"About two years ago, I had a few atheist friends over who during a conversation about a great many things proposed that the Bible was merely a copy of many creation myth stories that preceded it. Soon after this, I attended one of your visits in Toronto where you suggested that rather than be ignorant to friends that are atheists or muslims that it would be a good idea to read their source material. Since then, I read the Bible from cover to cover, the books of Enoch, the Gilgamesh Epic, and the Egyptian book of the Dead. During my readings I found nothing that invalidates the Bible, but rather some interesting similarities -- such as the flood story and the existence of giants -- that is present in all of these ancient texts. My journey led me to a book called The Genesis Revelation, in which the author attempts to explain certain Bible passages using today's scientific terms and knowledge... Two very interesting finds in the book were that of the Mazzaroth (Job 38:31-32, Bible Story in the stars), which the book claims that fallen angels corrupted the studying of stars (astronomy) to lead people into worshipping or following the stars (astrology) and the Great Pyramid of Giza. Apparently the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built before the great flood, is uncapped and has markings within it that mark and foretell the history of the Adamic Race. How much evidence is there that this pyramid is the memorial stone mentioned in Isaiah 19:19-20?" -- M.W. First off, I know I’m about 5 years late. But our Q&A emails really DO get backed up! Hope my response will still be useful, though I realize you may have rocketed way past where you were in 2011, rendering this reply redundant. (If so, oh, well...)
Second, I'm thrilled that you have invested so much time in becoming better educated.
Now here’s my quick (alas, too terse, given the long wait) response:
- Whereas the pagan stories, familiar to the original Hebrew audience, are full of myth and gods who are neither nice nor fair, the Bible presents a radically different view. The familiar stories have been scrubbed clean — no mythology left — the powers of nature back to being sea and sun and moon etc, not divinities — and the stories have been rewritten to show us who God is.
- The Deluge was another familiar story, not only among Babylonians and Sumerians, but also among Egyptians, Greeks, and even Romans. The story has been rewritten and the differences are striking! Again, God is one, and he is good, and just. The flood was not sent to drown the humans whose noise was disturbing the gods’ sleep, but to cleanse the earth of sin — particularly the sin of violence. The flood is an act of grace, saving a few and enabling a fresh start. Whether or not there was a global deluge (it is suggested it may have been alluvial, or even a Black Sea event) hardly matters. It’s the theology of the story that is important, because that’s where we meet God — and experience what is distinctive about Hebrew religion.
- The story you heard about the pyramid etc — this is nonsense. I would pay no attention to this. Isaiah 19:19 refers to something far later than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built over 1000 years before Isaiah prophesied! There was a large Jewish community in Egypt after the Assyrian and Babylonian Exiles. Frequently in Isaiah (which my wife and I are currently studying) we find prophetic oracles about the traditional enemies of Israel (esp. Egypt and Assyria) being won over to the true faith, and living in peace with God’s people.
- For more on Genesis, be sure to get a copy of Paul Copan & Douglas Jacoby, Origins.
Sorry to take 5 years to reply. Thanks for your patience. -- D.J.