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Was the account of Christ’s miraculous birth borrowed from pagan mythology?

Below I show to be false the the claims within the article titled ” Determining the truth of Yahoshua’s birth” which can be found in the religious section of sundaymail.co.zw. Within the article, Shingai Rukwata Ndoro claims that the story of Christ’s miraculous birth was borrowed from pagan mythology.

Before I go any further let me state that the bible in 1 Peter 3:15 – 16 does command us to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have, thus they is nothing amiss about debunking the falsehoods peddled by Va Ndoro. Secondly the story of Jesus Christ is not a fable as the Apostle Peter states in 2 Peter 1:16 – 18. Peter having been a desciple of Jesus Christ was an eye witness to the glorious ministry of Christ. Peter declares that the story of Christ was not a cleverly devised fable but a majestic and glorious reality that He indeed witnessed and whose origin was heaven. Indeed Peter shared these truths so zealously that He was willing to be persecuted and did suffer persecution unto death.

Below each assertion by Va Ndoro is my response:

VA NDORO IN the levels of truth, “miraculous” conception was an occurrence to be known by few people. “Miracle” was “meipo” in Greek and it meant, “a wonder, something remarkable, but not a violation of natural law”.

MBOFANA Va Ndoro claims “miraculous” refers to something remarkable not a violation of natural Law, of course he does not define what he means by remarkable. Despite the birth of of Bhuddha and other pagan gods violating natural laws Va Ndoro refers to the the conception of these gods as miraculous. The birth of Jesus Christ according to Va Ndoro is not miraculous at all even though it violated natural laws. According to Va Ndoro, the story of the birth of Christ is not miraculous because its not true as it was borrowed from civilisations that predate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Old testament predates the story of Christ, suffice to say, that not even once in His presentation does he make mention of the Old Testament prophecy some of which dates back to as far as 1400 BC. Clearly Va Ndoro selectively intepretes sources, and will only make use of sources that support His case while ignoring a major source such as the Old Testament that would contradict His assertions.

VANDORO The Christian Gospels say Yahoshua’s mother fell pregnant through the “Holy Spirit”. Both Miryam and her husband Yosef were Nazerene Hebrews.
They were unfamiliar with the term “Holy Spirit” as used in Greek Scriptures. Judaically, they did not believe in a separate or independent actualisation of YHVH referred to as the “Holy Spirit”.

MBOFANA Question to Va Ndoro is: if Mary and Joseph where unfamiliar with the Holy Spirit does that make the miraculous birth of Christ a myth? Was their acceptance of the Holy Spirit as divine a precondition for the miraculous conception to take place? This, Va Ndoro must be able to prove that Mary and Joseph had to accept the deity of the Holy Ghost for the miraculous conception to happen, Should he fail to do this then His argument is invalid. In order to talk about Mary and Joseph I assume that Va Ndoro read this from the bible, and if He read this from the bible then He deliberately ignored Luke 1:35 which says

[ And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. – L U K E 1: 35 ]

VA NDORO According to Rabbi Azriel Schreiber, the Judaic religious perspective does not accept a separate Hellenic “Holy Spirit” because the YHVH’s presence or Breath (Spirit) is Holy. Therefore, it can be noticed that the concept of “Holy Spirit” was neither a discovery nor a revelation to Miryam and Yosef but an invention of the Greeks (Hellenics) 400 years later.

MBOFANA What did Va Ndoro expect a Rabbi to say? Judaism denies Christ as saviour. The Rabbi dismisses the concept of the Holy Spirit on account of the fact that Judaism denies the Triune nature of God, therefore it was only natural that the rabbi would argue that they is no such thing as the Holy Spirit. The New testament where in we find the story of Christ is a Christian document, and no devout Jew would ever aacceptits contents.

However Va Ndoro might not know that in actual fact The Holy Spirit indeed was not even an invention of the Greeks or even New Testament writers rather, the Holy Spirit is spoken of in so many passages of the Old Testament. The New Testament was composed well within the 1st Century AD and thus New Testament books where already circulating by the AD 400. In fact early Christians where already using the New Testament as we know it today at least more than 300 years before AD 400 . Thus Va Ndoro is being untruthful when He says that The concept of the Holy Spirit was added into the bible by the Greeks in AD 400.

VA NDORO The Greek chief deity of the sky, Zeus, is said have impregnated the mortal Kallisto after he had disguised himself as Apollo in order to lure her into his embrace. She gave birth to Arcas. Kallisto was a daughter of the Arkadian King Lykaon and her name is derived from kalliste, meaning “most beautiful”.

