The Ancient Egyptian civilization is the first and foremost of cultures. From approximately 3150BC, the history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of Kingdoms: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached its pinnacle during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period. From Ancient Egypt came classical writings and treatises, among which we know today as the Coffin Texts, the Pyramid Texts, Amduat, and Egyptian Book of the Dead. The Ancient Egyptian culture, traditions, rituals and religion served as the source and foundation for almost all subsequent traditions, cultures and religions, East and West.

Pyramid Texts: My lifetime is eternity; my limit is everlastingness.

Instructions of Amenemope: The words which men say pass on one side, the things which God does pass on another side.

Instructions of Amenemope: Man is clay and straw, and God is his potter.

As above so below: as is God so is man

It is likely that the Egyptians envisioned God very differently than the Judeo-Christians. Based on the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus (or the Egyptian god Thoth), ‘God’ may have simply been the cosmos above, naturally omnipotent with regard to the cosmos beneath it. As man could be considered a god in relation to an ant, so might have the Egyptians envisioned a mightier being, having full control and influence over the world of man.

The previous quotation from the Instructions of Amenemope portrays God as a potter and man as his earthen creation. This may be the source of inspiration for the Biblical creation of Adam. Khnum was the Egyptian creator-god, often portrayed beside a potter’s wheel molding pharaohs into being. The son bears a resemblance to the father, the new generation mirrors the preceding one, and the principle of ‘as above so below’ manifests in the passage from one generation to the next.