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.
Unseen: Zohar? Isn't there an Adam Sandler movie about the Zohar, who is not to be messed with?
Don't mess with the Zohar!
No, no, no . . . that's Lohan or Zohan. Don't mess with the Zohan.
I would rather you not take my word for it, I have been wrong before, and besides, for me at least, the fun part is discovering whether these things are true or not. That personal search. Listen to others but ultimately what you decide is up to you.
You referred to Genesis 1:25: There are two creation accounts. The first is a chronological account (Genesis 1:1-2:4) and the second is given according to topical relevance. (Genesis 2:5-4:26) They differ in order and are often wrongly thought to contradict one another.
I hear from skeptics that these accounts are contradictory because they are in a different order, but if I said to you that I went to post at the TA and responded to Robert and then told Marc that I responded to Robert when I went to the TA those are not contradictory accounts. At least I don't see them that way.
So, since the first was a chronological account, why didn't it say that Eve was created after Adam? It just said that man and woman were created on the same day, but in the second account it says that god saw that man was lonely and then created woman. How could someone be lonely that quickly? Especially if they are busy naming shit and hanging out with god. I know that men are horn-balls but come on, you don't need...company...that quickly. He was just created, he didn't know anything different so how could be be lonely.
FYI, I don't find any reason to hold the bible's information as true anyway, it is still not valid, just like all the other "holy" books out there.
Have you read the Bible? And the other "holy" books? The Kojiki and The Nihongi are Shinto texts produced by Japanese royalty long after Shintoism existed in one form or another. Shintoism I find sort of interesting in that if there ever was a religion that remained true to itself it would be the one. Simply because of its beginnings from the rice fields in which the importance was to gather communities together in the planting and harvesting seasons. The familial gods were of little import. They were easily and comfortably replaced from the beginning. The Royal family devised the two aforementioned texts of history and legend in order to sort of become the Gods themselves. Until World War II when the emperor was demonstrated as obviously human.
I have read but not really retained much of many holy books, tho all were translations or 'versions' of course ... Really, they can be considered literature or fables of course. Preaching to the choir here. Noting that anything 'remains true' while in essense saying it was a political agenda of a ruling monarchy to establish their power base (claiming to be gods) basically reenforces the view of holy books as being propoganda or fables. It undoes your arguement about the Bible does it not? And yet you seem to use the reference as bolstering some claim of validity about the Bible .. or am i misunderstanding your point?
To me the Japanese example is a prime one of folks calling themselves Gods and manufacturing history and "proofs" of divinity, and then when they are forced to for expediency or in fear of their lives, they recant and change the ground rules. The Emperor faced a day when boys with bigger guns told him he wasn't a God, gave him the parameters of his continued existance and he negotiated a settlement then made up the new rules of his religion and told millions how to behave.
How does any of this bolster any claim of Genesis being anything but a made up fable, mistranslated for eons (and continued to be mistranslated now by folks reading it with 21st century eyes and agendas)?
Let's not forget that he created light before creating the sun...
Not to mention that 4 days passed before the sun was created - tell me again, how do we measure a day?
Milos and Archy,
Your comments bring us to our next point in examining Genesis chapter 1. Verse 2 demonstrates how the planet was a water planet, waste and empty, meaning that there was no productive land. Though the sun and moon as part of the heavens were complete as pointed out in verse 1, at this point light had not penetrated to the surface of the Earth. Job 38:4, 9 refers to a "swaddling band" around the Earth in the early stages of creation. Likely there was a cosmic dust cloud of vapor and debris which prevented the light from the sun from being visible on the surface of the earth.
In verse 3 the Hebrew verb waiyomer (proceeded to say) is in the imperfect state indicating progressive action. This first chapter of Genesis has more than 40 cases of the imperfect state. The creative "days" were a gradual process of making Earth habitable.
The light was a diffused light which gradually grew in intensity. Some translations more clearly indicate the progressive action:
A Distinctive Translation of Genesis by J.W. Watts (1963): "Afterward God proceeded to say, 'Let there be light'; and gradually light came into existence."
Benjamin Wills Newton's translation (1888): "And God proceeded to say [future], Let Light become to be, and Light proceeded to become to be [future]."
The Hebrew word for light, ohr, is used. This distinguishes the light from the source of the light. Later, on the fourth "day" the Hebrew word maohr is used, signifying that the source of the light only becomes visible then through the swaddling band.
Instead of searching so desperately for textual ambiguities to exploit, why not observe this as a Martian Anthropologist? Not having any vested interest in proving the story to be true, his first step would be to ask what he could infer about the authors, and their knowledge of the world, based on their creation myth.
What most of this text reflects is a very primitive understanding of the earth's position in the universe. These people clearly believed that there could be light without stars (swaddling band arguement notwithstanding, since any decent Martian Anthropologist would say you're really stretching for that one), that the sun was made to correspond with immutable 'days' instead of vice versa, and that water can be 'gathered' to certain parts of the earth. An anthropologist concludes that these people have no idea that they're on a spherical planet orbiting a star, but rather think that they're on some sort of flat plain at the centre of the universe.
On an unrelated note, these modern interpretations of G1:1 beg the question 'why was the common version accepted for so long?'. The 'let there be light => there was light => it was good' version seemed to satisfy the clergy for about a millenium until cosmology made it seem ridiculous. Why, then were all of God's servents so long deceived, and how did it happen that those who would end their deception (proponents of alternate readings) came along at such a convenient time, right when a new interpretation was needed?
Finally, I think it's worth mentioning that, even with alternate translations, Job 38:9 reads pretty much in line with the idea that the authors penning the part of God were pretty ignorant about the nature of the universe. 'In making a cloud it's clothing, and thick darkness its swaddling band' pretty much confirms the idea that they thought of the earth as the centre of the universe, with all else periphery (unless, of course, you have an agenda when you read it). Also, doesn't the phrase, just a few verses before, 'shutteth up with doors the sea' ring some alarm bells?
If this post seems scatterbrained, it's because the bible is so full of obvious holes, contradictions, falsehoods and stupidities that it's impossible to swing a dead Ammonite without hitting on a few, and I just can't help myself. Please, for the sake of humanity, do a little Martian Anthropology!
First, even you must realize that geologically, that simply never happened, but if you really believe it did, please provide geological evidence and be specific.
But before you do, or go any further, you still need to clear up that little issue about the first four words: "In the beginning, God...." Once you've established indisputable, verifiable evidence of a god, "Please proceed, Governor --"
Meanwhile, let's take a quick peek at another primitive culture's idea of how the world came to be:
But then theirs is a myth, while yours is the truth, right?
Chapter 1, Amanda, of Genesis, was written by the "Yahwist (J) Group," c.950 BCE, located in the Jewish Southern Kingdom of Judea.
Chapter 2 was written around a hundred years later, c850 BCE by the "Elohist (E) Group," located in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, in the ancient city of Schechem. This book was brought south to Judea around 722 BCE, when the northern kingdom was attacked and destroyed and the important people of the kingdom carried off to Mesopotamia in captivity.
Shortly afterward, the two sets of stories, which also included the "flood" stories, with their 2 versus 7 animal chapters, were combined into what, to modern biblical scholars, came to be called, "JE."
Since you brought it up lets explore the reliability of Higher Criticism, which is, naturally, very popular with atheists. Upon what evidence is the authorship of J, E, and P established? Explain the Documentary Theory. I personally can't imagine the allure of such an obviously flawed destructive criticism to those who value evidence like the skeptic often claims to value, but elaborate on it if you would and I'll provide my take on it.