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How many animals were on the ark? The opinions among the biblical commentators are divided. Some consider that 35,000 is the figure and others 50,000. There are opinions in which the number is even smaller, no more than 2,000 animals, but that goes against any animal classification by reducing artificially the number of all terrestrial animals to about 1,000.
A moderate estimation of the number of animals which would have needed to be on the ark would probably be around 50,000 if we considered also the huge diversity of the birds. This would be right only if we consider that Noah would have taken only one pair of all clean animals and birds, and not seven pairs.
Notwithstanding, up to the present time scientists have named and classified more than half a million animals, but it is believed that from 2 million to as many as 50 million kinds of animals are living on Earth today.
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The majority of these animals are capable of surviving in water but their environment would also have been affected by the Flood.
Some apologists maintain that probably on the boat not adult but young animals would have been taken, and they needed less room than adults.
This idea is a ridiculous attempt to make the unbelievable accepted. It is also a tacit recognition that Noah’s ark would have been too small to receive a pair of all adult animals on Earth. Young animals and especially very young, are inseparable from their families and their flock. Generally, animals live in groups and the young wouldn’t have boarded the ark two by two separated from their families. Moreover, in order to come in pairs, animals would have needed to be mature enough and not very young, because the pairing is a complex process which cannot be easily imposed onto animals. The paring of animals comes after a certain age and in certain conditions and it wouldn’t have applied to very young animals.
Did Noah have to round up all animals or would God have brought them to the ark? Could animals have travelled alone from their places to the ark? In what manner did the animals travel two by two from different regions of the earth to Noah’s ark? How did the polar bears travel from the North Pole? How did the kangaroo and many marsupial animals come from Australia precisely to Noah’s ark? Would Noah have travelled to Galapagos to collect tortoises or would the tortoises have come in their rhythm to Noah’s boat? How much time would have been needed to bring a pair of tortoises from Galapagos to the ark? The Bible doesn’t say but both options seem incredible. God didn’t promise to Noah that He would bring the animals to the boat. Noah would have needed to bring the animals into the ark:
“19 And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.” (Genesis 6; 19 NRSV)
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“Then the LORD said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7; 1-3 NRSV)
The Bible doesn’t give us the possibility to speculate that God miraculously brought the animals before the door of the ark, as some commentators maintain with no biblical support:
“Skeptics paint a picture of Noah going to countries remote from the Middle East to gather animals such as kangaroos and koalas from Australia, and kiwis from New Zealand. However, the Bible states that the animals came to Noah; he did not have to round them up (Genesis 6:20). God apparently caused the animals to come to Noah. The Bible does not state how this was done.”
What the Bible says isn’t that God caused animals to come to the ark but that they would have come to the ark brought by Noah. “You shall bring two of every kind into the ark” is the expression used by Genesis 6; 19. It isn’t in any way specified in the book of Genesis that God would have determined the animals to go to the boat:
“20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6; 20 NRSV)
“Two of every kind shall come in to you” from Genesis 6; 20, doesn’t mean that God brought them to the ark. “You shall bring two of every kind into the ark” from Genesis 6; 19 is much more precise than verse 20 because animals couldn’t have come onto the ark of their own initiative – Noah had to bring them onto the boat.
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Between Genesis 6, verses 19 and 20, we can see an inconsistency which is important in the context of the problem discussed at this point. Verse 19 seems to assert that Noah should have brought the animals onto the ark but verse 20 refers to the animals coming onto the boat on their own. Nevertheless, nowhere in the book of Genesis can one find text in which it is written that God would have brought animals to Noah’s ark. All actions which were supposed to be done directly by God were mentioned in the book of Genesis, for example, sealing of the door of the ark.
“16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the Lord shut him in.” (Genesis 7; 16 NRSV)
According to the text, God had told Noah how to proceed in regard to the animals, He didn’t order animals to come to the ark. Nevertheless, if an action was made directly by God the book of Genesis mentioned it.
This is how the book of Genesis works. A false premise is the base for a false conclusion. The incorrect premise on which Genesis 6; 19-20 is based is that animals would have been under the dominion of humankind, hence they would have obeyed human beings’ commands. The situation being so absurd some commentators need God’s intervention in a miraculous way by bringing animals to the ark in order to explain the texts, and this in spite of the biblical account. In the stories of Noah’s Flood animals are presented in the same allegorical manner in which the book of Genesis presents them in other chapters, for example, in the case of the personification of the snake.
Where was the ark built, in what region of the earth? The book of Genesis doesn’t say. Once we have established that animals wouldn’t have been brought miraculously by God to the ark and they couldn’t have come by themselves also, the only remaining possibility is that Noah and his family would have gathered the animals from the most remote corners of the earth. Did Noah organise a safari in order to catch African animals? Did animals obey Noah and come alone to the ark? Did lions and panthers and rhinoceroses and snakes and alligators follow Noah quietly, as do domestic animals, to the ark? They wouldn’t have behaved in this way. How did Noah handle all the dangerous animals?
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He couldn’t handle them because without tranquilisation Noah couldn’t have realised the transportation of those animals. Noah would have needed to use empiric means of transportation in order to bring animals from one point to another and besides ships he would have needed to use animal-propelled wagons. In those conditions, any trip would have lasted for long time. How much would a dangerous animal have resisted under those conditions? Probably, it wouldn’t have resisted too much. The transportation of the animals, particularly of the dangerous ones, requires special conditions which wouldn’t have been at Noah’s disposition.
Apparently, all these questions are answered by the apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis without really answering them. Here is an example of such an insubstantial answer. Craig von Buseck writes:
“The Genesis passage clearly states that God gathered the animals and brought them to Noah inside the ark two by two.”
This is just not true. The Genesis passage doesn’t state that God gathered the animals and brought them to Noah inside the ark two by two. Reading the biblical texts anyone can see that the Bible doesn’t say that God would have brought the animals to Noah’s boat.
If animals had already been corrupt and violent before the Flood as the book of Genesis says, it would have been very difficult to deal with them in the process of bringing them to the ark. Allegedly, God condemned all flesh including animals for corruption and violence before the Flood but, at the same time, He would have encouraged them to become even more violent after it by allowing meat consumption. The entire account contained by the two stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis is absurd.
Some insects have a very short life and others such as bees need pollen for their living. Bees cannot live without pollen and Noah would have needed to take with him an entire family of bees and not only two insects of that kind, because their multiplication requires special conditions. Without bees to pollinate so many plants the entirety of life on Earth would have been in danger.
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One year and ten days on the boat would have gravely disrupted the cycle of life of bees and their way of feeding. They could have eaten honey, of course, but they also needed fresh pollen which is available only in living plants, which couldn’t have been supplied on the ark. It is wrong to consider that bees can be fed only with honey for a long period of time and some studies show that this kind of feeding can induce their death.
Bees are so important for the existence of the entire ecosystem of the earth that losing them on the ark would have meant an incredible threat to life on our planet. I personally consider that on Noah’s ark it would have been impossible to generate the right environment for many insects and most importantly for bees, because without pollen and nectar for a long period of time they couldn’t have survived. Moreover, after the alleged Flood when landing on the devastated dry ground, bees wouldn’t have found plants with flowers at least for another few months. Who would have fed them after their descent from the ark? Besides the bees, tens of thousands of animals would have needed to be fed but no provisions would have lasted after the Flood, after the long trip on the ocean. To believe otherwise would be an incredible naivety taking into consideration the amount of food which would have been needed for a sample of all animals on Earth for a rather long period of time. In the stories of the Flood there aren’t answers to questions which stem naturally from what the narratives maintain and for this reason also those stories are unbelievable. If we attach to those stories the characterisation “inspired” we don’t increase their value but we negatively affect God’s image.
Many insects would have died on the ark during the trip considering their fragility and their very short duration of life. They would have become extinct and the only solution in their case would have been to create them anew after the Flood. That would contradict the biblical account according to which animals were created on the sixth day of creation and not after the Flood. At the same time, many accidental deaths or illnesses would have been highly probable on Noah’s boat due to the improper conditions, and almost any death would have brought the extinction of an animal kind.
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What would have happened on the ark with the waste coming from so many animals? Some apologists of a literal reading of the book of Genesis invent fantastic explanations in order to make the stories of the Flood more acceptable but without success. They imagine all sorts of technological devices existent on the ark which would have facilitated the work of Noah and his family. They also have to admit that the amount of the waste from so many animals was huge, being at about 11 tons of matter daily. Such an amount of waste combined with the need for animal feeding and watering would have been impossible to be handled by 8 people who would have worked on the ark. This problem is acknowledged in the following quotation even if the solutions given to it are unrealistic:
“As much as 12 U.S. tons (11 m. tons) of animal waste may have been produced daily. The key to keeping the enclosures clean was to avoid the need for Noah and his family to do the work. The right systems could also prevent the need to change animal bedding. Noah could have accomplished this in several ways. One possibility would be to allow the waste to accumulate below the animals, much as we see in modern pet shops. In this regard, there could have been slatted floors, and animals could have trampled their waste into the pits below.”
What pits below would have been available on the ark which could have deposited 11 tons of matter every day? This quantity of matter accumulated for no more than one hundred and fifty days would have meant a total of 1,650 tons of extra matter and more than double for one year and ten days, until the water would have receded completely from the earth. The decks would have been one on top of the other and not too high above each other, and wouldn’t have been suitable for the existence of any pits below. This is a very strange attempt at an explanation. The accumulation of the waste below the animals in such a small space would have generated an unhealthy environment and impossible living conditions. We should remember that the presence of all bacteria and viruses on the earth which would have been on the ark in order to survive the Flood, could have generated a biological hazard under unhealthy conditions generated by the lack of hygiene.
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One cannot escape the conundrum of a situation in which approximately 11 tons of waste had to be shovelled out of the boat through a very narrow window of only 18 inches high by 8 people every day. In my view, the hypothesis that all that waste would have been kept on the boat for more than one year is absurd. If we take into consideration the smell of that waste and the danger caused by illnesses, keeping it on the boat would have endangered the life of all those human beings and animals.
What would have been the daily program of Noah and his family? They had to feed between 35,000 and 50,000 animals or more every day, once or twice daily. They had to provide them with water and to clean their waste. They also had to attend to animals’ illnesses when they occurred. They needed to prepare their own food and to rest. Such a daily program is unrealistic for only 8 people. At an average-size zoo there are more than 8 people working every day with much less animals than would have been on Noah’s boat for which would have been needed several hundred workers to do the job.
The details of the Flood stories don’t add up in order to constitute a credible account of what would have happened during such an event. All the work on the ark would have been done in very difficult conditions, Noah’s family having to deal with some very dangerous animals like carnivore dinosaurs, lions, panthers, jaguars, tigers, hyenas, wolfs, crocodiles, alligators, scorpions, many kinds of snakes and so on which would have been on the ark.
Taking only a pair of snakes on board the ark wouldn’t explain the wide range of snakes living on Earth in our days. The idea that on the ark there was only one pair of elephants, one pair of bears, one pair of crocodiles, one pair of monkeys, and so on but not all species of animals is highly objectionable. For example, there are 8 species of bears: 1 - North American Black Bear, 2 - Brown Bear, 3 - Polar Bear, 4 - Asiatic black bear, 5 - Andean Bear, 6 - Panda Bear, 7 - Sloth bear and 8 - Sun Bear.
It seems to me that it is unacceptable in the context of creationism to say that Noah would have taken with him, for example, one pair of North American black bears from which all species of bears developed in approximately 3,500-4,000 years.
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This is by itself a contradiction of the creationist view on nature and presupposes an extraordinary intervention of evolution in the development of nature. North American bears and panda bears are two very different species of bears. According to the book of Genesis all animals were created on the sixth day of creation after their kinds. Did God create only two bears on that day and all the bear species emerged through their evolution, or rather did all species of bears come from a common ancestor, all evolving at the same time? I consider that the latter is the correct answer. That common ancestor could have been an animal from which not only bears but other animals have evolved.
“Scientists tell us that bears and dogs share a common ancestor. About 38 million years ago, the bear and dog lines separated into two distinct groups. The bear group began to walk on the soles of their feet while the dog group (called “canids” which includes modern day dogs, wolves and foxes) continued to walk on their toes. As bears evolved into omnivores, which means they began to include plant material in their diet, their gut became longer. Since plants take longer to digest than meat, plant eating animals need longer guts than carnivores.”
A common ancestor for many predator animals at 55 million years old would have been discovered recently, but that couldn’t have been on Noah’s ark, with the timing of the Flood as it is concluded from the Bible.
“Mammalian carnivores can trace their lineage back to a creature in the early Eocene, 55 million years ago. Fossils that were discovered in Belgium have gotten researchers one step closer to finding the ancestor of these animals.”
Bears and canines also have a common ancestor which had lived on Earth 30 million years ago and not 4,000 years ago, and that is a problem which cannot be overlooked.
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“Where did the bear really come from? The evolution of bears as we know them today, started around 30 million years ago. Their ancestors evolved into a family of small mammals known as the Miacids (Miacidae). The bears, small bears and also the canines developed from the Miacids.”
If God had created the common ancestor of all bears and dogs and also of other carnivores He had made a kind of animal which evolved into other kinds. This is in contradiction with the creationist view on nature. According to the Bible God had created all kinds of animals on the sixth day of creation, therefore no other kinds could have appeared afterwards.
Polar bears are thought to have evolved from brown bears but their separation started 100,000 years ago and not at all in the last 4,000 years as young creationists maintain.
The point is that on Noah’s ark approximately 4,000 years ago, after the calculation coming from the Bible, all species of bears had to be present and not only an ancestor, because the separation between the different species started much earlier than it is presumed that the alleged Flood would have happened.
This problem is similar to that of the existence of many human species which all would have started with Noah’s family, and would have developed in a relatively short period of time. One can accept that some varieties could have appeared after the Flood but all species had to be on the ark. It is obvious that the human authors of the two stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis didn’t have any understanding about the history of the animal species.
Not every commentator agrees with the opinion that all species of animals would have needed to be on the ark. There are commentators who consider that from one kind of animal, all species belonging to that kind would have developed in a few thousand years. Here is an example of such an opinion:
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“Noah was only asked to take land animals “in whose nostrils was the breath of life”. This excludes aquatic animals and insects that breathe through their skin. Noah was to take all these animals, “after their kind”. The word “kind” refers to all animals within the limits of interbreeding and thus is a broader classification than a modern “species”. Thus, Noah did not take German shepherds, Pomeranians, mongrels, wolves and jackals on board. He took a dog like animal. The different types of dogs that we see today descended from the animal pair that Noah took on board. While there are millions of species, there are only about 8000 kinds. These 8000 kinds “evolved” into the millions of species that we see today, in just a few thousand years. I put “evolved” in quotes because this kind of change is not the kind of change required to make goo to you.”
Ironically, the author of the article advances the idea that Noah wouldn’t have taken insects on the boat. If so, all insects would have been destroyed by the waters of the Flood and today no insects would live on Earth. But many insects are alive on the earth today, consequently either Noah had taken them on the ark or the entire story of the Flood is a fairy tale. All animals including the insects had been created by God on the sixth day of creation, according to the book of Genesis, and that would have happened before the Flood. No other creation of animals had occurred on Earth according to the Bible.
At the same time, when the Flood happened, the separation between species being already made, Noah needed to take on board a pair of all species of animals, for example, all eight species of bears. If Noah hadn’t done that many animals would have been lost and their species wouldn’t have been preserved. If Noah had taken on board only one pair of bears today on Earth there would be only one species with some variety within its limits, but not eight species including the brown and polar bears.
Another important inconsistency found in the stories of the Flood is the difference in treatment between terrestrial and aquatic animals. The terrestrial animals would have been killed by the Flood but living in the waters, the aquatic animals would have been spared. This difference in the treatment of terrestrial and marine animals doesn’t make any sense when we look at it in the biblical context.
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The motivation for the Flood was that “God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth”. The flesh is the flesh of land animals but also of aquatic animals. To maintain that only one category was corrupt but the other one wasn’t is absurd. The same violence which would have been on Earth would have been in the waters also.
Sharks and many other predator aquatic animals would have committed the same violence as the terrestrial animals, but apparently they wouldn’t have been punished for it. If the marine animals had also been destroyed by the harsh conditions of the Flood, how did they appear again after the Flood? The marine animals either weren’t punished for their violence through the Flood or they were destroyed by the Deluge and their existence today cannot be explained. Both versions show the incongruence of the biblical stories about the Flood. In other words, the Flood couldn’t have solved the problem of violence of all flesh, hence it was useless.
How many animal species are known to live at the present in the world? Mammals – 5,513 species, birds – 10,425 species, reptiles – 10,038 species, insects – 1,000,000 species, spiders and scorpions – 102,248 species. 50,000 species of animals which needed to be on the ark is a very moderate evaluation. How could Noah identify all species of animals in order to be able to take a pair of all species on the ark? This would have been impossible with the degree of knowledge existent in his time.
The classification of the animals is an important scientific achievement which wouldn’t have been within Noah’s reach. Did Noah follow a kind of catalogue showing all animals on Earth? Of course, he didn’t. Noah couldn’t have identified which animals had to be taken on board if he hadn’t known all species living on Earth in his time. Noah couldn’t have known all species of animals. Some continents weren’t discovered until a few hundred years ago and over there, are live animals which couldn’t have been known by Noah. The classification of the species came relatively late in human history, hence it wasn’t known at the time of Noah either. If Noah had been able to classify the species following the identification of all animals he would have left this knowledge to his offspring, but he didn’t.
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Noah wouldn’t have known the geographical areas where some animals would have lived, for example, America and Australia, which were discovered long time after the era when the alleged Flood is said to have happened. Noah couldn’t have organised expeditions in order to bring animals from the areas unknown to him.
Before going into a certain geographical area Noah should have known what animals would have lived there, and hence if there were other animals than in the areas he visited already. If Noah had searched for the animals without a plan he literally had to go all over the earth looking for animals metre by metre and trying to make an inventory also during that process. By the time he had collected some animals, other animals already collected and brought to the ark would have been dead because the time needed for such an operation would have been huge.
Practically, without a plan based on detailed information Noah couldn’t have collected all animals from their specific environment. Very important species of animals living in America and Australia which are newly discovered continents would have been lost if the stories of the Flood are true. In my opinion, the way in which animals are distributed on Earth contradicts the stories of the Flood, according to which all animals migrated on our planet starting from one single centre, the place where Noah’s ark landed. If the ark and the place of its landing were real, many animals which live only in Australia wouldn’t live only there, but they would also be found in the areas between Ararat Mountain and the Australian continent – this is not the case. The animals living in Australia would have travelled to that continent after the landing from Noah’s ark but some of them would have remained in other places on that route.
As a matter of fact, Australia separated as a continent from Antarctica 45 million years ago and some species of animals developed on that continent, are specific only for that geographical area. (What is Gondwana? See: livescience.com › Planet Earth) Animals didn’t come from the Middle East where the ark landed but they were born in specific areas and some of them live only there. That is further evidence for the incompatibility between reality and the stories of the Flood.
A detailed description of the species founded on a systematic analysis of the main characteristics of the animals was established only in the 18th century.
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Only having this classification at his or her disposal could someone have pretended that would have saved all kinds of animals on Earth except, of course, those animals which weren’t yet known therefore weren’t classified.
“Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus created and published in 1758 the system still used to formally name and describe species.”
How many clean animals would have been taken by Noah on the ark, one pair of each or seven pairs of each? How could Noah have differentiated between clean animals and animals which weren’t clean with a lack of precise prescriptions? Which animals are clean and which are unclean was only revealed in the laws given to Moses after the exodus of Israelites from Egypt. The Bible doesn’t state anywhere that before Moses there was another delimitation of animals into clean and unclean, hence this division before the Flood is fictitious and added to the texts only when this classification was in place.
Either Noah took seven pairs of clean animals on board the ark and seven pairs of all birds, and sacrificed some of them, or he took only one pair of each clean animal and after the Flood those animals would have been sacrificed and consequently their species would have been extinct. Both options are absurd. Taking seven pairs of all clean animals on the ark and seven pairs of all birds, the number of animals present on the boat would have multiplied greatly. Offering clean animals to God in sacrifice, if on board the ark there would have been only one pair of all animals, would have meant that species like sheep or cows would have been extinct on Earth, but they aren’t.
Giving that on Earth we have sheep and cows and other clean animals, we should consider seven pairs of clean animals and seven pairs of all birds on Noah’s ark. If we consider seven pairs of all birds the total number of birds on the ark would have been around 140,000. I have multiplied seven by two which means seven pairs of each species, and with 10,000, which is the estimated number of the species of birds. This is a very important number and hard to host on the ark together with all other clean and unclean animals.
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At the same time, the total land animals to be taken on board the ark would have been very important if we consider also extinct animals at the present time, but which lived on Earth at the time of the Flood. Only insects would have been about 1,000,000 species. They would have been very difficult to carry on board and to take care of. As we have so many insects on Earth their kinds either would have been on the board of the ark, or the Flood never happened. The latter is more likely.
Four are the decisive arguments able to invalidate the story of the Flood. Firstly, we may ask how many days the earth was under water during the Flood. This is the calculation made from the texts of the book of Genesis:
“The Bible says that Noah was 600 years old when the flood waters came upon the earth. God commanded Noah to bring his family and all the animals aboard the Ark and seven days later, it began to rain and God shut the door to the Ark. The Bible says that it all began “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.”
We have the starting point and the ending point of the Flood and we can calculate how many days was the earth under water.
“In the 601st year, 1st month and 1st day [on Noah’s birthday in other words], he looked and saw that the “face of the ground” was dry. But apparently not yet firm. On the 2nd month and 27th day, the ground was dry and God commanded Noah and those aboard the Ark to leave it.
If we subtract the beginning date from the end date we get:
“Year 601 Month 2 Day 27 [End date]
– Year 600 Month 2 Day 17 [Begin Date]
= 1 Year 0 Months 10 Days” 
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How many days was the earth covered by waters, according to the book of Genesis? The answer is clear, it had been 375 days, in case that it wasn’t a leap year having 366 days. No vegetation would resist under a layer of water more than 200m deep for such a long period of time. All vegetation on the earth would have been dead when Noah’s ark ended up on the Ararat Mountain. The plants need photosynthesis in order to survive. Surviving without photosynthesis for around a year is an utter impossibility. What is photosynthesis? Here we have some explanations besides the ones already given:
“Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. This process occurs in plants and some algae (Kingdom Protista). Plants need only light energy, CO2, and H2O to make sugar. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts, specifically using chlorophyll, the green pigment involved in photosynthesis.”
In order for the process of photosynthesis to be possible, some essential conditions are needed. At least one of these conditions couldn’t have been realised during the Flood and that condition is the presence of light under a thick layer of water. Let’s imagine what would have happened with plants during the Flood. A layer of around 8,848 metres of water, the height of Himalayan Mountains, would have covered the earth. At such a depth, the sunlight or any other light wouldn’t have been able to reach the plants usually dwelling on the dry land but which were covered by water during the Flood. Without the light coming from the sun or any other source the photosynthesis of the plants wouldn’t have been possible. Without photosynthesis, the plants would have died in a few weeks at the most. There wouldn’t have been any chance of existence for plants without light. How far does the light travel into the ocean? Light doesn’t travel fully into the ocean more than 200m.
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Beyond 200 metres into the ocean photosynthesis is no longer possible. Without photosynthesis, life for the plants would have been impossible and all the vegetation from the earth would have died. What would have happened if photosynthesis had become impossible? The changes of the environment would have been so important that life on Earth would have become extinct. The following quotation explains the importance of photosynthesis for the life on Earth:
“Photosynthesis is incredibly important in numerous ways. Everything in an ecosystem is a part of a food web. Trees, plants, flowers, shrubs, algae, etc. all need the sun in order to convert the suns light into energy. Here is an example that will make it easy to understand. All of the things I listed above cannot survive without using photosynthesis. So for example, there would be no trees. Without trees there would not be hiding places for a number of different animals. Since these animals did not have adequate hiding areas, they would be eaten very easily by predators. Since the predators are eating all of these animals, there would be a shortage of food for them and they may not survive. Every living thing is dependent upon another for survival in some way… Thus without plants there will be no animals subsisting directly on food from plants. And in absence of such animals there will be no animals subsisting on food obtained from other animals. Thus without photosynthesis there will be no plant or animal life on earth.”
After Noah’s Flood, if it really happened, no life on dry land would have been possible because for one year plants wouldn’t have access to light, being covered by water. Even if one reduces this period following different interpretations of the stages of the Flood, to nine or seven months, the outcome would have been unchanged. Nevertheless, according to the Bible, the earth had dried completely after one year and ten days. How can this dilemma be solved? There are many explanations given by the commentators who maintain a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis. The following is the most important of them. The plants survived through their seeds which could have been contained either in the body of drowned animals or harboured by trees or other vegetation which would have been uprooted by the Flood.
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It is not impossible that some seeds would have survived the Flood and some vegetation could have revived through them, but the dilemma isn’t solved. Not all plants reproduce through seeds – some of them reproduce through spores and others through asexual reproduction.
“Asexual reproduction is when offspring are genetically identical to the parent. Asexual reproduction only requires - and only allows for - one parent. Most of the time, we think of two parents - a male and a female - making an offspring. However, asexual reproduction only uses one parent. In plants, asexual reproduction is called vegetative propagation.”
If the Flood had been real no plants which use asexual reproduction would have been alive after the Deluge. Provided that all plants were created on the third day of creation as the book of Genesis says, the destruction of all plants using asexual reproduction by the Flood wouldn’t have allowed their existence in the present time. Notwithstanding, the plants which use asexual reproduction live on Earth in our days, hence the Flood is only imagination.
Vegetative or asexual reproduction is specific for the multiplication of many plants. For example, potatoes reproduce through their bulbs. If the plants of potatoes had been covered by water for one year and ten days, and in this period of time several months were under 200m depth without light and oxygen, no potatoes and other plants which use vegetative propagation would be on Earth today. The plants which reproduce through asexual reproduction are less resistant in unstable environments, therefore less likely to have survived a cataclysmic event:
“Because asexual reproduction doesn’t allow for evolution and adaptations to occur as frequently as sexual reproduction, vegetative propagation is not advantageous for plants that live in changing environments. In unstable environments, plants that are identical to each other may all die out at once. However, if plants/span> are geneticallydifferent, which is a result of sexual reproduction, some plants may survive in an unstable environment.”
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Such were the conditions during the Flood described by the book of Genesis that many plants would have disappeared from the earth after it. Among those plants would have been potatoes, all kinds of berries and others, but also the majority of plants which multiply through seeds and spores. Even if it isn’t impossible that some seeds would have survived through the Flood, it isn’t likely that they would have done it. Some experiments done with dormant seeds aren’t conclusive enough in order to support the idea of repopulation with plants after the Flood in this way.
There are arguments against the possibility of dormant seeds reproducing and creating new vegetation on Earth following the Deluge:
“In reality, seed dormancy is a complex affair and involves metabolic and environmental prerequisites for entrance into and recovery from the state as well as several forms of quiescence. The vast majority of seeds which become dormant do so in order to endure cold temperatures or prolonged drought, and in the warm flood waters most would germinate immediately and then drown for lack of oxygen (cf. Villiers).”
Being carried by the waters, the dormant seeds wouldn’t have always found a suitable geographical place for their reproduction, taking into consideration that plants need a certain environment for their survival. The soil on which the dormant seeds would have landed wouldn’t have been prepared for receiving them, because after the Flood its salinity would have increased drastically.
The uprooting of trees and other plants and them traveling up to 8,848m depending on where they were situated, to the new surface of the oceans, would have been a rare phenomenon. Even if a few seeds would have survived, all over the world the multiplication of plants would have been threatened by the lack of pollination agents such as insects.
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They would have needed time for their multiplication before being able to cover the entire face of the earth. At this point we face, again, a contradiction generated by the inability of the biblical texts to offer solutions to so many problems. Plants based on dormant seeds couldn’t have been pollinated with a lack of insects and the latter couldn’t have multiplied with a lack of pollen, their specific food. At the same time, the herbivorous animals would have destroyed the unlikely few plants coming from dormant seeds when searching for food. For this reason, the continuation of life after the Flood would have been improbable. Proof that the Flood never happened is that today there are plants on Earth which don’t multiply through seeds and which would have all been destroyed by the lack of photosynthesis under a thick layer of water.
How about the oceans, was the life possible in that environment? I would be in doubt to answer positively to that question for several reasons. If the Flood had covered the surface of the earth with a layer of 8,848m of water, all marine animals had to adapt to that kind of change, but could they have done that in reality? Coming from above and from beneath, according to the book of Genesis, the water would have raised quickly on Earth but the light doesn’t reach into the water consistently more than 200m. This situation would have posed a serious problem. The marine animals usually living in salt water in search of light would have entered suddenly into a layer of fresh water caused by the Flood. The presupposition is that the rain during the Flood wouldn’t have been salted and it shouldn’t have been if it was as we know it today. Nevertheless, salted rain would have created further problems without solving the brutal change in the marine environment, because in this case the fish which lived in fresh water would have been seriously harmed.
This is the reason why rain water isn’t salty:
“When water evaporates from the ocean, only the pure H2O molecules are involved - it’s basically energy turning the water from liquid state to vapor state. The salt particles are, in essence, left behind.”
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The vast majority of the animals, living in the oceans, live near to the surface and they need light. They would be in search of light if for any reason the light was gone from their areas. The following quotation explains:
“Only the very top layers of the ocean get enough light to support plants, and most of the truly abundant animal life is crowded into the top 200 meters.”
Many marine animals feed on plants, and if the marine plants disappeared with a lack of light, animals which feed on them would also have died. In their turn, carnivorous marine animals without their food would have vanished after a while. The point is that such a Flood as the one described by the Bible would have disrupted all life on Earth up to the point of extinction if it had been a real event. The death of the marine plants would have had such a serious impact on the entire oceanic environment that it is almost certain that the majority of life in the oceans would have been gone.
Moreover, the transformation of CO2 into oxygen would have been hindered by the death of all plants terrestrial and marine following their submerging in deep water in places where light couldn’t penetrate. The conclusion to this point is that a Flood of epic proportions would have killed all vegetation at least on land if that had been covered with a deep layer of water for a long period of time, 375 days or even less. That would have prevented the production of oxygen for a while with fatal consequences. The alleged presence of dormant seeds without the possibility of multiplication through pollination for many plants wouldn’t have been sufficient to cover the need of oxygen on Earth.
In the ocean are found two general types of plants. Some plants have roots that are attached to the ocean bottom and others don’t have roots and drift about with the water. The rooted plants in the ocean are only found in shallow water because they cannot realise photosynthesis in deep water.
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All vegetation with roots in the marine environment would have died following the Flood because they would have been covered with a deep layer of water. Even if the vegetation of the sea which live at the surface could probably have travelled with the water, its life would have been in danger following an extreme downpour of rain. In forty days, the level of the ocean would have raised 8,848m which is the elevation of the highest mountain on Earth, if the edges of all mountains had been covered with water. That could have been an insurmountable problem not only for the marine animals trying to cope with such an extraordinary situation but also for the marine vegetation, which needs sunlight in order to survive. Could the phytoplankton have kept the pace with the rhythm in which the level of the water increased during the Flood and stayed in the photic zone all the time? Even if the answer is yes, the entire ecosystem of the earth would have been gravely affected. The ecosystem of the earth is in a delicate balance and an event like the alleged Flood would have destroyed this equilibrium.
What was the environment on Earth after the Flood? Coming out from the ark, animals would have been starving and the provisions from the boat would all have been exhausted. The carnivores would have had to attack the herbivores coming out of the ark as the only available food for them. In this way, all species of herbivorous animals would have become extinct very quickly. Even if spared by carnivores, herbivores would have been starving through lack of vegetation, and that also would have brought about their extinction. The land vegetation which usually would have been consumed by herbivores would have died under a deep layer of water with a lack of sunlight.
As a matter of fact, if the birds had eaten the small amount of dormant seeds which allegedly would have survived the Flood, no vegetation would have grown on Earth any more. Those seeds wouldn’t have covered the food necessities of so many birds therefore after a short while birds would have been extinct and also the vegetation which could have developed from those seeds.
If we accept that some dormant seeds would have survived in spite of all negative odds, we have to admit that any regeneration of plants from dormant seeds would have taken a few months. The provision of food from the ark would have been exhausted at the end of the Flood and human beings and animals couldn’t have waited for another few months without food.
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If Noah had some remaining seeds of cereals with him and he planted them on his arrival on Mount Ararat, he would have had to wait for about four months before the harvest of the wheat. After one year and ten days of Flood, another wait of four months would have been too much for the animals coming from the ark. How could Noah have stopped hungry herbivorous animals from eating the plants before their maturation? This would have been impossible.
Without herbivores’ flesh to be eaten, all carnivores would have died and with them humankind also. After a while the remaining life from the oceans probably would have moved onto the dry land and a new cycle of evolution could have emerged. Nevertheless, this new cycle of evolution would have excluded Noah and his offspring who would have died through lack of plants and animals to use as food.
Following a global Flood the hopes for life on dry land would have been the evolution of the species from marine to terrestrial ones, or life starting again on dry land from scratch. The remaining marine life would have evolved into biological beings suitable for dry land and that would have confirmed the evolution theory which sees the origins of plants and animals in the sea. It is true that some researchers think that life on Earth would have started on land, not in the oceans; its beginnings would have been in a “warm little pond”. This was also the prediction of Charles Darwin 140 years ago.
This is probably a very optimistic scenario because it is possible that even in the oceans a universal Deluge would have brought about the extinction of the majority if not totality of marine plants and animal species. After the Flood, in case it really happened, God would have had to recreate all animals and plants anew on Earth.
How about the viruses or other microorganisms? They aren’t considered to be animals but a special category of living beings, or rather on the edge of what life is. How could they survive the Flood other than in the bodies of all animals or plants found on the boat? It is supposed that Noah would have taken with him on the boat only healthy animals, and all the animals or people affected by viruses would have remained out of it.
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In this case how could all those viruses have survived if they were covered by more than 8,000 metres depth of water, and all their hosting organisms had died? The only solution is that all viruses would have been hosted by the bodies of human beings and animals on the ark. Together with viruses on the boat, would have been all bacteria good and bad.
“A virus is a microscopic organism that can replicate only inside the cells of a host organism. Most viruses are so tiny they are only observable with at least a conventional optical microscope. Viruses infect all types of organisms, including animals and plants, as well as bacteria and archaea. Approximately 5000 different viruses have been described in detail at the current time, although it is known that there are millions of distinct types.”
Viruses can provoke many diseases in animals and if all the existent viruses had been in the bodies of the animals on the ark, nothing good would have happened.
“Animal viruses are associated with a variety of human diseases. Some of them follow the classic pattern of acute disease, where symptoms worsen for a short period followed by the elimination of the virus from the body by the immune system with eventual recovery from the infection. Examples of acute viral diseases are the common cold and influenza. Other viruses cause long-term chronic infections, such as the virus causing hepatitis C, whereas others, like herpes simplex virus, cause only intermittent symptoms.”
So many viruses on the ark would have generated many diseases in human beings and animals, taking into consideration very difficult conditions and extreme agglomeration on the ark. The medical resources would have been very small, hence at the end the entire trip would have been disastrous.
The principle of a global Flood renders totally impossible the development of human history such as we know it. A global Flood on the earth would have been an irreversible catastrophic event and the description of the book of Genesis is a very naïve one.
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The stories of the Flood are inadequate pictures of an imaginary reality that could never have happened in the natural world in the way that it is described by the book of Genesis. If a man with the name Noah has ever existed he never achieved the deeds described by the book of Genesis. Noah depicted by the Bible is a fictitious personage.
According to the book of Genesis the earth would have come from the primeval sea and would have been engulfed by it after a while. After all, the rain which had provoked the Flood had come from “above” meaning from the waters that had been separated by God through the dome of the sky.
Where did all the water of the Flood come from and where would it have disappeared to after the alleged event? In order to find the biblical answer to those questions we have to come back to Genesis chapter 1:
“6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 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.” (Genesis 1; 6-7 NRSV)
The supposition on which is based the narrative about the event of the Flood, is based on the expression “waters that are above the dome”. This is a false supposition because there aren’t waters above the sky. At a certain moment, God would have allowed the waters from above the dome of the sky to come back to the earth through certain “windows”.
“11 In the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.” (Genesis 7; 11 NRSV)
There aren’t windows of the heavens in the real world. Even if we take this expression metaphorically it nevertheless doesn’t reflect any real phenomenon. The dome of the sky from Genesis chapter 1 was seen as a solid “firmamentum” by many ancient readers of the Bible, either Jews or Christians.
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I don’t find it necessary to enter the entire discussion of the meaning of the Hebrew word “raqia” translated in English, through Latin, as firmament. The cause for this interpretation is the function for which the book of Genesis says that the dome was created, which was to separate waters from waters. Such a function couldn’t have been assured by other than a solid firmament. Even if the Hebrew word “raqia” is not always used with the sense of a solid object, in Genesis chapter 1 it undoubtedly has this meaning.
The way in which the book of Genesis describes the universal Flood is based not only on the false assumption of the existence of a dome which stops the outpouring of water from above the earth but also on a misunderstanding of the phenomenon of rain. There isn’t such a dome and consequently such an overflow of water able to cover the entire surface of the earth is only fiction. Why isn’t it possible? This is because the total amount of water on Earth would remain the same either in liquid, solid, or in gaseous form, no matter how many times the water would change its form. If the water from the oceans evaporates, when it comes back as rain the total amount of the water is the same, and the level of the oceans cannot be higher than they were before the process of evaporation. There never was a reservoir for waters beyond the sky able to supply huge quantities of water when needed.
Another false supposition is the misunderstanding of the phenomenon of rain by the Bible. It says that it would have rained for the first time on Earth with the occasion of the Flood. As the ancient man saw the rain coming from above he or she thought that above the sky there must be a reservoir of water which sometimes comes down to the earth. The perception probably was that water reached the earth when the sky was opened by God. They thought that the sky kept the waters apart. This is a very empirical image about reality and surely is beneath God’s knowledge, who wouldn’t have inspired such wrong information to man.
Contrary to the real world and according to the book of Genesis, the earth had been covered at the beginning by waters and in this way it had an immense universal ocean, a certain kind of “primeval flood” which the reader will encounter again in the stories of Noah’s ark. At the same time, the reader must notice that there wasn’t rain until the Noah’s Flood, according to the Bible.
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The authors of Genesis thought rain came to the earth for the first time during the Flood, and, in spite of the presence of the oceans on the earth, there was not rain before the Flood.
If there was not rain, what was the circuit of water in nature? Naturally the water evaporates from oceans, lakes, and so on and subsequently condensates forming clouds. The water from the clouds returns to the earth and replenishes the oceans but also the other sources of water. It is obvious that the authors of the narratives from the book of Genesis didn’t know the circuit of water in nature.
Where did the water go before the Flood when there were oceans and evaporation but not rain? The authors of the book of Genesis didn’t know anything about evaporation and condensation of the water of the oceans and of other sources. The absence of basic knowledge and understanding of the laws of nature are evident in the stories of creation from the first two chapters of the book of Genesis. This cannot be God, who knows everything, and He wouldn’t have inspired to humankind absurd things.
The following quote explains briefly the complexity of opinions about rain on Earth before the Flood, based on the book of Genesis:
“Scripture says tantalizingly little about climate conditions before the Flood. Based on a few indirect verses, early creationists speculated that a vapor canopy covered the earth until the first rain fell during the Flood. In time, this view became dogma for some Christians. Later, when mathematical modeling failed to support the canopy theory, many creationists abandoned the idea of a canopy and no-rain-before-the-Flood. In time, the belief that it rained before the Flood became a new dogma.”
If the model of a canopy is not sustainable, because no known physical force has been shown to be capable of suspending such large amounts of water vapour in the atmosphere without major complications, such as a massive greenhouse effect, and probably it was not a canopy at all. If the rain was not present until the Flood the watering of plants on the earth is an unsolved problem. The rainbow was formed for the first time after the Flood and with no rain to refract sunlight, rainbows would not have formed.
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The canopy is a very unlikely possibility and the rain without rainbows at all is impossible, therefore here we are confronted with another crack in the consistency of the biblical narratives. Before the Flood there was no rainbow, hence no rain – it is what the Bible maintains.
At the same time, the book of Genesis doesn’t discern any difference between sweet or unsalted waters of the rivers and the salted waters of the seas. In the alleged initial mixture of waters which would have constituted the primeval ocean, some waters would have been salted and the others sweet, drinkable. When salt and sweet waters mix together, the level of salt dilutes but even so, the waters are not drinkable, are not sweet. How could the animals drink water after the creation if the primeval sea was salted? They couldn’t have used salted water for drinking.
If there hadn’t been rain on the earth before the Flood how would rivers have been formed and fed? Previous to the Flood, with a lack of rain, rivers wouldn’t have been supplied continuously with fresh water and that questions their existence. If there wasn’t rain before the Flood, from where did the river from the Garden of Eden take its water? A small spring wouldn’t have been enough for the existence of an important river. In times of draught many rivers lower their levels beneath a critical point.
If the waters of the primeval sea had been salted, the waters which were separated in order to let the dry land appear would have been salted also. With a lack of rain there wouldn’t have been rivers with fresh water on Earth and no human beings and animals could have existed on our planet. Rain replenishes fresh water in rivers and streams therefore they don’t taste salty.
Without rain the waters in the rivers would have been salty because they carry numerous dissolved solids found in their ways. In this case life as we know it on Earth would have been impossible because the salty waters wouldn’t have been suitable for plants and also for animals. Even if plants need salt to perform their chemical procedure, too much of it can cause the death of terrestrial plants.
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It isn’t too much to say that without rain the life on Earth before the Flood would have been impossible. Plants couldn’t have grown therefore human beings and animals couldn’t have existed on Earth in the conditions described by the book of Genesis.
It is obvious that where there is rain there are rainbows as well, and the first rainbow on Earth would have appeared only after the Flood. Moreover, the rainbow was unique after the Flood because it was a sign between God and humankind. It was a very important sign which concerned both humans and animals. Such a sign couldn’t have appeared before the Flood because the existence of the Deluge would have desecrated the symbolism of the rainbow before being used by God as a token of His covenant with His creation. In other words, the rainbow was the sign of a covenant between God and His entire creation that He never again would destroy the earth through a Flood. If this sign had existed before the Flood, the covenant would have also been in place and that dramatic event of the universal Deluge wouldn’t have happened. God couldn’t have used an old phenomenon, the rainbow, as a symbol of His covenant because such a phenomenon would have been discredited as a symbol when it accompanied the rain during the Flood.
“12 God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.” (Genesis 9; 12-13 NRSV)
Genesis chapter 9, verse 3, is clear when it states that God set the bow in the clouds as a sign and it is not a physical phenomenon happening naturally, according to the laws of nature. The rainbow was sent on purpose to be a sign, it wasn’t a natural phenomenon used as a sign because if it was, God wouldn’t have said that it was sent by Him.
The narrative from the book of Genesis regarding the third day is not accurate because it doesn’t give the whole story and contains a reference only to oceanic and sea waters, but doesn’t say anything about the rivers.
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Were the rivers separated from the waters of the seas together with the land on the same day of creation, or did they appear from earth, being generated by nature in a slow process? If they were created by God directly, it would be interesting to know when. Rivers are very important for Earth and one of them went through the Garden of Eden.
