The first god who was, remains in the latest god who is. The gods have been of the same descent, always, everywhere. I mean this not in the sense of many theologians, that, "Yes, God has been eternally Himself but we have gradually learned more about His nature," nor in the sense of many sectarians that, "Yes, people have forever worshiped false gods but gradually we are coming to see my God," but rather I mean it to say that the gods were discovered once, in the earliest times, and that there had been a direct descent of the same divinities down to the present. By "discovered" is meant that the first humans perceived gods in the world; they perceived the supernatural, and they took immediate steps to control it.
Such statements may provoke panic in various intellectual quarters, and we wonder whether to arrest the panic or let the room be cleared. Much of out religious thinking depends upon refusing or denying the statements. Even some hard-boiled anthropologists meekly purchase meliorism in religious history, part of the famous idea of evolutionary progress, some such belief as that by indistinguishable degrees, dull-witted savages become plant-worshipers, and these grow into deists, who later become monotheists and finally begin to be secularists - and anthropologists. Even those who do not believe in gods are quite sure that they are competent to distinguish good gods from bad ones.
Yet the history of religion permits the statement. Leroi-Gourhan believes that the Upper Paleolithic hunters were probably religious. I have supported this view in Chaos and Creation with illustrations of a probable mating of Heaven as a bison and Earth in the form of a woman. Much earlier practices respecting burials and the mounting of bear skull accord to Neanderthal man also basic religious ideas. Leroi-Gourhan (in Religions de la Prehistoire) produces a scenario of a large primordial religion from an "insignificant" incised tablet. What is revealed by relics must be only a token of full-scale rites of religion. A recent Soviet excavation finds religious incisions on animal skulls hundreds of thousands of years ago; for that matter, Pietro Gaietto attributes sculptures to "hominids" of 1.5 million years of age; but, as I have argued in other works, the measurement of time is a sorry state of disrepair. In Homo Schizo I, incidental to establishing the hologenesis of culture, a connection of symbols and the supernatural is made. In my general attempt there and elsewhere to shorten drastically the time of homo sapiens and to identify to erase the need to account for a long period of stupid human development prior to a mutation, or natural selection, or social invention that would initiate religion, along with man.
Further, I am in accord with the claim of anthropologists Washburn and Moore, that mankind could have originated only once. It seems to me that humanity is so distinctive in its self-awareness and symbolism, and that these traits are so suffusive over the scope of human behavior, that, once human in these regards, thence human in all regards.
Paul Radin (Primitive Religion) agues against the belief, represented especially by Andrew Lang, Pinard de la Boullaye, and others, that the primordial religion contained a belief in a Supreme God or High God. Rather, "wherever a Supreme Deity or a High God... exists it is the belief either of a few individuals or of a special group." He is persuaded that ordinary people are bereft of sky religion, a thesis that is patently false and can only be precipitated out of the materialistic brew of early Marxist anthropology.
Our interest is not to inter this debate but to veer towards a more important truth. Earliest humans gave preeminence to sky gods, as soon as one or more might be discerned through the thinning canopy of clouds. Ouranos and his counterparts in other cultures were, as we have remarked, first Heaven, then God, corresponding to the canopy and the appearance of a great sun-like object (among many others) in the new skies. However, since we believe this tumultuous set of natural events took a part in creating the human race itself, we would maintain that man was never human before he was religious.
Some tribes appear to follow spiritualism and animism and lack astral heavenly gods of human quality. We find ancestral spirits and ghosts usually inhabiting territories and, if they are disembodied, lower parts of the atmosphere; or the atmosphere is a medium through which they may move more easily than by treading the earth. Indeed, was not the vault of heaven itself low? And was not the Earth the goddess, sufficient itself to the first age of religious awareness? The Clouds of Heaven were many and low, until descended in deluges.
The Vault of Heaven was lifted and humans saw the heavenly bodies removing themselves to remoteness and, too, the gods and hosts of heaven behaving destructively and benevolently with their own wills and human features.
We can agree with Mircea Eliade (The Quest: History and Meaning in Religion) Where, discussing Wilhelm Schmidt (Ursprung der Gottesidee) he says,
"It is true that the belief in High Gods Seems to characterize the oldest cultures, but we also find there other religious elements. As far as we can reconstruct the remote past, it is safer to assume that religious life was from the very beginning rather complex, and that 'elevated' ideas coexisted with 'lower' forms of worship and belief."
