Is the story of Jesus in the wilderness an allegory?

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  1. Claire Evans profile image64
    Claire Evansposted 6 years ago

    We know it is not possible for someone to still be walking in the wilderness for 40 days so this is evidence that this event didn't really happen.  Where did the number of 40 come from?

    1. Live to Learn profile image61
      Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      The number 40 appears often in the Bible and appears to be symbolic of a time of intense testing and judgment. I suppose you'd have to be an ancient to completely understand any real significance. But, 40 days is not the longest anyone has been known to go without food and if Jesus is who he is thought to be I would assume 40 days, for him, was survivable.

      1. Claire Evans profile image64
        Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        You are right about it being symbolic.  However, Jesus was mortal like the rest of us and was not immune to hunger.  Survivable doesn't mean not on the brink of death.  Would he be incoherent? No.

        1. Live to Learn profile image61
          Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          There are many miraculous things a mere human can accomplish. I have no problem believing the story. It doesn't stretch the bounds of reason.

          1. Claire Evans profile image64
            Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            Yet it is unlikely to be true because the number 40 is important in paganism:

            "The number 40 has a powerful significance in many spiritual traditions and in many cultures. In general the number 40 represents a state of purification, or “decantation”, where there is a clear separation between substances, i.e the lower vibration ones and the higher vibration ones.

            In traditional alchemy, there is a mention to the 40 philosophical days as a recommended period of purification, purging and refinement of the senses preceding any transmutation work."

            So it's obvious where the number 40 in the wilderness story came from.

            1. Live to Learn profile image61
              Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              Putting too much significance on it one way or the other negates the value of the story. This worrisome desire to think the echos of pagan beliefs and traditions are somehow detrimental to the Christian experience has never made sense to me.

              1. Claire Evans profile image64
                Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                It doesn't negate the value of the story.  Not for me, anyway.  I'm arguing from a truly academic point of view.  Why should we not know the history of the RCC church about their incorporation of paganism into the Christian religion.  If one finds this detrimental to their faith, then they don't have much of a faith.  The knowledge of Christ must be immovable.

                1. Live to Learn profile image61
                  Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                  From an academic point of view?

                  I doubt there is an American alive who is not aware of the fact that pagan traditions were incorporated into the faith as it spread and grew. It isn't important. Really. Primarily because all of the things you cite as meaning something in another faith do not mean the same thing in Christianity.

                  These types of discussions are not borne of a desire for purity of belief as much as they are meant to create division. I don't think that is the goal Jesus sought.

                  1. profile image0
                    promisemposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                    And what was the goal that Jesus thought? Were respect, kindness and charity for others a part of his thinking?

                  2. Claire Evans profile image64
                    Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                    The point I'm trying to make is that there was an insidious agenda by the RCC to distort Christianity.  That needs to be exposed.  Otherwise you will get people will will say Jesus is not the son of God because other gods were born on the 25th of December thus clearly plagiarism.  That is not the case.  The RCC claimed Jesus was born on the 25th which is absolutely not true.

  2. Paul Wingert profile image60
    Paul Wingertposted 6 years ago

    How the notion that Jesus and over 90% of the Biblical stories are allegories? Jesus was probably based on an actual person - maybe a healer or teacher. But Jesus the myth is a product of the 4th Century Roman committees starting with the council of Nicea. These were the guys that invented Easter and connected Jesus to be the son of god. Genesis were nothing but plagiarized Babylonian bedtime stories while the rest are metaphors written in a way that an uneducated sheep herder could comprehend.

    1. Claire Evans profile image64
      Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      No, the gospels were not a creation of 4th century committees.  They were established long before then.  The name Easter is pagan, from Ishtar to be exact.  Easter eggs are pagan.  However, incorporated paganism does not negate the gospels. 

      Genesis is based on Sumerian stories, that is true.  Give me an example, please, what are metaphors easily understood by uneducated people?

      1. wilderness profile image94
        wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        But Easter (celebration of the resurrection of Christ) was most certainly not pagan, regardless of how the name morphed over the centuries.  Or do you consider the compilers of the bible to be pagan?  In general, of course - the celebration of the resurrection existed long before the Nicean councils were formed to create the bible.  All the councils did was set a common date for everyone to use.

        It took many centuries after the church's creation of Easter to incorporate the beliefs of others into the holiday.  But the change, the addition of other customs or even beliefs does not change the fact that Easter was created by the Christian church, for Christian reasons and for Christians.  Not for pagans.

