I’m finally back to the blog. It’s been a little over two months since I’ve posted anything, but I’ve been fairly busy during that time. In early September I completed the Nation’s Tri (an Olympic distance triathlon – 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run). Upon completing that, I worked hard to finish the sixth book in the Truth Chronicles series. It is now edited, illustrated, and with the publisher. I’ll keep you posted about a release date. I also had several presentations that I needed to work on, so that ate up a large amount of time too. So let’s get back to the blog.
In my previous post, Giant Speculations, I talked about some of the ancient legends about giants and the possible connection to those mentioned in Numbers 13. In particular, many of these ancient legends describe the giants as having a fondness for eating human flesh. Numbers 13:32 describes the land of Canaan as a “land that devours its inhabitants.” While there are several plausible interpretations of that phrase, it could very possibly be a reference to man-eating giants. This potential connection between ancient Greek mythology and biblical history led people to ask if I knew of other possible connections between the two areas. So let’s look at a few of the many biblical accounts that seem to be echoed in Greek mythology (although intentionally or unintentionally distorted through the years).
The First Woman
The Bible tells us that the first woman was named Eve (Genesis 3:20). God created Adam first from the dust of the ground and then made Eve from Adam’s rib. There was no death, suffering, or evil in the world when God finished His work of creation on the sixth day (Genesis 1:31). In Genesis 3, we are told that the serpent deceived Eve, and after looking at the forbidden fruit (from the tree of knowledge of good and evil), she saw that it was good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise (Genesis 3:6). So she took the fruit and ate it. Adam followed his wife, and as a result of their rebellion against God, the Lord cursed the serpent and the ground. As a result of that sin, death, suffering, bloodshed, and evil would now be commonplace.
According to Greek mythology, the first woman was named Pandora. For you younger readers, Pandora is not just the name of an internet radio program. She was made from water and earth and blessed with many gifts (hence the name, pan = “all” and dora = “gift”). She was also given a large jar (or box in some retellings) holding all of the world’s evils and told to never open it. Curiosity got the best of Pandora and she eventually opened the jar allowing evil to fill the world.
Of course there are several differences between these two accounts, but notice the similarities. Before evil was ever in the world (although it may have already been around in the heavenly realm), the first woman was tempted. In an effort to satisfy her longings and curiosity, she makes the choice that she was explicitly commanded not to do, and in doing so, she plays a role in unleashing evil on this world. Although the Bible tells us that Eve was the first to eat the fruit, it also places the blame on Adam for bringing sin into this world.
The Strong Man
This is one potential parallel that many people familiar with the Bible and Greek mythology have wondered about. Both Samson and Hercules are well-known for their legendary strength, and many other similarities exist between the two.
Samson’s mother is described as barren (Judges 13:2) meaning that she could not have children. One day, she is visited by the Angel of the Lord who informs her that she will bear a son who will begin to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. She is given instructions about dietary requirements and is told not to let a razor cut the child’s hair. She tells her husband Manoah. The Angel then appears to both of them and repeats some instructions about dietary requirements. Samson is born, grows up, and becomes very strong. He kills a lion with his bare hands (Judges 14:6), kills a bunch of men who threatened to kill the woman betrothed to him (Judges 14:15, 19), kills a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey because they had killed his betrothed and her father (Judges 14:6, 15), sleeps with a harlot (Judges 16:1), falls for Delilah (Judges 16:4), shares the secret of his strength and is finally captured, blinded, and mocked (Judges 16:17–27). Samson died when he destroyed a temple of Dagon by pushing two of its supporting pillars apart, and in the process he killed about three thousand Philistines (Judges 16:27–30).
Hercules is said to have been a demi-god, the son of Zeus and a woman named Alcmene. His first wife was a woman named Megara. Hera temporarily made Hercules insane, and he killed their two children (some stories have him killing Megara too). His sanity restored, Hercules completes the famous 12 labors, one of which is killing the Nemean Lion. After a life of promiscuity and heroic deeds, Hercules is poisoned and dies. While the vast majority of his deeds are mythical, some believe Hercules was a real person living in the 13th century BC.
There are many differences between these two mighty men, but the similarities are striking. If some of the legendary details of Hercules’ life were borrowed (but distorted) from the Samson account, then perhaps this is another connection between the true history in Scripture and the distorted legends of mythology. Hercules was a demigod (child of a god and human), while Samson’s father was Manoah, although his mother was visited by God prior to her conception (it’s easy to see how this visit could have been distorted through retellings across cultures to think of him as a demigod). Both men experienced tragic endings to their first marriages. Both men famously killed lions. Both were known for their incredible strength. Samson died by pushing two pillars in Dagon’s temple, and Hercules is also known for having pillars associated with him. The two peaks at the western end of the Mediterranean Sea, one on Africa’s north coast, and one on Europe’s southern coast are called the Pillars of Hercules. The time period in which Hercules is thought to have lived also corresponds well with the life of Samson.
One of the more obvious points of similarity between Greek mythology and the Bible is the subject of giants. Many Bibles use the word “giants” in Genesis 6:4 as a translation of the word nephilim. The popular claim is that nephilim means “fallen ones,” but this is highly unlikely. As I’ve pointed out in this blog before and in greater detail in The Sons of God and the Nephilim, the word probably does not come from the Hebrew verb “naphal” (meaning “to fall”). To convert the verb naphal to a plural participle then the plural would become nephulim or nophelim. It would not become nephilim. The word nephilim almost certainly comes from the Aramaic noun naphil. The plural of this word is nephilin, and when brought into Hebrew, the word becomes nephilim. The word naphil means “giant,” so the plural of this word (nephilin / nephilim) would mean “giants.”
Where did these giants come from? Genesis 6:4 tells us that the giants were on the earth in the days before the Flood and afterward—whenever the sons of God (bene ha ’elohim) sired children with women. The “sons of God” are clearly viewed as heavenly or divine beings in the Old Testament (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Deuteronomy 32:8, ESV; see Daniel 3:25 for the Aramaic equivalent, bar ’elahin). These giants were called “mighty men of old, men of renown” by the biblical author.
Greek mythology also speaks of numerous mighty men of old. The Olympian gods frequently had affairs with women. The resultant progeny of these unions were demigods like Hercules and Perseus. Demigods were endowed with great strength and abilities, and they were often considered to be giants. This type of mythology is actually very common among ancient cultures around the world. The Bible provides just a few details in a straightforward manner while Greek and other ancient mythologies have developed all sorts of elaborate stories around these individuals.
There are many other similarities and possible parallels between the biblical accounts and ancient Greek mythology, and some of these connections that I have drawn may be merely coincidental. Perhaps some of the similarities only exist because ancient legends were changed to accommodate or include biblical ideas. But it does not make sense to conclude that the ancient Greeks only taught these ideas because they heard them from Christian missionaries since the sources for these Greek myths have been around since long before Christianity came on the scene. It seems fairly obvious to me that these stories find their basis in reality. The Bible records the true history of our world without embellishment, while many ancient cultures preserve portions of the true history that are often obscured by legendary details.
Thanks for reading!
We watched a debate last night w dr James white and dan barker and me barker said that there were 16 parallels between pre dated Christianity and Christ himself please can u help me sir on this issue I am really struggling today my faith has been shaken I could really use some reassurance right now also the connections between 2sam 24:1 and 1chronicles 21:1 stating the same thing but Satan and The Lord are switched out of the book I don’t understand God bless u sir thank u in advance
I haven’t watched that debate between White and Barker yet, but I’m familiar with a bunch of Barker’s nonsensical and revisionist claims. If he was talking about alleged parallels between Jesus and pagan gods, these are easily refuted. Here’s a very fun critique of these ideas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0-EgjUhRqA
If he mentioned something else, please let me know.
Also, the issue between 2 Samuel 24:1 and 1 Chronicles 21:1 can be explained by a simple look at the Hebrew language. “Satan” is the Hebrew word for “adversary.” When used with the definite article “the” (i.e. “the satan”) then it refers to Satan, the angelic being. When used without the definite article, then it generally refers to an adversary. In this case, 1 Chronicles 21:1, the definite article is not used, so it should be translated as something like, “An adversary opposed Israel, inciting David to number Israel” rather than “Satan opposed Israel, moving David to number Israel.”
While there is still a difference between the two verses, it can easily be explained if we see 2 Samuel as giving a theological perspective while Chronicles describes the event from a human perspective.
Hope this helps.
Fantastic post however I was wondering if you coul write a litte more on this topic?I’d be very thankful if you coulpd elaborate a little bit more.Thank you!
hey the book of Enoch really does go further into details about the days of Noah..
Yes, the book of Enoch does give more details about the days of Noah, but is it a reliable source for those things? It was not written by Enoch himself (apart from possibly the passage quoted in Jude), and was probably written around the 2nd century BC, more than two millennia after the Flood. It isn’t much more than an ancient piece of historical fiction. So it gives us a good idea of how some Jews viewed the events prior to the Flood, but it cannot really be considered a reliable source for the pre-Flood world.
They found copies of the book of Enoch among the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran, which dates earlier than 2nd century BC. I agree Enoch may not have written the book that bears his name, but I wouldn’t go so far to say it is a complete work of fiction as there are some parallels of this event recording on ancient Sumerian and Ugaritic tablets. I agree that it does gives us a snap shot of how some Jews viewed the Antedeluvian period. In summary, at the least the jury is out regarding The Watchers, but there is an increasing number of biblical researchers that are beginning to see a connection as they study other ancient cultures worldwide.
Hi, I was curious if there is anywhere in the bible or in the Christian religion that says we cannot believe in the reality of these myths or claims them to be fake. I am doing a study on this and want to cover my bases because I go to a school where if I have it wrong then most people in my class could and would point out the failure of my paper.
I’m not sure what you mean by “these myths.” Please clarify if I don’t answer your question correctly. I think nearly all Christians would say that we don’t believe in the reality of Greek mythology, although some of us would say that some of the mythology may have a basis in reality although altered by centuries of legendary development.
If you are asking about whether some Christians do not believe the biblical teaching about giants before and after the Flood, then the answer to that is yes. There are some Christians who seek to redefine terms, such as “Nephilim,” to mean something other than giants. There are also many Christians who believe the spies sent into the land came back and lied about what they saw—that they were just making up the part about giants being there because they were afraid of the ensuing war. For whatever reason, some Christians seek to deny and/or reinterpret Old Testament passages that sound strange to modern readers. They do it with the days of Creation, the age of the earth, the global Flood, the Babel event, the giants, etc. Some have even tried to do away with the New Testament miracles, but if they deny the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, then they aren’t even Christians, even if they use that title.
