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  1. #1
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    Greek Mythology in the Bible?

    It is ironic that the doctrine of Hell, adamantly held to by many Christians as a truth being taught by the one and only God, is actually not new to the Bible at all….it is in fact a myth that originated with the ancient Greeks. Tartarus, and Hades are both Greek gods that pre-date the New Testament by at least 700 years.

    Tartarus is used only one time in the Bible as the place where the Angels who sinned are chained until judgment. The Greek philosopher, Plato wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishments were sent to Tartarus.
    2Pet.2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
    Tartarus in Greek mythology, is both a deity and a place in the underworld even lower than Hades. In ancient Orphic sources, Tartarus is also the unbounded first-existing entity from which the Light and the cosmos are born.

    In Hesiod's Theogony c. 700 BC, the deity Tartarus was the third force to manifest in the yawning void of Chaos. In The Iliad (c. 700), Zeus asserts that Tartarus is "as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth." It is one of the primordial objects that sprung from Chaos, along with Gaia (Earth) and Eros (Desire).

    Now doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the Bible states that God is sending the angels who sinned to a mythological place called Tartarus?

    The word Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead.

    In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed. Very few mortals could leave this realm once they entered. Five rivers are part of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate).

    Also, what I find extremely interesting is that one of the five rivers of Hades is 'Fire' which is a direct parallel to Revelation where it is written that Hades is cast into the lake of fire.

    So, my question is why is this mythological realm of Hades, being spoken of by Jesus as a real place of judgment?

    Rev.1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades – the Grave) and of death.

    Rev.6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell (Hades) followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

    Rev.20:13-14 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    Kind of makes one question where the whole doctrine of eternal damnation came from?


    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

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  2. #2
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    Fascinating study my dear!

    I must admit that it is mysterious in the extreme (from a traditional Christian point of view) to find pagan Greek mythology taught authoritatively as truth in Scripture.

    Peter's use of the word "Tartarus" is most perplexing because it is nowhere defined in Scripture. Thus, there is no way for any Christian to know what the Bible means without studying pagan Greek mythology. But worse, Peter's use of that word appears to be an implicit endorsement of the entire Greek mythological system, because "Tartarus" was the lowest place in Hades.

    Likewise, John personified Thanatos (Death) and Hades (Hell) in the same way as the Greeks when they invented their gods who went by those names:
    Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
    You have opened a most interesting topic.

    Richard
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  3. #3
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    Most interesting topic, Now I'll have to read and study Greek mythology Or just read the bible

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Most interesting topic, Now I'll have to read and study Greek mythology Or just read the bible
    That's too funny....

    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  5. #5
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    Here's A. T. Robertson's entry in his Word Pictures in the New Testament.
    Cast them down to hell (ταρταρωσας [tartarōsas]). First aorist active participle of ταρταροω [tartaroō], late word (from ταρταρος [tartaros], old word in Homer, Pindar, LXX Job 40:15; 41:23, Philo, inscriptions, the dark and doleful abode of the wicked dead like the Gehenna of the Jews), found here alone save in a scholion on Homer. Ταρταρος [Tartaros] occurs in Enoch 20:2 as the place of punishment of the fallen angels, while Gehenna is for apostate Jews.
    The plot thickens. Jude quotes from the book of Enoch, which speaks of Tartaros as the place of punishment of the fallen angels, exactly as stated in Peter. And both Jude and Peter spoke of the angels kept in chains:
    Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
    2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [tartarus], and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
    Both Peter and Jude speak of fallen angels chained in darkness. This is the standard Greek mythology about Tartarus. Here's a snippet from the wiki article:
    When Zeus ordered Thanatos to chain Sisyphus in Tartarus upon his death, Sisyphus tricked Thanatos by asking him how the chains worked and ended up chaining Thanatos which caused no one to die.
    Note that "Thanatos" is Death personified. This is the exact name of the Rider of the Fourth Horse in Revelation! This is pure, unadulterated Greek mythology. Indeed, we now enter into a full frontal display of pagan Greek mythology complete with the pantheon of imaginary gods in R. J. Bauckham's entry in the Word Biblical Commentary:
    ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόθου ταρταρώσας ηαρέσωκεν, “but cast them into hell and committed them to fetters of nether darkness.” The verbs ταρταροῦν and (rather more common) καταταρταροῦν mean “to cast into Tartarus,” and were almost always used with reference to the early Greek theogonic myths, in which the ancient giants, the Cyclopes and Titans, were imprisoned in Tartarus, the lowest part of the underworld, by Uranos, Kronos and Zeus (Pearson, GRBS 10 [1969] 76–78). They are not used in the Greek version of 1 Enoch,; though τάρταρος (“Tartarus”) is used of the place of divine punishment in 1 Enoch 20:2, as elsewhere in Jewish Greek literature (LXX Job 40:20; 41:24; Prov 30:16; Sib. Or. 4:186; Philo, Mos. 2.433; praem 152). But Hellenistic Jews were aware that the Greek myth of the Titans had some similarity to the fall of the Watchers (though Philo, Gig. 58, rejects any comparison). Sometimes the Watchers’ sons, the giants (the Nephilim), were compared with the Titans (Josephus, Ant. 1.73; cf. LXX Ezek 32:27; Sir 16:7) but in Jdt 16:6 (and also the Christian passage Sib. Or. 2:231) the Watchers themselves seem to be called τιτᾶνες (“Titans”). Thus in using a term reminiscent of the Greek myth of the Titans the author of 2 Peter follows Hellenistic Jewish practice.
    Say what? I'm reading a commentary on the Christian Bible, the source book for the truth about heaven and hell and I am being told that the fallen angels were tossed into Tartarus, the same place that the pagan gods Uranos, Chronos, and Zeus threw the Cyclopes and Titans?

