Who doesn’t like a good story? In the ancient past, knowledge was passed down through the generations by telling stories. Oral history was later written down.
Just as luck would have it (?) we watched Noah last night. The story is bleak, the acting is full of gravitas and the sources of inspiration came from more than the Book of Genesis. As entertainment, it hit the mark: it told us what might have happened to Noah and his family; it made the time sequences more believable than usual; and it showed how Noah was ‘called’ by God to build the Ark.
But is it true?
It is a long-standing fact that the story of Noah and the Flood came down through history as the Epic of Gilgamesh.
But does that make it any less effective as a story? No. Did we learn anything? Yes.
There are so many improbable things about Noah’s version that it can sometimes strain credibility. Like, the implication that humanity started again with one family (albeit a descendant of Adam and Eve): because other races had their own flood stories, it is obvious that Noah and his family could not have been the only survivors. But for the Hebrews, they needed an explanation about how they came to exist after the flood. And because the first five books of the Old Testament are attributed to Moses, the implication is that the Egyptians were the actual authors of the history of the Jews.
Tom Harpur, in his book The Pagan Christ, tackled this sticky situation by acknowledging that ancient history had prototypes of the Christ going back thousands of years before Jesus. He suggests that the Church cribbed most of the Gospel stories from other sources, and then claimed that Satan had sown his lies to discredit the New Testament before it was even written. That’s a bit extreme, in my opinion.
He, and others, are missing an obvious link. Between the ages of 12 and 30, Jesus studied extensively in India and Egypt. He would have been totally aware of how the Messiah was meant to appear in the late 1st Century BC. The stories, as they evolved in the Gospels were meant to ‘prove’ to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. Who would have told them about the prophecies? Jesus himself.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.Matthew 5:17
This may not come as a shock to anyone who has done their research, but others may need to take a deep breath before I go on.
In Harpur’s view, Horus and Jesus are identical. Therefore, Jesus never existed as an historical person. In fact, the original Madonna and Child was Isis and Horus. How Egyptian can you get? But we forget that the Hebrews were captive slaves of the Egyptians until Moses persuaded Pharaoh to let his people go. (Even that story is an allegory…)
But the triple whammy for me is the total identification of Horus to Ra.
Ra was the Sun God. Horus was the son. There is a statement which is attributed to Horus about being ‘the light of the world.’ That is echoed in Jesus’ words. Does this mean that it was all plagiarized? No.
The Christ energy is in all of us (yes, even you…) and that Divine Spark needs fanning. Jesus, as the Christ, came into the world to ignite the fire. Seems that he was successful in spite of the Roman Catholic Church’s attempts to snuff the fire out. Now it is burning.