Wondering if there are any legends or myths that predicted a virgin birth or Messiah, in other religions or cultures?
Interesting question. A quick Google produced a large number of replies, I post here one from Yahoo Answers
"There are at least a few dozen instances of virgin births in history that I’m aware of, mostly of religious figures.
Eighteen hundred years before Christ, we find carved on one of the walls of the great temple of Luxor a picture of the annunciation, conception and birth of King Amunothph III, an almost exact copy of the annunciation, conception and birth of the Christian God.
Roman/Greek: Demeter and Persephone, Rhea and Zeus, Apollo
In Egypt, virgin mother Isis begat Horus
In Phrygia, Attis was born of the virgin Nama.
A nymph bathing in a river in China is touched by a lotus plant, and the divine Fohi is born.
In Siam, a wandering sunbeam caresses a girl in her teens, and the great and wonderful deliverer, Codom, is born.
In the life of Buddha we read that he descended on his mother Maya, “in likeness as the heavenly queen, and entered her womb,” and was born from her right side, to save the world."
In Greece, the young god Apollo visits a fair maid of Athens, and a Plato is ushered into the world.
From Greece comes the virgin birth of Adonis, who was resurrected after being killed by a wild boar. Adonis was revered by the Phoenicians as a dying-and-rising god, and Athenians held Adonia, a yearly festival representing his death and resurrection, in midsummer.
From the Americas comes a remarkable story of the god-man Quetzalcoatl told by the Aztecs and Mayans. Not only did he have a virgin birth, but he was associated with the planet Venus, the morning star, as was Jesus. In addition, the religion built around him used the cross as a symbolic representation. Like the myths around Jesus, Quetzalcoatl said he would return to claim his earthly kingdom.
Mithra was a Persian god who was also a virgin birth, but was more than just a tribal god. Mithra was born in a cave and had twelve companions. Mithra’s birthday was also on December 25th. Both religions celebrate the resurrection at Easter. Much of what we know about Mithracism today came from the Christians. The prophet Zoroaster was also born of a virgin.
Perseus and Hercules all experienced virgin births after being fathered by yet other gods. Horus, Mithra, Dionysus and Krishna were all born on December 25th., their births were announced by “stars”, attended by ‘wise men’, involved humble birth locations, entailed the massacre of innocents and fleeing for safety from enemies, and so on and on.
A Roman savior Quirrnus was born of a virgin.
In Tibet, Indra was born of a virgin. He ascended into heaven after death.
In India, the god Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki.
Virgin births were claimed for many Egyptian pharaohs, Greek emperors and for Alexander the Great of Greece.
For a discussion of several aspects of the Christian virgin-birth story, including speculation on origins.
Not only the idea of a virgin mother, but all the other miraculous events, such as the stable cradle, the guiding star, the massacre of the children, the flight to Egypt, and the resurrection and bodily ascension toward the clouds, have not only been borrowed, but are even scarcely altered in the New Testament story of Jesus.
Comparisons of the story of Jesus Christ to stories of other religious figures
A discussion of the virgin-birth story from a modern perspective
Apparently virgin births were quite common up until the advancement of medicine and science. How would you explain it??"
All of the supposed virgin birth myths are very questionable as to whether or not they predate the new testament and i find no one can produce such a pre christian source that is unambigiously a virgin birth in the the same way the gospels present them.
here is an excerpt from sacred-texts.com
"Every king of Egypt, even while living, was added to the number of the gods, and declared to be the Son of Ra, which was the title set over the second oval of his name (see Fig. 27). He was then sometimes made into the third person of a Trinity, in which case he took the place of the god Chonso, in Fig. 21. He denied that he owed his birth to the father from whom he inherited the crown; he claimed to be born, like the bull Apis, by a miraculous conception. He styled his mother the wife of Amun-Ra, which explains the mistake of Diodorus Siculus, who calls the tombs of
Fig. 28.–The Birth of King Amunothph III.
the queens near Thebes the tombs of Jupiter’s concubines. Many of the more favourite kings after their death continued to receive the same divine worship.
This opinion of the miraculous birth of the kings is well explained in a series of sculptures on the wall of the temple of Luxor (see Fig. 28). First, the god Thoth, with the head of an ibis, and with his ink and pen-case in his left hand, as the messenger of the gods, like the Mercury of the Greeks, tells the maiden queen Mautmes that she is to give birth to a son, who is to be king Amunothph III. Secondly, the god Kneph, the spirit, with a ram’s head, and the goddess Athor, with the sun and cow’s horns upon her head, both take hold of the queen by her hands, and put into her mouth the character for life, which is to be the life of the coming child. Thirdly, the queen, when the child is to be born, is seated on the midwife’s stool, as described in Exodus i. 16; two of the attending nurses rub her hands to ease the pains of childbirth, while another of the nurses holds up the baby, over which is written the name of king Amunothph III. He holds his finger to his mouth to mark his infancy; he has not yet learned to speak. Lastly, the several gods or priests attend in adoration upon their knees to present their gifts to this wonderful child, who is seated in the midst of them, and is receiving their homage. In this picture we have the Annunciation, the Conception, the Birth, and the Adoration, as described in the First and Second Chapters of Luke’s Gospel; and as we have historical assurance that the chapters in Matthew’s Gospel, which contain the Miraculous Birth of Jesus, are an after addition not in the earliest manuscripts, it seems probable that these two poetical chapters in Luke may also be unhistorical, and be borrowed from the Egyptian accounts of the miraculous birth of their kings."