    Suddenly, this doesn't sound like a "Bible" study at all! Zeus? Chronos? Titans? This is "God's truth"???

    We've got some work to do folks! How is it possible that we all have been studying Scripture all these years and haven't noticed these facts? Willful ignorance? I know I'll be reflecting on this for a while.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

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  6. #6
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    Adam Clarke provided this ridiculous and vain attempt to "explain" the presence of Greek mythology in the Bible (source):
    "The ancient Greeks appear to have received, by tradition, an account of the punishment of the 'fallen angels,' and of bad men after death; and their poets did, in conformity I presume with that account, make Tartarus the place where the giants who rebelled against Jupiter, and the souls of the wicked, were confined. 'Here,' saith Hesiod, Theogon., lin. 720,1, 'the rebellious Titans were bound in penal chains.'
    So the pagan Greek mythology had somehow preserved a true revelation of the fate of the fallen angels? What was the source of that revelation? It's not in the Hebrew OT, and it pre-dates the Christian NT. So this "explanation" only exacerbates the problem by implicitly admitting it's intractability.
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
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  7. #7
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    And it's not just Greek mythology!

    Leviathan is another example of mythology in the Bible.

    And the "seven-headed dragon" rising out of the sea? Ancient Mesopotamian mythology from the 3rd millennium BCE! Check this wiki article, and these excepts from the Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. For example:
    A seven-headed serpent (mus-sag-imin) partly overcome by an anthropomorphic hero or god is attested as early as the third mill. BCE in Mesopotamian iconography (H. FRANKFORT, Stratified Cylindedr Seals from hte Diyala Region [OIP 72, Chicago 1955] 37. pl. 47:497) and texts, but later survives in the textual records only, until he reappears in the Greek Hydra tradition from the 6th century on.
    A seven-headed serpent? DOES THAT RING ANY BELLS? It's just the Greek myth of the Hydra! Which usually had seven or nine heads.



    Now let's reflect on this.

    Christians reject "mythology" OUT OF HAND as obviously false! Yet they accept the Bible, which is filled with the very mythology they reject in every other context.

    My mind is numb. How could I have been so blind for so long?
    • Skepticism is the antiseptic of the mind.
    • Remember why we debate. We have nothing to lose but the errors we hold. Who but a stubborn fool would hold to errors once they have been exposed?

    Check out my blog site

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose View Post
    It is ironic that the doctrine of Hell, adamantly held to by many Christians as a truth being taught by the one and only God, is actually not new to the Bible at all….it is in fact a myth that originated with the ancient Greeks. Tartarus, and Hades are both Greek gods that pre-date the New Testament by at least 700 years.

