Christian theology keeps tying up scholars in knots. There are a lot unexplained elements in it, which almost look mysterious.
What does the phrase “Son of Man” mean? We can understand what “Son of God” means, but what does “Son of Man” mean? Why are the two phrases “Son of Man” and “Son of God” used interchangeably in the scriptures? The explanation generally given is that Jesus wanted to show himself as both human and divine, so both these phrases were used by him. However, the term “Son of Man” is clearly used in Bible in divine context, to refer to Jesus as divine. Several phrases like “Son of Man will send out his angels,” “Son of Man seated at the right hand of God,” “Do you believe in Son of Man?” – these phrases tell us that the phrase Son of Man is being used to refer to Jesus as divine rather than as human. Some scholars tried to explain it by saying that “Son of Man” means “Sun of Man;” As per them, it is related to Sun worship, and all these crucified gods around the world are actually Sun Gods. Admitting this, I would say that even the phrase “Sun of Man” or “Sun of God” does not look convincing enough. Why would anyone call a Sun God as Sun of Man or Sun of God? This phrase is even more odd; I would rather vote for the earlier explanation that “Son of Man” was used to refer to the human element in Jesus.
Even as we try to come out of this puzzle, we have another puzzle staring at us on why God is divided into a Father, a Son, and Holy Spirit. God having a spirit that is distinct from him is not easily and readily intuitive; and the concept of anything being one and three at the same time is quite difficult to comprehend. Other scholars have gone and researched the crucified savior legends all over the world and have come up with the conclusion that this division of three originated from the supposedly pagan cults, like that of the Horus,Orisis,Isis of Egypt. This only throws up another question on why Egyptians or others found it necessary to divide their God into three from the theological perspective.
The questions have been quite daunting. It has been recognized by a large number of scholars by now that the concepts of Christianity did not originate with Jesus but have existed much before Jesus’ time, as attested by the large number of crucified savior legends and figures that existed across the world since ancient times. Kersey Graves, in his 1875 book, The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors, has identified sixteen crucified saviors around the world. Since then, researchers have been coming up with more and more crucified saviors from the nook and corners of our globe. There must be one central root figure in all of these, from where the Christ concepts actually originated from. If we can get at this root figure and the root theology, we can probably better answer the above puzzles related to the Christ concept.
The key to the whole question lies in the observation that the terms Man and God are being used interchangeably. When the terms “Son of Man” and “Son of God” are being used interchangeably, it means that Man is being considered same as God and is being used interchangeably with God. And there lies our answer. The only place where Man is considered as God since ages and continues to be so is India.
The supreme God of Indian religion is called Purusha, meaning Man. Their holiest scriptures are Vedas. And the most important hymn in their Vedas is the Purusha Sukta, termed as the essence of all Vedas by Vyasa, the central and revered figure of most Hindu traditions. It is a hymn addressed to Purusha, the Cosmic Man. It is related to Indian theology, which views God as a Universal Cosmic Man, who pervades and fills this universe. This Cosmic Man theology is common to many IndoEuropean cultures. While other IndoEuropean cultures have given it up long ago, it still goes pretty strong in the IndoEuropean culture of India.
So the original Christ concept probably originated from the Cosmic Man theology of India, which is why the phrases Son of Man and Son of God are used interchangeably. We have solved one piece of the puzzle. We have answered why Man is being used interchangeably with God. We next come to the second missing piece of the puzzle on why God has to be divided into three. Since we have nailed down the connection to the Cosmic Man theology, we need to ask ourselves on whether there is any other theology in India that is related to the theology of Cosmic Man. And the answer we would get is yes – there is an old and almost forgotten Vaishnavite concept in India called Nara-Narayan. You want to know the meaning of the word Narayan? As per Monier-Williams English-Sanskrit Dictionary, Narayan means Son of Man! And you want to know the meaning of the word Nara? It means the eternal holy spirit!
Even though researchers have been going all around the world in search of the original crucified savior figure or trinity, I do not think they would find another trinity that so closely matches the Christian trinity, right to the very meanings of the words. For example, does Horus mean “Son of Man?” Do Egyptian dictionaries tell you that the meaning of the word Osiris is Man or God, or that Isis means holy spirit? The Christian trinity originated from the Purusha-Narayan-Nara trinity of the Vaishnavite religion of India – an old and almost forgotten concept in India. The minute anyone tries to research into trinity in India, he or she immediately latches on to the popular Indian trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, and compares the Christian trinity with it. And since the two theologies do not match up, the argument always remains unconvincing. As a result, this Nara-Narayan concept is completely overlooked, leaving a big gap in Christological studies.
