Is their Mythology In The Bible?

C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

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

Comments

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

    The Trinity is not from or a part of Mythology. Please note from above: "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". As believers, we must accept what God revealed. CM

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

    Brethren,
    Have you read The Epic of Gilgamesh (Babylonian Flood Story -- http://www.ancienttexts.org/library/mesopotamian/gilgamesh/tab11.htm)?

    In the Gilgamesh Epic of the Flood, the story of the character Utnapishtim (which some scholars believe is the source or corruption of Noah in the flood narrative in the Bible) tells of a man who survived a flood designed to eradicate mankind, by building a large ark and thereafter becoming a god.

    Despite the stated facts since my last post above, some time ago, what are some similarities and/or differences between the two stories? CM

    SOURCE:

    -- Hoerth, Alfred J. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 1998. pp 192-196.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,207

    @C_M_ said:
    Despite the stated facts since my last post above, some time ago, what are some similarities and/or differences between the two stories? CM

    My take on the matter is this: From the beginning God has revealed and in the course of time made known His plan to mankind. Cp. Psa 19:1ff which mentions that the truth of God is declared in the heavens by means of the stars (constellations, etc) For quite some time, God's message was only declared and known by man via the mentioned means ... which then, starting from the time of Moses, began to be written down in the Scriptures.

    In other words, the truth of God was known from early on ... and it appears that as time progressed, this truth was diluted and changed more and more into error as mankind at large strayed from God and developed their own "religions". Interestingly, in many of mankind's religions, some bits of truth remained and or were only slightly changed so that one can still recognize parts of the truth which served as a type of source for the "religion deviation". In particular, at and after the time of Nimrod, Babylon became a center for false religion replacing the truth of God. True knowledge about astronomy was turned into religion which nowadays is known as astrology. The truth about God as only ONE single "spirit/person/being" was turned into a Trinity like "head circle of God(s)" which is found in just about all ancient religions ... and which showed up again in the major apostasy attack on true Christianity when the Messiah, the man Christ Jesus, was "turned into a "trinity God person" and his mother Mary been eventually granted "mother of God" status (similar to the status of the human mothers of the "Messiah" figures in the ancient mystery religions.

    Put in simple words, one could say that all the mentioned ancient religions and religious writings are counterfeit religions of the one truth of God that had been made known by God to Adam and was passed on to Adam's children, etc

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353
    edited December 2019
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

    Wolfgang,

    You made some valid points. The oldest mythology is The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the most well known Mesopotamian myths, and is often regarded as the oldest known piece of literature in the world. It was initially a number of individual short stories, and was not combined into one cohesive epic until the 18th century. When one actually read the story from the website given above and the Biblical account of the flood, there are some salient points. 

    The origin of mythology -- is a myth that purports to describe the origin of some feature of the natural or social world. One type of origin myth is the cosmogonic myth, which describes the creation of the world.

    Enuma Elish indicates some analogies in the order of creation:

    • Firmament
    • Dry land
    • Luminaries
    • Lastly humankind

    However, there are also distinct differences:

    1. There is no clear statement that light is created before the luminaries.
    2. There is no explicit reference to the creation of the Sun. To infer this from Marduk’s character as a solar deity and from what is said about the creation of the Moon in Tablet V is difficult. 
    3. There is no description of the creation of vegetation.
    4. Finally, Enuma Elish knows nothing of the creation of any animal life in the sea, sky, or earth.

    A comparison between Genesis and this account indicates that twice as many processes of creation are outlined in Genesis 1. 

    • There is only a general analogy between the order of Creation in both accounts. 
    • “There is no close parallel in the sequence of the creation of elements common to both cosmologies". 

    Concerning the time for Creation, the only possible hint is provided in the Atra-Ḫasis account of the creation of humankind

    • Here 14 pieces of clay are mixed with the blood of the slain god and placed in the womb goddess. 
    • After 10 months of gestation, the goddess gives birth to seven male and seven female offspring. 
    • The birth of humankind after a 10-month gestation is not found in Genesis; humanity is created on the sixth day. 
    • The link of the Sabbath to a Near Eastern background has also been futile.

    Did you find any more similarities or differences? CM


    SOURCE:

    Charles Francis Whitley, “The Pattern of Creation in Genesis,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 17 (1958): 34, 35.

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,207

    Did you find any more similarities or differences? CM

    I do not regard the Biblical record and ancienet mythologies of equal value or equal truth, etc .... rather, I regard the Biblical record to provide the original truth and all mythologies of later human invention, partly perhaps reflecting a few points of the original truth.

    The fact that there may be certain similarities (e.g. mention of a rather large and destructive flood, it being related to a judgment of God/gods) indicate to me that in those ancient civilizations the original truth was at one time known, but had been either lost (in part or as a whole) or was purposely changed to a different story. Remember, a counterfeit usually contains certain points of the original, and the closer the counterfeit is to the original, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between original and counterfeit.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

    Good points. However, to detect a counterfeit of any kind is to study the original thoroughly. What is not the original is a counterfeit. CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,207

    Good points. However, to detect a counterfeit of any kind is to study the original thoroughly.