        1. Live to Learn profile image61
          Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          That's one thing which consistently irritates. These new branches demonizing holidays because pagan customs were incorporated. We can't have Halloween parties in school because the JW swear we are mourning the dead in the flood. We can't have a Christmas tree because a pentecostal believes Germans hung dead people from them.

          Ideas far removed mean nothing. The current meaning to the person celebrating is the only thing pertinent, in matters of faith. In my opinion, of course.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            I whole heartedly agree - the meaning of the holiday is solely due to what you think, not someone else.

            At the same time, if we are willing to take meaning from someone else, it gets sticky.  Can't speak to the two instances you mention, but it is almost certain that Christmas trees came from pagan origins.  That the Easter Bunny came from tales of Oestara, a pagan goddess.  That parts of Halloween came from the Druids.  So if one feels those ancient "add on" features become a part of the "meaning" of that holiday to an individual (perhaps opposed as to just a cute or quaint custom) then they may well wish not to accept it. 

            Of course, nearly all of our major holidays, excepting only those based on patriotic America, ARE a mix of many beliefs.  It's what happens when a holiday endures for a thousand years through many cultures!

            1. Live to Learn profile image61
              Live to Learnposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              I completely understand incorporating pagan tradition. I see nothing sinister in it. Converts would certainly want to retain holidays and tradition. To renew its meaning with something within the new faith structure makes sense to me.

              1. wilderness profile image94
                wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

                Yep.  People value their traditions and holidays - the Romans understood that well and accommodated them.  And so did the Christian church - both Halloween and Christmas were deliberately created and dated to encourage converts.

                I don't see any problem, either.  We're secular, but value Christmas over all other holidays.  We just pick and choose which customs we like, and meaning...well, that's up to us to decide.  Not the church, not the ancient pagans, and not those today that insist it is about what they've decided it should be.  Gift giving likely came from the Roman Saturnalia festival, Christmas trees from the pagans, Mistletoe the Druids and charity from Christianity - we incorporate them all as we see fit and the same for Halloween.

        2. Claire Evans profile image64
          Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          The resurrection of Christ is not pagan.  Pagan elements celebrating the holiday were like Easter eggs.  The word Easter is from Ishtar.

          It is the Catholic Church who incorporated paganism into Christianity because the CC is about pagan worship.  Regular Catholics aren't pagan worship even though they digress from the Bible and pray to Mary.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 6 years agoin reply to this

            Yes, easter eggs, the easter bunny, etc.  Not sure the origin of the word, though - although Ishtar was prominent in many areas, so was Oestar, and even has myths about rabbits and eggs. 

            I don't think the Catholic church incorporated paganism into Christianity; it was a far more natural occurrence as pagans converted and brought some of their beliefs and customs with them.

            Which pagan worship rituals does the Catholic church promote?  Not catholic, but haven't heard of them worshiping nature, trees, animals, etc. - the root of paganism.

            1. Claire Evans profile image64
              Claire Evansposted 6 years agoin reply to this

              Yes, they did.  They did it to such an extent that it distorts Christianity such as Mary worship.  Why should the Church stand for the incorporation of paganism as a natural progression? Why didn't they say it was heretical?

              Paganism isn't always about worshiping nature and like.  It is defined as any other religious belief system other than the main ones we have today. 

              Here is one of the pagan rituals incorporated by Catholicism.

              Like many of the beliefs and rites of Romanism, transubstantiation was first practiced by pagan religions. The noted historian Durant said that belief in transubstantiation as practiced by the priests of the Roman Catholic system is "one of the oldest ceremonies of primitive religion." The Story Of Civilization, p. 741. The syncretism and mysticism of the Middle East were great factors in influencing the West, particularly Italy. Roman Society From Nero To Marcus Aurelius, Dill. In Egypt priests would consecrate mest cakes which were supposed to be come the flesh of Osiris. Encyclopedia Of Religions, Vol. 2, p. 76. The idea of transubstantiation was also characteristic of the religion of Mithra whose sacraments of cakes and Haoma drink closely parallel the Catholic Eucharistic rite. Ibid. The idea of eating the flesh of deity was most popular among the people of Mexico and Central America long before they ever heard of Christ; and when Spanish missionaries first landed in those countries "their surprise was heightened, when they witnessed a religious rite which reminded them of image made of flour...and after consecration by priests, was distributed among the people who ate it...declaring it was the flesh of deity..." Prescott's Mexico, Vol. 3.


              Obviously that is paganism introduced into Christianity.  The round wafer represents the sun disk.

    2. PhoenixV profile image63
      PhoenixVposted 6 years agoin reply to this



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