    Tartarus is used only one time in the Bible as the place where the Angels who sinned are chained until judgment. The Greek philosopher, Plato wrote that souls were judged after death and those who received punishments were sent to Tartarus.
    2Pet.2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (Tartarus), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
    Tartarus in Greek mythology, is both a deity and a place in the underworld even lower than Hades. In ancient Orphic sources, Tartarus is also the unbounded first-existing entity from which the Light and the cosmos are born.

    In Hesiod's Theogony c. 700 BC, the deity Tartarus was the third force to manifest in the yawning void of Chaos. In The Iliad (c. 700), Zeus asserts that Tartarus is "as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth." It is one of the primordial objects that sprung from Chaos, along with Gaia (Earth) and Eros (Desire).

    Now doesn’t it seem a bit odd that the Bible states that God is sending the angels who sinned to a mythological place called Tartarus?

    The word Hades refers both to the ancient Greek underworld, the abode of Hades, and to the god of the underworld. The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead.

    In older Greek myths, the realm of Hades is the misty and gloomy abode of the dead where all mortals go. Later Greek philosophy introduced the idea that all mortals are judged after death and are either rewarded or cursed. Very few mortals could leave this realm once they entered. Five rivers are part of the realm of Hades, and their symbolic meanings, are Acheron (the river of sorrow, or woe), Cocytus (lamentation), Phlegethon (fire), Lethe (oblivion), and Styx (hate).

    Also, what I find extremely interesting is that one of the five rivers of Hades is 'Fire' which is a direct parallel to Revelation where it is written that Hades is cast into the lake of fire.

    So, my question is why is this mythological realm of Hades, being spoken of by Jesus as a real place of judgment?

    Rev.1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore Amen; and have the keys of hell (Hades – the Grave) and of death.

    Rev.6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell (Hades) followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

    Rev.20:13-14 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (Hades) delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
    Kind of makes one question where the whole doctrine of eternal damnation came from?


    Rose
    But Jesus believed in Hades. Would He have mentioned or taught about Hades if Hades was something false or non-existent?

    Matthew 11:23
    And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

    Matthew 16:18
    And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

    Luke 10:15
    And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

    Luke 16:23
    In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

    Revelation 1:18
    I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

    Revelation 6:8
    I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

    Revelation 20:13
    The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

    Revelation 20:14
    Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.


    I wonder where did the Greeks got their idea of Hades from?... perhaps the ancient Jews or Egyptians.

    Many Blessings.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CWH View Post
    But Jesus believed in Hades. Would He have mentioned or taught about Hades if Hades was something false or non-existent?

    Matthew 11:23
    And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades. For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.

    Matthew 16:18
    And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

    Luke 10:15
    And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.

    Luke 16:23
    In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.

    Revelation 1:18
    I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

    Revelation 6:8
    I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

    Revelation 20:13
    The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.

    Revelation 20:14
    Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.


    I wonder where did the Greeks got their idea of Hades from?... perhaps the ancient Jews or Egyptians.

    Many Blessings.
    Hi Cheow,

    Those are two excellent questions...

    When you stop and think about it, all the other gods associated with the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians have been dismissed long ago by all Christians, so why did Jesus promote belief in an ancient mythological god, and place? As noted in Acts, the Romans believed in so many gods they wanted to make sure none were left out!
    Acts 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
    It seems what Jesus did is just continue on with a belief system that was commonly held by Jews, and other peoples of the time, but it doesn't really matter which particular race of people made up the myth because two common threads run through most religious belief systems:

    1. There is always some type of god, or gods
    2. There is always some type of punishment meted out by the god, or gods for sins

    So, we know this idea surely didn't originate with the Jews because its been around long before the Jews became a race. This issue brings up so many problems....for one, what was Jesus doing promoting a myth of a pagan god when the whole reason for most of the problems with the Jews in the Old Testament was their following after pagan gods? QUESTIONS, Questions, questions?????

    Blessings,
    Rose
    Never trust anything you are afraid to question ~

    To know oneself is to know the universe...


    Live Fully...Love Extravagantly...For the sake of Goodness

    Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matt.10:16

    Come let us reason together...Isa.1:18
    ********************************
    My new Blog site: God and Butterfly

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Most interesting topic, Now I'll have to read and study Greek mythology Or just read the bible


    That is a very offensive statement.


    Matthew 12:36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

    Psalm 40:7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me,


    .

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