The Descent into Hell
The gospels pretend to give factual reports of some events in the life of their man-god, they tell of what people saw or heard, they claim they saw Jesus rise to heaven. However it is rather difficult to ascertain how they could know that he descended to hell! There is not mention of Jesus confessing of this in one of his post-mortem appearances, it is nothing on the matter expressly written in the gospels. Nevertheless, it has become a tenet among Christians that this did happen. Apologists explain that the early Christians were united on Christ’s underground mission, it is too well settled to admit of dispute! Once given equal statue with the authority of the gospels, being written (supposedly) by the apostles themselves, “The Apostle’s Creed” is explicit in teaching this doctrine, declaring, “Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead.”
In writing, “being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by spirit, by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:18), Peter is thought to be referring to the descent into Hell. Evidentially in this context (at least by Christian standards), Prison must equate to Hell. Acts 2:31 comes closest to promulgating this belief, without saying for sure that he descended into hell by saying, “His soul was not left in hell”. So where did this belief arise? Is it original to Christianity or is it another of the borrowed dogmas of pagan religions?
Upon close examination, the MOST important event in the “lives” of any of the savior-gods, after their crucifixion, is that of their descent into the fiery bowels of hell. The Hindu bible, written more than 3000 years ago, describes how the Savior Krishna, “went down to preach to the inmates of that dark and drear prison (sound familiar, like 1 Peter maybe), with the view of reforming them, and getting them back to heaven, and was willing himself to suffer to abridge the period of their torment (sounds kinder than the Christian savior). Elsewhere we find that Krishna even descended into hell to teach souls in bondage. We have references to prison and to bondage. Hell is a prison and souls are in bondage. Souls are therefore in prison just as Peter says. Luke and Peter seem greatly indebted to the Hindu bible in these passages.
The Mexican God Quetzalcoatl (300 BC) also descended into hell. The Codex Borgianus relates the account of his death, burial after crucifixion, descent in hell, and subsequent resurrection. The Greek God Adonis (believed to have Semite roots) descended into hell and arose again to life and immortality. The “Fire-Granter” Prometheus (600 BC) suffered immensely (no quick easy crucifixion for this guy, but having his liver torn from his body by vultures by day, having it regenerate at night, only to be torn out again the next day), descended into hell, resurrected and ascended into heaven. After reigning for a thousand years, the Egyptian god Horus died, was buried for three days (during which he fought and defeated the Egyptian equivalent of Satan - Typhon) and arose again to eternal life. The Egyptian savior god, Osiris also was crucified, entombed, descended into hell, and resurrected after 3 days. It was told of Homer and Virgil that Erakles (Hercules), Ulysses, and AEnea descending into Hades (these are only demi-gods, but then legally so are Mithra, Krishna, and Jesus). They also speak of the Gods becoming incarnate, and descending into hell to teach humility and set and example of suffering.
It was probably to occupy them during their three days in the tomb that the story of these gods descent into hell was invented. There is, however, a very strong astronomical explanation for the story of three days entombment. The sun lies still and apparently motionless, neither ascending nor descending, for nearly three days at the midwinter solstice. It is in the tomb for three days having descended to Hell, the lowest point of its annual cycle. The prayer was that it would rise again and the prayer always worked, the sun was born each year at midwinter. However the battle of light with darkness continued until the vernal equinox and only when the days became longer than the nights were the ancient astrologer priests happy to celebrate the sun's rebirth.
So, the birth of god was at the midwinter solstice (notice how the Christians put the birthday of their savior very near that date) but he was born again at the vernal equinox (is it surprising how close to that date that Easter is). Hence, spring was chosen to represent the three days' descent of the gods into hell. The Persians had an astronomical figure representing the descent of a god into hell and returning at the time that Orsus, the goddess of spring, had conquered the god of winter. The author of Revelation describes the Lamb of God (Rev 12) as conquering the dragon, which is the Scorpion or Dragon of the first month of winter, October, being conquered by the Lamb of March or spring (I admit this is a little far-fetched, but then I have never been accused of “thinking inside the box”).
Prophecies of Jesus Crushing a Serpent
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel.
