Question: What information can you give me about the theory that Christianity copied the "messianic" characteristics of the Egyptian God Horus to create Jesus? In that account, Osiris (father of Horus) meets his death at the hands of the evil god Set. Isis, the wife of Osiris, reassembles his dismembered body, bringing about a "resurrection." Horus, "the son," is the one who eventually defeats Set. I had never heard of this comparison to Christ before, and it recently came up in a discussion.
Response: There are messianic figures in other religions, but if the Bible is true, that would be expected. Just as many cultures have stories that parallel the accounts in Genesis (creation of man, the fall, the flood, the tower of Babel, the longevity of the patriarchs, etc., which were all known and passed down from the beginning), it should not be surprising that these groups have messianic figures as well. Because the Bible is true, these things exist. The adversary is always ready with a counterfeit.
Genesis:3:15 is the earliest prophecy of the Messiah. In this one verse we find certain elements. His "heel" was to be bruised. The serpent's head was to be bruised as well as the Messiah's heel. This "wounding" (speaking of the prophesied death and resurrection of the Messiah) is aped by the later Osirus/Horus myth. The importance of the "woman" in the narrative also would serve as inspiration for the mourning women of other "messianic" stories.
As one example, it is claimed that Quetzalcoatl of Mexico was crucified in 587 BC for the sins of the world. According to legend, he also was born of a virgin mother, descended into hell, and rose on the third day. Psalm 22, with many details about the crucifixion of Christ, was written between 1000-965 BC. Isaiah's prophecies of the Messiah were recorded between 740-700 BC-plenty of time to be appropriated for Quetzalcoatl's claims.
The few details included in the Osiris/Horus myth (circa 2400 BC) parallel (in a distorted form), only the prophecy of Genesis:3:15, which was known to humanity from the beginning. Despite claims by skeptics, there are no further parallels. It is instructive that "messianic" stories containing additional details occur at a later date. They appear after all the prophecies concerning "He who was to come" were recorded in Old Testament Scripture.
If there is a Satan who tries to disrupt the plan of God (and there is); how better to do so than by introducing a counterfeit? Satan knows the Scriptures and selectively quotes them when he deems it advantageous (Mat:4:6, etc.). He can only counterfeit, however, what has been revealed. Consequently, it is not surprising that at a later date, when more prophecy was known, the "fuller" account of Quezalcoatl came along. The virgin birth, forty days of temptation, fasting, etc., had by this time been prophesied in Scripture. Satan is an adversary who is a master of the counterfeit (2 Cor:11:13-14). That being said, among the many differences between these would-be messiahs and the true Messiah, one especially must be noted: all of the "other" messiahs proclaimed a "gospel" of works. This is a far cry from the Gospel of Grace proclaimed by Christ.