In response to the confusion about this important subject, I post here a lengthy excerpt from my book Suns of God
concerning the charges almost from the beginning of the Christian era proper that Jesus Christ is a sun god. As we can see from the evidence below, the solar-myth thesis is not new - NOT from the 19th century as some would opine. Nor has it been "discredited" in any meaningful way.
The following excerpt is from the "Jesus Christ, Sun of God" chapter in Suns of God
, which constitutes 48 pages that include a dissection and analysis of several pertinent parts of the Christ myth. Although the critics may haggle over details, no one has discredited this nearly 50-page chapter in any way.
From the beginning, early Church fathers such as Tertullian (fl. 190-220 CE) were compelled to combat this assertion [that Jesus Christ is the sun] by rejoining to the effect: "You say we worship the sun. So do you." In Ad. Nationes
, Tertullian addressed and denied the contention that Christians were just another sect of sun worshippers:
Chapter XIII. -The Charge of Worshipping the Sun Met by a Retort.
Others…suppose that the sun is the god of the Christians, because it is a well-known fact that we pray towards the east, or because we make Sunday a day of festivity. What then? Do you do less than this? Do not many among you, with an affectation of sometimes worshipping the heavenly bodies likewise, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise? It is you, at all events, who have even admitted the sun into the calendar of the week; and you have selected its day…
In The Apology
(Ch. XVI), Tertullian provided the following comeback to the charge of sun worshipping:
Others…believe that the sun is our god. We shall be counted Persians perhaps, though we do not worship the orb of day painted on a piece of linen cloth, having himself everywhere in his own disk. The idea no doubt has originated from our being known to turn to the east in prayer. But you, many of you, also under pretence sometimes of worshipping the heavenly bodies, move your lips in the direction of the sunrise. In the same way…we devote Sun-day to rejoicing, from a far different reason than Sun-worship…
Tertullian also acknowledged that Christians prayed to the east; in fact, for centuries Christians bowed to the rising sun before entering churches.
Over a century later, St. Augustine (354-c. 371) was forced to denounce what was obviously a continual "heretical identification of Christ with Sol." Before becoming an orthodox Christian, Augustine was a Manichean, a member of a major "heretical" Christian sect that was overt in the fact that its religion was sun worship. Not only did they, like other Christians, face the sun during their prayers, but they also stated that "Christ was the Sun, or that Christ resided in the Sun, where the Ancients had placed Apollo and Hercules," an assertion affirmed by Christian authorities "Theodoret, St. Cyril and St. Leon."
Like so many of the ancient gods, Christ is principally a personification of the sun, representing light and immortality, demonstrated by the numerous correspondences between his "life" and that of other solar heroes, as we have already seen abundantly. This fact can also be established through iconography, as well as the scriptures themselves, in which we find the "foreshadowing" (blueprint) for the "sun of righteousness," as in the final chapter of the last Old Testament book, just preceding the New. In that book, Malachi ("my messenger") says:
But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings…
This sun of righteousness is Jesus - and he is "Shamash," as the word appears in Malachi's original Hebrew. Shamash/Samas, the Babylonian sun god and winged sun of righteousness, is the same as the solar disc with wings found depicted in Assyria, Babylonia, Egypt and elsewhere.
Another clue can be found in Revelation, where Jesus is described as "the Amen":
JESUS IS THE SUN GOD
This statement is proved by the Bible. In Revelation 3:14, Jesus is speaking, and refers to himself as "the Amen." Amen Ra is the name of an Egyptian Sun God… the life of Jesus duplicates the trajectory of the Sun in the sky….
Commenting upon this identification of Christ as "the Amen," CMU observes:
Thus the sun, as personified in Christ, says, Rev. 1:18: "I am he that liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, Amen."
Again, "I am the resurrection and the life; the day star on high that redeemeth his people: I come a light into the world." This word Amen is nothing else than the disguise in which the translators have thought it proper to put Ammon. The sun, in the sign of Aries, was personified in Jupiter Ammon, as well as in Christ. Ammon signifies the secret or concealed one, and sacred had originally no other meaning than secret. In Isaiah 65:16, is not the "God Ammon" mentioned in the original, and suppressed by English translators?