    This is exactly the reason why I propose to evaluate any extra-biblical information (such as scientific/supposedly scientific/theological/religion/ etc. ideas in light of Scripture ... and not - as is often done - evaluate Scripture in light of the extra-biblical information.

    The Copernican ideas of the earth being some little solid matter ball within a vast widely empty space in which earth and other gas balls (planets and stars travell at unimaginable speeds over unimaginable distances of billions of "light years" etc. flat out contradicts the information given in Scripture about earth, stars, heaven, etc. Thus I consider such a worldview to be human imagination, but certainly not in harmony with Biblical truth.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353

    Hold up, Mr. Wolfgang! Which was here first, the Bible or science? Modern science may only conjecture. We shouldn't put nature or science above God.

    To be clear, I reject "theistic evolution", “evolution”, “spiritualism”, “theosophy”, and “pantheism” --Anything that robs God's word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives.

    The Bible is not weak and in need of support from modern science and archaeology. There are two levels of truth— both objective and subjective. Faith is primacy over all sciences.

    In this age of the world we see every grade and degree of skepticism. There are rank infidels. An 18th century writer penned:

    Ignorance of the character of God, pride of understanding, and the love of sin, are the source of infidelity. Men deny the divinity of Christ, cast away the Bible, and thus seek to free themselves from personal accountability to God. They bring the Bible into conflict with “science, falsely called." These doubters can start inquiries which the most humble and pious Christian would be perplexed to know how to answer. But because their inquiries cannot be answered, is no evidence that the Bible is not true.

    Let’s be aware that presuppositions are widespread today, but are not biblical. e.g. Evolution has been proven by science and many others.

    When I speak of presuppositions, I am referring to the difference in interpreting basically the same evidence while some men draw different conclusions. Too often men's theories and speculations, falsely called science and philosophy occupied the mind where it can’t properly discerned biblical truths.

    Truth determines not only our understanding of reality and our comprehension of the world around us, but also the way we live. Any compartmentalization of truth in terms of ethics and religion, science and faith, is a rejection of the fact that truth is a Person and that it is He who integrates all knowledge into a single meaningful totality. We are to live according to the truth (see 1 John 1:6). We need to display truth both in speech and conduct. Nature is a great lesson book, which in connection with the Scriptures is a great tool. To understand God and to lead men back to the Bible.

    The writings of the Bible came from God:  Then Moses wrote down everything the Lord had said (Exodus 24:4). (cf. Exodus 34:27; Jeremiah 36:2). The Holy spirit spoke to and through His prophets. The impact of these Scriptures on human culture and civilizations (ethics, science, medicine, religion, philosophy, literature, art, etc.). 

     We know that all the writings of the Bible come from the same supernatural source. The unity of the Bible in spite of the great diversity of its authors (education, time, culture) suggests the same supernatural inspiration. 

     “For many years You put up with them. By Your Spirit You warned them through Your prophets. In spite of that, they didnʼt pay any attention. So, you handed them over to the nations that were around them” (Nehemiah 9: 30). (cf. Zechariah 7:12)

    God's knowledge is all encompassing. His knowledge is called omniscience because it is all inclusive. He knows Himself perfectly and all that comes from Him is perfect. In addition, His knowledge is perfect of the past, present, and the future. While man is only able to observe outward manifestations, God knows the heart and motives as well. God knows the possibilities of life as well as the actual realities. God is aware of all the possible options of any given circumstance. It was Job, in one of the oldest books of the Bible who said, "Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?" (Job 37:16). 


    In my view, science is a handmaid of the Bible. CM


    SOURCES:

    • New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1976 ed., s.v. “Etiology.” 
    • L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976), p. 67. 
    • Ramm, Bernard. The Christian View of Science and Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976. 
  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,207

    Hold up, Mr. Wolfgang! Which was here first, the Bible or science? Modern science may only conjecture. We shouldn't put nature or science above God.

    ?? What do I need to hold up? why do I need to hold up? what did I write that would have stirred you up to write the above?

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 3,353
    edited January 3

    Wolfgang,

    I didn't mean to startled you. However, I want to be sure neither us get to cozy in bed with science at the expense of the Bible. That's all. Are we on the same page about this? CM

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,207

    SOURCES:

    , 1976 ed., s.v. “Etiology.” 

    L. Berkhof,  (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976), p. 67. 

    Ramm, Bernard. . Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1976.

    @C_M_ ,something I noticed now many times with your posts is the fact that you mention "sources" .... However, in the text of your posts it is unclear which part of what you write is quoted from which source and which parts are actually your own thoughts and conclusions.

    As I have mentioned times before, I am interested in corresponding with the other members of the forum in an exchange, not with a book author who has nothing whatever to do in the forum exchange. Therefore, IF one quotes from some source (book, news article, etc) one should try and clearly mark in a somehow recognizable fashion which part of a post is quoted and which part is one's own.

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