Where was the Garden of Eden geographically situated if indeed such an area would have existed factually on Earth? Theologians, historians, ordinary inquisitive people and men of science have tried for centuries to figure it out. Eden has been “located” in as many diverse areas as has been the lost Atlantis. Some early Christian fathers and late classical authors suggested that it could lie in Mongolia or India or Ethiopia. They based their theories quite sensibly on the known antiquity of those regions and on the notion that the mysterious Pison and Gihon were to be associated with those other two great rivers of the ancient world, the Nile and the Ganges.
If the Garden of Eden was somewhere at all on Earth, it is very hard to be located our days and some specialists, such as Dr. Juris Zarins, maintain that it lies presently under the waters of the Persian Gulf.
Many researchers see the Euphrates River as a possible location for the Garden of Eden. The Euphrates River begins at the place where the Karasu and Murat join in north-eastern Turkey. It is the longest watercourse in Southwest Asia. The distance from the source of the Murat to where it joins with the Tigris (near Basra, Iraq) is 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles). The waterway provided the water that led to the first flowering of civilization in Sumer dating from about the 4th millennium B.C. Many important ancient cities were located on or near it including Nippur, Shuruppak, Uruk, Eridu, and Ur (where Abraham was born). For several centuries, it was the eastern limit of effective Egyptian and Roman Empire control and a very important place.
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The location of the Garden of Eden is where the Sumerian civilization had developed, and the Sumerians’ myths about creation have many things in common with the Jewish one. If Abraham had come from that area he would have brought the Sumerian legends about creation with him. In this way, we would have one explanation as to why there are so many common features between the Sumerian stories of creation and the biblical ones. It is possible that an entire group of people would have come from Sumer in Canaan, bringing with them the stories about creation.
One thing can be said for sure. A river in no-rain conditions would hardly be 3,000km in length. Usually the source of a river is tiny but it grows bigger because many streams of water coming primary from the rain gather to form the main course. It is utterly impossible that a river with four branches could have been sourced only from a tiny underground source. Whoever chooses to believe such thing, that is his or her problem, but to force or manipulate someone to believe it, under the threat of punishment with perpetual hell, is immoral and unjust.
Let us see what the texts of the Bible have to say about the motives which explain the lack of rain on Earth before the Flood:
“4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 5 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; 6 but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground—” (Genesis 2; 4-6 NRSV)
Very rarely can one read more incoherent and absurd things than the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis. On the day that God made the earth and the heavens, that is the first day, no plant of the field was yet on the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, not because there wasn’t rain, but because everything was covered with water and all was under the primeval sea until the third day, according to Genesis chapter 1. The cause of the lack of rain at the beginning of creation offered by the Bible is naïve. The rain comes as an effect of a certain process of the nature, it isn’t “given” or “supressed” by God as a gift, and this is regardless of the dynamic of nature.
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God doesn’t despise or disregard nature, He uses it and can control it but He takes into consideration the laws of nature and He doesn’t act as if they didn’t exist.
Another important question is related to the origin of the water which generated the Flood. The windows of heaven don’t exist, hence the entire story of the Flood is pure imagination simply because there isn’t any source from which the water would have come. The expression “fountains of the deep” doesn’t surely mean a source of water ready to burst to the surface at any time. There is water deep inside the earth but it is entrapped in rocks, not free to escape and emerge into the oceans.
There is an opinion in which the fountains of the deep are explained by volcanic eruptions:
“There are many volcanic rocks interspersed between the fossil layers in the rock record—layers that were obviously deposited during Noah’s flood. So it is quite plausible that these fountains of the great deep involved a series of volcanic eruptions with prodigious amounts of water bursting up through the ground. It is interesting that up to 70 percent or more of what comes out of volcanoes today is water, often in the form of steam.”
This is an unacceptable proposition. An extreme volcanic activity during the Flood would have transformed the marine environment in a way that would have made the existence of life on Earth impossible. If we imagine the increase of the level of oceans by over 8,000m the volcanic activity would have been very important and the water temperature in the ocean would have increased dramatically. Together with water, the volcanic activity would have produced lava and toxic material which would have killed all marine animals and plants. Why the increase of over 8,000m? Simply because all mountains would have been covered with water during the Flood and the highest mountain on Earth which is Mount Everest has a maximum elevation of 8,848m. Mount Everest is much older than the supposed date of the alleged Flood, the age of the latter being deduced from the biblical texts.
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What is the water from above? It is just another false perception of the reality. Of course, as usual, some literalists have found a “solution” to this problem also. They say that if we cannot find a large amount of water in the sky, concentrated in the same place, it isn’t a problem and the Bible is surely literally right, the water is above the stars at the edge of the universe:
“Dr. Russell Humphreys has argued that since Genesis 1:17 tells us that God put the sun, moon, and stars also “in the expanse of the heaven” then the expanse must at least include interstellar space, and thus the waters above the expanse of Genesis 1:7 would be beyond the stars at the edge of the universe.”
Where was the rain from the Flood produced? It was formed at the edge of the universe, according to this opinion. Where there isn’t any respect for science, the place of scientific observations is taken by ridiculous so-called explanations. In this type of opinion, it doesn’t matter how that water would have travelled such a huge distance to become rain on Earth, what matters is that it is written in the Bible and the Scriptures cannot be wrong even when they are clearly false. In this case and not only in this one, the book of Genesis is wrong if we take it to be literally exact. Without the contribution of the waters from above the earthly rain would have never been sufficient to cover the “high hills”, in fact the mountains of the earth.
There isn’t such thing as a solid dome separating waters from above from waters on the earth and there aren’t waters above which can come to Earth if the windows of heaven are opened. This is a scientific truth which can be verified. Studying the cosmos, humankind couldn’t discover such a dome and such waters from above.
If the windows of heaven aren’t real and there would have been a global Flood on Earth, it was necessary for the alleged period of rain of 40 days and 40 nights to be preceded by an important process of evaporation. How could that process of evaporation influence the life on Earth before the Flood?
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How much water would have been vaporated from the oceans in order to be transformed into rain which would have covered the earth kilometres in depth? This level of evaporation would have negatively influenced the life on Earth to a high degree.
Another strong argument which together with others already mentioned can bring us to the undisputable conclusion that the stories of the Flood are only myths, is related to the waters allegedly coming from above and from the fountains of the deep, which couldn’t have faded away without trace after the Deluge. Following the Flood an incredibly huge quantity of water would have disappeared in a relatively short period of time without traces. As usual the apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis have found an explanation. Before the end of the Flood, during a period of time of only a few weeks, God would have created other mountains higher than the previous ones, only to raise them above the new water level. The proponents of this theory are not just naïve but rather they consider their readers naïve. Here is a sample of this kind of imagination:
“There are a number of Scripture passages that identify the Flood waters with the present-day seas (Amos 9:6 and Job 38:8-11 note “waves”). If the waters are still here, why are the highest mountains not still covered with water, as they were in Noah’s day? Psalm 104 suggests an answer. After the waters covered the mountains (verse 6), God rebuked them and they fled (verse 7); the mountains rose, the valleys sank down (verse 8) and God set a boundary so that they will never again cover the Earth (verse 9). They are the same waters!”
The assumption is that before the Flood the waters in the oceans were at a lower level than in our days, and after raining 40 days and 40 nights the level of the water was the actual one. That would have presupposed the existence of another source of water than the one existent on Earth. After the Flood when the waters covered the existing mountains, God recreated the earth and raised the tectonic plates in order to generate new mountains such as the Himalayan Mountains, with their highest point, Mount Everest, 8,848m.
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In this case the Himalayan Mountains and other high peaks would be very young, being created during the Flood. According to the Bible the Flood has to be placed in time at about 2,304 BC plus or minus a few years.
Scientific studies contradict this age of the Himalayan Mountains. The scientific estimated age of the Himalayan Mountains is in some opinions around 40-50 million years old and others maintain that is younger but not less than 25 million years old.
At the same time, a new hypothesis considers that in the area where the Himalayan Mountains exists there were previously other formations 450 to 500 million years old.
When we accept one of these dates we can see that the Flood cannot be harmonised with the creation in six days. The existence of the earth is much older than the Bible says. Unless someone can demonstrate scientifically that the Himalayan Mountains are 4,320 years old this kind of explanation for the disappearance of a huge quantity of water after the Flood cannot be accepted. As a matter of fact, scientists studied the age of the Himalayan Mountains and there aren’t any reasons to conclude that they are that young.
The creation and elevation of the Himalayan Mountains during the recession of the waters of the Flood is pure fantasy. If such a phenomenon was real and not only fantastic imagination, it is very likely that those tectonic movements would have created an incredible disruption for the remaining life in the oceans and all animal life would have disappeared. The temperature in the oceans and the entire oceanic environment would have changed dramatically and that couldn’t have gone without consequences for the marine life. The way in which mountains were created in reality is in a collision course with the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis:
“Many of the major mountain ranges are created when the Earth’s tectonic plates crash together. Because of the tremendous energies involved, the sides of the plates crumple like cars in a head-on collision. The mountain ranges are created because of those/span> crumpling plates. The Indian subcontinent “crashed” into Asia 25 million years ago and created the Himalayan mountain range. In fact, the Himalayans are still growing!”
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Other ways in which the mountains are formed is along fault lines or when magma from beneath the surface of the earth is pushed up, but doesn’t actually crack through. If the magma actually cracks through the surface, you get a volcano. The final way to form a mountain is through erosion and if you have a high plateau, rivers will carve deep channels into the area.
All these ways of generating mountains, if they would have been applied at the same time in order to create new mountains, would have generated real mayhem. As the water is said to have receded in a short period of time from the earth, that means that the alleged new mountains weren’t created in millions of years but in weeks. Let us imagine that a few thousand years ago in the interval of few weeks the earth was in a profound transformation and the dry land had been created for the second time on Earth. That would have amounted to a new separation of the waters, similar to the one which is described in Genesis chapter 1, but such a separation was made only once if the creation was ended in seven days as the Bible says, and most importantly would have been done before the creation of humankind:
“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.” (Genesis 1; 9-10 NRSV)
What the proponents of the theory maintain is a recreation or a repetition of the creation of the dry land after the Flood. This would be a direct contradiction of the texts from Genesis chapter 1 which says that the creation was finished in seven days, including the creation of the dry land. In this case, the seven days of creation wouldn’t have been seven days, but much more than that, because the separation between oceans and dry land would have happened twice.
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The book of Genesis chapter 1 says that God ended His creation in seven days:
“2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” (Genesis 2; 2 NRSV)
All these kinds of explanations given by the advocates of biblical literalism about where so much water would have disappeared to after the Flood, show that there aren’t any valid explications for the water receding in weeks from the earth. In the same interval of time that the book of Genesis says the water from the Flood abated, God would have raised all mountains on Earth, and consequently there hadn’t been only a Flood but also countless volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.
As the plants covered by waters would have died due to lack of light and the volcano erupted all at the same time in order to create new volcanic mountains, the atmosphere on Earth would have been irrespirable. It is true that not all mountains are of volcanic nature but many of them are and their impact on Earth’s atmosphere would have been huge. The sky would have darkened completely from so much smoke, generating a volcanic winter, and life would have perished completely on Earth. A volcanic winter is explained by the following quotation:
“Volcanic winter, cooling at Earth’s surface resulting from the deposition of massive amounts of volcanic ash and sulfur aerosols in the stratosphere. Sulfur aerosols reflect incoming solar radiation and absorb terrestrial radiation. Together these processes cool the troposphere below. If sulfur aerosol loading is significant enough, it can result in climate changes at the global scale for years after the event, causing crop failures, cooler temperatures, and atypical weather conditions across the planet.”
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If we balance carefully the argument supported by creationist commentators we can see that their attempt to escape from absurdity is very contradictory. The survivals of plants through dormant seeds together with a volcanic winter after the Flood are two incompatible assertions. Dormant seeds would have needed proper conditions for their germination but in a volcanic winter such conditions couldn’t have been realised. During the Flood all plants would have died, being covered with a deep layer of water which would have prevented the process of photosynthesis, and their survival through dormant seeds would have been impossible under the hostile conditions of a volcanic winter.
The natural equilibrium on Earth is fragile and would have been gravely disrupted by such an important transformation of the environment. Before and after the Flood are considered to be two very different periods in the history of the earth. Some creationists maintain that before the Flood there weren’t high mountains but only hills:
“It seems that at one time, earth’s land surfaces were all together — not separated by the oceans and seas we find today. The Flood would have drastically altered the shape of the pre-Flood land surface. Before the Flood there were possibly no huge mountain ranges, because the Book of Genesis refers only to “high hills” being covered (Genesis 7:19).”
According to this type of theory Mount Ararat was either a high hill, therefore would have been completely and definitively covered by the waters of the Flood, or was created during the Flood as a high mountain. This mountain is the particular mountain on which Noah’s ark would have landed for the first time after the Flood.
Mount Ararat isn’t a high hill but a high mountain of 5,137m elevation. The creation of Mount Ararat effectively under Noah’s boat in order to generate a place for the landing of the ark is an absurdity given the profound transformations presupposed by such creation.
Another inconsistent solution given by some commentators says that if the oceans floors would have been raised 2-3 thousand metres, all “high hills”, which wouldn’t have risen at the same time, would have been flooded with water.
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During the Flood the ocean floor would have risen 2,000 metres or so only to cover all “high hills”. After that, in another few months, when the water receded on Earth, the geographical areas where the mountains are placed would have risen above the level of the sea and up to 8,848m, generating that water recession. This is a fantastic scenario as unbelievable and impossible as are the majority of the aspects of the creation stories. The following quotation explains such an opinion:
“In their catastrophic plate tectonics model for the flood, Austin et al. have proposed that at the onset of the flood, the ocean floor rapidly lifted up to 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) due to an increase in temperature as horizontal movement of the tectonic plates accelerated. This would spill the seawater onto the land and cause massive flooding—perhaps what is aptly described as the breaking up of the “fountains of the great deep.”
All these scenarios imagined to justify the account of the book of Genesis about the Flood are based on nothing but speculation. The bottom of the oceans would have risen and would have covered the hills with water, and after that or at the same time the movements of tectonic plates would have generated new mountains and all of this during a few months. In reality, if the bottom of the ocean and all the mountains had raised at the same time it would have been impossible for all the peaks of the mountains to be covered with water.
In the meantime, Noah and his family and at least a pair of all animals on Earth would have travelled unhindered on the troubled waters. The tectonic movements which generated the apparition of many mountains would have also generated incredible earthquakes which would have caused very high and dangerous waves. Such a dynamic of the sea would have made life on the ark impossible given its unavoidable effects on human beings and on animals.
In the second half of the flooding process the tectonic plates would have generated, according to some commentators of the book of Genesis, the rising of the oceanic floor and all this presumably without notable consequences for the passengers of the ark.
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How about the volcanic mountains and the volcanic ash which would have been thrown into the atmosphere following the apparition of the volcanoes? Their inevitable existence based on the supposition of the creation of all mountains during the sequence of time in which waters receded from the earth after the Flood, is enough to invalidate such a phantasmagorical hypothesis. In this type of explanation often the problem with the waters from above disappears and the Flood is explained only by the raising of the ocean floor.
“Scientists who study Earth and its composition will tell you that Earth is made up of three main layers. We human beings live on the solid outer layer called the crust. Under the crust lies the mantle, which is made up of hot magma and other semi-solid rocks and minerals. Tectonic activity in the mantle often results in noticeable changes in the crust we live on, including volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Beneath the mantle, you’ll find the core. Earth’s core is the deepest, hottest layer, and it’s made up of two layers itself: the outer core which borders the mantle and the inner core, which is a ball-shaped layer made almost entirely of metal.”
A huge explosion of the mantle or of the core of planet Earth would have been necessary for the entire sea floor to dilate and to rise 2,000 metres. Together with the sea floor the entire crust of the earth would have expanded because the mountains are also a part of this crust. The elevation only of the sea floor without the expansion of the rest of the crust is nonsense. The scenario in which the sea floor rose first and after that raised the foundation of the mountains, all this during a very short period of time, with the purpose to kill the majority of humankind and the animals, but without destroying the environment completely, is the most naïve story that can be imagined by a human mind.
The temperature in the oceans would have reached unbearable heights due to cracks in the crust of the sea floor and that would have made the life of the marine animals impossible. Some classical theists don’t even take into consideration that a mixture of lava and water would have transformed the marine environment in ways that would have made all marine life extinct:
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“The catastrophic breakup of the earth’s crust, referred to in Genesis 7:11, would not only have released huge volumes of water from inside the earth, but much molten rock.5 The ocean floors would have been effectively replaced by hot lavas. Being less dense than the original ocean floors, these hot lavas would have had an expanded thickness, so the new ocean floors would have effectively risen, raising the sea level by more than 3,500 feet (1,067 m). Because today’s mountains had not yet formed, and it is likely the pre-Flood hills and mountains were nowhere near as high as today’s mountains, a sea level rise of over 3,500 feet would have been sufficient to inundate the pre-Flood continental land surfaces.”
Why do we find so many sea fossils on the top of mountains? It is undisputable that huge tectonic events have taken place in the past history of the earth during millions of years. Some areas which once would have been sea floors would become tops of mountains and keep inscribed in them the fossils of many marine animals. The scientific way of explaining the formation of the mountains is consistent with the existence of marine fossils on the top of the mountains because some mountains have been created in areas where the tectonic plates collided under water. At the same time, such phenomena couldn’t have taken place during Noah’s trip on the seas because those very important movements would have brought with them major earthquakes and gigantic waves which would have made Noah’s navigation impossible.
Tsunami waves tens of metres high would have affected the life of animals on the boat greatly and many of them would have died, and those particular species would have been extinct. The timing chosen by some commentators for the raising of the sea floor level and other major tectonic movements only to explain the recession of the water from the earth after the Flood is hilarious. This timing coincides with Noah’s trip on the surface of the sea. Those two aspects don’t go together. Either Noah’s ark, crowded with so many animals on board, would have navigated in good conditions for safety, or the surface of the entire earth would have been in a profound transformation.
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Imagine Noah and his family on board the Ark and the sea level rising about 2,000 metres generating tectonic movements and tsunami waves together with volcanic ash. In the meantime, the crust of the earth would have cracked and hot lava, about 2,000 metres in height, would have entered into the oceans where the aquatic animals would have needed in the same time to adapt to an important change in the salinity of the waters of the seas, caused by their mix with waters from the rain coming through the “windows” of the sky. The animals from Noah’s boat would have been thrown violently from one side to the other not being able to protect themselves.
All the tectonic movements would have been incredibly violent, generating huge environmental effects. We have to add to that the activity of the volcanic mountains which would have poisoned the entire atmosphere, rendering it irrespirable. The people who advance such theories about the mechanisms of an alleged Flood don’t take into consideration the environmental problems which such phenomena would have generated on planet Earth. It is hard to believe that some people can trust such unlikely scenarios.
The existence of marine fossils on the top of the mountains is proof of the tectonic movements which determined the apparition of many mountains on Earth but it doesn’t validate in any way absurd theories. The factual tectonic movements didn’t happen during several months but in a very long period of time, and human beings appeared on Earth through evolution when the conditions allowed for their survival.
The following quotation illustrates the classical theistic view about the period of time in which the creationists say that the mountains had been recreated on Earth:
“Rain initially fell for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:12). The water reached its highest level some time between the 40th day and the 150th day (Genesis 7:24). From the 150th day the waters started receding (Genesis 8:3). After another 74 days, the tops of the mountains became visible (Genesis 8:5). At the end of 370 days (just over a year) the earth was dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to leave the Ark. (Genesis 8:14-19).”
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Let us recapitulate the events such as they are proposed by the apologists of the literalism of the book of Genesis. Initially there weren’t high mountains, but only high hills. The Flood came to Earth for 40 days and 40 nights and “high hills” were covered by water, and the sea floor had risen about 2,000 metres, which would have been enough for this purpose. If this scenario had been true and the sea level raised 2,000 metres, why would it have needed to rain also for 40 days and 40 nights on Earth, where allegedly there wouldn’t have been any rain yet? If there weren’t high mountains on Earth at the time but only “high hills”, such an amount of water wouldn’t have been necessary at all.
Why would God have created high mountains after the Flood if before it the “high hills” were considered high enough and the entire creation would have been declared as being very good? Did God change His mind and considered that high mountains would have been better than high hills? The creation of high mountains during the Flood contradicts the seven-day creation because that would mean that creation went beyond the seven days and what was considered initially to be very good would have been changed.
After the raising of the sea floor and raining for 40 days and 40 nights, the water stayed at the same level, it didn’t recede anywhere but the dry land rose again and with it the high mountains would have been created. High mountains such as the Himalayan Mountains were elevated from the level of the existing “high hills”. All those high mountains had to be elevated from the 150th day from the beginning of the Flood during 74 days, at the end of which the tops of the mountains became visible. After another 146 days, the mountains rose completely and the land was dry enough for Noah, his family, and the animals to leave the ark. One thing can be said for certain. All the high mountains of the earth didn’t appear in 220 days – their creation was a much longer process. Anyone who chooses to believe, on religious grounds, that all the mountains on the earth appeared in only 220 days, including the volcanic mountains, in my own opinion, separates him or her from any kind of scientific knowledge.
How high were the “high hills” before the Flood? Comparing different versions of the Bible only one speaks of “high hills” and all the others refer to high mountains. Here we have few examples:
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“New International Version: They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.
New Living Translation: Finally, the water covered even the highest mountains on the earth,
English Standard Version: And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered.
New American Standard Bible: The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.
King James Bible: And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.” (Genesis 7:19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high ... –”
What is the difference between “high hills” and high mountains other than their height? All of them are generated in the same way and the difference is in the degree. Considering the way in which some mountains are known to have been created, it is impossible to think that before the Flood all mountains were very low, under 200m or so. Taking the example of Mount Ararat, which is difficult to believe that it was generated during the Flood while Noah and his family were on the boat heading toward it, the “high hills” could have been over 5,000m.
At the same time, the book of Genesis says that the waters have receded, not that the height of dry land and of the mountains has increased. The Bible literally says that a wind from God blew over the earth and the waters subsided:
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided;” (Genesis 8; 1NRSV)
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It is easy to notice that the text doesn’t say that the mountains would have risen but the waters subsided. The text induces the idea that under the action of the wind the waters would have receded similar to the action of a wind on a pond with little water, which would dry quicker when exposed to a strong wind. The wind can dry a wet object quicker by moving the air around it and driving away the air already saturated with water. Nevertheless, the water vapour coming from the waters of the Flood would have been in such a quantity that it would have saturated the earthly atmosphere completely. The rain coming from the waters evaporated from the flooded earth would have come back to those waters and the high level of the oceans would have been conserved. In other words, waters of the Flood, once on Earth couldn’t have disappeared without traces but would have continued to exist on our planet in either of the three forms, liquid, solid, or gaseous.
Waters coming from outside the atmosphere with the alleged first rain on Earth during the Flood would have remained there, being impossible to escape into space again, neither in the form of liquid, solid, nor gaseous water. The earth’s gravitation wouldn’t have allowed that water to come back into outer space. A very small amount of one of the components of water, the hydrogen, can leave the atmosphere in time through the breakup of water via ultraviolet radiation, which frees a hydrogen atom. This atom is not gravitationally bound and can exceed escape velocity relatively easily. At the same time, this process wouldn’t have helped water to recede in any way after the alleged event of the Flood, considering the huge amount of water presupposed by that imaginary global Deluge.
No wind from God could have blown that water away. What need would there have been for a wind to blow over the earth if the cause of the annihilation of the waters of the Flood was the increase of the height of dry land? No need, of course. The idea contained by the book of Genesis is that God sent a wind to blow over the earth in order to dry the waters. According to the explanation given in the Bible, the wind made the waters subside, not the rise in the level of the dry land. The text is clear in this regard. The problem is that some creationists find very difficult to believe what the book of Genesis actually says and have invented another alternative which is that of the raising of the height of the mountains.
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The waters have receded and more metaphorically they fled:
“5 You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. 6 You cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At your rebuke they flee; at the sound of your thunder they take to flight. 8 They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys to the place that you appointed for them. 9 You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth.” (Psalm 104; 5-9 NRSV)
The waters have stood in depth over the earth; they have been above the mountains and not only above hills. At God’s rebuke the waters flee to the place that He appointed for them. Not a word about the raising in altitude of the mountains. At the same time, in the book of Genesis, besides the Flood there isn’t any reference to earthquakes which would have been unavoidable in case of important tectonic movements. The Bible doesn’t allow for such an explanation. A huge tectonic movement during the Flood is pure imagination and it is amazing how widespread this is as a false solution for an important issue in the book of Genesis.
It is astonishing what the proponents of biblical literalism are able to invent. They don’t really believe what the book of Genesis says and they generate parallel explanations, as is the following:
“If the whole earth were fairly level, there would be enough water to cover it to about 3 kilometers. So how could the water from Noah’s Flood cover the highest mountains of the world such as Mount Everest at 9 kilometers? The answer is that Mount Everest — like other high mountains in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps, etc. — was formed after or during the Flood. It didn’t exist in its present form before the Flood. We know this because the higher parts of these high mountains contain fossils of sea creatures and seashells, such as trilobites and crinoids, showing that they are composed of rock that was once under water.”
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The mountains would have needed to rise in height during and not after the Flood if Noah would have seen the tops of the mountains coming out from the waters. The assertion that the ark would have navigated without any problems while the land rose beneath it is an impossible proposition. The ascension of the dry land under Noah’s boat would have generated huge waves, making the survival of animals and humankind very unlikely.
The ark wouldn’t have needed to hit any peak if the dry land really had risen during the Flood, because the plains also would have risen together with the mountains. Landing on a plain would have been much easier for so many animals than landing on the peak of a mountain.
Some commentators try to explain where all the waters of the Flood would have vanished to after the event, but in an unsuccessful way. As a matter of fact, there isn’t any explanation for such a phenomenon. For this reason, all explanations given by the followers of biblical literalism in this regard don’t have real substance. If only the mountains had risen during the Flood but not the plains also, the existence of the plains after the Flood cannot be explained. If both the mountains and the plains had risen from the depths of the waters of the Flood, the waters would have risen also, but mixed with lava and having a temperature beyond the boiling point.
Nevertheless, such an important transformation with all its catastrophic effects during a very short period of time would have brought the extinction of life on Earth. The main explanation given by the classical theists for the receding of waters during the Flood isn’t tenable and for this reason also the stories of the Flood can be classified as mythology with no regard for reality.
The text from the book of Genesis implies undoubtedly that the water has receded and the mountain was stable when it was hit by the boat and being the highest point in the area, was hit first. After hitting the mountain, if trapped by the rocks Noah’s boat would have probably been overturned by a further rising of the level of the mountain. If the land under water had raised, the boat could have landed on a straight field rather than on an abrupt rocky mountain and that probably would have happened if God really had organised the event. Because the land wouldn’t have risen but the water would have receded, according to the book of Genesis, the boat hit the higher and not the lower point of the land.
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We don’t have any indications which allow us to interpret the biblical text that the earth would have risen at the time, on the contrary the hint that we get from the Bible is that the water would have receded and the mountains stood still.
There are also other arguments which disqualify the explanations of how the waters of the Flood would have receded from the earth during the Flood. Why wouldn’t the boat have waited to touch a plain as it logically should and not the peak of a mountain, if the land beneath had risen all over the earth? Someone could say that accidentally, the ark had been beyond Mount Ararat exactly at the time when the mount had risen from the water, but this isn’t a realistic image. In this case, the mountain hit the ark and it wouldn’t have been hit by the boat as a static object. That would be the correct formulation.
The landing of all animals allegedly contained by Noah’s ark would have been more adequate to happen on a plain than on the peak of Mount Ararat, having over 5,000m altitude. That could also have happened when the plains were dry. Landing on the peak of the mountain with no vegetation, which would have died during the Flood, would have been nonsensical.
Imagine so many animals being hungry and thirsty at over 5,000m altitude in a very hostile environment without enough air to breathe. The altitude sickness over 5,000 metres is a problem which shouldn’t be neglected when one analyses the stories of the Flood. Noah with his family and all animals didn’t leave the ark until all land was dry. When the earth was dry, Noah was at over 5,000m altitude above the sea level because the ark hit first the highest peak of the mountain, as it was the first to be hit when the water receded.
Why wouldn’t they have come down from the boat at a lower altitude and not on Mount Ararat? Why would they have waited on the peak of Mount Ararat at a high altitude until the waters had dried up completely and why wouldn’t they have landed at the base of the mountain? The descent in the ark to the plains would have been much easier and healthier than coming down on foot from Mount Ararat’s abrupt peak. The lack of enough oxygen, water, and food would have decimated the animals from the ark if they had still been alive after so many earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.
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The stories of Noah’s Flood are in no way consistent or rational.
“…At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.” (Genesis 8; 3-5 NRSV)
Between the seventh month on the seventh day of the month, and the tenth month on the first day of the month, the waters continued to abate. The ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat in the seventh month, on the seventh day of the month, but the tops of the mountains appeared only in the tenth month, on the first day of the month. How could such absurdity have become reality? If the bottom of the ark had been stuck on some rocks the tops of the mountains would have been under the boat in the situation in which Noah’s ark first hit the highest point on Mount Ararat as it should. Such a landing is equivalent to a shipwreck.
If the text speaks of the tops of the mountains in general, the peaks of the Himalayan Mountains would have appeared before Noah’s boat hit the Ararat Mountain. Himalayan Mountains are higher than Mount Ararat by approximately 3,000m and until the water had descended to the level of Ararat a large portion from the Himalayan Mountains would have already been dry. If the text speaks about the top of Mount Ararat this couldn’t have been seen from Noah’s ark, being situated underneath the boat. The narrowness of the window of the ark wouldn’t have allowed the sight of the top of Mount Ararat found beneath the boat and we know that because Noah would have sent birds in order to recognise the land. If the ark had hit Mount Ararat in another place than the peak, at a lower level, the tops of the Ararat Mountain would have been seen before the landing of the ark. All details of the stories of the Flood are absurd and contradictory and they erode any credibility of those narratives.
According to the book of Genesis, Noah and his family and all animals would have dwelt for quite a while on Mount Ararat, not on the valleys but on the peak of that mountain. Until all dry land had appeared the ark would have stood above the sea level at a high altitude. Only after a few more weeks, the book of Genesis says, did all dry land emerge from the waters.
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What kind of food could all animals and humans have found when leaving the boat on the top of Mount Ararat? Who could have kept carnivorous animals apart from their prey? Being especially hungry, the carnivorous animals would have preyed on the herbivorous animals and many of them would have become extinct. Herbivores being extinct, what food would have remained available for carnivorous animals? With a lack of food carnivores would have become extinct also.
Eating of meat was allowed immediately after the Flood, therefore carnivores allegedly eating plants, which would have been on the ark, could have eaten meat after their descent. The point is that even the approval to eat meat after the Flood given by God in Genesis chapter 9 verse 3 is nonsensical when herbivores would have been in small number and with a lack of vegetation.
After the Flood “Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar”. Noah was allowed to eat “every moving thing that lives” meaning clean and unclean, but he sacrificed only clean animals. One text says that Noah didn’t know the difference between clean and unclean animals and the other text maintains that he did. This is another contradiction in the book of Genesis.
“3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9; 3 NRSV)
“20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.” Genesis 8; 20 NRSV)
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” is in contradiction with the Mosaic Law. Isn’t it God who has given Noah this command? Does God change His mind? He allowed Noah to eat unclean animals? All animals, clean and unclean, are included in the formula found in Genesis chapter 9, verse 3. If eating unclean animals wasn’t a problem why did God interdict their consumption to Moses? If eating them wasn’t good why didn’t God prohibit them to Noah? This is another contradiction present in the biblical texts.
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Coming out from the boat at over 5,000m altitude, Noah couldn’t have found any food or drinking water and the air would have been rarefied and also toxic, from the volcanic mountains which would have appeared recently, and wouldn’t have been enough or good to breathe. It is important to notice that, according to the book of Genesis, Noah would have descended from the boat together with his family and all animals only when the earth was completely dry.
“14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry. 15 Then God said to Noah, 16 ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. 17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.’ 18 So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 And every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, everything that moves on the earth, went out of the ark by families.” (Genesis 8; 14-19 NRSV)
The importance of this information lays on what description of that moment implies. The earth being completely dry means that the level of the sea would have been at today’s level. Taking that into consideration, Noah with his family and a sample of all animals on Earth would have descended from the ark at a little more than 5,000m altitude and not before that. This is a pinnacle of absurdity. At 5,000m it is likely that someone will get altitude sickness and between 3,658-5,487 metres is considered to be very high altitude. There is a process of adaptation of the body to altitude but the hazard still remains. Nevertheless, this process of adaptation is conditioned by very good hydration of the body. Acclimatisation is often accompanied by fluid loss, so someone hiking at a high altitude needs to drink lots of fluids to remain properly hydrated. The acclimatisation process is inhibited by dehydration so this isn’t only a facultative recommendation but it is an important requirement. People traveling at high altitude have to eat a high carbohydrate diet. (see also: princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html)
Being at high altitude, Noah and his family together with the animals would have been prevented to go through a process of acclimatisation due to lack of water and food.
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Not enough water, if any, would have remained on the ark after such a long trip. If we consider the number of animals and their intake of food the condition of eating a high carbohydrate diet at high altitude would have been also impossible to fulfil.
If hypothetically not all animals had died through lack of enough good air, the descent from the mountain for the remaining snakes, insects, worms, carnivores, and herbivores would have been a disastrous one.
Another very important aspect is that in order to sustain life the earthly atmosphere needs enough oxygen. This oxygen is produced by the plants from oceans and land and in lack of them no oxygen would have been available. Plants would have died without light under a thick layer of water, thicker than 200 metres, and the supposed volcanic activity would have created a volcanic winter which would have killed the remaining traces of life.
Another issue is the rationale for the Flood. Why did God destroy an entire population, some commentators calculated to be at about 4 million human beings, if the world after the Flood became even worse than before? Was the world corrupt and sinful only before the Flood? After the Flood corruption and sin have been even worse considering its extension. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah happened after the Flood and not before it. The Deluge hadn’t been a cure for sin and corruption, neither for the existence of Nephilim who have prospered also after the Flood, such as the Bible says. (Numbers 13; 33)
Why did God bring the Flood on humankind? Could it have been for the cessation of violence on Earth? As a matter of fact, after the Flood, God would have permitted the consumption of meat and that would have increased and not decreased the violence on Earth. Why would God have allowed the consumption of meat after the Flood if one reason for which He destroyed the earth was His disapproval of violence? The consumption of meat would have brought even more violence after the Flood. This is just another inconsistency of the book of Genesis. Let’s consider again the biblical text:
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-12 NRSV)
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God has regretted twice before the Flood and after it. First He regretted that He had created humankind and second He regretted that He destroyed so many human beings and animals.
“8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.* 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’ (Genesis 9; 8-11 NRSV)
This promise expresses regret. God wasn’t happy with what He did and He decided not to do it again, no matter how violent and corrupt humankind would become. The book of Genesis presents God with a very changing character. He hasn’t been decisive at all. He created humankind but He destroyed its majority after a while with a Flood which He regretted bringing to the earth and promised not to repeat it again.
At the same time, God has been very resolute against the killing of human beings.
“6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.” (Genesis 9; 6 NRSV)
Coming from Someone who has taken so many human lives through the Flood, such a request immediately after the event looks incomprehensible. If God made humankind in His own image why would He have killed so many human beings through the Flood? That event wouldn’t have changed anything regarding the human moral stance.
If God of the O.T. is seen as a role model the killing of so many human beings at the Flood wouldn’t be a good example to be followed. God brought the Flood because of human nature.
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“The LORD" saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually” and “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and the earth was filled with violence.” This was human nature before the Flood and after it, and that nature would have been created by Him. The human nature was imperfect from the beginning of its creation and the proof for that is human disobedience to God regarding the knowledge of good and evil, hence human beings were created with an imperfect nature by Him.
In what way has the situation changed after the Flood? In what way has the Flood contributed to human beings regaining the likeness of God? In point of fact, the Flood didn’t change anything in human character and it couldn’t do that. It was an inadequate way of changing humankind and for this reason it is incredible that the Almighty God would have used such an inefficient method in order to correct people.
Even if Noah had been a righteous man, this didn’t mean in any way that all his offspring would have also been righteous. The selection of Noah as a righteous man to be the ancestor of a new form of humankind, more obedient to God, is a naivety not of God but of the authors of the biblical texts. A righteous man doesn’t always give birth to righteous sons and daughters and his genes are mixed with the genes of his wife, and both carry the features of many ancestors. To destroy the majority of humankind on the basis that Noah, being righteous, his offspring would also be righteous, is an incredible absurdity.
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In order to have a term of comparison the total deck area of Noah’s Ark according to the book of Genesis would have been equivalent to the area of about 20 standard college basketball courts or 36 lawn tennis courts.
Let’s imagine that we could bring all the land animals and birds within the area of 36 lawn tennis courts, and that we squeeze in the same area the food required by them for a long period of time, and very importantly the drinking water necessary for all those animals. We should remember that animals and man cannot drink salt water from the sea even if it is mixed with fresh water from the rain half by half. What would the concentration of the salt be if we mixed the sea water and the drinking water? Seawater has about 35 grams of salt/kg. A kilogram of seawater is just under a litre.
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“The two most common elements in sea water, after oxygen and hydrogen, are sodium and chloride. Sodium and chloride combine to form what we know as table salt. Sea water salinity is expressed as a ratio of salt (in grams) to liter of water. In sea water there is typically close to 35 grams of dissolved salts in each liter. It is written as 35‰. The normal range of ocean salinity ranges between 33-37 grams per liter (33‰ - 37‰).”
What is the proportion between the salt in sea water and the salt in the fresh water we all usually drink? This is an important question when analysing the story of the Flood because it can contribute to the understanding of how so many animals would have been watered on Noah’s Ark. The right assumption is that Noah’s boat couldn’t have carried all animals described by the book of Genesis at the same time as the food for these animals and also the fresh water for their drinking. They couldn’t have used for drinking, for human beings or for animals, water from the sea, because the sea is about 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources.
Even if the rain coming during the Flood would have mixed with the sea waters, the result wouldn’t have been a drinkable compound. A careful calculation would have to take into consideration many elements such as the water currents, the level of the combination between the fresh water and the salt water, and so on. Nevertheless, even without this type of calculation it is obvious that the salinity of the compound of fresh water and salt water of the sea would have been very unhealthy and even deadly when submitted to it for a long period of time.
The Himalayan Mountains have at their peak 8,848 metres. The waters of the Flood had to have that height in order to cover Mount Everest. At the same time, the overall average of the ocean depth is 4,000 metres. The ocean water being 220 times saltier than our primary fresh water resources, I wonder if the combination of salt oceanic waters with the fresh waters from the rivers and other sources was important enough to make the water around Noah’s ark drinkable? How much more fresh water from the rain has poured on the earth in comparison with the existing waters of the oceans?
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Even if the compound contained four times more fresh water than salted water, the total wouldn’t have produced drinking water. I don’t know the definitive answer to this question and it is very difficult to reproduce the conditions which would have been specific for such a catastrophic event as the Flood.
It is also possible that after a period of strong rains a blanket of fresh water would have covered the oceans, a phenomenon similar with the situation in which a river flows into the sea. The explanation resides in the difference in density between the salted water and the fresh water. That source could have provided fresh water for a period of time for humans and animals. It still remains unsolved, the problem of the collection of the waters through the window of the ark. The ark was constructed in such a way that its top was entirely covered and the only opening was a narrow window which wouldn’t have allowed the systematic work of collecting a big quantity of water from the sea.
Even if the window had been wider than is described by the Bible, how could only eight people on the boat, beside other works, extract from the sea and transport enough water for the drinking and the cleaning of tens of thousands of animals every day? It would have been impossible particularly if all tasks had been done under the intense rain which would have brought the Flood.
Only a small quantity of fresh water could have been collected from the rain through the window of the ark. The system needed to collect water would have hindered the ventilation of the ark and the disposal of the rubbish because all of them would have used the same narrow window. The roof of the ark would have stopped the collection of the rain water through the upper surface of the ark because that boat was sealed with the exception of the window. The rain water would have been dispersed back into the ocean from the moment it would have hit the waterproof roof.
The animals needed a lot of food and drinking water and they wouldn’t have understood the lack of their provisions. They would have become agitated and very noisy if their provisions had been in short supply.
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The collection from the sea and transportation of so much water used for drinking by so many individual animals by only eight people together with the manipulation of so much food and waste, makes the stories of the Flood unbelievable.
There are other important arguments which invalidate the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis and which render their contents totally untenable. The mixture of fresh water of the rivers existent before the Flood and the salt water from the sea could have created other problems also. The following quotation signals this problem:
“Wouldn’t freshwater rains from the sky have made the saltwater deadly to ocean marine life? And wouldn’t saltwater have proven equally toxic to all freshwater fish? If water boiled up from beneath the earth’s crust, wouldn’t water temperature changes in the delicate ecosystem have also had a deadly effect?” 
I found these to be pertinent questions and for this reason I reproduce them here. One thing is plain; the disruptions produced to all marine and river water animals would have been so important that many of them if not all would have become extinct.
There are also animals which live both on the land and in the water. Hippopotamus would be an example.
“Hippos live in sub-Saharan Africa. They can only survive in areas with abundant water, though, so they live in areas with rivers and lakes. Hippos are amphibious animals and spend up to 16 hours per day in the water, according to National Geographic. The water keeps them cool in the African heat. They spend all day in the water and then hunt for food at night.”
What living conditions could have been provided for a hippopotamus on Noah’s ark? Could Noah have built a water pool for crocodiles, alligators, hippopotami, seals and so on?
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Living conditions in which the hippopotamus was thrown into water during days and collected back during the nights wouldn’t have been possible on the ark. If we have to take seriously the book of Genesis the hippopotamus probably would have been an extinct species. The story is the same with crocodiles and alligators:
“Saltwater Crocodiles are found in south east Asia and Northern Australia. During the wet season they spend their time in fresh water swamps and rivers but during the dry season they move down stream to estuaries and can sometimes be seen in the open sea.”
How about the birds which migrate? They would have been confined in cages on the boat instead of being free. Such limitation could have been a serious danger to their reproduction and probably their survival.
The habitat for some animals is very specific and couldn’t have been reproduced on a boat. The animals need a certain space around them and locking them in narrow cages would have been a cruelty towards the animals and would have endangered their lives.
Take for example the animal habitat in a zoo. That is not a natural habitat but nevertheless offers a good space around the animals and similar conditions to those in the wild. The animals receive food according to their needs and fresh water all the time.
On Noah’s ark, animals would have been forced to live in very narrow spaces for a long period of time far from their natural habitat. Their new provisional habitat would have raised many problems. How could predators have been kept apart from their prey? For example, how could anyone stop the snakes coming close to their prey if the former wouldn’t have been kept behind special barriers? How about the predator birds? How could they be prevented from eating small animals crawling uncontrolled in their cages, and in this way the latter being extinct from the earth? In practice, such accidents couldn’t have been avoided.
The stories of the Flood see animals in an unrealistic way and they are based on the false presumption contained by the book of Genesis that they were under man’s dominion and control.
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They would have come quietly onto the boat when Noah called them. They were very submissive to humankind and peaceful among themselves. These stories aren’t the reflection of reality but they are allegories in which animals are used as personages.