MBOFANA So what?

VA NDORO Through a bolt of lightning, Zeus is said to have impregnated a mortal, Semele/Persephone, who gave birth to Dionysus, the Greek deity of wine, wine-making, pleasure and fertility.

MBOFANA Dionysus’ mother was not a virgin, Mary was a virigin. Zeus was a mythical god who must have taken a human form just like many of the greek gods, Yet in the case of Mary the Holy Spirit came upon her. The miraculous birth of Christ was prophesied over a thousand years before, Dionysus birth was not a subject of prophecy.

VA NDORO According to Persian traditions, Mithras was incarnated into the human form of the Saviour, the mythical son of Zoroaster. Mithras was born of Anahita, an immaculate virgin mother given the title “Mother of the Divine” and once worshipped as a fertility cosmic power. Anahita was said to have conceived Mithras from the seed of Zoroaster preserved in the waters of Lake Hamun in the Persian province of Sistan.
The Gospel of Matthew records that the mythical “IesousChristos” (translated as “Jesus Christ”) was visited by an unknown three wise men from the east called the Magi (named “Mahaji” in Sanskrit).

MBOFANA According to Va Ndoro Mithra was conceived of the seed of Zoroaster who lived around 600 BC. Zoroaster himself was a human being, without a divine nature whatsoever, in fact Zoroaster is regarded as a prophet. The persian Mithra was a mythical god/idol who lived around 1400 BC. Here is what this actually means, going by what Va Ndoro says, Zoroaster the father of Mithra was born 800 years after his son! note that those are BC dates and the numerical values reduce as years go by unlike AD dates whose numerical values increase as years go by. Secondly Mithra was never born of a virgin as Va Ndoro asserts, He was born out of an egg. Thus its clear that they is no relationship whatsoever between Mithra’s conception and the miraculous conception of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

VA NDORO These are the followers of Mithras from Persia and they were Zoroastrian priestly experts in astrology from ancient Persia.

MBOFANA So what? even if they where atrologers from Persia, does that discount the fact that Christ was born of a virgin?

VA NDORO The mythical Krishna was born of Princess Devaki, after a voice from the sky announced to the girl, “In thy delivery O favoured among women, all nations shall have cause to rejoice.”

MBOFANA By so saying “mythical krishna” Va Ndoro implies Krishna actually never existed once upon a time, contrary to the claims of Hindu’s, either way thats besides my point, Krishna, if he was a mere myth, then he cannot be compared to Christ by any standard who actually walked upon the face of the earth who was miraculously conceived. If he wasnt a myth then even then he wasnt miraculously conceived, he was not born of a virgin, since He was the eighth child of his mother.

VA NDORO Krishna was born of a married woman Devaki who was considered to have had a miraculous conception. “You have been born of the divine Devaki and Vasudeva for the protection of Brahma on earth.” – Mahabharata Epic book 12, Section 48.
He was miraculously placed in the womb of Devaki as a “full descent” of the great deity Vishnu to rid the earth of evil.

MBOFANA If Krishna was born of a previously married woman then Krishna was not born of a virgin. Devaki already had 7 children prior to Kishna hence Krishna was the eigth child, case closed!

VA NDORO His foster father was Nanda and is said to have lived about 1 200 BCE. He is seen as a divine sage identical in power and wisdom to Vishnu.

MBOFANA Does Nanda bear any resemblance to Joseph the foster father of Jesus? Joseph was a mere man, neither sage nor deity. In fact the lineage of Jesus is traced through His foster father Joseph, who according to history was a descendant of David and Abraham. New testament writers where not just making things up by borrowing from pagan religions rather what they wrote was real truth in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

VA NDORO The basic source of Krishna’s mythology is a part of Mahabharata Epic and is called Bhagavata Gita (Song of the Blessed One), written between 400 BCE and 200 CE.
Krishnite theology has its point of reference when the Divine takes human form for the purposes of defending the underlying moral order in the universe.

MBOFANA If the Bhagavhata Gita was written 400 BC and 200 BC then two things are apparent here
1. Unlike the account of Christ which was writen at least 50 – 100 years after His birth, the Bhagavata Gita was written about 1000 years after the existence of Krishna.
2. They are many Old Testament scriptures in which prophecies about Christ are contained which where written before the Bhagavhata Gita, Some of these passages are actually quoted by the New testament authors,
I am not sure if Va Ndoro is aware of this, its clear that on the basis of the points i have presented above they is no reason to think that the story of Christ’s conception was borrowed from the Bhagavhata Gita. Rather the story of Christ is real and part of a story that started way back in the Old Testament.

