08 June 2008

The Creation Story God should have written

9 comments:

Anon said...

Interesting video. One could dispute the claim about the timeline for the writing of the Bible. The books of Moses are supposed to have been written, or to at least come from oral traditions, well before 400 BC.

Besides this though, I think the video makes good points. If God exists, maybe if he didn't spend so much time helping the Israelites fight over real estate, he could have taught them some basic astronomy, medicine, biology, etc.

Maybe if he has revealed himself to other cultures with knowledge of the world and the universe (instead of punishing Adam and Eve for eating from the tree of knowledge, hardening the pharaoh's heart, etc.) then the world would be a better place.

Kirk said...

"The books of Moses are supposed to have been written, or to at least come from oral traditions, well before 400 BC."

Yep, they claim to go back to the beginning of time. However, even according to the bible itself, it can only be dated to the reign of King Josiah.
In 2Kings, when they're rebuilding the temple, they uncover the pentateuch, and Josiah is astonished because they are unknown to the people. He orders copies to be made and distributed.
King Josiah reigned around 600BCE.

When you got one guy's word for it (and even that is disputable), reliable dating stops at that bottleneck.

Anon said...

Thanks for the reply kirk. Very interesting. So this would tend to indicate that the origin of the books of Moses is even unsure within the Bible, much less under independent scrutiny.

But I still think that in the youtube posted, it would be better not to indicate a specific timeframe for the writing of the Bible (or else, it should indicate that it's just a guess).

The SAB points out contradictions or errors in the smallest things (rightly so, IMO), so I think it's important not to make claims that can't be substantiated, even if they are minor.

We don't know when Bible was first written. The Bible as we know it was clearly put together after the concepts mentioned in the youtube were outlined by the Greeks. The people who decided the official canon should clearly have known better than to put the creation story in Genesis, along with other nonsense, in the Bible.

And God certainly should have known better, if he existed. :-) So again, I think it's a very good video, makes a very good point that I think would be hard for creationists to refute.

drone said...

Many Christians claim there are well-documented original manuscripts which together make up the entire Bible.

They must think we're easily fooled.

(Are there ANY originals at all? Not even the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are considered an incredible find. One could argue the gnostic Gospel of Thomas is as well documented...perhaps better.)

Too bad this video has disappeared so quickly; I can't get it to play on this page ("we're sorry, this video is no longer available") nor have I been able to locate it by searching on YouTube.

Maybe I could, with more persistence. Using "einstein bible" or "einstein genesis" or other seemingly obvious search terms, I get so many matches it's daunting to go more than a few pages deep through the results.

Anon said...

drone, it plays for me. If clicking on Steve's post didn't work, you can try this address:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qymoktf0wY

I'm not surprised some Christians believe or claim that there are original manuscripts that are documented. I know there are some hypothesized manuscripts, like the Q manuscript, that may have led to some "finalized" biblical books (I put finalized in quotes because of examples of passages being added or changed afterwards). But we'll probably never know what was in the original Bible, or the original story of how Jesus allegedly died and was resurrected, etc.

In any case, if they ever find the originals, I'm sure some will argue it is (further) proof of their veracity.

foreverdrone said...

Thanks for the URL for the video. (I posted above as "drone"; I've since created a new Blogger account after changing e-mail addresses.)

Often I've been amazed by what the ancients were able to discover (such as the precession of equinoxes) despite lacking modern scientific instruments. Much of it however required only curiosity, observation, and--this is the key--an open mind.

In an age when few were literate, the authors of the Bible were members of an elite; it's remarkable how ignorant they appear to have been. But (as is evident) ignorance can be willful.

With all the analysis of Biblical texts--from so many minds over so many years--you'd think we'd know more. All they have to show for their efforts are a few theories about sources.

But controversies rage over basic issues, such as whether a particular word was intended. Yes, it's challenging to translate ancient Hebrew: particularly if the vowel points aren't known. Leave that aside; there's a larger problem. Most of the "best" written sources were copied by hand, over and over again. So, our confidence in these words is more credible than, let's say, the results of the children's game Telephone...precisely how?

You are correct: should originals later be found, what would be the significance (except to those whose academic careers would benefit)? It would be interesting if an original Iliad existed and were discovered, but this wouldn't prove its legends were true.

Suppose I tried to write a biography of a figure from 100 years ago. The importance of this person has finally become clear. However, no substantial written accounts exist, because this person--while still alive--was little known or recognized. I would at least be able to search public records and make use of other tools available to the modern researcher. But with all (or nearly all) his/her contemporaries dead, my account would be sketchy at best.

The authors of the Gospels faced greater obstacles. In their era, they'd struggle to locate any evidence regarding Jesus Christ of better quality than a generations-old rumor.

It's axiomatic that extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, documentation or proof. Unless you're a Biblical scholar.

Joseph Hammer said...

We were all created by God and It happened exactly the way you describe...

AND this is EXACTLY what God told Adam, along with the advice...
"Make sure you don't mess this all up... Ooh... are you sure about using oral tradition, Adam? Are you sure you don't want to invent some sort of precise symbological medium of conveyance. Just sayin... the stuff about entanglement was pretty heady... and you keep saying 'englement'. That's not a word, Adam."


We've all played telephone in Kindergarten =P... we know how this ends.

John said...

Modern thinking Christians don't believe that God wrote the Bible: he didn't. What we have in Genesis 1 & 2 is a powerful piece of poetry written by at least 2 different people and edited in about 550 BC by people who had none of the scientific knowledge achieved by the Greeks 100 years later. Personally I compare it to something like 'The Simpsons' on TV. Do the Simpsons exist? No. If you travel to the US, will you find their town, or their house? No. What you have in 'The Simpsons' is a very funny and sarcastic critique of human relationships in general,and of American culture in particular. When I read the first 5 books of the Old Testament (not the Books of Moses, please!) I'm reading a human critique of human nature, and how far we fall short of what God intended us to be.

Just one last point: do atheists really want me to believe that human intelligence is the highest intelligence that exists? I find that completely incredible!

Adam Heilbrun said...

The Bible is a collection of fireside tales passed on by illiterate farmers and nomads for centuries before ever being written down. Granny would tell the parables both to entertain the kids and instill in them a bit of sage wisdom as to the best way to live. They were then poorly translated into Greek which greatly distorted the deeper implications of the original. To waste time in historic research distracts us from the greater task of seeking wisdom. Yes, these are stories much like The Simpsons or The Little Engine That Could. God,in the form of a burning bush talking to Moses is a lovely metaphor and shouldn't be trivialized by literalists.