The narratives of the Flood from the book of Genesis are also based on the false assumption that God had created all animals to be herbivores and only after the Flood they became carnivores, when He allowed meat consumption. This isn’t consistent with the way in which the nature works through the necessary existence of the ecosystems, and it is in contradiction with the presence of violence and corruption of animals, also accused by God before the Flood.
“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 11-13 NRSV)
The expression “all flesh” has to be understood not only as representing humankind but animals also. Violence before the Flood implies the existence of carnivorous animals which kill other animals in order to survive. If only herbivorous animals would have been on Earth, violence doesn’t make any sense.
I have debated in another chapter the problem of carnivorous animals and when they appeared on Earth but at this point the problem of eating meat by animals becomes very important. Did animals eat meat on the ark? The carnivorous animals would have required meat for their consumption.
Many carnivores usually attack man and they would have aggressed Noah’s and his family during their presence on the ark. On Noah’s ark there wouldn’t have been only domestic animals but many wild animals and the latter don’t usually respect man’s orders. In a zoo if the predator animals have to be moved from one place to another they need to be tranquilised. Tranquilisation is made with special substances which wouldn’t have been within Noah’s reach due to the insufficiency of technological means at the time.
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When entering the ark the predator animals would have needed to be led to their cages and confined there and that couldn’t have been done by Moses and his family without the use of tranquilisation.
How could Noah have conserved meat for the predators which needed to eat it for such a long period of time? Salting meat for conservation would have partially replaced the need for fresh meat for predator animals. How many animals would have been killed and consequently how much violence would the righteous Noah have committed in order to provide meat for predator animals? If we knew the exact number of predator animals inclusive of the predator dinosaurs and how much food they would have eaten every day, we could calculate the total amount of food needed for the total duration of the Flood, according to the book of Genesis. That would be a huge amount of aliment.
Before being consumed such meat had to be desalted, keeping it for a certain amount of time in water, if not so much salt would have been harmful for the animals. In that period of time there were no freezers and in that geographic area it was quite hot. Meat would have degraded quickly and would have been unsuitable for food. Moreover, a large amount of rotten meat could have generated incredible epidemic illnesses on the boat taking in consideration that all viruses and bacteria would also have been on board the ark in order to survive the Flood. The presence of viruses and bacteria plus the lack of enough fresh water and the excess of waste on board the ark would have resulted in a biological disaster.
If Noah and the ark had been real the carnivorous animals including dinosaurs would also have been on the boat and that would have created insurmountable problems.
The quantity of meat on the boat would have been very important if we consider so many carnivorous animals. For the period when the waters rose on the earth plus the time needed for the recession of waters, hundreds of tons of meat would have been needed to be on board alongside hundreds of tons of plants for the herbivorous animals and huge provisions of fresh water, which couldn’t have been dragged out from the sea waters or collected from the rain.
The explanations given for this problem by the apologists of the biblical literalism try to downplay the importance of the issue but without serious results.
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The following is such an explanation concerning the consumption of meat on the ark:
“Many carnivores, including lions and tigers, can readily manage on a vegetarian diet, and this may have happened on the Ark.”
Another explanation as aberrant as the first one is given in the continuation of the same article:
“If it was unavoidably necessary for some of the Ark’s tenants to have meat in their diet, this could have been readily accomplished using salted meat, reconstituted dried meat, or fresh meat from fodder animals carried aboard for this purpose. Tortoises are a good example of a fodder animal. Tortoises can survive up to a year and a half in captivity without water or food. In olden days, the famous Galápagos tortoise nearly went extinct due in part to its popularity as a fodder food. Thousands were taken aboard sailing ships to be kept as a source of fresh meat.”
In the book of Genesis Noah had been instructed by God as to how many animals to be taken on board and not a word about fodder animals is written. The descriptions of what animals would have been on board exclude the existence of extra live animals later used for food. If that had been a possibility, Noah would have taken live herbivores on the ark as food for carnivores and more vegetarian food for herbivores. The space of the ark was limited and taking live animals as food for carnivores for one year and ten days would have been incredibly burdensome. Being used to hunting and eating meat, lions or tigers wouldn’t have eaten straw from one day to another. There is a big difference between carnivores and herbivores in respect to their morphological structure, jaws, claws, stomach, teeth, and for this reason they eat different things.
I tried to imagine Noah and his family fishing on the boat in order to find fresh meat for the carnivorous animals. How much fish would have been needed to be caught every day?
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Probably tonnes of fresh fish every day, because they didn’t have the means to keep it for long. Drying and salting fish would have been another important task together with so many assignments, and not all animals would have been happy eating fresh or salted fish. The way in which the ark was constructed didn’t allow for fishing on the superior deck because it wasn’t an open deck but covered by a roof and sealed. The ark door also would have been shut by God.
“16 Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above; and put the door of the ark in its side; make it with lower, second, and third decks.” (Genesis 6; 16 NRSV)
The roof of the ark had to be situated at one cubit above the whole construction which gives an opening of 18 inches all around the ark. Through that window, Noah and his family couldn’t have used fishing nets due to the narrowness of that opening. All the openings of the ark are mentioned by the book of Genesis and beside the window and the door other openings are not mentioned. The ark was constructed in such a way that Noah couldn’t have seen well what happened outside of it, and he needed to send birds in order to detect the dry land. Noah had to put his hand out of the window in order to collect the dove through it. During the hard pouring of the rain for forty days and nights, given the meteorological conditions Noah and his family wouldn’t have been able to catch fish anyway. It would have been a very heavy rain which together with the “fountains of the deep” would have raised the ark over the tops of the highest mountains.
Was the window of the ark wide enough to assure good ventilation of air necessary for the breathing of 35-50 thousand animals dwelling on three decks, and also enough light? Eighteen inches all around the boat couldn’t have given enough light and air inside the cages occupied by so many animals, given the disproportion between the size of the boat and the narrowness of the window. The boat was built on three levels and only the third or top level received light directly. The bottom and second levels of the boat were at approximately 13.5m for the former and 9m the latter, down from the window. The alleged height of the ark was 30 cubits and the window was one cubit, being much too small to supply light and ventilation.
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The ventilation of the ark occupied by so many animals being insufficient, the smell would have been unbearable.
The answer of the apologists of the book of Genesis is that God knew what He did and surely the ventilation couldn’t be other than great. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t God commanding such absurdity but human imagination which, as all through the book of Genesis, has proved unable to rise to the task of describing such a hypothetical reality. Coming from the sides it was impossible for the light to reach the bottom of the ark and many animals would have lived in darkness for a long period of time. That darkness would have had a very negative impact on the wellbeing of the animals and they would have become very noisy and frustrated.
The problem of the window of the ark has been debated over time by many scholars. Many tried to find an escape from the dilemma of its insufficiency in the translation of the word (tsohar) in Genesis 6:16 which appears only here in the Old Testament, but the proposed solutions don’t solve the problem.
It doesn’t matter if the translation of the word means a window or more windows, that opening or those openings couldn’t have assured sufficient ventilation and enough light. The deviation from the biblical text determined Eric Lyons to affirm:
“Another assumption often brought into a discussion regarding the “window” (tsohar) of 6:16 is that it was one square cubit. Although many people have imagined Noah’s ark as having one small window 18 inches high by 18 inches wide, the phrase “you shall finish it to a cubit from above” (6:16, NKJV; cf. RSV) does not give the Bible reader any clear dimensions of the opening. The text just says that Noah was to “finish it to a cubit from the top” (NASB; “upward,” ASV). The truth is, the size of the lighting apparatus mentioned in this verse is unspecified. The text seems to indicate only the distance the opening was from the top of the ark, rather than the actual size of the window.”
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This is another unsuccessful attempt to cover the inability of the biblical texts to create a credible image of a boat which helped humankind and animals to survive the Flood. The distance doesn’t refer to the section between the top of the ark and the window because there couldn’t have been anything from the top of the ark to the window if top means the higher limit. The window could have been situated in the wall or between the upper end of the wall and the roof. The window being placed between the wall and the roof, on the top of the wall, is the description of the book of Genesis.
The biblical text gives an undisputable description: “Make a roof* for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above”. What does “above” mean in this context? Above what? Of course, the expression “above” means over the walls of the ark. It cannot be clearer than that, the roof started one cubit above the top end of the four sides of the boat. Other translations express the same idea:
“Genesis 6:16 (BBE) You are to put a window in the ark, a cubit from the roof, and a door in the side of it, and you are to make it with a lower and second and third floors. (The Bible in Basic English)
Genesis 6:16 (CEB) Make a roof for the ark and complete it one foot from the top. Put a door in its side. In the hold below, make the second and third decks. (Common English Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (CSB) You are to make a roof, finishing [the sides of the ark] to within 18 inches [of the roof.] You are to put a door in the side of the ark. Make it with lower, middle, and upper [decks]. (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Genesis 6:16 (ESV) Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. (English Standard Version)
Genesis 6:16 (GNT) Make a roof for the boat and leave a space of 18 inches between the roof and the sides. Build it with three decks and put a door in the side. (Good News Translations)
Genesis 6:16 (GW) Make a roof for the ship, and leave an 18-inch-high opening at the top. Put a door in the side of the ship. Build the ship with lower, middle, and upper decks. (GOD’S WORD Translation)
Genesis 6:16 (KJV) A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (King James Version)
Genesis 6:16 (LXX) Thou shalt narrow the ark in making it, and in a cubit above thou shalt finish it, and the door of the ark thou shalt make on the side; with lower, second, and third stories thou shalt make it.”
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Everyone can make the following exercise of imagination. The height of the walls of the boat would have been 13.5m with an opening of 45cm on the top. Inside of the boat would have been several thousand animals living on three decks. The ventilation and light being insufficient and the opening too narrow for an efficient disposal of waste, the living conditions on the ark resulting from how the boat is described by the book of Genesis, would have made life impossible.
What kind of food was on the ark? The apologists of a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis present God as continuously changing His creation. By understanding the nature of animals in dependence of humankind’s moral conduit, those apologists are trampling on any kind of logic. This is an example of that kind of thinking:
“Creation scientists suspect that God caused meat eaters like lions and T-rexes to eat plants as they originally had when God created them, before Adam sinned and death entered the world.”
According to many interpretations of the book of Genesis God would have initially created all animals as herbivores; some of them became carnivores after humankind’s Fall and during the Flood all became herbivores again. After the Flood, some animals would have become carnivores once more. If the cause of change of the feeding habits was the human Fall why weren’t all animals affected equally? Why did an important number of animals remain herbivores? There wasn’t any justification for the situation in which only some animals started eating meat after the Fall if all animals had been affected equally by the human disobedience.
Of course, carnivorous animals and herbivores are genetically very distinct and this is the real reason for their different way of feeding, and not humankind’s Fall.
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With such an inconsistency it isn’t any wonder that so many people cannot accept the reality of the descriptions given by the book of Genesis.
How much food was on the ark? It is hard to calculate the amount of food needed by so many animals for such a long period of time. Any calculation has to take in consideration the type and size of the animals and the number of all animals existent on the ark. Without such calculation one can only approximate the amount of food needed on the ark and this approximation cannot but indicate a huge quantity.
How much food and fresh water does need an elephant a day? Elephants are large animals which obviously eat a lot of food and drink plenty of fresh water:
“Elephants are herbivores, which means they feed on plants. They eat roots, leaves, grasses, tree branches, and tree bark. They also love to eat fruit such as berries, mangoes and coconuts. By using their trunks they tear off even the strongest tree branches. They spend 15 – 16 hours a day on eating and consume 140 – 270 kg. These animals drink water by using their long trunks to suck up about 14 litres of water at a time, then pouring into their mouths. They drink up to 200 litres of water a day, but can go up to four days without water and will use their tusks to dig wells if necessary, an elephant can smell water from 5 km away.”
If an elephant needs such large amounts of food and water, how about a dinosaur? The existence of the dinosaurs on the boat is a kind of test in order to verify the veracity of the Flood story. According to the book of Genesis all animals were created after their kind on the sixth day of creation so inevitably the dinosaurs were also created on that day. There wasn’t another day for the creation of the animals so Noah also had to take the dinosaurs with him on the boat. This raises a huge problem given the size of the dinosaurs in comparison with normal humans and the amount of food and drinking water needed for a dinosaur. All kinds of dinosaurs would have been alive before the Deluge and would have been taken on board the ark. No cataclysm happening before the Flood capable of bringing the extinction of the dinosaurs is recorded by the Bible.
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How big were dinosaurs? They were huge herbivorous and carnivorous animals. The motivation advanced by the proponents of creationism for little space needed for animals on the ark is that all animals were young, half size or less, when taken on the boat. This is not a forthright explanation because even being half size or smaller, so many animals couldn’t have been contained by a single boat with the size of Noah’s ark in which the space for food and drinking water would have also been very important. At least one and a half decks from the entire ark, meaning half of the space, would have been occupied only by food and drinking water. The rest of the space, the surface of about 18 lawn tennis courts, would have been filled with the animals themselves, including dinosaurs. The ark and its dimensions are pure fantasy if we consider the size of the dinosaurs:
“The longest dinosaurs were sauropods; they were gigantic, slow-moving, tiny-headed, cow-like plant-eaters from the late Jurassic and the Cretaceous period. They had very long necks which were useful for reaching wide (and tall) swatches of vegetation. The lengthy neck was counterbalanced by a massive tail. These sauropods are the largest land animals ever discovered:
Supersaurus - 134 feet long (41 m)
Argentinosaurus - 115-130 feet long (35-40 m); 80-100 metric tons
Seismosaurus (“Earth-shaking lizard”) - 120+ feet long (37 m); +80 tons
Ultrasauros - 100+ feet long (30 m), +80 tons
Diplodocus - grew up to 90 feet long (28 m).
Brachiosaurus - about 85 feet long (26 m), 40 feet tall, and weighed 70-80 tons.”
If we compare the sizes of the dinosaurs with those of Noah’s ark we can easily discover why they couldn’t have been a possible cargo for the ark together with all animals on the earth even if they were half normal size. If Noah had taken on the Ark a pair of Supersaurus each at 41m long, a pair of Argentinosaurus each 35m long, a pair of Seismosaurus each 37m long, a pair of Ultrasauros each 30m long, a pair of Diplodocus each at 28m long, a pair of Brachiosaurus each at 26m long, a pair of Gigantosaurus carolinii each 14m long, a pair of Tyrannosaurus rex each at 12m long, a pair of Carcharodontosaurus saharicus at around 15m long, a pair of Sauroposeidon about 32m long and add all this length together, the total would be 542m.
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Their youngsters, being half of their size, placed in a line would occupy 271m. All dinosaurs would have been placed in pairs. A mature dinosaur of 41m long couldn’t have turned inside the Ark given its size.
Taking young animals on board half the size of an adult, two decks or more of Noah’s Ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs, leaving insufficient space for other animal species, and for food and drinking water. The decks would have proven to be too small. Taking only the eggs of dinosaurs, such as is advanced by some commentators, is unrealistic because they had to be hatched and the baby dinosaurs would have needed their parents after their apparition from the eggs. Probably, it was very hard to distinguish in which egg was a male dinosaur and in which egg was a female dinosaur. Noah would have needed to collect the eggs from different parts of the earth guessing what eggs belonged to each kind of dinosaur.
To all that, it has to be added that there had been two orders of dinosaurs, Saurischhians and Ornithischians, and five suborders Theoropodus, Sauropods, Ornithopods, Marginocephalia, Thyreophora (Enoplausaria). All these categories were divided into 13 infra-orders and 60 dinosaur families. This classification of dinosaurs was made taking into consideration only the skeletons and the remains which were found but who knows how many unfound remains of dinosaurs are still unearthed? The main part of Noah’s ark would have been filled only with dinosaurs and their food if the story of the Flood was a reality and not only a myth.
How about the height of the dinosaurs comparing with the height of Noah’s Ark? Ultrasauros, Brachiosaurus, and Sauroposeidon, had 26 to 30 metres in height and half this size means 13 to 15 metres. Even a third of the size of the adult animal would have been for the Sauroposeidon, 10 metres, over twice the height of a deck on Noah’s ark. Half of the height of a dinosaur, meaning a young dinosaur individually, would have been too much for the height of a deck on Noah’s ark.
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As a comparison, the Titanic was far longer than Noah’s ark, having 882 feet, 9 inches, meaning 269.1 metres. Her width in feet was 92, meaning 28 metres. and the height measured from the top of the funnels to the keel 175 feet meaning 53.3 metres. Costa Concordia, the object of another maritime disaster, was twice the size of the Titanic.
Noah’s ark would have been about 135 metres in length and the Titanic was 269.1 metres long, almost twice the size of the ark. The combined number of windows in the hull and deckhouses on the Titanic was 419. Can anyone imagine all living beings on Earth, in pairs, entering in order and being hosted by the Titanic? Titanic when full could carry 2,435 passengers, and a crew of approximately 900 brought her capacity to more than 3,300 people.
Nevertheless, Noah’s ark is said to have been the host for 35 to 50 thousand animals of which some were really gigantic. Something is definitely wrong with the stories of the Flood.
A much bigger number of animals would have lived on Earth in the past than today. Besides the dinosaurs, how many species are also extinct? According to some statistics every day an important number of animals and plants go extinct:
“According to the UN Environment Programme, the Earth is in the midst of a mass extinction of life. Scientists estimate that 150-200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal become extinct every 24 hours. This is nearly 1,000 times the “natural” or “background” rate and, say many biologists, is greater than anything the world has experienced since the vanishing of the dinosaurs nearly 65m years ago.”
A huge number of species which have lived on Earth in the past are already extinct, so we cannot judge the number of animals that Noah would have needed to take on the ark only by equating it with the number of animals living today on our planet. Here are more details about this subject:
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“Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct. Many of them perished in five cataclysmic events. The classical “Big Five” mass extinctions identified by Raup and Sepkoski are widely agreed upon as some of the most significant: End Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, End Triassic, and End Cretaceous. According to a recent poll, seven out of ten biologists think we are currently in the throes of a sixth mass extinction. Some say it could wipe out as many as 90 percent of all species living today. Other scientists dispute such dire projections.”
Many more animal species than the ones existing today would have needed to be on Noah’s ark if the stories about the Flood were real. At the same time, the dimensions of the ark wouldn’t have allowed for such a possibility. We don’t know the exact internal structure of the ark but the height of around 13.5 metres had to be divided into 3 in order to have had 3 decks. The height of every level would have been at around 4.5 metres. How many rooms were in the ark? This is a very important question not answered by the book of Genesis. If we knew how many rooms would have been in the ark, we also would be able to understand better how many pairs of animals would have been in it, but the Bible doesn’t say.
The length and the height of every room had to be suitable for a pair of every kind of animal. To make all rooms the same size would have been a waste of space because they had to follow the measurements of the biggest animal. Some animals wouldn’t have been able to dwell in the same room because they would have harmed each other. The entire ark would have been a sort of zoo with cages for each pair of animals except some which probably could have lived together for a while, for example sheep and goats.
To adapt all rooms to the size of their occupants would have been impossible. Noah wouldn’t have taken the measurements of all animals before building the ark. How big was a cage for a pair of elephants? The animals couldn’t have been squeezed into very small places because they had to move during the trip.
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How much space was allocated for a pair of lions, for a pair of crocodiles, a pair of giraffes, a pair of camels, or a pair of dinosaurs? The book of Genesis doesn’t give us all these details and this lack of precision combined with the diversity of animal dimensions and the impossibility for Noah to know beforehand all animals’ sizes or even to be informed about all kinds of animals living on Earth, puts in question the veracity of the biblical account.
There is of course the problem of dividing animals into terrestrial and aquatic. Many animals need to live both in water and on land in a cycle specific for each of them. Therefore, many animals being on the ark would hav needed continuous access to water, but that wouldn’t have been possible, the ark being sealed during the navigation. No pool of water would have been available on Noah’s Ark.
“Labeling an animal species “terrestrial” or “aquatic” is often obscure and becomes a matter of judgment. Many animals considered terrestrial have a life-cycle that is partly dependent on being in water. Penguins, seals, and walruses sleep on land and feed in the ocean, yet they are all considered terrestrial. Many insects, e.g. mosquitos, and all terrestrial crabs, as well as other clades, have an aquatic life cycle stage: their eggs need to be laid in and to hatch in water; after hatching, there is an early aquatic form, either a nymph or larva.”
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 www.theanimalfiles.com › Reptiles › Crocodiles & Alligators
Didn’t incest enter under God’s universal moral law from the beginning of creation? A relaxed view on incest had the effect of ultimately attracting bad health and immorality. One thing is obvious. The view on morality of Jewish Christian tradition has changed during history, acting as any other human social phenomenon and not as the expression of God’s universal moral law which is supposed to be constant. Besides incest, another example is adultery.
Before Moses, even the patriarchs didn’t have the notion of adultery and it is also an important aspect of God’s moral law, according to the Bible. Is God’s moral law absolute or relative, depending on different periods of time? If God’s moral law is unchanging it is not clear why adultery is seen as a decisive sin in the N.T. but was accepted by God when practiced by the patriarchs.
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If adultery wasn’t condemned by a law, hence wasn’t a sin before Moses, other people besides the Jewish people couldn’t have been legitimately punished for their adulterous lives because they didn’t receive laws condemning adultery from God. Some people from the Middle East would have been considered by God to be morally unfit and they would have been destroyed by Him for this reason even if the Bible says that without a law the sins are not reckoned.
“7 What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’.” (Romans 7; 7 NRSV)
The Bible uses the word “sin” even before Moses’ Law and that is another inconsistency. If sin is reflected in the laws, using the word “sin” before the existence of any law is meaningless. Why were sins turned against many nations from the Middle East by God if they didn’t receive any law to condemn those sins? This is another fundamental contradiction of the Bible.
Incest and adultery were not sins before the Mosaic Law for the Jewish people and were not sins at all for other nations who didn’t receive that Law, but in the eyes of God incest was always considered an abomination.
Was adultery indirectly favoured by the acceptance of incest in the O.T.? In case of Abraham and Sara, incest and adultery were interwoven.
“From there Abraham journeyed towards the region of the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While residing in Gerar as an alien, 2 Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’ And King Abimelech of Gerar sent and took Sarah.” (Genesis 20; 1-2 NRSV)
Abraham had a mistress with the name Hagar beside his wife Sarah. Before Moses, adultery and incest were acceptable in Jewish society but after the Mosaic Law they were prohibited.
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“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, 2 and Sarai said to Abram, ‘You see that the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” (Genesis 16; 1-2 NRSV)
God didn’t reprimand Abraham, nor did He consider him a sinner because he was the man of two women. God blessed him and made a covenant with him. This looks like a kind of moral relativism rather than the expression of a universal moral law. I don’t judge God’s manner in working with humankind but I deem the consistency of biblical narratives, according to which God has adapted to human nature, using it for His purposes rather than always weighing humankind after a universal unchanging moral law. Besides the patriarchs, King David’s life is also an example of God accepting the adultery of one of His faithful man.
The explanation that incest hadn’t been too bad for health until Moses doesn’t address the problem of morality and comes with an element of moral relativism which contradicts the universality and absoluteness of God’s moral law. If one reads what Apostle Paul had to say about sexual immorality one will understand the immense moral gap between the acceptance of incest until Moses and the moral standards brought by Jesus, the Son of God. Is it not about the same God? In Moses’ Laws incest is clearly presented as morally bad.
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the LORD your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4 My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the LORD. 6 None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.
10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness.” (Leviticus 18; 1-10 NRSV)
“You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.” (Leviticus 18; 9)
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We should notice that according to the book of Genesis all humankind has multiplied in defiance of this rule later contained by the Mosaic Law. The distance and opposition between the manner in which Genesis describes how humankind had multiplied and God’s commandment about incest from Mosaic Law shows clearly that the book of Genesis cannot be authored through divine inspiration. What writer, in narrating the story of creation and describing Moses’ Laws at the same time, wouldn’t have noticed the huge discrepancy between them? The problem is that it wasn’t only a writer but many writers who have written the first five books of the Bible. In Moses’ Laws incest is depravity. At the end of Leviticus chapter 18 we have the moral condemnation.
“24 Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. 25 Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who resides among you 27 (for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); 28 otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their people. 30 So keep my charge not to commit any of these abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18; 24-30 NRSV)
By all these practices the nations would have defiled themselves. This is the declaration of the Bible and this assertion raises an important question. What practices? Incest and adultery would have been the most abominable practices. Who prepared the nations for incest if not, the way in which God had created humankind? According to the Bible, God would have accused entire nations for practicing the way of multiplication approved by Him.
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The reason for which the nations have been driven away by God to make place for the Jewish people in the Promised Land was that those nations practiced great abominations such as incest. This is a huge contradiction of the Bible. On one side the human species would have multiplied through incest as the only possible way for their multiplication. On the other side, all nations cast out by God before Jewish people would have been accused of their multiplication which was asked by God from humankind at the beginning of its creation.
Those nations cast out by God would have been assured that incest isn’t a problem as far as all humankind had multiplied in this manner. Consequently, the motivation contained by Leviticus 18; 24-25 for driving out other nations before Jewish people is inconsistent with the book of Genesis. This doesn’t mean that God would have acted in that manner, being unrighteous toward some nations, but this is evidence that those biblical texts weren’t inspired by Him because they contradict His moral nature expressed in the Mosaic laws. If the Mosaic laws don’t express God’s moral nature that means that they also haven’t been inspired by Him.
An abomination is something greatly disliked or abhorred which produces intense aversion or loathing towards a vile action. An abomination can be also a shameful or detestable action, condition, habit, etc. This is the definition of the dictionary. All these strong terms are implicitly contained by God’s characterisation of incest. It is a harsh moral judgement, it is not only a measure taken for the protection of human health as for example a vaccine against a disease. It is more than that; it is a moral condemnation of humankind for practicing incest.
In Deuteronomy chapter 27, the action of incest with a sister is under a curse. All human races are under a curse because humankind multiplied through incest between brothers and sisters, but this curse isn’t due to human fault. God had created human beings and blessed them to multiply and to fill the earth but at the same time He cursed the way in which they multiplied. There are two extreme attitudes towards incest in the Bible, first that it was necessary for multiplication and second, the total intolerance about it through Moses’ laws.
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Such a contraction is so important that it brings a thick darkness on the entire moral value of the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
Looking back on human history through the lenses of Mosaic laws, the entirety of humankind looks morally condemned from the beginning of its creation.
“22 ‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27; 22 NRSV)
God’s laws are unchanged and universal; it doesn’t matter if the curse was pronounced after a long process of multiplication through brothers and sisters of the human races. The curse was there from the beginning even if it wasn’t manifestly affirmed and very importantly it was there before the alleged human Fall. Wasn’t Abraham under this curse even before Moses’ laws if God’s moral law is timeless, being the foundation of His Kingdom? If Moses’ Moral Law is still valid for humankind, being universal, why wasn’t it valid for the past and also from the beginning of creation at least in its general principles? Apostle Paul makes the difference between faith and law. Before Moses’ laws Abraham was evaluated through his faith and not through the laws which wouldn’t have been known by humankind. Nevertheless, God’s Moral Law is everlasting if He is eternal and this Law cannot change its principles even if it changes its form.
In Leviticus chapter 20, verse 17, incest of brother and sister is viewed by God as a disgrace and susceptible to punishment. That incest has become more dangerous in time is fully understandable. That before Moses’ Moral Law incest was the only way for the multiplication of humankind which was blessed by God and after Moses it became a disgrace, cannot be grasped in a reasonable way.
One would expect that in God’s eyes what was seen as a disgrace in Moses’ times would have been seen also as an abomination immediately after the creation of humankind. Why should one have this expectation? We were led to believe that God doesn’t change His mind as easily as humans do. Apostle James in chapter 1 verse 17 of his epistle says that with God there is no variation or shadow due to change.
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This assertion has become a very important pillar of the Christian faith but which isn’t confirmed by the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
“17 If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, he shall be subject to punishment.” (Leviticus 20; 17 NRSV)
It looks all right if we forget that Cain’s wife was his sister, or Abram and Sara were half brother and sister. Seth also had no marital choice other than one of his close relatives. Beside Cain and Seth all other human beings at the beginning of human history had to marry a sister or a brother, a niece or a nephew.
The most fundamental structure of the creation stories through which the origins of humankind are explained is flawed with very important moral problems which render the entire conception of how humankind was created morally unacceptable and in contradiction with other biblical standards. The story of Adam and Eve is a legend with no connection to reality which doesn’t fit with a rational understanding of the world or with the way in which the N.T. understands God’s moral law.
It is important to see how knowledge about God was lost after Noah in such a manner that He had to reconstruct the relationship with humankind anew with Abraham. Between Noah and Abraham was only about 400 years.
From Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. In the period of 400 years from Noah to Abraham the knowledge of God was generally lost, according to the Bible. That was until God had spoken to Abraham. It is inexplicable that all families coming from Noah in only 400 years, a short historical period of time, lost the knowledge of God.
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The Flood story would have been transmitted generation after generation but not the knowledge of God who generated the Flood and that is strange. Many religions were created in that period of time but the faith in YEHOWAH was lost in spite of the vivid memory of the Flood.
After Adam and until Noah there were still people remembering God – one of them was Noah. After the Flood, no people kept the memory or faith in God and He had to intervene directly with Abraham in order to reconstruct people’s faith. This is strange if we consider that Noah was a very faithful man and for this reason he was chosen to save a part of the creation. Did Noah not convey his faith to his offspring? Why didn’t Noah’s family keep their memory of God? Allegedly Noah would have lived another 350 years after the Flood which would have given him enough time to transmit the faith in God to numerous generations, but it didn’t happen. If it had happened Abraham would have come with the right religion transmitted to him through his ancestors.
Noah’s sons knew about God who saved them from the Flood. Did they transmit this knowledge to their sons and after that to all their offspring? In the Bible, the knowledge of God starts again as if for the first time with Abraham, but this is an inexplicable interruption.
“2 And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.” (Joshua 24; 2 NRSV)
This interruption of the faith in the real God is another inconsistency of the book of Genesis. God wouldn’t have been in relation with humankind for 400 years after the Flood in spite that He wanted to generate a better world after the Deluge. If not for regeneration of the world what was the purpose of the Flood? It is hard to admit that God would have brought the Flood on humankind motivated only by the desire of destruction.
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The same author also makes this commentary:
“Can we even be clear that either Cain or Abel knew exactly what would be pleasing to God as a sacrifice ahead of time? Even with all this circumstantial evidence, we don’t absolutely know that God required a blood sacrifice of Cain. We can’t say for certain that the quality of Cain’s offering was inferior. And we can’t prove Cain’s heart was in the wrong during the sacrifice itself. Although the scriptural account does seem to point to each of these reasons, we can’t be emphatic about any of them. So, what’s the ultimate answer to God preferring Abel’s offering? We must come to grips with one thing: God, as Creator, is sovereign over His creation. While there are proximate reasons for God’s decrees, what ultimately makes “right” right and “wrong” wrong? God’s sovereign choice.”
I referred already to the first reason reiterated by the text. The second reason seen as an explanation for the rejection of Cain’s offering is the poor quality of the offering. The products of a cursed ground couldn’t have been other than of low value. Probably the implicit message of the texts was that the land being under curse, its products couldn’t have been other than rejected by God. This possible connection was later contradicted by other biblical texts in which the first products of the land were offered to God in a ritualistic manner even if they were extracted from cursed ground.
This quotation explains this approach:
“Abel’s animal offering was from the firstborn (meaning the best because it is first) of his flocks, but all we read about Cain’s offering is that he brought “some of the fruits of the soil.” Some interpreters understood this to mean that Cain’s offering was second rate—not of the firstfruits. In fact, that Cain offered “some of the fruits” seems to violate Leviticus 2:14, where offering the first fruits of the grain is commanded.”
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This is an important example of how the interpretation of the texts of the book of Genesis can be radically influenced by different translations. Only some translations used the expression “some of the fruits” and I wonder if this selection of words isn’t deliberately directed toward the justification of an absurd story. Here are several translations of the text from Genesis chapter 4, verse 3:
“New International Version
In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
New Living Translation
When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the LORD.
English Standard Version
In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground,
New American Standard Bible
So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
King James Bible
And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
In the course of time Cain presented some of the land’s produce as an offering to the LORD.
International Standard Version
Later, after a while, Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit that he had harvested,
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At the designated time Cain brought some of the fruit of the ground for an offering to the LORD.
New Heart English Bible
As time passed, it happened that Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the ground.”
Everyone can see in the text of the book of Genesis, in chapter 4, verse 3, that there is an important problem. God would have provoked Cain to have a bad attitude by rejecting his offer without a clear reason.
This problem cannot be solved only through translation. All wheat from an area of land is the same quality. Cain wouldn’t have known that he had to present to God the first fruit of the ground because there were no rules for his offering. Cain’s intention would have been good but materialised in an imperfect way. Wasn’t the intention more important than the form? The book of Genesis leaves us the impression that God attached a great importance to the form of the offering and that emphasis could have been the influence of the redactor of the text for whom the form of an offering was essential.
Cain didn’t have any guidance in making his offering, therefore regardless of how he realised it his willingness to offer a selection of the results of his work to God was a gesture to be appreciated and an authentic recognition of His authority.
The last principle considered able to explain why God refused Cain’s offering is the difference in the heart of the one to offer.
“Additionally, there is the very important issue of Cain’s reaction. It could have been that God hadn’t given specific instructions for sacrifices, and thus that Cain legitimately didn’t realize his offering was inferior in type or quality.3 But if so, when God convicted him, Cain was defiant. The Bible says “And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.
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And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’” (Genesis 4; 5b-7). God provided a “way out,” but Cain, in his pride and stubbornness, allowed sin to rule over him—ultimately driving him to commit the first murder.”
“If you do well, will you not be accepted?” This is the key element for the understanding of God’s attitude toward Cain. His sacrifice was considered to be a wrongdoing. Both God and Cain overreacted in their attitude to one another. We can infer that Cain wanted to do a good thing, an offering to God, but this good intention was turned against him. Presenting an offering to God cannot be but a good intention even if the form in which it was done wasn’t perfect. Maybe the intention was good but the realisation of it from God’s perspective was not that good for unknown reasons and Cain became angry.
Cain’s reaction was very disproportionate with the situation and he killed Abel for no reasons. God would have triggered Cain’s reaction but Cain was responsible for the crime, being driven by his temperament and being unable to master the sin. The point is that God’s attitude determined Cain’s response which was exaggerated. In other words, Cain was in a state of provocation by a rejection from God and subjectively he felt wronged and overreacted following that event. There is no excuse for Cain’s crime even if he felt that he was unfairly treated, after all Abel wouldn’t have been at fault in that situation.
According to the book of Genesis, not all Adam and Eve’s offspring were disobedient to God and Abel was righteous, hence obedient, but humankind inherited Cain’s crime because an important part of humankind was his offspring. Nevertheless, using the same principle we cannot infer that all Cain’s offspring would have been unrighteous.
This is a fairy tale of course, but we can conclude from it that God would have followed deliberately a plan in which He provoked a certain reaction from Cain. In a way, this is the continuation of the same motif as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God tempted the human beings in order to test their reaction and to see if they were obedient or not. God’s rejection of Cain’s offering could have been such a test.
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Unlike a human being, God knows in advance the effects of what He does and He would have known how Cain would have reacted if his offer was rejected, and this renders the entire story meaningless.
The story of Cain and Abel is also the first episode in a saga which contains a theme which is repeated in other texts of the O.T., the subject matter of sibling rivalry and younger sons. On this list beside Cain and Abel are Isaac and Ishmael, Esau and Jacob, Joseph and his brothers, and we can also list David, the youngest son of a numerous family who was chosen from his brothers’ ranks in spite of being younger than them. This is literature in which the rivalry between the youngest and the oldest brother or brothers is a constant theme, this isn’t history.
God who knows all things had determined Cain’s anger because accepting or rejecting Cain’s offering was entirely His prerogative. There wouldn’t have been any law which Cain would have infringed. Cain probably couldn’t understand what he did wrong because according to the book of Genesis God didn’t give him any explanations. Cain would have killed Abel propelled by envy following God’s attitude in regards to him.
In a way, the book of Genesis implies that at the moment of the offerings to God, Abel and Cain lived independently, far away from Adam and Eve even if they didn’t have their families, but this is absurd. They would have made their offerings separately and not as a family. Why would Abel live alone with his herd and Cain alone in his field? Why did they leave their parents and live in isolation with two different occupations? There wasn’t any reason for that to happen. Cain wasn’t yet married and the book of Genesis doesn’t give us any motives to believe that Abel was.
Usually human beings live in communities, in families, and in the past they lived in tribes or extended families. We know from the book of Genesis that Cain married only after the tragic event of killing his brother and we don’t have any reason to assume that Abel, being the younger brother, was married. They usually would have lived with their parents, helping them with the hard work, not separately, and they would have brought an offering to God in the name of the entire family.
Adam was assigned for the task of tilling the ground as a punishment for his disobedience.
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As Adam did a grave thing in front of God, his punishment had to be transferred over to his offspring, consequently Adam’s sin would have been passed on to the entirety of humankind. Adam had to eat his food in sweat all the days of his life. Adam didn’t toil alone but together with his son Cain who was a tiller of the ground, also even if they could eat fruits from the trees in order to avoid toiling the ground. Adam and Eve could have eaten only fruits as they did before the Fall, but they would have been condemned to eat only cereals and other cultivated plants. Cain and Abel also could have eaten fruits and other green plants without being in need of growing crops or raising sheep.
As a matter of fact, the land had suffered twice, not just once, the negative consequences of human behaviour. The ground was cursed after Adam’s sin but also after Cain’s crime. Here is the biblical text:
“12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ (Genesis 4; 12 NRSV)
If the land had been cursed already because of Adam’s sin how could the land give his strength to Cain if such strength was already affected by the first curse? This is another inconsistency in the texts.
These stories are purely a human creation trying to evoke through mythology forgotten historical events and natural facts. Cain and Abel were depicted symbolically as the representatives of the first great division of work between the farmers of the land and the sheep keepers but such division would have appeared in reality only when human beings started to multiply on Earth and their number was greater than a single digit. This specialisation of work on Earth happened twice in the book of Genesis, the first time with Abel and the second time with Adah’s son. As Abel was killed only after a long period of time, raising livestock became an occupation again. The offspring of Cain also generated other great divisions of work in society.
“20 Adah bore Jabal; he was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. 21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the ancestor of all those who play the lyre and pipe. 22 Zillah bore Tubal-cain, who made all kinds of bronze and iron tools.” (Genesis 4; 20-22 NRSV)
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Abel couldn’t have been a keeper of sheep if Adah who lived long after him, was the ancestor of those who live in tents and have livestock. Having livestock and sheep keeping is the same thing but livestock includes more kinds of domestic animals. Adah’s son, if he had been a real personage, would have been the predecessor of this type of activity because in his time the human population would have been more numerous, making necessary a division in human occupations. The only problem is that having livestock didn’t make any sense if the human beings were destined to eat only green plants until the Flood. Most likely, the names given by the book of Genesis are attributed in an arbitrary way and in reality, no-one knows the name of the first human beings who lived in tents and started to raise livestock.
What was God’s punishment for Cain’s crime, according to the book of Genesis? Killing Cain for his crime would have stopped the increase in number of the human races for a while. Tooth for tooth and life for life was the principle applied through Mosaic Law for such a case.
In spite of his crime Cain’s offspring would have played an important role in human history before the Flood. Cain was punished to become a wanderer but instead he established an important family with many heirs.
“10 And the LORD said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth’.” (Genesis 4; 10-12 NRSV)
What was Cain’s reaction to his punishment? It was an incredible one. Cain has been worried that another human being will kill him in retaliation for his crime. Who could kill Cain in response for his murder? There was no-one on Earth at the time except his parents, Adam and Eve, and if we want to extrapolate probably one or more of his sisters, but not another man. All men who were born long after the creation were recorded by the book of Genesis.
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It was a very strange concern. Cain didn’t speak for the future, he didn’t know what the future of human race could bring; he was concerned for his actual situation. In a short-term perspective, the only people who could kill Cain, beside his parents, would have been one of his offspring because there wasn’t another branch of people on Earth, born from another brother. Nevertheless, there wouldn’t have been an imminent threat at all because Cain wasn’t married yet and didn’t have any children. There would be many generations until Seth would be born and he would have been seen as replacing Abel.
“13 Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.’ 15 Then the LORD said to him, ‘Not so!* Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the LORD put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD, and settled in the land of Nod,* east of Eden.” (Genesis 4; 13-16 NRSV)
Cain wasn’t afraid of someone in particular, but of anyone who would have met him, as if the entire world was populated. If Cain had one or more sisters those relatives would have remained at home with their parents contrary to Cain, who would have wandered in faraway places. No reason for Cain to become anxious in relation with his life. The biblical text starts from the wrong premise that at the moment when Cain killed Abel the Earth was heavily populated, and many human beings were killers. At the same time such premise is vigorously contradicted by other biblical texts from which it results that there wasn’t any other population on Earth apart from Adam, Eve, and probably one or more daughters unrecorded by the book of Genesis.
Of whom exactly was Cain afraid after he killed Abel? Cain wasn’t afraid of his parents but of some people who he could meet on his trips “I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.” Cain believed that other people inhabited the earth also in spite of how the story of creation describes the manner in which things happened. The book of Genesis implies that Cain wouldn’t have known that beside his earthly father he was the only male who lived on Earth at the time. This is the pinnacle of absurdity and it is not the word of God which cannot be absurd.
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There are of course some explanations given by the classical theists but none of which carry any weight. The idea is that Adam and Eve would have had other children, about which the book of Genesis doesn’t say anything. In the context of the book of Genesis there isn’t any evidence that other male children from Cain to Seth would have been born to Adam and Eve and it would be very unlikely for the writers of the texts to omit such an important aspect if those personages were supposed to be in the plot of their narrative. If Abel was replaced by Seth that means that there weren’t other males on Earth beside Adam in the period of time between Abel’s death and Seth’s birth. Cain was afraid for his life exactly in that period of time.
It is clear that the birth of a male child had been considered to be a very important event and for this reason we are not allowed to infer that some other male children would have been alive at the time, but not noticed by the story of Cain and Abel. Seth replaced Abel, hence if other males had been born between Cain and Seth, they would have taken Abel’s place before Seth and that would have been an important part of the narrative.
“25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed* for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him’.” (Genesis 4; 25 NRSV)
The intention of the text is obvious; Seth has replaced Abel who could have been replaced only by another male child and not by a female. Seth couldn’t have been a danger for Cain because the latter was only a child. In spite of the clarity of the intention of the biblical text, some commentators try desperately to find a solution to this conundrum. Here is an example of such an attempt:
“So, whom was Cain afraid of? Cain was afraid of his own brothers, sisters, nephews, and nieces, who were already born and would be capable of seeking revenge. The fact that Cain had a wife (Genesis 4:17) is a further evidence that Adam and Eve had other children after Cain and Abel, but before Seth.”
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In the process of trying to make the book of Genesis acceptable some commentators invent other chapters to the book which unfortunately contradict the original text. After Cain, Eve bore Abel and no other males are mentioned until Seth, therefore no nephews able to kill Cain were present on Earth. The Bible didn’t say that Abel was married, hence he wasn’t, because when Cain married the biblical texts mentioned that. Cain was the older son, hence if he wasn’t yet married when he killed Abel it is likely that Abel wouldn’t have been married. In the book of Genesis males married late in their lives and had children. Cain didn’t have other brothers, nephews or nieces who could have sought revenge. If there were other sisters unmentioned by the book of Genesis besides his sister who married him, their mood wouldn’t have been a murderous one as far as one of those sisters became Cain’s wife. If a sister would have wanted to kill Cain, why would another sister have married him? It doesn’t make sense.
