The other day I overheard someone saying that Christian stories are actually not very original, and that in ancient history there are scores of other stories very similar to those of the Scriptures. Predictably, the Epic of Gilgamesh was mentioned as an example.
The implication was that the Christian Scriptures are merely one tradition among many traditions, and they are insignificant when considered alongside the parallel myths of other cultures.
Actually, the implication is exactly the opposite. If you look in multiple places and in multiple different contexts, and you see the same truths expressed, shouldn’t that convince you that perhaps these things are extremely important? God has revealed truth to everyone:
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” -Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)
If the stories of Scripture are true, we should expect to find some of them told in various forms in other cultures. Many of the stories predate the Bible, but this shouldn’t surprise us either. We see in Scripture that the Lord has been speaking to men and women since humanity was first created. Scripture is not an imitation of these ancient stories, it’s the crystallization of the truths in these ancient stories. After all, these truths “have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world.”