Thus, a prominent, although not dominant school of thought in the history of religion, exemplified in the work of A. Lang, M. Muller, R. Pettazoni, W. Schmitt, and M. Eliade propounds the thesis that the first worshiper and hence the ancestors of all religions believed in sky-gods. We find their arguments persuasive and add to them what we know about actual prehistoric skies and catastrophic occurrences affecting the skies. The belief in sky-gods is attested to both by the most ancient sources of religious practice and by the studies of modern so-called primitive peoples (whom we prefer to call "tribal"). All of the "great" religions begin their stories in the skies: The Judaic complex, the Greco-Roman complex, the Egyptian, the old Chinese religion of Heaven, the Meso-American complex, the Teutonic, the Persian, the Hindu. "The Chinese T'ien means at once the sky and the god of the sly." Among the less familiar religions, the Mongol, the Sumerian, the Babylonian, the Celtic, the Baltic, and the Slavic have nominated the sky and its god( s) for preeminence. Not only this; so far as one can tell, all primitive religions have important celestial referents, and we may quote cases from Eliade again:
"The supreme divinity of the Maori is named Iho; iho means elevated, high up. Uwoluwu, the supreme god of the Akposo Negroes, signifies what is on high, the upper regions. Among the Selk'nam of Tierra del Fuego God is called Dweller in the Sky or He Who is in the Sky. Puluga, the supreme being of the Andaman Islanders, dwells in the sky... The Sky God of the Yoruba of the Slave Coast in named Olorun, literally Owner of the Sky.
The Samoyad worship Num, a god who dwells in the highest sky and whose name means sky. Among the Koryak, the supreme divinity is called the One on High, the Master of the High, He Who Exists. The Ainu know him as the Divine Chief of the Sky, the Sky God, the Divine Creator of the Worlds, but also as Kamui, that is, Sky. The list could be easily extended."
Why is the sky the seat of the gods and even the gods themselves? From his unmatched scholarship, Eliade fetches a proposition which we believe to be incorrect: "Simple contemplation of the celestial vault already provokes a religious experience. The sky shows itself to be infinite, transcendent... For the sky, by its own mode of being, reveals transcendence, force, eternity. It exists absolutely because it is high, infinite, powerful." This speculation which figures over several pages, stands without supporting evidence. It seems to say, "since heaven is divine, and the gods are celestial, there must be a reason; the reason is a) since the gods are there, the sky must have impressed man and b) the sky is impressive (for the gods are there)." The logic is confusing and borrows, though not with conscious purpose, the propaganda technique of showering agreeable statements upon the reader.
"Indeed, if one shows ( as has been done in recent decades) that the religious lives of the most primitive peoples are in fact complex, that they cannot be reduced to 'animism, ' 'totemism, ' or even ancestor-worship, that they include visions of Supreme Beings with all the powers of an hypotheses which deny the primitive any approach to 'superior' hierophanies are nullified."
One must return to the beginning. Granting that the sky-gods and sky-religions are primordial, how is man prompted to perceive the supernatural there, place preeminent divine activities there, and make the sky the centerpiece of religion? If humans existed long before religion was invented, then it should be embarrassing to argue that the skies might exist for millions of years before the idea of religion popped into the minds of people everywhere (and very much the same idea of religion, that is, sky-religion without aeons of animism, pantheism, ghosts, totemism, and such other forms of religion).
Eliade does not explain how early religions would move from sky-gods to demonism, totemism and animism, and sometimes back, for modern tribes of this ilk meet no insuperable problem in adopting a sky religion such as Islam or Christianity. We offer two explanations. First, these religious practices were originally, have been, and are always with us, and are not at all embarrassed at co-existing with sky-gods.
The second explanation is consistent with the first. The sky-gods seem to have disappeared from many minds of our "high" civilization in favor of the worship of technology, cinema and political heroes, and a number of psychopathological quirks. "Primitive tribes," since explorers and anthropologists began their profuse reports, seem to have lost their sky-gods, too, or never to have had any, or to possess dei otiosi. May not these tribe people be acting like these civilized people in focusing upon the sky-gods when the gods are active, or when the memory of them, consciously or unconsciously, is acute, tending to dismiss, forget, and deny them when they are not causing great trouble? The skies became peaceful and the world stopped shaking; people turned to the supernatural manifestations of their closer environment. In this case, we may surmise also that the sterner the institutions of memory (records, graphics, priesthoods, bureaucratic churches, holidays) the longer the sky-gods will persist in a culture.
