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The Beginning of Monotheism

05 Feb
from Google Images

from Google Images

Chris (or the summary he presents of Karen Armstrong’s book A History of God) tells us in his video (HERE)that the Enuma Elish, or the Babylonian creation story depicts the prehistoric world as “formless and void”, yet, when I searched for these words in the Enuma Elish, they were not there, neither was the word chaos. The reason for this is that chaos is personified in the myth. One must interpret the Babylonians gods, Tiamat and Apsu, to be chaos, if one is to see the world before law and an orderly environment appeared.

Chris also claims that ‘light, firmament, dry land, the sun and moon and mankind are created in order’. That is, he seems to be inferring that the Biblical account follows the identical order of the story of creation found in the ancient ANE myths. Yet, there is no discernable message or order in the Enuma Elish to tell us this. Everything is personified and interpreted from the personifications. As many ANE scholars do, Chris is reading Biblical vocabulary into the ancient ANE sources—in this case the Enuma Elish. If one didn’t do that, it would be much more difficult to see the connection between Genesis 1 & 2 and the ancient ANE creations records. I am not trying to say there is no connection, but I am saying that too often Biblical vocabulary is used to offer a much closer connection that simply isn’t there.

Chris also claimed the Enuma Elish was originally written cir. 1750 BC. However, according to all I’ve found, the present extant clay tablets of the Enuma Elish date back to about 1250 BC or a difference of about 500 years. The theory is that the basic tenants of the Enuma Elish were believed and in place for about 500 years prior to our copy. The problem with the bigoted JEDP hypothesis is that the authors of that theory don’t want to give 500 years to the Jewish worldview, dating back from 950 BC when they suppose “J” began his editing. If scholars would give the same number of years to the Jews that they want to give to the Babylonian creation story, it would put the Torah back into the hands of Moses in 1450 BC!

Chris claims there is no trace of monotheistic Judaism at the time of the presumed original account of the Enuma Elish in 1750 BC, but why would there be, if Abraham was the only family leader on earth who believed in one God? How much archeological evidence could we expect from anyone who believed in only one God and made no images of that God? What would such archeological evidence look like? Isn’t that like saying, because there is no physical evidence of a supernatural (or spiritual) God, God doesn’t exist? Isn’t it more logical to believe that the purveyors of the JEDP hypothesis are merely forcing their worldview upon the history of Judaism?

When we come to Jacob’s embracing Jehovah as his God (Elohiym) in Genesis 28, Chris tells us that the language used makes sense only in an atmosphere of polytheism. Jacob had to have believed in other gods, but chose only one as his God. But, is this the **only** way to understand Genesis 28:20-22? If I say, “If Jesus died for my sins (1Corinthians 15:3), and if he guides me in life (John 16:3) so that I can see he is ever with me and not forsaking me (Deuteronomy 31:6; Matthew 28:20), then he will be my Savior (John 4:42).” Am I choosing Jesus as Savior among many saviors? How many other saviors are there in our modern cultural climate? How many saviors do atheists embrace? Doesn’t it make more sense that I am really saying, if Jesus does all this, he will be fulfilling the idea of savior, and, since he saves me, he will be my Savior? Again, isn’t the conclusion Chris embraces better understood as forcing his worldview onto the text rather than reading the text and understanding it in its own right?

In the beginning of the video Chris tells us that the God of Christianity, the Jews and modern Islam has a history, but that history cannot be understood from the Bible. Rather the history of the monotheistic God is gleaned first from a walk through the ancient pagan religions, because monotheism wasn’t really born until the Judean captivity in Babylon, cir. 600 BC. Monotheistic ideas were edited into the Bible from that time by a priest (P of the JEDP hypothesis). He claims, if we read our modern English bibles we are reading a story that is different from the story that evidence claims that story actually happened! Yet, all the evidence Chris presents is an ‘hypothesis’ – JEDP! How can JEDP be evidence for itself? Isn’t that a circular argument? JEDP is true because… well JEDP says so, and popular opinion agrees! What is the evidence that monotheism began cir. 600 BC, and what would the archeological evidence for monotheism look like if it existed earlier, especially when no idols were made to the God of the Bible?

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Posted by on February 5, 2015 in 70 Weeks Prophecy, atheism, naturalism

 

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