Virgin Birth Claim Disproves Biblical Inspiration
"I have heard and read the claim that virgin birth myths existed long before Jesus day in other cultures/religions. I have not seen any proof of this claim though. Does anyone here know what evidence exists to support this?"
Buddha was born of the virgin Maya after the Holy Ghost descended upon her. The Egyptian God Horus shares the following in common with Jesus:
Horus was born of the virgin Isis-Meri on December 25 th in a cave/manger with his birth being announced by a star in the East and attended by three wise men.
His earthly father was named "Seb" ("Joseph").
He was of royal descent.
At age 12, he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years.
Horus was baptized in the river Eridanus or Iarutana (Jordan) by "Anup the Baptizer" ("John the Baptist"), who was decapitated.
He had 12 disciples, two of whom were his "witnesses" and were named "Anup" and "Aan" (the two "Johns").
In Phrygia, Attis was born of the virgin Nama. A Roman savior Quirrnus was born of a virgin. In Tibet, Indra was born of a virgin. He ascended into heaven after death. The Greek deity Adonis was born of the virgin Myrrha, many centuries before the birth of Jesus. He was born "at Bethlehem, in the same sacred cave that Christians later claimed as the birthplace of Jesus." In Persia, the god Mithra was born of a virgin on DEC-25. An alternate myth is that he emerged from a rock. Also in Persia, Zoroaster was also born of a virgin. In India, the god Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki. Virgin births were claimed for many Egyptian pharaohs, Greek emperors and for Alexander the Great of Greece. There were many mythological figures: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus and Horus who share a number of factors. All were believed to have:
He performed miracles, exorcised demons and raised El-Azarus ("El-Osiris"), from the dead. Horus walked on water. His personal epithet was "Iusa," the "ever-becoming son" of "Ptah," the "Father." He was thus called "Holy Child." He delivered a "Sermon on the Mount" and his followers recounted the "Sayings of Iusa." Horus was transfigured on the Mount. He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected. He was also the "Way, the Truth, the Light," "Messiah," "God’s Anointed Son," the "Son of Man," the "Good Shepherd," the "Lamb of God," the "Word made flesh," the "Word of Truth," etc. He was "the Fisher" and was associated with the Fish ("Ichthys"), Lamb and Lion. He came to fulfill the Law. Horus was called "the KRST," or "Anointed One." Like Jesus, "Horus was supposed to reign one thousand years
Almost all were believed to have:
been male. lived in pre-Christian times. had a god for a father. human virgin for a mother. had their birth announced by a heavenly display. had their birth announced by celestial music. been born about DEC-25. had an attempt on their life by a tyrant while they were still an infant met with a violent death. rose again from the dead.
I have no "proof" of any of this. JamesT
been visited by "wise men" during infancy. fasted for 40 days as an adult.
I wonder at how people who believe in the bible can dismiss these examples just given that prove that the Jesus story was copied from the pagans. There are scores of books and documentation on it.
This example that was just given was written about beliefs LONG BEFORE Jesus came on the seen. There are other pagan motifs with the same story. There are also old pagan stories that match the old testement stories such as the flood. These stories were written thousands of years before the bible.
People will believe what they want.....even if it isn't true. Kind of sad isn't it?
Where is your "proof" that these statements are true of Buddha, Horus,
et all? What I'm looking for here is solid documentation from ancient texts that state these things that are listed here by you. I know that I have read this list in a book before, but in that book there was NO corresponding "proof texts" given. How can one be sure that your "list of facts" are really FACTS? I need PROOF.
UnDisfellowshipped has stated:
"I believe that Matthew was saying that Isaiah 7:14 foreshadowed and typified the Messiah's birth -- I do not believe that Matthew is saying that the immediate or only fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 is the Messiah's birth. In the same way, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac foreshadowed and typified The Father sending The Son [Jesus Christ] to Earth to be sacrificed."
