Contradictions in the Bible

Genesis 1 - 11

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Chapter 1: An absurd Order of Creation - Effects before Causes (20)

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:08

I. God the Creator and the beginning of creation

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 The Bible says that the Earth was created by God. In its own words, it actually affirms that:  

 

“In the beginning when God created* the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1; 1-2 NRSV)   

 

The earth was created together with heavens in the beginning. The Bible doesn’t say explicitly what “heavens” mean and what exactly had been created in “heavens”. 

 

Whilst for Earth, very few details are given, for heavens, there isn’t any description. Complete secrecy or lack of imagination? 

 

According to the Bible, God didn’t see fit to disclose anything about His world, and its population, in the book of Genesis. That brought humanity to countless speculations about angels, Satan’s revolt, and so on. A whole religion is created on the approximations about what “heavens” really means, because the book of Genesis doesn’t give us any clue about the issue. The religious imagination is based on the extreme scarcity of the texts of the book of Genesis. 

 

The lack of information about “heavens” can bring one to the conclusion that by “heavens” the writer of Genesis chapter 1 meant something much simpler than is commonly believed, no angels or the Kingdom of God, but only the cosmic space. If “heavens” meant something more complicated such as the Kingdom of God, some more information about it would be expected to be found in the stories of creation. But even if that were true and “heavens” was understood to mean the cosmic space and nothing else, the creation of a space for cosmic bodies without the existence of the dome of the sky is absurd, it is a blatant contradiction which by itself disqualifies any truthfulness in the stories of creation. 

 

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When the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, “heavens” would have existed, according to the book of Genesis, in the lack of the dome of the sky which separated the waters from above from the waters from the earth. 

 

At the beginning everything had been under waters, including the atmosphere of the earth, and there hadn’t been any sky, therefore no “heavens”. There couldn’t have been any “heavens” at the outset of creation because God had created the dome of the sky only on the second day of creation, according to the book of Genesis, and without sky no “heavens” would have been possible regardless of what we mean by “heavens”. The Bible literally says that at the beginning it was “heavens” without the dome of the sky and all that existed had been covered by the waters of a primeval sea.  

 

The whole complexity of cosmology, geology, biology, anthropology etc. is concentrated on two pages of the Bible. In this case lack of information is equals to no real information. What could be the cause of this poorness of information? Lack of information contained by the book of Genesis could have one main cause. 

 

The authors of the texts didn’t have any information about the origins of the earth and universe. 

 

Keeping to a very general level, an author or an editor could have diminished the danger of giving some imaginary details which could contradict each other and make the stories inconsistent. Nevertheless, the authors or the editors of the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis have fallen into this trap in spite of the very few details which are given. As a matter of fact, little details which can be found in the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis don’t harmonise well with one another and are of a peripheral importance.  

 

In the book of Genesis the creation of the universe is only the stage for the main drama, the relation between God and His children. When the drama ends the earth will also disappear and a new earth will replace it. (Revelation 21; 1) Neither the creation of “heavens” and the earth nor the apparition of humankind has anything to do with real facts, but it has a logic in which true cosmology doesn’t find any place.

 

 

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27 www.universetoday.com/26782/why-is-the-earth-round/

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Wednesday, 07 September 2016 01:07

V. Creation out of nothing

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 Such arguments were seen to be persuasive and the later Christian thinkers accepted the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which remained the established Christian teaching on creation. As Rowan Williams said, this doctrine is at the heart of St. Augustine’s accounts of creation, because it has the merit of combining a simultaneous defence of God’s transcendence of the material world but at the same time His connection with it.48  

Augustine gave to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo a larger extent and his analysis was very profound in many details. Creation from nothing for Augustine was, as a matter of fact, a creation made from formless matter which had been created from nothing. 

“First there was made confused and formless matter so that out of it there might be made all the things that God distinguished and formed. He goes on to say that ‘therefore, we correctly believe that God made all things from nothing. For, though all formed things were made from this matter, this matter itself was still made from absolutely nothing’...” 49  

Augustine’s views on nothingness are very interesting. Nothingness isn’t anything at all but is a negative principle which explains the human penchant towards negativity. The created beings are good because they are created by God but they have also a dark side because this creation had been made from nothing and this is the principle of evil. Being and non-being are the two sides of reality, and whilst being is good, non-being has an opposite qualification. Thus, the ‘nihil’, far from being literally nothing, about which nothing meaningful may be said, actually plays a crucial and indispensable role in Augustine’s account of the world, its being, its creation and its relationship to God. It is that which accounts for the world’s corruptibility and tendency toward nothingness, and it continues to make its haunting ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ felt in the undoubted ‘presence’ of evil in the world, a ‘presence’ which is itself an ‘absence’.50 

  

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47 www.jcrt.org/archives/09.1/Hyman.pdf 

48 www.jcrt.org/archives/09.1/Hyman.pdf

49 www.jcrt.org/archives/09.1/Hyman.pdf

50 www.jcrt.org/archives/09.1/Hyman.pdf

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:47

XIX. The Tower of Babel

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 In the book of Genesis chapter 11 the entire human population at the time, Noah’s offspring, started to build a city and a tower in order to consolidate their own situation and also for their name and the increase of their reputation. Building a town and a tower by the entire population of the earth would have represented a way of strengthening human unity, but God apparently didn’t like this kind of human agreement. Unfortunately, this was considered to be a bad idea by God. Humankind was seen as a kind of adversary by God and He would have considered that instilling division amongst the human beings would be a better policy than strengthening their unity.  

 

This is clearly a metaphor with no correspondence in reality, but it is interesting why this legend is found in the book of Genesis, and what is its underlying message? Taken literally this story is absurd for many reasons. God, as we imagine Him like an Almighty Reality would have been aware that confusing languages of humankind wouldn’t have been enough to stop them cooperating to achieve common goals. In the ancient world people organized in strong societies, everywhere on Earth developed civilizations and built huge constructions, and their vestiges can be found all over the world today.  

 

People speaking mainly one language sometimes using workforces from other countries with other languages have built pyramids and other impressive constructions in spite of the languages allegedly being confused by God at the Tower of Babel. Moreover, the model of the tower, pyramids or ziggurats, is the most enduring achievement of many civilizations all over the world. The existence of many languages on Earth wouldn’t have been enough to stop human beings building what they wanted. The confusion of the languages by God wouldn’t have achieved anything when aiming to stop humankind cooperating for different goals but would have generated conflict and finally destructive wars between different nations.  

 

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Many languages and many cultures can be and often were a false motivation for destruction when one civilization or nation considered itself superior to others. Is God responsible for the confusion of languages and consequently for so many conflicts between nations during history? I honestly don’t think so and the story of the Babel Tower is only a myth trying to explain why there are so many languages on Earth. The story of the Tower of Babel goes in the same lines as do all the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis, which in their turn try to explain one thing or another, but by doing that they only generate confusion.  

 

Trying to elucidate why there are so many languages on Earth, the author of the text from the book of Genesis has gone beyond what he or she knew and generated a text which is a legend, hence having no factual support. The text implies that it could have been otherwise and all people could have spoken only one language, but God didn’t want that. Confusing humankind’s languages is a bad moral teaching coming from the book of Genesis which presupposes that God wanted people to misunderstand one another. This is contrary also to the Christian morality which professes unity and understanding, not divisions and conflicts.   

 

How would God have confused the languages? Allegedly all people around Babel were family, Noah’s grandsons. Did God arbitrarily separate some of Noah’s grandsons from other grandsons, giving to each of them a different language? How many languages were imposed on people? Did they speak those languages automatically without learning them? Did they know them without being taught the words and rules? Usually, languages evolve from a more rudimentary way of communication to a more evolved one. Had Noah’s offspring received in the same time the alphabet of those languages in order to enable them to write? Was humankind made to forget the common language used until the confusion moment by erasing it from their minds or were they prevented from using it? The entire story is unrealistic. This is the most incredible manner of explaining the apparition of languages on Earth.  

 

The differences in languages generated differentiations between cultures and finally, those differentiations have contributed decisively to conflicts and wars. Did God intend humankind to confront rather than to have a good understanding? It is what the book of Genesis says but of course cannot be taken literally as a fact. Such divine attitude would contradict the image of a loving God whose aim is to bring humankind to peace and to establish harmony between all human beings. We tend to see all God’s actions depicted by the Bible as part of a broad plan in which the most important feature is to better human nature. God and humankind aren’t seen by Christianity as competitors but the book of Genesis presents this relation as a competition and a struggle for knowledge and creation.  

