Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Is the Bible Mythological?
In 1974 Bill Kaysing wrote a book titled “We Never Went to the Moon.” You might be surprised to know that he was able to get a few people to believe his theory. The thing Kaysing had going for him was the fact that the moon landings were incredible accomplishments. Plus there were really no “outside” witnesses. The more incredible, the more amazing something is, the easier it is to say it was just a hoax. Something like that has happened to the most amazing, incredible event of all time - the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. The Apostle Peter addressed this in his second letter as he remembered the Transfiguration of Jesus:
2 Peter 1:16-19 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Many people today try to tell us that the life of Jesus was a myth fabricated by the church to get people to believe in the new religion of Christianity. They love to compare the story of Jesus to a myth like that of the Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. A careful comparison of myths will show, however, that the Scriptural accounts are much different. Consider these three things:
Style: You must compare the actual texts of the Gospels with the texts of these ancient myths. One thing you will discover is that it is often difficult to get decent texts of these myths. When you do get a hold of them, you will notice tremendous differences. Myths are romantic, esoteric, fanciful and anonymous. The Gospels are direct, eye-witness accounts by men who lived in real history. The facts they report are amazing and hard to believe. But the fact is this: They are reported as facts not “just so stories.”
Intent: Secondly, look carefully at the intent of the myths. Human myths always focus on the natural world and the world men. They may be stories to explain the seasons or stories to explain why the king’s son should succeed the king when he dies. The god’s of the myths are nothing like the God of the Bible. Aside from having super powers, they think and act like humans. But the myths created by men never have anything to do with righteousness, the forgiveness of sins or the reuniting of man to God.
No Connection to History: Thirdly, note that myths have no connection to real history. It used to bother me that the Bible was so full of what I thought were insignificant details. I wondered why God didn’t just give us the “doctrine” without all the minor historical details: genealogies, names of rulers, cities, distances from this place to that place, etc. Now I know why God included these things. They show that all this is factual. Six days before the Transfiguration Jesus and His disciples were at Caesarea Philippi. This was an ancient Roman town at the base of Mt. Hermon, the highest mountain in the region. I could take you to Google Maps right now and show you this area. It is located near Highway 99 in the Golan Heights. Myths do not give these kinds of details.
For more on this topic, take a look at my sermon for Transfiguration, 2011.