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.
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?
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.
Anyone read Hebrew?
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
So is the time between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 13.7 billion years? Because if not I can't believe anything else written in that book.
I was thinking "Dinosaurs" but you put the point much better, Marc :)
Marc, Yeah, billions of years. This will become more apparent as I go through the first chapter of Genesis, but yeah.
I think that the skeptical perspective at this point would be that the existence of God would be conjectural. Also, at this point there isn't a conflict with any of the fields of study you have mentioned. And at this point only the first verse of the first chapter have been considered.
Fair enough. We can agree, I assume, that from a scientific perspective the supernatural can't be tested, from a logical perspective we can't prove a negative and from a philosophical perspective . . . well, lets not even go there.
The OP put me in the position of the objective atheist examining Genesis chapter 1. I would naturally be skeptical of the existence of the supernatural. Of Jehovah God. However, even as an atheist for the first 27 years of my life I didn't place a great deal of interest or - for the lack of a better word - faith? in science. Being, of the opinion that science was the imperfect observations of men. Much like Bible interpretation in that sense.
Please, reader, spare me the infinite praise of all things wonderful and science, I mean no offense.
What if the evidence produces itself in our continued examination of the Bible. That is where I would expect to develop an informed opinion on the subject.
Should we continue? If your claim of no God in the specific case of the Bible is correct it should manifest itself without dismissing God.
Perhaps what we need to examine, what at this point in the examination could only be a preconceived notion you can't suppress, so tell us why is there no God without advancing any further in our examination of the Bible.