Question: "Did the Bible copy some of its stories from other religious myths and legends?"
Answer: There are many stories in the Bible that have remarkable similarities with stories from other religions, legends, and myths. For the purposes of this article, we will examine two of the more prominent examples. For a detailed comparison of Noah's Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic, see - Did the Bible copy the Flood account from other myths and legends?
First, let’s consider the account of the Fall of mankind (Genesis 3). There is a Greek legend, that of Pandora’s Box, whose details differ so dramatically from the biblical account of the Fall that one might never suspect a relationship. But they may actually attest to the same historical event. Both stories tell how the very first woman unleashed sin, sickness, and suffering upon the world which had been, up to that point, an Edenic paradise. Both stories end with the emergence of hope, hope in a promised Redeemer in the case of Genesis, and “hope” as a thing having been released from the box at the very end of the Pandora legend.
Like the world’s copious flood legends, Pandora's Box demonstrates how the Bible might parallel pagan myths at times simply because they all speak of an historical core truth that has over the years manifested itself in ancient histories (as in the case of the Bible) and in poetic allegories (as in the case of Pandora, whose story was told in many different ways by the Greeks but whose core truth remained fairly constant). The similarities do not point to one account copying from the other, but to the fact that both stories point back to the same historical event.
Finally, there are cases of borrowing, but in these cases the Bible was the source, not the pagan myths (despite pseudo-academic claims to the contrary). Consider the case of Sargon’s birth. Legend has it that Sargon was placed in a reed basket and sent down the river by his mother. He was rescued by Aqqi, who then adopted him as his own son. That sounds a lot like the story Moses in Exodus 2. And Sargon lived about 800 years before Moses was born. So the Moses baby-sent-down-the-river-only-to-be-rescued-and-adopted story must have been borrowed from Sargon, right?
That sounds reasonable, but what is known of Sargon comes almost entirely from legends written many hundreds of years after his death. There are very few contemporary records of Sargon’s life. The legend of Sargon’s childhood, how he was placed in a basket and sent down a river, comes from two 7th century B.C. cuneiform tablets (from the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, who reigned from 668 to 627 B.C.), written hundreds of years after the book of Exodus. If someone wants to argue that one account was borrowed from another, it would have to be the other way around: the Sargon legend appears to have borrowed from the Exodus account of Moses.
The Bible is clear as to its authorship. Although many different men wrote, the Holy Spirit of God is the actual author. Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that Scripture is inspired by God, which means it is literally “God-breathed.” He wrote it, He preserved it down through the centuries, He lives within its very pages and His power is manifest in our lives through it.
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