OT Stories - Myths,Legends, Parables, or Real
In discussions with Caposkia on his thread regarding his recommended book (New Atheist Crusaders) we have mutually agreed to open a discussion on the OT discussing reality versus myth for stories in the OT. My position is that the OT is largely myths and legends with little basis in reality. There may be stories that may be considered literature as Rook has suggested though it still incorporates myths and legends as well in my opinion. The intent is to examine major stories and discuss the mythical components versus the interpretations by Christians and Jews that these events were real. Caposkia has indicated in many of his posts that he agrees that some of the stories are reality based and in those areas I'm interested in understanding his reasoning or any other believer for acceptance versus others where he does not consider them to be. It may be there are a few where we may find agreement as to a story being a myth or it being real though my inclination is little more is reality based other than kingdoms existed in Palestine that were called Israel and Judah and they interacted with other nations in some fashion.
Since the basis of Christian beliefs started with creation and the fall of man we'll begin there and attempt to progress through Genesis in some sort of logical order sort of like Sunday School for those of you that went. I’m not particularly concerned about each little bit of belief in these stories but I’m more interested in the mythology aspects. We could for pages argue over original sin or free will but that isn’t even necessary in my opinion as the text discredits itself with blatant assertions and impossibilities. Instead consider for example Eve is created in one version from Adam’s rib which can be directly compared to the Sumerian goddess of the rib called Nin-ti which Ninhursag gave birth to heal the god Enki. Other comparisons can be made to the Sumerian paradise called Dilmun to the Garden of Eden as well. These stories predate the OT by thousands of years and tell the tale of the ancient Annuna gods that supposedly created the world. Visit www-etcsl.orient.ox.ac.uk/# for more information and some of the translated stories, click on corpus content by number or category.
In order for salvation through Christ from our supposed sins against the God the events of Genesis must have occurred in some fashion. If the Genesis stories are largely mythical or they are simply a parable then this basis is poorly founded and weakens the entire structure of Christian belief. Caposkia claims I error at square one because I don't acknowledge a spiritual world. I suggest that he and other followers error by accepting that which there is no detectable basis. This is done by interpreting parables and myths by the ancients to be more than inadequate understanding by unknowing people that looked for an answer to why things were in the world they observed.
In Genesis 1 is the supposed creation of the world by God. In this account illogical explanations start immediately with the description of the Earth being without form and darkness was upon it. Light is then created and explained as day and night. Next God molded his creation into better detail by creating Heaven above meaning the sky and waters on the earth. He then caused dry land to appear calling it the Earth and the waters the Seas. On this same day he created vegetation with the requirement that it bring forth after its kind by duplication through seeds. The following day he created the heavenly bodies to divide day from night and to be signs for seasons and for years. He made the great light to rule the day and the lesser light the night as well as all the stars. On the 5th day he created all the life in the seas and air with the requirement they reproduce after their own kind. The 6th day he created all the land animals including man both male and female. The gods in this case made man after their image as male and female in their own likeness. He commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth.
Problems start with this account immediately. The Earth according to science is leftover material from the forming of our star, the Sun. This material would have been a glowing mass of molten material. The land in any event would emerge first before water could exist as a liquid upon it due to the extreme heat. Light would already exist in the form of the Sun which according to current science is not as old as other stars in our galaxy not to mention in the Universe. The account mentions that day and night were made but this is not so except for a local event on the planet. An object not on the Earth would have no such condition or a different form of night and day. The account further errors in claiming the Sun, Moon, and stars were all formed following the creation of the Earth. In theories of planet formulation the star is formed first and planets afterwords. In the case of the moon multiple theories occur though not one where it zapped into the Universe suddenly. The statement that the heavenly bodies were created for signs and seasons is more evidence of a legend. The other planets and stars are purposeful in ways that aid in life existing or continuing to do so on Earth. Jupiter for example is a great big vacuum cleaner sucking into its gravitational field all sorts of debris that could eradicate life on Earth. Is this then a design by the god or just part of the situation that helped to allow life to progress as it did on the Earth? The observation of specific planets or stars in specific areas of the sky is just that, an observation no more and not placed there by a god to indicate the change of seasons.
One can also see some similarity between Genesis 1 and the Egyptian creation myth Ra and the serpent, see http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~humm/Resources/StudTxts/raSerpnt.html . In this myth Ra is the first on the scene and he creates all the creatures himself doing so before he made the wind or the rain. Ra does not create man but the gods he created gave birth to the people of Egypt who multiplied and flourished.
Some Jewish sects as well as Catholic belief allow for evolution to have been the method for creation of life on Earth. This however is in contradiction to Genesis in that all vegetation and animals were to reproduce only after their own kind. If this is so, then evolution is not compatible with the creation story. Simply put the life could not alter and produce different versions not after its kind. Since obvious examples exist for variation in species such as evolution even as simple as fish in caves without eyes or color versus those that are in streams outside there is obvious adaption thus discrediting this part of Genesis as myth.