Jesus's role as "the Amen" has already been discussed, including Amen's identification with Osiris, with whom the Christ character shares so many profound commonalities, including the most obvious that both are aspects of the God Sun.
Despite his protestations, in On the Resurrection of the Flesh
(Chapt. XLIX), Tertullian referred to Paul's comments at 1 Cor. 15:21 and compared the "glory of the sun" to that of Christ:
In like manner does he take examples from the heavenly bodies: "There is one glory of the sun" (that is, of Christ), "and another glory of the moon" (that is, of the Church), "and another glory of the stars" (in other words, of the seed of Abraham).
In The Acts of the Disputation with the Heresiarch Manes
, Church father Archelaus (277 CE) also related the comparison of the "glory of the sun" to that of Christ, and referred to "the true Sun, who is our Saviour." Numerous of the early Christians for centuries called Christ "the true Sun," "our Sun" and "the Sun of Righteousness," etc. In his Exhortation to the Heathen (Ch. IX), Church father Clement of Alexandria (150?-215?) refers to Christ as the "Sun of the Resurrection":
And the Lord, with ceaseless assiduity, exhorts, terrifies, urges, rouses, admonishes; He awakes from the sleep of darkness, and raises up those who have wandered in error. "Awake," He says, "thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light" - Christ, the Sun of the Resurrection, He "who was born before the morning star," and with His beams bestows life.
Regarding the "Sun of Righteousness," Clement further says (Ch. XI):
But night fears the light, and hiding itself in terror, gives place to the day of the Lord. Sleepless light is now over all, and the west has given credence to the east. For this was the end of the new creation. For "the Sun of Righteousness," who drives His chariot over all, pervades equally all humanity, like "His Father, who makes His sun to rise on all men," and distils on them the dew of the truth. He hath changed sunset into sunrise, and through the cross brought death to life…
The solar imagery could not be clearer: The sun of the resurrection, with his life-bestowing beams, rising or being born again each morning, awaking from the darkness, with the night fearing his light and ceding to his day. Furthermore, "sleepless light" or daylight pervades, and the west "gives credence to the east," as Jesus the Righteous Sun rises, in his chariot, the same as Apollo, Mithra, Krishna, Helios, etc.
In his writing to "Autolycus" (II, XV), Antiochan Bishop Theophilus (d. 180), to whom "Luke" evidently addressed his gospel, describes the sun as a "type of God":
…For the sun is a type of God, and the moon of man. And as the sun far surpasses the moon in power and glory, so far does God surpass man. And as the sun remains ever full, never becoming less, so does God always abide perfect, being full of all power, and understanding, and wisdom, and immortality, and all good. But the moon wanes monthly, and in a manner dies, being a type of man; then it is born again, and is crescent, for a pattern of the future resurrection.
While Christian historicizers actively worked to make some slight distinction between the visible Sun and the "true" Sun of Righteousness, Jesus Christ, their attempts were not successful, as the gospel fable remains the story of the sun, no matter how elegant the sophistry to prove otherwise. One of the alleged differences between Christ and the other "Suns of Righteousness" is that Christ purportedly walked the earth, emanating as the Word out of Judea. As Origen asserts in Contra Celsus (VI, LXXIX):
And therefore there was no need that there should everywhere exist many bodies, and many spirits like Jesus, in order that the whole world of men might be enlightened by the Word of God. For the one Word was enough, having arisen as the "Sun of righteousness," to send forth from Judea His coming rays into the soul of all who were willing to receive Him.
There would have been no need for such protestations and claims if the mainstream "history" regarding Jesus were true. The fact is that early Christians were desperate to explain why the basic story of Jesus was widely found, centuries prior to the purported advent of Christianity.
Anyone who is interested in the full argument - in a book nearly 600 pages - that covers pretty much all these objections - may wish to read Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