We are entitled to suppose that Cain wouldn’t have been married before the killing of Abel because all his children would have been born after the assassination of his brother.
Why would Cain have known his wife only after the assassination, according to Genesis 4; 17? If he was married before that event he would have known his wife before the killing. When he knew his wife, she gave birth to Enoch and no other children of Cain are mentioned by the Bible before that. In the circumstance in which Cain went away from God the book of Genesis doesn’t mention if there was someone with him, but the clear impression is that he was a lonely wanderer.
According to the enumeration of the population existing on Earth at the time, contained by the book of Genesis, only Adam and Eve or Cain’s wife could have killed him, but that was not at all likely. Cain being a murderer, he could have easily killed anyone who would have jeopardised his life. That is the way in which a killer would have proceeded and being afraid for his life is a less probable attitude.
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Cain being someone who attached so little importance to Abel’s life, the concern for his own life is something unexpected. It is clear that Cain wasn’t in any danger but the book of Genesis naively didn’t take into consideration the concrete conditions in which the story develops.
Seth would have been an important element in the legacy of Adam and Eve. The next reference after the acknowledgement of his birth is about Seth’s offspring, hence a child, particularly a male, would have been too important to omit.
“26 To Seth also a son was born, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to invoke the name of the LORD.” (Genesis 4; 26 NRSV)
The assertion that at that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord is nonsensical if we take into consideration that Cain and Abel would have made offerings to God long before that.
Cain got the protection for his crime even if it is obvious that he wasn’t in any danger from anyone. It is very unlikely that Adam would have killed Cain, his only son in life, in order to punish him for his crime, and by this he would have endangered the existence of the human races on Earth. God put a mark on Cain but at that moment none could see the mark if Cain was to become a wanderer on Earth, except his sister who became his wife. Wanderer means someone who moves about without a definite destination or purpose but Cain settled in the land of Nod.
Opposite to a wanderer is a settler, one who settles in a new region, especially a region that has few occupants or is occupied by people of a different ethnic or religious group.
According to the book of Genesis no-one lived in the region Nod except Cain and his wife. One wouldn’t expect that Cain would have found a wife in an unpopulated region; probably he would have taken an unmentioned sister with him from his paternal household.
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Even if the name Nod in Hebrew suggests the action of wandering, Cain went to that place not to wander but to build a city, according to the book of Genesis. Wanderers don’t build cities but they go from one place to another. Moreover, only two people, husband and wife, never build a city, but they would construct a house if they weren’t wanderers.
God condemned Cain to become a wanderer but he became a settler. Cain settled in the land of Nod and he didn’t wander any more, as a matter of fact, he never wandered because this was the only place where he went. Building a city is something that a wanderer won’t do by definition so the book of Genesis contains another contradiction in its description of Cain’s story. Cain became the father of a numerous family and his great-grandson Lamech also became a criminal.
Who was Cain’s wife? She had to be his sister, a daughter born from Adam and Eve, but about whom the book of Genesis doesn’t say anything.
“17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. 19 Lamech took two wives; the name of one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.” (Genesis 4; 17-19 NRSV)
We can find that Lamech also killed a man who couldn’t have been other than one of his close relatives. Instead of being punished the result of the killing is again a protection even stronger than that of Cain’s, at least according to his words.
“23 Lamech said to his wives: ‘Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. 24 If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold’.” (Genesis 4; 23-24 NRSV)
The only possibility to identify Cain’s wife is a sister unmentioned by the Bible, but that necessarily means the continuation of the human species through incest. This issue is also debated amongst the commentators of the Bible. The following is such a comment:
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“The Bible does not specifically say who Cain’s wife was. The only possible answer is that Cain’s wife was his sister or niece or great-niece, etc. The Bible does not say how old Cain was when he killed Abel (Genesis 4:8). Since they were both farmers, they were likely both full-grown adults, possibly with families of their own. Adam and Eve surely had given birth to more children than just Cain and Abel at the time Abel was killed. They definitely had many more children later (Genesis 5:4). The fact that Cain was scared for his own life after he killed Abel (Genesis 4:14) indicates that there were likely many other children and perhaps even grandchildren of Adam and Eve already living at that time. Cain’s wife (Genesis 4:17) was a daughter or granddaughter of Adam and Eve.”
Because the stories of the book of Genesis are so scarce in details we have to work only with suppositions. There isn’t another possibility. Cain’s wife had to be his sister. Some commentators try to distract the attention from a sister to an even less probable niece. Why was the niece less likely to be Cain’s wife? If the book of Genesis tells us about Cain’s children it would have said something about Abel’s children also, if such children would have existed. If Cain had to marry an alleged daughter of Abel, it would have been very difficult for him to explain why he killed her father, and to his children why he killed their grandfather. Nevertheless, before Cain could have married a niece Abel had to marry a sister also and the problem remains the same. Another quotation clarifies the situation of Cain’s marital statute:
“A closer look at the Hebrew word for “wife” in Genesis reveals something readers may miss in translation. It was more obvious to those speaking Hebrew that Cain’s wife was likely his sister. (There is a slim possibility that she was his niece, but either way, a brother and sister would have married in the beginning.) The Hebrew word for “wife” used in Genesis 4:17 (the first mention of Cain’s wife) is ishshah, and it means “woman/wife/female.”
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Another gross exaggeration of the book of Genesis is the description of how Cain, who was a wanderer built a city after his child Enoch was born. A town or even a small group of houses couldn’t have been built by a wanderer, his wife and his little child. The story of Cain and Abel is implausible from a historical point of view. Building a house and constructing a city are two very different things. The whole story of Cain and Abel contains unbelievable details hence it is not credible.
In chapter 5 of the book of Genesis we have a very strange genealogy in which the most striking detail is the age at which the patriarchs became the fathers of their sons. Let’s take a few examples:
“6 When Seth had lived for one hundred and five years, he became the father of Enosh… 9 When Enosh had lived for ninety years, he became the father of Kenan… 12 When Kenan had lived for seventy years, he became the father of Mahalalel…15 When Mahalalel had lived for sixty-five years, he became the father of Jared… 18 When Jared had lived for one hundred and sixty-two years he became the father of Enoch… 21 When Enoch had lived for sixty-five years, he became the father of Methuselah… 25 When Methuselah had lived for one hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech… 28 When Lamech had lived for one hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; … 32 After Noah was five hundred years old, Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” (Genesis 5; 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 28, 32 NRSV)
The old age at which the men would have had children, according to the book of Genesis strengthens the idea that Cain and Abel didn’t have children when the former killed the latter because they were still very young comparing with these standards. This in turn underlines the absurdity of Cain being afraid that someone would have avenged Abel’s death.
All patriarchs became fathers between the ages of 65 and 500 years old. This is extremely odd and contrary to human nature. For example, after Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth. He waited for 500 years before begetting his three sons. Why did they all wait so much before marrying?
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It was not in accordance with human nature for a man to wait that much before marriage because adulthood comes after approximately 18 years of life, not after 65 years or more. That information cannot be right. Were they humans or not? What man would have waited for 500 years before getting married, regardless of how long he would have lived? Noah, of course, but this is an implausible story.
This period of waiting before marriage is in contradiction with God’s plan for the creation of humankind. The task given by God to fill the entire earth with population and the length of time before the marriage are two contradictory propositions which weaken the truthfulness of the texts. One may respond to this observation that possibly the patriarch begot only girls until those ages and only the first sons were recorded by the book of Genesis. To this I would reply that when the patriarchs begot daughters, Genesis specifies that in unequivocal terms. For example:
“10 Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan for eight hundred and fifteen years, and had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 5; 10 NRSV)
Another aspect of confusion and incoherence is the story of Lamech. About him we have two different references. The first account presents:
“18 To Enoch was born Irad; and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael the father of Methushael, and Methushael the father of Lamech. (Genesis 4; 18 NRSV)
And we have also another reference in connection with Lamech in the following biblical text:
“28 When Lamech had lived for one hundred and eighty-two years, he became the father of a son; 29 he named him Noah, saying, ‘Out of the ground that the LORD has cursed this one shall bring us relief from our work and from the toil of our hands.’ 30 Lamech lived after the birth of Noah for five hundred and ninety-five years, and had other sons and daughters. 31 Thus all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.” (Genesis 5; 28-31 NRSV)
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When we compare the two texts the father of Lamech is in one text Methushael and in the other, the name of Lamech’s father is Methuselah.
“25 When Methuselah had lived for one hundred and eighty-seven years, he became the father of Lamech.” (Genesis 5; 25 NRSV)
Which name is right? Is it Methushael or is it Methuselah? We don’t know the exact answer. We have to conclude that in the book of Genesis we have two Lamechs and not just one. Several of the one Lamech’s sons would have been the initiators of the most important professional occupations in human history. The other Lamech’s son was Noah, well known for the Flood in which he had an important role to play.
What was Lamech’s idea when he hopped to the relief brought by Noah? The following quotation summarises the problem:
“So, Lamech named his son Noah. Genesis 5:29 provides the basic idea regarding Lamech’s thought process. He specifically mentions that the ground had been cursed as part of God’s judgment (cf. Genesis 3:17–19). The birth of Noah when Lamech was 182 years old would have provided “comfort” or “rest” from some of the work of subsistence farming. A son would one day be able to join in the labors of farming, giving Lamech some relief from his many years of manual labor. But Noah would provide more than physical rest. It appears that Noah’s name is also an inspired prediction regarding his life. The word Noah is taken from the Hebrew word for “rest,” nuakh (see 2 Samuel 14:17). Lamech lived in an evil time, before the Flood (Genesis 6:1). Noah’s father predicted that, in contrast to the world’s evil, Noah would represent righteousness and bring rest and peace in the midst of God’s judgment.”
Noah’s mission on Earth was neither a relief for his relatives or an occasion for peaceful rest because all died except his closest family.
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Probably it was not this relief that Lamech expected at the moment of Noah’s birth, but a real help for his survival. Noah didn’t bring any relief because after the Flood the world was as bad as before it.
What happened after the Flood with all the skills which belonged to Lamech’s sons? Were they all transmitted to Noah’s sons? If they didn’t survive all that occupational knowledge had to be reinvented again by Noah’s offspring. Why all were these skills mentioned if they wouldn’t have survived the Flood? The impression is that the writer of the text didn’t take into consideration the Flood as a very important event which would have disrupted the entirety of human history. He or she mentioned the alleged names of the first founders of human occupations without considering the catastrophic moment of the Deluge and the disappearance of almost all human beings.
How many professions were described by the book of Genesis and how many people survived to the Flood? Noah was a boat constructor and probably a land farmer, and his three sons had to be proficient in all other human professions existent before the Flood. It looks very problematic that Noah’s sons would have known all the occupations and arts which humankind practiced before the Flood. This seems to be an improbable situation which presupposes that humankind started knowledge almost from scratch after the Flood.
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This interpretation places Satan’s revolt after the creation of man but not necessarily after the creation of woman. That revolt would have happened immediately after the creation of man, during the period of six days of creation. Notwithstanding, God would have declared that the creation was very good.
If man hadn’t been created as the Bible says, Satan couldn’t have been unhappy that he wasn’t asked by God regarding that creation. That couldn’t have been the reason for Satan’s revolt, if that revolt happened in reality.
Placing Satan, without any biblical arguments or any kind of other argumentation, in the situation of being God’s counsellor, is wrong. No angels would have counselled God about what to do in His activity in any case. For this reason, Satan couldn’t have expected to be consulted in connection with the creation of humankind. Probably no angels would have been asked about anything regarding the governance of the universe. That we can know for sure from the Bible:
“11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance,* having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1; 11-12 NRSV)
God who accomplishes all things according to His counsel wouldn’t have asked for Satan’s counsel. Did God consult Satan’s opinion when He had created the universe? Of course He didn’t because Satan wouldn’t yet have been created. We don’t know when Satan would have been created by God but he couldn’t counsel God about the creation of angels, including of course his own creation. To place Satan near Christ in importance is an absurd thesis because He is eternal but Satan is a creation.
If asked to have an opinion on the problems of the governance of the universe, Satan would have been part of a democratic system in the “heavens”.
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Being prevented from exercising his right to opinion, Satan would have had a legitimate claim against God. At the same time, one should bear in mind that the Kingdom of God isn’t seen by the Bible as a democratic but it is understood as an autocratic system.
God had taken a decision without consulting the created beings in connection with the creation of man. Did Satan want to be consulted about this decision? That would have been a fight for democracy in the Kingdom of God.
The lack of democracy would have been the motive of Satan’s revolt in the “heavens” in which he attracted a third of all angels. It is clear from the Bible that God rules on the basis of His own principles without asking counsel from any of His creatures. A monotheistic religion is usually based on the duality between good and evil in which the good is promoted by God.
God’s existence without the existence of an agent of evil would place the entire responsibility for the evil in the world on His shoulders. Nevertheless, God knows both the good and the evil and one can ask how He discovered the evil if He is entirely good. Did God learn about the evil from Satan? It is difficult to accept that Satan would have taught God anything. The eternal God wouldn’t have waited until the creation of Satan before understanding what evil means. The Bible says that God knows both good and evil, it doesn’t maintain that God didn’t know what evil means. If God is Omniscient He didn’t learn what evil means from Satan.
The good and the evil are both in God and He had to make a choice between them as human beings do. God had to choose the good rather than the evil when He created the universe. Creation or construction is good, senseless destruction is evil.
Satan could have asked for a more democratic way of governing the universe but he couldn’t have tried to replace God as the Sovereign. None can compare with God, not an angel and none else if He is the uncreated energies who created all that is as theologians believe. If there isn’t a possible comparison there isn’t also the chance for confrontation between God and Satan. They belong to two different dimensions of reality, the infinite and the finite dimensions. In order to be envied by Satan, God of the Bible has to be a Being in the same ontological category as him, for example, as two human beings envy one another.
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Writing about the text in Isaiah 14; 12- 15 Troy Lacey states:
“It is obvious from the text that Satan’s sin was pride. He was so beautiful, so wise, and so powerful as an angel that he began to covet God’s position and authority. He chafed at having to serve God and grew angry and rebellious. He did not want to serve, he wanted to be served; he, as a creature, wanted to be worshipped. How starkly contrasted to our savior Jesus Christ, who came not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).”
I am very suspicious of this type of reasoning which is so widespread because it doesn’t explain at all why so many angels would have supported Satan’s movement against God. If Satan’s pride when comparing himself with God is nonsensical, the pride of ordinary angels who revolted against Him is absurd. The fallen angels would have had their own motivation in rebelling against God and that motivation cannot be explained only by their fidelity to Satan. Their motivation couldn’t have been generated by their wish to be like God.
In the book of Genesis we have a classical story about a fight for power between two leaders of comparable means. This cannot be the description of the Almighty God who cannot be compared with anyone else therefore cannot be challenged by anybody. This fight for power reproduces in another form the classical war between gods found in other mythologies but doesn’t open the understanding of the unique God.
The commentators emphasise a close relation between Satan’s revolt and humankind’s sin. The same author, Troy Lacey, writes in connection to that subject:
“They didn’t just ignorantly decide to eat the fruit, nor did they eat it because “the Devil made them do it.” Satan’s outright lies and cunning half-truths brought something to the surface of Eve’s mind that fateful day.
- 262 -She realized that to “be like gods” meant not having to serve God, it meant being equal to God. It meant that she felt as if God had deliberately kept her and Adam in the dark regarding their “divine potential.” Why should they tend God’s garden in Eden when they could be as gods themselves? Why should they have to obey God if they were also gods? The quickness with which Adam acquiesced to Eve’s offer of the fruit may possibly show that he too harboured these same feelings, or it may mean that Adam, though knowing Eve had sinned willfully decided to throw his lot in with her by deliberately eating from the fruit. Eve had been deceived, Adam had not. In any event, we know that it was Adam’s sin that was responsible for the Fall and the Curse (Rom. 5:12). The sin of pride that led to Satan’s fall had now infected the hearts and minds of Adam and Eve, and the result was the same: shame, loss of wisdom, ruin and death.”
Not having to serve God and being equal to Him are two artificial arguments used in the article. God is a serving divinity and this is determined by His love. We can see that clearly in the life of Jesus therefore to be like God means automatically to serve. Where did Satan see and envy the situation of being served by others? Seeing the service made to God by His creatures, Satan would have been impressed and he would have wanted the same treatment applied to him. There is a contradiction between the understanding of God as love and the idea that He is a Supreme Leader worshiped by everyone. From this contradiction starts the principle of Satan’s revolt.
Seeing service as a one-way road coming only from God’s creation is a very bad theology which generates spiritual damage. God was the first who gave service to humankind. At the same time, none can be equal to God no matter how much he or she wants it. This is an ontological problem. If God is the origin of all things this origin cannot be erased and replaced with a creature. God is an irreplaceable Reality or He isn’t God the Almighty. For this reason, God is unique and cannot be equated with any being. This is another fundamental contradiction of the Bible; either God is the unique source of life and He cannot be equalled by anyone, or He is a Ruler who can be envied and who is susceptible to be contended by someone else.
In my opinion, in the context of the Bible, humankind would have been created after Satan’s fall and as a result of his rebellion.
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Human beings were needed to allow God to demonstrate once again His love for His creation, and that was done at the Cross of Calvary. Without human beings on Earth Christ couldn’t have taken a human body and couldn’t have died on the Cross. Was the Cross important for the angels also? The Bible says that at the Cross God defeated Satan, therefore without the Cross one cannot speak about Satan’s failure. If the Cross never happened Satan wouldn’t have been completely defeated by God.
Some commentators remark that Satan is not a match for God who is All-powerful; he couldn’t have been in a real battle with Him. There is a contradiction between two principles, on one side God who is considered All-powerful and on the other side Satan who could have won a battle against Him. Winning a small battle against God would have made the description “All-powerful” unsuitable. This contradiction is emphasised in an article which can be found on a site named precious-testimonies.com under the title “How Jesus defeated Satan at the Cross”.
At the same time, the book of Genesis maintains that Satan won a battle against God when he succeeded in deceiving Adam and Eve. Following this deceit Satan would have attracted the eternal condemnation to hell of billions of human beings and that is a huge victory against a loving God. This win would have raised questions about God being All-powerful if the story of Adam and Eve was real and not only a myth. The book of Genesis contradicts the image of God being All-powerful.
The creation of humankind would have been a necessary step for God to show His love for His creation at the Cross. Without humankind and their Fall that event couldn’t have happened. The creation of humankind and the embodiment of His Son as a human being was the price that God had to pay in order to assure His victory against Satan. Incomparable as He is, God wasn’t indifferent to angels’ opinions and that is based on His love. God didn’t crush the rebellion against Him but He adjusted His attitude toward the created world. These aren’t facts, it is what the Bible maintains and it is a profound contradiction.
The world will never be the same as the one existing before Satan’s rebellion against God. Good and evil influence each other and in these stories we can see not only how good influences evil but also the way in which evil determines changes in the good.
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This dialectic between good and evil is reduced simplistically by many commentators.
It is unclear if the author of Genesis chapter 2 understood the serpent as a personification of a force of evil acting behind him, or just as an allegoric figure in its own right. Most probably, the latter option is the proper one.
We have references to Satan in Isaiah chapter 14 and Ezekiel chapter 28 but the texts are obscure. Satan is a complex figure with influences from Persian mythology:
“The Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religions are monotheistic faiths, which means their followers believe there is only one God. That God has a powerful adversary known as Satan, or the Devil. Satan’s role changed over time, as the three religions developed. At first he was a creature under God’s control with the task of testing people’s faith. In time, however, Satan came to be seen as the prince of darkness, ruler of all evil spirits, enemy of both God and humankind, and source of treachery and wickedness. The name Satan comes from a Hebrew word meaning “adversary.” It first appears in the Hebrew Bible, or Old Testament. In the book of Job, God allows this adversary—sometimes called Samael in Jewish literature—to heap misfortunes on Job to see whether Job will turn against God. Judaism was influenced by the dualistic Persian religion in which good and evil struggle with each other for control of the universe and for power over human hearts and minds. The Jewish Satan took on some characteristics of Ahriman, the Persian god of evil and ruler of demons.”
Satan revolted against God and would have attracted a number of angels as his followers. God had thrown them from heaven but after Satan’s revolt He would have allowed the devil to take the body of a serpent, to enter the Garden of Eden and tempt the human beings. God had known that Satan cannot be trusted, but regardless of that He would have allowed him to enter the Garden. Even if the Garden of Eden could have been protected against any intrusion by cherubim, it wasn’t guarded against Satan.
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The temptation of humankind was a necessary step in the complex plan of God’s creation. It seems that the Fall was a necessity which allowed God to demonstrate His love for His creation. God’s Son, Jesus, wouldn’t have died for the redemption of humankind without the Fall. The necessity to demonstrate God’s love shows a lack of evidence of it because what is obvious and visible for all doesn’t need demonstration. It is a fundamental dogma that the cross of Calvary was needed to show God’s love for His creation.
In the book of Genesis God was able to throw Satan from heaven but wasn’t capable or willing to stop him entering the Garden of Eden. If God was able to ban Satan from the Garden of Eden why didn’t He do it? The conclusion is that God allowed the temptation of humankind in spite of what the Bible is saying, that He doesn’t tempt anyone to sin. (James 1; 13) It is true that God didn’t directly tempt humankind but He set in place all elements for that temptation.
The Bible is confused about the location of Satan’s revolt. Was it in heaven or in the Garden of Eden? A biblical text places the location of the revolt in the Garden of Eden. As we know the Garden of Eden was on Earth and not in heaven.
“11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection,* full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,* turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings.* On the day that you were created they were prepared.” (Ezekiel 28; 11-13 NRSV)
According to the most widespread interpretation, Satan, and not the King of Tyre, would have been in Eden, the Garden of God, and the devil is presented in his glory and not as a fallen angel. We know that the King of Tyre couldn’t have been in the Garden of Eden because he didn’t belong to the same generation as Adam and Eve.
Was Satan in the Garden of Eden personified as a serpent or an angel full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, or both? This of course is a contradiction because once in the Garden of Eden Satan would have already been thrown from the “heavens”, losing his prerogatives and his spectacular outfit.
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“18 He said to them, ‘I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning.” (Luke 10; 18 NRSV)
How did Satan fall from the “heavens” if he was on Earth in the Garden as a glorious angel? In Eden, the Garden of God which was situated on Earth, Satan would have been covered with many precious stones, but Jesus saw him being thrown from heaven. Either Satan was thrown out from the “heavens” and fell like a flash of lightening or he was a signet of perfection in t/span>he Garden of Eden. These are two different versions which don’t harmonize with one another and shadow the truthfulness of the biblical texts regarding Satan.
Man was also in the Garden, which was planted after his creation. Did man and woman not know about Satan’s revolt if they all were in the Garden? The Garden, in Genesis chapter 2, was planted by God after the creation of man, hence Satan’s revolt would have started after man’s creation according to Ezekiel 28.
We don’t have any argument which would plead for the thesis that there would have been duplicate of the Garden in the “heavens”. Moreover, the Garden of Eden described in connection with Satan was a material, not a spiritual realm, with precious stones and gold.
Why would there have been a Garden of Eden in the “heavens” if man was only on Earth? The Garden would have been planted only after man’s creation and man had to till it and keep it. We don’t have any biblical or rational argument to support such an idea. The Garden of Eden would have been placed only on Earth and that Garden was the region where God spent some of His time, according to Genesis chapter 2.
The future paradise will be also installed on the new earth and not in the heavens, and that strengthens the idea that the old paradise was the Garden of Eden which was situated on Earth.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Revelation 21; 1-2 NRSV)
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If the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven on the new earth, that means that the paradise would be on that earth, hence we don’t have any reason based on biblical texts to believe that there will be a paradise in the “heavens” also, and that place will host human beings.
The New Jerusalem isn’t a heavenly Garden, a celestial Eden, it is a city, it is the place where God will dwell together with human beings. This is the most important element of the paradise, the presence of God in the same place with the elect human beings. Nevertheless, there are connections between the Garden of Eden from the book of Genesis and the New Jerusalem. According to the book of Revelation, inside the New Jerusalem will also be the tree of life.
There are also differences between the Garden of Eden and the New Jerusalem. In the Garden, Adam had to toil the ground but in the city the streets are made from gold. The city will be surrounded with a great wall and twelve gates and that is unspecific for a garden.
Why would the New Jerusalem need a great wall and twelve gates if there will be nothing on the new earth to threaten the security of the saved human beings? Some people will be saved for eternal life and others will go into the lake of fire. None other than God, His Son, the elected human beings and the faithful angels will be on the new earth. God would regain an undisputed authority over the entire universe following Satan’s defeat. No walls or gates to protect the eternal city, New Jerusalem, will be needed. The images from the book of Revelation generate a confusion comparing the future eternal city with an ancient fortress.
“15 The angel* who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles;* its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits* by human measurement, which the angel was using.” (Revelation 21; 15-17 NRSV)
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If none will threaten the security of the New Jerusalem on the new earth, the high walls of the city will be useless. Even if the gates of the city will never be shut the situation doesn’t change the conundrum because the gates will be guarded by angels.
At the same time if Satan was such an important personage in the Garden of Eden, Eve would have heard about him and about his intentions. Did Eve not identify Satan’s voice when she heard the serpent talking to her? She had to know that Satan was God’s enemy if the entire revolt had happened in the Garden of Eden. The book of Genesis didn’t tell us that Adam and Eve would have been implicated in the events generated by Satan’s revolt or that they knew about them, but if that event was real the first human beings would have been necessarily aware of them and would have known the difference between good and evil before eating from the tree of knowledge. The book of Genesis implies that Adam and Eve didn’t know about Satan’s rebellion but in Ezekiel is written that the revolt happened in the same Garden.
It is hard to equate the serpent from Genesis chapter 3 with Satan from other texts of the Bible; they look like two different personages. In Genesis chapter 3 the serpent was an animal living in the Garden of Eden and not a spiritual being. It was a special animal and not a banal one, because unlike other animals, the serpent could speak.
According to the book of Genesis one may assume that the serpent was an animal, which initially had legs. That is a logical conclusion because after the temptation of woman, the serpent was doomed to go onto its belly. For the serpent, going onto its belly was a consequence of the curse and not an innate natural characteristic of that animal.
One may ask if all species of serpents were condemned to go onto their belly, after the temptation of woman, or only the individual which perpetrated the temptation of Eve.
Snakes are elongated, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpents that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears.
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According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica serpents are one of the species which go upon their belly, and I quote:
“Snake (suborder Serpents), also called serpent, any of about 2,900 species of reptiles distinguished by their limbless condition and greatly elongated body and tail. Classified with lizards in the order Squamata, snakes represent a lizard that, over the course of evolution, has undergone structural reduction, simplification, and loss as well as specialization. All snakes lack external limbs, but not all legless reptiles are snakes.”
Did all reptiles become legless after the temptation of woman or only the suborder of the serpents? Lizards, as well as other reptiles, are limbless, but they are not serpents and consequently they shouldn’t have been affected by the curse of the serpent, which tempted woman. Why do lizards move on their bellies if they weren’t responsible for woman’s temptation? It is clear that the entire story with the temptation of Adam and Eve is a fable and doesn’t have anything to do with real facts. All reptiles go on their belly, at least this is the norm, and they were created within the six days, according to Genesis chapter 1. If they had been created before humankind the reptiles wouldn’t have been recreated as new species after humankind’s Fall. The reptiles go upon their belly not because one of them has tempted Eve but because this is the characteristic of their kind.
According to the book of Genesis God didn’t punish one individual serpent for its behaviour but He condemned many species of serpents to go on their belly. If the “Squamata” is a new order emerged after the temptation of woman, the creation was not finished in six days and the text in Genesis chapter 1 is wrong when it maintains that the process of creation would have ended when the sixth day of creation expired. Adam and Eve couldn’t have been tempted by the serpent and failing during the six days of creation, and at the same time at the end of them the creation being declared very good.
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude.2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.” (Genesis 2, 1-2 NRSV)
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If the order of “Squamata” in which the serpent is included had certain limbs before the human Fall, and as a result of the Fall and of God’s curse moved on the belly, He recreated a certain part of the animal regnum after the sixth day of creation, but this is in contradiction with Genesis chapter 1 which professes that the entire creation was finished in six days. To admit that an entire species of animals were condemned to go onto their belly because one individual tempted Eve is preposterous. This assertion would be even more absurd if we accept that Satan, not the serpent, was the real tempter. Satan was an angel, not a serpent, and he would have used the animal for his ends. Satan hid himself under the guise of a serpent. In such circumstances the animal was a victim, not a perpetrator, and there wouldn’t have been any reason to curse all species of serpents for that. Of course, that is a fable and doesn’t have any sense taken as real facts.
According to Genesis chapter 2, the snake from the Garden of Eden not only spoke unlike other snakes but also had legs which were lost after the temptation of Eve and God’s curse. In the real world, probably, snakes do not resent as a curse going upon their belly, they are very well adapted to this kind of movement which does not generate any inconvenience for them.
“14 The LORD God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’ (Genesis 3; 14-15 NRSV)
The point is that serpents could not have legs and also be serpents. If the serpents went onto their bellies after God’s curse and as a consequence of the curse, how did they move before the curse? If the serpents moved with legs they were not serpents at all but other species of animals. The allegory with the serpent invalidates the whole story of the Fall of humankind as a factual account.
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The story from Genesis chapter 2 is not accurate and it cannot be trusted as a scientific fact. God’s curse of the serpent is a mythological and also an inconsistent story. At the same time, serpents, of course, don’t feed with dust, as the text from the book of Genesis says. Genesis chapter 2 is an allegory about creation which doesn’t have anything to do with what really happened in the human history.
According to the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis adopted by many believers, the devil entered a serpent and realised the temptation of woman. The animal serpent was not responsible for tempting Eve but Satan was, nevertheless the animal was cursed and punished. The animal was cursed to go upon the belly and not Satan. It is unfair to punish an animal for something for which it isn’t responsible. Punishment does not apply for whichever cannot bear a responsibility. God can do what He wants but He is just and He doesn’t punish anyone who is innocent. This is one of the columns of the Kingdom of God.
The text doesn’t allow us to make the shift from the animal to a spiritual power. It is about an animal, not a spirit, an animal which moves on its belly. In mythologies serpents can talk but of course they cannot do that in reality. The mythological symbolism of the serpent was so complex, in the ancient world, that to limit it only to the biblical interpretation is a form of unwarranted reductionism.
In the O.T. the serpent is in conflict with God, but not with man and woman. He is seen as a bringer of light of the knowledge, something similar to Prometheus, the Greek hero, who brought light to humankind. In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, a figure who is credited with the creation of man from clay and who defies the gods and gives fire to humanity. The theft of fire is an act that enabled progress and civilization. He is known for his intelligence and as a champion of mankind and in many ways, he is similar to the serpent from the book of Genesis.
The figure of serpent, in the book of Genesis, cannot at all be understood to be isolated from the whole mythological environment, in which the book of Genesis was written.
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“The serpent, or snake, is one of the oldest and most widespread mythological symbols. Snakes have been associated with some of the oldest rituals known to humankind and represent dual expression of good and evil.In some cultures snakes were fertility symbols. In other cultures snakes symbolized the umbilical cord, joining all humans to Mother Earth. The Great Goddess often had snakes as her familiars - sometimes twining around her sacred staff, as in ancient Crete - and they were worshiped as guardians of her mysteries of birth and regeneration. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing.”
What is the function of the serpent, in the book of Genesis chapter 2? It is an ally of man and woman, an opponent to God, he is on humans’ side. In Genesis chapter 2 not only the serpent but humankind also is an opponent to God. In mythology gods were seen sometimes as positive and sometimes as negative figures. In the Judeo-Christian traditions, God is presumed to be a positive figure, even if He, in the O.T. almost destroyed the human race, through the Flood, killed all first-born children of the Egyptians, and their army, destroyed many ancient civilizations, in order to offer to Israel the promised land. In the O.T. God was presented as a positive figure for anyone who obeyed His laws but very destructive for His human enemies. In the N.T. God is presumed to love His enemies and not to destroy them.
The snake, in the book of Genesis, wanted to open the gates of knowledge for humankind, to show them God’s reasons and strategies, in His dealings with humankind. Of course, the mythological figure, the snake, could be suspected of having its own agenda but this is not necessarily contrary to human interests.
In the Christian tradition we are asked to take sides, to be either on God’s side or against Him, meaning to be on the side of the devil. What would it mean to be just on the human side, to try to understand the universal confrontation between good and evil, from a human perspective? What were God’s reasons, depicted by the Bible, and what were the devil’s motives, according to the same book? What was the issue of the debate between God and Satan and what were the arguments of both sides? The Bible does not give all these answers.
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The struggle for power between God and Satan in the Judeo-Christian tradition looks like a battle between a human King and His vassal. It is not the relationship between the infinite God, the Creator of all things, and one of His creatures, no matter how special this created being was. No creature can replace God and if any created being can do it He is not how the Judeo-Christian traditions describe Him. In those traditions God is Almighty, Omniscient and Omnipresent and most importantly the source of all life. God is unique and He is irreplaceable and His situation is incomparable with anyone else’s. This is a dilemma. If God could have been replaced by Satan following his revolt, all His attributes taught by the Christian doctrines and dogmas are false. At the same time, Satan is described as a very intelligent angel and if this is true he would have understood from the beginning that he couldn’t have won a battle against God. Either Satan is not that intelligent or God is not the unique source of life and can be replaced by one of His creatures.
In the understanding of Christian theology God is not only a King who can be dethroned. He is the existence of all existent things. Such incomparable Reality is degraded by the way in which it is seen by most interpretations of the Bible, mainly those which take literally its texts. If God could be eliminated by a creature He is not infinite but only a finite Reality because an infinite and Omnipresent Reality cannot be eliminated or subdued. This is another inconsistence of the book of Genesis.
At the same time, God couldn’t have been troubled by man who endeavoured to know good and evil. This is the expression of a mythological human understanding of God who cannot be treated as a possible competitor in a universal fight. The infinite God cannot be challenged by the attitude of human beings in their natural request for knowledge. The conflict is not between God and science but it is between a limited understanding of God by many commentators of the Bible and the human knowledge which cannot and should not accept limitations. God doesn’t prevent human beings from knowing Him; the eternal life means an infinite knowledge of Him.
The idea of Satan being the enemy of God in the way presented by the classical theism renders incredible the entire plot of the Bible.
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In a gnostic view things become relatively different with the Demiurge who wouldn’t have tried to replace the Father in His unique situation as the essence of the entire existence, but who tries to become a lesser god dominating humankind.
The indubitable conclusion of many interpretations of the O.T and N.T., is that Satan is an adversary or accuser. In the New Testament, it is interchangeable with “Diabolos”, or devil, and is so used more than thirty times. “He is also called “the dragon,” “the old serpent” (Rev. 12:9; 20:2); “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30); “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4); “the spirit that now work in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). The distinct personality of Satan and his activity among men are thus obviously recognized. He tempted our Lord in the wilderness (Matt. 4:1-11). He is “Beelzebub, the prince of the devils” (Matt. 12:24). He is the constant enemy of God, of Christ, of the divine kingdom, of the followers of Christ, and of all truth; full of falsehood and all malice, and exciting and seducing to evil in every possible way. His power is very great in the world. He is a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). Men are said to be “taken captive by him” (2 Tim. 2:26). Christians are warned against his “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11), and called on to resist him (James 4:7). Christ redeems his people from him that. (Heb. 2:14).
One of the most quoted biblical texts about Satan is the following:
“12 How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon;* 14 I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.” (Isaiah 14; 12-15 NRSV)
Parallels are drawn to the passage in Isaiah 14; 4-17 that mentions the morning star that had “fallen from heaven” and was “cast down to the earth”. In verse 12 of this passage, the Hebrew word that referred to the morning star was translated into Latin as Lucifer. With the application to the devil of the morning star story, “Lucifer” was also applied to him as a proper name.
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The Jewish Encyclopaedia states that the myth concerning the morning star was transferred to Satan by the first century before the Common Era, citing in support of this view the Life of Adam and Eve and the Slavonic Book of Enoch 29:4, 31:4, where Satan-Sataniel is described as having been one of the archangels.
Nevertheless, in my opinion, the quoted biblical passage refers more to the king of Babylon than to a spiritual power and that is obvious when reading the whole of chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah. Being in heaven before being cast down to the earth, Satan couldn’t have “laid the nations low” because he couldn’t influence the nations without God’s approval. Angels don’t “lay the nations low”, only a human king or God can do that.
Apparently, Satan’s functions in the Kingdom of God would have been linked with guarding God’s throne, not with leading nations on Earth. At the same time, metaphorically, the text of the Bible could have paralleled the king of Babylon with Day Star. Moreover, the king of Babylon would have been in a situation to “lay the nations low” and he probably did that. A powerful earthly king could have dreamt to become a kind of false god and to be like the Most High, and history recorded many rulers who behaved as gods over their nations or over other occupied nations.
If the Day Star is the same personage as Satan, not only did he say in his heart that he will ascend to heaven, but it was already in heaven if it had fallen from it.
Another passage worth quoting concerning Satan’s identity is found in Ezekiel. This time the quotation is extensive in order to comprise all relevant elements:
“11 Moreover, the word of the LORD came to me: 12 Mortal, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: You were the signet of perfection,* full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, chrysolite, and moonstone, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,* turquoise, and emerald; and worked in gold were your settings and your engravings.*On the day that you were created they were prepared. 4 With an anointed cherub as guardian I placed you;* you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the stones of fire. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from among the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendour. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade, you profaned your sanctuaries. So I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more for ever.” (Ezekiel 28; 11-19 NRSV)
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The text looks like it points towards the king of Tyre. If the text refers to Satan, the serpent from the Garden of Eden, the description of Satan, in the book of Ezekiel, contradicts the depiction of the serpent, in the book of Genesis. Verse 13, from the book of Ezekiel chapter 28, speaks in such terms about the serpent, which categorically contradicts the book of Genesis; hence it isn’t about the same personage. In the Garden of Eden Satan would have taken the form of a serpent or hid behind such an animal, according to Genesis chapter 1, but in Ezekiel 28, in Eden, the garden of God, every precious stone was the devil’s covering.
If Satan was in the Garden of Eden, covered in precious stones, he was not a serpent, an animal, because no animals are covered in precious stones. A special angel covered in precious stones was a material creation, not only a spiritual power hiding behind an animal, in this case a serpent.
What trade could the serpent have done, as an animal, in the Garden of Eden? The serpent didn’t do any trade in the Garden of Eden and that place wouldn’t have been destined for trade. Satan also, if different from the serpent, wouldn’t have done any trade in the Garden of Eden and the king of Tyre who could have done plenty of trade, couldn’t have lived in the Garden.
The two descriptions of Eden and of Satan from Ezekiel and Genesis are incompatible with one another.
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The idea of making trade in the Garden of Eden occupied by only two human beings, Adam and Eve, is an absurd one. Nothing is adding up in the story of Satan and of the Garden of Eden.
In the book of Ezekiel, Satan would have been destroyed in the sight of all who saw him, but in other texts of the Bible the devil will endure until the end of the world. Which one is true out of the two different visions about Satan? Probably nothing is true because serpents don’t talk and aren’t covered in precious stones, and Satan didn’t do any trade in the Garden of Eden. Ezekiel 28, 11-19, doesn’t refer to Satan but can metaphorically speak about a rich king who tried to suppress other neighbouring nations.
In Genesis chapter 3 and Ezekiel chapter 28, Satan was punished twice. In the former he was condemned to go onto the belly and to eat dust, and in the latter he was turned to ashes. Obviously the serpent from Genesis 3 and Satan from Ezekiel chapter 28 are two very different personages. Being consumed by the fire, the personage from the book of Ezekiel cannot be Satan because the devil will be thrown in the lake of fire at the end of the days, hence he has not been consumed by the fire yet. The proposition from Ezekiel chapter 28, verse 18, “so I brought out fire from within you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all who saw you”, speaks of a past event but Satan is still alive.
One may say that the text in Ezekiel addresses two different questions at the same time. One question would be the fate of the king of Tyre and the second one, Satan’s revolt. In my opinion the text can be taken as referring only to the king of Tyre because nothing in Ezekiel 28 is such that it cannot be connected to that king. The signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, covered by every precious stone, placed with an anointed cherub as guardian and walking among the stones of fire, could very well be a metaphorical description of the king of Tyre if he was a rich person.
In any case, the text from Ezekiel 28 brings forward a metaphor which doesn’t really say anything about Satan’s revolt against God. Another text of the Bible has to be quoted to complete the image of humankind’s Fall in connection with Satan’s fall:
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“3 Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule* all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days. 7 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12; 3-9 NRSV)
As we can see, the text equates Satan with the serpent as being one and the same personage. Taking this observation into consideration, all contradictions between Genesis and the other biblical texts about Satan’s Fall are even better demonstrated. The description of Satan is very different between Genesis and Ezekiel, or between the former and the book of Revelation.
On the other side, if God is perfect in His character, as we are led to believe, what appearance of a fault or pretext could have been used by Satan against Him? What formal accusations could have been brought against Him by the devil in front of all the angels? God’s perfection should exclude and render derisory any accusation against Him. Either God is perfect, and that was obvious for the angels, or He is not perfect, having some apparent imperfections and Satan has used them. Nobody can revolt against perfection, because there is nothing to argue against it. If, nevertheless, someone would have done that, none would have followed and the contender would have remained alone. Not so with Satan’s revolt. He not only was followed by a third of the angels, but also the other two thirds remained with doubts and God would have considered it necessary to develop a very complex plan, in order to dispel their incertitude.
This is the understanding of many Christians. God had created man and woman, in order for Satan to have a stage on which he could demonstrate “in vivo” his theories about freedom and rights.
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The earth was created as a laboratory for the devil’s works in which he was doomed to fail in his attempt to demonstrate a better order than God’s. The faithful angels couldn’t have imagined fully Satan’s promises for another type of government and they needed to see those propositions happening under their eyes on Earth. Without the social experiences made on Earth the faithful angels would have kept in their minds some of Satan’s words and the effects of his revolt would have reverberated forever in God’s Kingdom. Satan’s experiences on Earth would have had, as a result, the conclusion that total independence from God isn’t good because it leads to chaos and destruction.
In reality such demonstration couldn’t have been conclusive because democracy is proven to be better than any authoritarian system, the former bringing personal achievements for much more individual human beings than the latter. At the same time religion didn’t help too much in bringing peace and stability in the world and the name of God was used many times for justifying despicable atrocities. On the other side, mortal life and eternal life are two very different things and it is difficult to judge the value of an order based on eternal life after what happens in a mortal life. When changing the coordinates from eternal to mortal or from mortal to eternal, the mentalities of the conscious living beings would have changed radically.
The fundamental problem is the birth of evil in the world. God could have avoided the apparition of evil in His creation. Evil has a cause and cannot be reduced to one person or one angel. One third of all angels in the heavens followed the evil and rebelled against God. The cause of evil is considered to be pride, the effect of having beauty and personal power. Satan would have been proud and he would have forgotten his place in the creation, and he would have wanted to be like God. Nevertheless, this seems to be an inconsistent interpretation of the fight between good and evil in the Bible. God knows everything beforehand therefore He would have known Satan’s future before the development of the events. Satan’s revolt couldn’t have happened as a surprise for God if He really knows everything.
