Humans need mythology, and also constant course corrections

This post is part of the series, “Read the Bible in a Year.”

The most important message I picked up from today’s readings overall is that humans need mythology, and constant course corrections.

My primary takeaway from each of the passages was this:

  • Genesis 5-6:  1) Greek and Roman mythology have nothing on Christian mythology! Christian mythology* (see footnote below) is full of fantastical tales, such as this one concerning the Titans (which also appears in Greek and Roman mythology). This is one of the things that reminds me to not take the fantastical tales of the Bible literally, but to also remain open to the supernatural. If we do not believe it’s at least possible that there could have been Titans, or people who had lifespans of a thousand years, then we lack the imagination that inspires wonder. This lack is why I believe our society craves and generates so many stories about superheroes and magic, such as the Avengers universe, or the Harry Potter series… But if we look into the fantastical stories for metaphors and meaning, we begin to make progress: The union of Titans and humans bred humans so powerful they began to put more faith in their own strength and power than they did in God. That’s a story that continues into the present day in the form of science and technology (both of which I love, but neither of which is of any use to people without wisdom). 

2) The hubris of humankind resulting from that misplacement of faith from God into our own greatness caused God to want to wipe the slate clean. In doing so, he once again made it the responsibility of humankind to protect and preserve all of the other living species on the planet. Our primary role on God’s earth is the responsible stewardship of all living things and to be good neighbors, not only to the other humans, but to all of God’s creation.

  • Matthew 3: John the Baptist comes with the message to repent (turn around and go in the other direction), because once again (and always) human beings have become corrupt. John is the warning. Jesus is the solution.
  • Psalms 3: When I find myself surrounded by trouble, I can can call on God for help and trust him to answer and to give me protection. Even if the only response I receive is the peace to rest in the middle of my distress, that is more than I can do on my own. I should always call on God when I am in trouble.
  • Proverbs 3: The way to avoid distress and destruction is to embrace wisdom, which starts with seeking God and holding fast to his precepts.

That’s what I got out of it. What did you get out of the readings today?

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* When I say “mythology,” I’m not using it in the way a lot of Christians do, so as to mean “other peoples’ religion” in a diminishing way. I’m using the term mythology the way Joseph Campbell does: as a way to describe the cosmos to ourselves such that we understand our place in it. Mythology is an organizational literary device that helps us explain ourselves to ourselves. 

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