The Nara-Narayan theology was quite popular amongst the masses of India at the time Mahabharat war, a famous and legendary war in Indian history. Krishna, the Godly figure of Indians, played a prominent role in this war. The reason for the popularity of this theology at that time was that Krishna was believed to be the Narayan, and Arjun, Krishna’s friend and devotee, was considered to be the Nar. The theology took hold of the imagination of the people because of the influence of Krishna. Wikipedia says:
“According to Bhandarkar, the gods Nara-Narayana must be very famous at the time of the composition of the Mahabharata, since in the opening stanzas of different books obeisance is made to these two gods. In Vanaparvan, Krishna says to Arjuna,”O invincible one, you are Nara and I am Hari Narayana, and we, the sages Nara-Narayana, have come to this world at proper time..”
After Krishna’s time, this theology took hold of the masses, and dominated the Indian theological landscape. The idols of the Vaishnavite God (God, Man), along with those of Narayan (Son of God, Son of Man) and Nara (eternal spirit) are all placed together and worshipped side by side in a trinity form. This practice of worshipping the trinity of idols exists even today in India at a handful of places like Badrinath. The concept of Nara-Narayan has almost been forgotten in India today; but during its heydays, just after Krishna’s time, this mode of worshipping all the three idols in the trinity form must have been the most common mode of worship in India. This trinity is a big black hole in Indian historical studies, something that has not been researched about. And it is this trinity that traveled out of India.
The important thing to notice is that this trinity is a human conceptual understanding of the divine reality. It did not originate from any historical person or from any fancy unconnected legends or pagan cults. The theology did not start with Krishna, it existed even before him. Just like the Cosmic Man theology, the Purusha-Narayan-Nara theology is a conceptualization in Indian religion, in relation to the concept of incarnations of God for the benefit and the ultimate deliverance of human soul. It is about why the Supreme God Purusha incarnates on earth as both Narayan and Nara for the betterment of humanity.
So when did this Nara-Narayan theology travel out of India?
The Mahabharat war is normally placed at around 800-1000 BC by academic historians, while Indians claim a date of 5000 years ago. Given the research of Christ scholars that Christ concepts existed for thousands of years before Jesus’ time of 2000 years ago, this gives sufficient scope to think that the Indian claims are true. Mahabharat war of India did take place 5000 years ago, and Krishna lived around this time.
Later, there was a mighty three-century drought around 4200 years ago, which severely affected civilizations across India, West Asia, and North Africa. This intense drought is now universally recognized by geologists and is named as 4.2 Kiloyear BP Aridification Event. This drought debilitated the Indian civilization, leading to a mass exodus of Indians to foreign lands. When these people migrated, they took their religion with them. Krishna is also considered as a crucified savior by all Christ researchers. The mainstream Indian scriptures downplayed the crucifixation aspect, because it did not fit into their general paradigm of God who fought and vanquished evil. However, they did mention that his body was pierced by an arrow into a tree; other apocryphal literature and practices survived, which amplified on this crucifixation to the tree. The crucified legends of Krishna, and the trinity concept, went along with the Indian migrators to distant corners of the globe, in different forms, shapes, and variations, leading to a large number of crucified savior figures and trinities all over the world, ultimately finding their way into Christian theology. As the theology traveled across the world, it was assimilated into the native religions. Often, the native religions were modified to fit into the trinity concept without understanding the theological implications; which is why we have so many crucified savior figures.
The very word Christ (pronounced Krist) originated from Krishna. Take the case of biblical names of God – Yahweh, and Jehovah. Are these names referring to two different gods? Obviously not, right. Y and J are similarly pronounced sounds. The word Yahweh, after a consonant change, with a little bit of vowel modification, became Jehovah – phonetically, the two words are almost identical. Similarly, Christ (pronounced Krist) and Krishna are phonetically almost identical words. N and T are similar sounds, and with a little bit vowel change, Krishna became Krist. Krishna and Christ are phonetically as much identical as Yahweh and Jehovah are. The word Christ itself originated from Krishna.