Tree of Life Lessons
Level 1 Lesson 7 World Religions
Pharaoh Amenhotep IV of
Today those of the scientific and literary world regard him as “the first individual in history.”
His conduct and his conception were centuries beyond the level of human thought of his time. He advanced religions of mankind more than any other human before his period.
Biologists refer to him as an example of “saltation,” a leaping ahead in the progressive order of the evolution of man’s mentality.
Amenhotep IV reigned during the period of 1375—1358 B. C. (Allowing for discrepancies in the various ancient calendars).
His was the eighteenth dynasty. He was the son of Amenhotep III and Tia.
He despised the ignorance and superstitious practices of the priesthood.
He rose up and thrust aside the multitudinous deities of
He came to respect the sun as the visible source of life, creation, growth, and activity. It became to him the symbol of an everlasting God.
He declared that God was a vital intelligence existing as a single deity upon which all things in the universe depended.
The creative forces of this God, he explained, radiated through the sun.
Let us realize the courage and forethought it took to defy all existing convention and religious beliefs, for the first time in recorded history deny polytheism, or the existence of many gods, and declare that there was but one God and that He was Supreme.
Never had the mind of man dared to venture such a stupendous thought; that is, to entertain monotheistic views.
Remember, this was thirteen hundred years before Christianity adopted the doctrine of a belief in a single God.
He established this new religious movement and was declared a heretic by the priesthood of Ammon.
His dislike for the priesthood was so great that he changed his name meaning, “Ammon is Satisfied” to Akhenaton, “Pious to Aten.”
Aten was the name he gave to this single God which manifests through the sun. He was the world’s first great pacifist.
He despised war and tried to discourage it, which resulted
He left the traditional capital at
In this city he gathered together the most learned men and women of the time and organized them into a great brotherhood, the foundation of a vast mystery school, the teaching and ideals of which were to spread across the face of the earth.
All had to pay adoration to this one God and devote themselves to the study of science, religion, or art. It was the most revolutionary step ever taken to further the cultural interests of man.
Amenhotep IV married the great Nefretiti, meaning “beauty’s arrival,” and they had seven daughters who were always portrayed as participating in the sacred rites of the now religion.
We must hail the memory of this great individual who was neither swayed by the public opinion nor bound by traditions hoary with age and disintegrating from their own stagnation.