So, on to the first post!
Genesis - The creation stories
Everyone knows this stuff right? Well, I thought I knew all about this, but I've discovered lots of stuff I never saw before in reading the accounts of creation this time through. Truthfully, in my church this stuff was only talked about when I was really little in Sunday school, and then it wasn't from the Bible directly. We used to have Bible study booklets we read out of. Also, since this happened when I was a child, there wasn't much questioning going on, after all at this age I still believed in Santa Claus too.
One thing I didn't realize, is that the Bible contains two accounts of creation. The first one is the one that starts with "In the beginning". Most people are tangentially familiar with this one. It's the one that takes place over seven days. So I'll talk a bit about each one, posting my impressions. At the end of this, I'll posit some questions I have.
Right off the bat I've found something peculiar about this one. And it's not even the seven day thing, although that in itself is a can of worms. It's this bit in the 6th verse:
And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the water from the waters. So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day
Okay. Dome? I've looked this up, and in some translations this is "expanse" or "gap" or "firmament". This sounds an awful lot to me like flat earth stuff, with a dome representing the sky. Which is what you would expect from a mythology this old. The thing that really threw me for a loop was this idea of waters ABOVE the dome. What the heck are they talking about? My best guess is this. I try to imagine what it would be like to not know about the earth being round, or that the sky isn't a dome. Well, it LOOKS like a dome. And it's blue during the day. Perhaps they thought the reason the sky was blue, was because there was water "up there". If you stand looking at a lake or ocean, the water appears blue, so perhaps this is where the idea comes from. Let's continue, there's another clue I found.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night.
Wait, didn't I mention? God creates day and night on the first day, but waits until the fourth day to create the Sun and Moon. Now some people might say "First contradiction!". But I rather don't. What I see is this... Isn't it possible that these early people saw the day and the night being separate from the Sun and Moon? After all, if you've ever watched a sunrise you'll know that it starts getting light WAY before you ever see the sun. And the Moon isn't related to day and night at all, as it is up sometime in the daytime. This ties in with this "water above" business. The blue of the sky has NOTHING to do with the Sun in these people's minds, it's blue because in the daytime, the sky is blue, because of the water above it. At least that how it seems to me.
This account continues with more of the same strangeness, talking about creating all the beasts, etc. Then he creates Adam.
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them
So, there are some footnotes here.
The translators here have taken liberties. It says in Hebrew, that "humankind" is "adam" and "them" is "him". But of course, this wouldn't make much sense if it said it created him and then said he "male and female he created them". It just doesn't read well. But, if this is truly the translation of the Hebrew, why is the text being changed?
Since this post is a bit long, I'll stop here and post my thoughts on Account #2 later.
I'll skip right to questions I have. Christians and Atheists are welcome to chime in with comments and answers.
1. Do a majority of Christians believe in the seven days thing? If so, how do you explain that? If you are a Christian who believes in Evolution, how do you reconcile that with the seven days thing?
2. Does this account indeed show that these people believed in a flat earth? And if this is written from that point of view, what does that say about it being the "Word of God"?
3. Why does God have to "rest" on the seventh day? Can omnipotent beings get "tired"?
4. And finally, If you are a Christian and you take this story to be only figurative and not literal, then what is the point of this story? What is the point of it talking about details such as the water above and below? In essence, why is this even in your book?