I hope this helps.
Hello: Can you recommend a book that debunks all the mythological comparatives of Jesus such as Dionysus?
Shattering the Christ Myth by JP Holding does a good job at refuting the outlandish claims made by “mythers” that ideas about Jesus were just copied from pagan gods. There is one lengthy chapter in the book dedicated to refuting the ideas about Attis and Dionysus. It is available from Amazon.
For a book from a scholar that addresses the positive case for the historicity of Jesus, I would recommend Gary Habermas’ The Historical Jesus. I don’t think there is a section dealing specifically with Dionysus, but he does address the “Christ myth” claims and shows how entirely baseless they are.
I have a question. I have a friend who is helping me to understand the bible and as I read it and give him my thought he always tells me well this word came from Greek and actually means this and it balgals my mind is their a translation of the bible that is written that is word for word of the meaning of the scripture? I am also fighting the thought this was written by man and I have no faith in man, at all to be truthful it makes me not trust the bible for that reason. I do believe in God. I have been through to much not to, I’ve seen to much not to. I just have a bad feeling when it comes to trusting man and why is it only man God talked to? Why are there no books written by a woman? The man I talked of earlier is studying all the aspect of the bible as well and knows a lot but still I’m not sure. I’ve prayed for God to give me understanding and he does he shows me over and over how fail able man is. I am also worried about the Vatican hiding truths they have found, I am not Cathlic. I feel as though I am Cristian but afraid I may just be like a lot of others and just believe in God alone because I feel him in my soul and always have for he has saved my life several times and I know he has a need for me to do something for mankind but yet to have figured it out or he is waiting to show me. Thanks for listening and any help you can give me
Thank you for your sincere questions. The popular English Bibles we use today do a fine job at translating the original languages. It would be virtually impossible to have a direct word-for-word translation for every verse since there isn’t always a one-to-one correspondence between the languages. In some cases, it might take a small phrase in English to translate one Greek word or vice versa. There are a couple of “literal” translations but they are very difficult to read because the word order is strange due to the differences between the languages. The New American Standard Bible is probably the most “literal” or closest to a word for word among the popular Bibles in English, but it can be a little clunky in its readability. Other Bibles are more thought for thought in their methodology, and then there are some that try to strike a middle of the road approach.
It is true that man is fallible, but that doesn’t mean that men could not write an infallible Bible, especially when guided by the Holy Spirit. I’ve written elsewhere on this issue: http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1222
The Christian faith is founded upon belief in the Crucified and Resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ. Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again the third day? Have you asked Him to forgive you of your sins? If so, cling to the truth that we serve a risen Savior, and continue to ask the Lord to guide you as you study His Word. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t understand something right away. We live in confusing times and there is so much misinformation out there. Continue reading and studying Scripture while seeking His guidance in prayer.
Hope this helps.
I was wondering a christian could defend the bible against the mono myth theory. Campbell(the creator of the theory) states that all stories, fable, etc. follow this theory/ timeline including the bible. This proves that the bible is a just a story/ myth. How do i disprove what he is saying?
Thanks for your excellent question about the monomyth. It is true that many of our beloved tales and classic adventure/fantasy movies follow the monomyth. George Lucas has talked openly about following Joseph Campbell’s ideas when he wrote Star Wars. It makes for great storytelling.
However, the Bible does not fit this mold at all. You might be able to find some accounts within Scripture that follow a pattern similar to the monomyth. For example, Joseph goes through many of these stages in his “hero’s journey.” Yet the Bible as a whole doesn’t follow this pattern. The Bible traces the lives of so many individuals, and it often just gives us a few details about them, often including their greatest failures.
So there are two things that must be shown by someone who claims the Bible just follows the monomyth and is therefore false. First, they would have to demonstrate how the Bible follows this pattern when there are so many details about so many people over the course of millennia. Second, the person would have to show how it necessarily eliminates one’s existence if their life happens to follow the hero’s journey. For example, it is possible that someone alive today has lived a life that lines up with the various stages of the monomyth. Would that mean that this person alive today does not really exist? Of course not.
So if you are being challenged with this idea, I would ask the person to demonstrate how the Bible follows this pattern.
I hope this helps.
I came across this blog during a search and became intrigued. I have a question regarding the use of the word tartaroo in Revelations and its relationship with the greek tartarus. I’m not an academic so I don’t have the background to know these things, hence why I am asking you. It is my understanding that tartarus was a place that existed ‘beneath’ Hades and was where Zeus locked up the titans, and is described as a fiery prison. Revelations describe tartaroo as a fiery prison for the fallen angels, I believe the same ones who went down to earth to mate with women and produced ‘giants’, though I’m not sure. My point is that these are very similar, and yet tartarus is never described in the Old Testament. Sheol is simply the grave or death nothing more. There is never a mention of tartarus, a common concept in Greece by that time. Then the New Testament is written, and all of a sudden tartaroo is mentioned,out of nowhere. It appears to me to be an example of Christianity borrowing at least a word from Greek mythology and the similarities in its purpose is striking. I’m curious what your take is on this?
That’s a great question, although I need to make a slight correction to what you said. Tartarus (Greek: tartarosas) is mentioned by name only in 2 Peter 2:4—it’s not mentioned by name in Revelation. In 2 Peter 2:4 we are told that this is the place where the angels who sinned were imprisoned. In context, Peter is referring to the angelic beings who mated with women, as described in Genesis 6:1–4 (see also 1 Peter 3:18–20 and Jude 6).
There are a few ways that we can understand Peter’s use of Tartarus here. It could be that he was simply being a bit vague in terms of a place of suffering. That is, the various terms (hades, tartarus, gehenna, etc.) all simply refer to the place of torment for unbelievers. That’s how many Christians would understand it. I think that it is probably more nuanced than that, as you mentioned. I think that Hades is the place of suffering for the unrighteous at this time. At some point, Hades will be delivered to the final judgment and then those individuals will be sentenced to eternity in the lake of fire. I think that Peter is using Tartarus here (borrowing the term from the Greek) to refer to a place that is either in Hades or connected in some way where these fallen angels have been cast. You’re right that this has an interesting connection to Greek mythology since Tartarus is the place where the Titans were imprisoned, if I remember correctly.
The Old Testament did not seem to have as nuanced of a view of the abode of the dead. However, it does seem to do a little more than simply speak of Sheol as the grave, but it is still vague. The Pit is another term that is used, although it is likely synonymous with Sheol. But there is something interesting in some of the OT uses that may have relevance to this discussion. Once in a while, some of the “dead” that are in Sheol are identified as rephaim (see Isaiah 14:9; Psalm 88:10). Some Bibles translate “the dead” in these verses as shades or ghosts. I’m not sure if we can know if this is a reference to all of the dead there, just the wicked dead there, or a specific set of the dead that are there. I think the last view is probably right. Mentioning the Rephaim in Sheol would tend to make the place seem even more terrifying, since the Rephaim (when used in historical narrative passages) refers to giants. So perhaps there is some sort of connection to be made here with 2 Peter 2:4.
Interesting stuff, isn’t it?
Thank you for responding. I however must disagree, the Septuagint is a translation, not penned by the actual Hebrew authors of the scriptures. We musn’t take the Old Testament lightly when the New Testament authors quoted it 855 times, Jesus quoted from 24 different Old Testament books. And the number of references or quotations from the O.T maybe as high as 4,105.
Again, it was mere men whom labeled the book “Old” and “New”, making one appear to be obsolete. Some assume that the five books of Moses are obsolete, as they focus so heavily on laws supposedly annulled by Christ. However, these same five books are quoted at least 245 times and referred to many more. Paul, the apostle who some believe taught that the law contained in these five books is done away, quoted from those books between 70 and 110 times -more than any other New Testament figure. Jesus quoted from these books about 60 times. And 22, of the 27 N.T books quote the O.T.
Whom does the Ten Commandments apply? Israel of that time only? Are those Laws obsolete? Can we dishonor our parents then??
Paul’s view of the OT is clear in 2 Timothy, with instruction for this younger minister. He wrote, “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15, emphasis added throughout).
What are the “Holy Scriptures” Paul refers to? Because at the time, about A.D. 66, there was no “New Testament”-some of what has since then been called the New Testament hadn’t even been written at that point. Paul is clearly referring to the Old Testament; those were the Holy Scriptures Timothy had been taught since childhood by his Jewish mother (Acts 16:1-3).
So which scriptures did the N.T. writers live by?
Soon after, Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” one of the first recorded examples of His teaching, and what does He say? “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets [the Old Testament]. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
Yet people keep saying he came to abolish the law revealed in the OT, and claim that’s what He taught.
Jesus said He “did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” The word fulfill in this verse means simply “to fill up.” This same word is used of filling up nets with fish (Matthew 13:48). When you fill up a net with fish, you don’t throw the net away and say you don’t need it anymore. Yet many distort Christ’s words to say this is what He taught.
Jesus clarified His teaching even more: “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments , and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18-19).
NT concerning Sabbath, “And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read”. (Luke 4:16) “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:56) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10)
Exodus 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
Exodus 20:11 “But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.” ~Can you name ONE day that we give unto the MOST HIGH???
Exodus 16:23 “And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning.”
Since tradition has taught us to take lightly the OT teachings, we don’t spend time doing as the scriptures says to do on the Sabbath. Scripture says, “Study to show thyself approved…” vs just reading it. I choose to error on the side of caution as it pertains to the Sabbath, the “one” day CREATOR of ALL said to “keep” Holy. Of which Christians do not participate in. In fact there is NO “one” day ever treated as Holy in Churches. On Sundays, Christians before and after church cook, go out to eat, shop, watch football, Basketball, go to Sports Bars, drink booze, Work jobs, etc…If I have it wrong, I’ve lost nothing.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. But the New Testament authors quoted from it regularly, though not exclusively. There are times where the NT quotation of the OT agrees with the wording of the Masoretic Text (the Hebrew text our modern English Bibles primarily translate from) and disagrees with the Septuagint. However, the reverse is actually more common where the NT author quotes the wording of the Septuagint that disagrees with the Masoretic. For example, Hebrews 1:6 quotes from the Septuagint’s version of Deuteronomy 32:43, but this particular wording is missing altogether in the Masoretic Text.