 

As a matter of fact, God wouldn’t have succeeded in stopping people realizing common goals because in spite of the existence of different languages human beings have reached the sky, launching satellites or going to the moon.

 

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:49

XVIII. The two stories of the Flood

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 There are strong arguments which show that in the book of Genesis there are two stories of the Flood and not just one and this observation has important implications for the credibility of these stories. I will approach the two stories of the Flood from two perspectives. The first one will be the examination of the internal contradictions of each story of the Flood. The second one is the relation between the facts described by the Bible and real life.

 

The stories of the Flood are two different stories from two different sources, stitched together by a redactor who wanted to transform them into one fluent story but without success. The following quotation summarises well the cause of so many contradictions about the description of the Flood in the book of Genesis:   

 

“…Genesis’ supposed flood narrative is in fact a composite of two different textual traditions, each expressing the story in its own terms, language, and emphasis. Contradictions #14-18 are therefore a by-product of having stitched these two separate flood stories together.”187   

 

One can read the biblical texts and see for oneself obvious differences in the description of the alleged event of the Flood. What was the motivation for the destruction brought by the Flood? There are two different motives for waters covering the entire earth. The first biblical text states:   

 

“5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6; 5 NRSV)  

 

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The second text extends the motivation to animals also. This text contradicts fully the statement found in the book of Genesis according to which all animals on Earth would have eaten only plants before the Flood, because animals, in order to be considered violent, would have needed to be aggressive towards other animals. 

 

“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-13 NRSV)

 

At the first reading, seemingly the two commentaries complete each other and there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it is a repetition of the story but it is also a different approach to the same theme. In verse 5, humankind was the problem, but in verses 11 to 13 all flesh is corrupted, not only humankind but animals too. There are two different motivations. The wickedness of humankind is not the same as the existence of violence generated by human and by animals.  

 

In the second version, the author tried to explain why animals would have been wiped out from the face of the world but doesn’t explain what corruption means in the case of animals. It is a different way of thinking because humankind having consciousness could have been responsible for their behaviour but animals couldn’t.  

 

In Genesis chapter 2, Adam and animals were created both in the same way, from the dust of the earth. One story of creation and one story of the Flood have in common a different view about the relationship between humankind and animals in which animals are seen as more related to humankind.  

 

In point of fact, it is absurd to blame animals for their violent behaviour as far as they were created by God with a particular nature according to their kinds. God would have created the wild animals together with all other animals on the sixth day of creation, according to the book of Genesis chapter 1. He had created predator animals which eat other animals and He refused Cain’s offering which was bloodless, but He accepted Abel’s offering which implied killing of an animal therefore violence.  

 

The motivation of the book of Genesis for the destruction of the animals through the Flood is absurd as far as many animals were predators and violence was their way of life.  Noah had to take animals with him to preserve their kinds. The number of the animals taken with Noah is different from one record to the other:

 

“2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7; 2-3 NRSV)

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:50

XVII. God changing His mind

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Another problem in Genesis chapter 6 is the one found in verses 5-7. Does God Change His Mind? According to with the mainstream Christian view, God is immutable, unchanging in His person, His perfections, His purposes, and His promises. At the same time, there are several biblical texts that suggest the idea that sometimes God changed His mind over the course of history. One of those texts is found in Genesis chapter 6:

“5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created— people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ 8 But Noah found favour in the sight of the LORD.” (Genesis 6; 5-8 NRSV)  

“The LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” is one of the most intriguing texts of the Bible. What does a Christian expect? God is Omniscient and He knows the future before it happens. When He created the universe, He knew that mankind would fall by disobedience and that such behaviour would attract countless sufferings and death. God decided to create the universe and mankind regardless of the collateral damages. He had taken incredible risks and responsibilities because besides what is great He also created the occasion for pain and death.  

God should have known that mankind wasn’t prepared to discern between good and evil and that it would surely cede when confronted with Satan’s temptation. God had created man as a very curious being, curiosity being the engine of his or her interest in reality. The human beings were in fact not free to choose between good and evil because ignorance is an obstruction for the freedom of choice. Man and woman have reacted naturally according to their innate essence and absolute obedience isn’t in human nature. God created human nature and as far as He kept mankind from knowing good and evil, man and woman could have made only incompetent decisions.  

Adam and Eve had missed basic education which was replaced by God’s authority and harsh warnings. How could they understand the meaning of death if even modern human beings have difficulties when trying to grasp it? 

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In the context of the book of Genesis, for Adam and Eve death didn’t mean anything because they didn’t see anyone dying. If death wasn’t present in the creation Adam and Eve just couldn’t have grasped that notion. If death had been present before the human Fall, Apostle Paul was wrong in saying that death came into the world through Adam and Eve’s sins.  

The appearance of death as a real phenomenon on Earth would have happened after God had mentioned death to humankind, according to the apostle Paul, but that is inconsistent with logic. For Adam and Eve, the promise of knowledge and the likeness of God would have had a meaning because they had the occasion to see or at least to hear Him. At the same time, the word “death” contained in God’s warning to them would have been meaningless. 

Did God not know what the history of the human race would have been before creating mankind? Either He knew and created mankind according to that knowledge or He didn’t know and human behaviour came as a surprise for Him. From Genesis 6; 5-8, the second version seems to follow. What are the possibilities? God had a plan and in this project, He knew that mankind would disobey Him, but also in this plan God decided beforehand that He would kill people and animals at a certain moment in the future. The Flood would have been planned by God at the same time as the creation of humankind, and people had to learn from the experience of the Flood and to become righteous. Did God not know that humankind would not learn anything and that the world would become even worse after the Flood? If God had known that mankind would fail morally, but in spite of that He created them and after that, He killed most of them through the Flood, and in the end, He will condemn the majority of humankind to hell, the conclusion is that God’s plan itself failed.  

The development of humankind from moral to immoral, proposed by the book of Genesis, is a reversed reality because true evolution is from an initial immoral, instinctual way of life to a higher moral standard. Moral life didn’t diminish from perfection to imperfection, as the Bible says, but it developed in the opposite sense, toward an increase in morality and toward higher ethical standards. People became more conscious in time about the necessity of defending moral values in order to protect the health of the social environment.

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:50

XVI. The sons of God

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 Chapter 6 of the book of Genesis is a very intriguing one. It speaks about special beings that had lived on Earth in ancient times. Who were those beingsis the subjectfor many debates and very few opinions are able to shed some light on the issue.

 

“When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, ‘My spirit shall not abide* in mortals for ever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards -when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” (Genesis 6; 1-4 NRSV)  

 

   Who were “the sons of God”, “the daughters of man”, and the “Nephilin” in Genesis chapter 6, verses 1-4? There are three major interpretations of this expression circulating among the commentators and to which I want to add a fourth one which is probably the most convincing.

 

   The combination between the ungodly Cainite with the godly Sethites.  

 

   The ‘sons of God’ are generally thought to be the godly men of the Sethite line. The ‘daughters of men’ are thought to be the daughters of the ungodly Cainite. The Nephilim are the ungodly men who are the product of this undesirable union. Chapter 4 from the book of Genesis describes the ungodly generation of Cain, while in chapter 5 we see the godly Sethite line. The premise of this line of argument is that Cain’s line of descendants and Seth’s line of descendants had to be separated because Cain was a criminal and Seth replaced Abel, the victim of Cain’s crime. No connections would have been adequate between the families of the criminal and of the victim.  

 

This version of interpretation is open to much possible criticism. In point of fact, humanity is seen by the Bible as a unity and not having two branches. God would have seen all humankind, not only Cain’s offspring, as having bad thoughts and as being unholy. Human beings were in unity and all were relatives amongst themselves.  

 

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   Godly and ungodly are two notions applicable to certain individuals and not to whole families. Not all of Seth’s line would have been godly and not all of Caine’s line would have been ungodly. According to chapter 6 from the book of Genesis, few were godly in those days. Only Noah and his family could have been called righteous at the time of the Flood. 

 

If other people would have been righteous, they also probably would have been saved from the Flood, but only Noah and his family were deemed to be just by God.  

