Is their Mythology In The Bible?
Do you know if inspired writers may have used extra-biblical literary sources? Divine truth is actually expressed in human language under the guidance of the Holy Spirit; hence the Bible is a divine-human combination (incarnational theory of inspiration). The biblical prophets were children of their time, place, and culture, and their written works took the literary forms of their time (narratives, prose, poetry, songs, genealogies, parables, dialogues, etc.).
Similarities with the Creation Story and the Flood Account
(a) Moses’ Polemical Style
Since in the ANE there existed several ancient creation stories prior to the writing of Genesis 1-2, some scholars have claimed that the biblical creation account was influenced by, e.g., Babylonian mythology. Moses wrote the true creation account under divine inspiration to correct the distortions found in the mythological accounts of creation. Moses obviously avoided certain terms (bigger and lesser light instead of sun and moon) that could convey wrong conceptions (the terms for sun and moon would refer also to a god of the sun and a god of the moon). Further, in the biblical account, everything was created out of nothing rather than from defeated enemies. There is no struggle or war among the gods. The biblical creation account presents one God. It is a polemic against mythological stories and it is unique.
(b) Enuma Elish
The Enuma Elish creation account pointing out that creation out of a primordial conflict was a common motif in the ANE. Yet the Genesis creation account stands in stark contrast to it. Although such elements as the heavens, the earth, the sea/deep, and the sea “monsters” are mentioned, they do not represent fighting deities or a source of chaos.
(c) The Epic of Athrahasis
While there are some basic similarities between the biblical creation and flood account and the epic of Athrahasis, there are nevertheless many differences. Thus the biblical account does not present heaven, water, and earth as gods; humanity is not created from the blood of the rebellious leader of the junior gods. Further, the flood did not occur because the human population disturbed the rest of the deities but because of their wickedness and sinfulness. No, emphatically, Moses did not borrow ideas or concepts from this epic.
(d) The Epic of Gilgamesh
The storyline of the Gilgamesh epic and its tone is totally different from the biblical flood story. The account in Gen 6:11-13 plays with the word shachat (corrupt, destroy), explaining that the flood was God’s reaction against human society’s total corruption and violence rather than a capricious act of an angry deity. The biblical writers did not live in isolation. They knew the literature of their time and they used extra-biblical material to communicate competently. They used contemporary structures, styles, concepts, and language for the same purpose. Yet the biblical writers did not give credit to the original sources or authors because that was not customary in ancient times.
Truth found truth shared. CM