If God doesn’t know the future and He didn’t know ante factum that Satan would revolt against Him, He isn’t the Almighty presented by the doctrines and dogmas. God could have known at least that an excess of beauty and power can bring someone to pride.
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The creation of Satan as a special angel, as a defender of God’s throne, couldn’t have had any reasonable motive because He didn’t need to be defended from anyone before the revolt. Either God doesn’t know the future and Satan’s revolt wasn’t predicted by Him, or He knows it and He willingly created Satan as a potential agent of evil. The reason could have been the realisation of a complex plan in which humankind also has a place. If God created Satan knowing his potential for evil He is the source of evil in the world.
Many possible scenarios can only try to make sense of an unbelievable story, that of the battle between good and evil from the Bible. It is hard to believe because it contains many illogical elements. One is the revolt of a creature against the Creator and the pretention of that creature to win such a battle against an infinite Reality. Another discrepancy just mentioned is the creation of Satan as a potential factor for the generation of evil. The entire story doesn’t make too much sense and can be inscribed in the mythological genre. If the battle between God and Satan is real, there are many components totally unknown to humankind; hence the Bible doesn’t present authentic revelation in this regard in order to make sense of the story of Adam and Eve.
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 www.mythencyclopedia.com › Pr-Sa
What is the relevance of this discussion? Is it important if lions eat only meat for the consistency of the book of Genesis? It is important and shows that the book of Genesis is wrong when asserting that God had created all animals after their kinds and at the same time that all animals were destined to eat only vegetation after their creation. If animals had been created in kinds on the sixth day of creation as the book of Genesis states, it would have been impossible for some of them to eat only plants. This is an incorrect assertion and it couldn’t have been inspired by God. Much information given by the book of Genesis is incredible, irrational and false and its falsifiability can be demonstrated by simple facts. The existence of predator animals destined to eat plants after their creation is an example of false and absurd information found in the Bible.
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Nothing can be further from the truth than the proclamation that God would have created two very different types of animals but attributed them the same kind of food. Why would He have created in this way? There is one answer, which could explain this dilemma. Not God but nature generated animals and their way of feeding. This rather lengthy quotation is necessary to understand better the differences between herbivore and carnivore animals and the need for an evolutionary explanation in order to give sense to the existence of nature on Earth.
“All animals have teeth that are adapted to eating certain types of food. For instance, herbivores, because they are plant eaters, have strong and flat molars that are made for grinding leaves and small or non-existent canine teeth. Carnivores, the meat eaters of the animal world, have very defined canine teeth for tearing at meat, combined with a sometimes limited number of molars. Omnivores, because they eat both meat and plants, have a combination of sharp front teeth and molars for grinding. Herbivores have teeth that are highly specialized for eating plants. Herbivore incisors are sharp for tearing plants, but they may not be present on both the upper and lower jaw. Carnivores have a set of teeth that are very different from herbivores’. This makes sense, because they also have a different diet. A carnivore will use its teeth to kill a prey item before eating it. The sharp incisors and pointed canine teeth are perfectly designed for both incapacitating and eating a meal.”
The biblical description of how animals were created and of how they behave is only a fabrication. According to the book of Genesis all animals had been created by God on the fifth and sixth days of creation. He wouldn’t have created the animals organised in particular kinds only to enable them to evolve into other kinds of animals different from what He had created. If the animals were created only as a transitory stage of evolution God’s creation couldn’t be considered as having ended in six days as the book of Genesis says. God also declared the creation of animals as being good. “Good” in the context of the creation stories from the Bible can be considered to mean also complete or finished.
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Did God create species in transit or in evolution or complete, non-evolving animal species? If the former situation is the case what was the initial form in which animal species had been created? In my opinion, the book of Genesis tells us clearly that God would have create stable species which couldn’t have been transformed into others even if they would have suffered some adaptations, such as the colour of the coat.
“24 And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 24-25 NRSV)
The text is clear in asserting that wild animals and cattle are two different kinds of animals. The adjective “good” when applied to carnivorous animals would have meant their extraordinary ability to kill their pray and for herbivores their biological structure which enables them to eat plants. If all animals were herbivores there isn’t any reason why God would have changed something which had been declared “good” from the beginning of creation. Animals which were good on the sixth day weren’t good anymore after the Flood. If the Flood was a real event God would have recreated or created anew the entirety of nature on Earth after the extreme devastation caused by the waters, but the Bible speaks only about the change of dietary habits.
If God created carnivore animals on the sixth day He generated extraordinary biological creatures able to kill in an efficient way:
“Carnivores can be told by their enlarged canine teeth, by the presence of three pairs of incisors in each jaw (with rare exceptions), and by the shape of their molar teeth. In humans and in many other mammals, the molars are flattened and are used for grinding food. In most carnivores (except for bears and pinnipeds), the last premolar of the upper jaw and first molar of the lower jaw are sharp and bladelike, and slide past each other like the blades of scissors when the animal chews. These modified molars are known as carnassial teeth. Molars farther back in the jaw are usually either missing or highly reduced. These features are adaptive for a carnivorous diet, to tear and cut meat; note that bears, which are almost all omnivorous, have re-evolved crushing molar teeth.”
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There are many other differences between herbivores and carnivores in relation to their digestive tracts, saliva, stomach size, stomach structure, intestine and liver. All these differences show that it is absurd to think God would have created carnivorous animals and allotted them to eat the food which is specific for the nourishment of herbivores. The evolution of the animals followed a long process of adaptation to the environment and natural selection, and didn’t happened suddenly, with some species of evolved herbivores becoming carnivores from one day to another after the Flood. The book of Genesis is undoubtedly wrong when assuming that God would have created all animal species on Earth according to their kinds, and that He assigned for carnivores the same food as for herbivores.
Carnivores which eat only green plants is a proposition which is as absurd as daylight happening without the sun. Herbivores which became carnivores after Adam and Eve’s Fall or after the Flood by suddenly changing their dietary habits is also an idea which shows that the book of Genesis isn’t inspired by God but is the product of human ignorance. The biological differences between herbivores and carnivores are very important but all this information wasn’t known by the authors of the book of Genesis. Here are more such differences:
“Herbivores have long digestive tracts because it takes a long time to absorb nutrients from the plant material which they eat. They also have a large caecum which helps, along with enzymes, breakdown the plant material and cellulose. Carnivores have shorter digestive tracts as they can obtain nutrients from the meat they consume more quickly. They have a relatively small caecum as their diet only consists of small amounts of plant material. A carnivore’s saliva does not contain digestive enzymes. Herbivores saliva is alkaline, containing carbohydrate digestive enzymes. Stomachs differ greatly between carnivores and herbivores. Carnivores have greatly enlarged stomachs which encompass between 60 and 70 percent of their entire digestive tracts, while herbivores have much smaller stomachs as they generally are required to process smaller amounts of food.”
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Very important also are the processes which happen in the stomachs of herbivores and carnivores, which differentiate them greatly and make them dependent on a certain kind of food and not another. It is impossible to accept that such different animals would have eaten the same kind of food until the Flood.
God through evolution didn’t create animal species isolated, but all plants and animals are linked in trophic levels or food chains. Each food chain ends with a top predator, an animal with no natural enemies like an alligator, hawk, or polar bear.
God through evolution and contrary to what the book of Genesis affirms would have created an ecosystem in which plants and animals play their role and help each other to survive and not only as parallel series of biological beings. Many living creatures are a source of food for other living creatures, either animals or plants. Without this food chain the survival of so many species would be impossible. All living creatures accomplish a certain role in the process of sustaining the ecosystem. For example, herbivores eat plants and fruits and after that they spread the seeds at a long distance.
Carnivores eat herbivores and in this way they find the nutrition they need. If the herbivores multiply too much through lack of enemies they can create an important imbalance by destroying the vegetation. For this reason God, through nature, also generated carnivores which limit the number of herbivores and ensure the survival of vegetation. The book of Genesis implies that this ecosystem didn’t exist before the Flood, when all animals and also humans ate only plants. This was not a sustainable ecosystem.
For example, if one tries to imagine the herbivore dinosaurs and the huge quantity of plants eaten by them and also their multiplication without limits, one can understand why a limit to their multiplication was necessary. Carnivores kept the number of herbivores under control and allowed the survival of plants, and in this way the continuation of life on Earth. The eating of plants by all animals is nonsense and if one tries to extend that image to fish, birds, and animals of the sea, one can see clearly that this is an absurdity.
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This is another serious reason the stories of creation from Genesis are unacceptable. They present a world based exclusively on the consumption of plants without trophic levels but such an environment would have been unbalanced and self-destructive. Nature works different than the book of Genesis presents.
“Charles Elton, an Oxford ecologist, first conceptualized food webs in the 1920s, speculating that wolf removal would unleash hordes of deer. These insights gave rise to the 1960s “green world” hypothesis, which held that plants prevail because predators hold herbivores in check. Profound food chain effects — caused by adding or removing top species — are now known as “trophic cascades.” In a classic 1966 experiment, biologist Robert Paine removed the purple seastar, Pisaster ochraceus — a voracious mussel-feeder — from an area of coastline in Washington state. Their predator gone, mussels sprouted like corn in Kansas, crowding out algae, chitons, and limpets, replacing biodiversity with monoculture.”
In the last period of time, more and more data are accumulating only to show how important predators are for the equilibrium of an ecosystem. But Schmitz, who grew up north of Toronto where wolf-hunting was a way of life, thinks the process is underway:
“Piece by piece, it’s taken 20 years to accumulate the evidence, and the culmination is in that Science paper — that the world is driven by predators as well as nutrients. We have to pay attention to their health and well-being if we want a healthy ecosystem. Simply eliminating them because we want more prey or because we don’t think they’re important is very misguided.”
An ecosystem without predators is an absurdity and the Bible clearly maintains this idea when it says that all animals had to eat only vegetation after their creation. Such an idea shows that the writers of the book of Genesis didn’t understand what an ecosystem was and how it functioned.
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This is not God’s work because the level of knowledge contained by the texts isn’t very advanced but it is really low.
What could have replaced the existence of the ecosystem until the Flood? Because the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis are incredibly naïve and absurd, people have to invent all kinds of scenarios in which God is imagined to intervene in the world in the most incredible ways. For example, someone could say that God replaced the ecosystem by killing a number of herbivore animals systematically. If God had done such a thing He wouldn’t have had any reason to complain about the level of violence in the world before the Flood because that violence would have been committed by Him, not by human beings or by animals.
“12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6; 12 NRSV)
The complaint is false in every way. It is false if God created carnivorous animals on the sixth day. It is also false if God needed to systematically kill some herbivorous animals in order to reduce their number because in this case the only one who would have committed violence would have been He.
Without predators nature cannot exist in lack of vegetation. The image of a world in which humankind and animals would have eaten only plants and in which the ecosystem would have been absent is the image of an idealised world which doesn’t have anything to do with the real world. Such an image has to be rejected strongly as authentic history and if anyone thinks that it can be used for a religious purpose in order to indicate a peaceful God who doesn’t like suffering, that is his or her problem. The need for the ecosystem shows clearly that God didn’t create nature in the way described by the book of Genesis, but the world has evolved from less developed biological beings to superior ones. Life took all possible turns trying all possibilities in the process of evolution and in this way a balanced ecosystem on Earth appeared. Top predators are the key to ecosystem survival:
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“Constant predation of the top consumers prevents a population from growing larger than the system can support. Removing a top predator can often alter the gentle balance of an entire ecosystem. Here’s an example of what can happen: When an area floods permanently and creates a series of islands, not all the islands have enough resources to support top predators. Top consumers are left to gobble up nutrients and experience a reproductive boom. The boom is felt throughout the system, though, as the booming species out-competes others, potentially driving the lesser species to extinction and reducing biodiversity.”
The oceans are populated with many predators, which don’t eat green plants, as the book of Genesis maintains. Did God create herbivorous sharks which after the Fall of man became predators? It is not agreed amongst biblical commentators when some animals became predators. Some creationists maintain that animals become predators after the Fall of man, but others, taking into account that before the Flood meat consumption was prohibited, have to admit that predators came only when the consumption of meat was allowed. Again, to endow animals with all characteristics for eating meat but to give them plants as food is nonsense.
How did God create the animal species? It is possible for animal species to change their attributes and become other species? Is in this case God’s creation modified by nature? Does nature co-create new species by changing the kinds established by God? Did God create animals to change or to remain the same? According to the Bible animals were created according with their kinds. What does that mean? Did God create all species of animals on the fifth and sixth day or did new species appear after the end of the creation week? If God created all animals in the creation week and the creation was at its end after the sixth day, as the book of Genesis claims, on what grounds can one maintain that the creation would have continued and new species such as the carnivore ones would have been created after that period of time? The biblical text announces:
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. 2 And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.” (Genesis 2; 1-3 NRSV)
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The narrative of the book of Genesis, concerning the creation of animals, contradicts all empirical observation anyone can make. Did a herbivore lion transform into a carnivore one? If the answer is positive this transformation amounts to the creation of a new kind of animal, but all kinds would have been created in the period of six days of creation. A herbivore lion would be a very different species from the carnivore lion that we know. In point of fact, such a lion would not be a lion at all but some other animal, and if the former was created by God the latter was created by nature therefore the book of Genesis is wrong when describing the creation of all land animals on the sixth day.
Some Christians believe that we can accept modifications in the structure of species or kinds, as the book of Genesis identifies them. The same biblical commentators consider that the so-called fixity of the species, as Darwin perceived the Bible to be saying, is not taught in Scripture. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even widely taught in the Church before the eighteenth century. Sylvia Baker quoted by Don Steward writes in “Bone of Contention”:
“The idea that species cannot change was certainly not an article of the church before the eighteenth century. It was then considered quite in accord with the Bible to believe that they could change, though not in the direction of greater complexity. It was not until the eighteenth century that the view became widespread that species cannot change, that they are fixed or immutable. The man responsible for promoting it was Linnaeus, who is famous as the first man to introduce systematics to biology. He maintained that species as he had defined them represented the kind of the Bible and therefore could not be changed. This view became widely accepted, insisted on, and carried to absurd limits. (Slyvia Baker, Bone of Contention, Revised edition, Sunnybank, Queensland, Australia, Evangelical Press: 1976, p. 7).”
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There is a big difference between species and varieties inside certain species. There are varieties inside species but a tomato cannot become a watermelon, as John Klotz maintains. It doesn’t matter how many varieties of tomatoes there are, they still remain tomatoes and not something else. Nevertheless, herbivore lions and carnivore lions wouldn’t be two varieties of the same species but two very different species. The idea is that a herbivore lion isn’t a lion but an animal about which we don’t know anything. John Klotz again quoted by Don Stewart comments:
“We also need to recognize that the language of the Bible is the commonsense, everyday language of our newspapers. This language does not change; technical scientific language does change . . . . We may have new species of tomatoes, but they are still the same kind. There may be changes within the species, yet tomatoes have not developed into cantaloupes or watermelons. There may also have been changes within the dog kind, but these have not developed into lions or bears (John Klotz, Studies in Creation, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1985, p. 76).”
The modifications entailed by the transformation of a herbivore animal into a carnivore animal cannot be considered by any standards to be a modification within the same species. Everything is different, from the morphological structure of the animal to its behaviour. To take the example of tomatoes, this time tomatoes will not be tomatoes anymore, but a kind of watermelon. Don Stewart concludes that some modifications within the limit of a species are acceptable by the standards of the Bible but not the evolution of species from one to another:
“Hence, what Darwin discovered was not contradictory to what the Bible has to say about kinds. The Bible teaches “the fixity of the species” in that each biblical kind can only reproduce within certain fixed boundaries. Change within a kind, however, is consistent with biblical teaching. Today, whenever kinds are crossed, the offspring is always sterile. For example, a donkey and a horse produce a sterile mule. A lion crossed with a tiger produces a sterile liger. Charles Darwin saw this problem and wrote in The Origin of Species.”
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Creationists admit changes but not from a biblical kind, to another, but within the limits of a certain kind. Nevertheless, herbivorous and carnivorous animals are different kinds and not varieties of the same ones. Don Stewart extended his conclusion with the following observation:
“The Bible allows for change or variations within plants and animals. Change is evidence for microevolution or selection. What creationists are denying is the existence of any evidence for macroevolution. They reject the procedure of using evidence for microevolution as confirming the theory of macroevolution. Unfortunately, a great many people believe that evidence for microevolution proves macroevolution. This is by no means the case. Furthermore, the Bible limits the amount of change which can happen. Cats cannot mate with dogs, pigs with apes, etc. This limitation is exactly what we find in our world. Hence, the Bible is certainly not unscientific when it says that kinds of plants and animals are limited in the degree in which they can change.”
If this is true it means that the transformation of a herbivorous animal into a carnivore was impossible because they are different kinds. This transformation entails macroevolution at its highest level. By limiting the amount of change that can happen and at the same time maintaining that a fundamental transformation was necessary, given by the way in which animals feed, this shows that the Bible is certainly unscientific. Some commentators contradict the Bible when trying to defend its concepts. The Bible implies that some herbivorous animals would have been transformed into carnivores after the Flood in spite that all kinds of animals would have been created on the sixth day. That means that some kinds of animals would have become other kinds, and also signifies that some kinds of animals such as carnivores wouldn’t have been created by God. This of course questions the entire account of the creation in the Bible.
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This conclusion isn’t similar to the one accepted by very important commentators of the Bible who had an important influence on their generations. The problem isn’t only that the book of Genesis is wrong but also that many apologists of the Bible fundament their dogmatic conclusions on the literal interpretation of the narratives of creation contained by it. John Calvin, the well-known reformer, commented on his notes on Genesis 1; 24:
“I say, moreover, it is sufficient for the purpose of signifying the same thing, (1) that Moses declares animals were created ‘according to their species:’ for this distribution carried with it something stable. It may even hence be inferred, that the offspring of animals was included. For to what purpose do distinct species exist, unless that individuals, by their several kinds, may be multiplied?”
Prior to the Latin Vulgate Basil, a renowned theologian and father of the Church, discussed species as the biblical kind. In the late 1600s Matthew Henry uses species as kinds. He affirmed that there would be no new “species” created after creation week was completed. The point is that species originally meant biblical kinds from the Bible.
Today the discussion is about definitions. What does “a kind” mean? “Kind” means a certain identity beyond which animals cannot change. There are many species of dogs but all of them are dogs, not cats. That what-ness that makes an animal what it is represents a kind. Kinds are different in their essential characteristics. At the same time the morphological traits of herbivores are essentially different from that of carnivores and these biological traits surely signify the particularities of kinds. In other words, herbivorous animals are different kinds than carnivore animals because both have a different identity beyond which animals cannot change.
If God created herbivore lions, which would be understandable if they really had to eat only green plants, He wouldn’t have created carnivore lions, which appeared only late after the creation week. In this case, the facts show us that the creation didn’t end in six days as the book of Genesis says, and many animal species have appeared in existence through evolution if they weren’t the result of God’s creation.
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This is an argument which validates the theory of evolution against creationism but doesn’t exclude God’s existence. It dismisses the way in which the book of Genesis accounts for the creation of the animal world and strengthens the theory of the evolution of the species as the real explanation of the origin of the nature. Moreover, it is more sensible to believe that herbivores and carnivores evolved together during a long period of time in the context of the ecosystems of the earth than to believe that all animals were once herbivores, both because the latter proposition is contradicted by the findings of sciences and because of the way in which the Bible describes their creation. Sciences discovered that the existence of carnivorous dinosaurs occurred long before the existence of human beings on Earth.
Nevertheless, this observation changes drastically the Christian theology regarding the explanation of death in the world. If we take into consideration that God would have created also all viruses and bacteria within the creation week and before the creation of humankind we can understand that even the source of so many illnesses would be His creation. An earthly Paradise before Adam and Eve’s Fall is an absurdity in the presence of numerous deadly viruses and bacteria.
It would be wrong to cling to a theological explanation which is invalidated both by an analysis of the coherence of the biblical texts and by scientific research, and it is better to modify our theological views regarding the way in which the world came into existence, accepting all rational consequences our findings bring.
The earth would have been a paradise if after their creation all animals including birds ate only green plants and didn’t eat each other. This wasn’t the case and besides many land and marine carnivores, there were many birds on Earth which were also carnivorous:
“There are about 10,000 living species of birds and the cross the spectrum from meat eater to purely plant eater. The carnivores eat only meat, usually small animals and other smaller birds. Species of birds that are carnivores include owls, eagles, hawks and falcons. The omnivores eat both meat and plants, but the meat is more likely to be from small insects and worms. Species of omnivorous birds include, chickens, robins and ostriches.
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The herbivore eats only plants, but for birds this usually means fruits, berries, nuts and seeds. Herbivorous birds include cockatoos, macaws and parakeets. Different bird species have differently shaped beaks because each species has evolved a beak design that suits its diet and lifestyle. Beaks function somewhat as human tools do, and they help the birds to access food. While some birds have beaks suited for a variety of foods, most possess beaks that display some level of specialization. For example, many birds have evolved short, stout beaks for cracking open nuts and seeds.”
Eating meat is a widespread dietary habit, hence is found in plants, marine animals, birds and land animals. The biblical account, according to which there was a time when animals had eaten only plants, is wrong and brings theology to false conclusions.
There are many contradictions in the biblical narratives of creation. The origin of the birds is given in a contradictory way in the book of Genesis:
“20 And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ 21 So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 20-21 NRSV)
“19 So out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2; 19 NRSV)
Comparing these texts one can see that in the first one the birds came out directly from the air. In the second one in Genesis 2, God formed every bird of the air out of the ground. The manner of creating animals is different between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. In Genesis 1 God said: “Let the waters bring forth” and “Let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky” but in Genesis 2 “out of the ground the LORD God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air”. This is an obvious contradiction. It is not the same story.
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In the first one it was not God directly but the waters and earth, at His command, which produced the animals. In the second one, God formed out of the ground every animal of the field and every bird of the air. There are two different and contradictory stories of creation of animals in the Bible. It is impossible that both were inspired by God. More likely none of them have a divine source.
Were the animals created immortal at the moment of their creation? Did they die because of Adam’s Fall? It is a very unlikely hypothesis. All plants and animals were endowed by God, according to the book of Genesis, with the ability to multiply. If death wasn’t a limit for this multiplication, at a certain moment in time the earth and waters would have been overcrowded by so many plants and animals living forever. Death was a regulator of the excess in multiplication and in fact death is a biological apparatus for evolution also. Without death evolution is not possible, because the new and better adaptations cannot come into place unless they replace the old ones. God would never have created living beings immortal with the ability to multiply in a limited space, as Earth is. Plants were surely not immortal if they were to be eaten by animals. It is not written in the Bible that God created animals to be immortal, so the entrance of death into creation only after Adam and Eve’s Fall is an incorrect doctrine. The following quotation refers to animal mortality:
“It is unknown whether pre-fall immortality affected just humans or all organisms on earth. Animal immortality is argued by some due to the fact that animals were not given as food at the creation. Likewise, God’s own description of the created world was in terms of “very good”, which to many is contradictory to the suffering which frequents death. On the other hand, the possibility of immortal animals is immediately rejected by others because accidental death occurs on a regular basis for many small organisms today. For example insects are killed frequently under foot, or swallowed by accident. However, under examination such distinctions between humans, and other creatures do not hold-up. Accidental deaths are similarly likely for humans as almost any other organism. There may be no generalized scenario that would cause the death of another organism that could not also happen to humans.
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Any natural incident that could kill a bug, could also certainly kill a human. Humans are one of the most environmentally fragile of all organisms on earth, but the exoskeleton possessed by the average insect can handle several hundred times its’ weight, and the fossil record is filled with animals which upon chance contact could crush humans as easily as we do bugs today.”
The book of Genesis doesn’t speak about immortality on Earth before the Fall. The assumption for immortality is based on the kind of food which would have been allocated for human beings and animals, but that information is nonsensical. One reason is the presence of carnivores which had to kill other animals in order to feed themselves. Another reason was the presence of the tree of life as a condition of getting immortality. To that we can add also another reason which is a very reduced lifespan of some insects.
“Despite being prolific, with over two and a half thousand known species scattered across the globe, the Mayfly depends on quantity, rather than quality of life for their survival on earth. These aquatic insects have the shortest lifespan known, with their life expectancy ranging from just a half an hour to one day, depending on their species. In fact, their sole purpose in life is to hatch, and reproduce.”
Living only few hours, some insects would have died naturally before the creation of humankind and their alleged Fall. In this way death would have entered into the creation before Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God, and it wouldn’t have been triggered by the attitude of the human beings.
To the first three arguments invoked already another one pleads also against the existence of immortality at the beginning of creation. Accidental death of insects and other animals would have also been a cause of death before the alleged Fall of man. If we imagine blue whales, when open their mouths they swallow around 220 tons of water in a single full mouth. When they did that before the creation of humankind they surely also swallowed numerous living beings:
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“Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These magnificent marine mammals rule the oceans at up to 100 feet (30 meters) long and upwards of 200 tons (181 metric tons). Their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. Their hearts, as much as an automobile. Blue whales reach these mind-boggling dimensions on a diet composed nearly exclusively of tiny shrimplike animals called krill. During certain times of the year, a single adult blue whale consumes about 4 tons (3.6 metric tons) of krill a day.”
Can anyone imagine blue whales eating only green plants? Such an image is so absurd that by itself it disqualifies the veracity of the text of the book of Genesis, and also the declaration of the N.T. that death had entered in the world through Adam and Eve’s sins.
Another example can be Spironosaurus:
“Spinosaurus was the biggest of all the carnivorous dinosaurs, larger than Tyrannosaurus and Giganotosaurus. It lived during part of the Cretaceous period, about 112 million to 97 million years ago, roaming the swamps of North Africa… Spinosaurus ate mainly fish and that was deduced not only after its skull but also studying it chemically.”
Spinosaurus’ huge size is a motif to imagine that it could have killed small insects or small animals accidentally only by its movement from one place to another. The same is available for other large animals. Spinosaurus would have done such accidental killings before Adam and Eve’s Fall also. The death in creation before Adam and Eve’s sins changes everything in the Christian theology.
If man wasn’t immortal before the alleged Fall, needing the tree of life in order to become immortal, animals were also mortal. It is absurd to think that humans were mortal but animals were immortal. If humans were mortal, animals were also mortal, and they all needed the tree of life in order to become immortal. Again, the point is that death was not introduced in the creation by human sin as Apostle Paul maintained.
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“12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.” Romans 5; 12-13 NRSV)
Paul was wrong because God’s creation presupposes death, which is a natural thing. If death is considered to be the payment for sin and God’s creation implies death in its very nature, sin also is in the fabric of things created by God. There isn’t any reason to see the human species that morally decayed following Adam and Eve’s alleged disobedience to God. because those sins never happened and death is a natural thing introduced into the creation by Him, not by humans’ Fall. There isn’t any reason to be ashamed any more that we are human beings with ancestors who were disobedient and consequently they died, because they would have died anyway because they were mortal.
What would have happened if the animals were immortal, and also other forms of life, for example viruses, would have lived forever and at the same time they would have multiplied unbridled? It isn’t clear from the book of Genesis if only human beings would have been called to immortality or all living creatures. If Adam and Eve were obedient to God and if they had lived forever, what would have happened with the other living beings unaffected by the Fall? Let’s us imagine the following scenario. Adam and Eve were obedient to God; death wouldn’t have entered into the creation as Apostle Paul said and all animals would have been immortal also. No reason for God to call the end of the world if humankind were all in accordance with Him. Nevertheless, the earth has a limited extension and if multiplication hadn’t stopped the planet would have been spatially insufficient for so many beings. In the end, God would have needed to impose a ban on multiplication which is strange because the human beings and animals are endowed for multiplication and they were asked by God from the beginning to multiply. The recommendation for the multiplication of biological beings given by God in Genesis chapter 1 and death entering into the creation only after Adam and Eve’s sins, is another contradiction of the book of Genesis, in the context of life on Earth.
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If by sin we understand violence and destruction, there never was a time on Earth without sins from the moment the first predators appeared on our planet. This apparition was anterior to the creation of humankind, according to the book of Genesis. If by sin we have to understand disobedience to God we have to notice that in reality humankind didn’t appear on Earth through Adam and Eve because they are legendary, not real personages. The first humanoids would have acted according to their nature, being violent and killing prey, which would have assured their survival.
Sin didn’t come into the world through one man and death didn’t come into the world through sin, but death came into the world through God’s creation. Adam and Eve, two mythological personages, never sinned if they never existed on Earth but human beings sinned from their first apparition on Earth because sin is written in human nature. The problem with many Christian doctrines is that their premises are wrong and they cannot be right if their premises aren’t right.
If Paul’s premise was wrong the entire theology based on the principle of death coming as a consequence of Adam and Eve’s Fall must also be defective. At the same time immortality is possible and God can give it to the elect. For the natural world death is natural, it is not a punishment for sin. Immortality is possible through Christ even if the two first human beings, Adam and Eve, never had existed on Earth.
There are biblical texts which refer to the future immortality of the animals.
“19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Romans 8; 19-21 NRSV)
That would mean nature would have been created as a kind of paradise, but this image doesn’t correspond to data from reality. For the future, the Bible describes a very idealistic picture about the relationships between animals and that is a sort of comeback to the initial idealised world.
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“6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isaiah 11; 6-9 NRSV)
The same problem arises. The lion doesn’t eat straw like the ox because it is a predator animal, a carnivore, not a herbivore. It is important because if the text in Isaiah wanted to transmit something it cannot, nevertheless, be taken as the real image of a future reality. This earthly heaven is an idealisation of nature, no more and no less, and this idealisation was used in the book of Genesis also, where it is written that all animals have eaten green plants. If the lion eats straw it is not a lion any more, but a sort of ox. In order to be described as a lion an animal must be a predator, and even if it is raised by man in a zoo or on special farms, the lion will eat meat and no straw. It will be friendlier with humans, accustomed to them, but it will not change its way of feeding. A herbivore lion wouldn’t have any of the features which give identity to the animal which we describe as lion, hence a herbivore lion would be a contradiction.
Another behaviour coming from a natural instinct and which contradicts the paradisiac image of nature before an alleged Fall of humankind is sexual cannibalism. This sexual cannibalism of some animals has nothing to do with the Garden of Eden or with man disobedience; it is a development of nature.
“Sexual cannibalism became a hot topic of debate among biologists in 1984. Scientists from Cornell and the University of Texas at Austin proposed that it evolved because the males of some species could get an evolutionary advantage from being eaten. Their bodies could nourish the mothers of their offspring, raising the odds that those offspring would successfully hatch and grow up to produce their own offspring, thus carrying on the father’s genes.”
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Bees also display carnivorous behaviour and most likely they always did that:
“Bees can be ruthless relatives. Bumblebee queens eat their offspring’s eggs, and honeybee workers make meals of their siblings’ eggs. But this ritual, gruesome by human standards, makes a bee family more productive. Although worker bees are usually unable to mate, as females they can lay unfertilized eggs that emerge as males, if given the chance. The same applies to wasps and ants. But many don’t survive. Workers are prone to eating their siblings’ eggs—an act scientists call “policing”—when their mother queen mates with multiple males. In these species, including the honeybee, most workers are half-sisters, and more related to their brothers (sons of the queen) than nephews (sons of other workers). Half-sisters show no mercy, devouring their nephews.”
This type of behaviour supports a theory by William Hamilton according to which closely related animals cooperate but more distant or unrelated animals tend to be hostile to one another. Genetically, close relatives are considered to be more valuable carrying similar genes.
Who did create this type of behaviour? Was it God or nature? According to the texts of the book of Genesis, God created a paradisiac world in which humankind and animals would have eaten only plants, and that would have determined the avoidance of sufferings in the world. At the same time, nature isn’t structured in that way and never was, and we can see that from the manner in which it functions. The insects which eat eggs as well as the products of plants are not determined to behave like that by humankind, but by their organisation. Even if Adam and Eve had existed on Earth their disobedience to God couldn’t have influenced the comportment of bees.
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At the same time the division of all living beings only into plants and animals, which is made by the book of Genesis, is incomplete. The book of Genesis divides all living beings into plants and animals but there are beings which are neither plants nor animals. Are bacteria plants or animals? This is a question which the following quotation answers well:
“Bacteria are tiny living beings (microorganisms) - they are neither plants nor animals - they belong to a group all by themselves. Bacteria are tiny single-cell microorganisms, usually a few micrometers in length that normally exist together in millions. A gram of soil typically contains about 40 million bacterial cells. A milliliter of fresh water usually holds about one million bacterial cells.”
The description given by the book of Genesis in connection with the creation of animals is extremely simplistic and for this reason lacks any informational value. For example, bacteria aren’t included in the process of creation in any way but their existence isn’t unimportant.
“Bacteria consist of only a single cell, but don’t let their small size and seeming simplicity fool you. They’re an amazingly complex and fascinating group of creatures. Bacteria have been found that can live in temperatures above the boiling point and in cold that would freeze your blood. They “eat” everything from sugar and starch to sunlight, sulfur and iron.”
A suitable classification of living beings includes five or six kingdoms of such beings. In the past, all living things were classified into two kingdoms, plants and animals, but not anymore. The point is that the book of Genesis separated the biological world, beside human beings, into plant and animals. The problem is that some biological entities are neither plants nor animals but the authors of the book of Genesis didn’t know that. There isn’t any indication in the texts of the Bible about things which weren’t known in the common knowledge of that time. The book of Genesis didn’t give us any revelation which discloses the secrets of nature.
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The real knowledge of nature came through scientific research, not by the revelation of the book of Genesis.
“Animals included every living thing that moved, ate, and grew to a certain size and stopped growing. Plants included every living thing that did not move or eat and that continued to grow throughout life. It became very difficult to group some living things into one or the other, so early in the past century the two kingdoms were expanded into five kingdoms: Protista (the single-celled eukaryotes); Fungi (fungus and related organisms); Plantae (the plants); Animalia (the animals); Monera (the prokaryotes). Many biologists now recognize six distinct kingdoms, dividing Monera into the Eubacteria and Archeobacteria.”
Did God create bad viruses which are responsible for so many diseases? Not having a real solution to this question, many creationists repeat somehow the pattern used in relation to herbivore and carnivore animals. God created good viruses but after Adam and Eve’s Fall viruses became bad, causing diseases which can kill people. Here is an extract from such an opinion, signed by Dr. Jean Lightner:
“Given our current knowledge of viruses, it is quite reasonable to believe that disease-causing viruses are descended from viruses that were once not harmful. It has been suggested that they have played an important role in maintaining life on Earth—somewhat similar to the way bacteria do.”
There isn’t any reason to believe that all viruses would have been inoffensive at the beginning of their creation and in time they became dangerous. It is true that viruses can mutate and can become extremely dangerous but this information would have been known by God when He created them. The viruses which are supposed in the context of the book of Genesis that would have been created by God, were in any case potentially harmful for humankind.
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It is also true that using the most advanced results of scientific research some viruses can be used as a tool against dangerous bacteria which are hard to cure with antibiotics. Nevertheless, in order for some viruses to become useful for humankind an important scientific effort took place for a long period of time. Only in our days, viruses can be used to do some good, but for millennia they killed countless human beings indiscriminately. Did God create killing viruses with the idea that after thousands of years a very developed human science would use them to destroy bacteria, another biological being created by Him? A positive answer is somehow strange. In my opinion, the existence of viruses wasn’t a moral decision taken by God, it is the product of the evolution of nature.
If God created viruses only as a good thing, how could all viruses have become bad on their own? Viruses were never good and bad, they are a kind of entity which evolves like anything else, and adapts to conditions, but they can be incredibly bad for human lives.
In relation to bacteria, many of them are useful to humankind but not all. That some bacteria and viruses remained good and other bacteria and viruses became bad after Adam and Eve’s Fall is a theory which cannot in any way be validated by reality if it doesn’t present with clarity the criterion on which these differences would have been possible. To use a moral criterion, Adam and Eve’s Fall, for the evolution of viruses and bacteria is nonsensical.
Are the viruses plants or animals? The question is very important because the book of Genesis tells us that God would have created only plants and animals beside human beings as biological entities. But if not God, what could the origin of viruses have been? In the context of the book of Genesis only God could have created viruses because He is the only Creator.
What is bacteria and what is a virus? This quotation explains it in a clear way:
“Bacteria are single-celled, prokaryotic microorganisms that exist in abundance in both living hosts and in all areas of the planet (e.g., soil, water). By their nature, they can be either “good” (beneficial) or “bad” (harmful) for the health of plants, humans, and other animals that come into contact with them. A virus is acellular (has no cell structure) and requires a living host to survive; it causes illness in its host, which causes an immuneresponse. Bacteria are alive, while scientists are not yet sure if viruses are living or nonliving; in general, they are considered to be nonliving.”
It is true that the book of Genesis is not a scientific book but if taken literally is able to distort reality and create a false image of how nature came to be. This is important because human beings are a part of nature, and if one misrepresents human origin one cannot understand many other things about human existence.
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 www.ask.com › Pets & Animals › Birds
In Wesley’s view the fish and fowl were indeed produced out of the waters, and the beasts and man out of the earth. At the same time, the earth and those waters were made out of nothing. A question still remains. If the earth and waters were made out of nothing, why was “something” needed as a “substrata” for the creation of the fish, fowl, beasts and man? It is just another inconsistency, as many others. God either created all His creatures out of nothing or He needed a raw material for some of His creation.
Creation out of nothing is not thought by the Bible. If God created the universe, He created it out of Himself, out of His own resources, energies or powers, which have generated something else. Nothing comes out of nothing, and God can be seen as the most original source of existence.
Theophilus of Antioch was the first Christian writer to give explicit arguments in favour of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which van Bavel usefully summarises as follows:
“1) If not only God but matter also were uncreated, as held by the Platonists, God would no longer be the creator of everything and the only Lord; 2) If matter were uncreated and unchanging, it would be equal to the immutable God;
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3) If God had created the world out of pre-existing matter, that would be nothing special; for human beings also can produce something new out of existent matter.”
Such arguments were seen to be persuasive and the later Christian thinkers accepted the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo which remained the established Christian teaching on creation. As Rowan Williams said, this doctrine is at the heart of St. Augustine’s accounts of creation, because it has the merit of combining a simultaneous defence of God’s transcendence of the material world but at the same time His connection with it.
Augustine gave to the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo a larger extent and his analysis was very profound in many details. Creation from nothing for Augustine was, as a matter of fact, a creation made from formless matter which had been created from nothing.
“First there was made confused and formless matter so that out of it there might be made all the things that God distinguished and formed. He goes on to say that ‘therefore, we correctly believe that God made all things from nothing. For, though all formed things were made from this matter, this matter itself was still made from absolutely nothing’....”
Augustine’s views on nothingness are very interesting. Nothingness isn’t anything at all but is a negative principle which explains the human penchant towards negativity. The created beings are good because they are created by God but they have also a dark side because this creation had been made from nothing and this is the principle of evil. Being and non-being are the two sides of reality, and whilst being is good, non-being has an opposite qualification. Thus, the ‘nihil’, far from being literally nothing, about which nothing meaningful may be said, actually plays a crucial and indispensable role in Augustine’s account of the world, its being, its creation and its relationship to God. It is that which accounts for the world’s corruptibility and tendency toward nothingness, and it continues to make its haunting ‘presence’ or ‘absence’ felt in the undoubted ‘presence’ of evil in the world, a ‘presence’ which is itself an ‘absence’.
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The idea of creation from nothing has a very strong theological connection with many other theological commonly agreed issues, but, in my opinion doesn’t have any metaphysical or scientific support. In my opinion, the principle of creation from nothing, developed by the Christian thinkers, is not what the first 2 chapters of the book of Genesis try to tell us. God, in the biblical context, must be seen as the cause of all things, and not only a catalytic or transformative Force of “nothing” in “something”. He causes things from His own Reality, generating them as an effect of His powers.
The created world is generated by words, which can transform, in a rational or ordered way, energies in deeds. By what mechanisms has this transformation been produced? We don’t know. An agnostic attitude is probably the most rational one in this regard. Nevertheless, “nothing” is not able to receive any command; it is one of its characteristics. “Nothing” cannot react because there isn’t anything to react in it.
God is a cause, generating effects from that cause. The universe was caused by God as a seed causes the growth of a flower. The universe had its potentiality in God therefore the world had existed in its seed in Him before becoming an actual reality. All elements needed for the existence of the universe had to be present in God, before its creation.
Everything which exists has a cause in another existent thing, not in absolute nothingness. Saying that God had created all that is from nothing doesn’t mean anything because it doesn’t establish any causal relationship between nothing and what it is. According to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, there are four types of causes – material causes, formal causes, efficient causes, and final causes. Absolute nothingness cannot account for any of these types of cause. If God is at the same time the material cause, formal cause, efficient cause, and final cause of the entire existence, nothingness doesn’t play any function in creation.
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Energy can transform itself in matter and matter in energy as Einstein has shown in his formula, E=mc2.
“Einstein theorized that matter and energy are interchangeable. Matter takes up space, has mass and composes most of the visible universe around us. Energy, on the other side, takes multiple forms and is essentially the force that causes things to happen in the universe. Yet both matter and energy are variations of the same thing. Each can convert into the other. According to Einstein and to the first law of thermodynamics, a fixed quantity of energy and matter exist in the universe.”
Can energy by transformed in matter? The answer is yes and is given in the following quotation:
“So yes, humans can manufacture matter. We can turn light into subatomic particles, but even the best scientists can’t create something out of nothing.”
If not energy, what else can convert into matter? One thing can be said for sure. Absolute nothingness, no particles, no fields, no space, no laws, no nothing cannot be transformed into anything because there absolutely isn’t anything in it. Absolute nothingness is only a concept which can never be instantiated in reality. For this reason, creation from absolute nothing by God is only an absurdity which doesn’t do any good to the Christian faith.
What are spoken words and how can they become matter? They are only sounds with a certain meaning or significance. They are symbols, communicated messages. Can words generate matter by transforming themselves into it? Not to the common knowledge. God didn’t transform words into matter, but He had materialised ideas based on His rationality, for this process, using matter and energy. Did God create matter and energy from absolute nothingness?
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He surely didn’t because absolute nothingness cannot exist. How God would have created energy and matter, we don’t exactly know, but before their existence there was something in His Reality which could have been transformed into energy and matter. If not, the direct chain of causality between Him and the created world would be broken. If God is a pure spiritual Reality and spirituality is the opposite of matter, it is hard to imagine how matter can be produced by pure spirituality. Are matter and spirituality interchangeable in a similar way to the manner in which matter and energy are interchangeable? Before humankind can demonstrate this kind of interchangeability, creation from nothing is only a speculation.
God asked the earth to bring forth vegetation. But earth which is matter without consciousness doesn’t hear and is not able to interpret symbols. Probably it is more rational if we understand that God prepared earth for the process of growing vegetation by endowing it with all needed ingredients for the process. The book of Genesis is far from explaining how the universe came in place.
The concept of the creation from nothing, existent in both religion and science, demonstrates a limit of human comprehension. It is hard to imagine an infinite existence with no beginning or end. This existence may or may not have its own Consciousness; the answer will depend on the person engaged in the spiritual experience with that Consciousness.
