Genesis as a myth

What Does Water Symbolize in the Old Testament Bible?


I fell in love with symbols in world religious traditions my sophomore year of college. I was sitting in REL 100- Introduction to Religious Studies when the professor said something that caught my attention and has not let go of it since then. He started talking about myth. My first thoughts were the fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Anderson. I soon learned that myth in religious studies had nothing to do with Cinderella.

Then my professor said, “The Bible is one of the oldest myths in our world,” for someone who grew up in a Fundamental Christian tradition his statement was unthinkable. We then discussed symbols and myth. There are eight things that I think everyone needs to know about myths and symbols when looking religious traditions:
1.Symbols point to something greater.
2.Symbols have multiple meanings.
3.Myths are made of symbols. Therefore myths point to something greater.
4.Our (Western) culture no longer creates myth
5.Myths cannot be read literally. They are not historical accounts.
6.Myths are neither true nor false.
7.Myths are either alive or dead.
8.Myths tell us who we are.
The Book of Genesis is a myth that tells the story, from the eyes of the ancient Israelites, of the beginning of the world and the Israelite people. Many of the symbols found in the Book of Genesis are found throughout the Tanak (Old Testament), the Apocryphal Deuterocanonical books, and the New Testament contain many of the symbols found in the Book of Genesis.

Moses did, not write the Book of Genesis, nor the Torah for that matter. Many modern Biblical scholars sight four sources for the text  of the Torah.  This is known as the Graf- Wellhausen Four Source Hypothesis (sometimes called the JEDP theory). The four sources are:
1.(J): Jawist or Yahwist- Most of Genesis was written by the J source.
2.(E): Elohist- The E source referred to God as Elohim and focused on Northern Israel
3.(D): Deuteronomist- The D source referred to God as Elohim and is different from the E source in that it focused on Judah and genealogies.
4.(P): Priestly- This source placed emphasis on the Temple and obedience to the Law.
It is important to note that these sources were not one person, but many who followed specific styles of writing.
The Book of Genesis can be divided into two parts. The first eleven chapters contained symbols of world history while the rest of the text was symbolic of the history of the Israelite people. The Book of Genesis is one of the oldest myths in our world, it was passed down through the oral tradition of the ancient world and its stories without a doubt have multiple meanings.