GOD’S THOUGHTS—IN HUMAN WORDS.(25 AUG 2016)
It saddens my heart that people are being cut off from some of the most valuable resources available, spiritually, health-wise & physically. There is a relentless campaign to portray the Bible as myth. This message discusses the myth that the Bible is myth. Indeed, God’s Word teaches His people to disregard mythology (1 Tim. 1:4). From the beginning of the Scripture narrative, God is referred to as the God of truth whom men could trust.(A) God, speaking through His apostle, warns that a time was coming when people would “turn away their ears from the truth & turn aside to mythology” (B). The Bible narrative does not refer to itself as merely a story to teach a lesson, like an Aesop’s fable, but the inspired Word of God….So where do people get the idea that it is a myth?
First, seriously…WHO LIES? In one way, the ongoing, daily, constant barrage of lies spewed about Trump by the media is helpful to my message today. Liz Crokin, who has watched & reported on Trump for years writes, “Donald Trump is a racist, bigot, sexist, xenophobe, anti-Semitic and Islamophobe…the media launch these hideous kinds of attacks at Trump everyday, yet, nothing could be further from the truth… I’ve never heard anything negative about the man until he announced he was running for president.” She goes on to refute the lies, with her own personal eyewitness of who Trump is. This blatant constant barrage of outrageous lies should tip us off who the liars in life are. It is not the Word of God; it is this “liberal”, anti-morality, anti-truth mass media of the World system who are from their father, who is the father of all lies & sin! So when the System constantly portrays the Bible as myth…wise souls are going to refuse the media’s habitual lying & examine things for themselves. Who really is the habitual public liar of today?? It is the very people the media promote. The Scripture narrative says, “…let God be true, but every man a liar. As it is written: [and then it quotes PS 51:4}.” (C)
For many thousands of years, those who follow the Bible have had the attitude expressed in the Scripture: “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the World began.”(D) They have not viewed the sacred Scriptures as edifying myth, but the inspired Words of a God who cannot lie, the God of truth!
AN EXAMPLE OF A BIBLE SCHOLAR SEEING THE BIBLE AS MYTH. It has become fashionable for Bible scholars & preachers to refer to the Bible as myth. William F. Albright (1891-1971) is a very prominent example of a Bible scholar who thought that if one treated the Bible stories & Christ as myth, it would re-establish their intellectual credibility. This genius first began studying under Germans who were critics who believed the Bible was myth. And he began his career by being mentored by Hugo Winckler (1863-1913), a German scholar who taught that Israel had borrowed the Mesopotamian myths. That school of Biblical criticism held that almost none of the recorded events of the Bible took place precisely when, where, or how the Bible said that they did!! Originally, Albright believed Winckler’s idea that Joseph was merely a story based on the Babylonian god Tammuz (aka Adonis). But Albright was an honest scholar who saw in the actual ancient archeological remains that the myth theory of the Bible’s origin was wrong!! Albright is considered the founder (“father”) of Biblical archeology as a field of study, & has the Albright Inst. of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem named after him. Albright was a field archeologist skilled in the ancient languages of the Mid East, a specialist in Semitic languages, esp. an Assyriologist. He wrote Yahweh & the God’s of Canaan which put forth the theory YHWH was a belief that evolved from pagan deities. His most important book was “From the Stone Age to Christianity” (1940). Within just a few years after this book, he totally changed his mind & died concluding that the Bible is not myth, but an historically accurate document. He realized his theories were wrong. He went back on his own books! Modern scholars dislike his work.
As our understanding of the ancient times is still sketchy, not everything seems to line up with the Bible, but here are a few of the many notable ancient items that do support the Bible’s accounts:
From 2000 B.C. there are the Execration texts, which are the earliest references to many Biblical locations. Also from this time period is the Shiphrah slave list – Shiphrah was one of two midwives who helped prevent the genocide of Hebrew children by the Egyptians, according to the Book of Exodus 1:15–21. The name is found in a list of slaves in Egypt during the reign of Sobekhotep III. This list is on Brooklyn 35.1446, a papyrus scroll kept in the Brooklyn Museum. Early Paleo-Hebrew writing show that people did write back in Moses’ day…Bible critics had long held that Moses was illiterate- but ancient Hebrew inscriptions include the Gezer calendar, Biblical period ostraca at Elah and Izbet Sartah, and the Zayit Stone.
