Atheist Son Writes… What were the authors of Genesis smoking?

Dear Mum,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate reading all your thoughts but it would be even better to read your responses to my direct questions in the email I sent on February 2nd. Judging by the replies I have been getting it sometimes feels like you are not reading my emails at all as so far you have failed to respond directly to any of my specific challenges to your creationist dogma. Does this mean that you agree with everything I have written? For example, when I disagree with a specific point you make I don’t ignore it but confront it head on – as I will do so now in response to your assertion that Genesis gets the order of creation correct.

First of all I have to ask; is this the best ‘evidence’ that you have? I was hoping for something physical and not just more dusty scripture.

The main problem with treating Genesis like a scientific document is the fact that there is no mention of how everything was created only that god pulled the universe out of his hat like some cheap magicians trick. For this reason alone the whole account is scientifically worthless. The only information we are then left with is a list of the order things magically appeared. I’m sure anyone, including the original ancient middle-eastern authors (see later), could come up with a reasonable guess of the order things appeared, so that getting it right would hardily be impressive. But alas, in the case of Genesis it conflicts with the order of events that are known to science not just once but twice!

If you read your bible closely you will notice there are in fact two contradictory creation accounts. In the first account humans were created after the other animals:

Genesis 1:25-27.
And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image…. So God created man in his own image.

Meanwhile in the second account humans were created before the other animals:

Genesis 2:18-19.
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

Similarly, in the first account the first man and woman were created simultaneously:

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

While in the second account man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man’s rib:

Genesis 2:18-22
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them…. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Incidentally, because of the bible, it was commonly believed (and sometimes it is still said today) that males have one less rib than females. When Vesalius showed in 1543 that the number of ribs was the same in males and females, it created a storm of controversy. Just one of endless examples where the bible misinforms people about science.

But the blatant contradictions of the Genesis creation myth with scientific fact go much, much further.

In Genesis 1:1, the earth and “heaven” are created together “in the beginning,” whereas according to current estimates, the earth and universe are about 4.6 and 13.7 billion years old, respectively – not exactly the same day!

In Genesis, the earth is created (1:1) before light (1:3), sun and stars (1:16); birds and whales (1:21) before reptiles and insects (1:24); and flowering plants (1:11) before any animals (1:20). The order of events known from science is in each case just the opposite! If you want me to provide you with a breakdown of dates I can make you one.

(Gen 1:3-5, 14-19) “Let there be light”
God creates light and separates light from darkness, and day from night, on the first day. Yet he didn’t make the light producing objects (the sun and the stars) until the fourth day (Gen 1:14-19). And how could there be “the evening and the morning” on the first day if there was no sun to mark them?

(Gen 1:6-8) The Firmament (Heaven)
God spends one-sixth of his entire creative effort (the second day) working on a solid firmament. This strange structure, which God calls heaven, is intended to separate the higher waters from the lower waters. No such thing exists but if you were a scientifically illiterate nomad it would be handy to explain rain.

(Gen 1:11-13) “Let the earth bring forth grass”
Plants are made on the third day before there was a sun to drive their photosynthetic processes. Were the goat herders smoking some of gods creation when they dreamt this stuff up.

(Gen 1:14) “Let them be for signs”
God placed the sun, moon, and stars in the firmament so that they can be used “for signs”. This, of course, is exactly what astrologers do: read “the signs” in the Zodiac to predict what will happen on Earth. So god is either endorsing astrology or the middle-eastern authors of Genesis were really into their horoscopes.

(Gen 1:16) “God made the two great lights.”
“The greater light [the sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [the moon] to rule the night.” But the moon is not a light; it only reflects light from the sun. And why, if God made the moon to “rule the night”, does it spend half of its time moving through the daytime sky?

(Gen 1:16) “He made the stars also.”
God spends a day making light (before making the sun and stars) and separating light from darkness; then, at the end of a hard day’s work, and almost as an afterthought, he makes the trillions of stars.

(Gen 1:17) “And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth.”
Then why is only a tiny fraction of stars visible from earth? Under the best conditions, no more than a few thousand stars are visible with the unaided eye, yet there are hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy and a hundred billion or so galaxies. Were they all created “to give light upon the earth”?

(Gen 1:31) “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”
In Genesis 1 the entire creation takes 6 days, but the universe is about 13.7 billion years old, with new stars constantly being formed.

(Gen 2:7) “God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils”
But humans were not created instantaneously from dust and breath, but evolved over millions of years from simpler life forms. Clearly the life forms that wrote genesis were pretty simple too.

I’ve just plucked a few random contradictions that the biblical creation story has with scientific fact which are pretty obvious if you read Genesis without wearing religious blinkers. But seriously, if you do some background reading in scholarly (ie. non-Christian) books about ancient Mesopotamian creation myths, such as the Enuma Elish, and clay tablets uncovered by archeologists dating well before the biblical account was ever composed, you will realize that Genesis is just a plagiarized copy of older creation stories about other gods such as Marduck.

I have already explained that unless you can convincingly prove that the bible is anything more than a scrapbook of ramblings of middle-eastern men then it cannot be used as evidence. Not to do so would be like me trying to prove to you the existence of Santa Claus by referring to the lyrics of Christmas carols!

You can call the biblical creation myth poetry if you want, or allegory, or a parable with some vague moral meaning. But one thing you most definitely cannot call it is science!

Love and understanding,

Sam

PS Thanks for the offer to send a bible but I already have one thanks. Besides I think you need to read it far more than me 😉

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