The creation of man in Genesis 1 also suggests multiple gods as man was created in their likeness male and female thus following Canaanite gods such as Yahweh and his Asherah or Ba'al and Athirat that may be a reflection of an older tradition from either Egypt or Sumer. Genesis 2 on the other hand has a slightly different version from a variant I'll discuss in a later post.
I consider Genesis 1 to be a myth, legend or a parable based on all the problems discussed with basis in ancient stories from Sumer and Egypt. I leave it to Caposkia and other believers to indicate where they accept parts of Genesis 1 as reality and to indicate their reasoning if they do so.
"I guess it's time to ask if you live under high voltage power transmission lines which have been shown to cause stimulation of the fantasy centers of the brain due to electromagnetic waves?" - Me
"God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, - it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks please. Cash and in small bills." - Robert A Heinlein.
1 Samuel part 8 - Cont’d
Chapter 18 David in Saul’s Employ
This chapter begins with a discussion of the friendship of David and Jonathan. It is almost described as too close. I guess they had the BFF thing then as well.
Saul gave David various missions to do and whatever the task he was always successful. He was given a position in the army with a high rank. After David’s return from the slaughter of the Philistine (singular meaning one? Perhaps Goliath?) the women were all excited singing and dancing and saying, “Saul has slain his thousands but David has slain ten of thousands”. This made Saul very angry and suspicious of David, for what more could he gain but the kingdom. Saul from then on kept a close eye on David.
The relationship between David and Saul began to deteriorate when the public’s admiration of David becomes overly enthusiastic. As of the beginning of this chapter the only person we have heard that David killed was but one, not 10s of thousands though David could have been sneaking out and committing serial murders at night.
The next day, the evil spirit from the god came to Saul very forcefully. Saul was raving throughout his house. David was playing his lyre to soothe Saul but he had a spear in his hands and threw it at David. David dodged the spear twice. Saul was afraid of David as the god was with him and had left Saul except of course the evil spirit of the god. Since Saul was afraid of him he of course promoted him to the captain over a thousand men in the hope he’d die in battle I would guess. David was successful in all he did further adding to Saul’s apprehension of him, though all the people of the land loved him.
The god continues to harass Saul with his evil to the point Saul attempts to kill David. The god exhibits the qualities of a trickster such as Loki, though causing problems for man is not a new thing to him.
In v17 Saul offers his oldest daughter Merab to David in marriage, something that was promised in the previous chapter for killing Goliath, perhaps another legend. Anyway, all David has to do is serve Saul and kill Philistines. Saul figures they will eventually kill David for him. Saul ignores his offer to David and gives his daughter in marriage to Adriel of Meholah instead. His other daughter Michal was in love with David which pleased Saul as he still had a means to control David he thought. Saul informs him that the only price for his daughter is the foreskins of 100 Philistines, which he hoped would cause David’s death. David and his men went out and he killed 200 Philistines which he counted out to Saul on his return. Thus Saul gave his daughter Michal to David as a wife and continued to fear David as the god was with him.
More narrative in the legendary manner, typical of ancients describing events with much detail even when it is unsupported. Stories such as this also involve Greek heroes in similar fashion. All it does is show the god has abandoned Saul, except of course his evil spirit and now supports David, at least in the opinion of the ancient bard who wrote this story.
Chapter 19 – Saul’s attempts to kill David
This chapter begins with Saul ordering his son Jonathan and all his servants to kill David. As Jonathan was David’s BFF he first warned David about his father and told him he’d talk to his father. Jonathan tells Saul David has done nothing but serve Saul and the people and should not be killed, He asked him why would you wrong an innocent man. Saul takes an oath to the god as follows, “As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.”
Saul apparently has a jealous rage from the evil spirit of the god. The oath he took was of course worthless, as the god does not live either because he is imaginary, my view or because he was incorporeal or out side of dimensional reality.
Once more David is in Saul’s house when the evil spirit of the god descends upon him. Saul again has his spear handy and attempted to stick David with it. David correctly flees the scene. Saul sent messengers to watch David’s house and kill him in the morning. David’s wife warned him if he didn’t leave that night he’d be dead in the morning. Michal set up a dummy in the bed to appear to be David. When the killers came in to slay him that’s what they found. David fled to Samuel at Ramah and informed him of all that Saul had done.
Saul learns that Samuel and David went to Naioth and dispatches assassins to kill him. Instead, the men end up prophesying with Samuel and other unnamed prophets. When Saul learns his attempt on David’s life once again has failed, he goes to Naioth himself. Saul is also affected by the spirit of the god and prophesies as well, stripping himself naked in the processLe.
The god continues to insert his evil spirit into Saul over-riding free will. Saul as mentioned ignored his oath and attempts to kill David anyway. This is simply all more unsupportable narrative and legendary as other bard originated stories of supposed heroes of the ancients.
be it that this focus is on a particular relationship, those details will be hard to support or debunk. they were known to be powerful men in the lands as far as in battle. Legends may have helped in the manner. The point of the story seems to be the relationship and why it started to have problems and not so much was was going on otherwise.