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THE SMASHED FOUNDATION STONE: SOME CONTRADICTIONS IN GENESIS 1-4

Preface: From Hard Sayings of the Bible

Is the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 in the mythic, poetical style of
most ancient Near Eastern stories of the origin of the world, or is it of
some other type of literary genre? What are we to make of the repetitious
nature of a number of its phrases and of what appears to be a certain
stereotyped form to each of the creative acts of God? What is more, look
at the way God is depicted with hands, nostrils and the like. Isn't that
enough to convince any thinking person that this is not a straightforward
natural account of what happened in the creation?

There can be no debate on the fact that there are a large number of figures
of speech in these chapters. In fact, one major work, Figures of Speech in
the Bible by E. W. Bullinger, lists over 150 examples of such in Genesis
1:1–11:32. That is not the issue, for all speech of all literary types will
include some, if not many, forms of figurative language. Speaking of God
as having human body parts is just one such figure of speech,
anthropomorphism.

But the issue of literary types is a separate matter. To declare that since
figurative language is present we can assume that the material of Genesis
1–3 is less than a straightforward presentation of real events is to jump to
conclusions. Certain other categories can, however, be ruled out because
they fail to meet the fairly uniform criteria that are normative in such
decisions.

First of all, the biblical account of creation does not exhibit the forms or
substance of myth. All attempts to see an allusion to the goddess Tiamat in
the Hebrew word tƒhôm, "the deep" (Gen 1:2) were marked with failure
from the beginning since such an equation violated the rules of
morphology and equivalency in cognate languages. No reputable scholar
today appeals to this as evidence that the Bible once was in the form of a
myth. Neither is the reference to the Spirit of God "hovering over the
waters" in that same verse seen as being a covert allusion to the
Phoenician myth of the world being hatched from some type of cosmic
egg. In short, nothing has been found in the biblical narrative of creation
to tie it to the mythical ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies.

Neither can we say that Genesis 1 or 2 is poetic in form. The Hebrew form
of the verb is exactly the same as is routinely used for Hebrew narratives.
Furthermore, Hebrew poetry seldom if ever uses the Hebrew indicator for
the direct object, whereas Genesis 1 and 2 do. There are additional
grammatical and syntactical forms in Genesis 1 and 2 that can only be
found in prose literary genre, not in poetry. Thus these accounts may not
be listed under poetry.

What we do find, however, is a carefully and closely reasoned narration of
events that in Genesis 1 are set in almost a dry didactic form. Emphasis is
laid on definition, naming, evaluating and a general ordering of events. As
such, the accounts have more in common with narrative prose than
anything else.

While the Genesis narrative cannot be called "historical" in the usual sense
of the word, in that most use the term to indicate facts independently
verifiable by two or more sources or witnesses, it certainly appears to be
claiming to record actual events in the stream of happenings in our kind of
space-time world.

The contradictions

Now that we have clarified that the commonest interpretations of Genesis are lies and rubbish and intended to cover up that it is nonsense we can show how it is nonsense.

The start of the Bible is vitally important to Christianity.  Christianity's foundation is the doctrine that God made all things from nothing and it thinks it finds that doctrine of creation in Genesis.  And that despite the fact that Genesis cares more about in what order and why God different things and designed them.  It only says God made all things but made and creation are not necessarily the same thing.  God could make all things without making them from nothing.

The other reason why early Genesis matters so much is that it is the bedrock of Christian teaching that man and woman are to be united in marriage for life and marriage is to be monogamous.

Being created by God is no good if we are meant to be in a relationship with him and we are not.  The Christians say that Adam and Eve in their name and ours broke with God by eating a forbidden fruit and thus sinned and brought great evil on all of us.  So this doctrine of the fall in which suffering and evil marred God's lovely universe is of extreme importance to the Christian faith.  At that point, God said he would send a saviour.  The Church says that Jesus was the one who fixed the damage by dying on the cross.