The issue is very simple. Read Galatians. Over and over again, Paul makes the point that Christians are not under the law. The Judaizers were attempting to add works of the law to the gospel message and Paul blasted them for it. Actually, he condemned them for teaching a false gospel (Galatians 1:8–9).
Your arguments do not flow logically. To say that we are not under the law does not mean that we take the Old Testament lightly. I could turn it around on you and say that you take the New Testament lightly when it says that we are not under the law. But I don’t think that gets us anywhere. Many of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the New Testament and given as commands for Christians. Ephesians 6:1–2 instructs children to obey their parents.
You need to recognize that the Law consisted of over 600 specific laws (613 by popular count). It wasn’t just the Ten Commandments. James said that whoever is guilty of breaking one of the laws is guilty of breaking them all. He went on to tell his readers to speak and act as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. Why would you pick one particular law and try to enforce it when the NT repeatedly tells us that we are not under the law, and it specifically tells us that Sabbath-keeping is not necessary?
The problem with your argument about Timothy is that even though Paul was writing about AD 64–66 (in 2 Timothy), he was referring to a time many years earlier when Timothy was a boy learning from his mother and grandmother. And at that time, the NT hadn’t been written. By the time he wrote 2 Timothy, much of it had been. But that’s really beside the point. There’s nothing wrong with the Old Testament and it was perfectly acceptable for Jesus, Paul, or anyone else to quote from it as authoritative. But just because they quoted a specific passage does not mean that the passage was binding on every believer throughout history. This is especially true when we see the NT person expand on the concept. “You have heard that it was said…but I tell you…”
If you want to keep the Sabbath, then by all means, keep the Sabbath. But such an action is not required of Christians. In fact, keeping the Sabbath is the only one of the Ten Commandments that is not restated as a command in the New Testament.
What’s up Tim? I’ve been following some of your posts and this one in particular has been a struggle. Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Has ‘all been fulfilled’?
There are several views among Christians about the extent to which the law has been fulfilled. Also, when Jesus speaks of the law here, is He referring to the Mosaic Law or is He using law to refer to the five books of Moses or all of the OT?
I would say that all has not been fulfilled yet. There are many OT prophecies that await fulfillment. While most of these come from the prophets, the books of Moses do contain some prophecy. For example, I don’t believe that God’s promise to Abraham regarding the land has been entirely fulfilled yet.
Thanks for that information Tim. I learn something new everyday!
Very well said. The Nicene creed is still said during every mass to this day to attest and reaffirm as you just stated.
The Nicene Creed
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
Thanks for reading. Technically, the creed you quoted is an expanded version of the Nicene Creed from the First Council of Constantinople in 381. They added several parts to the Nicene Creed, such as the words about Mary and everything after the mention of the Holy Spirit.
But your point is well taken. The creed adopted at that time was a reflection of what Christians had believed. It’s what had been handed down to them. They didn’t invent those beliefs at that time.
Hi Kare Bare
I’m just a little bit confused and curious regarding your question(s). Are you asking because you:
1. do not know and want to know? Or,
2. know already and want to test others’ knowledge?
Hi Karl. Actually yes, these are some questions I’ve had for sometime now. Been curious about the New Testament being written in Greek vs. Hebrew. Or How can a Council of mere men change the Scriptures or decide whom is EQUAL to God??
When did a council of mere men change the Scriptures? When did a council ever decide that someone would be equal to God?
These are misconceptions about what happened at Nicaea. The reason there was a discussion and vote concerning the deity of Christ was because there was an attack on His deity by Arius and his followers who claimed that Jesus was a created being. This was contrary to what the church had taught for the first three centuries and contrary to what Jesus and His disciples taught. Jesus repeatedly claimed to be equal to God (“I and the Father are one” – John 10:30). There were several times when the Jews wanted to kill Him for what they thought was blasphemy because He claimed to be equal to God. The vote at Nicaea demonstrates that the church clearly knew what had been handed down to them: Jesus is God. That’s why only two bishops supported Arianism and over 300 acknowledged that Jesus is God. That wasn’t a new idea. It’s what the church has always taught, and it’s what Jesus had taught.
Hi Kare Bare
Thanks for clearing that up. Not to diminish anything Tim has stated, but if you please, I will attempt to also address your 2 questions based on my OPINION.
1. God “not changing” in relation to the bible in Greek vs Hebrew
I think this is an excellent deduction. I also think that the answer can be quite simple and logical if you combine the main themes in the following 2 articles…
It is not that God changed…but however, mankind’s relationship with Him changed.
2. Council of Nicea
This one is a bit more difficult to address (not answer, but address).
In my opinion, your are correct in your assertion. Also, so is Tim. I’m not sure if you will understand this, but here, there are not different truths, but differing levels. Your desire will ultimately determine the level of truth necessary for you. (simply put, how deep down the rabbit-hole are you comfortable with venturing?).
Would you clarify what you mean when you state that Kare’s assertion about the Council of Nicaea is also correct?
Any impartial bystander that read Kare’s statements regarding the council in the original and follow-up posts will find that the statements are correct and the questions very logical. You also attest to this…eg.
Kare: “…or decide whom is EQUAL to God??”
Tim: “The reason there was a discussion and vote…”
The assertion is therefore correct.
Your answers are also correct. Your answers however are more of a “justification” against the “accusations”.
However, you also need to bear in mind that ironically, your answers are quoted from exactly the “scriptures” the council (or councils) are accused of “compiling” or “formulating”.
Thanks for the quick response and for clarifying what you meant. I disagree with you to a point. Kare asked how a council of mere men can decide who is equal to God. My point is that a council did not decide that, so Kare’s question is off the mark from the start. The Council of Nicaea reaffirmed what the church had already believed on this point. This is evident throughout the writings of the NT in regard to the full deity of Christ and through the writings of the Apostolic fathers and the rest of the church fathers prior to Nicaea.
Also, my answers were not merely a “justification,” they were designed to set the record straight about what really happened. Regarding Nicaea, I did not rely on words from the Scriptures to make my point. The truth is that ever since the first century, Christians have believed in the deity of Christ. This was not made up in the 4th century at Nicaea.
I am afraid that even though your response was designed to “set the record straight about what really happened”, it didn”t. There is now logical way that you could because:
1. You were not there
2. You did not convene the meeting(s)
3. We do not know the real truth about the politics of the time (history is written by the victors), so therefore cannot know the true agenda(s).
Your response is based on what you know and understand to be true (not necesarily the actual truth) and is therefore “justification” and not of “clarification”.
As you stated, for up until the 4th century, Christians “knew” what to believe. Why then the need to “reaffirm” (and as some would state “define” or even “dictate”)? If it was SO essential to “define” what “Christian” is, why did Christ and His disciples not do it?
In your earlier response to Kare, you quoted quite a few scriptures. Interestingly, I believe that the real answer to this conundrum is locked up in one of your quotes (actually it is the entire book of Galations that addresses this issue). What Paul is trying to explain to the Galations I believe is what John writes about to the Laodicians in Revelation 3:15 where Hot refers to the Spirit and Cold refers to the Law.
“Kare asked how a council of mere men can decide who is equal to God. My point is that a council did not decide that”
As you mentioned in your response… they addressed it and took a vote. They therefore did. If for whatever reason, the decision went the other way; we today would most probably have believed a bit different and other quotes from the Bible might have sustained that today. We can speculate, but will however never know with certainty because it happened the way it happened.
I’m not trying to prove you wrong and don’t really desire to debate “religous” matters on public forums. I’m just trying to highlight that in my view, you are both right, but I believe there is more to the story. Perhaps if you or Kare wish to “discuss” this further, we can do so via email?
Let’s bring this to a close since you don’t desire to debate “religious” matters (although this is a matter of history that we’re discussing). It isn’t possible for Kare and me to both be right since we have opposing views. That is illogical.
The notion that history is written by the victors is another lie of our postmodern culture. There are plenty of instances where the loser’s writings survive. The simple fact is that for 300 years, Christians believed (and died for the belief) that Jesus is God. We have a wealth of writings from the early church fathers that express their belief in that. We even have writings from pagan authors who claimed that Christians believed Jesus was God. You ask why they would need to “reaffirm” such a belief—the answer is very simple. It’s the same reason why Christians today reaffirm their belief that Jesus is the Son of God. It is because there will always be those that attack that notion.
And I’ll stand by my earlier statement about the council not deciding who is equal to God. Yes, they reaffirmed the early Christian doctrine of the deity of Christ, but it was not a new idea that was decided for the first time at that council, as Kare’s question implied. It was a reaffirmation of 300 years of church history and a repudiation of a heresy that was beginning to take root (Arianism). So you can try to play semantic games on the meaning of “decide” but taken in context of Kare’s question it is very easy to see what Kare meant and what I meant by using it.
You ask why Christ and His disciples did not define what a Christian was, but they did. The repeatedly defined what it meant to be a Christian. The New Testament is full of passages explaining how one becomes a Christian and what it means to be a Christian. Entire letters were written explaining to early believers what was expected of them and how the church should function.
I googled “Similarities between Christianity and Greek Mythology, and this was one of the post. I read through it, and found it helpful to my understanding. i read some of the comments and have some questions of my own…
The Bible says, God is the Same, yesterday, today and forever. “with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17), does not change (Malachi 3:6). The Israelites received two laws from Moses: the law of Moses, that of ordinances and ceremonies; and the Law of God, embodied in the Ten Commandments, which is an expression of God’s character. If God does not change, neither will His Law. “My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Psalm 89:34). “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). “The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. They are steadfast for ever and ever, done in faithfulness and uprightness” (Psalm 111:7, 8). God gave His Law to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai. Amid thunder and lightning, a thick cloud covered the mountain, and a trumpet blasted. Smoke billowed up as from a furnace and the whole mountain shook as the trumpet grew louder and louder. Moses led the Israelites out of their camp to meet with God, and every one of them trembled. Then God spoke (Exodus 19:16-19, 20:1). If Laws were to be changed, or added, it would be reasonable to expect God Himself to announce it, and give reasons for its alteration, amid the same amount of ceremony. Yet there is no indication in Scripture of such an announcement. –
So them why is it we go from the Old Testament, written in Hebrew concerning ALL Hebrew characters, which are Abraham’s seed, then ALL of a sudden the New Testament, is written in Greek, and EVERY Chapter name, Main Characters are Hebrew, and locations are Middle East or Jerusalem, yet it’s written in Greek!!! Not only does it not make Common sense it make NO Biblical sense. There has been NO clear, logical Understanding on this. There’s either a Hebrew written New Testament out there… or it seem to Confirm the Greek Mythology stance.