 

   Also, the “daughters of men” cannot be restricted to only the daughters of the Cainites. The “daughters of man” were not forced into this union with the sons of God. They would have been seen by the “sons of God” as suitable partners for them, they became their wives and they gave birth to children for them. The word “wife” is the key for this idea and this was a dignity attributed to the “daughters of man” by the “sons of God”.  

 

   If the sons of Seth’s line of inheritance had been married to Cain’s granddaughters, they all were relatives between them and they all started from the same set of DNA. Why would the product of such families have been giants? There isn’t any genetic explanation for such a phenomenon. Having the same DNA, all mankind had to be formed only from giants, but it wasn’t the case. Incest brings degeneration and not an increase in strength or other qualities. Nephilims were strong and courageous people, proving military prowess – they were not degenerates. A new set of genes had to be added to those of Adam and Eve’s in order to produce Nephilims.

 

The Despot Interpretation  

 

   In another interpretation, the sons of God are the sons of powerful rulers, identified by the languages of the Near East with “sons of God”. For example, in Egypt the Pharaoh was identified with the “son” of the Egyptian deity Re. The Hebrew word used in the O.T. for God, Elohim, was also used for men who exercised authority. In this view, “sons of God” should be understood to mean powerful nobles and kings.   

 

“1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:” (Psalm 82; 1 NRSV)  

 

   Some of the commentators who maintain The Despot Interpretation are also of the opinion that the main sin of those despots was polygamy. I don’t think that polygamy would have really been a problem as far as Abraham or David had polygamous relations and that didn’t produce a strong reaction from God, as a matter of fact, no critical reaction was recorded by the book of Genesis about polygamy.

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:51

XV. The problem of incest in the Bible

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All human beings are the product of incestuous relations, according to the Bible. This is wrong from medical and from moral perspectives. In the book of Genesis, all humankind is based on interrelations between Adam and Eve’s children. The Bible which is considered by some a moral guide gives mixed indications about the morality of incestuous acts.

      All Adam and Eve’s children were brothers and sisters and their offspring further down the lines were cousins and this aspect wasn’t seen as having moral consequences for the writers of the book of Genesis.   

“4 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced* a man with the help of the LORD.’ 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis; 4; 1-2 NRSV)  

      Many read those verses considering that they are the most normal thing on the earth, but this isn’t the case. If Adam and Eve were the only human beings at the time they had to give birth to male and female children and their children formed couples and produced other children and so on. Why is the incest wrong? I had taken advice from a large amount of documentation and I have chosen a few quotations which express a strong view about incest:  

“Incest is something we, as a society, should discourage. Not because of any genetic reason and not because of any religious reason, but because incest is harmful to the family unit. The family is where children learn to love and trust. Injecting this atmosphere with sex and sexuality is harmful. Even if we limit our example to consenting adults, allowing it at all may still let sexuality flow into the family unit. We don’t want fathers “waiting” for their children to grow up or sisters waiting around to seduce their brothers once they come of age. It’s just harmful all around.”167   

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      Another opinion shows us why some people rightfully consider that incest is something wrong, having many negative implications:   

“Yes, consensual incest is wrong. To take it one step further, all incest is wrong. Nobody should be having sex or doing any type of sexual activities with family members. It is very wrong and in my opinion, it is absolutely disgusting. They really need to make this stuff illegal.”168   

       Even animals avoid inbreeding and a group of animals will take measures to ensure incest can’t happen in their families.

If there is a natural protection against this phenomenon why would God have conceived the human species in such a way that the only manner of their multiplication would have been inbreeding? The answer is that it wasn’t God who built the human species through inbreeding, but the naivety of the authors of the book of Genesis didn't take into consideration this aspect, either from a moral point of view nor a medical one.  

     The medical point of view is very convincing and the following quotation summarises well the arguments against inbreeding:   

“Since lots of people today ignore morals, let’s look at biology. Inbreeding produces problems genetically that can ruin gene pools and produce the increased likelihood of genetic diseases within a line. This would mean that if a family has a history of diabetic or heart problems, inbreeding in that line will promote a greater likelihood of those problems appearing in the future. Animals, specifically mammals (which we are), go to great lengths to avoid inbreeding. Primates exile females to other family groups so that the fathers don’t start going at it with them. Lions drive away males after they get older to ensure there isn’t a fight for dominance between them and their father. In the cycle of life dead ends occur regularly, and the quickest way to do that is make the gene pool much smaller.”169

       I have chosen mostly the opinions which also reflect my views about incest and I didn’t transform this study into a debate about the moral aspect of incest, because this material is not a part of a controversy pro and contra incest but is about the moral value and the logical consequences of the biblical texts. Whoever wants to see all opinions can visit the site indicated in the references or other sites or materials. There are also views that consider consensual incest between mature people acceptable but even they don’t dispute the medically harmful consequences which prohibit it, only the moral reasons. Nevertheless, according to the Mosaic Law, incest between brothers and sisters wasn’t admissible.

  

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167 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society

168 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society 168 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society

169 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:52

XIV. Cain and Abel, a dramatic story

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 Cain was Adam and Eve’s first-born child. Abel was the second child recorded by the texts. At the beginning of the book of Genesis only the births of men are mentioned and except Eve women aren’t referred to at all, not even generically. For the first time, after Eve, women were mentioned when the sons of God married with the daughters of man. After the Flood, the situation changes and the women from Noah’s family are at least mentioned. Eve is the only notable woman in the stories of creation before the Flood.

Because she isn’t regarded with contempt by the text of the book of Genesis, quite the opposite, the modern reader will hardly understand why the same attitude toward other women, Adam and Eve’s daughters, granddaughters, and so on, wasn’t also adopted. Probably that can be explained by the fact that the lines of heredity were constituted through males and the religious legacy was transmitted through them. Consequently, through them, genealogies were established.   

“Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced* a man with the help of the LORD.’ 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ (Genesis 4; 1-7 NRSV)

I doubt very much the veracity of this story for many reasons. In the first place, why would Abel have been the keeper of sheep? In one generation of only one man and one woman and of their two sons, a new independent occupation was established – sheep keeper. This affirmation is hazardous and lacks any relation to reality. In the real world, at the beginning of history, human beings had been gatherers and hunters and raising animals was only a late occupation. If Adam was a tiller of the ground his sons were expected to work with him and to inherit his occupation which was seen by the book of Genesis also as a punishment for Adam. If Adam’s sin had been transmitted to all his offspring the punishment would have been conveyed also to the entirety of humankind. Notwithstanding, Abel didn’t suffer the same punishment as Adam even if he inherited the effects of Adam’s sin. Abel became a sheep keeper and didn’t need to till the ground. After Abel, many other men didn’t suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin, therefore the curse of the ground wasn’t really efficient.

All human beings have to suffer the punishment for sin, even until today, but that “punishment” wasn’t really retribution for Adam and Eve’s sins because it was established before the Fall of the first two human beings, according to the book of Genesis.    

“15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Genesis 2; 15 NRSV)   

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Work, of course, is not at all a punishment in real terms, it is the way in which mankind defines itself. Nevertheless, the book of Genesis brings confusion about this so-called punishment:  

“17 And to the man* he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it”, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust, you shall return.’ (Genesis 3; 17- 19 NRSV)

It is true that Adam’s punishment is a bit strange. It wasn’t Adam directly punished, but the ground. The ground being cursed indirectly, Adam had to suffer the consequences. How could the ground be cursed if it only matters, a much lesser entity than the tree cursed by Jesus? How does this curse function in our days? There are areas of the earth with fertile ground and other areas are infertile, but in general, the earth is generous with human beings, not hostile, and would have been that way even when the humankind had appeared on Earth.  

Did the curse lose its power over time and we cannot see its effects in our days? Could human beings with their technologies change God’s curse on Earth? The curse of the ground is a part of the fable about Adam and Eve with no connection to a real situation. The climate changes in time on Earth, therefore different geographical areas would have been more or less fertile and more or less suitable for crop cultivation over millennia. The quality of the land on Earth is a natural issue, not a supernatural one. If we conclude that the agricultural value of the land is a supernatural matter that would mean humankind through their technologies can change what would have been decided by God.