Faced with embarrassment, the idea of long evolution of religion (but then perhaps, too, of the long evolution of man) might be dropped. Then at least, we see man becoming human and sky-religious concurrently.
But another embarrassment occurs. If this occurs at one place and one time, as we have asserted, how do all people settle upon the sky and often the same creation stories of first generation gods, as we shall see? "Diffusion," one might venture; from the first Adam and his home locale, there went forth the common focus and story (" Just as the Hebrew Genesis says!"?). If so, the first human must have achieved the diffusion; there would be no humans to pick up the story elsewhere.
In his book of Timaeus, Plato accepts and rationalizes in its early pages the existence of "everything visible, and which was not in a state of rest, but moving with confusion and disorder" prior to the work of the Divinity of demiurge which in its plenitude of intelligence and power "reduced it from this wild inordination into order."
Here is the first revolution; a Chaos, worked upon by a Demiurge (God) produces Order. This is a common ancient myth but we recall that Timaeus is a highly sophisticated Pythagorean and thinker. I conclude that the first of all great events remembered by man and emplaceable in primevalogy is the separation of Heaven from Earth.
The Divinity, according to Plato-Timaeus, using earth, fire, water, and air from the universe formed (generated) it into a figure, an animal containing all figures and animals and gave it the 'most becoming'... "spherical shape, in which all the radii from the middle are equally distant from the bounding extremities." So says Taylor in his great commentary on Timaeus. This universe moves in a circular revolution.
Taylor concludes that the boundless, the universe before god was composed of thick cloud or mist to early and late Greek philosophers. Fire made it visible and that is why it became the first of the elements.
There is a major dilemma in Timaeus, faced by all philosophers and theologians who explain creation. Was God always around but disinclined to do anything about the Chaos? Then finally did he act and make order, i. e., the universe as man knows it?
My interpretation is as follows:
The Cosmologist is Man. Man senses ancient experiences. He asks when did experience begin. In fact, he is asking "when did I begin?" i. e. my inquiring mind.
He thinks everything always was, because this is a logical thought. He recollects, however, a time before the time he recalls, and remembers such time as chaos or disorder (or thick fog).
This time of the ordering of chaos must be either a memory of when man first got his head straight, i. e. could reason and ask basic questions, or an actual revolution of his nature or environment (a catastrophic set of events involving perhaps the lifting of a law canopy from Earth) which he recalls because he was already homo sapiens in all or part; but he cannot recall any specific catastrophic events before this time ; therefore it becomes his creation moment, his gestalt of creation.
Then there are later stories about divine and celestial behavior that are found throughout the world, as, for example, the later coming of an electric or thunderbolting god. For instance, Eliade comments, as have I, on "the later transformations of sky gods into storm gods." Is this diffusion, or a common experience of separated people? Evidently, religious historians do not sense that a sequence of gods might exist, which are related to real natural events as experienced by widely separated people, such events being originally involved in the selection of the sky as the first god and the home site of the gods.
Religion begins and endures in the sky, and the gods with it, because the sky has been much more than the sky that we experience today. The oldest religions and tribal legends agree generally that the skies were a heavy and full covering of the Earth, that they become turbulent, descending upon the Earth, that the broke and discharged liquids and solids upon the world, that before man's eyes the god of the sky tool shape, and that here was the first or Ouranian religion.
The primordial heaven and god do not endure forever. And at this point, Eliade recalls the famous ancient concept of the deus otiosus, the distant, removed, hence disoccupied god. Having created the world the first gods generally retire. "Celestially structured supreme beings tend to disappear from the practice of religion, from cult; they depart from among men, withdraw to the sky, and become remote, inactive gods( dei otiosi);" Eliade presents relevant cases. "Everywhere in these primitive religions the celestial supreme being appears to have lost religious currency. . . Yet he is remembered and entreated as the last resort. . ." A quantavolutionary would surmise that the tribal (' primitive') response to a long period of settled skies is exactly like the civilized society's response: to forget in part the great gods of disastrous ages, to secularize, to reduce religion to superstition, and also to make the Sun a catch-all for the gods.
But once again Eliade resorts to reductionist explanation and writes such lines as, "The divine remoteness actually expresses man's increasing interest in his own religious, cultural, and economic discoveries." He illustrates the "remoteness" by cases where in good times, gods are ignored, only to be appealed to in desperate times. This is a very different remoteness. In the celestial archetype, god is remote because he is not around and operative; in the second case, god is present but neglected.