We have mere men whom gathered in a Council Determine/Dictate “What” and “How” we should believe. e.g.
~the First Council of Nicaea (325), which declared the full divinity of the Son
~the First Council of Constantinople (381), which declared the divinity of the Holy Spirit.
~Ex 20:8 “Remember the Sabbath and KEEP it HOLY” yet in the Catechism of the Council of Trent it states “The Church of God has thought it well to transfer the celebration and observance of the Sabbath to Sunday! –p 402, second revised edition (English), 1937. (First published in 1566)…there’s so Much more in Question.
As if a human can determine that “creeds” take precedence over scripture which states in the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3 “YOU shall have NO other Gods before ME.
Thanks for reading and for the comment. Actually, it makes perfect sense that the New Testament was written in Koine Greek. That was the common language of the day. Even the Hebrew authors of the New Testament often used the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint). Also, you overstated your case. There are plenty of settings outside of the Middle East in the NT. Paul’s missionary journeys often took him into Europe and many of his letters were written to churches in Europe (1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians) to people who spoke Greek. There were Jews in these congregations, but there were also many Gentiles who didn’t know Hebrew in these churches. So it makes sense that they were written in Greek.
The fact is that God can deal with different people at different times in different ways. This doesn’t mean that God changes. The reason that I, as a Christian, do not follow all of the OT laws is because I am not a Jewish person living under the Law. The Law was given at a specific time to a specific group of people (at Mt. Sinai to the Israelites). His plan all along was for Jesus to come in the flesh to die for our sins, but before that happened, He chose to work through different means.
Your claims about the various councils are overstated. Are you implying that Jesus wasn’t considered to be God before the Council of Nicaea in 325? That would be a shock to every New Testament author, apostle, and follower of Christ. Thomas declared, “My Lord and my God!” upon seeing the resurrected Savior. Paul repeatedly expressed the full divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Testament also declares the full deity of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5:3–4).
The Sabbath command was given to Israel at Sinai and is not binding on non-Israelites. Paul, an Israelite, clearly explains that Christians are “not under the Law” (Galatians 5:18). The entire book of Galatians was written to emphatically state that we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works of the law. Those who believe the gospel do not need to subject themselves to the Law.
I know that many Christians have been caught up in this concept recently, but the New Testament really couldn’t be much clearer on this point. Paul even made specific statements about not being required to keep the Sabbath (Romans 14:5–13, Colossians 2:16).
The Mosaic Law was never meant to be binding on all people at all times. It certainly wasn’t binding on the people who lived prior to the giving of the Law. It wasn’t even binding on non-Israelites who believed in God living during the centuries between Moses and Jesus (e.g., Naaman in 2 Kings 5 and those referred to in Romans 2:14).
I am sorry Tim but I must now state that though I do admire the greek mythologies and detest when people try to take their fantastic stories as their own I state I myself am an athiest and therefore do not believe those stories in fact I find it highly unlikely that any truly virtuous deity founded a religion that shamelessly attempted and often succeeded to attempt to opress or eliminate believers in any religion other then themselves and I am not confusing the british and the catholic they purposefully sent missionairies to start schools and took advantage of their desire to learn by imposing their religion on their youth and waging wars on them taking advantage of their large amount of land to settle their overpopulation one only needs to look at how they took advantage of the Aboriginees truly peaceful nature and separarated families if they interbred furthermore the Maori were not treated much better and were forced to give up their land waging war oer it and when the treaty of waitangi was written it was inconsistent hen translated from english to maori the mori had to fight for their rights even against superior weaponry in addition if one were to look at the treatment of the African people and all “black” people they would discover that the catholic are the biggest hipocrites ever they preach that we must not steal or murder and love our neighbours when in fact they steal, murder and oppress their neighbours as well as having little to no respect for the religions of said neighbours in conclusion if one were to look at the great conquerors of history : Alexander the great, Julius Caesar and Ivan the terrible their exploits are humbled when compared to the church at least they were honest about what they intended to do and barged in through their neighbours front door instead instead of sneaking through the back door and slowly spreading throughout their host until they complete their conquest in disguise. the saying goes ” Everyone is entitled to their own opinion”. It seems the Catholic church needs to learn that lesson.
I’m not even sure where to start. You have made so many false claims and generalizations. You seem to have bought into the myth of the “noble savage.” The idea that aboriginal peoples of North and South America, New Zealand, and elsewhere were peaceful before the white man arrived on the scene. Yet these cultures were filled with violence long before European colonization occurred. I haven’t read anything about the Australian Aborigines being violent toward each other, but it wasn’t the Christians who mistreated them. Evolutionary beliefs fueled the slaughter of tens of thousands of Aborigines, and their bodies were sent to museums in the U.S. and U.K. because they were viewed as missing links. You really need to read some source material instead of the revisionist history you’ve been repeating.
I’m not going to claim that every Christian throughout history has acted perfectly. We are all sinful. Nevertheless, to equate the actions of every European colonist with Christianity is fallacious. Have Christian missionaries gone into places seeking to educate people. Definitely. Was it wrong for Christian missionaries to risk their lives in efforts to stop the cannibalism of the Maoris? Was it wrong for Christian missionaries like Jim Elliot to give their lives to reach the Huaorani people of Ecuador, a culture so violent that a huge percentage of them died by the spear? Have Christian missionaries made mistakes? Undoubtedly. Does that falsify the message that Christianity teaches—that we are all sinful and need God’s forgiveness that only comes through the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ? Not at all.
To use your logic then you should give up your atheism. Look back at the 20th century. Atheistic regimes slaughtered millions of people. Stalin and Lenin killed tens of millions in Russia, as did Mao in China. Pol Pot killed millions in Cambodia.
You say that you aren’t confusing the British and Catholics, but then you cite the Catholics as the biggest hypocrites. In fact, none of the things you cited were the result of Christianity. Did Christians participate in colonization of different areas with the intent to share the gospel? Of course. Were they responsible for the mistreatment of the native tribes? I’m sure some examples could be found, but oftentimes, it was the Christians who sought to treat the natives well. Roger Williams fought for the fair treatment of natives in New England. William Wilberforce was largely responsible for putting an end to the slave trade.
You have conflated Western culture with Christianity and Roman Catholicism with biblical Christianity. Jesus taught us to love one another, to love our neighbor, and even to love our enemies. So if a Christian behaves in a manner contrary to that, then he or she is not following what the Lord commanded. The early Christians were willing to give their lives to share the gospel. They didn’t go around seeking to violently conquer an area. Instead, they went to an area to tell people what Jesus had done for them, and it often cost them their lives, and the same thing happens to many Christian missionaries in our day. It’s a shame that you have been taught such a distorted view of history.
If I may point out not all Atheists are bad sure we have make mistakes but news flash!: Nearly every culture has did Maori’s sometimes use cannibalism yes but mostly during or just after the Maori battle-rage which was spurned on through adrenaline and the very human need to survive and also so did dozens of cultures what people believe is what people believe and do you really think that if left alone they couldn’t have reached the stage we are at now? Also If I may point out a little event called the Maori land wars or perhaps The Stolen generations both examples of people’s lifestyles being ripped apart by the bigger guy without restraint in Homer’s Odyssey there are numerous examples of foreign people having negative reactions to different kinds of people arriving such events as the blinding of Polyphemus and the introduction of the Laestrygonians are in my opinion metaphors of different cultures reacting to people they cannot understand and assume are invaders. In fact several of the more ‘Humanoid’ monsters of Ancient Greece are largely believed to actually just be foreign people or people with birth defects one such figure of mythology Geryon the man with 3 bodies is theorised to have been a deformed and conjoined set of triplets that were able to survive to adulthood and due to a malformed brain reacted with violence to those he (or they) encountered. In addition your generalisation about Atheists is as bad as mine about christians by my reckoning to quote Albert Einstein “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward than we are a sorry lot indeed” and A.C. Grayling “Religious apologists complain bitterly that atheists and secularists are aggressive and hostile in their criticism of them. I always say: look, when you guys were in charge, you didn’t argue with us, you just burnt us at the stake. Now what we’re doing is, we’re presenting you with some arguments and some challenging questions, and you complain”. For me Athiesm is doing what is right, no matter what you’re told and religion is doing what you are told by people that either died thousands of years ago or came for 60 years and then did nothing more after. And to point out the genocides in Cambodia, Russia and China True those men were Athiests but they were also Greedy dictators and chose to use their lack of religion as an excuse to murder millions as opposed to Hitler whose action killed over a hundred million deaths and ruined the lives of countless more BECAUSE of religion! I am not saying religion should be destroyed and am disgusted by the very idea of genocide. and on your views of my views about the “noble savage” It took Greeks, thousands of years to achieve the age of cities and large scale construction the Maori were only in New Zealand for 600 years before the Europeans arrived. In conclusion I just wanted to make the point that The Greek Mythology is more original and far more interesting than the Catholic church but it feels good to match views on religion even iif it near impossible to have my beliefs acknoledged. I’d love to hear your feedback on this.
Please re-read my last comment. Nowhere did I say that every atheist is a horrible person. I said that atheistic regimes slaughtered millions of people in the 20th century. That is a true statement.
Again, you keep going back to the Catholic church and conflating it with biblical Christianity. Do you not understand the difference?
Finally, Grayling’s quote is ridiculous. When were atheists burned at the stake by Christians? Christianity was the dominant faith in the U.S. for over 200 years. When has an atheist ever been burned at the stake in the U.S.? When were atheists burned at the stake in Europe? Did the Catholics do that? I know that many Christians were burned at the stake (Hus, Ridley, Latimer, Cranmer, Sattler, et al.). So where is the evidence that Christians in power burned atheists at the stake?
You say that “atheism is doing what is right.” Please tell me, as an atheist, how do you determine what is right and what is wrong?
