Contradictions in the Bible

Genesis 1-11 

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Thursday, 21 September 2017 12:52

Contradictions in the Bible | Other contradictions about the creation of plants

Written by Gabriel Baicu
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In Genesis chapter 1 the creation of plants on the third day wasn’t hindered by the inexistence of man on Earth as it was in Genesis chapter 2. In Genesis chapter 1 the absence of man to till the ground was not a reason for God to prevent Him from creating plants, all vegetation, including ones which later were cultivated by man. All plants had been created before the creation of humankind. If in Genesis 1 the absence of man was not an impediment to creating plants, all kinds of plants, why did it become an obstruction in Genesis chapter 2? The motivation linked to the absence of rain is also superfluous. If there was not rain that means that no plants at all could have grown before the Flood because there wasn’t any rain on Earth before that event, according to the biblical texts. Why are there so many contradictions between the first two chapters of the book of Genesis? Only one reason deserves to be taken into consideration. Genesis chapter 2 is not a more detailed view on creation, a complement to Genesis chapter 1; they are two different stories and not one.

Until the fourth day of creation, the sun was not there but the earth was full of plants. If one uses the same amount of rationality that is used in everyday life, he or she will ask the elementary question, how can the plants live without the sun? Light was created on the first day according to the book of Genesis, but how about the complex conditions, which cause the plants to grow? The idea of a spiritual light which would have lit the earth before the natural sun, providing light for the plants, is nonsensical because a spiritual light couldn’t bring heat.

How did God plan the creation of the whole universe, chaotically or carefully? According to the narratives from the book of Genesis the creation of the universe happened with the highest degree of confusion. How can anyone believe the stories about the creation of the universe and reject, at the same time, the orderly explanations given by science? When comparing irrational explanations with rational ones, a rational mind doesn’t have any reason to choose the former. According to the book of Genesis, God had created the world without a plan and very mixed. The creation items appeared in existence randomly, sometimes effect before causes.

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Regarding the creation of plants on the third day, it is very strange that plants were created before animals and not in correlation with them, because some plants need the presence of insects, such as bees or others, for their pollination. There are two different kinds of plants:

“Wind pollinated flowers are different in structure from insect pollinated ones. Insect pollinated flowers have: large, brightly coloured petals - to attract insects, often sweetly scented - to attract insects, usually contain nectar - to attract insects, moderate quantity of pollen - less wastage than with wind pollination, pollen often sticky or spiky - to stick to insects, anthers firm and inside flower - to brush against insects. Wind pollinated flowers have: small petals, often brown or dull green - no need to attract insects, no scent - no need to attract insects, no nectar - no need to attract insects, pollen produced in great quantities - because most does not reach another flower, pollen very light and smooth - so it can be blown in the wind and stops it clumping together, anthers loosely attached and dangle out - to release pollen into the wind.”[1]

According to the book of Genesis, God had created insect-pollinated flowers before creating insects, and that is odd. God created the plants on the third day, some of which needed insects in order to be pollinated, but He created the pollination factors, the insects, only on the fifth day. Again, the order of creation is an absurd one, as on many other occasions.

God asked the earth to put forth vegetation but He didn’t do the same thing with the sea. There are many plants living in water but the Bible doesn’t say a word about their creation. The method indicated by the book of Genesis for the creation of plants is at least incomplete. As a matter of fact, not all plants can be inscribed in the categories presented by the book of Genesis. In the following biblical text, we are presented with the kinds of plants made by God:

“9 And God said, ‘Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’

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And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.” (Genesis 1; 9-13 NRSV)

Some plants don’t multiply through seeds but through spores. This quotation explains:

“Ferns, mosses, liverworts and green algae are all plants that have spores. Spore plants have a different life cycle. A parent plant sends out tiny spores containing special sets of chromosomes. These spores do not contain an embryo or food stores. Fertilisation of the spores takes place away from the parent, usually in a damp place. An embryo is formed and a new plant grows from it. New Zealand has about 200 species of ferns and over 500 species of moss.”[2]

According to the description found in the book of Genesis, all plants multiply through seeds, either yielding seeds or fruits bearing seeds, but this is false information because not every plant grows from a seed. Some plants, like ferns and mosses, grow from spores. Other plants use asexual vegetative reproduction and grow new plants from rhizomes or tubers. Those plants aren’t enumerated by the book of Genesis and that demonstrates that in its texts there isn’t any revealed knowledge by God, but only an empirical collection of ancient observations.[3]

Again, the Bible is incomplete in its record showing the ignorance of its writers regarding biology. Encompassing all plants in the category of plants with seeds, the book of Genesis simplifies its view on nature and gives an incorrect account of the genesis of plants. Who created all other plants, other than the plants yielding or bearing seeds? God would have created only plants yielding seeds or fruits bearing seeds, according to the Bible.

