Contradictions in the Bible

Genesis 1-11 

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Saturday, 10 September 2016 01:35

Contradictions in the Bible | God the Creator and the beginning of creation

Written by Gabriel Baicu
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The Bible says that the Earth was created by God. In its own words, it actually affirms that:

“In the beginning when God created* the heavens and the earth, 2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God* swept over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1; 1-2 NRSV)

The earth was created together with heavens in the beginning. The Bible doesn’t say explicitly what “heavens” mean and what exactly had been created in “heavens”. Whilst for Earth, very few details are given, for heavens, there isn’t any description. Complete secrecy or lack of imagination? According to the Bible, God didn’t see fit to disclose anything about His world, and its population, in the book of Genesis. That brought humanity to countless speculations about angels, Satan’s revolt, and so on. A whole religion is created on the approximations about what “heavens” really means, because the book of Genesis doesn’t give us any clue about the issue. The religious imagination is based on the extreme scarcity of the texts of the book of Genesis.

The lack of information about “heavens” can bring one to the conclusion that by “heavens” the writer of Genesis chapter 1 meant something much simpler than is commonly believed, no angels or the Kingdom of God, but only the cosmic space. 

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    If “heavens” meant something more complicated such as the Kingdom of God, some more information about it would be expected to be found in the stories of creation. But even if that were true and “heavens” was understood to mean the cosmic space and nothing else, the creation of a space for cosmic bodies without the existence of the dome of the sky is absurd, it is a blatant contradiction which by itself disqualifies any truthfulness in the stories of creation. When the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, “heavens” would have existed, according to the book of Genesis, in the lack of the dome of the sky which separated the waters from above from the waters from the earth.

At the beginning everything had been under waters, including the atmosphere of the earth, and there hadn’t been any sky, therefore no “heavens”. There couldn’t have been any “heavens” at the outset of creation because God had created the dome of the sky only on the second day of creation, according to the book of Genesis, and without sky no “heavens” would have been possible regardless of what we mean by “heavens”. The Bible literally says that at the beginning it was “heavens” without the dome of the sky and all that existed had been covered by the waters of a primeval sea.

The whole complexity of cosmology, geology, biology, anthropology etc. is concentrated on two pages of the Bible. In this case lack of information is equals to no real information. What could be the cause of this poorness of information? Lack of information contained by the book of Genesis could have one main cause. The authors of the texts didn’t have any information about the origins of the earth and universe. Keeping to a very general level, an author or an editor could have diminished the danger of giving some imaginary details which could contradict each other and make the stories inconsistent. Nevertheless, the authors or the editors of the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis have fallen into this trap in spite of the very few details which are given. As a matter of fact, little details which can be found in the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis don’t harmonise well with one another and are of a peripheral importance.

In the book of Genesis the creation of the universe is only the stage for the main drama, the relation between God and His children. When the drama ends the earth will also disappear and a new earth will replace it. (Revelation 21; 1) 

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    Neither the creation of “heavens” and the earth nor the apparition of humankind has anything to do with real facts, but it has a logic in which true cosmology doesn’t find any place.

In the book of Genesis, God is presented like a craftsman happy with His work. At the end of a specific activity He found that His work was good and at the final of the entire development the results of His work were even very good. Even if God declared His creation to be very good He wanted to destroy the most important part of it through the waters of the Flood. Looking to our world, we can conclude that something was wrong with the creation from the beginning, at least from a moral point of view, and we cannot attribute all sufferings on the earth to humankind. Sufferings and death existed before the apparition of humankind on Earth generated by natural catastrophes such as earthquakes generated by the movements of the tectonic plates, illnesses, or others. To see the earth as an idyllic place without destructive natural events or illnesses before the apparition of the first human beings is a hypothesis contradicted even by the Bible, because before the creation of humankind other biological beings were created.

After ending His task God took a rest and His rest is a commemoration of His creation. The book of Genesis doesn’t tell us what God was doing after His rest, after the Sabbath. Did He start a new creation in another universe? Was the creation of our universe God’s first work, was it the last? Did God work only once in His entire eternal existence, for six days? In order to correctly evaluate the importance of our universe we should know if God had created only us or if He creates new universes all the time. It is also important to know how other universes, if they exist, resolved the problem of good and evil. Such knowledge would help humankind to see our universe in a much broader context and also to understand God much better. Isn’t the knowledge of God the sense of human salvation? The Bible says that it is. At the same time it must be said that the book of Genesis doesn’t contain such information which would be a true revelation for humankind.