Hi again Tim
Here is my follow up on one of my previous comments on Dionysus
Parallels have been drawn between Greek myths and the life of Jesus. An early example was Friedrich Hölderlin, who in his Brot und Wein (1800–1801) suggested similarities between the Greek god Dionysus and Jesus.
Modern scholars such as Martin Hengel, Barry Powell, and Peter Wick, among others, argue that Dionysian religion and Christianity have notable parallels. They point to the symbolism of wine and the importance it held in the mythology surrounding both Dionysus and Jesus Christ; although, Wick argues that the use of wine symbolism in the Gospel of John, including the story of the Marriage at Cana at which Jesus turns water into wine, was intended to show Jesus as superior to Dionysus.
Additionally, some scholars of comparative mythology argue that both Dionysus and Jesus represent the “dying-and-returning god” mythological archetype. Other parallels, such as the celebration by a ritual meal of bread and wine, have also been suggested and Powell, in particular, argues that precursors to the Christian notion of transubstantiation can be found in Dionysian religion. Another parallel has been drawn to how in the Bacchae Dionysus appears before King Pentheus on charges of claiming divinity and is compared to the New Testament scene of Jesus being interrogated by Pontius Pilate.
E. Kessler has argued that the Dionysian cult developed into strict monotheism by the 4th century CE; and together with Mithraism and other sects the cult formed an instance of “pagan monotheism” in direct competition with Early Christianity during Late Antiquity.
Also just to point something out: It is nigh impossible to draw true proof on any subjects either of us have spoke of these so called “events” were supposed to happenned thousands of years ago and near all proof anyone would obtain would most likely have decayed over the years and would therefore be unreliable.
Happy Fall From Me
p.s. some information has been copied from other sources.
Thanks for following up. You are actually doing a good job of proving my point. The notion that Christians copied their view of Jesus from pagan gods is an unsupportable assertion invented in the 19th century. You have not used a single primary source in your comments, but have only pointed to what some liberal or critical scholars have suggested nearly 2000 years after the events in question. Yet I can point to multiple early sources within the first few decades of the events to support my claims. Even critical scholars acknowledge that Paul actually wrote 1 Corinthians and that his teaching about the Resurrection of Jesus goes back to within 3–5 years of the events. The Christian view of the Resurrection is completely different than any sort of dying-and-rising god concept from pagan cultures. There is no way to draw any sort of legitimate comparison between a god of the crops who dies every fall and rises every spring with the teaching that a real human being died on the Cross and then rose from the dead in His physical body just three days later and then appeared to over 500 people in the next 40 days. Not only did He appear to them, He walked with them, talked with them, ate and drank with them, etc. There is simply no comparison.
As for the other claims that you made, the comparisons are so tenuous that no one should ever be persuaded by such claims. Are you really suggesting that Jesus being tried by Pilate and being declared innocent multiple times and then executed by crucifixion was borrowed from the myth that Dionysus was briefly imprisoned by Pentheus before luring him out to a drunken orgy so that he could have the daughters of Cadmus rip Pentheus apart limb from limb? Really?
What does it matter if the Dionysian cult developed into strict monotheism by the 4th century CE. Christianity was already on the scene for three centuries at that point, so how would that be evidence of Christianity copying the pagan belief? If anything, it would be the other way around.
The teaching of transubstantiation is a Catholic doctrine and is not held by Protestants. We believe the so-called sacrifice of the Mass is a denial of the New Testament teachings that Christ died once for all and that His declaration on the Cross that “It is finished” means that He no longer needs to be sacrificed for sin. I do not deny that some Catholic teachings were adopted from pagan beliefs along the way, but we are speaking here about biblical teachings, not Catholic beliefs.
Finally, to think that the biblical text “would most likely have decayed over the years and would therefore be unreliable” is easily refuted. We have over 25000 early manuscripts and fragments, some of them reaching back into the first century. We have the writings of the church fathers who quoted nearly every passage in the New Testament. Through the scientific discipline, we can determine what the original text was in nearly every single case. There are a few disputed passages (woman caught in adultery and the long ending of Mark), but even then, there are no significant doctrinal issues at stake. Furthermore, these textual issues are placed right out in the open in the notes and references of nearly every single study Bible. Anyone can look at them and see that the variants would not change any significant doctrine.
We must keep in mind that similarity does not equal sameness. In these cases, it’s not even fair to call them similarities. If we were to employ the same logic as some of these scholars in different settings, then we could argue that George Washington didn’t really exist because he is said to be one of the founders of the U.S., but this really just another retelling of the Romulus and Remus myth. We could claim that Christopher Columbus never set sail from Spain, since this is obviously just a retelling of the Odyssey in which Odysseus set sail from Troy. The “scholarship” behind the claims of the “Christ mythers” is as bad as the “scholarship” behind Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons, which is sadly a popular work among some Christians. Throughout his book he reaches bizarre conclusions based on similar sounding words from different languages in an attempt to prove that nearly every Christian tradition has pagan roots dating back to Babel.
Hello again Tim
Unfortunately for me several of your statements have been proven though I must press that the Dionysan religion came at least a 10 centuries prior to 150 BCE when the oldest (jewish) bible originated due to the fact that the Trojan War which symbolises the end of the Ancient Greek prime and the start of what would become the Roman Empire through Aeneas a survivor of Trojan war occured in the years of 1260 and 1240 BCE (Though the Greeks were not conquered by Rome until 800 BCE or so) which means that the Dionysan religion originated some thousand years before even a mention of Jesus in the Christian faith I hope you will take these statements into account and formulate a historically accurate response.
Thanks for your willingness to keep it civil. So often I find that people will resort to ad hominem attacks when one of their arguments is refuted. Although our two positions are diametrically opposed, but you haven’t lashed out at me or resorted to some other immature tactic, so thank you for that. It’s nice to be able to discuss this in the proper way.
I’m not sure if you read my blog post that started this discussion (the one you commented on is essentially Part 2). If you haven’t read the first Giant Speculations, please do so. You’ll see that I address the Trojan War along with a very interesting potential parallel between Homer and the Bible.
As for the claim that followers of Dionysus were around before the Christian faith, I would not dispute that. In fact, I clearly state in the conclusion of this article that the Greek myths were around long before Christianity came on the scene. What I mean by that is that Homer’s writings preceded the ministry of Jesus and the start of the church by several centuries.
But there are still some problems with your claims. The Greeks were not conquered by Rome in 800 BC—Rome didn’t exist then. Rome conquered them in the 2nd century BC. The beliefs about Dionysus seem to have changed throughout the years and there are different versions of the story about him and Pentheus. But yes, these were written down prior to the New Testament. You won’t get an argument from me on that point.
With that being said, I don’t agree with you in any way that the life and work of Jesus were copied or inspired by the stories about Dionysus. The so-called similarities are such a stretch, and there is no way that devout Jews living in first century Israel would have used Greek mythology as the basis for the Christian faith. But there is another problem with your position. While it is true that the New Testament wasn’t written until the first century AD, parts of the Old Testament were around before Homer wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey. Moses lived in the 15th century BC and he wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. In these books, we do get a glimpse of who Jesus is and what He will be like. Moses prophesied in Deuteronomy 18:18 that God would raise up a prophet like him from among the Jews who would speak all the words that God gives Him. There are some other hints about the Messiah found in Genesis. Many Christians view Genesis 3:15 as a veiled or not-so-veiled prediction of the Messiah who would come as the “seed of the woman” and would crush the head of the serpent. In Genesis 22 we read about Abraham and Isaac in an event that almost certainly foreshadows what Christ would do. Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac, the son of promise. God leads him to the mountains or hills of Moriah to carry out the sacrifice. Isaac carries his own wood to the place of sacrifice. God stops him from carrying it out and provides a ram for them instead. Two thousand years later, God would sacrifice His Son on the Cross for the sins of the world. His Son (Jesus) carried His own wood to the place of sacrifice, which just happened to be near Mt. Moriah (the temple was built on Mt. Moriah, so Jerusalem was part of the mountains or hills of Moriah). But there’s more. The Messiah had to come from the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and He must come from the line of David (2 Samuel 7:12–16).
There is a huge discrepancy in Greek writings about when Homer lived. He may not have written the Odyssey until the 9th century BC, which would mean that he lived after the time of David. If this is true, then any of the Old Testament teachings about the Messiah up through the life of David were written down prior to Homer. This would include Psalm 22, which includes a vivid description of the Messiah’s Crucifixion 1000 years before it happened, and 300 years before the Persians invented this form of execution. It even speaks of the soldiers gambling for His clothes. The Old Testament contains so many accurate prophecies about the life of Christ that were perfectly fulfilled in His first coming. But there are other prophecies that await fulfillment at His second coming. He will return one day to judge the world. At His first coming, He came to die for our sins on the Cross so that we wouldn’t have to pay for our own sins—so that we could be forgiven. Those who trust in His death, burial, and Resurrection will live eternally with Him. Those who reject Him will pay for their own sins for all eternity. I don’t want that for anyone, so I would urge you to consider reading through the New Testament and consider all that Jesus has done.
As for the Christ myth, please watch this Lutheran Satire video about it. It doesn’t specifically deal with Dionysus, but it does address some of the other popular claims about Jesus being copied from Horus or Mithras or _____ (fill in the blank), and it’s quite funny.
By the way, I see that you are from New Zealand. I wish we had your rugby team. I’m a huge fan of the All Blacks. It was a great experience to watch them in Chicago last year, and I’m hoping they will win the Webb-Ellis cup again this year in London.
Thank you for the acknowledgement Tim and Thank you for your praise of my country and Rugby team Though I am only 15 I’d like to think my perspective on ancient religions is accurate I am in no way speculating that Jesus was directly inspired by Dionysus (or perhaps Bacchus as he would’ve been called by most in that area but many events that supposedly happened in Jesus’ life such as him turning water to wine and spreading his beliefs and gathering many followers in his life even inspiring a religion post-mortem I thank you for your criticism and I believe your opinions will aid me in my exams next year. Thank you
Let me encourage you to read some material from both sides (or all sides) of the issue. You have obviously been influenced by the Christ mythers—those who claim that Jesus never really lived or that if He did, the miraculous aspects about His life were added by later followers to make Him a god. This position just simply cannot be sustained from a historical perspective. If you are really interested in the truth of these matters, please read The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ written by Gary Habermas. You’ll learn that we have at least 17 ancient sources (Christian, Jewish, and Roman) that mention Jesus, and many of them speak of His Crucifixion and Resurrection. These were not some legendary developments copied from mythology. Many of these were eyewitnesses of the events they wrote about, and they were so convinced of these things that they were willing to be persecuted and even killed for proclaiming it.
