Ancient Worship: Did the Bible Borrow from Pagans?

Other people wrote similar psalms of praise to their gods as we find in Psalm 104. What’s going on? Are the skeptics right that the Hebrews adapted a sanitized version of other religions, or is there another way to look at it?There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. Psalm 104:26

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Psalm 104

I was alerted to the similarities between this particular psalm by a history book whose quotation of Pharaoh Amenhotep I read on the show. It instantly brought to mind how the psalm writer used the natural world to direct our praise to God the Creator and Sustainer.

So, it seemed a smart thing to see what other people were saying about this since you could easily make a case for the Bible being a copy. Here’s what I found:

Bible and Science: “Usually Psalm 104 is said to be very similar to the Egyptian Hymn to Aton, but there are also some striking similarities to Ugaritic. Baal and his palace is very similar to Yahweh’s description and abode.”

Jews for Jesus, Monotheism of the Ancient Hebrews: “Fragments of a similar story in numerous cultures corroborate rather than undermine universal truths. The “monotheism” of Akhenaton was the result of a human instinct to believe in one God. As was mentioned, monotheistic underpinnings seem to exist even among modern primitive peoples.”

Answers (in Genesis) Research Journal, Worldview Bias and the Origins of Hebrew Worship: “They believed that the gods themselves were created out of eternal, preexisting matter, and thus the gods are part of nature rather than above it. Israel’s worldview, on the other hand, was characterized by “transcendence,” the belief that “the Creator of the universe is radically other than his creation”
He shows that every significant correspondence can be explained as biblical authors “borrowing for the purpose of taunting”
…the worship of other nations evolved (or, better, devolved) from elements of worship that existed from Creation. If one posits the truthfulness of the Old Testament, then it would make sense for all nations to share similar conceptions of deity and of the way to approach deity in worship, including similar language.
…similarities result from a more basic form of borrowing, that is, pagan nations reflecting an original understanding (albeit distorted) from God’s reality.
All nations had a common ancestry in Adam, and God’s self-revelation was part of their heritage, thus accounting for any similarities in worship practice that exist.”

About says it, doesn’t it? If you want a deep dive into the intersection of the Bible and science, the Answers Journal is an incredible resource!

PS, Psalm 104 mentions the “conies“. There’s a decent chance you first ran into my website searching for this mysterious (to westerners) creature.

Other podcasts to check out

The creation shows are all listed on my article Creation Podcasts.

Plus, one of my listeners produces a poem podcast that you might enjoy as well:

Verese in Vox Experience Poetry

Click for the iTunes link

Gears

Replica of a Roman odometer

It was odd how hard it was to come up with words describing a gear with no pictures. But, since we all know and understand gears from childhood, we didn’t worry about the basics too long.

The picture is of a replica Roman Odometer with the top gear you can see dropping the pebbles.

Here are the other ancient gears we mentioned:

Chinese South Pointing Chariot

Model south pointing chariot, Photo Credit: Andy DingleyI found a really cool page that not only talks about the history but will show you how to make your own replica!

Antikythera Computer

Photo credit: Giovanni DallYou can learn more of what we are finding out about this fascinating c. 200BC machine from Biblical Archaeology.org (not young creationist like Bible Archaeology.org, but still fascinating).

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. Psalm 104:24

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