To which you answered:
"UnDisfellowshipped, your final arguments are a good example of the special pleading that I explained is a false argument. Answer this: If Isaiah 7:14 refers to a truly virgin birth for Jesus, then why does it not refer to a truly virgin birth for the child that was to be born in Ahaz' day?"
My questions to you are:
Why do you consider his answer to be "special pleading" in reference to the virgin birth but not to Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac?
The key to understanding this passage lies in the words foreshadowed and typified. The OLD Testament is revealed in the NEW Testament.
They both foreshadowed and typified events in the life of Jesus. Isaac DID NOT actually die, but Jesus did, therefore, the "maiden" in the Isaiah account DID NOT have to refer to a 'truly virgin birth for the child that was to be born in Ahaz' day' any more then Isaac had to actually die as a sacrifice.
The very fact that Jesus' followers thought he was the divinely sent Messiah was enough to warrant attributing all sorts of miraculous things to him. Unfortunately, a good many of these miraculous things had already been attributed to various more ancient religious icons.
While the Jews were doubtless influenced by the religious beliefs of their neighbours, the identification of the Messiah was based on the messianic prophecies rather than some global hero-god conception. Indeed, one of the "stumbling blocks" was that he did not come as a conquering hero but as the suffering Servant of Isaiah 53.
But if he deliberately quoted from the LXX in order to use the unambiguous parthenos, then he is guilty of selective quoting, which is flat out dishonesty
Whether or not Matthew wrote in a form of Hebrew it is apparent that his gospel was also written in Greek. We cannot be certain what word he used in quoting Isaiah 7:14 but we do know that in the Greek edition he used "parthenos" which is how the LXX reads. As Greek was the lingua franca it would be natural to quote from the bible that most people used and this is true elsewhere in Matthew (although he also quotes from other versions).
You raise an interesting point about the translation of the NWT into languages other than English. I've also heard that most of these are based on the English NWT, but in some cases the translators seem to have referenced the original languages.
That may be so. I based my assertion on what a translator told me regarding the Afrikaans translation of the NWT and assumed it applied across the board. Thank for the correction. The main point I was making was that just as the LXX became the Christian bible and was held in as much (and sometimes greater) esteem as the original, so many today hold the translation of their choice to be God's final word on what he meant.
: Where is your "proof" that these statements are true of Buddha, Horus, et all? What I'm looking for here is solid documentation from ancient texts that state these things that are listed here by you. I know that I have read this list in a book before, but in that book there was NO corresponding "proof texts" given. How can one be sure that your "list of facts" are really FACTS? I need PROOF.
I just bought the book The Jesus Mysteries by Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy (1999, Random House). It contains many references of the sort you're asking for. Two other books with plenty of references are Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth and T. W. Doane's Bible Myths and Their Parallels In Other Religions. There is far too much material in these books to type in here, so you're on your own, as the books are readily available.
: Why do you consider his answer to be "special pleading" in reference to the virgin birth but not to Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac?
I consider this particular Abraham story to be complete myth. That's why I did not comment on it, since it really has no bearing on my point about Isaiah 7:14. This point is so important to the story of Jesus that it necessarily must stand on its own.
: The key to understanding this passage lies in the words foreshadowed and typified. The OLD Testament is revealed in the NEW Testament.
Your statement here is yet another example of special pleading and the circular argumentation needed to support the virgin birth story. This is easy to see: How do you know that Isaiah 7:14 foreshadowed and typified Jesus? Because it says so in the New Testament. How do you know that the New Testament's claim is correct? Because you already "know" that it is inspired. That completes the circle.
To avoid such circularity and special pleading, you need some sort of independent way to show that Isaiah means what Matthew claims (which you certainly cannot get from the text of Isaiah) and that Matthew's claim about Isaiah is correct (which you can only do via Matthew and Luke, which is again a circular argument). Obviously this is like the stereotypical exchange: How do you know the Bible is true? Because the Bible says so.
: They both foreshadowed and typified events in the life of Jesus. Isaac DID NOT actually die, but Jesus did, therefore, the "maiden" in the Isaiah account DID NOT have to refer to a 'truly virgin birth for the child that was to be born in Ahaz' day' any more then Isaac had to actually die as a sacrifice.