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:53

XIII. Satan’s revolt and humankind’s Fall

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 The book of Genesis tells us that Eve had been tempted by a serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge. What was the reason for humankind’s Fall? It was the curiosity, the thirst for knowledge. Why is the curiosity, the knowledge, something wrong? How can anyone know God’s moral nature if he or she doesn’t know what is good and what is evil? Knowing God, according to the Bible, and knowing His moral nature, is the sense of the eternal life. (John 17; 3) How can anyone know God and establish if He is good or if He is evil if that person doesn’t know the difference between good and evil? To be in the likeness of God means firstly to have a moral nature like Him, but that is impossible unless one has a good knowledge of what good and evil mean.

About the knowledge of the good and evil there is a big contradiction when comparing Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2. In Genesis chapter 1 mankind was made in the likeness of God but in chapter 2 the aspiration of humankind to be like God, knowing good and evil, was harshly punished. The text in Genesis chapter 1 sets forth: 

“26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 27 So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1; 26-27 NRSV)  

Contrary to the declaration found in Genesis chapter 1, in Genesis chapter 3, verse 22, man became like God following the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil and not from the beginning of his creation. According to the book of Genesis humankind would have been created in a blissful ignorance, a situation similar to that of the children who depend totally on their parents. At the same time, children don’t always remain in that stage of development, they turn into mature human beings and in this way they become like their parents. A similar process would have happened with Adam and Eve; they would have followed the natural stages of human development in their way to become like God, their divine Parent. What is strange in the biblical texts is that God would have tried to stop this natural process of human development, preventing the first human beings becoming like Him. No good parent does such a thing and this divine intervention in the course of human history according to the book of Genesis would have generated a colossal drama.   

God didn’t offer the knowledge of good and evil freely to humankind and the price for the possibility to acquire this knowledge was their eternal lives. If they wanted to be like God they had to die because living eternally and being like Him would have been an unwanted competition against Him.   

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“22 Then the LORD God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’— 23, therefore, the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3; 22-23 NRSV)  

The texts from Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 3 contradict each other. Humankind was made either in God’s likeness from the beginning of their creation or they became like Him against His will after eating from the tree of good and evil. Both statements don’t go together.  

In the continuation of the story, Eve was allegedly deceived by a serpent but that animal was telling the truth and truth can never be deceiving. Everything said by the serpent happened in practice. After eating from the tree Adam and Eve really became like God, knowing good and evil as the serpent said, and that was confirmed by God. Man did not die on the same day, as God said in Genesis chapter 2, neither physically nor spiritually, but he lived for many centuries ahead.   

In Genesis chapter 3 the reader is informed how Eve has been deceived by the serpent:  

“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ 2 The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ‘ 4 But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,* knowing good and evil.’ 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” (Genesis 3; 1-7 NRSV)

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:53

XII. The creation of man and woman

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 The narratives of the creation of humankind are also marred by contradictions between Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2. When was man created? Two biblical texts dispute among them the moment of creation of humankind. In Genesis chapter 1, humankind was created after the creation of animals but in Genesis chapter 2, man was created before the creation of animals and woman after their creation. These are the biblical texts:

 

Genesis 1: 

 

“26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 27 So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1; 26-27 NRSV) Genesis 2:  “In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when … 7then the LORD God formed man from the dust of the ground,* and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.” (Genesis 2; 4-7 abbreviated NRSV)   

 

In Genesis chapter 2, man had been formed on Earth in the beginning of creation but in Genesis chapter 1 he was created together with woman at the end, on day six. Even if the creation story in Genesis chapter 2 isn’t divided in sequences or days of creation one can suppose that the entire story took some time and wouldn’t have been consumed in only one day, if by day one should understand a 24-hour day. If we consider the huge number of animal species existing on Earth, naming them by man would have taken more than a 24-hour day. There are radical differences between Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 2 about when the man was created and where he had to live immediately after his creation.

 

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Even if in Genesis chapter 2 the man created by God was established in the Garden of Eden immediately after his creation, in Genesis chapter 1 humankind had dominion over “the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”. How could humankind exercise dominion over the whole earth if they were destined to dwell in the Garden of Eden? The two stories contradict each other. Humankind was destined in Genesis chapter 1 to live on the entire earth but in Genesis chapter 2 to live in the Garden of Eden.   

 

The special dwelling for humankind on Earth, the paradise, would have been the Garden of Eden, and living there forever would have been their initial fate.

 

But if they followed that happy destiny they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to exercise dominion over the entire earth. In other words, disobedience to God about the tree of knowledge would have been a necessary condition for humankind to be able to exercise dominion over the fauna of the entire earth because obedience would have meant an eternal life in the earthly paradise. If disobedience to God was the condition to respect His command in connection with dominion over the animals, the messages of the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis are inconsistent.  

 

In Genesis chapter 1, humankind had to fill the earth as a task given by God but in Genesis chapter 2 the life outside the Garden of Eden was a punishment and not a blessing. God blessed human beings, sending them to multiply and to fill the entire earth in chapter 1, and He cursed them, sending them to live on the entire surface of the earth when they had been thrown out from the Garden of Eden, in chapter 2. This is a discrepancy which devalues both stories of creation from the book of Genesis.  

 

In Genesis chapter 1, human beings had to eat “every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit” and all these plants were found uncultivated by man in nature but in Genesis chapter 3 human beings would have fed from agriculture in very heavy conditions.   

 

“17 And to the man* he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it”, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;  18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.” (Genesis 3; 17-18 NRSV)  

 

In what way would the curse of God have changed His initial indications? Do we have to understand that after the curse man couldn’t have eaten uncultivated plants or fruits, but only cultivated plants? Why bother cultivating the land in the epoch when there were only two people on the earth and so many uncultivated vegetation good for food was available? According to Genesis chapter 1 the fruit trees had been created on the entire surface of the earth.

 

 

 

 

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 We can only hope that the narratives regarding the apparition of animals on Earth are much more coherent. Let’s check on that also:

 

“20 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, ‘let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 20-25 NRSV)  

 

The text doesn’t account for the animals which live in freshwater but only for the animals from the seas. This is another omission in the description of creation by the book of Genesis. There are also other observations which are solid reasons to reject the idea that these texts are the result of an inspiration from God.  

 

The texts are telling us that God created from the beginning three main branches of land, animals, cattle, creeping things, and wild animals. For the writers of the book of Genesis, it is obvious that cattle were not the same as wild cattle because if they were they would have been included in the same category. At the same time, domesticated cattle were initially the same species as wild cattle. Cattle were in the beginnings wild animals, but in the intention of the author of this text of Genesis, all domesticated cattle, big and small, would have been created already domesticated by God, they wouldn’t have been wild animals submitted to a process of domestication by humankind.  

 

How about domesticated dogs or poultry which are not cattle and which are mentioned under the category of wild animals? Either all domestic animals come from wild animals of the same kinds and had been submitted to a similar process of domestication by man, cattle included, or all domestic animals had been created domesticated from the beginning by God, dogs or poultry as well. This is an inconsistency. There isn’t any reason why some domestic animals would have been created already domesticated and other domestic animals would have been created initially wild. We know that all domestic animals were domesticated from wild animals by man, they weren’t created domestic by God.  

 

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The problem is that Genesis says that from all domestic animals existent on Earth God created only cattle to be domestic, all others being domesticated by man. Taking into consideration their utility for human beings, other domestic animals, for example, horses or poultry, were as important as cattle for human life, hence they would have been created domestic by God as well if He had created some animals already domesticated.  

 

In point of fact, the text refers to domesticated animals which are cattle and to wild cattle as being two separate kinds of animals created by God. Domesticated cattle and wild cattle aren’t two different categories of species of animals; the former derive from the wild cattle by domestication. The Bible is again wrong when it presents the same kinds of animals as being different kinds.  

 

Human beings were destined, from the beginning, to eat plants, vegetables, and fruits, and not products coming from cattle. Why keep cattle if they were not used for human consumption? Cattle need human work and effort in order to be raised. If humans ate only plants this effort was useless. After their creation, human beings were destined to eat only green plants and no animal products such as milk, eggs, or meat. If big cattle were used only for work and not for food why would small cattle like sheep or goats have been known about them that they cannot work? According to the book of Genesis God created all domestic cattle from the beginning, not just ones which could have been used for work. Actually, not God, but man transformed animals through domestication and that was a process guided by the evolution of human societies.  

