I came across this interesting comic on the web (below). A teacher gave her students the following assignment: What is the “Golden Rule” and its source? The answers she got from her students are quite telling. In fact, many atheists use this example to illustrate why they think the Bible is not the Word of God but a mere fabrication of pre-existing (pagan) traditions.
Now, what is fascinating is that all the answers given by the students were correct, and factual. The problem is that some of the people quoted lived centuries before Jesus was born, and yet we often attribute the Golden Rule to Jesus (Matthew 7:12). But Confucius (551–479 BC) and Buddha (480-400 BC) said and taught the same thing and yet they lived hundreds of years before Jesus was born.
Similar examples have been cited as arguments against the validity of the Bible stories. Such as Noah’s flood. Many argue that the story was merely a Jewish adaptation of the Neo-Assyrian Gilgamesh flood myth found in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The myth, according to historians, is very similar to the Biblical stories and yet it existed centuries before the supposed writing of Noah’s account.
Do these examples disqualify the Bible? Many people believe so. Yet what such arguments against the Bible reveal is our own ignorance about what the Bible is and what the Bible does. The Bible is not God’s Word because it contains novel (new and unique) ideas about God. In fact, the reverse is the case:
If the God described in the Bible (sovereign over and creator of everything) really exists, then all true ideas about God that exist outside the Bible only prove that God is the author and owner of all truth.
It is the reason R.C. Sproul has popularized the phrase: “all truth is God’s truth.”
In other words, truth is truth, wherever you find it. To argue that only the Bible contains truth is to actually speak against the Bible, because even the Bible claims that there is truth about God outside itself. Romans 1:19 says whatever may be known about God is available to even those who have never read the Bible. Psalms 19 talks about how nature teaches us about various attributes of God. Even Paul often quoted pagan sages in the Bible (1 Cor 10:23).
The availability of truth apart from the Bible is actually an argument for God, not against Him. It is proof of His sovereignty — that God is God over all people and all things, not just the Jews and the Christians. It is proof that those who will never encounter Christianity will not be judged unfairly, because “what may be known about God is “plain” to them (Rom 1:19).
In fact, the Bible never says we will be judged over what we knew or didn’t know, it says we will be judged over what we knew – what nature was gracious enough to expose and reveal to us.
No, the Bible is not a work of plagiarism. But it is certainly a work that needs to be plagiarized by us and written again over our hearts and minds.
Kenyan Journalist, Communications Specialist, and a follower of Jesus Christ. I graduated from the University of Nairobi with a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil and Structural Engineering but decided to pursue a career in journalism.
Worked at Nation Media Group for four years, first as a General Reporter for the Daily Nation before becoming an Investigative and Special Projects writer.
Later transitioned into PR and worked as a Content Associate for two years at Hill+Knowlton Strategies (WPP). Currently a Communications Consultant specialising in Content Strategy and Development.