|Vol. 15 No. 1 January 2013||
Betty Burton Choate
Most archaeologists pride themselves on the claim that they enter into their studies with open, scientific minds, unimpeded in the fairness of their conclusions by any preconceived belief in any “god” or any “inspired message” from God. They overlook the obvious: that the mind of man invariably will attempt to resolve the question of his origin – and one believes either that there was a Creator or that there was not. Most “open minded” scientists and archaeologists long ago accepted the theory that the universe is 15-20 billion years old, and that everything in existence developed through an “evolutionary” process. So, most actually begin their assessment of all things from a very close-minded hypothesis of no God and no message given from His vantage point of knowledge.
Therefore, the Bible is the prime target for rejection and ridicule, in open refutation of its claim to be inspired by God. It is lumped with all other “holy” books and mythical histories. Matter-of-factly and without hesitation, the characters of the Bible are dismissed or remade into whatever suits the imagination of the “scholars.” In such an analysis, Abraham is pronounced as being not an individual person, but a composite “hero” of 500 to 1000 years of oral traditions of Hebrew nomads. (Such casual guessing about the time supposedly involved tells us a great deal about the accuracy of the rest of the fabrication!) Moses, if such a person existed historically, was actually a prince of royal Egyptian blood who had to be “Hebraized” in order for the straggling Semitic people to accept his leadership. (If everything Scripture says about Moses is untrue, why even take up his name as a character about whom to develop a fabricated tale which is totally unsustained by anything in secular or biblical records? Why not just deny his existence altogether?)
The same “scholars” who unhesitatingly rewrite the lives of Bible characters and events also say boldly that the oral traditions and myths were eventually written down by unknown individuals and that the resulting manuscripts were ultimately brought together and passed off on the world as “scripture.” Of course, there is no belief in the revelation of truth by God, as “God… spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews 1:1). Or that “…holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21). Totally disregarded is the statement that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Reading the Genesis accounts of creation or of the flood, these “scholars” then speak of the “older” Babylonian, Egyptian, Assyrian, and other accounts, and they conclude that whoever wrote those portions of Genesis was aware of the older records and simply and obviously plagiarized. Are there accounts of the creation and the flood that were written before Moses penned Genesis under God’s direction? Yes. Are there similarities between those writings and the biblical record? Yes. Does this prove that the Bible is not of God, as it claims, and that its writers could do no better than copy from the myths around them? No. But these accounts do prove something that is very important: that knowledge of the creation and the flood predated every written record, and that all of the accounts actually came from a common source! Were not the Babylonians, Egyptians and all people of the world actually descendants of Noah and his family? As those sons saw generations of their children born, would they not have told them the awesome stories of the creation of the world and of its destruction by water because of sin?
As generation followed generation, and as people became further and further separated from each other, the stories gradually changed. Some of the people looked at the sun and, realizing its importance to their lives, they began to worship it as a manifestation of the Creator God. Others, fearing the power of rivers by which they lived, began to worship and offer sacrifices to the river “god.” As these “gods” developed, the stories of the creation and of the flood were changed to incorporate them. With the passing of the centuries, the stories were finally written down and they have come to us in highly mythical forms. Many, many facts had become corrupted, so that it is evident even to a casual reader that these are elaborately developed myths. Yet, there are threads woven through all of these accounts that are the same, and the similarities are too pronounced to be the work of coincidence.
Even archaeologists recognize that there must have been a common source. However, because of their rejection of God, they make no attempt to delve deeper than the similarities and their convenient conclusions that the “younger” copied from the “older.” They don’t concern themselves with the questions, “Why are these stories of creation and flood found repeatedly among ancient civilizations? What is the root of these ‘coincidences’?” Consider these likenesses between the Mayan Popol Vuh (from the Western Hemisphere) and the biblical record of creation, as compared in Return to Sodom and Gomorrah by an agnostic scientist, Charles Pellegrino:
The Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.”
Popol Vuh: “Before the world was created, calm and silence were the great kings that ruled. Nothing existed… and the face of the earth was unseen. There was only motionless sea, and a great emptiness of sky… It was night, silence stood in the dark.”
The Bible: “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
Popol Vuh: “Flatness and emptiness, only the sea, alone and breathless… In the darkness the Creators waited… Then, ‘Let the emptiness fill!’ they said. ‘Let the light break on the ridges, let the sky fill up with the yellow light of dawn!’”
The Bible: “And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
Popol Vuh: “Let the water weave its way downward so the earth can show its face.”
The Bible: “And God said…Let the dry land appear: and it was so.”
Popol Vuh: “‘Earth!’ the Creators called. They called only once, and it was there, from a mist, from a cloud of dust, the mountains appeared instantly.”
The Bible: “And God said… Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind… and it was so.”
Popol Vuh: “At this single word the groves of cypresses and pines sent out shoots.”
The Bible: “And God said… Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth…”
Popol Vuh: “The Creators often asked, ‘Will this silence reign under the trees forever?’ Suddenly there were the animals: deer, birds, jaguars, snakes.”
The Bible: “And God said… Let us make man in our image…”
Popol Vuh: “‘Let our glory be a man walking on a path through the trees,’ the Creators called.”
Obviously, the writer of Genesis did not go to the Mayan kingdom in the western hemisphere to copy from the text of the Popol Vuh. Did the Mayans copy from the Genesis record? How, then, can two accounts of creation, separated by such physical distances, be so much alike? The only plausible answer is that the Mayans had learned the facts from their ancestors – Noah’s descendants – and that they preserved with remarkable accuracy what they had been taught by their forefathers, even after they left the land of their origin and crossed an ocean to reach a new world. Rather than discrediting the authenticity of the biblical record, these other accounts – regardless of how much they have been altered by time and mythological corruptions – attest to the facts of the creation and the flood, as accurately revealed through God’s inspiration in Genesis. God’s Word stands.