 

Even if cattle were not used for food, but only for work, the idea that some animals were genetically created as domestic animals and others as wild animals, like different species or categories, is strange. From the point of view of genetics, domestic animals in the same species are identical to wild animals and it is hard to believe that God created some individual animals already domesticated as far as domestication is linked with behavior induced in animals by humankind.103

 

   

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103 animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/wild-cattle

 

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 In Genesis chapter 1 the creation of plants on the third day wasn’t hindered by the inexistence of man on Earth as it was in Genesis chapter 2. In Genesis chapter 1 the absence of man to till the ground was not a reason for God to prevent Him from creating plants, all vegetation, including ones which later were cultivated by man. All plants had been created before the creation of humankind. If in Genesis 1 the absence of man was not an impediment to creating plants, all kinds of plants, why did it become an obstruction in Genesis chapter 2? The motivation linked to the absence of rain is also superfluous. If there was not rain that means that no plants at all could have grown before the Flood because there wasn’t any rain on Earth before that event, according to the biblical texts. Why are there so many contradictions between the first two chapters of the book of Genesis? Only one reason deserves to be taken into consideration. Genesis chapter 2 is not a more detailed view of creation, a complement to Genesis chapter 1; they are two different stories and not one.

Until the fourth day of creation, the sun was not there but the earth was full of plants. If one uses the same amount of rationality that is used in everyday life, he or she will ask the elementary question, how can the plants live without the sun?  The light was created on the first day according to the book of Genesis, but how about the complex conditions, which cause the plants to grow? The idea of a spiritual light which would have lit the earth before the natural sun, providing light for the plants, is nonsensical because a spiritual light couldn’t bring the heat.  

How did God plan the creation of the whole universe, chaotically or carefully? According to the narratives from the book of Genesis the creation of the universe happened with the highest degree of confusion. How can anyone believe the stories about the creation of the universe and reject, at the same time, the orderly explanations given by science? When comparing irrational explanations with rational ones, a rational mind doesn’t have any reason to choose the former. According to the book of Genesis, God had created the world without a plan and very mixed. The creation items appeared in existence randomly, sometimes effect before causes.  

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 Regarding the creation of plants on the third day, it is very strange that plants were created before animals and not in correlation with them, because some plants need the presence of insects, such as bees or others, for their pollination. There are two different kinds of plants:

“Wind pollinated flowers are different in structure from insect pollinated ones. Insect pollinated flowers have: large, brightly coloured petals - to attract insects, often sweetly scented - to attract insects, usually contain nectar - to attract insects, moderate quantity of pollen - less wastage than with wind pollination, pollen often sticky or spiky - to stick to insects, anthers firm and inside flower - to brush against insects. Wind pollinated flowers have: small petals, often brown or dull green - no need to attract insects, no scent - no need to attract insects, no nectar - no need to attract insects, pollen produced in great quantities - because most does not reach another flower, pollen very light and smooth - so it can be blown in the wind and stops it clumping together, anthers loosely attached and dangle out - to release pollen into the wind.”96   

According to the book of Genesis, God had created insect-pollinated flowers before creating insects, and that is odd. God created the plants on the third day, some of which needed insects in order to be pollinated, but He created the pollination factors, the insects, only on the fifth day. Again, the order of creation is an absurd one, as on many other occasions. God asked the earth to put forth vegetation but He didn’t do the same thing with the sea. There are many plants living in water but the Bible doesn’t say a word about their creation. The method indicated by the book of Genesis for the creation of plants is at least incomplete. As a matter of fact, not all plants can be inscribed in the categories presented by the book of Genesis. In the following biblical text, we are presented with the kinds of plants made by God:   

9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.” (Genesis 1; 9-13 NRSV)

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96 www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/standard/biology/world_of_plants/...plants/.../4/

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:56

VIII. Creation of the stars, sun and moon

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   In relation to the creation of the celestial bodies on the fourth day of creation, the author or authors of the book of Genesis could have made such an error only because they didn’t know how the universe really works. At the same time, God surely knew how the universe works so either He didn’t inspire the book of Genesis or He deliberately has misled us about the issue. The first option is the correct one because God cannot lie and be perfect at the same time. Taking into consideration the huge distances between the stars and the earth the light from the stars couldn’t have reached the earth and become visible in the night after the fourth day of creation. In this case, it isn’t clear why God declared that their creation was good. How good was the creation of the stars, on the fourth day, if their light was unable to reach Earth, in the same day? It wasn’t that good.

When the closest star to the earth had been created by God, according to scientific measurements, its light needed at least four years to come to the earth. According to the book of Genesis, during this time human beings were also created and they probably needed signs for their orientation during the nights, but the signs weren’t there. At the same time, birds which would have been created on the fifth day would have also needed the stars for their navigation during the night, but the light of the closest star would have arrived on Earth four years too late.  

One of the closest stars to the earth is Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. Part of a triple-star system called Alpha Centauri, Proxima is 4.22 light-years from the earth. Alpha Centauri is actually the brightest star of the three in the system, and so the system is named after this star. Alpha Centauri is part of a closely orbiting binary about 4.37 light-years from Earth, but Proxima Centauri (the dimmest of the three) is an isolated red dwarf star 0.15 light-years from the binary.81

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The stars, created on the fourth day, were useless as lighting bodies for a long period of time. A light-year is a unit of distance. It is the distance that light can travel in one year. Light moves at a velocity of about 300,000km each second. So in one year, it can travel about 9.5 trillion kilometers. In other words, one lightyear is equal to 9,500,000,000,000 kilometers. 

The distance which separates Proxima Centauri from the earth is given by multiplying 9.5 trillion kilometers by 4.22.82

If God created the stars on the fourth day, their light didn’t reach earth the same night, so at the beginning they were useless. Some creationists tried to find a solution to this problem in the idea that God would have created the universe already mature and the light would have been created in transit. This isn’t a good explanation for the lack of purpose of the stars created on the fourth day of creation and I quote:  

 “The only problem with assuming that the light was created in-transit is that we see things happening in space. For example, we see stars change brightness and move. Sometimes we see stars explode. We see these things because their light has reached us. But if God created the light beams already on their way, then that means none of the events we see in space (beyond a distance of 6,000 light-years) actually happened. It would mean that those exploding stars never exploded or existed; God merely painted pictures of these fictional events. It seems uncharacteristic of God to make illusions like this. God made our eyes to accurately probe the real universe; so we can trust that the events that we see in space really happened. For this reason, most creation scientists believe that light created in-transit is not the best way to respond to the distant starlight argument.”83  

This is also an acknowledgment that the age of the universe cannot be reduced to 6,000 years – it is much older. Another attempt, which purports to explain long distances in the universe and their effect on the narratives of creation, is contained in the following quotation:   

“Suppose that our solar system is located near the center of a finite distribution of galaxies. Although this cannot be proven for certain at present, it is fully consistent with the evidence; so it is a reasonable possibility. In that case, the earth would be in a gravitational well. This term means that it would require energy to pull something away from our position into deeper space.” 84

 

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81  www.universetoday.com/.../how-long-would-it-take-to-travel-to-the-near... 

82   starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/questions/question19.html

83   https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/were-stars-created/ 

84   https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/stars/were-stars-created/

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 19:56

VII. Creation of light before the sun

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 In the story of creation from the book of Genesis, even if the sky was not generated yet, God had created daylight. This light surely couldn’t have traveled through the atmosphere as it does today because the atmosphere wouldn’t have been created at the time when the light was created. On the first day of creation the daylight had to travel through water in order to reach the earth, and even if the sky was not there, very curiously, there was a morning and there was an evening, and that was the first day. How can that be possible? It looks like a joke. It is not a joke; it is the biblical account of the creation of the universe. Through this description, the book of Genesis depicts a very strange and impossible situation. No sky for light to travel unopposed, no sun yet, the source of the daylight, but a beautiful shiny day.

 

On the first day, when daylight was created, there was no terrestrial atmosphere and space was filled with water, but despite that, there was brilliant daylight. The earth was not yet brought out from the water and the sun was not yet created but the daylight was present even if the object to be illuminated, the earth, was a formless void submerged under water. This is a perfect absurdity.  

 

What was the purpose of the creation of light on the first day in the book of Genesis? If God had created in darkness the heavens and the earth, before the creation of light on the first day, why didn’t He create the light earlier to be useful in the process of the creation? God would have done that if He created the world in six days but He didn’t realize His creation as the Bible says. Obviously creating in light is better than creating in darkness.  

