It’s always strange at Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. AIG is the online creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia.
Maybe — although their latest post strikes us as particularly odd — it’s no stranger than the typical AIG article. It’s possible we’re losing our ability to judge them. See what you think, dear reader. The title is Hammurabi or Moses — Who’s the Authority? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references omitted:
The discovery of ancient law codes and historical records that precede Moses has opened a treasure trove of information about early civilization. But it also raises a question: whose account is most authoritative?
Huh? Each society’s law codes are authoritative for that society. Oh, wait — they mean divinely authoritative in comparison to the bible. Here it comes:
The Babylonian King Hammurabi wrote a code of law that included many seemingly biblical ideas on morals, but his writing took place before Moses wrote the Bible’s first books. Does this mean the Bible borrowed its ideas from Hammurabi?
Hammurabi was a king of Babylon. There was probably a lot of Babylonian influence on the authors of the bible. The Babylonian empire was the dominant society in that region of the world, so what else would one expect? Aside from that, Babylon was the successor (after a brief Dark Age) to the Sumerian empire, which was where Abraham came from, so it’s not surprising that there would be some cultural affinity. Let’s read on:
Through television, movies, and magazines we are constantly presented with ancient legends and traditions about early man. Archaeological finds and passed-down myths present conflicting information about world origins, a worldwide flood, moral codes, and a myriad of other subjects relating to ancient peoples. These sources are often older than the Bible, and their antiquity seems to give them more credibility — and many people assume higher authority — than God’s Word.
What’s the problem here? Yes, there were older societies than the one that produced the bible. Besides Egypt, Sumeria, and Babylonia, with which the Hebrews would have been familiar, there were ancient societies in far away regions, such as the Hindus and the Chinese, with which the Hebrews had probably no societal intercourse. They all had their myths and laws. Even after the Old Testament was written, the Greeks and the Romans in the same geographical region independently developed their own law codes. Rome famously had the Twelve Tables that were the constitution of the Roman Republic. It’s likely that every successful and long-enduring society had some means of accomplishing the same thing. The Hebrews weren’t unique in that regard. What of it? We continue:
For example, many ancient legends describe creation and a major flood, predating Moses’s writing of Genesis. People then assume that Moses borrowed from Hammurabi, synchronized other legends, and put together his own more “civilized” version of ancient accounts. If this is the case, then the first books of the Bible are not original, thus lacking authenticity and authority.
Oh, the Flood. AIG is really obsessed with that. Well, they’ve got to deal with the fact that the bible’s account is based on the much older Epic of Gilgamesh, and pre-scriptural societies described marriage and outlawed murder and theft. Here’s more:
It is true that the writing of Genesis and the Law post-dates many ancient legends and other records of early history and law. But is this where ultimate authority lies: who first wrote down the words on a clay tablet? Or should the emphasis be upon the one who wrote the words and whether he is the final authority?
Ah, finally AIG specifies their problem. Who gets the credit, and which version is the final authority? Is it the originators, or those who borrowed from them? We know AIG’s answer already — their biblical version is The Truth™ — but how do they justify that claim, since they admit that there were earlier versions? Moving along:
From the world’s standpoint, since Moses wrote late, his account has no priority over the other writers. And we often sit there, believing that the secular accounts of history are closer to the original events, not realizing the Bible contradicts them. Just as secular scholars of the world have used science in an attempt to undermine the supernatural creation, they also use different accounts of world history to undermine the Bible’s authority.
Historians are just as evil as scientists. Another excerpt:
But we know what the world cannot understand: God is the true author of the Bible. He conceived the Bible before the world began. His accuracy in revealing true history and morality was not dependent on the time when He gave the text. Yes, some of God’s chosen instruments for writing down Scripture, such as Moses, wrote after hundreds of other accounts; but God was there first, in the beginning! Moses was simply the hand that transcribed God’s words. Each letter came from the Creator Himself. Because God is the author, the Pentateuch and the rest of the Bible can be trusted as accurate.
AIG knows what the world cannot understand. On with the article:
This means that many other accounts — even if written down prior to the books of Moses — are distortions and counterfeits of the original truth which Adam, Noah, and their immediate descendants knew. Christians must remember that Satan, in his effort to become “like the Most High,” attempts to revise history through distortions.
Pre-scriptural laws and myths are the devil’s distortions. One last excerpt:
The myths and legends may contain pieces of the truth because they are perversions of the original. When there is a contradiction between the Bible and another historical record, the Bible always takes priority because it contains ultimate truth from the God who was there.
So there you are, dear reader. AIG says you should ignore all myths, law codes, and other traditions that precede the bible. They are perversions of the belated original.
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