I was going to entitle this “Debunking the Bible” but changed my mind. It is not that I consider the Bible a lot of bunk, I do not, but that I think it truly lacks for good definition in many places, and really has a lot of things in it which can be categorized as debatable at best. I am not trying to offend anyone nor am I trying to make an argument that it is wrong. I think people of faith are wonderful and they should hang on to their faith regardless of what I or anyone else thinks. Faith is a really good thing. For my part, I am a real skeptic.
What got me started on all this? Long ago when I was visiting Lebanon, July 1971, I was reading a book by Isaac Azimov in which he challenged many of the modern notions of what was written in the Bible. For example, he pointed out that the Aramaic word for “virgin” is the identical word for “young girl.” He first explained that the Aramaic language had about one tenth as many words as Greek, into which the Bible was translated, or modern English. That simple fact calls into question anything that was translated from Aramaic to other languages. This prompted me to rethink all the ideas that my Roman Catholic upbringing had taught.
Anyway, in the book of Genesis we can find the story of creation. I have long been a fan of the idea of combining “intelligent design” with science and seeing what comes out of it. According to the Bible, on day one God created the heavens, my translation, the universe. It says the Earth was basically a wasteland. All right, that puts the time from “the Big Bang” to that beginnings of the Earth at about 11 billion years in length. We know, with a fair amount of scientific certainty, that the universe is about 13.7 billion years old, and the Earth is about 4.7 billion years old.
On day two God puts water on the Earth. Well, that happened at about one billion years into the Earth’s age. On day three God brings land out of the water. Not bad, because we know that the Earth was pretty much covered in water back in those early years. And on that dry land plants and animals rise up and the third day ends.
Now the real problem arises. On day four, God supposedly creates light and time. That actually happened back on day one when the stars were created. All right, so Moses goofed up on this one. I can give him a pass for that.
Then on day five, God supposedly created all the living creatures. Can’t be, because that happened back on day three. Remember, life gets created back then, and life existed everywhere and in all forms right for the start. This is a scientific certainty too.
Now if you read closely, you will find that on day six God really didn’t do anything at all, save blessing everything that was created. Then it says He took the seventh day off.
Well, actually, he took two days off and created the weekend.
Anyway, the point in all this is the measurement of a “day” and what happened in which order. And this is only the beginning of the scientifically provable problems.
Then next big problem comes with Adam and Eve and their incestuous children. Yes! I said it because it needed saying. If you take the Bible as written you have an immediate reproductive problems, and you have to allow for incest being acceptable. For the record, this is far from that final time incestuously acceptable relations show up.
By the fifth chapter of the book of Genesis you have people living to 800 years, Adam, 807 years, Seth, and that was only after the birth of a son named Enosh so he is obviously much older than 807. Methuselah, whose name is now synonymous with being old, lived to be a paltry 182 years old.
The thing is, we know for fact that people in those days had a tough time living past the age of 40. After all, it was certainly a tough life they had to live, and they did not have the advantage of medicine to help them out.
It seems that not only did Moses have a tough time getting things in any sort of logical order, he was really poor with the concepts of time and age. To be sure, when he lived there was a calendar that farmers used for planting and harvesting. Seasons were well established and the concept of a year was already in use and not that different from what we now use. Why then, you ask, would he write, or more likely dictate, such fantastic tales? That is the easy one, he needed his followers to believe as he did, in a monotheistic fashion that was in line with the other beliefs of the day. What galls me is how people today swear by what is written there rather than using it simply as a source of faith.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the Bible is a great book. There is a lot that can be learned from it and it certainly does not lack for wisdom that is entirely useful in today’s modern world. The bottom line is, God did not give us brains so we could blindly follow whoever put themselves up as His interpreter, as knowing exactly what He desires, or what He thinks. I would like it a whole lot better if the Bible started out with a disclaimer that admonished people to read the book as a starting place, not as an answer to the mysteries of man and the universe. What greater sin could there to be than to have a brain and refuse to think and decide for ourselves?