What Can We Learn From Ancient Religious Texts? – Part 1

There is a growing body of literature that is being found from the Ancient Near East. Man has always been in a search to understand our origins and to explain the interaction of temporal humanity and eternal divinity. There are numerous helpful resources (books and websites) that have translated these texts and organized them. Here are a couple of good books:

James B. Pritchard’s Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament.
Victor H. Matthews & Don C. Benjamin Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East

One of the biggest and earliest questions mankind has tried to deal with is “How did we/the world get here?” The question we Americans tend to have today is “Why am I here?” with little concern for the bigger issues. Nearly every culture on earth has wrestled with this and passed on stories that have tried to account for the origin of the things we see. From Mesopotamia to Egypt, their religious texts reflect their wrestling with this difficult subject matter.

The Bible reflects some of this as the biblical writers and even God himself spoke polemics against the other “gods.” You can probably see it in the Exodus as each plague may represent God’s power over various Egyptian gods (gods represented by frogs, the nile, etc). You can see it in the psalms as God is the one who is Lord of the storm, not Baal. You can see it in Genesis as the one true God is depicted as the creator of all things, not some pantheon of vicious, brutal gods in the heavens. It is all over the pages of the Bible.

In the coming days I want to bring out a few points from these texts and show the difference between views of “the gods” invented by man vs. the view of the one true God depicted in scripture. I look forward to your comments and insights as we learn even more reasons to appreciate God.

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