Is The Bible Common Mythology
The word myth has evolved a new meaning in the last century and as per the new meaning, much of the Bible is in fact mythology. However, the word mythology strongly connotes a false story and is an insult to believers.
By modern definition, a myth is any ancient story whether true or false, but generally not provably true. It is the broadest of categories. It follows by modern definition that the Bible is a collection of myths, whether true or false. For instance, one may never be able to prove as true and factual a story such as the biblical Samson story- it is common mythology by modern definition. Perhaps the only evidence that will ever exist supporting the Samson story is its inclusion in the Old Testament (Tanach). Gone are the days when a story is fact simply because it is in the Bible. Can one ever regain that level of confidence in the Bible? Is the Bible indeed a revelation from God?
As to the inclusion of gods in ancient stories, everyone has an innate desire to believe in the supernatural. People throughout history have wished for and created gods. Most people want to worship something. For many, beliefs are in cattle, crop circles, pyramids, statues, or ancient circular arrangements of stones. It is no wonder that others strive to overcome those innate beliefs. However, if the flood of Noah is true as written, the existence of God becomes a matter of fact.
Modern Judeo-Christian theologians face numerous scientific findings that are contrary to common biblical interpretations- interpretations of Genesis Chapters 1 through 11. To counter the contradictions, often with well-meaning intent, some theologians have added dignity to the term mythology for the sake of salvaging the
Bible as a holy book. Many suggest that those same biblical stories somehow transcend common truth. They have found a medium ground in which they can celebrate the Bible as a great and true book while shrugging off as irrelevant the seemingly obvious scientific contradictions. They say that the Bible is above petty scientific facts- hence the evolved definition of the word “myth.”
Other theologians believe Genesis is simple fiction- an ancient literary work. “After all,” they think, “How could it be true?” Much of the confusion stems from the creation story’s interpretations- old and new. Stories such as “Earth was surrounded by shells and God put stars in one of the shells on day 4,” and “Eve was tempted by a snake to eat an apple invoking God’s punishment, “and “Adam had a wife before Eve,” etc…, sound like mythology, don’t they? Where did those stories come from? They are a direct result of ancient theology and are acceptable depictions of actual Genesis stories to some in modern theology. To some, the stories define and clarify the mythology of Genesis. Never mind that the stories are not biblical!
In the form of brief stories or Midrash, ancient theologians and historians had often attempted to add their understanding to the creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah stories. Then, it would seem, given that the added stories are old enough, what is obvious mythology today must truly represent each story’s true original meaning- perhaps because those ancients would surely know better than us what Moses, the author of Genesis, really meant! What else could those writings of Moses have described if not the common beliefs of the time? Is that how it all works?
The word myth, as used in this writing, is in reference to the false myth type. Frankly, Genesis is the foundation of the Bible and most agree that if it is common mythology, the entire Bible is suspect.