The atheist response to the text of the Bible is based primarily upon the young earth creationist interpretation, which is flawed. If I put myself objectively in the position of the atheist attempting to debunk the Bible I would start with Genesis Chapter 1. The Chapter passed the inspection of this former atheist.

The Hebrew verb consists of two different states. The perfect state indicates an action which is complete, whereas the imperfect state indicates a continuous or incomplete action.

At Genesis 1:1 the word bara, translated as created, is in the perfect state, which means that at this point the creation of the heavens and the Earth were completed. Later, as in verse 16 the Hebrew word asah, translated as made, is used, which is in the imperfect state, indicating continuous action. The heavens and Earth were created in verse 1 and an indeterminate time later they were being prepared for habitation, much the same as a bed is manufactured (complete) and made (continuous) afterwards.

What this means is that the creation was complete even before the six "days" of creation even began, in fact, later verses in the chapter reveal it was more than likely a long time in between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2.

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Davy - 

15th Century: Bishop Tostatus suggested that certain passages were written by one of the prophets, not by Moses.

As early as 1520, Carlstadt, a leader of the Reformation movement in Germany, wrote a pamphlet arguing that Moses did not write the Pentateuch. 

In 1574, A. Du Maes, a Roman Catholic scholar, suggested that the Pentateuch was composed by Ezra, who used old manuscripts as a basis.

Thomas Hobbes, the English philosopher, concluded in 1651 that Moses wrote only parts of Deuteronomy. 

In Tractatus theologico-politicus (1677), Baruch Spinoza, the Jewish philosopher, recognized as one of the founders of modern biblical criticism, reached a conclusion much like that of Du Maes, that Ezra compiled Genesis to II Kings from documents of varying dates. Shortly afterward, Richard Simon, a Roman Catholic priest, often called "the father of biblical criticism," gathered together the substance of critical analyses up to his time and raised the problem of literary history, thus opening the door to the application of techniques used in the study of non-sacred literature to the Bible.

Further, explore the works of German minister Henning Bernard Whitter in 1711, French professor of medicine and Court Physician to Louis XV, Jean Astruc, in 1753, and noted and respected German scholar and son of a pastor, Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, in 1780.

In 1806-7 W. M. L. DeWette, a German scholar, published a two volume introductory study of the Old Testament in which he suggested that the book found in the temple in 621 BCE may not have been written by Moses, but by a later author. In 1835-36, Wilhelm Vatke, a student of Hegel, wrote a critical work, Die Religion des Alten Testaments nach den kanonischen Büchern entwickelt, which contained the seeds of a revolution in the ideas held about the Old Testament, which was followed, in 1862, by K.H. Graf, also a student of Hegel, who wrote Der Prophet Jeremia, in which he proposed that the Book of Deuteronomy, surprisingly "found" in the temple, just when its laws were needed, by Jeremia himself.

Then followed, in 1876/77, Julius Wellhausen, a student of Graf stood on the shoulders of these giants who dared to look at the Bible critically, and put together what is now known as the Graf-Wellhausen Documentary Hypothesis.

Belief in the documentary hypothesis was triggered by a number of factors, such as:

  • Anachronisms, like the list of the Edomite kings

  • Duplicate and triplicate passages.

  • The flood story appears to involve the meshing of two separate stories.
  • Various passages portrayed God in different ways.

These factors led theologians to the conclusion that the Pentateuch is a hybrid document which was written well after Moses' death, and much later than the events portrayed.

Writing by various authors, according to the documentary hypothesis:

J: a writer who

  • focuses on humanity in his writing

  • might possibly have been a woman. His/her writing shows much greater sensitivity towards women than does E

  • regularly used "JHWH" as God's name

  • describes God in anthropomorphic terms: God formed Adam from clay; he walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden; he spoke to Moses.

  • lived in the southern kingdom of Judah, during an early period of Israel's history when they followed a nature/fertility religion. May have been a member of the Judean court.

  • wrote a more or less complete story of the history of the Israelites from a Judean perspective

  • J was probably written between 848 BCE (when King Jehoram gained power in Judah) and 722 BCE when the Assyrians destroyed the northern kingdom Israel and took its people into exile. Some scholars date J to the 10th century BCE.

E: a writer who

  • writes about religious and moralistic concerns

  • in all probability was a man

  • consistently used "Elohim" as God's name

  • lived in the northern kingdom of Israel

  • wrote a more or less complete story of the history of the Israelites from the perspective of the northern kingdom, including that version of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20

  • probably wrote between 922 and 722 BCE

  • may have been a priest from Shiloh who viewed Moses as his spiritual ancestor.

 D: is a writer who

  • lived after J and E, because he was familiar with later developments in Israel's history. He lived at a time when the religion of ancient Israel was in its spiritual/ethical stage, about 622 BCE.

  • wrote almost all of book of Deuteronomy, as well as Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. A second writer edited the original text after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 587 BCE. He added the last two chapters to 2 Kings and inserted short passages elsewhere to reflect the change in circumstances brought about by the Babylonian attack.

  • lived in Judah - probably in Jerusalem

  • was probably a Levitical priest - perhaps Jeremiah

 P: is a writer who

  • focused his writings on God

  • added material from a priestly perspective. It discusses priests' lives, religious rituals, dates, measurements, chronologies, genealogies, worship and law.