The truth is, Jesus is exactly who He claimed to be. He’s the Son of God, and He died on the Cross for your sins and mine and then He rose from the dead so that we can be reconciled to God.
What if we would start to speak about the morality in the Bible.
Abraham took for wife his sister….Lot did sex with his daughters….Maria was parthenos (????????) which mean little girl in Ancient Greek,not Virgin….and the fact that Joseph (much older) got a kid for wife…..etc.
The book of deuteronomion is full of this ridiculous moral laws…slavery,adultery etc……
This laws are accurate today?
And if not…..why should we still follow them then?
Deuteronomy is full of laws. In fact, that’s what the name of the book means: “second Law” (as in repeating the Law that was given earlier). So do you think that adultery is good for society? Do you think that forbidding the harsh treatment of slaves is a bad thing? Do you think that setting slaves free after six years of faithful service is a bad thing? Remember, this was against the backdrop of harsh slavery in many cultures where slaves had absolutely zero rights or opportunities to be freed. Yet you call these ridiculous laws.
Why don’t we follow these laws today? I’ll give you the most basic reason in just four words: I am not Jewish. The Mosaic Law was given to the Israelites at Mt. Sinai and was specifically for the Jewish people. The New Testament explains that Christians are not under this law because Christ has fulfilled the law. We are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14; Galatians 5:18).
I’m not sure what your post has to do with the topic at hand, but I’ll play your game to address these basic attacks on Scripture.
Abram did marry his half-sister (same father, different mother – Genesis 20:12). Was it sinful at that time for a person to marry a close relative? No it wasn’t. Abram’s son, Isaac, married his first cousin (Rebekah). It wasn’t until the book of Leviticus in Moses’ time that close intermarriage was forbidden. At that time there wouldn’t have been the same types of genetic problems in offspring since the genetic load in humanity would not have been as severe as it is today. The closer we go back to Adam, the fewer genetic problems we would have. As time goes on, there are more and more problems with close intermarriage since brother and sister would share many of the same mistakes, hence their offspring would have more pronounced problems.
I wonder if you believe in evolution. If so, why would you have a problem with any of these things, particularly incest. Not only must you believe that all humans came from a very small population of ape-like ancestors several million years ago that continued to interbreed for millennia, but you must also believe that they came from an earlier ancestral primate, which came from an earlier organism, eventually all the way back to the first one-celled organism that just happened to come about by random chance. Talk about incest. Furthermore, why would incest be wrong from an evolutionary perspective? On what basis do you decide right and wrong?
Where does the Bible say that what Lot did was right? His daughters got him drunk and slept with him. Nowhere does it say that these actions were godly. The Bible does not shy away from describing the shortcomings of the people it tells about.
Mary is described as a parthenos in Luke 1:27, but your definition of this term is absolutely false. It did not mean “little girl” as you claim. It clearly referred to a young maiden of marriageable age, and in the Bible it often has a focus on her virginity, as it clearly does in 1 Corinthians 7:25. Plus, in Jewish culture, it was obviously expected that a young unmarried woman would be a virgin. Homer used the term long before the New Testament was written to refer to Astyoche, the mother of Ascalaphus and Ialmenus. She is described as “a noble maiden” (parthenos) who “had gone with Ares secretly into an upper chamber, and he had lain with her” (Iliad, Book 2). Obviously, she was not a little girl.
Joseph probably was several years older. Many Christians think that Mary was about 15 years old and that Joseph was perhaps about 10 years older. This was rather common in Jewish culture of the time, and is still very common around the world today. In the United States, we would certainly not view this as normal, but they did not follow our cultural practices in Israel 2000 years ago.
So you can try to attack the Bible all you want, but you should at least use some arguments that hold up to scrutiny.
Hi Tim. Through my studies I have found that seeing as Rome was originally founded by Romulus and Remus who are descendants of Aeneas a survivor of the trojan war and most Chatholic stories originated in or around the Roman dominance it is clear to see that they took many stories from the old greek mythology fo their own faith. Another example would be that Jesus himself is largely based off Dionysus: Both born of a vigin woman and the king of the gods, both died and rose 3 days later and ascended to godhood, both wore a crown made of plants on their heads and we use food and/or drink to symbolise their body and/or blood.
The claim that Jesus was copied from pagan gods is completely fabricated. There is not a single shred of evidence to support such a claim. There are no writings about the so-called dying-and-rising gods from antiquity until after the time of Christ. Furthermore, to think that Christianity copied the notion of the Resurrection of Jesus from Greek beliefs is absurd in the highest degree. The Greeks abhorred the idea of a physical, bodily afterlife because they viewed the material world as evil and the spiritual as good. So Christianity is practically the opposite of ancient Greek thought on the afterlife. This is one of the reasons Paul spent 58 verses explaining the doctrine of the Resurrection to the Corinthian church. You can also see the reaction Paul got when he spoke on the Resurrection in Athens. The Greeks thought it was crazy. No one said, “Hey, this sounds just like our belief about Dionysus.”
There is no record that Dionysus was born of a virgin. He was said to be the son of Zeus and Semele, whose affair angered Hera. Semele would hardly have been a virgin after Zeus repeatedly slept with her. There is not a single record that has Dionysus or any other pagan god rising from the dead on the third day. There were a handful of dying-and-rising gods, but these were viewed as gods of the various crops, so they died in the winter and rose in the spring. That could hardly be confused with Jesus.
The notion that Jesus was copied from these other gods is not grounded in reality. It was a myth made up in the nineteenth century and popularized in the twentieth century by Tom Harpur. Now, Bill Maher and others run around touting it as if it is real scholarship, and yet it is completely bankrupt without a shred of actual support from ancient writings. I recommend you look at the actual source material from ancient writings about these gods and you’ll see that there is no comparison to be made.
What do you think of Gerald Aardsma’s theory that says the Exodus happened 1000 years earlier at the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom? If true, the Greek myths came from earlier Hebrew stories, not vice versa….
I don’t buy Aardsma’s theory about the Exodus being 1000 years earlier. We can establish a pretty good timeline for the Exodus based on the passage in 1 Kings 6:1 which states that the temple was built 480 years after the Israelites left Egypt. There is zero textual evidence for his attempt to make this 1,480 years, and there is no need to seek to push the Exodus back so far. Archaeology continues to demonstrate the accuracy of the biblical record as is, so we don’t need to try to change it to fit with what some people believe.
Also, I don’t think the Greek myths came from Hebrew stories. I would say that in some cases Greek mythology (as well as Norse, Roman, etc.) are embellished, legendary records of real events, while the Bible records the events accurately.
Thanks for reading!
I don’t want to get drawn into the “scientific validity” of the bible debates, but would like ti state that “My Belief” is that the bile tells us the truth…but does not elaborate. In other words, there are missing parts or gaps. Those gaps can be explained in the writings of other religions and myths. I believe that in our search for knowledge and wisdom, we should stop being exclusive and start becomming inclusive.
The link between the bible and Greek mythology is thus…
The “sons of God” looked upon the “daughters of man”…and bore “giants”…
“Sky” and “earth” copulated and brought forth the “Titans”.
In other words:
“Sons of God” – “Sky entities”
“Daughters of man” – “Earth people”
“Titans” – “Giants”
You are certainly entitled to your opinion on these matters. I would agree with you that the Bible does not tell us everything—there are plenty of things that it doesn’t tell. And there are even times when we can learn some details from other writings, but this does not necessarily put them all on a level playing field.
You said that you don’t want to get into a debate about the “scientific validity” of the Bible. That’s fine, I won’t debate you on it. But I do ask that you consider what the Bible really says. You say that you believe it tells us the truth. If that’s the case (and I agree that it is), then we need to consider the implications of such a claim. That would mean that whenever another writing contradicts the Bible, that writing cannot be true at that point. It doesn’t mean that everything in that writing is false, but it does mean that it is not at the same level as the Bible. In fact, the Bible demonstrates its supernatural quality through its use of detailed and completely accurate prophecy, something no other religion or philosophy has done or can do.
Finally, when it comes to Greek mythology, there is more to it than sky (Ouranos) and earth (Gaia) producing giants. They told of many of the gods (i.e. Zeus and Poseidon) fathering demigods with human women. I believe that in many of these cases, they are telling embellished stories of events that happened in the distant past that were distorted through the years as they passed on the tales.
Really interesting article. I have long been interested in the parallels between these two eras and I am doing an extended project for one of my A levels. I would really appreciate any advice or any other ideas you have, this could contribute to some of my primary research. I believe that the similarities between the biblical teachings and greek mythology are uncanny and I want to prove this in my project (perhaps even point to a source that planted the ideas of the stories that are seen in the bible and greek mythology.)
Thanks for reading and for the kind words. Can you clarify your last comment for me? Are you looking for a modern source that discusses these similarities in detail or are you asking if there is an ancient source from which the ideas mentioned in the Bible and Greek mythology might have been drawn from? If that latter, I don’t think that is what happened. I believe there were real events and people and the Bible accurately records these details, although it does not focus much attention on them. I think that many ancient mythologies also reported on these events and people, but their tales were distorted and embellished, becoming legendary over the centuries of retelling. I am sure there are modern sources that explores this concept in more detail. I can’t think of any off the top of my head right now, but I’ll do some digging when I get an opportunity and try to report back to you.
Very interesting article, thanks for taking the time!
Hey Tim. This post is quite interesting. I don’t understand though why you are totaly convinced that the bible, and not the other mythologies is the true account of history. I would like your thoughts on this
Thanks for taking the time to read and respond.
There are many reasons why I believe the Bible gives the true history of our world. First and foremost, I believe that the writings were inspired by God (literally, “God-breathed” in 2 Tim. 3:16), and since God cannot lie, then the Bible is entirely accurate.
Second, Jesus treated the Old Testament as our world’s true history. Time and time again, he referred to OT events, places, and people. Since I believe that Jesus is God incarnate, then I’ll trust what He says about Scripture.