So here we have an example of a myth being used to support a claim of Biblical inspiration. Is it any wonder that skeptics are skeptical?
"I consider this particular Abraham story to be complete myth. . .So here we have an example of a myth being used to support a claim of
Biblical inspiration. Is it any wonder that skeptics are skeptical?"
Where is your outside "proof" that the Isaac/Abraham story is a myth?
What ancient text can you cite that says that "this particular Abraham story to be complete myth"?
The Old Testament is one document. The New Testament is one document. They are two separate documents, however, combined they make up the one modern day book, the Bible. As two separate documents, they can justly be compared with each other. It is not circular reeasoning and special pleading to do this. I am not trying to "prove" insparation of the Bible here. Biblical typology is a method of interpretation. It is a method of study to compare and analize two documents by comparing one with the other. That is where the words "foreshadowed" and "typified" have their importance.
I often find that The Abingdon Bible Commentary offers incisive, sometimes ruthlessly honest, critical analysis of Scripture. Not at all that it is written from a non-believing viewpoint; just freely admitting exegetical limitations that "fundamentalists" so often hesitiate to admit. On Isaiah 7:10-17 they comment:
The passage is immensely difficult to interpret, and no absolute certainty or generally accepted explanation has yet been secured. There is not space here for a discussion pro and con. It is possible only to express a cautious opinion. First of all, it must be said that the Hebrew word almah may mean "virgin," but does not necessarily mean anything more than a young woman of marriageable age. Had the prophet intended specifically and precisely to say "virgin," he must have used the word bethulah, though even then there would be a faint shade of uncertainty. Leaving this then, on one side, what remains means that a child will be born, with the great name Immanuel...But now who was this mysterious Immanuel? The present writer believes that he was the personal Messiah, and here is his first appearance in prophecy....Isaiah, of course, has his chronology all wrong, but so do the prophets regularly. He expects the Messiah to come to meet the issue then present, or the Assyrian danger. That was wrong in time, but the thought is sound in principle. There will be no hope for Judah, or for any other people, until the true King comes. He did come, but not for seven hundred years, and he was far greater than Isaiah dreamed.
Of course, this option reduces Isaiah's stature as an inerrant divinely inspired prophet. On the other hand, it need not detract from Matthew as a selector of Hebrew prophecy: Matthew realized where Isaiah was "wrong in time," and thereupon offered a correct application of the prophecy.
I'm personally inclined to believe that the answer probably lies in the very nature of Hebrew thought and language. The apparent ambiguity of almah and bethulah is not at all unusual; it is rather the norm, especially in poetic, prophetic and proverbial writings. Perhaps Isaiah intentionally used almah, fully aware of its dual meaning, but thinking only of a "normal" birth in his day. Matthew, realizing the true import (after the fact), therefore has no problem accepting the LXX parthenos (which answers more correctly to bethulah than almah). However, this doesn't explain why the LXX uses parthenos, when other words like gune or paidiske were available to the translators. I'd have to do more homework to see if this idea is defensible.
First, I am going to reply to JamesThomas' comparison of Horus and Jesus, and then soon I will post more info on Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23:
Go to these Websites for the other side of the story about the supposed Jesus/Horus connection:
Let me know what you all think of those Links -- please read at least one or two of them -- and then see if you still believe there is any connection between Jesus and Horus.
If anyone can show me some actual proof of the connection between Jesus and Horus, then I will believe it.
It is unbelievable how many Websites on Google have these Lists of so-called "connections" between Jesus and Horus (over 13,000 Sites - everyone from Atheists to Muslims to Pagans), but I have yet to see any actual proof.
It's amazing to me that people will so easily accept these supposed "connections" between Jesus and Horus with no actual evidence, but then, they criticize Christians for supposedly not having any evidence that the Bible is true.
Yesterday, a Christian friend helped me to have a better understanding of Isaiah 7:14 and Matthew 1:23.