If Genesis is full of errors and contradictions then the Church is just a pile of nonsense.  And it is! It would be blasphemy to say that man-made writings with errors in them are in any sense the word of God.

However the core of Genesis is not creation or marriage but the events involved in producing the world and its inhabitants and how the world was ruined.  Creation too is mentioned in passing if mentioned at all.

Those who should know better read Genesis as meaning to be symbolic.  But those who say it means what it says are the ones to heed.

“Is the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2 in the mythic, poetical style of most Near Eastern stories of the origin of the world, or is it of some other type of literary genre?  What are we to make of the repetitious nature of a number of its phrases and of what appears to be a certain stereotyped form to each of the creative acts of God?  What is more, look at the way God is depicted with hands, nostrils and the like.  Isn't that enough to convince any thinking person that this is not a straightforward natural account of what happened in the creation?  All speech of all literary types will include some, if not many, forms of figurative language.  The issue of literary types is a separate matter.  To declare that since figurative language is present we can assume that the material of Genesis 1-3 is less than a straightforward presentation of real events is to jump to conclusions.  Certain other categories can, however, be ruled out because they fail to meet the fairly uniform criteria that are normative in such decisions.    First of all, the biblical account of creation does not exhibit the forms of substance of myth...nothing has been found in the biblical narrative of creation to tie it to the mythical ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies. Neither can we say that Genesis 1 and 2 is poetic in form.  The Hebrew form of the verb is exactly the same as is routinely used for Hebrew narratives.  Furthermore, Hebrew poetry seldom if ever uses the Hebrew indicator for the direct object, whereas Genesis 1 and 2 do.  There are additional grammatical and syntactical forms in Genesis 1 and 2 that can only be found in prose literary genre, not in poetry.  Thus these accounts may not be listed under poetry.  What we do find, however, is a carefully and closely reasoned narration of events that in Genesis 1 are set in almost a dry didactic form. Emphasis is laid on definition, naming, evaluating and a general ordering of events. As such, the accounts have more in common with narrative prose than anything else. While the Genesis narrative cannot be called “historical” in the usual sense of the word, in that most use the term to indicate facts independently verifiable by two or more sources or witnesses, it certain appears to be claiming to record actual events in the stream of happenings in our kind of space-time world” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, Intervarsity Press, 1996).

There are contradictions in Genesis.  The Christians know they must be dissolved and thus the contradictions are followed by outlandish and speculative and outrageous attempts to reconcile them.

Haley in Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible says that Genesis is right to say that light existed before the making of the sun and the stars (422). He says that light energy or the action that causes light was made before light began to shine. So, the author of Genesis using his word for light meaning something that shines did not mean that which shines! The author used a word that meant shining light for nobody knew of any other kind of light and there is a man trying to tell us that words don’t mean what they mean! The author of Genesis was like the pagan writers who made blunders as bad and sometimes worse. Why would God make light before he makes the sun and the stars? Logic says you make the sun and the stars first and then light them up.

Genesis 1 and 2 contain different creation stories. They obviously contradict one another but Haley says they do not (page 408). Genesis 1 says man and woman were made last but the next story claims that the man was made first. Haley’s solution is that Genesis 2 is not chronological. A book is more perfect if it is chronological so this would be sufficient proof that Genesis was not inspired. Christian evidence for Genesis 2 not being chronological is that the two stories would not have been in if they did not agree. But this assumes that the authors meant to be writing infallible scripture. It is more likely that they did not know which story to listen to and put the two in. To blame neglect of chronology is to make it possible to reconcile any contradiction that people make whatsoever. Genesis 2 is chronological for it says man was made before plants and trees were so there could have been no animals either. These chapters would have been read by very few before the exile so the contradictions might not have been noticed or perhaps they didn’t think and assumed there would have to be a solution.

Page 360 says that the Bible writers sometimes did not write chronologically where things make little sense if interpreted chronologically. If true then there is a natural reason why there may be no contradictions in the Bible if there are none. This means that there is no evidence that it is from God.

