In the field of Religious Studies, many have speculated about the growth or the evolution of religion. Some say that human religion started with primalism, evolved into polytheism, which turned into monotheism, which will soon give way to secularism in its entirety. Some would add categories for pantheism or other types of religions, but those four structures seem to be in every religious studies report. But what if there was another way – the biblical model – where humanity was originally monotheistic?
If Yahweh’s first revelation to humankind was to Adam and Eve, and they worshipped him exclusively, that would mean that a biblical model for the history of religions would begin with monotheism, which would then turn into henotheism into polytheism. If the world was reborn through Noah, whose family eventually built the Tower of Babel, we would imagine that many human religions would have spun out of Yahwism (as it was known at the time of Babel), which would continue to influence many religions today.
The most obvious examples of religions that contained bits of Jewish theology would be the worship of ShangDi, the high god of China, who prescribed border sacrifices and created by his word, and cleansed the earth from a flood that threatened to destroy all of human life. We might also look at the Native Americans, who have legends about a god who created out of the depths of the sea by his word, who was opposed by a Coyote (the root of which comes from “deceiver”) who brought death into the world.
There are many other examples that might show what Daniel Strange calls “remnantal revelation”, or remnants of Yahweh’s special revelation as they persist in various forms in many religions throughout the history of the world. These remnants could be small, but they have to be meaningful to be correlated. For example, just because two religions have a concept of gods does not prove a meaningful correlation (in terms of proving my thesis). A meaningful correlation would be proven when we say that both religions start with myths about a flood, or about a god who creates by speaking, or that this god had an enemy known as an accuser.
I believe the Inca religion had plenty of this meaningful overlap, showing that their religion evolved out of Babelic theology of Yahweh.
Alfred Metraux, author of The History of Incas, was shocked to find that, in translating Incan hymns, he found some of the most incredible theology he had ever seen. The hymns were incredible because they questioned the high god of the Incan ancestors and the surrounding cultures, Inti. They noted that anything could simply dim his light and that he didn’t do anything new – if he were truly god, he wouldn’t be stopped by men and could do new things!
This caused Pichacuti to start to revert to an earlier form of belief in Incan theology: the worship of the high god Viracocha, “the Lord, the omnipotent Creator of all things”. This god appeared once to Pichacuti’s father in a vision to reveal himself as creator.
At the “Council of Coricancha”, Pachacuti listed three grievances against Inti: “Inti cannot be universal if, while giving light to some, he withholds it from others. He cannot be perfect if he can never remain at ease, resting. Nor can he be all powerful when the smallest cloud may cover him.” (Sounds like things you might find in the Christian Bible, eh?) On the other hand, Viracocha is “ancient, remote, supreme, and uncreated. Nor does he need the gross satisfaction of a consort. He manifests himself as a trinity when he wishes…otherwise only heavenly warriors and archangels surround his loneliness. He created all peoples by his word as well as the huacas. He is indeed the very principle of life, for he warms the folk through his created son, Punchao.” There’s more, but those lines sufficiently show a correlation between Viracocha worship and
More incredibly? All of these teachings came from within Incan theology, from a time before the missionaries reached the Incas. John H. Rowe says, “[..] has succeeded in restoring the hymns to their original version, and is convinced that they owe nothing to the missionaries’ teaching. The forms and expressions used are basically different to those of the Christian liturgy in the Christian tongue.” In fact, history shows us that the Christian missionaries didn’t reach the Incan people until about three generations after the Viracochan revolution began.
After his monotheistic revolution, there is a high correlation between the descriptions of Solomon and Pachacuti, the prophet of the Incan people. He was an incredible thinker, who brought the highest level of flourishing to the Inca people, and built many different buildings and palaces. He refurbished the temple to the sun and he built a “fabulous golden precinct” which was described as “magnificence rivaling even Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem!” He specifically built the fortress of Machu Pichu on top of a mountain where it would have military and religious advantage over invaders. Solomon’s wisdom caused him to build; similar descriptions from the Bible refer to Bezaliel and Jesus who built because of their wisdom, while a revised chronology shows that Imhotep built the pyramids out of his wisdom. Building is an outpouring of wisdom (cf. Proverbs 8); in that, those with wisdom build temples for God. In that, I don’t think we’re far off from saying that the INcan temples were designed, indirectly, for worship of the Trinity!
Imagine what would have happened had true ambassadors of the gospel had reached the Incan people rather than those who exploited the monotheism for their gain.
God, in the past, “let all nations go their own way. Yet he has not left himself without testimony.” (Acts 14:16-17)