Third, the Bible is the only one of the world’s “holy books” that contains accurate fulfilled prophecy. And we’re not talking about a few random passages here. The Bible contains hundreds of prophecies written centuries before the events they describe. More than 1/4 of the Bible was prophecy at the time it was written. This tells me that the message truly is from God since no man could predict the future with 100% accuracy. This also gives me confidence that the other prophecies awaiting future fulfillment will be fulfilled just like God said they would.
Fourth, I believe the Bible has repeatedly demonstrated its accuracy. Skeptics have criticized it and tried to point out historical or scientific errors, and yet the Bible is repeatedly confirmed to be accurate through archaeological and other historical finds.
There are other reasons I believe the Bible to be true, but this is enough to get started. I have spent much of the past 20 years reading and studying it every day, and while there are difficult passages to interpret, I have never found it to be in error.
I hope this helps.
Hello Tim, first off I must say that you and I both have thought of these theories. Which I find it to be amazing that someone sees it how I do. I respect you since you went to more vivid details. But I have an interesting theory that you might like. Contact me please if you’d like my email address
Awesome post! I am a born again Christian since fall 2014 and I am also aware that I have a lot of stuff to learn. Your post definitely has helped me understand this similarities and how to explain them, which will fully help me to share my faith and answer some “tough questions”. I would like to study and go further in this subject about the Greek Mytholy and the Bible, is there a book, website or something else that you would recommend? God bless you and your family.
Thanks for the kind words. I do have one more post on this subject that you may want to read: http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1139. There are some books out there that deal with the similarities between ancient mythologies and the Bible, but I’m not sure if I could recommend any of the ones I’ve read so far. They almost always claim that the Bible copied these other myths, when it’s very easy to see that this simply isn’t the case. The Bible usually presents its details in a very straightforward manner without embellishing the details, but these mythologies are often loaded with legendary embellishment or nonsensical details. I would encourage you as a new believer to spend a lot of time digging into Scripture. If I come across a good resource on the topic I’ll let you know.
I’m confused as to why you seem to think the bible holds a true history of our world or of what is written in the bible. Obviously, you are a man of faith. But you cannot state that the bible holds the true history of the world when science has proven otherwise. And the old testament may have been written first, but Homer and Hesiod are only the first to start writing about Greeks history. These stories, I’m very positive have predated the bible. All of it. And no. I’m not an atheist. I’m agnostic. But I certainly to not believe anything written in the bible. Man is selfish. There is nothing in this world that man has wanted more than power. And a book was used to obtain order. My problem with what you wrote, is that you believe the bible holds a true history. None of which can be proven. I am also NOT saying by any means that the Greek stories are true either.
How has science proven that the Bible doesn’t give earth’s true history? What have we observed that contradicts the Bible? I know of many claims about the past made by scientists that, if true, would contradict the Bible, but I don’t know of anything that has been observed that proves it wrong.
Many of the events Homer wrote about would have taken place during and after the Trojan War (c. 13th century BC, if it really happened). Some of the legends about the gods would stretch back beyond that, but what does that prove? Moses wrote in the 15th century BC, and some of what he wrote, namely Genesis, stretched back for nearly three thousand years. So I’m not sure what your point here is. It wouldn’t matter which came first, but which is accurate. But in this case, Moses wrote prior to many of the events described in the Iliad and Odyssey, so it simply is not true that the stories predated all of the Bible.
It’s strange that you claim not to believe anything written in the Bible. Do you deny that Pilate governed Judea in the late 20s and early 30s? Do you deny that Jesus lived in Israel during that time? Do you deny that the Hebrews were taken captive to Babylon? All of these are extremely well attested in non-biblical sources. So it isn’t true that none of the Bible can be proven—if by “proven” you mean holding it to the same historiographical standards as any other written work of history.
Also, you contradict yourself. You say that you don’t believe anything in the Bible, and then you say that man is selfish. Well, the Bible tells us that man is selfish, so do you believe that?
It’s true that some have used the Bible to control others, but it isn’t true that the writers of Scripture did that. In fact, nearly all of the New Testament writers were persecuted for their beliefs and many of them were killed because of it. It also isn’t true to claim that there “is nothing in this world that man has wanted more than power.” That may be true of some people, but there are many people who don’t long for power or control. So your point is really irrelevant. What you would have to show is that the biblical writers wrote what they did so that they could gain or maintain power over others.
You claim to be agnostic, so let me ask you the following question. Are you as skeptical of the claims of some modern scientists who make all sorts of claims about the distant past (when they weren’t there to observe it and have often turned out to be false) or of others who make all sorts of predictions about what will happen to our climate in the coming years (who have also turned out to be wrong so many times)? Are you skeptical of these claims or do you accept them as true because they line up with what you want to believe?
Here is the truth. Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for sinners like you and me. Then He rose from the dead, demonstrating His power over it and showing that what He taught was true. He offers forgiveness of sin to all who call on Him. I would argue that what most people want more than anything else is eternal life in a perfect world. Jesus offers that. I would also say that what we need most is to be forgiven of our sin against our holy Creator. Jesus offers that too. And unlike every other religion in the world, these things are not contingent upon our own efforts, but they are based entirely on what He has already done.
Do your research greek mythology was written some where around 3000 years before the bible now uses your own fingers to type and research this stuff.
Hesiod is thought to have died in the 7th century BC and Homer’s dates are highly questionable, ranging anywhere from about 1100 BC to around 850 BC and some place him even later than that. These are the two major players in terms of writing Greek mythology. So if we are to use your math, then I guess the Bible hasn’t been written yet, or if the 1100 BC date is accurate, then the Bible was written about a century ago. Who knew?
By the way, Moses lived in the 15th century BC, and he wrote Genesis–Deuteronomy long before Homer was around.
TJ, unless you decide to provide something substantive, I will no longer approve any of your comments because it is simply becoming a drag on my time.
Yes, I am very sincere. In listening and watching various programs such as “The journey home” and “Open line” I have noticed that all of the former protestants converts to the faith had the same comments about their disagreements with the church/teachings and sounded very much like you…and they were also very knowledgeable and well versed, as are you. A common thread in their stories is that the doors began opening when they sincerely wanted to know the truth. Another fascinating common thread is that former protestant converts are also many times more fervent about the Catholic faith than many cradle Catholics! You never know where your journey will take you…and you are welcome any time with open arms!
In addition to the two programs I mentioned I would also like to suggest listening to Patrick Madrid on the “Right here, Right Now” radio program. It is a Catholic apologetics program and it helped me…I was one of those lukewarm cradle Catholics who never learned the faith. I have been listening to it since I began my journey 5 years ago!
In all kindness, I must say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” I would encourage you to continue studying the Bible and compare it to the teachings of your church. When He was on the Cross, Jesus stated, “It is finished.” Nothing else can be done to earn, procure, acquire, or merit salvation, yet this is what the RCC teaches. Jesus paid for my entire sin debt and for yours. We can receive a full pardon for our sin by calling on Him to save us. We cannot ever earn salvation through good deeds, although these good deeds should be a result of salvation. No church can save us, and the good deeds of others cannot merit favor with God on our behalf. It is only through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Trust in Him alone.
Rome yes Tim rome didn’t start the Catholic Church it was the Hebrews who lived in Rome and the bible was only created after death so again show me proof of where God wrote the old testament O yeah you can’t cause there is no proof but there is proof of everything I have said about things being missing from the bible and greek mythology and giant people no I don’t belive they came from people our size but the proof is there and as far as the Catholic Church that is all it was for over 100 years before it be came a Roman Catholic Church do your research and it will tell you rome be lived in Greek mythology before Christianity was ever in the picture. The Catholics were not of Rome and there were books written by a group of men and they decided what stories to put in from all the stories they heard from there childhood. Use your computer and find your stuff yourself.
In other words, you don’t have any evidence for your claims. I’ve politely asked you for some a couple of times now for proof of these giants, but your responses are all over the place and you’ve never given any evidence to back up your assertions.
By the way, I never said that God wrote the Old Testament. The writings were inspired by God, and He is the one who determined what the canon would be. Man is the one who discovered that canon. You may also be interested to know that Genesis–Joshua were written centuries before Homer and Hesiod began writing Greek mythology. So I’m not exactly sure how the Bible copied from Greek mythology.
Have you ever considered becoming Catholic? Scott Hahn is a former Presbyterian theologian who had similar doubts about Rome and biblical historicty. He began a journey to the Catholic church when some of his fellow theologians could not provide him with clear answers to his doubts. He wrote about his difficult but fulfilling journey in “Rome Sweet Home.”
I am sure you are very sincere, and I thank you for that. But I must tell you that I have no interest in becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church. I am familiar with Scott Hahn and his journey. I am also well-versed in Roman Catholic doctrine (having been raised in a large Catholic area and having read much of the Catechism, Vatican II, and the Council of Trent) and while we do share some beliefs (Trinity, Deity of Christ, etc.), I strongly disagree on too many crucial issues with Rome. The most important of these is the gospel message itself, or more specifically, what one’s response to the gospel must be in order to be saved. I believe that a person is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Good works are the result of salvation. Rome teaches that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ, but one must also perform certain works to be saved or to keep salvation.
I’m not sure what you mean by “similar doubts about Rome and biblical history.” I hold a Th.M. in church history and theology, so I am quite familiar with the early church. By no means am I claiming infallibility or complete knowledge of the times, but I do know enough of its history to know that what is called the Roman Catholic Church today did not exist in the early centuries of the church.
Wow you really don’t know anything about the bible you read and only speak of what you want not what is true god said truth would be reviled in the days of his return but now you say that there are no giants. And wow said anything about a leg bone I’m talking hole entire skeletons not 1 but many do your reach and the truth will be shown to you but until then I would not blog anymore cause all u speak is blind words thanks for showing me and others that you know nothing
I’d be happy for you to enlighten me on these giant skeletons you claim exist all over the world. I did not say there weren’t any giants. I said that we currently don’t have any skeletons of them. If you know of some, please tell me. I’d love to see them.
I’m not quite sure what one’s knowledge of the existence or non-existence of giant skeletons in the world today has to do with one’s knowledge of the Bible. You can ridicule me all you want instead of giving any evidence to support your claims. Rather than responding in like manner, I’ll let my readers decide if your claims have any merit.