VA NDORO Siddhatha Gautama’s incarnation was said to have been accomplished by the descent of Vishnu into the womb of Maya. “The most Excellent of all Bodhisattvas fell directly from his place among the residents of Tushita heaven, and streaking through the three worlds, suddenly took the form of a huge six-tusked elephant as white as Himalaya, and entered Maya’s womb.” (Buddha Karita 1:18.) The foster father, King Suddhodana, was informed by a white elephant that a mighty teacher of men would be born miraculously in the womb of his wife, Mâyâ-Devi, the Queen of Heaven. “By the consent of the king,” says the “LalitaVistara,” “the queen was permitted to lead the life of a virgin… The womb in which a Buddha-Elect was reposed was like the sanctuary of a temple. On that account, the womb of Maya-Devi was sacred.

MBOFANA Mary was not a queen of heaven, Her womb was not sacred other only at the time of the miraculous conception. Mary womb is nowhere descibed as a temple. Mary did not remain a virigin. An angel not an elephant informed Joseph that a Saviour not merely a teacher would be born. Even more importantly these things where to be found in the prophecy of the Old Testament.

VA NDORO Isis (Hathor-Meri or Aset) was Heru or Horus’ mother and a widow of Asar. Isis practiced magic to raise Asar from the dead so she can bear a son that would avenge his death.
Isis then becomes pregnant from the potency waters of her deceased husband.

“(Isis) made to rise up the helpless member (male organ) of him whose heart was at rest, she drew from him his essence (potency waters), and she made there from an heir(Heru).”

MBOFANA Fact is Isis was not a virgin. Osiris the husband to Isis having been chopped into pieces by any enemy, Isis her wife put the pieces together, even then Osiris did not rise from the dead. Now even if isis became pregnant from the potency waters of her husband clearly that should prove Horus her son was not born of a virgin.

Conclusion

VA NDORO If there was any first century historical Yahoshua the Nazarene, was he miraculously conceived? The miraculous conception was an adoption from the above early civilisations for the fourth century mythical Greek “Iesous the Christos” (English “Jesus the Christ”).
Next we discover the truth found outside the conventional texts.

MBOFANAVa Ndoro’s article is based on faulty reasoning, Va Ndoro draws up similarities between the miraculous conception of pagan gods and the miraculous conception of Christ, thus concludes that since the story of Christ appeared years after that of pagan myths it must have been taken up from the pagan myths of earlier civilisations. This reasoning is faulty for more than one reason.

1. This reasoning ignores the fact the prophecies pertaining the coming Messiah that are found in the Old Testament.
2. Va Ndoro ignores the very statements of the New Testament authors and their constant reference to the Old Testament and never to pagan myths

Here are two Old testament passages wherein was prophecy about the miraculous conception of the Messiah.

1. Over 1200 years before the death of Christ Moses wrote

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. [ G E N E S I S 3 : 15 KJV ]

About 20 years after the ascension of Christ, Paul wrote to the Galatians
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law “[ G A L A T I A N S 4 : 4 – 5 KJV ]

Obviously Paul was conversant with the nature of the Old Testament right from the book of Genesis and so He knew in every way that indeed Christ was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Clearly in the book of Galatians Paul was not quoting the myths of Zeus, Mithra, Horus, Osiris or Dionysus

2. About 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Prophet Isaiah prophesied

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel [ I S A I A H 7 : 14 KJV ]

About 30 years after the ressurection and ascension of Christ, Matthew having realised the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 writes..

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” [ M AT T H E W 1 : 22 -23 KJV ]

Clearly therefore the New Testament Authors had no reason to pull out myths from pagan accounts, for they had better things to do, they knew Christ indeed had been born miraculously, lived, was crucified and ressurected, and then more importantly Matthew was a Jew, conversant with the promises of the Old Testament thus realised that indeed Christ is indeed a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy thus wrote accordingly.

Va Ndoro claims Jesus was Greek, I dont know why anyone would stoop so low with such a lie so as to debunk Christianity. More importantly this does not even sound like Matthew was making things up out of the stories about Horus, Zeus, Krishna, Bhuddha, Mithra, Dionysus and Osiris

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Should believers argue in defense of the faith?

Here is a short article explaining why its proper for believers to argue and debate in defence of the faith, an expanded version of this very article complete with scriptural references and references to the works of other apologists will be made available soon.

