Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fire With Fire--Pt 2 (sort of)

It seems that I have started attracting readers who can't understand why simply slapping down a verse from the Bible doesn't send me running to the nearest church.

Well Penn Jilliate said it best when he stated:
"We need more Atheists, and nothing will get you there quicker than reading the Bible."
You see my Christian friends, I went through my childhood with a daily and quite extensive regimen of Bible studies. This constant reading and studying of the Bible led, in part, to my current lack of faith in it. I was not born or raised an Atheist--I learned my way there. In fact you might say that I intellectually evolved. Time permitting I will tell the story of this evolution in a future post.

So, to prove my point about the Bible, I will give you the second installment of my new Series--Fire With Fire, which began with a previous post about Judas.

The Genesis Creation Stories:

Most Christians know, or at least think they know, the creation story as laid out in Genesis. The story generally goes something like:

First there was nothing. Then in six days, God created everything from the stars to wallabies. He created things in order beginning with light, and eventually formed the first man, Adam, out of clay. In order to give Adam some company, he took from Adam a rib, and from that created the first woman, Eve, and all was good.

After creation, Eve was tricked by a talking snake into eating something she wasn't supposed to. Eve in turn tricked Adam into doing the same. God got pissed, and made the formerly immortal couple mortal, and cursed the woman with child-bearing.

They lived unhappily ever after.
This story is based on Genesis chapters one,two and three (one and two are discussed in the following--three will be saved for later.) Nice story, but it is a combination of two distinctly different stories. Most people don't see this because they know the story before they read it, which causes them to read into the stories what they already believe, and to read over the parts that don't make sense.

Here I will rectify this mistake.

Story One--Genesis 1

(Since the Bible in all of its versions can be found online I will give links to the chapters and verses I will use, and will only quote the verses when necessary for clarification. I invite readers, especially the believers, to follow along with whatever version they have or the online connections I supply)

Genesis 1:1-5:

"In the beginning" God creates the heavens and the Earth. The Earth is kind of a blob with water on it and is dark. God creates light, separates it from the darkness and calls the light day and the dark night. He is done for day one.

Genesis 1:6-8

God creates the sky which divides the water; some water on the Earth and some above the sky. He calls the sky "heaven," and is done for day two.

Genesis 1:9-13

God gathers all the water under the sky into one place, and causes dry land to appear. On the dry land he put plants including trees, and then stops for the day. End of day three.

Genesis 1:14-19

God creates the stars and other heavenly lights to be used to determine days, seasons, and years and puts them in the sky. He then creates the Sun and the Moon and puts them in the sky. He stops for the day. Day four complete.

Genesis 1:20-23

God creates all of the fish, and birds. He gives them the ability to procreate then ends his work for day five.

Genesis 1:24-31

Day six. God creates all of the land animals. Then they decide to create man in their image and put them in charge of the other things they have created. Then God makes men and women, and commands them to procreate and care for the Earth. He then makes everything vegetarian, stands back and looks at his creations and declares them "Good." End of day six.

Genesis 2:1-3

These verses are the end of the story in chapter 1.

(Remember, originally the Bible didn't have chapters and verses these were added later by the Catholic church to make the Bible easier to read.)

God is finished with creating and takes day seven to rest. He sanctifies this day making it a day of rest.

Now the contradictions begin:

Genesis 2:4

Intro to the story of creation, which was concluded in the last verse. ????

Genesis 2:5

There is an Earth, but no plants, no rain, and no man. Yes there are--he created them on days three (plants), one (rain), and six (mankind).

Genesis 2:6-7

God causes it to rain, then creates a man. There are still no plants or animals. Which contradicts Genesis 1:11-25 during which time he creates all of the plants and animals before man. How do I know there aren't any plants or animals yet? Well, just read on.

Genesis 2:8

God creates Eden, and puts the man (no name yet) there.

Genesis 2:9

God creates plants, or at least trees:
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

So is it trees before man and woman (Genesis 1:11 then 1:27), or man (no woman) then trees as it says here. Did he create everything then decide that it was in fact not good and start all over? Or is this two different stories?

Genesis 2:10-15

God creates some rivers, and precious stones then puts the man back in the garden to take care of it. It doesn't say when he took our gardener out of the garden after having already put him there, but at least now he's back.

Genesis 2:16-17

God informs the man that he can eat anything in the garden but fruit from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." God informs the man that if he does eat from that tree he "shalt surely die."

Genesis 2:18-20

God decides that the man needs help in the garden so he creates all of the animals to help the man out.