Christian writers often cite this text as prefiguring the mission of their savior, that is, the destruction of the serpent (a.k.a. Satan).
In Revelation 12:8: “The grand adversary of souls which deceiveth the whole world is the dragon, the serpent, the devil, and Satan”. The serpent is the devil. The dragon, the serpent, the devil and Satan are all one. Indeed many of those professed Christians, who never read the Christian holy book, think Jesus actually crushed the head of a serpent.
The pronoun “it” is neuter and always refers to a thing without sex, so “It shall bruise thy head” is a prophetic reference to a savior, then it is a curious one. If the Christians want to make this a reference to Jesus, they should consider the implications of the neuter pronoun usage. Plainly it refers to the seed, meaning human beings – the offspring of Adam and Eve.
The serpent is found in several heathen systems of older date than Genesis, proving that Christians who assume it to be a revelation from heaven are ignorant of religious history.
Some of the older resurrecting savior-gods perform a drama with a serpent. After it had bitten his heel, Osiris of Egypt bruised the head of the serpent.. Hercules had to contend with a serpent guarding the tree of the golden fruit, located in the Greek Garden of Eden, Hesperides. In statuary, its head is shown under his foot. The Phoenician fable of Ophion or Ophiones a similar tradition appears. The savior-god of Indian, Krishna , is shown on ancient sculptures and stone monuments with his heel on the head of a serpent. In the ancient temples of India the image of Krishna is sculptured sometimes wreathed in the folds of a serpent which is biting his foot, and sometimes treading victoriously on the head of a serpent. An ancient Persian tradition predicated a virgin, from whom they predicted would be born, or would spring up, a shoot, a son, that would crush the serpent's head, and thus deliver the world from sin. Both the serpent and the virgin are shown in their zodiac. The woman herself, in an ancient Etrurian legend, stands with one foot on the head of a serpent biting a twig of an apple tree to which an apple is suspended. No need of a son in this story. The serpent’s tail is twisted around a celestial globe, reminding us of the dragon of Revelation hauling down one-third of the stars with his tail (Rev 12:4). In the Etrurian zodiac, the head of the virgin is surmounted with a crown of stars—doubtless the same legend from which John borrowed his metaphor of a woman with a crown of twelve stars on her head (Rev 13). The Regina Stellarum (Queen of the Stars) spoken of in some of the ancient religions is the same fable. The myth of Achilles being vulnerable in the heel, as related by Homer might be a remnant of the same tradition.
Consider now the story of the original transgression and fall of man—two cardinal doctrines of the Christian religion. These doctrines also are taught in heathen faiths whose antiquity even antedates Moses. In the Persian tradition the first man and first woman, Mashya and Mashyoi, were pure, and submitted to Ormuzd, their maker. But Ahriman, the evil one, saw them and envied them their happiness. He approached them under the form of a serpent, presented fruits to them, and persuaded them that he was the maker of man, of animals, of plants, and of the beautiful universe in which they dwelt. They believed it. Since that time Ahriman was their master. Their natures became corrupt, and this corruption infested their whole posterity. This story is in the Vendidad of the Persians. The Indian story is that the Gods, who were evidently not originally immortal, tried every means to obtain it. After many inquiries and trials, they realized they would find it in the tree of life. They succeeded, and by eating once in a while of the fruits of that tree, they kept their immortality. A snake saw that the tree of life had been found by the gods of the second order. As he had been entrusted with guarding the tree, he became angry because his vigilance had been deceived, that he poured out a large amount of poison, which spread over the whole earth.
Not dissimilar is the story of Revelation:
And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood (Rev 12:15).
The idea of a snake or serpent inundating the earth from its mouth is so far removed from nature that one must be borrowed from the other, or both come from a common source. Since the Hindu religion precedes the time of Moses, the question is settled as to which who borrowed from who. Note that three out of four of the principal doctrines of Christianity are taught in the two heathen mythological stories of creation, Original Sin, the fall of man caused by a serpent, the consequent corruption and depravity of the human race. These doctrines cannot be, as Christians claim, important truths revealed from heaven, but plainly are originally heathen. Again showing that little, if anything, is original in Christianity.