However, a careful examination of the context of Isaiah 7 proves that the writer of Matthew made a nonsensical application. The context is that Judah, under king Ahaz, is being attacked by two rival kings. Ahaz is given a prophecy that a sign will be given that these kings will fail to conquer Judah. It says that the sign will be that a maiden -- a young girl, not a virgin -- would give birth to a child who would be called Immanuel. Ahaz is then told by the prophet, in Isaiah 7:16 (NASB):
For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
So context alone proves that this has nothing to do with a Messiah that would come hundreds of years after Ahaz and his contemporaries were dead. Not a single word in Isaiah 7 indicates a fulfillment of the prophecy beyond a few years.
First of all, AlanF, you made a mistake -- in Isaiah 7:13-14 the person being spoken to was not Ahaz, it was the House of David -- the nation of Israel (Ahaz had correctly refused to test God):
Isaiah 7:13-14: He said, "Listen now, house of David: Is it a small thing for you to weary men, that you will weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you [plural] a sign: behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.
My Christian friend helped me to realize that in my previous post on this Thread, I was basing my answers on the fact that the prophecy was given to Ahaz, and that the prophecy had to have an immediate fulfillment.
Not a single word in Isaiah 7 indicates a fulfillment of the prophecy beyond a few years.
But, actually, where does the context state that it has to have an immediate fulfillment? The prophecy simply says:
"For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken."
Why couldn't that simply mean that before the Messiah arrives, the land of those two kings will be forsaken?
Here are the comments my friend told me:
"Isaiah Chapter 7, Verses 10-12 tell us that God offered to give Ahaz a sign and Ahaz correctly refused--opting instead to take God's Word by faith. Then God says in verse 13, "Hear ye now, O house of David." Obviously, God turned from speaking to Ahaz directly and directed His prophetic Words instead to Judah as a nation. "The Lord Himself shall give you a sign....." The nation would (and did) receive the sign of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. And verse 16 correctly makes the point that before the Messiah is old enough to know right from wrong, "the land that thou abhorrest (speaking of Israel--the enemy of Judah because of their civil war) will be forsaken of both her kings." Of course by the time the Lord was born, Israel had no kings because they had been taken into captivity and never returned as a nation. The statement in Isaiah 7:14 was made to the nation of Judah--whose people survived the Babylonian captivity and were briefly reestablished in the land where they rebuilt the Temple." [end of quote]
I now have a much better and clearer understanding of the prophecy -- it DID NOT have an immediate fulfillment. Its ONLY fulfillment was in the Messiah who was truly Immanuel -- GOD WITH US in the Flesh!
Also, I believe that the translators of the Greek Septuagint (which was completed BEFORE the time of Christ) would have been much better at deciding whether or not it should read "virgin" or "maiden" in Isaiah 7:14 than the modern language "experts" are.
Also, it would seem very reasonable to me that the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 was connected with the prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7:
Isaiah 9:6-7: For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the Government shall be on His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His Government and of peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his Kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Hosts will perform this.
And there is absolutely no one other than the Messiah who could fulfill Isaiah 9:6-7.
Let me know what you think about these comments.
therefore, the "maiden" in the Isaiah account DID NOT have to refer to a 'truly virgin birth for the child that was to be born in Ahaz' day' any more then Isaac had to actually die as a sacrifice.
So the bible says a maiden will give birth to a son who will deliver people. I guess Jesus was the only guy to do this eh? In the old testement there was never any young maiden who gave birth to a deliverer. I can think of at least 10 in my head who fit this description.
As for your proof you need on ancient motifs that the Jesus junkies copied....... do some re-search. There is countless writings, wall inscriptions, archelogical testimony, and other "proofs" you need.
All you have with the bible are copies that were made after it's message was spread first by word of mouth.(NT) Pagans had no need tpo forge their material. Christians had all the reasons to.
BTW Alan........you'll love that book....(the Jesus Mysteries) I also have it and lent it out. The "Christ Conspiracy" is another that is supposed to be good.