The Bible as Myth

The average American usually has one of two attitudes toward the Bible as the Word of God. One is that the Bible is full of allegories and myths. This is the result of the undermining influence of rationalism for the past few hundred years and is now too often held by the common man. The other attitude is the Bible is from God and guided by his hand ("inspired" 2 Timothy 3:16-17). As one bumper sticker put it - "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it."

 Myth is often defined as "a traditional story concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, typically involving the supernatural." Stories can be true or false. However, to most of us myth more often conveys "a widely held but false belief" or "a fictitious person or thing." The Bible record is certainly the traditional story of God's dealings with mankind. We must remember that a story can be true or false depending on the historical facts of the story. Thus, the Bible must stand on the accuracy of its content.

 Some make a distinction between what we accept in history or science and the Bible. What we accept in history or science is based on fact. On the other hand, what we accept in the Bible is by faith; and thus as "a system of religious belief" has no foundation in facts. Nothing could be further from the truth. If the Bible is not factual, how can we base our way of life or moral code on mythology? The apostle Paul in arguing for the general resurrection put it this way, "For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable" (1 Corinthians 15:16-19).

 This brings us to the so called mythology of the Bible. Candidates for public office are asked on national TV: "Surely you don't believe the earth was actually created in six days?" or "Surely you don't believe that old fish story about Jonah and the whale?" Did Adam and Eve actually exist? Was the garden of Eden real? Jesus evidently thought so. When the Pharisees quizzed Jesus about divorce (Matthew 19:4-6) He replied, "Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

 If God in fact created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1), then those miracles, like the virgin birth and the resurrection, are small potatoes. We forget, or are ignorant of the fact, that the basic purposes of miracles were to demonstrate the fact that the message was from God. As John Mark expressed it in connection with the spreading of the Gospel, "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mark 16:19-20).


Dale I. Royal, Elk City OK