As I read your blog post or whatever you want to call it I cant help to see that you are lost and still have doubt about what really went down. My ? Is who did adem and eves kids mate with . The giant that david killed was only 10 to 12 feet tall they say but 36 feet tall skeletons are found around the world sentar skeletons are found along with sators, cyclops and other mystical creatures but yet we all come from one god. please dont get me wrong im not judging but there is lies from the Christian side. In the bible in revaluation it talks about truth coming to light so im not saying that the bible is all wrong but it has been mistake for mans own consept so man is corrupted the word and world not weman. So let put blame where it goes on ourself not our ancestors couse truly no one really knows . But it all comes down to faith . Thanks
Goliath was probably a little less than 10 feet tall. There is no solid evidence for any of the alleged 36 foot tall skeletons. There are popular pictures on the internet, but no bones have been presented as evidence to support this. Also, due to the incredible stresses this would put on a frame, it is extremely unlikely that they could get this big.
If you are wondering who the children of Adam and Eve married, here is a helpful article to understand this popular question: https://answersingenesis.org/bible-characters/cain/cains-wife-who-was-she/
As for the Bible being in error, I disagree with you. Please show me where it is wrong. Jesus treated the Old Testament as real history. And since He fulfilled so many prophecies, worked countless miracles, and is the Son of God (He proved this claim by predicting His own Resurrection and then He did rise), I’ll stick with what He said.
Ok so if they haven’t been any 36 feet tall skeletons found and skeletons of Greek mythology that are in museums around the world then how come the bible do sent talk about them when they do exist and been found throughout history . so are those bones fake or again is the bible not telling the hole truth cause there are a lot of things missing from it. Also the bible says nothing about the leviathan being the serpent that tempted eve. And as far as the bible being words of God if it is from him he needs to come tell me his self so I don’t have to listen to the wickedness of man who think they know all of the bible and have interpretated it all wrong. If u ask if i have faith in God my answer is yes but I don’t believe that the bible is all there it was discovered in scripts and put together and there is things the Catholic Church decided to not put in from those scripts so yes there are a lot of things missing from the bible and that is proven fact
You say that it is a proven fact that the Bible is missing things. Can you tell me what inspired (God-breathed) writings are missing? The Catholic Church did not put the Bible together. As for the Bible being God’s Word, it demonstrates this in many ways. One way is through the use of prophecy. Tell me another book that can accurately foretell the future in perfect detail hundreds of years in advance. The Bible has done this over and over again.
I’m not sure what Leviathan has to do with this discussion. You’ll have to let me know what you’re thinking here.
Also, what museums have these skeletons you are talking about? If you are talking about the alleged 47 inch femur that some places show online, you should know that there are many problems with this tale. First, this is a reconstruction based on a report given by a missionary in Turkey. It is not a cast made from an actual bone. Second, the missionary’s report simply stated that the leg bones measured 47 inches in length. Does that mean that the femur was 47 inches long? That the whole leg length was 47 inches? That the length of the three leg bones (tibia, fibula, femur) equaled 47 inches? Or that the length of the femur, tibia/fibula, and foot bones measured 47 inches?
I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the giants had femurs that long, although I think that’s probably a little taller than what they actually reached.
It is very rare to find any human remains from long ago, so the fact that giant bones have probably not been found is not surprising. Remember, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Besides, we have multiple ancient records that speak of them.
I am curious as to why you say the Catholic church did not put the bible together?
The reason I wrote that is because the Catholic church did not put the Bible together. That’s simply a matter of historical fact. Rome certainly had nothing to do with putting the Old Testament together, which is what the majority of this article and discussion have been about. But the Roman Catholic Church did not put the New Testament together either. They certainly helped preserve it over the centuries, but God is the one who gave us Scripture. He is the one who determined what the canon would be—man is the one who discovered the canon. Here is a helpful article on the subject of how the New Testament books were compiled. You’ll notice that lists of NT books were being compiled long before the Roman Catholic Church formed—it did not start with Peter.
I find the connection of paganism and Christianity astonishing! How about you Tim?
I would completely expect that the Bible, which accurately records real history of the ancient world, to have some of its teachings echoed in many of the ancient religions around the world. What is particularly fascinating, and again expected since the Bible is true, is that many of these cultures have knowledge of many of the events from Creation to Babel (Genesis 1–11), but then know nothing of the events following Babel. This makes perfect sense from a biblical perspective since the people scattered to fill the earth at the time of Babel and would have taken with them knowledge of their history. Over the centuries these beliefs would become distorted but may still retain some of the core ideas. I think that’s what we find.
You seemed to have made some mistakes, such as the fact that Greek religion existed before Christianity. In fact if you reread certain parts of this you say that Christianity came first which is a lie, which means that Christains distorted the Greek religion not the other way around. And in my slightly biased opinion you sound like a very committed Christain in your opinion on this certain topic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and to leave a comment. However, I believe you either misunderstood my point or missed it altogether. In the conclusion, I explicitly state that “these Greek myths have been around since long before Christianity came on the scene.” So I am not saying that Christianity came first. I would say most of the Old Testament passages referred to in this post were written prior to the Greek mythology being written down. While the Old Testament is certainly part of the Christian Scriptures, they also belong to Judaism. And the first five books of the Bible pre-date the writing of Greek mythology. Samson (from the book of Judges) may have lived at about the same time that some of the early Greek mythology was being recorded, but the section about Eve and the one about the giants certainly predates Greek mythology.
I am definitely a very committed Christian, and I use my blog to promote the Christian faith as being defensible in all areas. If you haven’t already done so, I would recommend that you read the post that came before this one (Giant Speculations) to see an that ancient history is quite consistent with the Bible.
I tend to think of God as one who prepares his people. As he prepared David to face GOLIATH. He very well could have used this mythology as a means to prepare them to welcome the messiah. Extrapolating truths they held to into the truth of the gospel. The connections reverberate and ring loud and clear. It would not be a far jump for them once it was delivered by disciples of Christ.
I’m not quite sure what you mean. Yes, I believe God prepares His people so that they can understand the message. Are you saying that David and Goliath was mythology or was that statement linked to your first sentence about preparedness? Also, I don’t really understand how the mythology of the ancient pagan cultures would prepare God’s people to welcome the Messiah. We see no use of this mythology among the disciples when they preached to Jewish audiences (they cited Scripture after Scripture). We don’t really see it when Paul preached to Gentile audiences either. He did cite a pagan poet, so it’s certainly possible that he could have drawn on their mythology too, perhaps showing that it can be traced back to something in real history, something that is described accurately in Scripture.
Also you have to think of it in terms of frame of reference. If your frame of reference for viewing all things is that God is all knowing and is at work in everything then you would also believe that God was working in their understanding of Greek mythology… knowing they would receive the message and gently guiding them to accept His message and fulfill His plan. He is always working/moving to bring us into the fullness of truth. Sometimes that means meeting a person/people where they are at. He gently guides.
I was using the biblical story of David and goliath as scriptural reference to proof that God does prepare a person or people. As far as the Greek mythology aspect, I meant that because of some similarities between the mythology and scripture, the people hearing about the messiah would recognize those similarities and more readily accept the message. Not that the similarities were pointed out to them by the deliverers.
You should check out Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” pg. 232 where in translating the root word for “cannibal” he relates it to an amalgamation of the Semitic root “Chan” and “Chana” which was originally Canaanite and meant “Priest or the priest.”
The Canaanites worshiped Ba’al so the word is Chana and Ba’al and Hislop shows where ancient Greek scholars related this to the Cyclops mythology who famously ate humans to Canaanite priests sacrificing humans to Ba’al and even perhaps eating them. The Canaanites drew an image in the center of their foreheads of the Eye of God marking themselves as priest of Ba’al or “cannibals.”
Interestingly as well, “Canaan” is identical in structure to “Danaan” so the “aan” suffix in Gaelic represents “The name of the progenitor of a people, or descent from” IE: “Cain.” Whose descendants slaughter people the way he did his brother and whom are wiped-out by Israel on the instructions of God perhaps this is done as revenge for Abel’s murder?
Also, Frances Rolleston in “Mazzaroth” makes a case for the Bible being Greek mythology based on translations of names into Hebrew from the Greek.
Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave your comments.
I’d be very hesitant to use Hislop’s book since it is loaded with shoddy scholarship. I know many people think The Two Babylons is one of the best books out there, but his entire approach to connecting words across cultures based on similar sounds or appearance is extremely flawed and many examples of his errors can be shown.
Also, the Canaanites were not wiped out due to some sort of revenge for Abel’s murder. Unless Noah’s wife or one (or more) of his sons’ wives were descended from Cain (which is possible), then the descendants of Cain were wiped out at the Flood. The Canaanites were not the only people group that were judged by God via Joshua and the Israelites. The Amalekites, Amorites, Jebusites, and others also lived in the land. Specifically, the Canaanites were the people living near the sea and the banks of the Jordan (Numbers 13:29). The Bible states several times that the people in the land were very wicked and were to be judged for their sins. Also, God gave them 400 years to repent, but they continued in their evil deeds (Genesis 15:16).
My daughter goes to a classical school where they study Latin and heavily the Greek and Roman ancient cultures, gods, etc. She said recently that her teacher was infering the Bible included Greek and Roman mythology vs Greek and Roman mythology taking from the Bible or a partial truth account of Biblical history. This has shaken her faith a bit. Are there any resources you recommend that would help her? She is in 9th grade.
Thank you for this article. I will pass it on to her.
This sort of thing happens a lot. Whenever there are any similarities between the Bible and some of the ancient pagan belief systems, people will inevitably claim that the Bible copied from these other belief systems. In many cases, such as these ones, it is very obvious that the Bible did not copy from Greek or Roman mythology. So why are there similarities? It could be that these other views are copying from Scripture, though largely distorting it as the events are retold over and over again. I think it is far more likely that these ancient pagan belief systems have kernels of truth within them because they go back to the true history that is recorded in the Bible. For example, the Bible tells us that people split up over the whole earth after God confused their languages at Babel. What is interesting is that so many of these ancient beliefs have accounts very similar to what we read in Genesis 1-11 (creation, fall, fallen angels with women producing giants/demigods, flood), but there is very little in these beliefs that parallel anything after Genesis 11 (an exception would be those cultures that were very close to Israel and interacted with them). I think the reason for this is that the people took what they knew when they split from Babel and after the centuries these stories were twisted, embellished, mythologized, etc., but they still contain elements of the true history recorded in Scripture.
I hope this helps.
what a nice comparative analysis between the two 🙂 Great job