At the same time, creation from nothing is a principle no less confusing than the principle of the eternity of all existence. Nevertheless, Thomas Aquinas, a very important theologian of the thirteenth century, considered that all things must have a beginning, there cannot be an infinite regress of causation, and consequently a Prime Mover is a necessary concept. In the natural finite human logic, this seems to be right, but in point of fact, presuming the Prime Mover is a way of transferring the need for causation to a transcendental Reality. If all things have a cause, the Prime Mover has to have a cause also. The idea that the Prime Mover doesn’t need to have a cause cannot be in any way demonstrated other than by rejecting the impossibility of an infinite regress of causalities. At the same time, it is very difficult to sort out problems at the level of the infinite dimension of reality using only a logic based on the finite human dimension.
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If there is one exception to the principle of causality that of the Prime Mover there can be others, and also the entirety of existence, the existence per se can be such an exception. Dividing reality into necessary existence and contingent existence doesn’t sort out the problem because God as a necessary existence needs His creation in order to be the Creator. God cannot be the Creator without His creation and being Creator is one of His most important attributes.
The creation from nothing is a principle loosely exemplified in the Bible and about which science has already pronounced itself by the laws of thermodynamics. The first law of thermodynamics specifies that the total amount of energy in a closed system cannot be created or destroyed (though it can be changed from one form to another). Matter, instead, can be both created and destroyed by transforming it into energy. Mass became another form of energy that has to be included in a thorough thermodynamic treatment of a system. At the level of the universe, it is important to define what meaning a closed and an open system has and which better describes our cosmos.
Is the universe a closed system? How about the entirety of existence as an infinite reality, can it be considered a closed system? The universe is a closed system if it isn’t influenced by anything outside it.
If there are a plurality of universes, before knowing what the relation between them is, it is difficult to describe our universe as closed or open. On the other side, when we talk about the entirety of existence or the existence per se there isn’t anything outside it, it is an infinite system therefore the notions of closed and of infinite must both be integrated by the same equation.
God didn’t do things from “nothing”, as Theophilus of Antioch understood “nothing”, because never was there such a non-reality as absolute nothingness. Probably, all material existence comes from an infinite and constant energetic source. If God exists and if He is eternal there isn’t such thing as absolute nothingness because He doesn’t equate with absolute nothingness.
Is energy in space or outside space? Does energy have mass? I tried to find an answer to these questions in the scientific literature but I got mixed opinions.
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Most answers are related to the photons, a form of energy; consequently if photons occupy space, energy must be said to occupy space also, and if photons have mass, energy has mass. One thing can be said; where there isn’t any space, light cannot travel and cannot be there for the simple reason that in this case there isn’t any “there”.
God firstly needed space in order to create something and space is the condition of all creation. Space cannot be created from outside space or from a state of no space at all because for its physical existence every reality needs space. The idea that God could have created space from outside space is absurd but is the necessary consequence of the affirmation that first of all He would have created space, and the entire creation started with His creation of space. If God was outside space He couldn’t have existed as an objective existence.
Space being already out there, the creation was done in the context of something and not out of nothing because space is something, not nothing. God couldn’t have created space out of nothing because He is eternal and necessarily He occupies space, therefore space also must be eternal and co-existent with Him. God’s existence completely out of space cannot be a Reality but only a concept in the minds of intelligent beings living in space. God couldn’t have created anything from out of space, from absolute nonexistence, because such a concept can never become real. The assertion that God would have created space in the beginning of His creation is nonsensical as far as He is eternal and He occupies space. Space must be also eternal if God is an eternally existent divinity.
If God wasn’t infinite in space something else must be at the limits of His space, but He doesn’t have any limits. That something cannot be absolute nothingness understood also as inexistence of any space, because space per se, not the space of a certain object, cannot be limited by absolute nothingness. Space per se can be occupied or can be relatively empty but it is infinite in its extension. God eternally occupies an infinite space or He isn’t an infinite Reality.
Creation out of nothing is an absurd proposition as long as any creation would have been realised in a spatial context. Besides the infinite space, there is also the individual space of every object which is linked with time, in the way that was explained by Einstein.
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In order to be consistent with the biblical account, one must accept that we don’t need the idea of nothing, in any way, for the explanation of God’s creation. God didn’t need a certain “nothing” in order to create “something” and that “nothing”, no space, no energy, no matter, no fields, and no laws, couldn’t have replaced existence per se.
Roger E. Olson summarises very well the possible visions about the relation between God and His creation:
“Creation out of nothing is the only alternative to four alternative beliefs about creation that are absolutely untenable for Christian thought. One is pantheism or panentheism—belief that God and the world are either identical or interdependent. In either case the world is part of God or so inextricably united with God eternally that God is dependent on it. (Here “world” refer to creation, the universe, finite reality.) Another alternative belief about creation is that God created the world out of some pre-existing matter that he did not himself create. In that view God “created” by organizing an eternal something that was chaotic and stood over against him. Yet another alternative belief is that God created the world out of himself in which case the world is made of “God stuff”—God’s own substance. Finally, a mostly modern, secular view is that some world (or substance, energy) has always existed and God, if he exists at all, has nothing to do with its origin or development.”
It is understood that creation out of nothing is an important element of fundamental Christian beliefs and it sustains other important teachings of Christianity inclusive of the teachings of the gospels. Even if it isn’t taught by the Scriptures one must support the principle of creation out of nothing, if not many Christian teachings would be questioned. One such fundamental thesis in doubt if creation out of nothing is rejected, is that God doesn’t depend on His creation for His actuality. This of course is false because God depends on the existence of His creation in order to be an actual, not only a potential Creator. The affirmation that God doesn’t need anything is absurd as far as He needs to be loved by human beings and displayed tremendous energy and sacrifice to reveal His love to humankind.
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To say that God wants us to love Him but He doesn’t really need our love is a deformity which is very present in some Christian movements. God doesn’t endorse the imposition of any religious dogmas or doctrines on people by other people. One should try to understand all possible interpretations of the biblical texts and choose whichever seems to him or to her closer to his or her spiritual experiences. God needs our love as much as we need His love and without humankind Christ couldn’t have been embodied in a human being making visible the Father’s love. God wants to be known by conscious beings able to understand Him.
According to Roger E. Olson, if one doesn’t believe in creation out of nothing he or she casts doubt on the principle of gratuity of grace..
The Bible doesn’t teach creation from nothing, but the creation from chaos, which is symbolised by the primeval sea. The book of Genesis is silent as to the origins of the primeval sea and it is absurd to think that God would have created chaos from within Himself before creating an orderly universe. God being a rational Reality, He wouldn’t have created chaos, so the chaos represented by the primeval sea couldn’t have been created by Him.
Comparing the theory of the Big Bang and the creation of the universe from a primeval sea, the result is a huge difference in the quality of the explanations given by science in comparison with the texts of the Bible. Scientific explanations are by far much better supported and much more credible than the narratives of creation of the universe and of humankind from the book of Genesis.
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 www.physicsforums.com › Physics › General Physics
From the primeval sea to the creation of the earth, there is another step in the process of creation. There is a biblical text in Job 38; 4-7 in which certain words are attributed to God which reminds us of the primeval sea from which the earth would have been extracted. In the text, God asks on what are the bases of the earth sunk? Such words couldn’t have been said by God, because the earth doesn’t have any bases sunk on anything. Nevertheless, such bases can be linked with the primeval sea from which the earth would have been extracted.
At the beginning everything was under water, flooded, no terrestrial atmosphere, no stars, no sun or moon and very importantly, no sky. It is an error to try to imagine the earth, as it is today, a spherical planet covered by water, rather one should imagine the whole sky covered by water, earth included. A very interesting image about the beginning is depicted in the book of Genesis. On one side, we have God, and on the other side we have an immense ocean, which engulfed even the sky. One should notice that the dome of the sky was created only in the second day and without sky the image about the beginning of the creation from the Bible describes an impossible situation, no light, no morning and evening, no sun, no moon, no stars, hence no “heavens”.
From the Almighty Creator of the universe another order of creation was expected, a rational one. Why did God need water at the beginning as a raw material, for the creation of the universe? There wouldn’t be any reason for that. The existence of a primeval ocean encompassing the entire universe doesn’t have any scientific support. According to the book of Genesis, not only the stars and other celestial bodies were not created in the first day, but even the place for them wasn’t there.
How would God have possibly created the sun, the source of the daylight, from the first day, if the sky, the suitable place for the sun, was not in place? In the book of Genesis, the daylight was created on the first day and the sun only on the fourth day. There wouldn’t have been any place for sun on the first day of the creation; there was no sky, in the biblical story of the creation on that day. How could daylight have been created without the sky and how was the first morning and evening, described by the Bible, possible? A morning and an evening under the waters of the primeval sea would have been impossible in spite of what the book of Genesis states. The entire story is an incredible mixture of inconsistent details.
The order of creation, from the book of Genesis, doesn’t have anything to do with the factual reality. On the first day, even if on paper we have the heavens and the earth we don’t really have the basic conditions for the existence of neither the heavens nor of the earth.
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We have an immense surface of water instead, a primordial universal sea. The earth in the form of dry land appears only on the third day, after the separation of the waters.
“6 And God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’ 7 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. 8 God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. 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. 10God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1; 1-10 NRSV)
Many speak of an intelligent design, in the creation of the universe, but this intelligent design cannot refer to the biblical account, which is not intelligent at all. An intelligent design excludes absurd or impossible situations. Daylight under water, before the creation of the sky, morning, and evening without sky and sun, and the earth a solo planet, created under a universal primeval sea, is not at all an intelligent design is an absurd and naive design. A more intelligent design, it seems to me, is the generation of all that is from an initial state of almost infinite density and temperature, a singularity, which expanded and became our universe. This Big Bang theory can explain much more intelligently the apparition of the universe, because it is the expression of a rational and intelligent chain of events. Adding to that, this Big Bang theory is based on direct observations of cosmic past events, which left traces until today.
For me, the main problem with the creation of the earth is the separation of its creation from the creation of the whole material cosmos, from the stars and all celestial bodies. This partition in the process of creation brings us to numerous contradictions and even absurdities. We can see and the sciences confirm that the earth is a part of a much bigger reality which is the universe, and the two must be seen together and having the same origin. The universe and the earth followed the same process of creation in a certain order; they didn’t appear randomly in a chaotic way. The whole universe and the earth are indestructibly linked in the same process of their apparition and development based on the
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natural laws and not on mythological storytelling. They are connected as the whole and its parts and the latter cannot exist without the former, not even for a split second, but even less for three days.
In the book of Genesis, the earth is seen as being prior in existence and detached from the other celestial bodies, and that is strongly contradicted by modern cosmology with numerous solid arguments. Without the universe, the earth cannot exist because our planet is a product of the evolution of the entire cosmos. First it was the beginning of the universe about 13.7 billion years ago, and only after that one of its by-products, our planet, formed to be what we know today, starting around 4.5 billion years ago. To place the creation of the earth before the apparition of the universe is an irrational and inaccurate thing. This is another contradiction of the book of Genesis.
The planet Earth and the vegetal life on it couldn’t have appeared before the stars as the book of Genesis says, because many material elements found on Earth would have been initially produced in the stars. Cosmos was made originally from hydrogen and helium, hence all heavy materials were produced in stars which had to be much older than the earth. This idea was initially advanced by Carl Sagan who famously said that “we are made of star stuff”. The following quotation explains in few details this idea:
“His statement sums up the fact that the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in our bodies, as well as atoms of all other heavy elements, were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago. Because humans and every other animal as well as most of the matter on Earth contain these elements, we are literally made of star stuff, said Chris Impey, professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona.”
As Chris Impey competently said, “all organic matter containing carbon was produced originally in stars”. Plants are constituted from organic matter and they use CO2 for their nutrition.
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Plants cannot live without CO2 hence they couldn’t have survived the third day of creation without an element which is produced in stars, but stars would have been created only on the fourth day. Science explains very well how the heavy elements are created inside stars using the laws of nature, so the narratives of the creation of plants and even of the animals from the book of Genesis are an absurd description. This quotation explains why the earth, the plants and animals and the human beings couldn’t have been created as the book of Genesis says:
“Once the universe was created by the Big Bang, the only abundant elements present were hydrogen (H) and helium (He). These elements were not evenly distributed throughout space, and under the influence of gravity they began to “clump” to form more concentrated volumes. Evidence of this uneven distribution can be found in the anisotropies detected in the Cosmic Background Radiation (CMB) by the COBE satellite in the early 90’s. These clumps would eventually form galaxies and stars, and through the internal processes by which a star “shines” higher mass elements were formed inside the stars. Upon the death of a star (in a nova or a supernova) these high mass elements, along with even more massive nuclei created during the nova or supernova, were thrown out into space to eventually become incorporated into another star or celestial body.”
In order for the planet Earth, or for the plants which would have been created before the creation of stars, to contain some elements, or in the case of plants to feed with carbon dioxide, the stars would have needed to be created before the earth, but also some of them had to become nova or supernova, and should have thrown out into space elements with a higher mass. This is a reason why we need long periods of time for the evolution of nature.
The creation of stars on the fourth day and their explosion in the same day is something preposterous. Even so, it would have been too late for the formation of the earth or for the constitution of the plants. It is also contrary to the story of the creation of the stars from the book of Genesis because the creation of the celestial bodies was considered by God to be good. How good could the creation of the stars have been if
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they were created to illuminate the nights together with the moon and to be signs for the inhabitants of the earth, but some of them would have exploded the day in which they were created? The creation of the stars wouldn’t have been really good.
Even if some stars exploded in the same day they were created, the cosmic distances being huge, the heavy elements couldn’t have reached the earth in order to become components of the marine animals and birds which were created on the fifth day.
There is also another aspect which shows that the earth wasn’t created apart from the solar system. The earth and all the other planets from the solar system orbit in the same direction around the sun, all of them being made from the same gases and cosmic debris.
“There are two outliers in the solar system which seem to break the rules about conserving momentum — Uranus and Venus. Uranus spins on an axis of almost 90-degrees (on its side). Venus meanwhile spins the opposite direction as Earth and the other planets. In both cases there is strong evidence that these planets were struck by large objects at some point in the distant past. The impacts were large enough to overcome the angular momentum of the bodies, and give them a different spin.”
Creation in two stages, first the earth and after that, on the fourth day, the universe, is extremely problematic because it seems like a double creation or a repetition of the creation of the earth on another level, where many other planets, similar to our planet, were created. Why would our planet have appeared on another day of creation than countless other planets in the universe, if all planets have the same way of taking shape? There isn’t any reason for that. It was the same processes that determined the apparition of all planets in the universe; planet Earth was generated by the same mechanisms as other planets were.
At the same time, the creation of the cosmos in two stages would have meant two different steps in the creation of the basic material from which the cosmos had been made. Matter had appeared, in a certain moment of the history of the universe, and that moment is a part of a chain of events which didn’t happen twice in the same way in the same universe.
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Matter overcame antimatter after the Big Bang and this process of creation of matter happened once, not twice.
Many planets were created in the same stage of the evolution of the solar system, and not only the earth. All planets from our solar system passed through the same cosmic process and have the same origin. There is also the opinion that the earth belongs to a group of planets from our solar system which are the youngest in comparison with other planets from the system, hence other planets were formed before earth. All planets were formed from the same nebula of gases, not simultaneously but at different times over millions of years.
There are other strong reasons for the dismissal of the account of the creation of the earth from the book of Genesis. Our sun is a second-generation star, meaning that other stars had formed before it. The sun formed before the earth, being at the centre at the nebula of gases and other materials from which our solar system was constituted.
“Our sun is at least a second-generation star. How do we know? We know because the sun and Earth and everything around us on Earth, including our own bodies, contain chemical elements heavier (more complex) than hydrogen and helium. All chemical elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are thought to have formed inside stars, via the process of thermonuclear fusion that enables stars to shine. These elements or metals were released into space via supernova eruptions.”
If the earth was created after the creation of our sun, and our sun is a second-generation star, it is obvious that the creation of the stars didn’t happen after the creation of the earth as the book of Genesis declares. Creation of the stars after the earth is in sharp contrast to scientific data. We have to discard either almost all cosmological science or the description of the creation of the earth, sun, moon and stars, from the book of Genesis because they don’t go together.
The sun from our solar system not only gives us light and heat but also was a catalyst for the formation of the earth, hence the existence of the sun was a condition for the apparition of the earth. The following quotation explains how things happened:
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“Basically, scientists have ascertained that several billion years ago our Solar System was nothing but a cloud of cold dust particles swirling through empty space. This cloud of gas and dust was disturbed, perhaps by the explosion of a nearby star (a supernova), and the cloud of gas and dust started to collapse as gravity pulled everything together, forming a solar nebula — a huge spinning disk. As it spun, the disk separated into rings and the furious motion made the particles white-hot. The center of the disk accreted to become the Sun, and the particles in the outer rings turned into large fiery balls of gas and molten-liquid that cooled and condensed to take on solid form. About 4.5 billion years ago, they began to turn into the planets that we know today as Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the outer planets.”
The apparition of the earth before the sun is an absurdity as big as the creation of daylight before the sun, and both are stated by the book of Genesis. The earth is so inextricably linked with the solar system that they cannot be seen as being created in “two different days of creation” or two stages of creation disconnected between them or connected in a reverse order, as the book of Genesis says. Again, we face a disruption in the order of creation. The entire biblical mythology aimed to explain how earth appeared and only secondly how the universe emerged, as if what was closer to the writer was more important than what was farther from him. In other words, the attention was concentrated on Earth, seen as the most important, and only after that all celestial bodies found a place in the whole picture, subservient to the earth.
Nevertheless, besides the sun, the moon and the stars there are many other celestial bodies about which the book of Genesis doesn’t say anything, for example, other planets similar to the earth. They are not stars because they are not massive enough and for this reason the pressure inside of them couldn’t cause a nuclear reaction. On the other side, according to a definition given by a scientist “a star is usually defined as a body of gas which is large enough and dense enough that the heat and crushing pressure at its centre can produce nuclear fusion.”
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Let us imagine what happened with the earth in the first three days of the creation following the stories from the book of Genesis. It was alone, surrounded by water, for one day. After that the earth, for another two days, was surrounded by the empty dome of the sky and over the sky, again, water. On the fourth day, suddenly, a huge universe was created around the earth in order to illuminate it and to serve as signs for it. When reading those stories one may understand that the earth is so important that an entire universe was made only for it.
In the real world, the planet Earth is so small compared with the universe that one may ask why such a huge universe was needed only to illuminate and show the seasons for Earth. There is a disproportion which gives a contradiction. Comparing the earth with the universe, one can understand that the latter is more important than the former on the cosmic scale and also from the point of view of origins or duration.
Billions and billions of celestial bodies are too many only for the use of the planet Earth. There must be something more in the explanation of the existence of such a quantity of celestial bodies besides their utility for the planet Earth. It seems that the book of Genesis doesn’t give us the correct story. If the universe is so big the reason for its existence isn’t only to serve the earth. Moreover, the universe is expanding. Why is this expansion necessary from the point of view of the earth? The expansion of the universe doesn’t make any sense if the earth and the universe were created as the book of Genesis says.
How about the alleged daylight from the first day, where was it on the second day? It would have to come out from the water and be placed on the dome of the sky, created in that day, but unfortunately without a source. How would the light have come out from the water and be placed in the sky on the second day of creation? The story looks very absurd but that is what the book of Genesis presents and what many commentators wrongfully pretend to be inspired by God. The light would have been created on the first day of the creation but the sky only on the second day. Moreover, the sun would
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have been created on the fourth day. Someone just switched on and off the light, for three days, until the source of it was created, the sun. In the first day of creation the created light was under waters because there wasn’t yet sky.
The earth being alone in space couldn’t have allowed its illumination from an artificial light. At least one other celestial body would be needed in order to illuminate a planet like earth and to generate mornings and evenings, and also two rotation movements of the earth – one around the source of the light and another one around its own axis – are also necessary, to light the whole planet. That presupposes a mechanic of two physical entities attracting each other by gravitational forces.
A very improbable artificial light created on the first day of creation would have had to be orbited by the earth, while the planet also spun around its axis in order to illuminate its entire surface, but the sky wouldn’t have been there in order to make possible such a trajectory. A light illuminating the earth under the waters of the primeval sea and generating morning and evening is the most absurd proposition about the origins of the planet Earth.
One can be sympathetic with the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis only until one looks at the sky and compares it with what the book says. When one does that, he or she understands that the earth is only a very tiny part of the visible universe and it is impossible to accept that such immensity would have been created only in service of the earth. If there is such a thing as the centre of the universe it is very hard to identify. The earth doesn’t rotate only around the sun, but also it spins at the same time as the solar system around the centre of the Milky Way galaxy to which it belongs.
The motivation for the creation of the stars given by the Bible must be wrong because there are many invisible celestial bodies which couldn’t have been created for the illumination of the earth or as signs, because they cannot be seen from the earth. Their light cannot be seen with our eyes, without technical means, and such technical means were available starting only with the recent past. More than 99% of the celestial bodies we can see with our eyes are stars in our galaxy (or planets).
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This is a good analogy:
“Without telescope or binoculars, filters or crystal balls, what are we seeing when we look at a night sky full of stars? How far into space are we seeing? Put into an analogy, if the entire surface of the earth represents the expanse of the Milky Way galaxy, then the region encompassing the stars visible to our unaided human eyes would be roughly the size of California–with most of them contained in an even smaller area. In short, most of the celestial bodies that we see in the sky are not only the closest things to us in the universe; they’re pretty much the closest things to us merely in our own galaxy!”
Why would God have created such a huge universe which doesn’t correspond to its declared purpose? The earth uses only a very tiny part for its lighting and astronomic signs. In this way, it is obvious that the function attributed to the stars in the book of Genesis is wrong. This is what the Bible says about this function:
“14 And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.’ And it was so. 16 God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars. 17 God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day. (Genesis 1; 14-19 NRSV)
Many stars are not in the firmament only to illuminate the earth, because the lights of many stars aren’t seen from the earth, or they have to travel a long period of time in order to reach it. The purpose of the creation of stars presented by the book of Genesis, is not in accord with the astronomic facts, is a naive invention, and is bound to generate confusion. To illuminate the earth and to be useful as signs for the earth, the universe wouldn’t have to be constituted of billions of stars and countless planets.
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If someone believes that the lights from the stars, which were created on the fourth day, according to the Bible, reached the earth in the same day, they must think again, because the light from the closest star, Proxima Centauri, travels to the earth in 4.22 light years.
If God created the stars on the fourth day, their light didn’t reach the earth on the same day but long after their creation. The creation of the stars was unfit for the purpose allocated to them, by the biblical texts, for a very long period of time and for the majority of them was not suitable at all. The stars invisible to our eyes cannot lighten the earth at all and cannot constitute signs in any way, hence they haven’t been created by God to illuminate the earth as the book of Genesis maintains. If they were created to illuminate the earth and to constitute signs they have been placed too far from the earth, so there was a mistake in their design when comparing with the purpose of their creation declared by the Bible.
Why would God have created so many stars which were meant to illuminate the earth, stars not seen from it, or visible stars which were seen only after a very long period of time? To me, there is one convincing answer. God didn’t create the stars for the illumination of the earth, as the book of Genesis declares, but He acted as the theory of Big Bang predicts. God is the force behind the Big Bang who organises the matter and uses it as the fabric of what he wants to create.
One part of the universe is visible from the earth with unaided eyes and another part isn’t. Not even the most sophisticated instruments available to humankind can bring us to the edge of the universe which extends much further than we can see.
“Galaxies extend as far as we can detect... with no sign of diminishing. There is no evidence that the universe has an edge. The part of the universe we can observe from Earth is filled more or less uniformly with galaxies extending in every direction as far as we can see - more than 10 billion light-years, or about 6 billion trillion miles. We know that the galaxies must extend much further than we can see, but we do not know whether the universe is infinite or not. When astronomers sometimes refer (carelessly!) to galaxies
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“near the edge of the universe,” they are referring only to the edge of the OBSERVABLE universe - i.e., the part we can see.”
The stars had been created on the fourth day according to the book of Genesis but became visible much later and long after the sixth day, when the creation was over. Strangely enough the biblical texts say that the creation was finished but the light from the stars didn’t yet appear on the firmament. Much more rational and credible are the scientific explanations in which the creation of stars is a continuous process and not only a one-day job. Stars are generated during our days as well as in the past so their creation wouldn’t have been achieved at only one stage in the evolution of the universe.
Earth is a part of a whole, of a complex system, in which it completes the structure to which belongs. Earth cannot be conceived isolated from its cosmic environment, existing on its own, without other celestial bodies. Earth cannot be seen as the first, and the most important cosmic body, like a sort of centre of the material universe, its most essential part. Understanding earth in this manner is motivated by a religious purpose but doesn’t have anything to do with facts.
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 www.livescience.com › Space
 www.livescience.com › Space
 www.livescience.com › Space
 earthsky.org/.../how-and-when-did-the-first-planets-form-in-our-univers...did the first planets form in our universe...
 www.universetoday.com/76509/how-was-the earth-formed/-
 www.physicsforums.com › ... › Astronomy and Astrophysics
In the book of Genesis chapter 11 the entire human population at the time, Noah’s offspring, started to build a city and a tower in order to consolidate their own situation and also for their name and the increase of their reputation. Building a town and a tower by the entire population of the earth would have represented a way of strengthening human unity, but God apparently didn’t like this kind of human agreement. Unfortunately, this was considered to be a bad idea by God. Humankind was seen as a kind of adversary by God and He would have considered that instilling division amongst the human beings would be a better policy than strengthening their unity.
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This is clearly a metaphor with no correspondence in reality, but it is interesting why this legend is found in the book of Genesis, and what is its underlying message? Taken literally this story is absurd for many reasons. God, as we imagine Him like an Almighty Reality would have been aware that confusing languages of humankind wouldn’t have been enough to stop them cooperating to achieve common goals. In the ancient world people organised in strong societies, everywhere on Earth developed civilizations and built huge constructions, and their vestiges can be found all over the world today.
People speaking mainly one language sometimes using work forces from other countries with other languages, have built pyramids and other impressive constructions in spite of the languages allegedly being confused by God at the Tower of Babel. Moreover, the model of the tower, pyramids or ziggurats, is the most enduring achievement of many civilisations all over the world. The existence of many languages on Earth wouldn’t have been enough to stop human beings building what they wanted. The confusion of the languages by God wouldn’t have achieved anything when aiming to stop humankind cooperating for different goals, but would have generated conflict and finally destructive wars between different nations.
Many languages and many cultures can be and often were a false motivation for destruction when one civilisation or nation considered itself superior to others. Is God responsible for the confusion of languages and consequently for so many conflicts between nations during history? I honestly don’t think so and the story of the Babel Tower is only a myth trying to explain why there are so many languages on Earth. The story of the Tower of Babel goes in the same lines as do all the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis, which in their turn try to explain one thing or another, but by doing that they only generate confusion.
Trying to elucidate why there are so many languages on Earth, the author of the text from the book of Genesis has gone beyond what he or she knew and generated a text which is a legend, hence having no factual support. The text implies that it could have been otherwise and all people could have spoken only one language, but God didn’t want that. Confusing humankind’s languages is a bad moral teaching coming from the book of Genesis which presupposes that God wanted people to misunderstand one another.
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This is contrary also to the Christian morality which professes unity and understanding, not divisions and conflicts.
How would God have confused the languages? Allegedly all people around Babel were family, Noah’s grandsons. Did God arbitrarily separate some of Noah’s grandsons from other grandsons, giving to each of them a different language? How many languages were imposed on people? Did they speak those languages automatically without learning them? Did they know them without being taught the words and rules? Usually languages evolve from a more rudimentary way of communication to a more evolved one. Had Noah’s offspring received in the same time the alphabet of those languages in order to enable them to write? Was humankind made to forget the common language used until the confusion moment by erasing it from their minds or were they prevented from using it? The entire story is unrealistic. This is the most incredible manner of explaining the apparition of languages on Earth.
The differences in languages generated differentiations between cultures and finally those differentiations have contributed decisively to conflicts and wars. Did God intend humankind to confront rather than to have a good understanding? It is what the book of Genesis says but of course cannot be taken literally as a fact. Such divine attitude would contradict the image of a loving God whose aim is to bring humankind to peace and to establish harmony between all human beings. We tend to see all God’s actions depicted by the Bible as part of a broad plan in which the most important feature is to better human nature. God and humankind aren’t seen by Christianity as competitors but the book of Genesis presents this relation as a competition and a struggle for knowledge and creation.
As a matter of fact, God wouldn’t have succeeded in stopping people realising common goals because in spite of the existence of different languages human beings have reached the sky, launching satellites or going to the moon. Languages can be translated one into another as everyone knows and the coexistence of different languages never stopped humankind reaching a high level of scientific knowledge. Sometimes even the competition between different nations speaking distinctive languages was a cause for technological progress and construction achievements, for example the Chinese wall.
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Probably, the differences in languages could have helped rather than prevented the progress of humankind. A single nation with a single language led by autocratic means or under strict religious guidance, for example, something similar to the Inquisition, could have more easily stopped scientific progress than the existence of more nations on Earth. The differences in languages helped human knowledge when some pioneers of science could find refuge in more tolerant societies after being persecuted in their countries. The point is that preventing human cooperation by mixing languages, God couldn’t have stopped the building of towers or other monumental buildings, and the existence on Earth of some millenary towers or pyramids proves that.
In the story of the Babel Tower the method which is said to have been used by God is unsuitable for the purpose which is declared. It is the same idea as with the story of the Flood. The Flood wasn’t a proper method to sort out the problem of human morality and violence. These mythological stories cannot be understood as parables because they don’t bear any high spiritual messages. If we take them to be parables their understanding points to God as being angry and hostile to humankind who He had created. After creating human beings and following their disobedience, God tried to stop their progress either by drowning their majority under the waters of the Flood or by confusing their language, but as we know the evolution of human knowledge didn’t stop.
Bricks and bitumen used instead of mortar couldn’t have brought humankind to the heavens if by heavens is understood the Kingdom of God. There are limits for any human achievement and there wouldn’t have been any reason for God to be anxious about humankind cooperating to reach the sky.
This anxiety of God about the human creativity is very strange and cannot reflect a reasonable image of an Almighty divinity.
“Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. 2 And as they migrated from the east,* they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. 3 And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. 4 Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’
5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built. 6 And the LORD said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ 8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. 9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused* the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 11; 1-9 NRSV)
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God went to see the city and the tower when they had already been built. Probably they didn’t finish all their work but even so, God made an important prediction in verse 6 from chapter 11. “And the LORD said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.” God has prohibited the knowledge of good and evil to humankind and now He realises again that having knowledge, humankind can become like Him, not only by knowing good and evil but also by having scientific knowledge which would allow it to realise great deeds. But can humankind become like God only through scientific knowledge? In the book of Genesis, the answer is positive and that would mean that God can be reached through technological means.
This mythology shapes a certain philosophy. God would have set some barriers but humankind doesn’t respect those limits, going over them. At the same time the idea of the Babel Tower can mean a continuation of the hints given by the book of Genesis in respect to an extra-terrestrial civilization. The sons of God, again, have offered new technologies to humankind and God didn’t like that. The traces of the sons of God, possibly the representatives of a very developed civilization, are found in the Bible also after the Flood, for example in Numbers or in relation to David’s fight against Goliath. Jesus is the ultimate Son of God who came on Earth also to give to humankind spiritual knowledge, against the will of the god of this world who is Satan. Christians are also sons and daughters of God ready to impart the spiritual knowledge to the entire humankind.
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There are strong arguments which show that in the book of Genesis there are two stories of the Flood and not just one, and this observation has important implications for the credibility of these stories. I will approach the two stories of the Flood from two perspectives. The first one will be the examination of the internal contradictions of each story of the Flood. The second one is the relation between the facts described by the Bible and real life.
The stories of the Flood are two different stories from two different sources, stitched together by a redactor who wanted to transform them into one fluent story but without success. The following quotation summarises well the cause of so many contradictions about the description of the Flood in the book of Genesis:
“…Genesis’ supposed flood narrative is in fact a composite of two different textual traditions, each expressing the story in its own terms, language, and emphasis. Contradictions #14-18 are therefore a byproduct of having stitched these two separate flood stories together.”
One can read the biblical texts and see for oneself obvious differences in the description of the alleged event of the Flood. What was the motivation for the destruction brought by the Flood? There are two different motives for waters covering the entire earth. The first biblical text states:
“5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6; 5 NRSV)
The second text extends the motivation to animals also. This text contradicts fully the statement found in the book of Genesis according to which all animals on Earth would have eaten only plants before the Flood, because animals in order to be considered violent would have needed to be aggressive towards other animals. Those animals were mainly aggressive in connection with their feeding, killing other animals in the process.
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“11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw that the earth was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” Genesis 6; 11-13 NRSV)
At the first reading, seemingly the two commentaries complete each other and there is nothing wrong with that. As a matter of fact, it is a repetition of the story but it is also a different approach of the same theme. In verse 5, humankind was the problem, but in verses 11 to 13 all flesh is corrupted, not only humankind but animals too. There are two different motivations. Wickedness of humankind is not the same as the existence of violence generated by human and by animals.
In the second version, the author tried to explain why animals would have been wiped out from the face of the world but doesn’t explain what corruption means in the case of animals. It is a different way of thinking because humankind having consciousness could have been responsible for their behaviour but animals couldn’t.
In Genesis chapter 2, Adam and animals were created both in the same way, from the dust of the earth. One story of creation and one story of the Flood have in common a different view about the relationship between humankind and animals in which animals are seen as more related to humankind.
In point of fact, it is absurd to blame animals for their violent behaviour as far as they were created by God with a particular nature according to their kinds. God would have created the wild animals together with all other animals on the sixth day of creation, according to the book of Genesis chapter 1. He had created predator animals which eat other animals and He refused Cain’s offering which was bloodless, but He accepted Abel’s offering which implied killing of an animal therefore violence.
The motivation of the book of Genesis for the destruction of the animals through the Flood is absurd as far as many animals were predators and violence was their way of life.
Noah had to take animals with him to preserve their kinds. The number of the animals taken with Noah is different from one record to the other:
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“2 Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; 3 and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth.” (Genesis 7; 2-3 NRSV)
“19 And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6; 19-20 NRSV)
“8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything that creeps on the ground, 9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah.” (Genesis 7; 8-9 NRSV)
“15 They went into the ark with Noah, two and two of all flesh in which there was the breath of life. 16 And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him; and the LORD shut him in.” (Genesis 7; 15-16 NRSV)
It is easy to notice that in one text the number of clean animals is seven pairs of each kind and in the other text the number of all animals, including the clean ones, is two of each. Probably the difference appeared when one of the authors of the two stories noticed that Noah had to kill some of the clean animals from each kind to bring them as an offering to God after the Flood. Killing the only pair of clean animals coming out from the boat would have brought the extinction of those animals and no clean animals would have survived on Earth in order to be sacrificed under Moses’ laws. It is also possible that the late redactors of the stories of Noah have seen that contradiction and tried to rectify the absurdity. They just modified one story so it would have been in accordance with the Mosaic Law.
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They kept the initial version also probably out of respect for its antiquity. The initial story of the Flood was considered by the redactors to be a human creation, not the result of God’s inspiration, otherwise they couldn’t have taken the decision to modify it.
“20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt-offerings on the altar.” (Genesis 8; 20 NRSV)
Why seven pairs of all birds? In one of the two versions seven pairs of birds would have been required for Noah’s boat but in another place, only one pair of birds is mentioned. This is a contradiction which shows the multiple authorships of the stories of the Flood and which raises serious doubts about God’s inspiration of the book. Moreover, not all birds were considered to be clean by God so not all birds would have been sacrificed to make offerings to God. In the case of birds, the need to conserve them following the sacrifice of the clean ones isn’t an explanation for the presence of seven pairs of birds of all kinds, clean and unclean, on the ark.
The difference in the number of animals which would have been on the ark is a contradiction which cast doubt on the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis. It is an important aspect because between one pair of clean animals and seven pairs of them, and one pair of all birds and seven pairs of all kinds of birds, the number of animals which would have been on a boat with limited space is very different.
How long did the Flood last? One answer is one hundred and fifty days:
“24 And the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7; 24 NRSV)
“But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided; 2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rainspan> from the heavens was restrained, 3 and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred and fifty days the waters had abated; 4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.” (Genesis 8; 1-5 NRSV)
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In the first verse “the waters swelled on the earth for one hundred and fifty days” no less and no more. In the second version, the waters only started to recede after one hundred and fifty days but it continued to abate for another few months. The waters would have swelled on Earth more than one hundred and fifty days if we take into consideration Genesis chapter 8, verses 3-5, hence Genesis chapter 7, verse 24 is wrong.
First the ark hit the mountain and after another two months and thirteen days the top of that mountain would have become visible. How deep was the ark sank into the waters? If the ark was about 15m tall or less an important part of its height, probably approximately 10m, was under water. When the ark hit the Ararat Mountain if it was on its peak as it should, another two months and 13 days would have been needed for the 10m recession of water. Only in “the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared”.
Keeping this rate, how long would it have taken for the waters to descend 5,137m, the height of Mount Ararat, in order to render the plains visible? 10m in 2.5 months means 10m in approximately 74 days. This also means 1m in 7.4 days. If we multiply 5,137m by 7.4 days we obtain 38,013.8 days for the recession of the waters from the Earth. If we divide 38,013.8 days by 365.25 days which is the average of the days in a year, we find that 104.07 years would have been needed until the waters would have reached approximately the levels that we know today. These figures show how aberrant is the so-called information given by the stories of the Flood from the book of Genesis. 104.07 years is a huge period of time for the life of animals which would have been on Noah’s ark and during this period of time they would have needed to be fed and watered in order to survive. The figures offered by the book of Genesis are arbitrary and they don’t reflect any reality; they are thrown randomly in order to fill the details of a legend.
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In the moment when the ark hit the Ararat Mountain its peak couldn’t have been seen because it was under water, according to Genesis 8; 4-5. If the height of the water was at the same level as the peak of the mountain or a little bit higher, the ark couldn’t have hit anything else but the peak which was under water. It was impossible for the boat to hit a lower level taking into consideration that the height of the boat would have been 13.5m and the highest point on the mountain was under water. Probably, the peak of the mountain wasn’t plain and a landing on a rock looks more like a shipwreck. From the point of view of the people found on the ark the tops of the Ararat Mountain couldn’t have been seen after two and a half months because they would have been under the ark, being the place where the boat would have landed first. The episode about the landing of the ark on the Mount Ararat is inconsistent because it contains details impossible to be harmonised in a credible scene.
Let’s now imagine the life of so many animals for that period of time. They had to live and feed on the Ararat Mountain for all that time because they were isolated by water and prohibited to live in other locations. On the mountain the entire vegetation was destroyed by the waters which covered the entire geographical relief for a long period of time. When the waters receded the whole reserve of food from the ark would have been long gone.
Noah didn’t see the horizon himself and for that reason he had to send birds to discover if the land was dry or not. Why couldn’t Noah have seen the horizon and needed birds to confirm that he could land? The answer isn’t directly given by the book of Genesis but the explanation could be the unsuitability of the window of the boat for this purpose. Normally he could have seen the land through the window if that window had been big enough and placed at the right angle but it wasn’t, in spite of the fact that its dimensions would have been established by God, according to the book of Genesis.
The two stories of the Flood also diverge from each other in establishing the moment when the Flood started in relation to the time when Noah and his family boarded the ark:
“7 And Noah with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives went into the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Of clean animals, and of animals that are not clean, and of birds, and of everything/span> that creeps on the ground, 9 two and two, male and female, went into the ark with Noah, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after seven days the waters of the flood came on the earth.” (Genesis 7; 7-10 NRSV)
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“11 In the six-hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. 12 The rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights. 13 On the very same day Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, entered the ark,” (Genesis 7; 11-13 NNRSV)
The discrepancy between the two texts as to the moment when Noah and his family entered the ark is easy to notice. In the first biblical text, the waters came to the earth only after seven days since Noah and his family boarded the ark. In the second text the Flood started on the same day when Noah with his sons, Shem and Ham and Japheth, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons, entered the boat.
Those are some discrepancies in the Flood stories generated by the mixing together of two different ancient stories from two different sources, Yahwist and Priestly. They were organised together as a unique compound by a redactor who didn’t succeed in generating a consistent account. Besides those types of discrepancies there are others which concern the relationship between the biblical record and the real life.
How big was the ark? It was a relatively big boat after the description of the book of Genesis, but big or small is a degree of comparison which must be related to its assigned purpose. The comparison has to be made first with the complexity and the size of the animal world which is said to have been hosted by it, and not with another boat which wasn’t designed to carry samples of all living creatures on Earth. These are the dimensions of Noah’s ark described in the following quotation:
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“Genesis 6:15 in the Bible tells us the Ark’s dimensions were at least 135 meters long (300 cubits), 22.5 meters wide (50 cubits), and 13.5 meters high (30 cubits). That’s 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high! It could have been larger, because several larger-sized cubits were used. But the 45-centimeter (18-inch) cubit is long enough to show the enormous size of the Ark.”
A cubit is a measurement unit taken from the human body. It is equal to the distance between the tip of the fingers and the elbow of an adult person. More information about the cubit follows:
“Ancient measures were often based on parts of the body — palms, spans, feet, etc. The disadvantage was that everyone else would seem to have a slightly different finger span or arm length, so if you were working on a building project with other people, you would have to agree on whose arm you were going to use as the measuring standard. In order to overcome this problem measuring sticks called “cubit rods” have been produced. The “cubits roads” that have been discovered are thousands of years old and they show a bit of variation in length.”
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Another problem in Genesis chapter 6 is the one found in verses 5-7. Does God Change His Mind? According with the mainstream Christian view God is immutable, unchanging in His person, His perfections, His purposes, and His promises. At the same time, there are several biblical texts that suggest the idea that sometimes God changed His mind over the course of history. One of those texts is found in Genesis chapter 6:
“5 The LORD saw that the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, ‘I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ 8 But Noah found favour in the sight of the LORD.” (Genesis 6; 5-8 NRSV)
The LORD was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart” is one of the most intriguing texts of the Bible. What does a Christian expect? God is Omniscient and He knows the future before it happens. When He created the universe, He knew that mankind would fall by disobedience and that such behaviour would attract countless sufferings and death. God decided to create the universe and mankind regardless of the collateral damages. He had taken incredible risks and responsibilities because beside what is great He also created the occasion for pain and death.
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God should have known that mankind wasn’t prepared to discern between good and evil and that it would surely cede when confronted with Satan’s temptation. God had created man as a very curious being, curiosity being the engine of his or her interest in reality. The human beings were in fact not free to choose between good and evil because ignorance is an obstruction for the freedom of choice. Man and woman have reacted naturally according to their innate essence and absolute obedience isn’t in human nature. God created human nature and as far as He kept mankind from knowing good and evil, man and woman could have made only incompetent decisions.
Adam and Eve had missed basic education which was replaced by God’s authority and harsh warnings. How could they understand the meaning of death if even modern human beings have difficulties when trying to grasp it? In the context of the book of Genesis, for Adam and Eve death didn’t mean anything because they didn’t see anyone dying. If death wasn’t present in the creation Adam and Eve just couldn’t have grasped that notion. If death had been present before the human Fall, Apostle Paul was wrong in saying that death came into the world through Adam and Eve’s sins.
