View Full Version : Why do we study Egyptian myths?
Sue in Texas
02-22-2011, 06:39 PM
My 14 yo ds asked why we study Egyptian myths. I gave a few possible answers. Would you give me some ideas too?
02-23-2011, 03:14 AM
Did you see Supplement 2 in week 3? That document addresses this question very well.
Sue in Texas
02-23-2011, 06:49 PM
Yes, we went over the supplement. It explains the evolution/development of myths, but not specifically WHY we study them now. Well, at not enough to satisfy my ds.
Reasons that aren't on the supplement, may include:
- those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it
- for the sake of knowing what others believe so we can understand them
-secular worldview vs. Biblcal worldview
My son is still not convinced why we need to learn about this if it happened so long ago. What bearing does it have on us?
02-24-2011, 04:25 AM
I think that it speaks as to the nature of our loving, omnipotent, consistent God. When you learn about the false manmade gods through the myths, you see that their behavior is very un-God-like -- selfish, inconsistent, cruel, vapid, etc. Hmmm, much like people were then and still are today when they do not have their focus on the one, true, living God. This reveals the hearts of the Egyptians then while the connections between the Egyptian gods and man are unmistakable. That remains a truth today.
Also, we see God's incredible sovereignty over these false gods as He issues each of the 10 plagues. If we hadn't studied the Egyptian gods and their stories, we don't see the connection to the plagues -- and miss out on an opportunity to marvel at and praise our God.
Obviously it is up to you, the teacher and mom who knows her children better than anyone else, whether you want to teach these myths or not. I do believe that this offers yet another opportunity for insight into the culture we study, draws parallels to a strong thread throughout all of history even to today, and gives us another way to give all glory to God.
Does any of my rambling help? Perhaps others have more helpful input for you.
It's great that you and your children are questioning and addressing these issues. How sad it is for parents who aren't this involved int their children's education and may never know how much their children wrestle with these types of questions!
Why do we study anything that isn't practical to our lives? John Piper has a new book on the topic. Here's a video on the subject:
The video emphasizes thinking about the Bible, but you'll see that Piper also endorses more general scholarship as well.
02-24-2011, 09:08 AM
To all these fine answers above I would add these two points:
1. Egypt is a biblical symbol of world power, dominion, and sophistication (in its day). When we read about Egypt, we think of it as a fallen civilization and have little regard or respect for it. However, when we know more about the "glories" and beliefs of Egyptian culture, we understand our Bibles more, because the context is so much richer.
2. "There's nothing new under the sun." Heresies die hard, and many get recycled. Egyptian beliefs may *seem* far removed from modern-day myths, but are they really? They tempted people to believe in their own efforts at righteousness, to believe in lies about both the power of other gods and the multiplicity of gods. Today, many people are functional legalists: they think that they will be deemed righteous because of the things that they do to *earn* God's favor. (For more on this, see Jerry Bridges' *Discipline of Grace.* Today, also, many people in our pluralistic society are shy of saying that there is only one way to God. Our American creed allows free expressions of all faiths, and society frowns on a biblical insistence on Jesus being the only way to eternal life.
So, there is much to learn by studying Egyptian beliefs and trying to understand why people with fears, hopes, dreams, and hardships worshiped idols instead of the One True God.
02-26-2011, 04:20 PM
Two things my son and I talked about were:
The Egyptians respect for the afterlife. The best paintings, furniture etc were put in the tombs. They saved up linen during their life so they would be able to be mummified. Todays people tend to focus on the here and now and not consider life after death at all. The Egyptians were right to put there focus on the afterlife but wrong in thinking of it in physical terms. We know that we should lay up treasure for eternal life by serving God and bringing others into his kingdom.
We talked about the story of the scales that weighed the heart against a feather. We discussed whether we would pass such a test (no we are all sinners) and then we talked about how we don't have to fear like the Egyptians because we know God has already paid the price for our sins. We don't have to pass a test to get into heaven, Jesus has already proclaimed us righteous.
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