solid_squid (solid_squid) wrote in antitheism,

So last week I was visiting family, and we ended up in a... "debate" on religion, where the family was pretty much split down the middle between athiest and theist (I'm lucky enough to have an open minded family on this subject) which was pretty much one side quoting Dawkins et al and the other disagreeing. While it was somewhat one sided, the arguement reminded me of something that had been bugging me: while I was happy to disagree with the Bible, I hadn't actually read the thing. As such, I've begun to address this lack of intellectual rigour by actually studying the Bible, keeping notes in the margin of questions and such(or the bottom of the page where I ran out of space)

Having now gotten up to Genesis 20 and deciding I'd had enough bible reading for today, I figured some people here might be interested and thought I'd write it up. Using the "Good News Bible" as my reference, but also using to cross reference any passages that seem like they might be re-worded to check for major changes since KJV

Genesis 1:1 - Interestingly for those who try to match up the bible with science, there isn't actually any defined time frame before God creates light. In the literal sense this doesn't make any difference, but for those who see it as a metaphor it means that the earth could have existed for millenia before this (I've heard mention of volcanic ash filling the sky and blocking the sun as one explanation for this)

Genesis 1:7 - "So God made a dome, and it separated the water under it from the water above it. He named the dome "sky". Obviously this is where some of the fundie claims of there being a "canopy" of sorts which held the water that became the flood.

Genesis 1:9 - "Let the water below the sky come together in one place so that the land will appear". According to continental drift theory, this completely tosses out the idea of a 6000 year old planet. After all, the only time when you could consider there being a single body of water is when pangaea existed, which was several million years ago. Also, this "single place" where water is kept is worth remembering for some of the later passages

Genesis 1:16 - "So God made the two larger lights, the sun to rule over the day and the moon to rule over the night". Interesting, since without a sun there could be no "days", yet we are already on to the fourth day according to the bible. Also the moon is a reflector, not a light source

Genesis 1:26/27 - "And now we will make human beings; they will be like us and resemble us" vs "So God created human beings, making them like himself". Interesting switch from the plural to the singular there in the pronouns. As I understand it this is because Judaism used to be polytheistic but lost the other deities over the years.

Genesis 2:6 - "But water would come up from beneath the surface and water the ground". This is the same water that was all moved to a single location on the earth earlier, but somehow is also underground. The underground and above ground water idea is confirmed during the account of the flood

Slightly out of sequence here. This is the point when there is the second account of creation that shows a different order, so it'll refer back to earlier passages

Genesis 2:5 - "There were no plants on the earth and no seeds had sprouted"
Genesis 2:7 - "The the Lord god took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it"
Genesis 2:8 - "Then the Lord god planted a garden in Eden, in the East, and there he put the man he had formed"
Genesis 2:18 - "Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him. So he took some soil from the ground and formed all the animals and all the birds. then he brought them to the man to see what he would name them"

This is contrasting against the timeline earlier in Genesis

Genesis 1:11 - "The he commanded, "Let the earth produce all kinds of plants, those that bear grain and those that bear fruit"
Genesis 1:24 - "Then God commanded "Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life"
Genesis 1:26 - "Then God said "And now we will make human beings""

Now, this isn't a case of one being a summary and the other being the detail as some theists have claimed. While it's true that the second account of creation doesn't list the days when things happened, it does claim that the creation of animals was a response to the creation of humans, where as the first account has animals created on the fifth and sixth day, man being created last on the sixth day.

Genesis 2:10 - "A stream flowed through Eden and watered the garden; beyond Eden it devided into four rivers" But all water is in a single place, as that was what God commanded. Right.

Genesis 2:17 - "You must not eat the fruit of that tree; if you do you will die the same day" Interesting, so God is lying about what the tree will do to try and discourage Eve rather than just commanding it. This is worth remembering for later

Genesis 2:20 - "So the man named all the birds and all the animals; but not one of them was a suitable companion to help him" And we have our first case of God being fallible. He created the animals as a companion to Adam, but they weren't suitable for this purpose

Genesis 3:4 - "The snake replied, "That's not true; you will not die. God said that, because he knows that when you eat it you will be like God and know what is good and bad." So, the serpent that is so hated in Christian mythology is actually the one which is honest with Eve, not the "deceiver" as it is so often depicted. Also worth noting, the tree is, according to the bible, where mankind learned the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, not God. Worth pointing out if anyone claims athiests can't be moral without God.

Genesis 3:13 - "The Lord God asked the woman, "Why did you do this?" She replied, "The snake tricked me into eating it" Ah, so here is where the idea of the snake being a "deceiver" comes from. Despite her newly discovered knowledge of right and wrong Eve lies to God and, strangely, God doesn't even comment on it.

Genesis 3:16 - "I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth" So much for pain in childbirth being a punishment for disobeying, that was already there, he just increased it. Interestingly this suggests a design flaw, which again suggests a certain lack of the perfection God is usually thought to have

Genesis 3:18 - "and you will have to eat wild plants" until your son, Cain, invents farming that is

Genesis 3:22 - "The the Lord God said, "Now the man has become like one of us and has knowledge of what is good and what is bad. He must not be allowed to take fruit from the tree that gives life, eat it and live for ever. So the Lord God sent him out of Eden" Ah, here we have it, the reason for the expulsion from Eden. Not disobeying, that was outlined in Genesis 3:14-3:21. Rather, he sends them away because they have attained one of God's abilities, and either he is too jealous or too afraid of what they might become

Skipping ahead a little, I'm going to finish with the tower of Babylon as it provides some clarification on which of these it might have been

Genesis 11:6 - "Now then, these are all one people and they speak one language; this is just the beginning of what they are going to do. Soon they will be able to do anything they want! Let us go down and mix up their language so that they will not understand one another" Interesting. So we have another example of God seeing humanity's potential and doing what he can to thwart it. Not exactly a father figure, is it? Rather, he seems like someone who is afraid of this group of humans being too united, as they could match or even surpass God.

Not surprising, I suppose, when you consider they were doing this in spite of God having cut their lifespan by a fifth already because he felt they were too close to being immortal (Genesis 6:3). Handicaps are supposed to be something that limits what you can do, but this shows how humanity pushes on boundaries on what they cannot do and, in fact, often aims to surpass the most difficult of goals first (moon landing anyone?)

I'm going to finish there, as this is getting long enough and leaving Eden is a good point to break off. It's definately not the end of the issues with the bible though, far from it.
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