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A Comparison Of The Christian And Ancient Greek Cultures

1722 words - 7 pages

A Comparison of the Christian and Ancient Greek Cultures

Most Christians (or those religions that follow the basic principles of the Bible) believe in the stories told in the Bible. In fact, these stories are usually regarded not only as mere stories, but also as actual historical accounts of important people, events, and concepts of the Christian faith. However, stories of Greek and Roman mythology are typically regarded as nothing more than fictional, fantasy stories. The idea that Ancient Greeks viewed these stories to be their religion seems insane to many people of Biblical Faith. This idea seems to cast a stigma of irrationality, almost ignorance, upon the Ancient Greeks. ...view middle of the document...

This Chaos was the bearer (meaning that he gave birth to) of Ge/Gaia (Earth), Tartarus (underworld), Eros (love and sex), Erebus (darkness), and Nyx (night) (Tripp 159). In the Christian creation story, God is the parallel to the Greek Chaos in that he invents the same things (with the exception of an underworld; the creation of Adam and Eve and their later reproduction could be comparable to Eros) as Chaos bore (Genesis 1:1-18). However, unlike Chaos, God is not a void of nothingness, but the beginning of all things. God also remains the ruler of the entire world in Biblical stories, while the Greek Chaos is displaced by several actual “divine” beings, the most important and permanent of those being Zeus (Tripp 606; Hesiod 2-3).
There is also a slight similarity in the “separations” or “falls” in man’s relationships with God and Zeus (later chief god of the ancient Greeks). Although the offenses in each case were very different, both falls were the products of trickery, deceit, and temptation. In both cases, the temptation was in the form of food (Genesis 3:1-6; Tyrell and Brown 15). Probably the most important similarity in the two falls, however, is the negative role that Woman plays in each. In the Bible, woman actually leads man to the fall from God and the punishment for that fall (exile from the Garden of Eden), while Greek mythology cites that Woman was the punishment for the fall from Zeus (Genesis 3:6-24, Hesiod 4). In the ancient Greek culture, Woman was designed to make man miserable (Hesiod 4). Although she plays different roles, Woman eventually bears the blame for all human suffering and sorrow in both stories (Tyrell and Brown 17).
In both the Ancient Greek and Christian accounts of the early world, there exist stories of great floods that destroyed most of humankind (Genesis 7; Tripp 608). In the Bible’s version of the flood, God becomes frustrated with the wickedness of the world and decides to destroy the earth with a flood, although it saddens him to do so (Genesis 6:5-7). However, God found Noah to be a good and just man, and he asked Noah to build an ark that would float upon the waters (Genesis 6:9-14). On the ark, Noah was to take his wife, three sons, their wives, and two of every living creature (Genesis 6:18-22). In this way God could be sure that the world would be repopulated. In the Greek flood story, Zeus becomes very angry with men and decides to destroy them as revenge for their “impieties” (Tripp 608). His intention is to destroy all of mankind. However, Prometheus, who tells his son, Deucalion, to build an ark so Deucalion and his wife could escape Zeus’ wrath, thwarts Zeus’ attempt (608). In this story Prometheus assures that mortal life will go on. Although the stories are different in some aspects, the parallels show that both the Ancient Greeks and followers of the Christian faith seem to agree that a great flood was a significant event in the early years of the world. As well, they...

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