As my final example, I’ll use the Bubastite Portal at Karnak written c. 925 B.C., which records the conquests and military campaigns in c.925 BCE of Shoshenq I, of the Twenty-second Dynasty, identified with the biblical Shishaq. Towns identified include Rafah (rph), Megiddo (mkdi) and Ajalon (iywrn) which are referred to in the Bible. Many other archeological examples could be given, but I don’t want to test the reader’s patience. Sadly, Ron Ryatt, a true Indiana Jones type of Biblical archeologist, has most of his findings suppressed by the mainstream. It seems if something is not politically correct, then it gets suppressed. For one thing, the biblical writers back then totally denied teaching mythology. For example, Peter said, “We didn’t follow cleverly devised tales when we told you about the power & coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His Majesty” (E)
THE “BIBLE-IS-MYTH” MYTH CONT. Albright has been followed by many other scholars who continually spew out that the Bible is myth. The Jewish Bible Quarterly for instance put out a recent article: “From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends” by two Jewish authors. It reminded me of the Bible warning “not to give heed to Jewish fables” (F) The fable is that the Bible is merely myth. The ancient Hebrews of ancient Israel went to great lengths to copy the Scripture scrolls, letter by letter to get perfection, because it was considered sacred truth…not myth. They did not devote their lives to its teachings & stand by the Scripture even to death because it was merely upgraded pagan myths. While archeology year by year continues to relentlessly prove more and more of the Bible accounts, the myth that the Bible is myth continues to gain popularity! What?? Yes, the increasing popularity that the Bible is myth has nothing to do with new discoveries…that is not the driving force that is leading people to force the Bible into the myth category…the driving force is the increasing immorality and the increasing immersion of society into fiction & fables. While there are superficial similarities between the pagan myths & the Bible, the differences are essential & fundamental.
WHAT ARE MYTHS? The word has many definitions, it is hard to pin down. That is part of the difficulty of disproving claims that it is myth. It is hard to pin the claimants down to any workable definition. So I will offer some definitions of “myth”. It is a fictitious narrative. It can be the product of pure mental invention. Myth is rooted in falsehood; the Bible writers tried to root their words in history, therefore you get lots of genealogy that bores some readers. Mythical thinking sees a continuity between everything…there is no distinction between symbol & reality. Basically it is “pan-en-theism” (i.e. everything within the divine), or to use the proper term “pantheism”. Nature, people & the divine have no barriers of distinction in mythology; not so in the Bible. The mythmakers of the ancient world totally neglect any analysis of human choice & behavior and how our choices & behavior shape the present. The mythological view of life sees no real choices. Humans seemingly act without wisdom & understanding for the results of life are said to have little relationship to moral behavior & morally good choices. In the worldview of myths the invisible world shapes the visible. The past’s lessons are irrelevant and of no value. It is a pagan worldview, totally divorced from the moral responsibility of the Bible. Right from the beginning the Bible talks about moral law, and within the second book, gives us the 10 Commandments, incl. “Thou shall not bear false witness.” Meanwhile, the myths of the ancients were simply stories invented to explain phenomena, they were stories to explain things.
FINAL THOUGHTS. The Bible says “though thy sins be as scarlet” and it compares our righteousness to a dirty tampon. It does not equate those with darker skin to sin. Indeed, in the Song of Solomon, the beautiful girl there says, “I am black, but comely.” I say this because another popular myth that the Bible is white man’s book. The Bible is not for any race. One remarkable person was a black woman, Phillis Wheatley, brought over from pagan Africa, who became a published author of poetry, in an era when it was forbidden to teach slaves to read. She is said to be one of only 3 slaves that were published authors during America’s era of slavery. She left paganism & became a sister in Christ. She wrote:
“Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.”
In a letter she wrote: “…Let us rejoice in and adore the wonders of God’s infinite Love in bringing us from a [pagan] land semblant of darkness…where the divine light of revelation…[is] obscur’d…as darkness.” She is just one of millions of people who knew & grew up with the myths of paganism, and discovered the rich truths of the Bible. Have a great day in the Lord my friend!
(A) 2 early examples: Jacob, who refers to God as a God of “mercy & truth” of which he is not worthy in GEN 32:9a-10, & YHWH who is quoted in EX 34:6 introducing Himself as “…merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness & truth…” (B) 2 TIM 4:4 (C) RM 3:4 (D) TIT 1:2 (E) 2 PTR 1:16 (F) TIT 1:4
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