 

Unlike a human creator, God would have made the heavens and the earth in complete darkness because the book of Genesis tells us that light was created after their formation. Why wouldn’t God have used light from the first moments of the process of the creation? In other words, it is strange that God would have created daylight only after the creation of heavens and earth. The Bible clearly says that it was darkness immediately after the creation of heavens and the earth. Darkness couldn’t have been created by God as such because darkness is only the absence of light; it was there before the start of creation. There is a fundamental inconsistency in the creation of the heavens and the earth in darkness.  

 

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One may say that God doesn’t need light, as human need it, but creation and darkness seem to be two opposite terms. By its nature creation is light and brings light and darkness has a negative connotation. When this negative side is associated with the creation of heavens and earth one can conclude that indeed the biblical narratives were very much under the influence of ancient mythologies in which a creator brought order to an inherent havoc in the initial universe.  

 

Could water have existed before the creation of light and of the stars which generate light? The book of Genesis maintains that water covered the earth before the creation of light but that is impossible. Water is made from hydrogen and oxygen and those elements are components of the stars. Hydrogen and oxygen come from luminous stars, hence the presence of water in complete darkness, which is the assertion of the book of Genesis, doesn’t have any consistency. The existence of any water, including the primeval sea, would have required the pre-existence of the stars.  

 

Oxygen is created inside the stars and they are shiny objects which therefore produce light, and without this chemical element, there isn’t water. If we take the stories of creation literally we have to observe that what they say is contrary to the laws of nature and is only the expression of human imagination detached from the knowledge of how things are in reality.  

 

If one wants to believe that God miraculously produced water without light, he or she has to admit also that He would have created the chaos which would initially have dominated the world, because water in complete darkness symbolically means disorder. This is an unavoidable dilemma from which one cannot escape when trying to miraculously explain the texts. Either God had created the chaos of the primeval sea supernaturally before bringing order into the creation, or naturally, water couldn’t have existed without light hence there wasn’t any chaos at the beginning of creation.  

 

If God created an initial chaos, it is Him and not Satan who is responsible for the evil in the world. Of course, God isn’t in reality responsible for the evil in the world because He didn’t create water without light because such a thing is contrary to the laws which control the universe created by Him.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:01

IX. The two stories of creation

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   Many critics of the Bible assert that the book of Genesis contains two accounts of the creation of the earth and mankind. Liberal or not, any reading of the book of Genesis will invite the reader to answer to many inconsistencies generated by the juxtaposition of Genesis chapters 1 and 2. It seems that these two accounts are the work of different authors writing in different time periods. It is also obvious that the narratives contradict each other inmany particular details. The two different records involve Genesis 1; 1-31; 2; 1- 3 and Genesis 2; 4-25. One of the foundational assumptions of this viewpoint is that the Pentateuch was not authored by Moses.

Presumably, several ancient writers contributed to this collection. These authors are referred to as J, E, P, and D. It is the view of the critics that all of these writings were collected by a “redactor”.  

This theory, known as the Documentary Hypothesis, started to take central stage in the 19th century when Jean Astruc, a French physician, claimed that he had isolated certain “source” authors in the Pentateuch. The view was expanded by many others and by the end of the century, numerous biblical commentators had adhered to this concept. Genesis 1 is said to be a “P” document dating from the Babylonian or post-Babylonian captivity period, while Genesis 2 is supposed to be a “J” narrative from the 9th century B.C. The arguments in support of this viewpoint are twofold. Firstly, it is the claim that the two creation stories show evidence of different styles of writing. Secondly, it is argued that the accounts conflict because they reflect divergent concepts of deity and a mixed order of creation.87  

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In this work, I do not insist on certain differences coming from names such as the use of a different name for God, Elohim or Yahweh Elohim, in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, or considerations regarding stylistic problems. Even if they are important details I only acknowledge them and leave these discussions for the numerous specialists in this domain.

I am mainly interested in what are real contradictions from the point of view of an internal logical coherence which is required by any story in order to gain its credibility. There are basic irreconcilable contradictions and differences which come from the logical consequences of the assertions contained by the texts.  

While I don’t minimise the importance of an exhaustive analysis of all types of stylistic differences or textual divergences between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, I also consider that the logical inconsistencies are very important and they plead the case against the existence of only one story of creation contained by the Bible.  

Things which are presented as facts by the Bible don’t correspond with each other and are incongruous to the point that they annihilate one another when trying to harmonize them. Probably the most disqualifying aspect in the attempt to realize a harmonization of the two stories is their sequence of time. In Genesis 1 all happened in seven days but in Genesis 2, in one unique period of time. Genesis 2 cannot be seen as a synthesis of Genesis 1 because the latter reverses almost every detailed presented by the former. If one tries to harmonize the narratives from Genesis 1 and 2 in the way in which so many harmonists do, he or she has to be able to assemble them in one single story with a unique sequence of time. I try to do that in this study in order to see if such unification is possible or not.  

I will use the sequence of time offered by Genesis 1 in which I will try to insert the story told by Genesis 2. If this endeavor is not possible given the inconsistencies contained in the texts there is a problem which cannot be ignored.  Some critics of the unity of the biblical account of creation maintain that it is a useless attempt to try to harmonize the two stories of creation from Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 because they cannot stand together.  James writes:  

“Any artificial attempt to reconcile these marked differences of style, outlook and subject-matter are bound to fail. The recognition that they belong to different periods, the second story being obviously the older and looking back to a still earlier time, is a sufficient and natural explanation of their inconsistency.”88

     

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85www.universetoday.com/65601/where-is-earth-in-the-milky-way/  

86ttps://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid... 

 87apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1131

88 www.josh.org › ... › Study & Research › Answers to Skeptic’s Questions

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:25

VI. Creation of the earth and of the solar system

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 In Wesley’s view the fish and fowl were indeed produced out of the waters, and the beasts and man out of the earth. At the same time, the earth and those waters were made out of nothing. A question still remains. If the earth and waters were made out of nothing, why was “something” needed as a “substrata” for the creation of the fish, fowl, beasts and man? It is just another inconsistency, as many others. God either created all His creatures out of nothing or He needed a raw material for some of His creation

Creation out of nothing is not thought by the Bible. If God created the universe, He created it out of Himself, out of His own resources, energies or powers, which have generated something else. Nothing comes out of nothing, and God can be seen as the most original source of existence.  

Theophilus of Antioch was the first Christian writer to give explicit arguments in favour of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which van Bavel usefully summarises as follows:   

“1) If not only God but matter also were uncreated, as held by the Platonists, God would no longer be the creator of everything and the only Lord; 2) If matter were uncreated and unchanging, it would be equal to the immutable God; 3) If God had created the world out of pre-existing matter, that would be nothing special; for human beings also can produce something new out of existent matter.” 47   

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From the primeval sea to the creation of the earth, there is another step in the process of creation. There is a biblical text in Job 38; 4-7 in which certain words are attributed to God which reminds us of the primeval sea from which the earth would have been extracted. In the text, God asks on what are the bases of the earth sunk? 

Such words couldn’t have been said by God, because the earth doesn’t have any bases sunk on anything. Nevertheless, such bases can be linked with the primeval sea from which the earth would have been extracted.  At the beginning everything was under water, flooded, no terrestrial atmosphere, no stars, no sun or moon and very importantly, no sky. It is an error to try to imagine the earth, as it is today, a spherical planet covered by water, rather one should imagine the whole sky covered by water, earth included. A very interesting image about the beginning is depicted in the book of Genesis. On one side, we have God, and on the other side we have an immense ocean, which engulfed even the sky. One should notice that the dome of the sky was created only in the second day and without sky the image about the beginning of the creation from the Bible describes an impossible situation, no light, no morning and evening, no sun, no moon, no stars, hence no “heavens”.  

From the Almighty Creator of the universe another order of creation was expected, a rational one. Why did God need water at the beginning as a raw material, for the creation of the universe? There wouldn’t be any reason for that. The existence of a primeval ocean encompassing the entire universe doesn’t have any scientific support. According to the book of Genesis, not only the stars and other celestial bodies were not created in the first day, but even the place for them wasn’t there.  