  • was a priest who identified Aaron as his spiritual ancestor

  • views God as a distant, transcendent  deity, less personal than in J and E; sometimes harsh and critical. The words "mercy," "grace" and "repentance" do not appear in his writing; they appear about 70 times in J, E, and D.

  • was displeased with the work of J and E and wrote P as an alternative history

  • rejected the concepts of angels, dreams and talking animals that are seen in J & E

  • believed that only Levites who were descended from Aaron could be priests

  • lived after J, E and D because he was aware of the books of the Prophets which were unknown to the others. Lived when the country's religion reached a priestly/legal stage, before the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BCE.

  • patterned his writing after the topics in J and E.

R: a redactor who

  • was an Aaronid priest and thus definitely a male

  • joined the writings of J, E, P and D together into the present Pentateuch.

Will that hold you for awhile?

PS - Have you Googled "deist" yet?

Archy, I'm not deist. Like the Bible writers I'm henotheistic. By the way, since your post on the documentary hypothesis is so long give me 24 hours or so to respond if you would please. I have a bunch of other replies to do as well.

I didn't ask if you were, I asked if you had ever even learned what it meant yet.

I'm not clear on how your henotheism equates with (insert loud, booming voice here): "THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME!"

Take all the time you need on Graf-Wellhausen, I've no doubt you can Google some obscure, Bible-thumping, self-acclaimed "expert" to refute it.

Well, to be fair, the booming voice did not say "NO OTHER GODS EXIST", so it technically is compatible with the Wikipedia definition of henotheism:

"Henotheism is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshipped."

So I guess as long as they are seen as lesser gods, they won't come "before" God.

Like the Bible writers I'm henotheistic.

Where does the bible say that it is okay to worship other gods? Isn't the first commandment to have no gods before Yahweh?

Henotheism (Greek εἷς θεός heis theos "one god") is the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshiped.

The bible preaches monotheism. Only one god, only one god worshiped.
All other gods are false.

Sometimes I wonder if you really did ever read the book you claim to be in love with.

I've little doubt Milos, that if DH were still with us (which I suspect he no longer is), he would counter that that particular commandment doesn't preclude the possibility of other gods, but only insists that Yahweh be kept at the top of the list.

God created the sea creatures and birds, but he made all land creatures. The words seem to be interchangeable to me. If I was god, why not just say..look ladies and gents, you evolved. Why would all the revelations happen to be just what a bronze-age illiterate tribe would think?

Robert,

The English word created and made, I suppose are interchangeable, but the Hebrew bara and asah are perfect and imperfect states respectively. The perfect state being complete and the imperfect indicating action in progress.

What translation and specifically what chapter and verse are you reading?

Same intent, different word. Also notice the past tense. God SAW that is WAS good, as in completed.

New St James Gen 1:21

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

New St James Gen 1:25.

And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

I wondered what words the Hebrew Bible has. This link has the Hebrew text and English translation.

Translation Page

Anyone read Hebrew?

Robert,

New World Translation Study Bible: Genesis 1:21: And God proceeded to create the great sea monsters and every living soul that moves about, which the waters swarmed forth according to their kinds, and every winged flying creature according to its kind. And God got to see that [it was] good.

Genesis 1:25: And God proceeded to make the wild beast of the earth according to its kind and the domestic animal according to its kind and every moving animal of the ground according to its kind. And God got to see that [it was] good.

James Washington Watts in A Distinctive Translation of Genesis, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1963), pp. 129, 130: “The fundamental characteristic of all imperfects is incompleteness. . . . The incompleteness of these imperfects, when they are in the indicative mood, appears either in a progressive form or a frequentative form. The context is relied upon to indicate one or the other, for the structure of the verb is the same in both cases.


“If the context indicates a single act or state, the force is progressive. The action is pictured in the process of development. In such case the primary idea of the verb in English is not sufficient to convey its full meaning. The addition of an auxiliary like ‘proceed’ or an adverb like ‘gradually’ is needed if the translator sees an occasion for bringing out the full force. When a narrative is unfolding rapidly and the sequence of events is more important than the vivid portrayal of progress in some particular event, the translator may depend solely upon conjunctive adverbs like ‘afterward’ to indicate both sequence and progress. Progress in this case is not brought out fully. There is merely movement from one action or state to another without definite portrayal of progress within the second. The use of this limited translation means that the translator sees no special reason for bringing out the idea of progress more fully at that point. The account in English would become tedious if he did. On the other hand, if the translator sees that the account is enriched by bringing out the full force of the verb, he is at liberty to do so.

“If the context indicates more than one occurrence of the act or state, the force is frequentative. Again the primary idea of the verb in English is not sufficient to convey the full meaning. The addition of an auxiliary like ‘continued’ or an adverb like ‘frequently’ is needed to reveal the full meaning of repetition or customary occurrence.”

The context is relied upon to indicate one or the other, for the structure of the verb is the same in both cases.

and here the context is past sense.

And God got to see that [it was] good.

Not "god Sees that it IS good", as in progressive....

Your interpretation "fix" is a stretch, like you are forcing a square peg in a round hole, making the creation myth fit the scientific evidence by finding loop-holes in translation. What, your god does not speak to translators so the get it right? All of your work is ahead ahead of you. You have got seas to part, arcs to build, wine to make, water walking to do, raising of the dead. Good luck in your quest to become a rational sheep.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not unto your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

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