Eliade does not bring out the most striking fact about the retired god. His is often a forced retirement, following a bloody, world-shaking revolution. The Greek Ouranos was castrated by his son Kronos in a terrible revolt, and moved into exile, with no intimations of a return to power. A new great age begins.
The birth of the great goddess Athena is reported in the Homeric "Hymn to Athene."
"Athene sprang quickly from the immortal head and stood before Zeus who holds the aegis, shaking a sharp spear: great Olympus began to reel horribly at the might of the bright-eyed goddess, and earth round about cried fearfully, and the sea was moved and tossed with dark waves, while foam burst forth suddenly: the bright son of Hyperion stopped his swift-footed horses a long while, until the maiden Pallas Athene had stripped the heavenly armor from her immortal shoulders."
Moreover, the new great gods are also celestial. They are not household familiars, woods sprites, or volcano ghosts. The Greek pantheon is well-known, but there are others as well. All of the great Greek gods are sky gods, though they may keep house on Earth as well, Hephaistos on Lemnos, Hades in the nether regions, and so on. The great ones are identified with the moon and planets: Aphrodite, Kronos, Zeus, Hermes, Athena, Ares, and possibly Apollo, Uranus, and Poseidon. (We do not refer, of course, to contemporary nomenclature.) When these gods are entered upon the historical record, dim though this time be, a period of greatest power can be assigned to each; this project was undertaken in Chaos and Creation. Then the sequence goes: Ouranos, Aphrodite as Moon, Kronos, Zeus (Hera), Apollo, Hermes, Athene and Hephaistos as Venus, and Ares. And there is substantial reason (not commonsensical) that these gods achieved power, fame, and worship because they were identified with great sky bodies, such as the planets, upon the occasion of great natural catastrophes be falling the Earth. Scanning Samuel Kramer's collection of Mythologies of the Ancient World, we find persistent outcroppings of the procession of gods and ages despite his complete disregard of events in the heavens that might differ from the behavior of the sun, moon, planets, comets, and stars today. We find dual splitting creation gods, of the type of Earth and Ouranos; we identify Saturn, Zeus, Venus, and Mars, and also stories of cataclysms of the raising of the sky, and of world ages.
In the Epinomis, Plato is accomplishing a significant trick of theology. Complaining of the mythology that places the gods on Mount Olympus, he replaces them upon the planets where, he says, they belong, hoping to reform their bawdy characters thereby. He says we must get rid of any notion of the strife of the gods. They move always in order. (Elsewhere, Plato would have any disbelievers in orderly skies punishable.) The astral gods are the real ones, he insists, and gives them their names. (He anthropomorphizes the vault of Heaven, Kosmos.) Their names, he suggests, should be coordinated with Syrian and Egyptian observations, which are much older and "tested by vast periods of time." To us it occurs that bringing the gods down to Olympus was psychologically an effort on the part of Greek myth-makers to control the gods; they became human and tied to human fortunes directly. Now Plato, feeling no threat of planetary disorders, wants to send them back to their former homes, which are once again safe. De otiosi, the removed gods, will be doubly safe, safe for themselves and safe for mankind.
We note that the Greek and many other cultures regard their sky gods as blood-related. To the Greeks - to us, for that matter - this could only mean that their history was intertwined, overlapping, of the same order of celestial experiences.
We note further that the greatest Greek philosophers and scientists did not argue against the succession of gods. They did not challenge the succession because somehow it was real to them. Somehow they were experientially or psychologically inhibited from claiming that the gods were born together. And so it was with other great ancient mythologies. Eliade hardly pries into the secrets of the Hebrew gods; yet, guided by the hypothesis that gods occur in succession, and lend their new traits to religion it is not difficult to see in the Bible and the legends of the Jews a series of gods, not badly matched with the Greek and Mesopotamian gods. These were objects of worship by hostile factions. At the least monotheism becomes, if not polytheism, then serial polytheism. Thus, in the opening passages of Genesis, the figures of Ouranos and Kronos are vaguely discernible, occurring in turn, whereupon intimations of worship of the Moon, Jupiter, Hermes, and Baal-Venus intrude. The Archangel Gabriel, through Jewish legend, can be linked to the planet Mars, and the destruction of the Assyrian army of Sennacherib in 687 B. C. Yahweh, who is linked to Elohim (Saturn-Kronos) by Mosaic fiat, seems to be a Zeus-Horus-Jupiter figure to most scholars, and seems also to be a Thoth-Hermes-Mercury figure, blended with the Zeus figure, to the present writer (see God's Fire: Moses and the Management of Exodus). This latter god( s) can be fitted into history at the beginning of the Old Bronze Age in Egypt and the Near East. Thus, there has been a succession of gods and goddesses in human history. Yet human nature is obsessive, that is, faithful; further, it was a great sacrilege to forget god, and severe punishment and expiation not only followed forgetting but were performed as prophylaxis. The compelling reason to change gods is to be found in reality. The reality is that the gods have changed, and, despite all his efforts to be loyal, man has been forced to worship new gods over the ages.
