state of the emptiness or the void. While it is called “waters,” it has nothing to do with oceans or literal water. Rather, it has to do with a state of primordial consciousness. Perhaps Nun can best be understood as a state of infinite potential, much like modern science has shown that, for reasons we still can’t ascertain, virtual particles can pop into and out of existence from a vacuum. The vacuum, or void, is filled with the potential for all of creation.

The characteristics of Nun are similar to Kabbalah’s Ein Sof:

1)      It’s hidden and invisible

2)      It’s infinite

3)      Infinite potential flows from it

4)      It’s dark / absence of light

The points above will become important in our Genesis comparison.

Interestingly, Nun can be compared to the Hebrew word Tahu, which is what Genesis also explains as being the “void,” and what is furthered explained as the “darkness that was upon the face of the deep.” (Genesis 1:2). Nun and Tahu are both the primordial waters from which stir further creation. More importantly, they are the beginning of primordial consciousness interacting with and upon itself.

On first glance it seems that the Genesis account and the creation myth of Atum have a big difference. In Genesis the Tahu is already on “earth.” There is really no difference. The earth here is not the globe with continents on it. “Earth” is a metaphor for primordial matter, which will become the vehicle for the development of man’s ego after eons of conscious evolution within that matter. We know this because the next part of Genesis 1:2 states that “God moved upon the face of the waters.” In other words, there wasn’t dry land yet. That doesn’t appear until verse nine. To think that this earth is the literal earth we normally know is absurd, and as you’ll see in a moment, Atum also steps onto the first dry land, known as the primordial mound.

What’s also interesting is that in the next few verses of Genesis God’s spirit moving upon the waters causes light to appear, separating darkness. Even though this detail is left out of Atum’s creation account, the same thing happens. The light is the appearance of Atum himself. Atum is a sun-god! So was Yaweh and even Jesus Christ. I have already written other post showing where both are compared to the sun. Most Christians are also unaware that when Constantine built the first basilica, Christians bowed to an image of the sun before entering.

Hopefully you are beginning to see some connections here.

More on Atum

Atum is the earliest of the Egyptian deities. It has been stated that he is self-created because he steps out of Nun. “Self-created” is the wrong term. I think it is more accurate to state that Atum is the first emanation of primordial consciousness, as it interacts within itself. In other words, Atum represents a natural outcome from the infinite potential of Nun. Because Nun IS, so is Atum. It’s no different than what we have with Yaweh, who tells Moses, “I AM THAT I AM.”

The Papyrus of Huenfer states:

“I am the great God who created himself, that is to say, I am Water, that is to say, Nu the father of the gods, or as others say, Ra the creator of the names of his members which turned into Gods.”

This is further confirmation that “water” here is simply a metaphor from which life, or the conscious experiences, springs.

In the creation myth of Atum, the god symbolically masterbates and produces two children, Shu and Tefnut, the male / female pair. This is all metaphor for the divine (conscious) male/female and positive/negative energies of life, producing duality.

In Genesis God also tells us that man is created in His image, both male and female (Genesis 1:27). Same metaphor. We should also note that the word “God,” or Elohim, is plural, meaning Gods. Scholars have argued over this for years. Some Christians argue that Elohim is used with the singular verb for create, thus denoting a single deity. This is silly. The allegory here simply explains that the positive and negative energies of the universe, that which makes duality possible, springs from the singular act of primordial consciousness interacting with itself. Thus we have the concept of “Gods” even in the Genesis account. No wonder God is stated as saying that “man has now become like one of us” when Adam (lower consciousness) fell.

Comparing the first dry lands in both accounts

When Atum arises out of Nun, he steps onto the primordial mound, or the first first dry land. Something similar is stated in Genesis 1:9:

“And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.”

So in the Atum creation myth it’s known as the primordial mound, but in the Bible it’s simply called the “dry land.” What is this dry land? It is a symbol for life and experience of consciousness on the different planes of manifestation.

These acts represent the first expansion of consciousness into the realm of actual time and space. This development of time and space (which is relevant to each conscious observer) is further explained in the next few verses. Genesis 1:6-8 states:

“And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters [primordial consciousness unfolding into experience], and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament…”

What is the firmament?

What does it mean that the “firmament” divided the waters above from the waters below? The firmament above the waters symbolizes the higher mental plane, which is where creation truly begins. The waters under the firmament is consciousness is brought forth on the lower planes, where creation is experienced in maya, or illusion. This is also where the concept for the higher and lower self comes from.

The separation is within consciousness itself, into duality. Duality is the reality of the lower planes, which gives the ability for experience in a space-time sense. This is consciousness creating the matrix of reality, in which consciousness can interact with itself and play in.

Apep, the serpent, and Adam and Eve

The myth of Atum morphed into the myth of Atum-Ra, and then finally just Ra, the sun-god of later Egyptian myth. Apep, the snake or dragon, was Atum’s antithesis, a deification of the void, and of chaos. This element also made it into the Genesis account. The serpent is the enemy of God, who later becomes Satan in the Bible. But what we have to remember is that Satan is not an evil being, rather he is the opposite of light, and an integral and necessary part of consciousness, in order to evolve it, to grow it. Without the serpent, Adam could not have fallen into the very state of existence which is responsible for evolving consciousness itself simply by allowing it to express lower vibrations of material reality. Adam and Eve were not literal people, but rather a fallen state of God’s own consciousness, which was split into higher and lower and allowed this grand experiential process.

Further reading on consciousness, time, space, and the illusion of lower reality from a scientific perspective

Below are some links which I think you’ll find interesting. Maybe you can call it a coincidence, but after I finished writing the above article I went to Conscious Life News, an online alternate news website that periodically presents information I enjoy reading. When I went to the site, one of the first articles I read was on explaining how time was an illusion, and how consciousness creates it. I recommend giving it a read. The link is below:


Perhaps even better than the above link, I think this next one has the potential to help you understand how primordial consciousness itself created the universe by interacting with itself. When you go to the below link, go to the bottom of the page and follow the last link to an online book with 15 chapters. Hope you enjoy should you choose to read it! Blessings!


Hope you enjoy should you choose to read it! Blessings!

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