There are those who claim that Christians are to desist from debate and arguments about and for the faith claiming that engaging in debates and arguments for the faith is unbiblical.

Seems they forget that preaching itself is a form of argumentation because when one preaches faithfully they are arguing for the truth of the bible and necessarily against all knowledge that contradicts the bible. The Apostle Peter commands us in 1 Peter 3:15 to always have a reason for the hope that we have, and He explains that we should do this gently.

Therefore since our Hope is Jesus Christ we ought to lay out a defence for this hope from one source, the bible since all of the bible points to Christ.

Of course as Christians we do not resort to violence because the bible tells us that we battle not against the flesh and blood but against principalities powers and knowledge that exalts itself against Christ. We also do not resort to violence because the bible tells us to always have an answer for the hope that we have, and the answers being spoken of here are not swords and guns but rather answers from the one and only source of doctrine which is the bible Some of course think that the battle against principalities means that they should cast demons with the sheer power of their voices in Jesus name yet despite the widespread belief that this is what warfare means its nevertheless and a false belief for that matter.

Many who practice this casting and chasing throw their arms and fists up as they shout as if demons can be threatened and defeated by mere shouting. Fact of the matter our battle is a battle of the mind a battle for a renewed mind. That means our battles are intellectual not physical in that all knowledge must either be of Christ or be dismissed as false.

Since all that the bible points us to is Christ, we battle against all knowledge that is in disagreement with scripture, and what is our weapon, The very bible is our weapon, also referred to as the sword of the Spirit.

So for those who claim that arguments for the faith and amongst believers are sinful and to be avoided, its clear that they have no idea of what they are talking about since indeed believers wage war but its not a war with guns and rockets but with their intellects immersed in the word, the word which is the sword of the Spirit.

So they wage this war against falsehoods that contradict Christ!

Secondly since Paul says All scripture is inspired and therefore beneficial for correction and doctrine then our arguments for the faith pointed at correcting misconceptions about the faith must be coming from scripture.

However when dealing with unbelievers the approach of the bible is this, the bible calls all unbelievers fools since they deny the existence of God and moreover commands us that when dealing with fools we ought not to answer the fool according to His foolishness but we ought to show the fool that His question is mistaken for example UNBELIEVER: You say God exists, I cant touch, nor feel, nor hear.. Him so He doesn’t exist BELIEVER : Oh that which your senses cant recognise does not exist?

That means your great grand father that you never physically saw doesn’t exist since you have never seen Him nor sensed Him in any way, that also means dreams and thoughts do not exist since you can neither hear, touch, see them e.t.c The unbeliever might just say that He saw a picture of his grandfather but the picture is merely an image not the actual person, or he might say he saw the Grandfathers grave, but again the grave is but a grave not grandfather, and he would have to prove to us how his senses could actually prove that this is the grave of grandfather who once existed.

Now notice that instead of rushing to tell the unbeliever that that the bible says that God is Spirit and therefore He cannot be sensed by the five senses, I have proven to Him that Questioning God’s existence on his part is useless since it only considers existence on basis of senses yet there are so many things the unbeliever himself may believe to be in existence or to have either existed even though none of His senses can never show him that these things actually exist or ever existed.

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Tearing down the false doctrine pertaining spiritual fathers 2


In this second part of ” Tearing down the false doctrine pertaining spiritual fathers” Find part one here

In this article I discuss three cases that those who support the Spiritual fatherhood doctrine advance as justification for this false doctrine. The 3 cases I discuss below are: that of Paul and Timothy, Paul and the Corinthian Church, Elisha and Elijah.

P A U L     A N D    T I M O T H Y
The case of Paul and Timothy is common reference point for those who support the spiritual father doctrine. The key verse is 1 Timothy 2:1 where Paul says unto Timothy ” my own son in the faith”
This is normally misintepreted to mean that Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son yet such an misinterpretation ignores the facts.
First of all neither does Paul say unto Timothy ” My own spiritual son ” nor does He say Unto Timothy “my own son in the Spirit”

The greek word for Faith as used in that passage is ” pistis ” and below i have provided the definition as defined by Strong’s greek lexicon.
[ persuasion, that is, credence ; moral conviction(of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especiallyreliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly constancy in such profession; by extension the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity. ]
    
As you can see the above definition of pistis does not imply Spirit in any sense. The definition of pistis does not in anyway imply that the verse can be made to mean that Timothy was a spiritual son of Paul.
So what does it mean, If Paul says Timothy or Titus are sons in the faith, according to that definition above, its clear that Faith could mean persuasion, moral conviction of truth especially in reliance upon Christ for Salvation and thus Timothy and Titus where sons in this persuasion as presented in the gospel. 