This seems to be the work of a certain Dr. Samuel Sharpe a Unitarian:rolleyes:
There are many alleged “virgin births” put forth by ancient attackers of the Catholic faith.
Origen called these charges and arguments, “buffoon(ery)” in one instance and cannot be taken seriously. After reading Contra Celsus (sometimes spelled Kelsus), I have to agree with Origen–utter buffoonery.
ORIGEN And since Celsus has introduced the Jew disputing with Jesus, and tearing in pieces, as he imagines, the fiction of His birth from a virgin, comparing the Greek fables about Danaë; and Melanippe, and Auge, and Antiope, our answer is, that such language becomes a buffoon, and not one who is writing in a serious tone.
[INDENT]—Origen. Contra Celsus Book I - Chapter 37[/INDENT]
Two (three if you count Jimmy Akin’s reference) good places to begin the debunking process:
Is Jesus a knockoff of the Egyptian god Horus? By Jimmy Akin (Who basically just references Jon Sorensen’s first article below).
Horus Manure: Debunking the Jesus/Horus Connection. By Jon Sorensen
I personally researched about a dozen so-called “virgin births” put forth by various non-Christian websites. None of them were even close, so I quit doing research on them (as it was a waste of valuable time to do more).
Jon Sorensen’s articles (linked above) will give you a great introduction to the whole phony concept.
Once you know how to deal with the concept itself, it will be easier to see through the phony attacks in the individual so-called “virgin-birth” cases.
Common sense alert: Recall the early pagans that trotted out theories against the Virgin Birth of Jesus NEVER said anything like: “Oh I see you Christian guys are just like us. We all have similar virgin-birth narratives.”
See Origin’s Contra Celsius (linked above) if you want to see an ancient answer to some of these objections raised. Admittedly there are many other so-called “virgin births” but there are also 2000 years of different phony objections leveled against Christianity. So far I have not seen any reason to affirm any one of them.
For those religions that touted “virgin births” it was not genuine, but a symbol. Deep down the Holy Spirit does impart some truth to pagans in the sense that they are getting something right, but not correct.
There is only one Truth, our Lord is not a Lord of chaos.
For instance, In the creation stories of pagans there is a kernel of truth. In Sacred Scripture there is the whole truth.
Just saw a few other responses, about virgin births and Messiah parallels and so forth, but
I don’t think there’s anything like what you are talking about in terms when it was predicted.
As I recall in my Christology class, one of the striking differences in any other “virgin birth” stories of a god would produce a “demigod,” i.e. a half-human, half-god. There is nothing like the hypostatic union in Christ.
Here’s an interesting article refuting the idea that Jesus was a myth copied from other religions. philvaz.com/apologetics/JesusEvidenceCrucifiedSaviors.htm
thanks for the link
I’m pretty sure the stories regarding Mithra were verbal stories made up to make Christianity seem like a ‘rip-off’ off other pagan faiths, as no Mithraic texts support Mithra being born of a virgin woman, being born on the 25, etc. In fact, most ‘official’ stories of that faith seem to rip off Greek myths.
Try religionfacts.com. It provides unbiased info on just about every faith.
Indra is a Hindu God. Idk if his mythology in Tibet is different (I haven’t found anything on it) but he was not born of a virgin.
In India, the god Krishna was born of the virgin Devaki.
I often see this statement made and I always wonder where this comes from. Krishna’s mother had I believe 6 other children before giving birth to Krishna.
See Bosloopers book Virgin Birth. He shows how all of the alleged virgin births in other religions involved some sort of intercourse.
"What is common between Christian and “pagan” traditions is the idea of miraculous birth. In this sense they are parallel or analogous. There is a striking difference, however, between the Christian and non-Christian traditions. The Christian formula is unique. The idea that it contains — divine conception and human birth without anthropomorphism, sensuality, or suggestions of moral irregularity — is to be found nowhere in the literature of the world outside the canonical Biblical narratives. Rather than being an idea borrowed from other traditions, it is original with Christianity. The Christian story of miraculous birth reflects primitive Christian belief: faith in one God who is mighty in his creative power, belief in the supreme worth and dignity of man, belief in the imperative of the moral life, and the conviction that the nature and person of Jesus should be described in language which is descriptive of both the divine and the human.
