The Creation Conundrum
It's a popular axiom among atheists that the best way to expand our ranks is to encourage more people to read the Bible. The Genesis story alone -- at its core, just as fantastic and absurd as every other creation myth -- has enough specific problems in it to get people on the right track. For example...
PROBLEM: The “heavens” are covered by water! After Earth's creation, darkness was “upon the face of the deep”: “...And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven..."
Thus, the heavens are a “firmament” between the water BELOW (oceans, seas, etc.) and the water ABOVE -- which we now know doesn't actually exist! But Iron Age people didn't understand cloud physics or water condensation, knowing only that water (rain) comes from the sky, probably on the command of some deity.
So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh was wrong about a cloak of water surrounding the heavens, or that the Genesis story was composed by human authors who were ignorant of meteorology?
PROBLEM: Water defies gravity! Next, Yahweh unveiled the land: “...And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so...”
Everyone today understands that Earth's gravity compels water to always seek equilibrium (lunar gravity notwithstanding). Move the water away from any location, and it will rush back to fill the void. Dry land appears ONLY when it is above this equilibrium (sea level). Thus, either some of “the waters” were defying gravity before being moved by Yahweh to their current location, or they were previously at equilibrium and are defying gravity now!
So, which is more plausible -- that Yahweh kept (or is currently keeping) some of Earth's seas in a gravity-defying state of non-equilibrium, or that the Genesis authors simply overlooked the natural behavior of water in their myth-making?
PROBLEM: The moon is a “lesser” sun! On the fourth day, Yahweh created “lights” in the heavens: “...And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night...”
This reveals an almost absolute ignorance of the nature of the sun and moon. First, both are supposedly in “the firmament” (BELOW the layer of water above!) but we now know the MUCH larger sun is 93 million miles away! Second, we also now recognize that the sun gives off light, while the moon merely reflects it.
So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh didn't know the relative sizes, locations and illuminating qualities of the sun and moon he'd just created, or that the creation story was concocted by human authors who didn't?
PROBLEM: The stars are an afterthought! After Yahweh's creation of the sun and moon Genesis adds: “...he made the stars also...”
To the scientifically ignorant eye, the sun and moon appear much larger than the stars -- tiny twinkling specks in the night sky. We now know that trillions upon trillions of stars -- many of them dwarfing our own sun -- make up the vast majority of the mass of a gigantic universe.
So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh, with his enormous ego, downplayed the immense size and astounding grandeur of his creation, or that the Genesis authors, seeing stars as mere tiny dots of light and not knowing any better, barely mentioned them in their heavenly creation myth?
PROBLEM: The creation sequence is botched! When it comes to creating animals, Genesis can't seem to get its sequences straight. In chapter one the fowl are created on day five, other animals on day six, followed by Man and Woman (simultaneously) to “have dominion” over the rest. The sequence:
3. Man and Woman.
In chapter two, when the creation story is repeated, Man alone is “formed of the dust of the ground,” then Yahweh decides that he needs a “help meet” and animals and fowl are “formed out of the ground,” then Woman is formed from man's rib. The sequence:
2. Fowls and animals
There is absolutely no amount of apologetic sleight-of-hand that can reconcile these two divergent creation sequences.
So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh couldn't remember the order of his own creations, or that the Genesis authors, being fallible humans, simply couldn't keep their mythological stories straight?
PROBLEM: God is extremely shortsighted! Yahweh repeatedly observes that the things he's creating are “good,” and at the end of chapter one he “saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
If everything Yahweh created was “very good” (including man and the serpent who suppposedly corrupted him) how did everything go so horribly wrong that a mere 113 verses later, he regretted it and destroyed almost everything in a global flood? No matter where an apologist may direct the blame (anyone but Yahweh, of course!), it's still part of Yahweh's creation that, mere pages before, he thought was “very good.”
So which is more plausible -- that Yahweh couldn't foresee the mess he was making, or that the Genesis authors crafted a tale to try to explain evil in the world?
Food for thought?
All told, Genesis' first two problematic chapters represent only a tiny fraction of the Bible's many contradictions, fallacies and inconsistencies (hundreds, by some counts). For those who cherish faith over truth, such discrepancies are mere inconvenient details to rationalize away in the contorted language of apologetics. But for honest and thoughtful believers, they should prompt a serious second look at the foundational text of their belief.
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