The appearance of death as a real phenomenon on Earth would have happened after God had mentioned death to humankind, according to the apostle Paul, but that is inconsistent with logic. For Adam and Eve, the promise of knowledge and the likeness of God would have had a meaning because they had the occasion to see or at least to hear Him. At the same time, the word “death” contained in God’s warning to them would have been meaningless.
Did God not know what the history of the human races would have been before creating mankind? Either He knew and created mankind according to that knowledge or He didn’t know and human behaviour came as a surprise for Him. From Genesis 6; 5-8, the second version seems to follow. What are the possibilities? God had a plan and in this project He knew that mankind would disobey Him, but also in this plan God decided beforehand that He would kill people and animals at a certain moment in the future. The Flood would have been planned by God at the same time as the creation of humankind, and people had to learn from the experience of the Flood and to become righteous. Did God not know that humankind would not learn anything and that the world would become even worse after the Flood?
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If God had known that mankind would fail morally, but in spite of that He created them and after that He killed most of them through the Flood, and in the end He will condemn the majority of humankind to hell, the conclusion is that God’s plan itself failed.
The development of humankind from moral to immoral, proposed by the book of Genesis, is a reversed reality because true evolution is from an initial immoral, instinctual way of life to a higher moral standard. Moral life didn’t diminish from perfection to imperfection, as the Bible says, but it developed in the opposite sense, toward an increase in morality and toward higher ethical standards. People became more conscious in time about the necessity of defending moral values in order to protect the health of the social environment.
Did God have a plan for all He was doing or did He sometimes regret what He did, as Genesis chapter 6; 5-8 states? Did God’s remorse also enter into His plan? Did God anticipate that He would be sorry for the creation of mankind? If the remorse had been anticipated by God and it was a part of the plan, why was humankind punished through the Flood? Was this destruction an element of the plan also? A plan in which God would have needed to liquidate the majority of the human population on Earth and many animals in order to save few human beings at the end of the world couldn’t have been conceived by a loving God. A loving God would have chosen a minimum of collateral damages but according to the Bible He generates huge destruction.
Either God had accepted the future state of humankind before creating it or He had created human beings with the clear intention to destroy their majority at a certain time. In the first option the Flood doesn’t make sense and in the second one God cannot be equated with love as some texts of the N.T. maintain.
In Genesis chapter 6, God’s remorse seems to be authentic and not only a tactic applicable in His war with Satan. God had regretted the creation of humankind and that looks like a change in His mind. God created humankind but He regretted its creation after a while. That description given by the book of Genesis looks like a lack of both planning and of the knowledge of the future. Either way, not knowing the future beforehand or planning inefficiently, or not planning at all, is far from what the Christian apologetics believe about God.
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Consequently, Genesis chapter 6; 5-8, is either an inadequate way of presenting God or speaks about another Being than the Reality portrayed by Christian commentators, a Being doomed to failure similar to humankind.
The text from Genesis chapter 6; 5-8 can be also a pure invention of the author aimed to motivate the alleged Flood, and this inadequate motivation shows that the book of Genesis isn’t inspired by God.
Let’s see what the arguments of the Christian apologetics about God’s remorse in Genesis chapter 6 are. There are many texts in the Bible which affirm that God doesn’t change His mind such as: Numbers 23:19, I Samuel 15:29, Psalms 33:11; 102:26-28; Hebrews 1:11-12; Malachi 3:6; Romans 11:29; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17.
There are also passages in which God “appears” to change His mind. The following is a text in which God changed His mind:
“11 But Moses implored the LORD his God, and said, ‘O LORD, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12 Why should the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth”? Turn from your fierce wrath; change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own self, saying to them, “I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.” ‘ 14 And the LORD changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring on his people.” (Exodus 32; 11-14 NRSV)
To me this text looks very strange. What did God try to do with Moses? Was it a game or something serious? Did God need someone to remind Him about His own oath? Did He not know human nature and its vulnerability? This is not the image of God which we are used to contemplating in the Christian teachings. God ready to destroy an entire population and convinced to do otherwise by a man. Christianity is about God convincing humankind to be meek but not the other way around. In this story, Moses convinced God to prove self-restraint. The whole story is in contradiction with what makes God the Almighty God. The God that we are taught about during catechisms is much different than what the Bible says about Him. Here is another text about God changing His mind:
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“10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.” (Jonah 3; 10 NRSV)
In the case of Jonah, the repentance of the population of Nineveh explains God changing His mind. This is understandable and is a very different situation to the one happening in the desert which involved Moses. In the latter, God’s decision wasn’t conditioned by a change in the attitude of the Jewish people and it was a pure punitive action for disobedience. In the former, the punishment was conditioned by a change in human behaviour. Another example of God changing His mind is in Amos:
“3 The LORD relented concerning this; ‘It shall not be,’ said the LORD. 4 This is what the Lord GOD showed me: the Lord GOD was calling for a shower of fire,* and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. 5 Then I said, ‘O Lord GOD, cease, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!’ 6 The LORD relented concerning this; ‘This also shall not be,’ said the Lord GOD.” (Amos 7; 3-6 NRSV)
God changing His mind in Exodus 32 is explained by the biblical apologists with the allegation that He had submitted people to a test. God wouldn’t have wanted to destroy the Jewish people but He intended to try Moses’ reaction about such a possibility. This is a very thin explanation. Could Moses have been so indifferent about his people to endorse God’s decision to annihilate his family, his friends, and his people? Such a thing would have been a very unlikely development. In point of fact, God had proposed a similar convention to Moses that He had with Noah, but Moses didn’t accept that proposition. There is a big difference between Moses and Noah because the latter was less concerned with his brothers’ and sisters’ fate. Nevertheless, the repetition of the same motif degrades somehow the credibility of both stories, giving to both of them the aspect of a fictitious literary work.
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The solution given by the apologists of a literal reading of the book of Genesis in this case is highly objectionable for several reasons. First of all, God is expected to have known Moses before giving him a mission in the interest of the Jewish people. God wouldn’t have needed a test to know Moses’ response to a certain situation because He is All-knowing. When God tested Abraham, the challenge was used as a metaphor for the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. The episode with Moses lacks a clear metaphorical sense. This kind of test doesn’t make sense in the biblical context. Comparing with Noah, even if he had failed such a test because he didn’t object to the destruction of the majority of humankind, Noah would have been considered righteous. Moses was righteous also without his defence of the people.
More importantly, the text in Exodus 32 cannot be considered to be a test because God had already acted as He said upon the Jewish people, but on a smaller scale.
"20 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying: 21 Separate yourselves from this congregation, so that I may consume them in a moment. 22 They fell on their faces, and said, ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one person sin and you become angry with the whole congregation?’ 23 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 24 Say to the congregation: Get away from the dwellings of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” (Numbers 16; 20-24 NRSV)
According to Numbers God wanted to destroy the whole congregation because of the sins of Korah and his company. Moses didn’t agree with such a solution, considering it unfair. Did Moses have a more acute sense of justice than God? Moses asked God the following question: ‘O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one person sin and you become angry with the whole congregation?’ God was really angry, and in His anger He didn’t consider justice, according with the book of Genesis. Moses has reminded God about justice and only after that speech did He change His mind. The motif of God killing entire congregations or even nations for the sins of some people is found again and again in the Bible. What kind of justice was that? Some commentators would answer that God did whatever He wished. This isn’t an acceptable solution because God being righteous, He should have done only what was right.
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Another explanation proposed by the commentators for God changing His mind would be that when God threatened to destroy a nation, if that nation repented, He would have changed His mind. The only legitimate objection in such a case would be that in all nations some people would repent and others wouldn’t. To punish a whole nation even if not all people are corrupt is something specific for the Bible and is based on the principle that no-one is naturally pure in front of God and all human beings are sinners. The principle that humankind is impure is based on the story of Adam and Eve which is only a legend. If Adam and Eve are legendary personages what else would make humankind impure in God’s eyes? Human nature cannot be described as pure or impure, it is structured to allow human beings’ survival in this world. At the same time, human beings can improve themselves and the Christian solution for that is to change their nature, and that is possible only with God’s help.
According to the book of Genesis, God didn’t create “pure” people but complex human beings endowed with curiosity and thirst for knowledge. God would have created human nature as it is today. Nonetheless, if Adam and Eve are only legendary personages their imaginary Fall couldn’t have changed human nature in any way, consequently humankind is what it is following God’s creation through evolution. That means that human provenance is linked with the entirety of nature, and because human beings were originally a kind of animal; they followed the instincts imbedded in their nature and not high moral principles.
At the same time, according to the Bible, there always were people considered to be righteous in God’s eyes, for example Abel, Noah, Lot and his family, Job or David, and that shows that even human nature cannot be seen as irremediably lost. How can we admit the existence of righteous people in the O.T. if Adam and Eve had a sinful nature after the Fall? If we take for granted the story of Adam and Eve the presence of righteous people would be inexplicable following humankind’s Fall. Many Christian commentators maintain that the human nature created by God changed dramatically after the Fall. If this would be the case no righteous people would have been found on Earth after that event because that would have been against human nature. Nevertheless, the Bible speaks about a small number of righteous people in a generation.
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Only Noah and his family have been righteous, all other human beings were unrighteous. What would have generated righteousness in the attitude of few human beings as opposed to the majority of humankind? Probably, faith in God would be the most common answer. At the same time, there isn’t any reason why only one person and his family would have been considered to have faith in God, therefore to be righteous if, according to the book of Genesis, humankind already started to call for His name. This doesn’t make sense because calling the name of God is an act of faith. (Genesis 4; 26)
The puzzle is the number of human beings which would have kept the faith in God between Adam and Abraham, which was very small. Only Noah from an entire generation of many, many human beings had been righteous. One would expect more than one man being righteous amongst hundreds of thousands or even several million human beings. The story is unbelievable if we take into consideration the small percentage of good people amongst humankind in a certain historical time. A minority of good people amongst a majority of corrupt ones would be understandable but only one man on the entire earth is doubtful. Noah was a human being, not the Son of God coming from heaven, therefore his unique situation amongst the population of the earth is inexplicable. As a matter of fact, without a law there wasn’t any objective criteria to know and to judge righteousness. We don’t know how righteous Noah would have been but unlike Moses he didn’t try to dissuade God from His decision to destroy the earth through the Flood.
Why didn’t God reveal Himself to other human beings instead of destroying them? God would have preferred to annihilate the majority of human population instead of revealing Himself to it. This is the logic of the book of Genesis which isn’t based on realities but on a legend which casts a very dark image of God, but that illustration most probably doesn’t correspond with His character.
The rationale about the changing of God’s mind in the case of the creation of humankind belongs to the context of the legend, and within the limits of that, because Noah also is only a legendary character about whom the Bible doesn’t give detailed information and he isn’t a real personage. This conclusion can be drawn from analysing the story of the Flood.
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God had created humankind in His likeness and blessed them and He declared that all His creation was very good. After a while God changed His mind and from being blessed humankind became cursed and He decided to destroy beings that were like Him and who once were very good. Did God bless humankind only for a while? In chapter 1 of the book of Genesis God had asked humankind to multiply and to subdue the earth. This is the biblical text:
“28 God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ (Genesis 1; 28 NRSV)
In those conditions the curse that followed after a while is a pure fantasy. The entire story of Adam and Eve is a legend but the way in which that legend develops shows us that God cannot be accused of things that He never did in reality. He never blessed Adam and Eve because they never existed and He never sent a Flood to destroy the majority of humankind. If He had done one of those things the other one would have been in total contradiction with the other.
From the creation of mankind until Moses’ Law there wasn’t any clear set of norms through which God’s moral standards would have been known by people. Where God’s Law wasn’t in function it wasn’t any responsibility of humankind before God and the nations survived by their own laws, before and after the apparition of Mosaic Law. The Jewish people had been guided initially by the Egyptian laws and after that directly by God through Moses, but other nations had their own religious beliefs and their laws. Those nations wouldn’t have been responsible before God because they didn’t receive His Law.
It is not fair to despise humankind or human nature just because they haven’t been instructed by God in the past. Before the Mosaic Law many legal norms of human origin prescribed similar rules of conduct as Moses’ Law did at a later time. I also wonder if the way in which the book of Genesis says that the human races would have developed on Earth, through incest and polygamy, wouldn’t have been a possible cause for so much sexual immorality if that method of multiplication would have been real. It is hard to give a definitive answer because the story of Adam and Eve is only fairy tale, but generally speaking incest and polygamy can be causes of immorality.
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What is here in contradiction is that God of the Bible sanctioned some causes of immorality which were incest and polygamy, but also punished harshly their effects.
“7 At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it. 9 And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.” (Jeremiah 18; 7-10 NRSV)
It is hard to believe that all individuals from an entire nation would have had an identical attitude about good and evil and that all of them would have changed their behaviour. What would have happened in the situation in which half of the people in a nation turned from evil but not the other half? Again, that black and white approach doesn’t cover all situations. People cannot be judged and punished en masse but they have to respond individually for their deeds in order to reach justice. Some individuals couldn’t have responded legitimately before God for the others’ wrongdoings.
Didn’t God create all humankind? Did He create only the Jewish people? God had a covenant only with the Jewish people but He didn’t propose covenants to other nations. Why were the other nations judged harshly? People were condemned in blocks, good people together with the bad ones. If there had been righteous persons among Jewish people wouldn’t there have been such persons amongst other nations also? There isn’t any reason for which other nations wouldn’t have contained righteous persons together with unrighteous ones. The Bible presents a very strange way of doing justice, a kind of mass judgement which were applied unrightfully later in history to the Jewish people, also by the governments of some European countries. This is the way in which the O.T. depicts the history but most likely this isn’t the reality. Being just, God cannot be as wrathful as the O.T. depicts Him to be.
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Another explanation for God’s change of mind which comes from commentators of the book of Genesis is that He can change His program or strategies but never His purposes or His plans. Here is an example of this kind of argument:
“God promised to bring His people into the land of Canaan. Due to their unbelief the first generation did not possess the land, but the second generation did. When Jesus came He offered Himself to Israel as the Messiah. Her rejection has made possible the offer of the gospel to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, when God’s purposes for the Gentiles have been accomplished, God will once again pour out His grace and salvation upon the Jews. God’s program changes, but not His purposes (cf. Romans 9-11).”
Such an explanation cannot be used to explain the destruction of the majority of humankind through the Flood. God had to know that humankind would fall beforehand and the solution of killing so many people through the Flood wouldn’t have been an efficient one. The Flood could have killed human beings and animals but it couldn’t have been able to eliminate human nature and the sin. After the Flood the situation of humankind from a moral point of view wouldn’t have been superior to what was before. God from the book of Genesis should have known better, sin couldn’t have been eradicated through the Flood.
In Genesis chapter 6 verse 3 God said:
“3 Then the LORD said, ‘My spirit shall not abide* in mortals for ever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ (Genesis 6; 3 NRSV)
This verse is not in conformity with what the book of Genesis says would have happened after the Flood. Noah lived nine hundred and fifty years and not one hundred and twenty years as he would have lived according to Genesis chapter 6:
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“28 After the flood Noah lived for three hundred and fifty years. 29 All the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years; and he died.” (Genesis 9; 28-29 NRSV)
Other patriarchs also lived more than one hundred and twenty years, therefore Genesis chapter 6 verse 3 is in contradiction with other biblical texts also from Genesis.
“10 These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood; 11 and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad for five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 11; 10-11 NRSV)
“12 When Arpachshad had lived for thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah; 13 and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah for four hundred and three years, and had other sons and daughters.” (Genesis 11; 12-13)
The book of Genesis contradicts its own assertions. If the human beings were destined to live for one hundred and twenty years there isn’t any reason for which they lived for hundreds of years. If God had set a limit for human life why wasn’t this limit respected? Human beings who lived for hundreds of years are an exaggeration if we accept the opinion of creationist commentators that after the alleged Fall human nature would have suffered a degradation. Most commentators maintain that human nature was badly affected by Adam and Eve’s Fall. At the same time, in spite of this supposed “degradation” human beings would have lived for hundreds of years, against God’s recommendation that they would reach only one hundred and twenty years. Such a situation doesn’t make sense.
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Chapter 6 of the book of Genesis is a very intriguing one. It speaks about special beings that had lived on Earth in ancient times. Who were those beings is the subject for many debates and very few opinions are able to shed some light on the issue.
“When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, ‘My spirit shall not abide* in mortals for ever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’ 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” (Genesis 6; 1-4 NRSV)
Who were “the sons of God”, “the daughters of man”, and the “Nephilin” in Genesis chapter 6, verses 1-4? There are three major interpretations of this expression circulating among the commentators and to which I want to add a fourth one which is probably the most convincing.
The combination between the ungodly Cainite with the godly Sethites.
The ‘sons of God’ are generally thought to be the godly men of the Sethite line. The ‘daughters of men’ are thought to be the daughters of the ungodly Cainite. The Nephilim are the ungodly men who are the product of this undesirable union. Chapter 4 from the book of Genesis describes the ungodly generation of Cain, while in chapter 5 we see the godly Sethite line. The premise of this line of argument is that Cain’s line of descendants and Seth’s line of descendants had to be separated because Cain was a criminal and Seth replaced Abel, the victim of Cain’s crime. No connections would have been adequate between the families of the criminal and of the victim.
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This version of interpretation is open to much possible criticism. In point of fact, humanity is seen by the Bible as a unity and not having two branches. God would have seen all humankind, not only Cain’s offspring, as having bad thoughts and as being unholy. Human beings were in unity and all were relatives amongst themselves.
Godly and ungodly are two notions applicable to certain individuals and not to whole families. Not all of Seth’s line would have been godly and not all of Caine’s line would have been ungodly. According to chapter 6 from the book of Genesis, few were godly in those days. Only Noah and his family could have been called righteous at the time of the Flood. If other people would have been righteous, they also probably would have been saved from the Flood, but only Noah and his family were deemed to be just by God.
Also, the “daughters of men” cannot be restricted to only the daughters of the Cainites. The “daughters of man” were not forced into this union with the sons of God. They would have been seen by the “sons of God” as suitable partners for them, they became their wives and they gave birth to children for them. The word “wife” is the key for this idea and this was a dignity attributed to the “daughters of man” by the “sons of God”.
If the sons of Seth’s line of inheritance had been married to Cain’s granddaughters, they all were relatives between them and they all started from the same set of DNA. Why would the product of such families have been giants? There isn’t any genetic explanation for such a phenomenon. Having the same DNA, all mankind had to be formed only from giants, but it wasn’t the case. Incest brings degeneration and not an increase in strength or other qualities. Nephilims were strong and courageous people, proving military prowess – they were not degenerates. A new set of genes had to be added to those of Adam and Eve’s in order to produce Nephilims.
The Despot Interpretation
In another interpretation, the sons of God are the sons of powerful rulers, identified by the languages of the Near East with “sons of God”. For example, in Egypt the Pharaoh was identified with the “son” of the Egyptian deity Re. The Hebrew word used in the O.T. for God, Elohim, was also used for men who exercised authority. In this view, “sons of God” should be understood to mean powerful nobles and kings.
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“1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgement:” (Psalm 82; 1 NRSV)
Some of the commentators who maintain The Despot Interpretation are also of the opinion that the main sin of those despots was polygamy. I don’t think that polygamy would have really been a problem as far as Abraham or David had polygamous relations and that didn’t produce a strong reaction from God, as a matter of fact, no critical reaction was recorded by the book of Genesis about polygamy. If polygamy was so bad as to determine God to wipe out the majority of the human population through the Flood, why did He consider David’s polygamous relationships acceptable? The idea that polygamy would have determined God’s resolution to send the Flood isn’t sustained by the biblical texts.
There is no reason for Nephilim to be different than other people if they were the offspring of powerful human rulers. Genetically they had to be similar to all other human beings because they inherited the same DNA. In the Bible Nephilim are identified through their giganticness:
“32 So they brought to the Israelites an unfavourable report of the land that they had spied out, saying, ‘The land that we have gone through as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people that we saw in it are of great size. 33 There we saw the Nephilim (the Anakites come from the Nephilim); and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.’ (Numbers 13; 32-33 NRSV)
Someone probably would want to solve the dilemma of how the Flood destroyed the Nephilim and in spite of that, they have been recorded after the Flood as being existent on Earth. The “sons of God” had come to Earth before the Flood and Noah or his family wouldn’t have been Nephilim, any of them, because if they were they wouldn’t have been accepted on the boat.
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Nephilim couldn’t have lived on Earth after the Flood if the “sons of God” had come to Earth before the Flood and the Deluge had destroyed the entirety of humankind except Noah and his family, who by definition couldn’t have been Nephilim. That contradiction nullifies any validity of the story of the Flood by rendering it completely untruthful.
The existence of the Nephilim needed a new set of genes in combination with Adam and Eve’s genes, and they couldn’t have been provided by the usual human beings or by angels, either fallen or not. They could have been delivered only by another civilization very similar to humankind but different in the size of the body.
The fallen angels interpretation
According to this view in Genesis chapter 6 verses 2 and 4 the “sons of God” are angels, belonging to Satan’s crew with whom he came down to the earth. Those angels have taken the form of masculine human-like creatures. Those angels married women of the human race, either Cainites or Sethites, and from that union resulted Nephilim, giants with physical superiority who established themselves as men renowned for their physical prowess and military might. This race of half-human creatures would have been wiped out by the Flood, along with all other humans because all of them were sinners.
Some commentators reject the fallen angel interpretation because such a view is said to be in contradiction with reason and also with Scripture. In Mathew’s gospel Jesus said:
“29 Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels* in heaven.” (Matthew 22; 29-30 NRSV)
The commentators who support this view don’t find any problem in harmonising the text with the idea that the “sons of God” are fallen angels:
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“We are told that here our Lord said that angels are sexless, but is this really true? Jesus compared men in heaven to angels in heaven. Neither men nor angels are said to be sexless in heaven but we are told that in heaven there will be no marriage. There are no female angels with whom angels can generate offspring. Angels were never told to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ as was man. When we find angels described in the book of Genesis, it is clear that they can assume a human-like form, and that their sex is masculine. The writer to the Hebrews mentions that angels can be entertained without man’s knowing it (Hebrews 13; 2).”
From my point of view there are many problems with the interpretation of the texts in this manner. In each and every text in which the angels took on human aspects, it is about good angels and not fallen angels. We don’t have any examples of fallen angels taking human form. If such a phenomenon would be possible we could be surrounded by devils in human form all around us, but the Bible discourages such a perspective. This would be more than an individual who is said to be possessed by the devil; this would be devils with human bodies. We are surrounded by human beings and not by fallen angels. This assertion is important for the way we see our world and we treat our fellow human beings. We should never consider them to be devils if we want to respect Jesus’s teachings.
The process of becoming similar in form to man is under God’s control and overcame Satan’s abilities. The angels sent to Abraham and to Sodom and Gomorrah were also assigned by God. They took human form even if they were spiritual beings. Probably, biologically those angels were similar to all human beings and there is no reason to believe that they were different. How do we know? If they could easily mix with other human beings they had to be similar to them. They were not giants as the Bible describes the Nephilim. If we consider the episode in Sodom and Gomorrah, if the ‘male’ angels had been giants the people in the city wouldn’t have seen them as a possible prey.
The point is that in order to beget giants the fallen angels had to have a biological potential of their own and not biology identical with the human beings impersonating them. When taking a human body, a fallen angel would have taken all biological characteristics of a human being.
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To speculate that behind a human body a fallen angel would have had his own genetic potential to procreate is absurd.
The angels in God’s Paradise don’t multiply and that is what Jesus clearly said in Mathew 22; 29-30 therefore they are not endowed for multiplication. Why God would have endowed angels with the possibility of procreation if they wouldn’t multiply? If the angels would multiply by procreation God wouldn’t have needed to create human beings in order to replace one third of the angels who had fallen. If God didn’t endow angels with the possibility of procreation but they multiplied with the “daughters of men” then the logical consequence would be that the angels had the power to change their nature from the procreation point of view, but that is unacceptable in the biblical context.
The angels wouldn’t have had the creative power which would have enabled them to recreate their morphological structure. Angels either couldn’t procreate or they could, both versions don’t go together. A mixture between the two versions isn’t based on the Bible. Its texts imply that angels don’t procreate because if they don’t marry they cannot procreate. Procreation outside a marital relation is unacceptable in the biblical context from a moral point of view. God has the same moral standard for everyone, angels or humans, and for human beings procreation is recommended within a marital relationship.
To say that angels took human bodies is only an attempt to escape from the problem. Human bodies couldn’t generate Nephilim without the aid of a specific set of DNA, the creation of which isn’t described in the Bible.
At the same time, the explanation given to the texts that fallen angels had become in love with ancient women is not plausible for many reasons. Let’s try to figure out a world in which sexually active males constitute a community of spiritual beings that never have had sex. Why would God have created only male angels with sexuality if there were not females to multiply with them? Sexuality is a means for procreation and where procreation isn’t a purpose sexuality is useless. The angels had been created immortal; they didn’t need to procreate in order to multiply. Did God create sexually active male angels in view that they would fall in the future and mate with women? That would be nonsense because God didn’t like that union between His “sons” and the “daughters of man”.
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When someone departs from logic anything can be justified by all sorts of fantastic explanations. Jesus said it clearly: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels* in heaven”. Angels don’t marry and because they don’t marry they are sexless. Any sexual activity outside the marriage is prohibited under God’s moral standards therefore angels aren’t endowed with means of procreation if they don’t marry. Angels with sexual activity who don’t marry and, at the same time, sexual activity prohibited outside marriage, is absurd. The fallen angels wouldn’t have had the ability to procreate and to marry the “daughters of man”.
Pastor Doug Bachelor aptly clarified:
“Angels are spirits; they are not flesh. They are all around us now, but we cannot see them.—they don’t go to school, get jobs, or raise families. They are here to “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrew 1;14). Even if they wanted to marry and have babies, they couldn’t; they don’t have human DNA. It would be easier for a jellyfish to marry a mountain goat than for angels to marry people. Thus, it doesn’t make practical sense to believe that our passage in Genesis refers to the marriage of angels, fallen or holy, to humans.”
The “sons of God” explained by the fallen angels theory is seen by many commentators as the most likely theory which could explain those verses, but is the most absurd from a rational point of view. Angels are not constructed as human beings are; they have not the same morphological structure because they are spiritual beings. When they dwell in the mind of a human being, that person is not different from any other person from a biological point of view. If God’s angels and people were the same kind of beings, there would be no difference between the spiritual world and the material realm.
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“Sons of God”, the representatives of an extra-terrestrial civilisation
None of the explanations given by the evangelical commentators have sufficient merits in order to be validated, but there is another possibility very little discussed. The “sons of God” were material extra-terrestrial beings similar to human beings but greater in power. They had their own genetic potential compatible with the human one and together the “sons of God” and the “daughters of man” procreated the Nephilim. As I mentioned previously, God in the book of Genesis looks more like a special man than like a universal spiritual Reality. The way in which Adam saw his son Seth is described in Genesis chapter 5 and it is identical with the way in which God had seen humankind in Genesis chapter 1.
“When God created humankind,* he made them* in the likeness of God.” This description of the creation of humankind is like the way in which Adam saw his son Seth, and for this reason by extrapolation one can imagine God as a bigger “man” similar to the human beings but not identical. How such an extraordinary “man” could be eternal is another question. Maybe God who was revealed to Abraham is different than the philosophical and theological understanding of Him. Anthropomorphism may be the key to understanding God if we consider also that the Son of God, Christ, had taken a human body.
"3 When Adam had lived for one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.” (Genesis 5; 1-3 NRSV)
From my point of view this verse is very important for the understanding of the book of Genesis. God had created humankind in His likeness and mankind created and still creates other human beings, also in their likeness. The universal cosmic Man or Someone similar to man, Someone who would have been an extra-terrestrial Being, had created man. The book of Genesis can be seen to represent a continuation of the human anthropogenesis over the boundaries of the earth through the means of myths.
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Chapter 6 from the book of Genesis can represent the remnants of an ancient encounter between humankind and an extra-terrestrial civilization, but such an encounter doesn’t give us any understanding to how the cosmos was generated. To be more relevant such an extraordinary theory must be correlated with other possible evidence.
Probably, both Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2 contain plenty of anthropomorphic elements just because they intended to be anthropomorphic and to illustrate a possible way in which an extra-terrestrial human-like Being would have created the universe. The philosophical construction about an infinite Reality is only a late development. God of the O.T. looks more like an extra-terrestrial civilization trying to educate humankind, but an extra-terrestrial Being coming from another planet couldn’t have created the universe as the Bible says. God is not alone; He is amongst His sons, who also are gods. Monotheism and the biblical texts about the “sons of God” have been gathered in a unique vision but the relationship between God and His “sons” has many unexplained dimensions.
God could have generated more than one material world. Nevertheless, the Bible doesn’t speak about the creation of other intelligent civilizations by God during the six days in which He would have created the entire universe and humankind. According to the book of Genesis there isn’t any time during the creation week in which God could have created other intelligent civilizations, therefore in the context of the Bible the existence of such worlds is pure speculation.
In the beginning, God couldn’t have created other civilizations because those are based in the sky, and the dome of the sky was created only on the second day. After the second day of creation the Bible tells us every step made by God in the process of creation; the stars and consequently other planets would have been created only on the fourth day with the function of illuminating the earth. As a matter of fact, the Bible speaks only about the creation of the stars but not about other planets, as it is the earth which could host life.
Doug Bachelor identifies the “sons of God” as the administrators of other worlds than ours and explains a difference between what the Bible understands through angels and also through “sons of God”.
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“Adam was the son of God, created to have dominion over the Earth. Thus one definition for sons of God is those beings God Himself created to have dominion over the worlds He made. These beings were not born but were created directly by God. Job 38:7 tells us that when our world was created, “the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy.” The “morning stars” are angels, whereas “the sons of God” are the leaders of other worlds.”
Beside the texts of the Bible, we don’t have direct proof that such “sons of God” really exist. We can take few skeletons of large dimensions found on Earth and they could be some evidence that Nephilim truly had existed.
In many biblical texts we can find the expression “sons of God” for people who, being born again, became the children, sons, and daughters of the One from whom they are reborn.
“12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1 12-13 NRSV)
“25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Galatians 3; 25-26 NRSV)
Otherworldly beings who didn’t sin could be named children or sons of God but there is a problem. When they came to Earth they disobeyed God and that would have been a strong reason not to name them the “sons of God” anymore. If the expression “sons of God” had been suitable only for someone who obeys Him, this expression wouldn’t apply to beings that had come to Earth in spite of God’s interdiction. Did the “sons of God” have His approval before coming to Earth? This question can be answered negatively if we follow the story and see that God wasn’t happy with the result of the multiplication of the “sons of God” with the “daughters of man”.
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The consequence is that God sent the Flood over humankind for their inequities. The “sons of God” would have been powerful and respected beings and so were the Nephilim, their offspring, but something wrong happened with them and they displeased Him.
The Nephilim aren’t the offspring of the sons of God and of the daughters of man.
Another interpretation which must be taken in consideration is that the Nephilim aren’t the children born to the “sons of God” and daughters of men. If we attentively read the biblical passage we can notice that the book of Genesis doesn’t say that the Nephilim would have been the offspring of the “sons of God” and of the daughters of men.
“4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterwards—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.” (Genesis 6; 4 NRSV)
The Nephilim would have been on the earth in those days when the sons of God would have gone into the daughters of humans. If the Nephilim were already on Earth when the “sons of God” married the daughters of men, that means that they couldn’t have been the offspring of the “sons of God”. The children resulted from the union between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men” were the heroes of old, warriors of renown. Were the Nephilim the same personages as the “heroes that were of old”? I consider that the book of Genesis says they are different characters. The Nephilim were neither Adam and Eve’s offspring nor the result of the marriages between the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men”. How did the Nephilim come to Earth? They weren’t related to the “sons of God” but they are as difficult to be identified as are the former. In chapter 6 of the book of Genesis we have four different kinds of beings. The “sons of God”, the Nephilim, the heroes resulting from the marriages between the “sons of God” and human beings, and the human beings.
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The entire story is pretty confused. The “sons of God” coming to Earth without His approval, marrying the “daughters of man”, making children with them and only after a long period of time being destroyed by Him for their disobedience, seems an unlikely story.
A parallel can be made between Christ coming to Earth as the Son of God and embodying himself in a human being through the Virgin Mary and the “sons of God” who married the “daughters of men” and also generated human beings. It is the same idea of “sons of God” coming to Earth and multiplying with the “daughters of men” but in Genesis they were negative personages and in the N.T. Christ is the Saviour of humankind. What is strange is that the “sons of God” of old, in spite of being seen somehow negatively by the book of Genesis, they were beneficial for humankind, teaching them many professions. Probably, they were depicted as negative personages precisely because they helped humankind to increase their knowledge. Christ also is on the side of humankind, dying for the human beings and teaching them salvation.
The myth of Prometheus with gods on human’s side against other gods is a common motif. The “sons of God” were gods who helped humankind against God’s will. At the same time, the rebellion of the “sons of God” against their Father when they married the “daughters of men” and taught humankind their science, is in a way a repetition of both motifs of the tree of knowledge and of Satan’s revolt against Him.
What is the theory which could better explain the meaning of the expression the “sons of God” in Genesis chapter 6? This text is an insertion in the book of Genesis generated by influences made by different old stories about visits paid to the earth by alien civilizations. The following is a quotation which summarises this view:
“Most people believe in aliens - from ancient visitors to modern day extraterrestrials who visit Earth with an agenda. Clearly the creation myths of each ancient civilization discuss alien gods who descended from the sky for any number of reasons, some of who allegedly mated with human woman to create bloodlines, or created humans through biogenetic experiments ….. According to ancient alien theorists, most of whom have researched the topic for decades, extraterrestrials with superior knowledge of science and engineering landed on Earth thousands of years ago, sharing their expertise with early civilizations and forever changing the course of human history. researchers to this day look for evidence to support this theory.”
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In my opinion the text from Genesis chapter 6 cannot be understood isolated from the ancient culture of humankind. This very strange assertion must be put in a biblical context and also in a larger context of so many stories which indicate contact between humankind and aliens coming from outer space.
If angels are spiritual beings and not material ones, not having DNA and not being endowed for procreation, the only credible interpretation of the text from Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 have to be linked with so many other references of extra-terrestrial beings from other ancient texts.
“While the Book of Genesis contains references to the fallen angels as ‘Nephilim’, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain the original sources for this information. The Book of Enoch gives a highly detailed account of the activities of 200 fallen angels or ‘Nephilim’/’Watchers’ who were locked into a deep conflict with the ‘righteous angels’ or ‘Aeons’. The Nephilim proceeded to interbreed with humanity and created a race of giants that had much authority until the time of the Noah and the great flood. The Book of Enoch gives surprising validation to the theory of extraterrestrial visitation, and that this involved genetic intermixing with ancient humanity.”
After discovering the Book of Enoch in 1773 in Ethiopia, James Bruce writes:
“Amongst the articles I consigned to the library at Paris was a very beautiful and magnificent copy of the prophecies of Enoch, in large Quarto; another is amongst the books of scripture that I brought home, standing immediately before the book of Job, which is its proper place in the Abyssinian Cannon: and a third copy I presented to the Bodleian Library at Oxford, by the hands of Dr. Douglass, the Bishop of Carlisle.”
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Lyman Abbott also notes:
“Reverting to the second century of Christianity, we find Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria citing the Book of Enoch without questioning it’s sacred character. Thus, Irenaeus, assigning to the Book of Enoch an authenticity analogous to that of Mosaic literature, affirms that Enoch, although a man, filled the office of God’s messenger to the angels. Tertullian, who flourished at the close of the first and at the beginning of the second century, whilst admitting that the ‘Scripture of Enoch’ is not received by some because it is not included in the Hebrew Canon, speaks of the author as ‘the most ancient prophet, Enoch,’ and of the book as the divinely inspired autograph of that immortal patriarch...”
There is no doubt that Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 is not singular to the old religious texts belonging to the Judeo-Christian tradition and that the idea of an extra-terrestrial civilization is not foreign to those texts. This conclusion is in contradiction with the fact that the book of Genesis doesn’t give any hint in the description of the week of creation, about the apparition of such entities in the cosmos. According to the book of Enoch, these civilizations had taught mankind certain technologies:
“And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjâzâ taught enchantments, and root-cutting, ‘Armârôs the resolving of enchantments, Barâqîjâl (taught) astrology, Kôkabêl the constellations, Êzêqêêl the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiêl the signs of the earth, Shamsiêl the signs of the sun, and Sariêl the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven...”
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Much knowledge which would have been offered by the “sons of God” to humankind didn’t enter the book of Genesis and the proof is its naïve cosmology. The first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis hadn’t been inspired by God, not even by its “sons”, about whom the book of Enoch says imparted knowledge to humankind.
If extra-terrestrial beings had come to the earth, it doesn’t matter how we name them, angels or otherwise, they weren’t spiritual beings but material ones. They mixed with “daughters of men” and it is possible that a race of giants would have been generated. Probably the extension of that mixture was not as important as the book of Genesis presents it, and the end of the giants could have been determined by environmental motives. The following is a very brief synthesis of the theory of the ancient aliens:
“As first came to Earth many millennia ago. They were beings whose biology was similar to modern humans. They created modern mankind by mixing their genetic makeup with that of sub-humans. The purpose of mankind was to serve the AAs, principally by providing food and mining and construction labor. The AAs did not allow humans to view them – only their symbols (idols), suggesting that their appearance was frightening; however humans were occasionally permitted to see their emissaries, e.g. “geniuses” and “angels”. They also would not allow humans near them, except priests who had cleansed and covered themselves and spread a germicide, suggesting their susceptibility to earthly diseases.”
What explanation can be found for the presence of the text in Genesis chapter 2, in which are described the valuable materials of the Garden of Eden? The only reasonable explanation is that some extra-terrestrial beings in the past were ones interested in some material elements found on Earth and they used human force in order to extract it. This could be seen as bearing a very loose connection with possible ancient civilisations visiting the earth.
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Genesis chapter 6; 1-4 can be understood as having a certain relation to a possible reality. This is not proof that the book is inspired by God but it is a hint that the book of Genesis is a collection of texts influenced by many sources. Some of those sources are the stories about the possible encounters between ancient civilizations and humankind.
The Watchers in the book of Enoch did a similar thing as Satan did in Genesis chapter 3. They taught humankind different professions and the knowledge they provided would have been considered to be the root of all evil. Knowledge gives power and the power of men was seen as a threat for God. Knowledge would have been perceived as a threat only by the representatives of an extra-terrestrial civilization, but not by God who is eternal and Almighty.
Is it possible that some ancient astronauts created humankind from inferior beings through genetic engineering in order to use them for work, and after a while the latter emancipated and became independent? God in the Bible is different from the “sons of God” and He wasn’t happy when His “sons” offered knowledge to humankind. The point is that an extra-terrestrial civilization is something different and cannot be confounded with God. The existence of extra-terrestrial civilizations as a source of inspiration for the book of Genesis is only a speculation which theoretically isn’t impossible, but God in the book of Genesis is seen as the Creator not only of humankind but also of the universe. No extra-terrestrial civilization could have created the universe if it dwells in it. At the same time, there are many reasons to believe that God didn’t create the universe in the way described by the book of Genesis.
Starting with Adam and Eve, humankind wanted to be knowledgeable like God. The book of Genesis tells us that some otherworldly forces were favourable of humankind acquiring knowledge and gave it to them, but God saw this thirst for knowledge as being sinful, the expression of disobedience. God in the book of Genesis didn’t want to share knowledge with mankind and punished severely whoever helped humankind to get knowledge. Such a punishment would have been given to the “sons of God” who allegedly had been destroyed by the Flood.
The knowledge was a way of emancipating from God’s authority. That is a constant idea in the book of Genesis.
The same idea entered the Judeo-Christian tradition and followed an insidious path which generated mistrust in science during a long period of time. The stories of creation from the book of Genesis contain in them the supposition that human knowledge is dangerous and it isn’t seen as favourable by God but this, in my opinion is very false. Humankind’s knowledge opens the gates for the understanding of God because He is also Knowledge and every step in the direction of knowledge is a path toward Him.
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 www.world-mysteries.com › ANCIENT WRITINGS
All human beings are the product of incestuous relations, according to the Bible. This is wrong from medical and from moral perspectives. In the book of Genesis, all humankind is based on interrelations between Adam and Eve’s children. The Bible which is considered by some a moral guide gives mixed indications about the morality of incestuous acts. All Adam and Eve’s children were brothers and sisters and their offspring further down the lines were cousins and this aspect wasn’t seen as having moral consequences for the writers of the book of Genesis.
“4 Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced* a man with the help of the LORD.’ 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground.” (Genesis; 4; 1-2 NRSV)
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Many read those verses considering that they are the most normal thing on the earth, but this isn’t the case. If Adam and Eve were the only human beings at the time they had to give birth to male and female children and their children formed couples and produced other children and so on. Why is the incest wrong? I had taken advice from a large amount of documentation and I have chosen a few quotations which express a strong view about incest:
“Incest is something we, as a society, should discourage. Not because of any genetic reason and not because of any religious reason, but because incest is harmful to the family unit. The family is where children learn to love and trust. Injecting this atmosphere with sex and sexuality is harmful. Even if we limit our example to consenting adults, allowing it at all may still let sexuality flow into the family unit. We don’t want fathers “waiting” for their children to grow up or sisters waiting around to seduce their brothers once they come of age. It’s just harmful all around.”
Another opinion shows us why some people rightfully consider that incest is something wrong, having many negative implications:
“Yes, consensual incest is wrong. To take it one step further, all incest is wrong. Nobody should be having sex or doing any type of sexual activities with family members. It is very wrong and in my opinion, it is absolutely disgusting. They really need to make this stuff illegal.”
Even animals avoid inbreeding and a group of animals will take measures to ensure incest can’t happen in their families. If there is a natural protection against this phenomenon why would God have conceived the human species in such a way that the only manner of their multiplication would have been inbreeding?
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The answer is that it wasn’t God who built the human species through inbreeding, but the naivety of the authors of the book of Genesis didn’t take into consideration this aspect, neither from a moral point of view nor a medical one.
The medical point of view is very convincing and the following quotation summarises well the arguments against inbreeding:
“Since lots of people today ignore morals, let’s look at biology. Inbreeding produces problems genetically that can ruin gene pools and produce the increased likelihood of genetic diseases within a line. This would mean that if a family has a history of diabetic or heart problems, inbreeding in that line will promote a greater likelihood of those problems appearing in the future. Animals, specifically mammals (which we are), go to great lengths to avoid inbreeding. Primates exile females to other family groups so that the fathers don’t start going at it with them. Lions drive away males after they get older to ensure there isn’t a fight for dominance between them and their father. In the cycle of life dead ends occur regularly, and the quickest way to do that is make the gene pool much smaller.”
I have chosen mostly the opinions which also reflect my views about incest and I didn’t transform this study into a debate about the moral aspect of incest, because this material is not a part of a controversy pro and contra incest but is about the moral value and the logical consequences of the biblical texts. Whoever wants to see all opinions can visit the site indicated in the references or other sites or materials. There are also views that consider consensual incest between mature people acceptable but even they don’t dispute the medically harmful consequences which prohibit it, only the moral reasons. Nevertheless, according to the Mosaic Law, incest between brothers and sisters wasn’t admissible. Despite that, in the biblical narratives children were produced through incest and this is a huge medical and moral problem, and the morality promoted by the Bible is supposed to be at the highest level.