Can God be the Almighty Creator of the universe and, at the same time, can He, as a Creator, cease to create anything else? A Creator who doesn’t create is not a Creator anymore. It is very difficult to accept that the Creator, with incredible creative powers, had created only once, a creation which, in a way, betrayed Him, and after that He stopped creating.

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    God is presented as the Creator of a single creation or process of creation. An infinite God would be an eternal Creator who would generate new creations continuously. The quality of God as a Creator and the uniqueness of His creation which proved to be imperfect seems to contradict one with the other. There are so many questions to which the Bible doesn’t give us any answer. These are important questions if one really wants to understand God and the process of creation of our universe.

The real world is a very dynamic one in which new worlds including new universes are likely to appear all the time; it isn’t a static existence in which only one universe was created once and for all as the book of Genesis seems to imply. The Bible induces the opinion that God would have created only our universe, which is unique in the entirety of existence, but this is contrary to what the modern sciences theorise. This aspect is important if we want to understand how unique our world is, and how unique is our story in the cosmos. At the same time, Jesus said that God still works. (John 5; 17 NRSV)

If God works all the time, having only periods of rest, what is He doing? Is He sustaining only the work that He already did in our universe? What does it really mean that God sustains the universe and what is the scientific implication of such a fact? Where do we find in the mechanisms of the functioning of the universe, following scientific research, the principle of God’s sustenance? If this principle is real there must be an element, exterior to the nature of things, which is required for all reality to function, the principle of God’s sustenance. A modern scientist, Steven Hawking, affirmed that there isn’t such an element and God’s existence is not necessary for the universe in order for it to be as it is.

Does God continuously support or survey the universe and does He really intervene for the prevention of any cosmic catastrophe? Cosmic catastrophes happen all the time. The stars die, they explode and create heavier elementary particles, such as iron, without which even man could not exist. In other words, a certain amount of destruction in the cosmos was necessary for the existence of our civilization. New stars are created all the time so the expression “end of creation” implied by the book of Genesis is not exact. 

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   The universe changes all the time, it is not destined to be forever in the same configuration as the Bible implies. The universe expands, is evolving, it is not static, and it is not created around the earth in order to be at its service. The universe wasn’t “ready” at the end of sixth day of creation and the rest taken by God at the end of His creation doesn’t make any sense, if it is compared with the dynamic of the universe.

The problem is that despite of what the book of Genesis maintains the creation of the universe doesn’t have any end, it is a continuous creation which contains also moments of destruction. For the human beings, a rest day makes sense, but for God such a pause is absurd. How would the creation have been supported during the Sabbath if God rested for one day? If the entire creation is reliant on God for its continuous sustenance, one day off for Him would have been a disastrous event for the creation. If God really sustains in existence His creation all the time, He couldn’t have taken a day off from this activity. At the same time, if the world wasn’t created in six days but it appeared and evolved in a much longer period of time and still continues to evolve, the Sabbath day doesn’t have any realistic support.

Some religious people say that God created on the fourth day all matter for the stars which assured the conditions for them to be continuously generated, but this isn’t what the Bible says. The stars would have been created in the fourth day to be signs and to illuminate the nights, and that wouldn’t have been possible if only the matter for stars was created then. Either all stars were created by God on the fourth day as the texts from the book of Genesis assert, or they are generated by the laws of physics all the time. One version contradicts the other. We can see what the truth is by studying the cosmos with technical means. Moreover, when God created the earth He had to create at the same time the matter for the constitution of the earth, but earth and stars are created from the same matter, which would have been created on the first day and not in the fourth day. If God created the matter of the earth on the first day, why did He create the stars only on the fourth day, if the matter was already there, three days earlier? There is no logic for that. The daylight, therefore the sun, was needed for the process of creation from the first day and the rough material would have been there. Why didn’t God use that existing matter and create all that was needed from the beginning? The book of Genesis doesn’t answer to that question.

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