Science opposes the Genesis notion that once there was only one man and one woman.  Christians argue that it does not say that but it clearly does.  They pretend that the statement that Adam was made from dust is vague so he could have been made indirectly from dust in the following sense.  Life evolved from dust and some creature over a long time evolved into a man.  They are presupposing that God wrote all that and had it in mind.  But it is obvious the author of Genesis would, like most believers over the centuries, have imagined Adam being directly made from dirt.

The story has Adam being on his own and needing woman to be created. It is clear enough that the Christians are liars.  If Adam had evolved so would Eve.  The story has woman being made from Adam's rib.  Some insist that rib is a misinterpretation.  Eve was built from Adam's bone but the bone it has in mind is his baculum (penis "bone").  Eve was essentially Adam's clone that got a sex change for a clone should have the same sex as the originating person.  She was his daughter in the sense that we seem to have a metaphor for a man's seed growing by itself into a woman.  So Eve is another Adam, she is a trannsexual and his partner in incest. The selfishness of a man who could only love another version of himself shows that God is to blame for original sin, it is exists, not Adam and that original sin did not create selfishness for it was already there.

In Genesis we read that God made Adam and Eve and warned them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and that they would die the day they do it. A snake told them to eat for they would not die and they did and God rejected them as sinners. Page 393. Haley says that God did not tell Adam and Eve that they would die physically that day if they sinned for he meant they would spiritually die. Haley just says that because they failed to die that day. Adam lived for several hundred years after and Eve did not die that day either. The snake told Adam and Eve that they would not die. They did not want to eat the forbidden fruit at first in case they would die. Now, if sin causes spiritual death – alienation from God – they would not have been so reluctant about dying because it would only take a bit of repentance to repair the damage. The death they were afraid of was physical death and that was what they feared and so they understood God to have meant physical death and so he did mean it for he knew if they were misinterpreting. Clearly then, God broke his promise to kill Adam and Eve if they ate the fruit.
 
It is much much later in the Bible before we read about spiritual separation from God being symbolised as death. The Law of Moses never stated that there was a life after death and saw doing wrong in terms of doing damage in this world and making God angry rather than in terms of death. The Christians habitually read later stuff back into the old stuff to give the whole Bible the appearance of being consistent divine revelation.
 
So the Christians pretend that the death threatened on Adam and Eve was spiritual death. The serpent told them that they would not die and this meant physical death. Assume it meant spiritual death only. Adam and Eve would have sinned not when they took the fruit but when they decided to take it so the sin would have preceded the eating. If sin causes spiritual death, how could Adam and Eve have believed the serpent long enough to reach for the fruit for they would have spiritually died the moment they decided to touch the tree and the moment they thought they should sin and they would have seen that he was a liar? Only holding that the serpent meant physical death makes sense of the story.
 
The serpent must have meant physical death for Adam and Eve would have believed that spiritual death was easily corrected by repentance and would have been more scared of physical death believing that it was the end forever. And if they were more scared of spiritual death then they would already have been spiritually dead for they loved life more than God. They loved being right with God more than God who wants all our love. God did tell them that they would physically die the minute they touched the forbidden fruit when that was how he was understood.

Page 420. The Bible says that God’s name Yahweh was not known until it was revealed to Moses in Exodus 6:3. And yet the name pops up in Genesis. It appears in Genesis 4:1 where Eve uses it. So people were using the name before Exodus says so. Haley tries to make us believe that in those cases, Moses just put the name in even though they did not know it for it was Yahweh they meant or that Moses just translates their word for God as Yahweh, the new word. This is outrageous. He is just saying that the lie of saying somebody knew somebody’s name is not a lie. And then he says that if this reconciliation is wrong then the attributes of God represented in the name were not known so the true meaning of the name was not known. This claims that the name was known from the time of Genesis but the meaning of the name wasn’t revealed until the time stated in the Book of Exodus. But Exodus says that God’s name not just its meaning was hidden from the world. Yahweh means I am who am. This is supposed to say that God needs nothing to exist. But Eve knew this for she could not have sinned unless she believed that God was supreme. God could not have imputed sin to her unless she knew that he was the only boss and was right. She and Adam knew God better than anybody else for they were sinless for a time and talked face to face with God.

