Editorials & Opinions

In his first encyclical letter “Deus Caritas Est” (God is love), Pope Benedict wrote: “Everything has its origin in God's love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it.” The equivalent of what Benedict says about what God’s love means to Christians was, for the ancient Egyptians, transformation.

 

If there was one thing that embodied the concept of the divine for the ancient Egyptian, it was transformation. That a thing can become another thing was the essence of Egyptian magic. The Afterlife books are filled with spells for transforming, for coming into being in other forms. The process of mummification, called beautifying in Egyptian, served to transform the corpse from rotting mortal remains into something of a cult statue, immune from decay, a form which enabled the deceased to live in another way. The natural world was transformed every year by the annual flood of the Nile; without it, there was no life in Egypt. In their understanding of the universe, of nature, and of the divine, everything had its origin in transformation, everything was shaped by it, everything was directed towards it.