Devotion 108

THE PURPOSE OF LEGEND AND MYTH

 

“And without trusting, it is impossible to be well pleasing to God, because whoever approaches him must trust that he does exist and that he becomes a Rewarder to those who seek him out.” Hebrews 11:6

I’m often asked, by those who do not believe in Adonai Yahveh, the Lord God or Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus, how can I believe in something that is just myth and legend. This statement intrigues me, and I usually respond with similar questions about their beliefs in ‘Mother Earth’ and ‘Mother Nature’, or whatever deity they call their god. However, when I was first asked the question, I did some research into the origins of myth and legend, to develop a deeper sense of their meanings. And my research proved fruitful.

I discovered, for example, that mythology was and still is a way of explaining what can not be understood or rationalized through science or common sense. Take the ancient myths of many societies, which help explain their creation or the forces that helped shape their history. These are not fairy tales, nor are they folk tales, fantasies or nursery rhymes. All myths, although they are fictitious in nature, have some basis in fact. Indeed, the myth is created in order to explain the unexplainable.

All myths have a central feature – they all have a lesson to teach us about our lives and our interactions with the deity we worship or the people around us. They develop over time and are the creation of groups of people, rather than one person. Aesop’s Fables, for example, do not constitute mythology, even though they are often cited as such.

Most of the myths which draw our fancies are those where emerge from the Greek and the Roman Empires. These focus on their deity and how they functioned to create and maintain the world and who will destroy it. Many of them are used to explain natural phenomena, which at their time, could not be explained through natural means. Such are the myths of Uranus and Gaea[1], the Greek gods who created the earth, sky and waters.

Legends, while often confused with mythology, are a different category of myth. Legends often focus on specific events, involving specific people. Again, they are a way of explaining what was and still is difficult to explain. The Arthurian legends[2] are a prime example.

How do mythology and legend relate to Scripture? This is a very intriguing, and yet, a very perplexing question. An appropriate response must consider the times in which Scripture was written and Its intended readers.

During the time of the Hebrew Scriptures, a.k.a. the Old Testament, the knowledge and understanding of science was very limited. People, living at this time, were extremely superstitious and believed in the stories, mythology and legend, often shared by travelers and merchants. The stories shared in Genesis, for example, are often seen by non-believers as myth and legend. They are only taken as truth and fact by those who believe in Yahveh and Adonai Yeshua. However, for the original readers and hearers of the stories of Torah, the Five Books of Moses, the stories carried with them the underlying truth, explained in a way they could understand, with their limited knowledge.

If you do not believe in what the Bible shares with you, this blog is not going to change your mind. Only accepting what is written as the inspired Word of God will allow you to find the Truth within the Word. This is faith – the stepping out of your comfort zone and accepting Yahveh’s Word as Truth.

CONSIDER: Do you believe the Hebrew Scriptures are mythology and legend, having no real basis in fact? Do you think those who do believe are foolish and ignorant? Do you wish to explore the Truths underlying what is written in Scripture?

ACT: The internet, while susceptible to useless and fake information, is a good source of true knowledge about the Bible and its various meanings. I urge you to begin exploring Google Books, especially archeological examinations of events contained within Genesis and Exodus, for example. Ancient history is also a good place to begin your research.

PRAY: Beloved Abba, I pray you provide guidance to those who venture into the research of Biblical Truths. Give them wisdom, as they  begin what for many will be a biased struggle. In Your Beloved Name I pray.

May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.

http://www.journeythroughtorah.net

[1] Berens, E.M., Myths and Legends of ancient Greece and Rome, Ed. S.M. Soars. Meta Libri, 2009.

[2] Cistercian monks, Estoire del Saint Graal, Merlin, Lancelot Propre, La Queste del Saint Graal, and La Mort (de Roi) Artu, compiled between 1215 and 1235 CE. This was a more aesthetic branch of Benedictine monks, founded in Burgundy, France, in 1098.