Genesis contradicts itself concerning when people started to worship God (4:3,4; 4:26). It says that Cain and Abel worshipped God and then that this was not true. Haley says that the so-called denial infers that organised public worship of God did not happen until later (4:27). But the verse says that men began to call on God and that does not sound like it means they started holding services. There is a huge difference between people praying and them having services.  Organised religion is a relatively recent invention.  Each pagan village had a wild medley of different spiritualties and rituals.

He even says that men could have begun to adore God with their voices at that time while before they just worshipped in silence! This is implausible for the Bible says that primitive humanity was not mute.

By the way, page 345 of Haley’s hollow book says when God told Israel that he would bring him out of Egypt though he was to die before that that it was his descendants who were meant. But the whole context commands us to believe that Israel personally was meant.  Read it and see. Haley is covering up for the Bible God being a false prophet.


FURTHER READING

A Summary of Christian Doctrine, Louis Berkhof, The Banner of Truth Trust, London, 1971
A Test of Time, David Rohl, Century, London, 1995
Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, John W Haley, Whitaker House, Pennsylvania, Undated
An Act of God, Graham Philips, Sidgwick and Jackson, London, 1998
Answers to Tough Questions, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press Bucks, 1988
Attack on the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1965
Belief and Make-Believe, GA Wells, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois, 1991
Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
But the Bible Does Not Say So, Rev Roberto Nisbet, Church Book Room Press, London, 1966
Catholicism and Christianity, Cecil John Cadoux, George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1928
Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1988
Creation and Evolution, Dr Alan Hayward, Triangle, London, 1994
Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Radio Bible Class, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1986
Encyclopaedia of Bible Difficulties, Gleason W Archer, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1982
Essentials, David L Edwards and John Stott, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1990
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Vol 1, Josh McDowell, Alpha, Scripture Press Foundation, Bucks, 1995
Free Inquiry, Fall 1998, Vol 18, No 4, Council for Secular Humanism, Amherst, New York
God and the Human Condition, F J Sheed, Sheed & Ward, London, 1967
God Cannot Lie, David Alsobrook, Diasozo Trust, Kent, 1989
God, Science and Evolution, Prof E H Andrews, Evangelical Press, Herts, 1985
God’s Word, Final Infallible and Forever, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
Hard Sayings, Derek Kidner, InterVarsity Press, London, 1972
How and Why Catholic and Protestant Bibles Differ, Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ and Donald Senior, CP, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1983
How to Interpret the Bible, Fergus Cleary SJ, Ligouri Publications, Missouri, 1981
In Defence of the Faith, Dave Hunt, Harvest House, Eugene Oregon, 1996
Inspiration in the Bible, Fr Karl Rahner, Herder and Herder, New York, 1966
It Ain’t Necessarily So, Investigating the Truth of the Biblical Past, Matthew Sturgis, Headline Books, London, 2001
Jehovah of the Watch-tower, Walter Martin and Norman Klann, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1974
Let’s Weigh the Evidence, Which Bible is the Real Word of God? Barry Burton, Chick Publications, Chino, California, 1983
Know What You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1973
Know Why You Believe, Paul E Little, Scripture Union, London, 1971
New Age Bible Versions, GA Riplinger, Bible & Literature Foundation, Tennessee, 1993
New Evangelicalism An Enemy of Fundamentalism, Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1984
None of These Diseases, SI McMillen MD, Lakeland, London 1966