The ambivalence of the gods caused mankind from the beginning to exert itself strenuously to control them. A continuous redefinition occurred. Yet never has the nuclear complex of a god been put aside without great external pressures, the most excruciating of which has been the advent of an apparently more flexible and potent deity. In these cases, people have, as often as they could, tried to merge the new and the old; any evidence of continuity and any confusion of identities, whether physically or psychologically produced, have been seized upon to establish that the worship of the new is faithful to the worship of the old.
Therefore it happens, consciously or not, that all gods have an unbroken line of ancestors going back to primordial chaos; there the gods are made from the abstract elements such as air and water or the world begins out of nothing. We should bear in mind that when Egyptian history opened, with the Pyramid texts, Osiris( Saturn) was already dead, deus otiosus, and Horus (Zeus) reigned. Thus too, recorded history and ruins of civilized settlements portray the Saturnian (Osirian) "Golden Age" and its horrendous destruction.
The god Nun of Egypt, first god of the first recorded cosmogony, bears in his hieroglyphic name that he is of the primordial wastes of water in the sky, and Egyptian legends state this to be the case. Mother Earth, Terra Mater, the Universal Genitrix, Gaia, is the most durable of the gods, and found practically everywhere. In Hesiod's Theogony, she gives birth to Ouranos who is "a being equal to herself, able to cover her completely." It is clear, however, that Earth (who may even be conceived of as masculine sometimes) reacts to the changing gods of change. This Nun or heaven is "father of the gods" and father of Atum or Re. He or it is the demiurge of the boundless, featureless darkness, from which evolved the first hills or eminences. There appeared in early Egypt four different cult centers with special creation myths, all of which were essentially the same.
In Sumer in the 5th millennium before the present, as legend has it Nammu, whose ideogram carries the meaning of "sea," was called the mother of heaven and earth who also bore the gods. Fluids and gases are favored elements of chaos and materials of creation. There is more than a semblance of logic alone in this accord of legends; the idea that gases go with chaos is attractive but is more than ex post facto explaining of legendary fiction. Fluids and gases must indeed have enveloped primordial man and attended the birth of the gods. Ouranos emerged out of the watery and turbulent wastes of the sky cloaked in robes of clouds. Philo Byblius anciently reported from earlier sources that the first Phoenician god was Elium or Hypsistos (" the Highest") and was succeeded by Ouranos who was succeeded by El or Kronos. But I would interpret this primordial god as the first stage of Ouranos, the adamantine condition of the sky prior to its breaking open to reveal the great light of Ouranos.
The Babylonians, successors to Sumer, in the early third millennium B. C. worshiped Marduk-Bel (Baal) as patron god and world creator, exalted over the old Mesopotamian pantheon just as Jupiter came to be exalted over Saturn in the Roman-Greek pantheon. Poseidon (brother of Zeus and son of Chronos) remained in heaven after his father fell and only later, upon agreement with Zeus, descended to rule the seas. He also flooded the land as he did so and was known as the land-encroacher. Thus the descent of Poseidon (Neptune) is to be identified with a great deluge, perhaps a name for, it not a later part of, the same great deluge that is connected with the crippling and binding of Kronos (Saturn) and is the same as the flood of Noah brought down by Elohim in Hebrew Genesis.
The qualities of new gods were thus to replace, overlap, and add to the qualities of the old; theology assisted by political power and the manifest abilities of the new god performed the task. Jupiter, for example, was called "fecundator," but the original fertilizer of the Earth and founder of agriculture was his father, "Saturn fecundator." The process by which the Sun usurped the identity and history of the old gods over the past two thousand years is homologous; when the skies settled down, this great and apparent sky-body grew in religious stature.