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In nature, there are many carnivorous plants, but the Christian doctrine is telling us that there wasn’t death in God’s creation until Adam’s sin. The carnivorous plants which would have been created on the third day of the creation, wouldn’t have waited until Adam’s Fall in order to eat; they would have killed insects or other small animals before that, but from what the texts of Genesis indicate they would have starved for two days until the animals were created. It must be a mistake in the doctrine regarding the moment when death entered into creation because besides carnivorous animals the creation also comprised of carnivorous plants, and they were also created on the third day of creation. If God didn’t endow animals and plants to eat meat, it must have been nature which did it. The following passage brings some clarifications regarding the carnivorous plants:

“Carnivorous plants are predatory flowering plants that kill animals in order to derive nutrition from their bodies. They share three attributes that operate together and separate them from other plants. Carnivorous plants: Capture and kill prey - Have a mechanism to facilitate digestion of the prey - Derive a significant benefit from nutrients assimilated from the prey.”[4]

 The existence of carnivorous plants before the creation of their food is another example for the illogical way in which the book of Genesis describes creation. Carnivorous plants are real and couldn’t have been generated by anyone else but by God in the context of the Bible. They speak about the complexity of nature, whose multiplicity cannot be reduced to the simplistic narratives about the creation of plants found in the book of Genesis.

According to the book of Genesis all plants had been created by God on the third day of the creation. This is the biblical account and tells us that death would have entered into creation on the day in which plants and animals were created by God, and not as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s Fall. When the first animal had eaten the first plant, or the first plant had eaten the first animal, death entered into creation. That instant would have happened before the creation of man because plants and animals would have been created before that.

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On the third day, God created plants but unfortunately according to the book of Genesis He created plants only for dry land and not in the seas. When were the plants from the seas created? The kinds of plants which were created by God on the third day are clearly specified in the book of Genesis and they are limited only to land plants. We wouldn’t know anything about the origins of the vegetation of the sea if our knowledge was based only on the biblical texts because the Bible doesn’t tell us anything about that, and that knowledge is important in connection with the origin of life on our planet. We need science to fill this gap and to give us a complete record of how things happened, and for this reason the Bible cannot replace science. In the marine environment, there are herbivorous and carnivorous entities, and because there were always carnivorous animals in the sea it is inconceivable that all marine organisms fed only on green plants as the Bible says.

The book of Genesis maintains that all animals on planet Earth would have had green plants as their food, but if we compare this statement with reality it is false.

“In the marine environment, the most significant primary producers are large, plant-like macroalgae and microscopic phytoplankton. Both serve as food sources for a variety of marine organisms. Marine herbivores feed on different types of large, fleshy macroalgae (red, green, and brown), which are distinguished from each other by their different photosynthetic pigments. Planktivores or filter-feeders feed on free-floating phytoplankton.”[5]

The food for herbivores in the marine environment isn’t only green plants as the Bible says but red, green, and brown macroalgae and phytoplankton. The red algae, or Rhodophyta, are marine plants that live mainly in shallow waters and deep tropical seas. A few also occur in freshwater.[6]

Certain types of fish often take quite a liking to the red algae. It not only absorbs the excess nutrients from the water, but also serves as a great source of food for fish.[7]

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The idea that animals exclusively eat green plants is wrong and shows the ignorance of the authors of the book of Genesis. As a matter of fact, animals eat all kind of plants with different colours. To describe all fish as eaters of green plants is ridiculous. The biblical text says that all animals which have the breath of life had to eat green plants:

“30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1; 30 NRSV)

“Everything that has the breath of life” is an expression which contains all animals which live on land, on air, and on water.

There is an opinion which sustains that the allocation of the plants for food was not a limit but a common feature for all animals. This is an absurd attempt to give sense to the biblical text. There clearly are numerous animals which don’t eat plants as their everyday food even if they can occasionally eat very few plants to ease their digestion. They don’t eat those plants “for food” in the sense that they don’t require the nutritional elements from those green plants. At the same time, the Bible clearly says that the eating of meat was allowed only after the Flood.

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“3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. 4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (Genesis 9; 3-4 NRSV)

 If everything was allowed as food from the beginning there wasn’t any need for new permission after the Flood. The permission was new and not a renewal of an old permission. The old permission was only about the green plants – “just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” The permission to eat “everything” was given only after the Flood. Not only that but also the eating of meat was restricted only to flesh without blood. At the time when God had allocated green plants as food for animals and humankind, there wasn’t any discussion about the eating of meat because if there would have been such a possibility He would have cautioned humankind not to eat blood.

The description given by the Bible about the food which could have been eaten before the Flood is unrealistic. The book of Genesis is not truthful in the description of the ancient world and it serves only theological purposes, trying to depict an ideal or paradisiac world which would have been disrupted by the sins of the first human beings. The earth was never a paradise but a field for endless struggles, but this reality doesn’t go well with the principle of God’s creation. If God created the world as a kind of war zone this raises many moral questions. Maybe God isn’t only good or generous; He can have a very complex nature, as complex as the complexity of the surrounding reality.

As a matter of fact, the book of Genesis doesn’t present God as love as does the N.T. because He almost destroyed humankind and the earth through the Flood. Love isn’t a good explanation for the annihilation of millions of human beings taking also in consideration that after the Flood the world was even worse. Eating animal flesh after the Flood would have made the world more violent, not more peaceful, and with God’s approval.

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