Our Perfect Book the Bible, John R Rice, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1958
Proof the Bible is True, Rev JMA Willans BD, Dip.Theol. Vermont Press, Larne, 1982
Radio Replies Vol 3, Radio Replies Press, Minnesota, 1942
Reason and Belief, Bland Blanschard, London, George Allen and Unwin Ltd, 1974
Remarks on the New King James Version and Revised Authorised Version, DK Madden, 35 Regent Street, Sandy Bay, Tasmania, 7005, 1991
Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, Charles Pellegrino, The Softback Preview, New York, 1995
Science and the Bible, Henry Morris, Moody Press, Bucks, 1988
Science Held Hostage What’s Wrong With Creation Science and Evolutionism, Howard J Van Till/Davis A.Young/Clarence Menninga, IVP, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, 1988
Science Speaks, Peter W Stoner and Robert C Newman, Moody Press, Chicago, 1976
Set My Exiles Free, John Power, Logos Books, MH Gill & Son Ltd, Dublin, 1967
Testament, The Bible and History, John Romer, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 1988
The Authority of the Bible, Ambassador College, Pasadena, California, 1980
The Bible Fact or Fantasy, John Drane, Lion, Oxford, 1989
The Bible is the Word of God, Jimmy Thomas, Guardian of Truth, Kentucky
The Bible or Evolution? William Jennings Bryan, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Bible, The Biography, Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, London, 2007
The Bible, Questions People Ask, A Redemptorist Pastoral Publication, Liguori Publications, Missouri, 1980
The Bible Unearthed, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, Touchstone Books, New York, 2002
The Canon of Scripture, FF Bruce, Chapter House, Glasgow, 1988
The Church of Rome and the Word of God, Rev Eric C Last, Protestant Truth Society, London, Undated
The Early Church, Henry Chadwick, Pelican, Middlesex, 1987
The Enigma of Evil, John Wenham, Eagle, Guilford, Surrey, 1994
The History of Christianity, Lion, Herts, 1982
The King James Version Defended, Edward F Hills, The Christian Research Press, Iowa, 1973
The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E Brown, Joseph A Fitzmyer, Roland E Murphy, Geoffrey Chapman, New York 1990
The Theology of Inspiration, John Scullion SJ, Mercier, Cork, 1970
The Unauthorised Version, Robin Lane Fox, Penguin, Middlesex, 1992
Verbal Inspiration of the Bible, John R Rice Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1943
What is the Bible? Henri Daniel-Rops, Angelus Books, Guild Press, New York, 1958
When Critics Ask, Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, Victor Books, Illinois ,1992
Which Version Now? Bob Sheehan, Carey Publications, 5 Fairford Close, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 3EF
Who is a Fundamentalist? Dr Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord, Murfreesboro, 1982
Why Does God..? Domenico Grasso SJ, St Pauls , Bucks, 1970
Why People Believe Weird Things, Michael Shermer, Freeman, New York, 1997
 
BIBLE QUOTATIONS FROM:
The Amplified Bible

WEB

Final Response by Steven Carr to Dr Wilkinson
www.bowness.demon.co.uk/wilkin6.htm

Science in the Bible? Dr M Magee
www.askwhy.co.uk/truth/440BibleScience.html

Why It’s a Load of Old Cobblers, Adrian Barnett
www.abarnett.demon.co.uk/atheism/noahs_ark.html
Exposes the utter absurdity of the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible

Steven Carr, Critique of Josh McDowells Non_Messianic Prophecies This Site cannot be overly recommended. It is superb.
www.infidels.org/library/modern/steven_carr/non-messianic.html

New Testament Contradictions, Paul Carlson
www.infidels.org/library/modern/paul_carlson/nt_contradictions.html

Rabbits do not chew their cud, Alleged Bible Contradictions
http://unhindered.com/apolo/contradictions/index.html

The Bible as History Flunks New Archaeological Tests
www.10.nytimes.com/library/arts/072900david-bible.html

Biblical Errancy by Dennis McKinsey
http://members.aol.com/ckbloomfld/bepart31.html
This is one of McKinsey’s online magazines. The magazine is excellent for it gives the fundies the chance to respond and carefully exposes their twisted reasoning.