Buddhism climbed upon Hinduism; Confucianism and Taoism evolved from the worship of T'ien. The Christians and Muslim supplied "new testaments" to the Hebrew "Old Testament." There are no "Great Religions" in the world whose occurrence cannot be contemporaneously connected with natural events of the caliber of world-wide catastrophe. The same applies to small but persistent, durable religions such as modern Judaism, and Parsiism, descended from Persian Mazdaism through Zoroaster. I do not speak of many other religions of the world, some of which may well be "superior" or more deserving of the title "great" by such criteria as may be advanced in discussion. Nor do I distinguish among sects within the "Great Religions," while recognizing that in reality there may exist distinctions as significant, say, among Christian groups as between the "average" Christian religion and other religions. We hear of many instances in which Christians or Muslims are more comfortable among "head-hunting" sects or gnostic or totemistic religion than among their own kind.
An important line of attack may be leveled against our assertion that he succession of gods reflects a series of natural catastrophes upon Earth. Religions have continued to acquire new gods without actual catastrophes and have spread widely without catastrophes to help them do so. Some of these religions have been militarily aggressive, others peaceful. Thus Islam conquered large areas at first by the sword, as is will known, but in recent years has converted peoples readily with little bloodshed and compulsion, as in central Africa. Father back in time, as Wheatley (The Pivot of the Four Quarters) asserts, the Hindu pantheon moved into Southeast Asia along with its social institutions. Along with the religion went peaceful commerce. Many shrines were erected, around which there grew up cities. So enthusiastic were people for the peacefully inculcated religion that sometimes the near totality of a state's economy was given over to oblations to the pantheon.
The 2600 years since the probable last great natural catastrophes have not been distinguished by peacefulness. War and slaughter have been conducted in the name of a warlike religion (or interpretation thereof), or of a peaceful religion, or in the name of no religion but the state or tribe. We are led, then, to conjecture that homo sapiens himself, though relieved of direct models of destructive behavior in the skies, continues to carry out deeply rooted impulses to destruction, whether through unconscious memory or because he is constructed genetically to do so. That both are in fact the case is a main thesis of my volumes on Homo Schizo. So long as the skies were disturbed, and the Earth with it, the character of religion reflected clearly natural events and imposed models of conduct upon man. But religion itself was born in the creation of man and, if he were other than true to his nature or were of another nature, he would not have a peaceful religion and behave peacefully in all probability. Religion is a dependent variable of human nature. It is a dependent variable of natural events. We shall have to inquire, as we proceed, whether, in some other sense, in another kind of reality, religion may be an independent variable, owing its existence to conditions freed of human nature and ancient natural disasters.
To speak of religion as a variable reminds us of how vague and intangible are the materials of the history of religion and even of religious behavior today. We must toy with notions of impractical super-surveys, in frustration over this situation.
To speak properly about the religion of a person, a standard intensive interview at the least is required. "What precisely are your perceptions of the supernatural?" "What practices, life-pattern, or habits do you possess that are related to these perceptions?"
Then, of course, inasmuch as one's behavior is never quite aligned with one's professed beliefs and behavior, one should bring in some external objective testimony to supplement the interview. We should have hundreds of pages per person, but only from these would we be able to define operationally the person's religion.
Were all the people on Earth thus interviewed, and the results properly classified, tabulated, and analyzed, we should be able better to generalize about the relation of present religion and gods to the historical religions and gods - provided, we should add, that we have assembled and ordered all that might be known about historical religions back to their origins in the origins of man; this, however, we should probably be incapable of doing unless we were to adopt as the guiding hypotheses those already suggested in these first chapters: namely:
The earliest human cultures were simultaneously religious.
The earliest and most important supernatural objects everywhere were celestial.
The Ouranian complex of Heaven and Gods was the first list of Dramatis Personae of religion everywhere.
The Ouranian complex was overthrown by nature and simultaneously by man.
All successive gods everywhere have descended from and relate to the Ouranian complex.
Man believed himself forced to change gods from time to time by evidence in nature.
Man, as he changed gods, accomplished the transition with as few variations as possible in previously assigned powers, traits, names, vestments, rites and religious conceptions.
In these transitions, man became adept (to his way of thinking, which was and is delusory) at reconciling and controlling his gods through his religion, whence, by controlling the gods, at controlling the world, all with the ultimate and impossible goal of obtaining self-control and peace of mind.