The Christian story of the virgin birth is as different from pagan “analogies” as monotheism is from polytheism, as different as Biblical ideas of the relationship between God and man are from the mythological activities of gods in human affairs, and as different as the polygamous and incestuous pagan society was from the Christian teaching on morals and marriage. …
Real significance lies in the fact that in the most general connotation of miraculous or extraordinary birth, Jesus’ virgin birth was analogous to non-Christian traditions, but in its precise content and form it was in no way analogous to them. Because extraordinary birth was a universal theme, the early Christians had a point of contact with the ancient world, and because of the unique content and form of the Christian birth narrative, the Christians had a distinctive message to convey to Jewish and pagan society. In the Christian formula of conception by the Spirit and birth from a woman, Christianity’s estimation of its Savior and its view of man were conveyed to the world. In this truth lay redemptive power.
The virgin birth is of fundamental and primary importance both to the Christian and to the non-Christian world. It is an exalted concept of God’s action in the life of man, and is an idea that all men need to know."
The other thing worth considering regarding “copycatting” virginal birth narratives is that THE Virgin Birth was prophesied right out of the proverbial starting block (Genesis 3:15).
This confused the evil one. How do I know? I’ll answer why that is below.
Satan may have motivated or “inspired” his minions to various quasi-virgin birth narratives to try to emulate or “ape” the initial prophecy of the Virgin Birth which is part of in a sense “proto-Christianity”.
A lot of people accuse Christianity of “copying” pagan religions’ “virgin births”.
I reject this proposition BUT I am open to the fact that it may very well be the opposite.
What do I mean by that?
I mean satan had a rudimentary (but incomplete) idea of the Virgin Birth from what occurred in Genesis 3:15.
GENESIS 3:15 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
The Greek (Septuagint) word for the “seed” of the woman here is “spermatos” or “sperma”.
Recall in the natural realm, women don’t have “spermatos”. Men do.
Genesis 3:15 is multi-layered, but in its fullest sense it is a prophetic utterance of Jesus and Mary.
CCC 410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall.304 This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.
We know Jesus took his human nature from the flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is the only situation of a woman having “seed” in this sense.
These “mysteries” were not made known to prior generations.
The good “powers and principalities” (“powers and principalities” are “Angels”) couldn’t even figure it out and they are much more intelligent than us humans.
If the good Angels were not privy to these mysteries, I guarantee the fallen angels would not be able to figure out what was coming either.
But with the pride of a fallen angel, that wouldn’t stop them from trying to figure out what Genesis 3:15 meant.
And it wouldn’t stop them from perverting it either.
In this case I think it is BOTH.
*]The evil one didn’t know what was coming out of Genesis 3:15
*]The evil one perverts even what he thinks is coming out of Genesis 3:15
Recall again, even the good angels learn from watching how God deals with the Church (Ephesians 3:1-12), but the evil one could put a perverted spin on what he did see and incorrectly surmise concerning “the mystery of Christ” foretold here in Genesis 3.
EPHESIANS 3:1-12 1 For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles-- 2 assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. 4 When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; 10 that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him.
If satan tried to ape this prophecy of the Virgin Birth in Genesis 3:15, we would expect him to get it wrong, AND to pervert it.
When you look at these pagan so-called virgin births we see:
These pagan “virgin birth” narratives get it wrong.
These pagan “virgin birth” narratives are perverted compared to the one and only Virgin Birth.
For example the false goddess Melanippe is sometimes claimed to have a “virgin birth”. Some pagans have accused Christianity from copycatting this (If I recall correctly, the Melanippe copy cat claim was one of the charges Origen argued against).
But when you look the Melanippe “virgin birth”, the situation is no virginal birth at all but a mere woman who has illicit relations with Aeolus and herself is the product of a beast (a centaur or “half” beast).
Having illicit intimate relations with a god (even a mythical one in this case, Aeolus) is NOT a “virgin birth”.
The Melanippe situation IS a perversion.
All of the phony “gods” have satan’s proverbial evil “fingerprints” all over them.
As I said, I checked on about a dozen of these so-called virgin births and NONE of them were even close to the Christian doctrine of the Virgin Birth (from a Christian perspective at least).
Remember, Genesis 3:15 occurred long before these pagan “virgin birth myths” were ever “burped up from the bowels of hell”.
So the “knock-off” aspect seems plausible only to the extent that the “knock-off” or “copycat” actually comes from the demons dealing with prophetic utterances concerning Christianity.
And the demons would “inspire” their minions to such fables.
I thank you and the Holy Spirit and you for those insights!
Ive been reading a lot about the pagan religions and how different they were from early Jewish Christians. I’m wondering if they ever worshipped in the Jewish temples of that time or did they worship in their own pagan temples?
I meant only one you.
Some really interesting responses to this question. What I was looking for though is any prophecy in mythology outside of the Old Testament, which predicted the Messiah. Not competitors virgin - birth stories, even though there interesting in themselves! For example, in the Apocryphal Books of Adam & Eve. God predicts and promises his coming to save Adam’s race. Book I Chapter 14 Adam & Eve has God stating he will join the human race as a descendant of Adam.