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How would God have possibly created the sun, the source of the daylight, from the first day, if the sky, the suitable place for the sun, was not in place? In the book of Genesis, the daylight was created on the first day and the sun only on the fourth day. There wouldn’t have been any place for sun on the first day of the creation; there was no sky, in the biblical story of the creation on that day. How could daylight have been created without the sky and how was the first morning and evening, described by the Bible, possible? A morning and an evening under the waters of the primeval sea would have been impossible in spite of what the book of Genesis states. The entire story is an incredible mixture of inconsistent details.  

The order of creation, from the book of Genesis, doesn’t have anything to do with the factual reality.

On the first day, even if on paper we have the heavens and the earth we don’t really have the basic conditions for the existence of neither the heavens nor of the earth. We have an immense surface of water instead, a primordial universal sea. The earth in the form of dry land appears only on the third day, after the separation of the waters.

“6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 1-10 NRSV)  

Many speak of an intelligent design, in the creation of the universe, but this intelligent design cannot refer to the biblical account, which is not intelligent at all. An intelligent design excludes absurd or impossible situations. Daylight under water, before the creation of the sky, morning, and evening without sky and sun, and the earth a solo planet, created under a universal primeval sea, is not at all an intelligent design is an absurd and naive design. A more intelligent design, it seems to me, is the generation of all that is from an initial state of almost infinite density and temperature, a singularity, which expanded and became our universe. This Big Bang theory can explain much more intelligently the apparition of the universe, because it is the expression of a rational and intelligent chain of events. Adding to that, this Big Bang theory is based on direct observations of cosmic past events, which left traces until today.  

For me, the main problem with the creation of the earth is the separation of its creation from the creation of the whole material cosmos, from the stars and all celestial bodies. This partition in the process of creation brings us to numerous contradictions and even absurdities. We can see and the sciences confirm that the earth is a part of a much bigger reality which is the universe, and the two must be seen together and having the same origin. The universe and the earth followed the same process of creation in a certain order; they didn’t appear randomly in a chaotic way. The whole universe and the earth are indestructibly linked in the same process of their apparition and development based on the natural laws and not on mythological storytelling.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:35

IV. The creation of Heavens

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What is meant by “heavens” in the context of the book of Genesis? This notion can have more than one meaning and it is important to see in what way these meanings are compatible with other biblical texts and first of all with all the texts from the book of Genesis. In the first book of the Bible, the sky, without which no physical heavens would have been possible, would have been created only on the second day, but in spite of that the creation of “heavens” would have happened on the first day of creation.

The creation on the first day of “heavens” would have been prohibited by the lack of space. This situation doesn’t have anything to do with miracles. To create “heavens” before the sky as Genesis chapter 1 says is not a supernatural action, it is an absurd situation. This is also an obvious contradiction which shows the incompatibility between the descriptions offered by the book of Genesis and reality.  

“1 In the beginning when God created* the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1; 1-5 NRSV) 6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” (Genesis 1; 6-8 NRSV) 

Anyone can compare the two texts. There isn’t anything else in them other than what is written. We have on the first day the “heavens”, meaning the atmosphere of the earth, outer space, and God’s place, and only on the second day was the dome of the sky created. If this isn’t a contradiction I wonder what it is.  On the first day of creation or in the beginning, no physical “heavens” could have been created with the lack of sky. Consequently, the book of Genesis got it wrong. Under the waters, “heavens” are not what we mean by them. What kind of physical “heavens” would have been created deep under the waters of the primeval sea? The image generated by the book of Genesis in connection with the beginning is the initial chaos, the waters which would have covered everything, earth, the place for the sky, and all.  Noah’s Flood would have been a repetition on a smaller scale of the initial “flood”, the watery chaos which would have covered the earth. The mythological sense of the second Flood would be that when God became upset with His creation He returned the earth to the initial chaos from which the whole creation started. Of course, these aren’t real facts but mythological imagination.  The majority of the biblical commentators see the following meanings of the plural “heavens” used by the book of Genesis: 

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“Contrary to popular belief in the contemporary Church, according to Scripture there is not one, but three Heavens in the Universe created by God in the beginning (CP Gen 1:1). Note that Heavens is plural (except KJV Bible, where it is recorded in the singular form Heaven, although it is also plural in the Textus Receptus Mss from which KJV Bible is translated). The first Heaven is the atmospheric Heaven. This is the atmosphere surrounding the surface of the earth - the locality of the clouds (CP Gen 1:6-8; Psa 77:17-18; 104:1-3, 13). The second Heaven is the vast stretched out expanse of sky above earth’s atmosphere where the sun, moon and stars are located – the Firmament (CP Gen 1:14-17; 15:5; 22:17; Psa 19:1; 150:1; Isa 13:13). The Third Heaven, or Heaven of Heavens, is the dwelling place of God – Paradise – where Jesus sits at God’s right hand on the Throne of Heaven (CP De 10:14; 26:15(A); 1Ki 8:27, 30, 39, 43, 49; 22:19; 2Chr 6:18; 18:18; Neh 9:6; Psa 80:14; Isa 14:12-14; 40:22; 66:1; Eze 1:22-26; Amos 9:6; Mt 5:34; 6:9; 7:21; Lu 23:43; He 4:14-16; Rev 2:7; 3:21; 4:1-11).” 43

The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven; the second heaven is the vast stretched-out expanse of the sky above Earth’s atmosphere, and the third heaven, or heaven of heavens, is the dwelling place of God – Paradise – where Jesus sits at God’s right hand on the Throne of Heaven. There isn’t any way that they could have existed before the second day of creation so the first line of the Bible which says that in the beginning, God created the “heavens” and the earth, is wrong. Even the place in which God’s Kingdom is located couldn’t have had any meaning without the existence of the first two aspects of what “heavens” is understood to be.

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:43

IV. The creation of Heavens

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 What is meant by “heavens” in the context of the book of Genesis? This notion can have more than one meaning and it is important to see in what way these meanings are compatible with other biblical texts and first of all with all the texts from the book of Genesis. In the first book of the Bible, the sky, without which no physical heavens would have been possible, would have been created only on the second day, but in spite of that the creation of “heavens” would have happened on the first day of creation.

 

The creation on the first day of “heavens” would have been prohibited by the lack of space. This situation doesn’t have anything to do with miracles. To create “heavens” before the sky as Genesis chapter 1 says is not a supernatural action, it is an absurd situation. This is also an obvious contradiction which shows the incompatibility between the descriptions offered by the book of Genesis and reality.  

 

“1 In the beginning when God created* the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1; 1-5 NRSV) 6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.” (Genesis 1; 6-8 NRSV)

 

Anyone can compare the two texts. There isn’t anything else in them other than what is written. We have on the first day the “heavens”, meaning the atmosphere of the earth, outer space, and God’s place, and only on the second day was the dome of the sky created. If this isn’t a contradiction I wonder what it is.  On the first day of creation or in the beginning, no physical “heavens” could have been created with the lack of sky. Consequently, the book of Genesis got it wrong. Under the waters, “heavens” are not what we mean by them. What kind of physical “heavens” would have been created deep under the waters of the primeval sea? The image generated by the book of Genesis in connection with the beginning is the initial chaos, the waters which would have covered everything, earth, the place for the sky, and all.  Noah’s Flood would have been a repetition on a smaller scale of the initial “flood”, the watery chaos which would have covered the earth. The mythological sense of the second Flood would be that when God became upset with His creation He returned the earth to the initial chaos from which the whole creation started. Of course, these aren’t real facts but mythological imagination.  The majority of the biblical commentators see the following meanings of the plural “heavens” used by the book of Genesis: 

 

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“Contrary to popular belief in the contemporary Church, according to Scripture there is not one, but three Heavens in the Universe created by God in the beginning (CP Gen 1:1). Note that Heavens is plural (except KJV Bible, where it is recorded in the singular form Heaven, although it is also plural in the Textus Receptus Mss from which KJV Bible is translated). The first Heaven is the atmospheric Heaven. This is the atmosphere surrounding the surface of the earth - the locality of the clouds (CP Gen 1:6-8; Psa 77:17-18; 104:1-3, 13). The second Heaven is the vast stretched out expanse of sky above earth’s atmosphere where the sun, moon and stars are located – the Firmament (CP Gen 1:14-17; 15:5; 22:17; Psa 19:1; 150:1; Isa 13:13). The Third Heaven, or Heaven of Heavens, is the dwelling place of God – Paradise – where Jesus sits at God’s right hand on the Throne of Heaven (CP De 10:14; 26:15(A); 1Ki 8:27, 30, 39, 43, 49; 22:19; 2Chr 6:18; 18:18; Neh 9:6; Psa 80:14; Isa 14:12-14; 40:22; 66:1; Eze 1:22-26; Amos 9:6; Mt 5:34; 6:9; 7:21; Lu 23:43; He 4:14-16; Rev 2:7; 3:21; 4:1-11).” 43

 

The first heaven is the atmospheric heaven; the second heaven is the vast stretched-out expanse of the sky above Earth’s atmosphere, and the third heaven, or heaven of heavens, is the dwelling place of God – Paradise – where Jesus sits at God’s right hand on the Throne of Heaven. There isn’t any way that they could have existed before the second day of creation so the first line of the Bible which says that in the beginning, God created the “heavens” and the earth, is wrong. Even the place in which God’s Kingdom is located couldn’t have had any meaning without the existence of the first two aspects of what “heavens” is understood to be.