We must also look at the working relationship of Paul and Timothy to further understand why Paul calls Timothy a son in the faith. In Acts 16:1-4, is an account of how Paul took Timothy as a companion on His missionary journeys. Timothy  being a younger companion who bore the benefit of instruction in the gospel by Paul, it thus could only have been appropriate for Paul to refer to Timothy as His own son in the faith. 
 
W A S   P A U L,   T I M O T H Y’S   S P I R I T U AL   F A T H E R ?

I have explained what it means for one to be a spiritual son  and I have explained that no man can be another man’s spiritual son because only the Holy Spirit can cause the Spiritual birth of a human being. 
And so Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ made this clear in John 3:5-6
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
 6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit
So what did Jesus mean when He said ” except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot be born again”?, Jesus was reffering to regeneration a process by which the Holy Spirit causes the Sinner to repent and believe the Gospel. 

Regeneration is an activity that only the Spirit can do.  Being born of water  refers to water baptism which is the outward sign that signifies the inward work of the Holy Spirit. Baptism cannot cause regeneration, it is just but a sign. Regeneration is an activity of the Holy Spirit not a preacher or an Apostle like Paul. 
In fact Paul himself had to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, how could He ever have power himself to cause spiritual birth? Therefore Paul could never have been anyone’s spiritual father.
Its worth noting that Paul was just a vessel in the Potters Hands, a clay vessel in the potter’s hands cannot create another clay pot! Paul therefore is just an instrument in the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If Paul could ever be the cause of Spiritual birth then it must as consequence follow that man is saved by work of some other person in addition to the Grace of God, the Finished work of  Jesus Christ and regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Yet we know that man is saved by God alone not the works of any man, thus his spiritual birth is caused by God who thus becomes His Spiritual father.

1  C O R I N T H I A N S  4 : 14 – 17
 
Here is another passage1 Corinthians 4:14 -17  commonly misintepreted by those who support the spiritual fatherhood heresy.  

 14  I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.
 15  For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
 16  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
 17  For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

Its clear that Paul was calling the Corinthians “sons” on account of the gospel he had preached to them, elsewhere in His epistles Paul says that the gospel is power unto salvation, andf its foolishness to those who are perishing.. again in this passage there is no hint of Paul having caused Spiritual rebirth in order that he may be called Spiritual father of the Corinthians

W A S    E L I S H A, E L I J A H ‘ S   S P I R I T U A L    S O N  ?

We shall now look at 2 Kings 2:11-12, this passage is also used as a textproof for the spiritual fatherhood concept.

11  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
 12  And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 

Those who buy into this spiritual fatherhood concept believe that Elisha’s ‘”My father, my father” utterance in refence to Elijah amounts to justification for the erroneous view that Elijah was a spiritual father to Elisha, Also the Spiritual fatherhood heresy proponent will turn to whuch says that Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s Spirit, therefore a spiritual father can impart a portion of his spirit to a spiritual son, This notion is mistaken for 2 reasons;

1. Elijah is not a role model to church leaders, He was a pointer to the ministry of John the baptist [ Malachi 4:4, Matthew 11:14, Luke 1:17, Mark 9:11-13] who is himself a pointer to Jesus Christ. In a way the ascension of Elijah into the heavens was a pointer to the ascension of Jesus Christ into the heavens after ressurection.

2. Scripture and personalities therein are pointers to Jesus Christ [ John 5:39, Luke 24:27] not models of church leadership, Paul explains to Timothy the roles and qualifications of church leaders and suffice to say none of the things that Paul says ever make mention of the Elijah, Elisha relationship as a model for the made up spiritual fatherhood doctrine.Old Testament types and shadows such as the temple, the sacrifices, the sabbath, the Levitical Prieshood, Elijah, Elisha  point us to Jesus Christ as having fully revealed and Glorified the Father in the work of salvation. Yet some insist that the likes of Elijah as He was to Elisha are pointers to the morden but false spiritual father

3. Even in the Old testament God was always sovereign and it was upon Him to grant spiritual birth, God has always been active even befor creation.Christ was greater that both Elisha and Elijah combined yet instructs us in Matthew 23:7-10, “call no man “father” except your Father in heaven and call no man “Master” except Christ”​

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