What if I told you that the Story of Israel told in Scripture was not the only Revelation of the Creator to His Creation? To most Christians, the idea that our Heavenly Father might have made His Presence known to any other people, in any other form, is almost unthinkable! However, that is just the concept that this blogpost will explore, though maybe not in-depth.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, though rife with examples of what we would construe as tall tales, also includes a flood account: numerous creation accounts have been revealed from ancient & existing civilizations, leading some to believe, to whatever extent, that the biblical, or scriptural account, supports or is supported by theses ANE ( Ancient Near East ) accounts.Although most or all of these accounts might be classified as myth, as with all myths, we can say certainly that they contain, or are based on, some truth, however great or small.
Myths, we must understand, are not necessarily untrue. As we have seen, while they may seem to be quite far-fetched to us, especially in our Western mind-set & they are obviously elaborate, myths are at least based in fact, to whatever extent. Mythical creatures, for instance, the gryphon, among other mythical creatures, was a combination of a couple different species. There may have been differing reasons for these combinations, but one reason, we may freely speculate, was to metaphorically represent a certain deity or king, even queen. The different creation stories, or myths, then, we must realize, are colored by metaphor as well, being told in such a way as to present certain truths in a unique literary & apocalyptic way.
Divinity is a funny thing ( not 'funny', as in 'ha-ha' ); there are certain situations, even foods that we describe as 'divine'! We even view certain people in our lives as having a touch of divinity. Scripture records Jesus as saying with the Psalmist, 'You are gods' ( John 10:34 ( Psalm 82:6 ); if Jesus called us 'gods', or 'mighty ones', may we not say, with a degree of certainty, that we are 'divine'? This is not to say that we ARE deity, as is the Creator, our Heavenly Father, though we ARE of the same Essence, just that, BEING of the same Essence, we are, in that sense, Divinity ourselves & gods, or judges, in our own respect!
In context, the Psalmist's words might be better understood as referring to Israel under that first covenant, but I believe that we may also take it as 'Gospel' today, in the 21st century! Being Judges of the Earth, having been given the liberty & ability, freedom, really, to judge for ourselves, we are, in that sense, gods ourselves with a sense of the Divine. Our Essence, being that of the Creator, is Infinite, though limited by our Biology & in that sense finite. However, as we ourselves realize this true nature, though not everyone is at the same Stage in their Journey, we begin to realize our divinity & that it will take us higher up & farther in than humankind ever dreamed was possible!
To truly understand the Story of Scripture, as well as any other example of ANE literature, we must realize that it IS very heavy with metaphor! Much of what we have understood Scripture to say for centuries must be reexamined now, with that fact in mind. To be sure, Scripture, as we have understood it for millenia, has revealed much Truth to us, though our Western mindset has also projected meaning onto its pages that just aren't there! The myths that we all grew up reading, Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, British, etc., all pointed to certain truths, though maybe with more or less of an agenda & though the Story of Scripture tells us of the One True God & His special Creation, Israel, many modern scholars posit it as myth, right along with the rest!
Along with Memphite Theology, the Atrahasis, Babylonian & Enuma Elish Creation Epics, as well as others, no doubt; the biblical Story of Creation, rather than falling into the category of mere legend ( ? ), is instead strengthened & corroborated by these other creation stories. The Genesis Creation account that we read in Scripture is therefore NOT so much a record of the creation of the material universe, although that truth may be found there; it is a record of the Creator God's formation of a special Land/Nation/People through which to gradually & eventually reveal Himself to His Creation. In much the same way as these myths, the Story of Scripture is laden with metaphor in order to tell this elaborate Story in a way that was familiar to the original audience, the people of the Ancient Near East.
That the Living God of Scripture created the universe & all it contains, though disputed by some, is without doubt in the mind of this blogger! The Creation account found in the first chapters of Genesis, as well as throughout Scripture are a record of a Spiritual Creation, if you will, rather than a material one. Christians have been taught for centuries that the Creator God began His material Creation, humanly speaking, with Adam & Eve, but even common sense reminds us of the innate problems with such a stance. Understanding the Biblical Genesis as a Spiritual Creation account rather than a material one meshes much better with both biblical & extra-biblical writings!
Charles Haddon Shank