Almost everyone agrees that having babies in an incestuous relationship, in other words inbreeding, is medically wrong and as far as the babies will suffer medical consequences is also morally unsound.
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In the book of Genesis both aspects, the moral and the medical, aren’t taken into consideration. It is worth hearing the voice of specialists about the medical problems generated by inbreeding. The following quotation explains the medical consequences of inbreeding:
“Every person has 46 chromosomes and each chromosome holds a bunch of genes. Each gene has the directions for one small part of you. So there is a gene that determines if you’ll have red hair, one that gives color to your skin by making melanin, another one that helps blood to carry oxygen, and so on. You actually have two sets of 23 chromosomes. One set of 23 comes from mom and the other 23 comes from dad. Since each set of chromosomes has the same set of genes*, this means that you have two copies of most every gene. What is important for making us each unique is that the copy you get from your mom can be very different than the copy you get from your dad. So for example, the gene that causes red hair comes in a red version, and a not-red version (these different versions are called ‘alleles’). And the gene that makes a pigment called melanin comes in a normal version that makes melanin and a broken one that doesn’t. If you only have the broken one, you will end up with albinism. Having two copies of everything is actually a really great system. This is because if one copy is broken, you still have a second copy to use as back up. This is the case for the gene that makes melanin. People with just one broken copy don’t have albinism, because their good copy makes enough to keep albinism away.”
The second reason which pleads against interbreeding is that people need a lot of variety from each parent to be able to fight off as many diseases as possible.
“Having diverse DNA is important for having a strong immune system. This is why inbreeding can make for some sickly children. And it is why laboratory mice and some farm animals get sick so easily. The immune system depends on a very important part of DNA called the MHC or Major Histocompatability Complex region. This is a lot of big words, but basically the MHC region is made up of a bunch of genes that help you fight off disease. The MHC region’s secret to fighting off disease is to have as many different types of alleles (or versions of genes) as possible. The more variety you have, the better you are at fighting disease. Diversity is important because each MHC gene is good at fighting a different set of diseases. You can think of it like a lock-and-key system. Each disease is a different shaped lock, and each MHC gene is a key. The more keys you have, the more diseases you can unlock and destroy.”
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According to the Bible all human species and all animals would have developed through inbreeding. All human beings would have had initially only one set of DNA transmitted generation after generation to all human offspring. Adam and Eve would have had the same set of DNA because Eve practically was taken from Adam. A part of Adam’s body carrying Adam’s DNA would have been the basis for the creation of Eve. The texts of the Bible imply the idea that humankind was from the beginning condemned to become very sick. As a matter of fact, humankind is not as sick as it should be if it had been created as the book of Genesis says.
What genetics says about the possibility of humankind coming from one single pair, Adam and Eve, is very complex but also is clear in asserting that mankind does not ensue from only one pair of human beings. One article from Economist is worth quoting:
“A trickier controversy has been triggered by findings from the genome that modern humans, in their genetic diversity, cannot be descended from a single pair of individuals. Rather, there were at least several thousand “first humans”. That challenges the historical existence of Adam and Eve, and has sparked a crisis of conscience among evangelical Christians persuaded by genetic science. This is not an esoteric point, says Michael Cromartie, an evangelical expert at the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, a Washington think-tank: many conservative theologians hold that without a historical Adam, whose sin descended directly to all humanity, there would be no reason for Jesus to come to Earth to redeem man’s Fall.”
There are many arguments advanced by creationists through which they try to contra-balance the logical consequences of the scientific findings.
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In some of them the differentiations in the human DNA are seen as rather small. Science also considers that it was a small number of human beings from whom all humankind developed but much more than one pair. They were probably several thousand “first humans” and that explains the small differentiations in human DNA. I found many of the arguments advanced by creationists unconvincing and artificial.
What would really have happened if for six thousand years people continued to multiply from the same set of DNA? The lack of diversity would have been disastrous for human development. In such a case a permanent decline in the value of the initial genetic material would have happened and that would have been combined with an extremely low resistance to diseases. In this situation, the way in which the creation of man and woman was done by God, not the human sin, would have been responsible for the genetic and even moral degradation of humankind. Weak humankind from a genetic point of view would have generated less than strong human beings from a moral point of view. All human adaptations and mutations during the time must be seen as anomalies generated by the unhealthy inbreeding if we accept the biblical principle of creation of humankind through an initial pair.
There also are other explanations given by creationists in respect to the acceptability of inbreeding for the development of humankind. Adam and Eve were seen as very healthy genetically, and for this reason inbreeding could not have been a problem for them. This cannot be an acceptable explanation. Starting with a healthy set of DNA, in time through inbreeding this would have become less and less healthy and God would have known that.
God would have created human beings with a project for their evolution in time; He didn’t realise static entities with a totally unchangeable biology. At the same time, the book of Genesis maintains that God would have created humankind with the potential for genetic decay. The proposition that human beings would have lived for hundreds of years before the Flood is doubtful if we take into consideration the way in which the human species would have multiplied. The multiplication through incest would have shortened human life; it wouldn’t have been the basis for long lives.
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The Bible says that after Adam and Eve’s Fall humankind lost all its privileges and the process of birth became painful, hence the so-called genetic health of the first human beings is a pure invention.
As a matter of fact, the Bible says clearly that humankind could have become ill even in the paradise. We can suppose that from the presence of the tree of life in paradise. The leaves of the tree of life would have been medicines for human illnesses. The same tree of life which would have been present in the Garden of Eden will be present on the new earth also. Adam and Eve wouldn’t have been that healthy because having perfect health based on an exceptional set of DNA would have made the presence of a cure for diseases given by the tree of life useless.
“Then the angel* showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life* with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22; 1-2 NRSV)
One can prove me wrong if one can demonstrate that the trees of life from Genesis and from Revelation are two different trees with two different qualities, but I trust that this is an impossible demonstration. In order to give sense to the story, no matter how loose, there has to be one tree of life prohibited in the beginning and made available at the end of days. Notwithstanding, this is the sense of a myth, not a real chain of events.
It is important to remember that not only the human beings would have multiplied through inbreeding, according to the book of Genesis, but also the animals. The idea with very healthy genes at the beginning of their creation and a diminishing of genetic quality over time which attracted the prohibition through law of inbreeding for animals, doesn’t make sense because animal behaviour cannot be influenced through laws. The Mosaic Law which interdicted inbreeding makes sense for human beings but couldn’t have had any effect on animals hence the continuation of inbreeding as a way of multiplication would have completely destroyed the animals on Earth. In reality, contrary to what the book of Genesis maintains, animals always take care to avoid inbreeding.
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The most inexplicable discrepancy in the biblical texts is the way in which the Bible says that God has treated the problem of incest in human history. On the one side, we are told that the entirety of humankind came through incest from one human pair, but on the other side the Bible condemns very harshly the incest in other texts. If incest was a horrific thing in Moses’ time why would it have been acceptable for the multiplication of humankind? God’s view on incest would have changed radically from acceptance to harsh condemnation. Why would inbreeding have been the only possibility found by God for human multiplication? The explanation can be found in theological reasons, not in scientific ones.
From Noah to Moses only approximately 1,500 years would have passed. During this 1,500 years, incest was still all right, being the manner in which humankind would have multiplied and after that it became an abomination condemned by the Mosaic Law. Without knowing that it was abomination, humankind would have been in the wrong for a very long period of time and this situation was caused by the way in which God would have created human beings. Moreover, other nations than the Jewish would have continued to live in a moral abomination even after the apparition of the Mosaic Law. In other words, God would have determined people to live in an immoral way for a long period of time.
If the multiplication of human species is based on incest, according to the Bible, why was incest condemned so drastically after a while by God? The only explanation given by biblical apologists that I found following research was that at the beginning incest was acceptable because the first human beings were healthy but after a while, in Moses’ times, humankind became more afflicted with ill health and a change in the pattern became necessary. Not too many explanations which would include the moral aspect can be found. Why did human races multiply in a way considered an abomination by God? There isn’t any reasonable answer for that question with a connection to reality if one considers that God has unchanging moral opinions.
Did not humankind become sicker as a consequence of the way in which it was created? If more than one man and one woman were created at the beginning, the spreading of human beings on Earth through inbreeding would have been avoided and humankind wouldn’t have been pushed to commit the abomination of incest.
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Any explanation for a possible acceptability of incest as a mean for the multiplication of humankind is absurd. The effects of the genetic disaster were not removed by Moses’ laws because their application was restricted only to the Jewish people. It was too little too late. The overwhelming majority of nations didn’t receive the Mosaic Law so looking to the wide picture the incest would have continued to be damaging for the majority of humankind despite its incrimination through Moses’ laws.
In other words, if God had created human beings in such a way that multiplication would have been done through incest the condemnation of inbreeding by the Mosaic Law wouldn’t have had a real effect on humankind’s health. Even if the damages caused by incest would have been identified in Moses’ times the cure on the global level was inefficient. For this reason the Mosaic Law condemning the incest couldn’t have been a helpful way of improving all humankind’s health therefore it would have been mainly a moral condemnation.
According to Genesis chapter 1, God had planned from the beginning for humankind to multiply from one pair. The problem is that the multiplication from only one pair is more a curse than a blessing and that for medical reasons but that kind of multiplication was seen initially by God as a blessing.
“27 So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth’.” (Genesis 1; 27-28 NRSV)
Blessing humankind to multiply through an abomination is an insurmountable contradiction of the Bible which completely disqualifies the value of the narratives of creation from the book of Genesis. Humankind were “blessed” to multiply from one pair and fill the earth and this commandment will have created huge genetic problems both in case of obedience to God and in the case of the Fall.
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Probably, some creationists would reply that if Adam and Eve were not in disgrace they and their offspring could have eaten from a tree in the Garden of Eden and could have become healthy at any time they wanted, but I would reject such an idea because I do not see any reason to create something deficient only to repair it all the time. Such a creation could not be said to be good as Genesis chapter 1 professes that it was.
Does God’s moral law change? Is God’s moral law a collection of universal principles or only an adaptive and flexible set of practical measures? Why is incest wrong? Is the critic of lust one of the pillars of God’s moral law or not? Jesus let us know that even looking lasciviously at a woman is sin. This is a problem because regarding incest, we cannot find in the Bible an unchanging principle of God but the evolution of the moral law. From necessary incest, the moral law developed through permitting polygamy and after that evolved by harshly condemning incest through Moses’ laws, and ended in prohibiting the guilty look. Incest and polygamy would have been approved by God in a certain period of time but in the end reprimanding them became one of the most important elements of God’s moral law according to Christian teachings. There aren’t any arguments which can justify from a moral point of view the multiplication of humankind through incest as far as marriages between brothers and sisters were considered an abomination in the Mosaic Law..
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 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society
 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society
 www.debate.org › Opinions › Society
Cain was Adam and Eve’s first-born child. Abel was the second child recorded by the texts. At the beginning of the book of Genesis only the births of men are mentioned and except Eve women aren’t referred to at all, not even generically. For the first time, after Eve, women were mentioned when the sons of God married with the daughters of man. After the Flood the situation changes and the women from Noah’s family are at least mentioned. Eve is the only notable woman in the stories of creation before the Flood. Because she isn’t regarded with contempt by the text of the book of Genesis, quite the opposite, the modern reader will hardly understand why the same attitude toward other women, Adam and Eve’s daughters, granddaughters, and so on, wasn’t also adopted. Probably that can be explained by the fact that the lines of heredity were constituted through males and the religious legacy was transmitted through them. Consequently, through them genealogies were established.
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“Now the man knew his wife Eve, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced* a man with the help of the LORD.’ 2 Next she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a tiller of the ground. 3 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, 4 and Abel for his part brought of the firstlings of his flock, their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, 5 but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. 6 The LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.’ (Genesis 4; 1-7 NRSV)
I doubt very much the veracity of this story for many reasons. In the first place, why would Abel have been the keeper of sheep? In one generation of only one man and one woman and of their two sons, a new independent occupation was established – sheep keeper. This affirmation is hazardous and lacks any relation to reality. In the real world, at the beginning of history, human beings had been gatherers and hunters and raising animals was only a late occupation. If Adam was a tiller of the ground his sons were expected to work with him and to inherit his occupation which was seen by the book of Genesis also as a punishment for Adam. If Adam’s sin had been transmitted to all his offspring the punishment would have been conveyed also to the entirety of humankind. Notwithstanding, Abel didn’t suffer the same punishment as Adam even if he inherited the effects of Adam’s sin. Abel became a sheep keeper and didn’t need to till the ground. After Abel, many other men didn’t suffer the consequences of Adam’s sin, therefore the curse of the ground wasn’t really efficient.
All human beings have to suffer the punishment for sin, even until today, but that “punishment” wasn’t really retribution for Adam and Eve’s sins because it was established before the Fall of the first two human beings, according to the book of Genesis.
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“15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.” (Genesis 2; 15 NRSV)
Work, of course, is not at all a punishment in real terms, it is the way in which mankind defines itself. Nevertheless, the book of Genesis brings confusion about this so-called punishment:
“17 And to the man* he said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about which I commanded you, “You shall not eat of it”, cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.’ (Genesis 3; 17- 19 NRSV)
It is true that Adam’s punishment is a bit strange. It wasn’t Adam directly punished, but the ground. The ground being cursed indirectly, Adam had to suffer the consequences. How could the ground be cursed if it is only matter, a much lesser entity than the tree cursed by Jesus? How does this curse function in our days? There are areas of the earth with fertile ground and other areas are infertile, but in general the earth is generous with human beings, not hostile, and would have been that way even when the humankind had appeared on Earth.
Did the curse lose its power over time and we cannot see its effects in our days? Could human beings with their technologies change God’s curse on Earth? The curse of the ground is a part of the fable about Adam and Eve with no connection to a real situation. The climate changes in time on Earth, therefore different geographical areas would have been more or less fertile and more or less suitable for crop cultivation over millennia. The quality of the land on Earth is a natural issue, not a supernatural one. If we conclude that the agricultural value of the land is a supernatural matter that would mean humankind through their technologies can change what would have been decided by God.
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Many geographical areas on our planet contained fertile ground in the past as it is remembered in recorded history. Adam normally would have eaten uncultivated green plants, according to Genesis chapter 1. Punishment for Adam was relative because he could eat fruits just as before the Fall, because the fruit trees didn’t disappear from Earth and according to Genesis chapter 1 they wouldn’t have been confined to the Garden. In what manner would have humankind been determined to eat only agricultural products? The idea is that in Genesis chapter 2 the fruit tree “that is pleasant to the sight and good for food” would have been planted only in the Garden of Eden and humankind being cast out from the Garden, they wouldn’t have had access to the fruit trees anymore and they would have been determined to eat only agricultural products. This is another discrepancy in the book of Genesis because Adam could have found fruits outside the Garden of Eden in accordance with Genesis chapter 1.
Any punishment ended when people were allowed to eat meat after the Flood, and by changing their diet they were not obligated to eat only plants any more, either cultivated or not. In Genesis chapter 1 people had to eat every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and of every tree with seeds in its fruits, in Genesis chapter 2 they had to eat fruits and in Genesis chapter 3 they were painfully destined to eat only cultivated plants. The jump from uncultivated to cultivated plants in the human diet after the Fall, according to Genesis chapter 3, doesn’t make any sense because it is hard to understand why Adam and Cain would start to cultivate plants if the uncultivated ones including fruits were still available, unless we consider that useful plants would have been created only in the Garden of Eden and outside would have been created only plants with thorns and thistles. Even if that was the necessary conclusion from Genesis chapter 2 and chapter 3, this is inconsistent with Genesis chapter 1 because in Genesis chapter 1 the entire earth put forth vegetation including fruit trees.
“11Then 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.’ 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.” (Genesis 1; 11-12 NRSV)
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Between the earth putting forth vegetation and God planting a Garden, the difference is obvious and generates two different understandings of human history. Adam’s punishment apparently makes sense in Genesis chapter 2 but is totally nonsensical in Genesis chapter 1 where humankind could eat fruits from all over the earth even if they had been cast out from the Garden, and they didn’t need to cultivate plants for their nourishment.
Because the book of Genesis is not a realistic book but a collection of legends, the facts are not in concordance with one another. The people were allowed to eat meat and other animal products only after the Flood but they started to keep sheep straight after Adam’s Fall. A theological link was needed from the animal sacrifices prescribed by Moses’ laws back to the creation and Fall of humankind, and that is probably why the story of Cain and Abel ended in the book of Genesis.
Humankind did not eat meat until the Flood and keeping sheep would have been an occupation linked with meat consumption. Raising sheep could have been useful for providing animal skins but the skins of wild animals would have also been available, making sheep keeping useless. The first garments made for humankind by God were produced from animal skins and they couldn’t originate from animals which had been raised by Abel because he hadn’t yet been born.
In order to use animals’ skins as garments some skills were needed. Animal skins needed to be stretched, dried, and tanned and for that another division in human occupations which isn’t mentioned in the Bible would have been required.
If we take into consideration processing animals’ skins as the object of a craftsmanship, at the time on Earth there would have been more human occupations than population. Two men would have been tillers of the land, Adam and Cain, and one man, Abel, would have been a sheep keeper. If land farming and sheep keeping were mentioned as two different human occupations why wasn’t the craftsmanship of animal skins also mentioned as a distinct profession, and also the fourth one which is garment tailoring? This is an element of another great division of human occupations constituted by all craftsmen. The answer is because the stories from the book of Genesis don’t have anything to do with reality.
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Human garments were first fig leaves, and after that they were made by God from skins. Probably He taught humankind how to process animal skins. Nevertheless, keeping sheep only for skins was not practical as far as the skins could be found in nature and the need for skins had to cover, at that time, only the needs of four recorded persons – Adam, Eve, Abel, and Cain. One author writes about the issue of what reason Abel could have had to keep sheep:
“Abel was a keeper of the flock – some Bibles say sheep, but it could equally as well be goats since they are related. Recall that this murder took place after the Fall when they were required to wear clothes (Genesis 3:20), and sheep or goat hair was used to make clothes. That was one reason for “keeping the flock.” The second reason is that goat’s milk or even sheep’s milk was always the drink of pastoral peoples; moreover, milk tends to go sour quickly in hot climates but when converted to cheese it becomes a staple food for desert travelers. The third reason for “keeping the flock” was for the atonement sacrifice. The reasons for this and the instructions do not appear until Leviticus chapters 16 and 17. However, the atonement sacrifice was undoubtedly introduced by God to Adam just after the Fall. There is a brief reference to the atonement sacrifice when Noah received from God seven of each clean animal and seven of each clean bird as part of the cargo for the ark (Genesis 7:2). Since only males were used for the sacrifice, there would have been six males and one female of the animals and similarly of the birds.”
All the reasons invocated to answer why Abel was the keeper of a flock are meagre against criticism. Humankind had to eat only plants according to Genesis chapter 1, and after the Fall Adam had to eat the products of the ground, and that was presented as a limitation. No milk was authorised for human consumption if we have to take the texts of the book of Genesis seriously. Milk is an animal product and cannot be included in what Adam was allowed to eat, plants of the field. About the use of skins for garments, the problem is the discrepancy between the needs of a very small population, four people, and the efforts required for organising and keeping a herd of animals.
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“However, the atonement sacrifice was undoubtedly introduced by God to Adam just after the Fall.” This sentence isn’t justified by the biblical text because Adam didn’t make any sacrifice to God. Animal sacrifices offered to God weren’t prescribed by the Bible until late in Jewish history. Nevertheless, an important point of these sacrifices is eating the sacrificed animal. That was true for the Passover and for any other sacrifices of cattle in the O.T. in which the priests or the persons offering the animals were involved by taking for their consumption a part of the sacrifices. Abel being a vegetarian, he couldn’t have eaten the meat of his sacrifice and in this way his sacrifice couldn’t have been perfect. The eating of the sacrificed animal meant the identification of the sacrificed animal with the person making the sacrifice, and the animal being punished instead of the guilty person. This identification explains why Jesus asked His disciples to eat symbolically His “flesh” and to drink symbolically His “blood”.
The book of Genesis says that God had directly created domestic animals, but domestic cattle don’t differ genetically from wild cattle, unless they are genetically modified by man in our days. The domestication of animals started with wild animals and it wasn’t a question of “other kinds” of animals but of a process of changing animal behaviour.
We are again in front of a dilemma. All domestic animals created by God with the lack of a keeper would have been devoured by predators before Abel’s birth or would have become wild. Why did God create cattle, domestic animals as opposed to wild animals, without the presence of man to take care of those domestic animals? God wouldn’t have done that in spite of what the book of Genesis says.
To domesticate other animals from wild animals, Abel would have needed an important motivation and plenty of time. Abel would have already had garments for his use so he wouldn’t have been motivated by this purpose. Starting to domesticate animals only for sacrifice would have meant that he had anticipated years before that he would make offerings to God. In the context of the Bible this is improbable because Adam didn’t make any sacrifice and Abel couldn’t have known anything about such a requirement from his parents. If it was a spontaneous gesture of thanksgiving towards God, Abel wouldn’t have premeditated it many years in advance by raising animals for sacrifice.
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In other words, raising domestic animals to be sacrificed to God would have presupposed a system of established rituals in place but such tradition isn’t described by the Bible. Abel’s parents didn’t make any sacrifice to God and after his death no-one else is recorded to have made sacrifices until Noah.
In opposition, we have biblical texts from which we can conclude that there wouldn’t have been any sacrificial law until Moses. A sacrificial law would have been a necessary framework for Abel to raise animals with the precise purpose of ritual sacrifices. Not eating animal products, not needing skins on an industrial scale, and without norms about religious sacrifices, Abel wouldn’t have needed to be sheep keeper. On the other side, if ad absurdum domestic cattle wouldn’t have been eaten by predator animals, they would have needed a herdsman immediately after their creation, consequently the first sheep keeper would have been Adam and not Abel if the story is to make any sense.
Before Moses the law of sacrifices wasn’t there and before Noah God didn’t make any covenant with humankind. An entire theology is based on the idea that there was a period in human history without the existence of a law. We cannot contradict that theology by presuming that God would have asked Abel to keep a herd and to make animal sacrifices for his redemption but without a covenant and a law of sacrifices.
If the story was real Abel’s sacrifice would have been an occasional one, a thanksgiving from his work results, and we aren’t allowed by the texts to infer that he would have kept a herd of animals for normative sacrifices prescribed by God.
“13 sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.” (Romans 5; 13 NRSV)
Taken into consideration Apostle’s Paul theology, Abel didn’t have any reason to offer any sacrifice to God for his sin because he wasn’t a sinful person, but even if he did unwillingly sin, his sin was not reckoned because there was no law. Even the original sin wouldn’t have been taken into consideration according to Paul’s theology.
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Being righteous, Abel didn’t need any sacrifice for sin and his offering doesn’t make any sense unless he would have made a voluntary offering for thanksgiving. The point is that Abel and Cain who are only legendary personages would have needed the law in order to know about the types of sacrifices to be offered to God, and any thanksgiving sacrifices would have been judged from their intention not from their form, in lack of precise norms which would have described them. God established precise rules for those sacrifices only after a certain period of time after Noah’s Flood.
“There are five main types of sacrifices, or offerings, in the Old Testament. The burnt offering (Leviticus 1; 6:8–13; 8:18-21; 16:24), the grain offering (Leviticus 2; 6:14–23), the peace offering (Leviticus 3; 7:11–34), the sin offering (Leviticus 4; 5:1–13; 6:24–30; 8:14–17; 16:3–22), and the trespass offering (Leviticus 5:14–19; 6:1–7; 7:1–6). Each of these sacrifices involved certain elements, either animal or fruit of the field, and had a specific purpose. Most were split into two or three portions—God’s portion, the portion for the Levites or priests, and, if there was a third, a portion kept by the person offering the sacrifice. The sacrifices can be broadly categorized as either voluntary or mandatory offerings.”
In order to make sacrifices Noah didn’t need to keep a flock, so Abel also wouldn’t have needed a herd in order to make an offering to God. Weren’t all animals under man’s dominion according to Genesis chapter 1? Noah just took some animals freely from under his dominion and sacrificed them. Why didn’t Abel proceed in the same way instead of becoming a sheep keeper? The answer is given by the inconsistent way in which the story is presented by the book of Genesis.
After the Flood, killing animals and eating them was allowed, but before the Flood eating them was prohibited. The problem is the context in which Abel was a keeper of sheep. Counting as human beings on Earth was him, his father, his mother, and his brother Cain. How many sheep did they need to raise in order to kill them only for skins used for their garments if they didn’t want to use wild animals’ skins? For skins, they didn’t need too many animals, probably four and not too often.
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Cain and Abel made offerings to God for the first time when the incident between the brothers occurred. Not too many sheep were needed for only one sacrifice. After this single time, Cain murdered Abel and nobody else was left to keep the sheep. It is strange, isn’t it? After Abel’s departure, an entire branch of professional occupations vanished with a lack of people to follow it. Adam and Cain had to toil the ground, they weren’t sheep keepers. This is a strong argument which shows that they wouldn’t have used animal by-products such as milk as their food, because if they had, they wouldn’t have renounced it at once. Adam was cursed to eat the products from the ground and drinking milk from the animals would have meant a negation of the curse. Raising animals when they were prohibited for eating is just another contradiction of the book of Genesis.
What happened with the herd of animals after Abel’s death? Adam and Cain continued to toil the ground and the animals were pushed to take care of themselves without any sheep keeper. They were forced to live in wilderness if no men were caring for them. In a realistic natural environment, sheep without a sheep keeper would have become prey for carnivorous animals. In this way, the new-born profession of sheep keeper would have disappeared shortly after its apparition on Earth.
The veracity of the story of Cain and Abel is threatened by the details it contains. When one tries to see the whole image of the drama, depicted sketchily by the book of Genesis, one understands that the entire picture is factually unbelievable and the details don’t fit with the background. This is only a legend and the few details that it contains are only ornamental and are not to be taken as facts. The story doesn’t stand precisely because of the details that it contains.
At the time the story of Cain and Abel would have happened, there would have been only one family on Earth and reasonably they would have had to work together in all categories of activities in order to survive. When the climatic conditions required or when the timing for certain agricultural work was suitable, they all had to work on the field and alternatively in the mornings and afternoons they had to feed their animals. A big division of work between sheep keepers and land farmers in the middle of the same small family is only a fantasy. Cain and Abel would have both been farmers and sheep keepers if they were brothers living in their father’s household. Their common farm would have included several activities attended to by all members of the family.
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The division of work in farming the land and raising animals appeared only later when the human population grew importantly and people started to interchange their products. In time, another division also appeared between commerce and craftsmanship. For any division of human activities more than four people on Earth were needed. Even if there were several sisters of Cain and Abel unrecorded by the book of Genesis, the situation wouldn’t have changed.
If Adam had been the father of the household formed by four members, according to the book of Genesis, he and only he would have decided what offerings were proper for God because he was the familial authority. Adam and Eve had seen God and spoke with Him and it is without any logic that they didn’t make any offerings to Him on record in the book of Genesis. What could have Adam offered to God if he made offerings? According to the book of Genesis, he was a tiller of the ground, as was Cain, and as a tiller of the ground Adam had to offer to God an offering of the fruit of the ground, as did Cain.
Both Cain and Abel offered to God the product of their work and basically there was nothing wrong with that. How could Cain offer meat to God if he did not have an animal herd, according to the book of Genesis? Cain could have taken some meat from the common household to be offered to God but in the context of the Bible the two brothers have worked separately, not as a team. In the narrative of the book of Genesis, meat wasn’t the product of Cain’s personal work and an expression of his effort. Cain had offered to God the only thing that he possessed. At the same time, cereals offered to God were not seen as an unsuitable offering in the Mosaic Law and they were also offered to Him together with animal sacrifices.
In order to balance correctly the biblical texts, a few quotations from the Bible are needed:
“16 You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labour, of tiller hat you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labour. 17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord GOD.
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18 You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let the fat of my festival remain until the morning. 19 The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” (Exodus 23; 16-19 NRSV)
Cain was repelled for an action that later on was commended by God as an obligation for the Jewish people. Exodus 23, verse 19 prescribes as an obligation exactly what was considered to be unacceptable in Cain’s behaviour. “The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.”
Cain brought to God an offering of the fruits of his ground. Why had he been frowned upon? Here we have a situation in which something was first considered to be wrong and afterwards was prescribed as an obligation. Maybe the quality of Cain’s offering wouldn’t have been the best but the ground being cursed, it was probably impossible to obtain a better quality. The consistency of the biblical texts is given also by the way in which they fit with one another during the entire O.T. There are two inconsistencies at this point. The same kind of offerings as Cain’s were later prescribed by God, and good quality couldn’t have been realised from cursed ground.
Was the absence of any offering an alternative for Cain? Such an attitude could have been interpreted as not being respectful toward God. Cain didn’t have any other choice but to offer to God the fruit of the ground as thanksgiving and this eliminates his responsibility in respect to the object of the offering. The Bible says that God asked Jewish people to do the same thing for which Cain was rejected.
“When anyone presents a grain-offering to the LORD, the offering shall be of choice flour; the worshipper shall pour oil on it, and put frankincense on it, 2 and bring it to Aaron’s sons the priests. After taking from it a handful of the choice flour and oil, with all its frankincense, the priest shall turn this token portion into smoke on the altar, an offering by fire of pleasing odour to the LORD. 3 And what is left of the grain-offering shall be for Aaron and his sons, a most holy part of the offerings by fire to the LORD.” (Leviticus 2; 1-3 NRSV)
The idea of bringing cereals as an offering to God is reiterated again in Leviticus:
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“9 The LORD spoke to Moses: 10 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall raise the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may find acceptance; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall raise it.” (Leviticus 23; 9-11 NRSV)
Why was God angry with Cain’s offering? The book of Genesis doesn’t explain that. A reason for God not being happy with Cain’s offering could have been that his offering wasn’t a direct symbol of the human redemption, in other words it was not bloodshed. The concrete manner in which the offering was made couldn’t have played a role in God’s rejection because as we know from the book of Genesis, there weren’t established rules for offerings at the time hence no rule was broken. Abel made an offering to God through faith and not through law. We know that Apostle Paul treated differently faith and law. If a law for the offerings wasn’t in place Cain made his offering also through faith, because there isn’t another alternative. It was either from obligation or through faith. Regarding this issue, any other interpretation about the difference between how Abel and Cain made their offerings is not based on the Bible.
If the offerings had been made through faith they weren’t required directly by God, and there was not a clear and precise form for them.
“4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable* sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith* he still speaks.” (Hebrews 11; 4 NRSV)
In John’s first epistle we find that Cain committed an evil deed when he offered to God. The offering couldn’t have been evil by any standards, only the killing of his brother was an evil action.
“11 For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain who was from the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him. Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous.” (1John 3; 11-12 NRSV)
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Why didn’t Cain get approval for his offering if it was also made in faith? There isn’t any reasonable answer for that. One can be tempted to blame God for His reaction but that is a mistake because this is a fable, not a story based on reality, and we can know that from the lack of any sense in that narrative.
How would Cain have fallen under the devil’s influence? He was rejected by God because his offering was unacceptable even if such an offering was later prescribed by Him through Moses. The book of Genesis doesn’t allow us to conclude anything about Cain’s life. It is not about his life but about his offering. If it had been about the way in which he lived, the book of Genesis needed to explain that. God’s attitude toward Cain generated Cain’s behaviour with Abel. It doesn’t matter about the motives, God’s rejection of Cain’s offering is the reason why Cain would have taken the wrong path. God’s acceptance of Cain’s offering would have eliminated the concurrence between the brothers.
Even Jesus referred to Abel, according with Mathew:
“34 Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35 so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.” (Mathew 23; 34-35 NRSV)
The word spoken by Jesus can be seen as a confirmation of Abel being a historical personage, but it isn’t such a thing. Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, are mythological personages and their story appears to be very far from historicity, as far as any other myth. Could Jesus endorse a myth as a parabolic modality of expression? He used parables many times in His mission on Earth. Of course He could do that. It is well known that Jesus used many parables in order to get His message through and He could use the story of Cain and Abel as another parable to advance His argument.
Peter Galling pointed to three different reasons why Cain’s offering was rejected by God: the difference in the type of offering; the difference in the quality of offering; the difference in the heart of who offered.
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The book of Genesis tells us that Eve had been tempted by a serpent to eat from the tree of knowledge. What was the reason for humankind’s Fall? It was the curiosity, the thirst for knowledge. Why is the curiosity, the knowledge, something wrong? How can anyone know God’s moral nature if he or she doesn’t know what is good and what is evil? Knowing God, according to the Bible, and knowing His moral nature, is the sense of the eternal life. (John 17; 3) How can anyone know God and establish if He is good or if He is evil if that person doesn’t know the difference between good and evil? To be in the likeness of God means firstly to have a moral nature like Him, but that is impossible unless one has a good knowledge of what good and evil mean.
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About the knowledge of the good and evil there is a big contradiction when comparing Genesis chapter 1 and chapter 2. In Genesis chapter 1 mankind was made in the likeness of God but in chapter 2 the aspiration of humankind to be like God, knowing good and evil, was harshly punished. The text in Genesis chapter 1 sets forth:
“26 Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind* in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth,* and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’ 27 So God created humankind* in his image, in the image of God he created them;* male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1; 26-27 NRSV)
Contrary to the declaration found in Genesis chapter 1, in Genesis chapter 3, verse 22, man became like God following the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil and not from the beginning of his creation. According to the book of Genesis humankind would have been created in a blissful ignorance, a situation similar to that of the children who depend totally on their parents. At the same time, children don’t always remain in that stage of development, they turn into mature human beings and in this way they become like their parents. A similar process would have happened with Adam and Eve; they would have followed the natural stages of human development in their way to become like God, their divine Parent. What is strange in the biblical texts is that God would have tried to stop this natural process of human development, preventing the first human beings becoming like Him. No good parent does such a thing and this divine intervention in the course of human history according to the book of Genesis would have generated a colossal drama.
God didn’t offer the knowledge of good and evil freely to humankind and the price for the possibility to acquire this knowledge was their eternal lives. If they wanted to be like God they had to die because living eternally and being like Him would have been an unwanted competition against Him.
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“22 Then the LORD God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken.” (Genesis 3; 22-23 NRSV)
The texts from Genesis chapter 1 and Genesis chapter 3 contradict each other. Humankind was made either in God’s likeness from the beginning of their creation or they became like Him against His will after eating from the tree of good and evil. Both statements don’t go together.
In the continuation of the story, Eve was allegedly deceived by a serpent but that animal was telling the truth and truth can never be deceiving. Everything said by the serpent happened in practice. After eating from the tree Adam and Eve really became like God, knowing good and evil as the serpent said, and that was confirmed by God.
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Man did not die on the same day, as God said in Genesis chapter 2, neither physically nor spiritually, but he lived for many centuries ahead.
“15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Genesis 2; 15-17 NRSV)
In Genesis chapter 3 the reader is informed how Eve has been deceived by the serpent:
“Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ 2 The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3 but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.” ‘ 4 But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,* knowing good and evil.’ 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” (Genesis 3; 1-7 NRSV)
Many commentators maintain the opinion that man and woman died spiritually the same day after eating from the tree, but this is contradicted by the Bible which says that the Spirit of God dwelled in the human beings long after the Fall. (Genesis 6; 3) It is obvious that when the Spirit of God dwells in some persons those persons cannot be dead spiritually.
Was woman informed about the command given by God, asking man and woman not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Woman has known the command and repeated it to the serpent. She understood that she should not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the Garden nor shall she touch it or she shall die.
Did woman understand death? If death entered into the creation only after human beings’ Fall nothing was there to prepare her to understand death, and unless she would have known what the command meant in its essence, it didn’t have any meaning for her. Woman couldn’t have known if death was something good or something evil because she couldn’t have known the difference between good and evil. God had asked human beings to understand the difference between good and evil before they could have known what the good and the evil meant. Again, we are confronted in the book of Genesis with a reversed order.
Was blind obedience to God something good or something evil? How could mankind have done that kind of moral evaluation if they didn’t know what good and evil was? Blind obedience is usually wrong. Did God create human beings with the curiosity for knowledge in their nature or with the tendency toward blind obedience? Adam and Eve have chosen knowledge and not blind obedience. They have reacted according to their inbuilt nature created by God.
The principle of freedom of choice wouldn’t have had any meaning for Adam and Eve if they didn’t know the difference between good and evil.
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The only guiding principle would have been their natural curiosity. Real choice cannot be made if one isn’t able to choose between the good and the evil, and there isn’t any freedom in lack of moral choice.
What was the wrongdoing done by the serpent? The serpent is obviously a mythological personage because only in the myths a serpent can talk. Did Eve notice that animals don’t talk or was she very naïve and considered a talking serpent a normal thing? A talking animal would have been a very surprising thing for a normal human being. If a lion or another animal would have started to talk, would that have been unsurprising for Eve? In a natural reality, an animal which could talk would have been an extraordinary thing even for Eve, but that is possible only in a mythological narrative. Not only that a serpent cannot talk, not having the necessary vocal apparatus in order to utter the words, but it cannot think such a complex plan as the deception of human race. Those two aspects are downplayed by incredible explanations offered by some commentators:
“Because there is no other place in Scripture that reveals Satan or demons can cause animals to speak, it makes more sense that the serpent could make the sounds capable of speech and Satan used this to his advantage. In essence, Satan likely used this feature that the original serpent had and caused it to say what he wanted. Although this may sound farfetched, there should be caution about limiting what God did or didn’t do in the perfect Garden. There is a possibility that many other animals had the ability to “speak” before the Curse. Many animals have types of sound-based or mimickry forms of communication today.”
A perfect Garden is just another euphemistic expression for a world in which Satan could have acted unhindered. The Garden couldn’t have been perfect if within its limits Satan was able to make operational his plan. A place where the evil would have been present wasn’t a perfect place.
In order to be able to use words, human beings have evolved for a very long period of time and this evolution has involved mainly the morphology of the language apparatus.
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The presumption that before Adam and Eve’s Fall many animals would have been able to utter words but they lost this ability after the Fall, is contradicted by the fact that long after the alleged Fall parrots can mimic human language. They didn’t lose their ability following the alleged human Fall. At the same time, they are an exception in the world of animals. It seems that their vocal apparatus exceptionally permits such a feat, but if it would have been a Fall, parrots also would have lost their ability to utter words. In any case the alleged Fall couldn’t have had the power to change God’s creation by generating new species of animals. An animal which can talk is very different from an animal which cannot talk. The animals cannot talk but if they could that would have influenced their evolution. The use of language has changed the human condition dramatically and would have done the same thing with other species also if it would have been a reality.
Many commentators identify the serpent with Satan who would have taken the body of a serpent and would have spoken to humans. In another opinion, Satan would have spoken with a human voice in the presence of Eve and of the serpent and that could have created the illusion that the animal speaks, but the animal couldn’t have had any active involvement in the story. If the serpent was used only as a screen it wasn’t any reason to punish it. Why don’t serpents speak any more? That is because serpents don’t possess the morphological apparatus for this activity.
Beside the Fall of Adam and Eve another incredible explanation is that in connection with the curse addressed to the serpent by God:
“Of course today, serpents don’t speak, but the Curse in Genesis 3:14 probably had something to do with this. Recall the physical changes in Genesis 3. Perhaps this is the reason the particular kind of serpent that deceived the Woman did not pass along the ability to speak or may have even become extinct since the Fall.”
If not all serpents had the ability to speak why were all serpents cursed to move on their belly? It doesn’t make sense. A serpent with legs isn’t a serpent and the extinction of the kind of serpent which would have tempted Eve contradicts God’s curse regarding that serpent.
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“14 The Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, cursed are you among all animals and among all wild creatures; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’ (Genesis 3; 14-15 NRSV)
What enmity could there have been between the offspring of the serpent and a woman’s offspring, if that kind of serpent was extinct? The answer is obviously a negative one.
Usually humans are afraid and very suspicious of serpents but Eve had been very courageous and engaged in conversation with the animal in an unusual way. It seems that before going on their bellies serpents could have walked, so the serpent which deceived Eve would have been different from what we understand today by the name serpent. The problem is that such an animal would have been very different because we name by the word serpent those animals which usually go on their bellies. A serpent with four feet or other kind of walking members would have been a kind of crocodile or alligator. Such an animal would have generated repulsion in Eve, taking also into consideration that it would have been a wild and not a domestic animal. The book of Genesis says that “the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made.” Being a wild animal the serpent would have been avoided by humankind.
The serpent promised knowledge to Eve and she rightly understood knowledge of good and evil as a desirable thing. As a matter of fact, knowledge of good and evil is what gives humankind their humanity and separates them from animals. The serpent did not lie to Eve but for Satan that is an extraordinary thing. He said that humankind wouldn’t die if they ate from the knowledge of good and evil, and that the knowledge itself was something good and would have allowed humankind to be like Good. Everything which the serpent spoke would have happened exactly as the serpent said. Humankind didn’t die according to God’s words and human beings became like Him and He declared it.
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Before jumping to the conclusion that the serpent was one and the same personage with Satan, one should analyse the serpent as a mythological character in other Near-Eastern mythologies where the serpent is not connected with the biblical Satan. What was in the mind of the author of Genesis chapter 2 when writing about the serpent? Did he understand the serpent as a mythological character, an animal able to speak, or as Satan the enemy of God? The serpent doesn’t look like a negative personage in Genesis chapter 2 but more like a positive one. Bringing knowledge is a positive thing by any standards.
Adam and Eve did not die after eating from the tree, not even spiritually, because they remained in contact with God. Spiritual death means separation from God but this wasn’t the case of Adam and Eve after their Fall. As a matter of fact, eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was the reason for a moral and spiritual rebirth rather than for spiritual death. Spirituality without morality, the knowledge of good and evil, is the most absurd proposition. The hope of eternal life did not die either, even if access to the tree of life was blocked.
The serpent brought the knowledge to humankind and that was the most important moment in their existence. Without knowledge humankind wouldn’t have been complete conscious beings.
At this point the only problem caused by the serpent was that he determined human beings to become like God, but seemingly He did not want them to be like Him. According to Genesis chapter 2, God had preferred man and woman to remain in a state of ignorance, not knowing the good and the evil. God wanted to keep man and woman in a sort of childish innocence retaining the knowledge of good and evil only for Him. God created a man and a woman but He wanted to prevent them from discerning what is good from what is evil. Why? Human beings without the ability to discern what is good from what is evil would have been no more than some evolved animals without consciousness.
What danger would have emerged for God if humankind possessed the knowledge of good and evil? The Bible gives us a very strange story. It implies the well-known principle that information is power and God did not want to give knowledge to people. Knowledge is power and God wanted humankind to be entirely dependent on Him.
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If this is true the idea that God gave humankind free will is absurd because free will without the knowledge of good and evil doesn’t mean anything. According to Genesis chapter 2 God had created man and woman who were destined to blindly obey all commands, but the serpent changed this plan and invited humankind to modify their status and to know what is good and what is evil through their actions.
God had interdicted any contact with the tree of knowledge for humankind but, at the same time, He placed the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. If God wanted to prevent humankind eating from the tree He could have left that tree out of the Garden of Eden. The presence of the tree would have been a continuous temptation for humankind even if the Bible says that God doesn’t tempt anyone.
“13 No one, when tempted, should say, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.” (James 1; 13 NRSV)
James wasn’t right saying that God doesn’t tempt anyone because the book of Genesis maintains that He had tempted Adam and Eve by placing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the Garden of Eden. The Bible also says that the knowledge of good and evil was a real temptation for the human b