OK stop, in the last chapter God created all of the animals over a couple of days, and THEN created men and women. Here it says that he created a man, no woman, then created the animals (no fish yet, though) to be the man's little helpers. Which is the actual story?

Anyway, when God takes the animals to the man we finally find out that the man's name is Adam. Adam names all of the animals, but can't find any animals that will be good helpers.

Genesis 2:21-25

To rectify his mistake of not creating a good helper-animal ("...,but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." 2:20) God puts Adam to sleep, removes one of his ribs (ouch) and creates a woman from the rib. When God shows his creation to Adam he declares that she is a woman.

Adam and his un-named wife happily roam around the garden naked.

This ends the creation saga. Genesis 3 is the story of the "fall of man," and as such does not have bearing on this subject. Although there is a glaring problem in chapter three that I will cover in a future post.

So, to clarify, we are to believe that every word of the Bible is true, and does not contradict itself. This has to be the case, because if the Bible contained contradictions it could not be entirely true. Since this is the only document in the Universe in which we are told about God, and is in fact the word of this God, it has to be entirely true, or it is a lie.

The first two books of this Bible clearly contradict each other.

Chapter one order of creation:
The Universe, Earth and water.

Then the light and darkness.

Then the sky.

Then the ground and seas.

Then the plants.

Then the sun, moon, stars, and other planets galaxies etc.

Then fish and birds.

Then land animals.

Then the last thing he creates--men AND women at the same time.
This order of creation is completely different from chapter two:

Chapter 2 vs Chapter 1:

First verses 4 and 5 of chapter 2 say that nothing is here except for the Earth. Since the sky, heavenly bodies, and seas are never mentioned in chapter 2 I am willing to concede that they have been created at this point. The problem is that no life talked about in chapter 1 is here now. Did God start over? If so then the whole seven days thing does not exist. Or is this in fact a different story?

Many believers have tried to explain this problem by saying that chapter two is merely a less detailed retelling of chapter 1. Well that could be the case if both stories got things in the same order and they simply don't.

In chapter two God creates a man (7) THEN trees (9). Earlier we are told that the order is trees then man and woman last.

God creates birds and land animals (19) after trees and a man. Earlier he created birds, then animals, then finally, mankind.

God then creates a woman. Here we have a definite problem. Man-trees-animals-then woman. Earlier it says plants-animals-man and woman at the same time:
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This, according to chapter 1, was God's final act of creation, and was done on the same day.

Clearly, to anyone who can read, this is two separate and different stories. You can have only one truth, therefore one of these stories must be untrue, which throws the validity of the "true word of God" right out the window. And, if some of the Bible is a lie or fairy-tale then why believe any of it that cannot be supported elsewhere.

Homer's Iliad tells of the Trojan War, complete with Helen of Troy, Achilles, Odysseus, Zeus, Hera, and many other supernatural and superhuman characters. For centuries most people thought that the whole story, and it's companion The Odyssey were a collection of mythology and morality tales, and that Troy never existed. Then in the 1870's the fabled city of Troy was found to be real.

Does the finding of Troy make the Iliad and Odyssey true stories. There are no contradictions in these tales and there is historical evidence for the Greeks, and Trojans having really existed, so these stories have just as much proof of their validity as the Bible, without the contradictions, and predate the Bible by many centuries. It would be much easier to believe in the story of Achilles than in the story of Adam, or Noah, or even Jesus.

Now I am not so naieve as to believe that these facts will change the minds of people who prefer only facts that support their position, but until contradictins like those between Genesis 1 and 2, or Genesis 1 and 3, or the stories of Judas' death, etc. can be explained fully in logical terms that can't be refuted by the Bible itself, there will be no need for me to believe in the Bible's validity as an instruction maunal for life.


Dan Marvin said...

Science expresses the universe in five terms: time, space, matter, power and motion. "In the beginning (time) God created (power) the Heaven (space) and the earth (matter) . . . And the Spirit of God moved (motion) upon the face of the waters."

R Nicolas said...

Science uses many, many more terms than that to explain the Universe.

But, that aside--what are you saying?

Are you saying that space=Heaven? If so then is the space in my closet Heaven?

Did you read the rest of this post? If so, could you explain the reason for there being two different stories, and how they can both be true?

wisp - lardhat said...

Dan, "spirit" was a bad translation. It's "wind".

This story was extracted from the Enuma Elish. The wind of God is the Wind of Marduk, a god who had the power of wind and defeated a water monster. That's the chaoskampf, a commonplace in compared mythology.

And the firmament with which he separates the waters from the waters are the body of Tiamat (the water monster).

The Genesis is a weird monotheistic rehash of that (much more ancient) story.