 

 

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Tuesday, 17 October 2017 20:45

III. The primeval sea

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 In the biblical stories of the creation, the universe had been created by God inside a huge expanse of water when there was no sky or earthly atmosphere. On the second day of creation waters were separated and, according to the biblical texts, part of them remained “above” the sky and the other part covered the earth. According to the book of Genesis, the waters from “above” must be still there, but in reality they aren’t there and that also questions the accuracy of the stories of creation. We know for certain that such waters from “above” don’t exist and the idea of the primeval ocean or sea is an invention which circulated widely amongst the ancient mythologies. This observation, by itself, is a reason to invalidate the factual truth of the stories of creation from the Bible. Surely, the world wasn’t made in the depths of a universal ocean and such an ocean never existed. This is a misconception based on mythological grounds.

Who created the primeval sea? Because God didn’t have any reason to create the primeval sea, it should be considered as always being there without a beginning. Metaphorically, when God brought light over darkness and when He separated the waters which were above the sky from the waters from under the sky, He established order, replacing a previous disorder which was depicted by the expression “Tohu vav Bohu”. God being the guarantor of order and justice in the universe, He couldn’t have created disorder hence that previous state of disarray wasn’t created by Him.  

Besides what the book of Genesis says explicitly about what was created in the period of six days of creation, it is also presumed that a primeval sea had been there also and planet Earth was submerged in it in the beginning of its creation. The dome of the sky, which separated the waters from above and the waters from below, had been created on the second day of creation, according to the book of Genesis. In order to understand what sky really means in the context of the biblical narratives one has to understand first where the place for the so-called waters from above was.  

In point of fact, there are not big quantities of water hanging loosely in outer space. In the account of the book of Genesis, before the creation of the dome of the sky, in its place was the primeval sea, in which the earth would have been submerged. From the biblical account, we don’t know how big and how deep this primeval sea would have been but we know that it would have occupied the place for the entire earthly atmosphere and for outer space.  

When God started the Flood He would have opened the “windows of the sky”.

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 Those “windows” would have been at the limit of the earthly atmosphere in order to allow rain to come to the earth. If they were in outer space it wouldn’t have been possible for a huge quantity of rain to come over the earth as the Bible says that it happened.

A primeval sea surrounding the earth at the beginning of creation was never there, contrary to what the Bible says, and if it was there the light couldn’t have been created on the first day of creation as the book of Genesis maintains, because the existence of a functional light presupposes empty space.  

At the same time, the existence of the primeval sea is a necessary supposition if we have to understand the separation of the waters from “above” from the waters covering the earth. The book of Genesis chapter 1 also assumes the existence on the first day of the creation of a light which couldn’t have traveled too far underwater and couldn’t have generated the first morning and the first evening. At the same time, the Bible speaks about “windows” of the sky from which God let loose the first rain on Earth on the occasion of the Flood. Those “windows” and an important amount of water couldn’t have been either at the limit of the terrestrial atmosphere or in outer space because that space isn’t filled with water.  It was either a primeval sea at the periphery of the earthly atmosphere or in outer space, or God created the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day in that space. Both options don’t go together unless one admits that on the fourth day God would have created sun, moon, and stars again under the waters, but that would be absurd. If the earthly atmosphere was surrounded by the deep waters of a primeval sea, which would have been separated on the second day of creation from the terrestrial waters, then the light from the celestial bodies created on the fourth day couldn’t have reached the earth. The author of the biblical texts didn’t know anything about the circulation of the water in the atmosphere, hence how rain is produced on Earth.  According to the book of Genesis, God would have created the light in a period of time when the earth was covered by the sea waters and before the creation of the sky. This is widely impossible if one considers how the oceanic waters are understood by sciences to have appeared on Earth.

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Wednesday, 18 October 2017 14:06

II. Tohu vav bohu (Tohu Wabohu)

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 According to the book of Genesis the earth was in the begging a formless void and it was created by God in this way, and that formless void is expressed in the Bible through the formula “Tohu vav bohu”. Why would God have created the earth as a formless void first instead of an organised planet ready to receive life? At first glance it doesn’t make any sense. I try to answer this question using the established solutions in the religious literature. 

 

What meaning can the affirmation that planet Earth was without form when it was created by God have? Was it not spherical? Was it like a pile of cosmic material thrown randomly into  space and looking like an asteroid but with the difference that it was submerged under water? Did God in the beginning create a pile of matter in the middle of water? It is what the Bible says about the initial creation of the earth. In cosmos, all planets and stars are naturally organised into spherical bodies. Before reaching a mature stage, in the solar system, planets were rotating piles of gases which cooled and solidified. Nevertheless, being in the stage of floating gases, the earth couldn’t have been submerged in liquid water because in those conditions the rotating gases which later generated the planets of the solar system, couldn’t have taken the form of spherical celestial bodies.   

 

From the way in which the book of Genesis describes the creation of the earth, under the primeval sea, the planet couldn’t have followed the usual course to become a spherical celestial body being shapeless and submerged in water.

 

Why are the planets spherical? The following text explains why celestial bodies having a certain dimension become spherical:  

 

“One of the effects of mass is that it attracts other mass. When you have millions, and even trillions of tonnes of mass, the effect of the gravity really builds up. All of the mass pulls on all the other mass, and it tries to create the most efficient shape… a sphere. For smaller objects, like asteroids, the force of gravity trying to pull the object into a sphere isn’t enough to overcome the strength of the rock keeping it in shape. But once you get above a certain mass and size, the strength of the object can’t stop the force of gravity from pulling it into a sphere. Objects larger than about 1,000 km in size are able to pull themselves into a sphere.”27

 

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The earth couldn’t have first been a pile of matter similar to an asteroid, and from this matter became a spherical planet, because an asteroid is much smaller than a planet and asteroids don’t become planets. The quantity of matter formed by dust and gases had to be of sufficient dimension from the beginning so as to constitute the future planet. In its solid form planet Earth was never a formless void in the sense of a shapeless pile of matter as the book of Genesis says.  

 

Why would God have created a heap of formless matter as a planet, such as the book of Genesis says that He did? Planets are big enough to determine by gravity their spherical shape. Under the action of gravity such a big quantity of matter, as was that of the earth, would have been made into a sphere even if at the beginning it was only a formless pile of gas.  

 

If God created in the beginning a pile of gas and dust and this is the meaning of the expression “formless void” used by the book of Genesis, this gathering of matter couldn’t have evolved into a spherical planet because that compound would have been under the waters of the primeval sea, according to the Bible. A rotating pile of gas under water doesn’t make sense. Whoever says that science and religion don’t diverge about the creation of the earth is wrong; they are very far from one another. 

 

Only on the third day did the dry land appear from under the waters of the primeval sea in the book of Genesis.

 

“9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 9-10 NRSV)  

 

In the Bible the initial heap of cosmic matter was covered by the waters of the primeval sea and the book of Genesis doesn’t say when and how it became a spherical planet. How could the earth have transformed itself from a heap of matter into a spherical planet under water? The alleged phenomenon would have needed to happen before the separation of the waters and the creation of plants. If that was correct it would mean that in the first two days of creation when the earth was still under water it would have been transformed from a pile of matter in a spherical planet.

 

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