Science in Genesis

From the IAmAnAtheist.com comment form:

While I look at the Bible as a history book about as credible as any document written over and over and translated thousands of times, some of it makes for good bedtime stories. I mean, Jesus was a pretty nice fellow. He told people to give to the less fortunate and never judge people since we really don’t know everything about them. What’s so wrong with that? Just like the Old Lady of Shoe taught us the importance of a little abstinence and the Three Pigs taught us the importance of future investments.

This being said, I do have some belief in some psychic phenomena, and some of the things people have written in ancient documents such as the Bible are a little strange in their scientific accuracy (until, of course, we make it a little radical.)

If we look at the writings about Hell, I mean, don’t you see a little science behind it? Not the “If you’re bad, you go suffer for eternity” but the description of burning metal and the hotness. The belief in “lakes of fire” and the general idea that people go down to hell. It sounds a lot like a description of the earth’s core or volcanic activity – like someone had a clue.

More importantly, Atheists laugh at Christians for the Creation Story. When I look at it, I see something way more important than talking snakes and a couple frolicking through paradise. Scholars have said over and over that Moses made a mistake trying to write it as a historical event, and I agree. When I read it, the whole thing looks like the Big Bang in fast forward – a giant blinding mass of energy, the formation of earth as a molten ball of lava, then the sulfuric oceans just before the solar system starts to take shape… all the way until humans begin to appear. I know I’m not the first to say it, but I’ve yet to hear anyone call dibs on credit.

So maybe you can hunker down with the “lol Creationism” stories? :(

Thanks for the time.

Sorry, no.

If I was to propose that the description of Hell had any scientific validity, my guess would be that it was based on observation of volcanoes or something like that — not any kind of advanced science. But then again, the Bible has so many descriptions of things that don’t exist and so many vague statements (e.g., “there were giants”) that I’m not particularly surprised if some of them coincidentally correspond to reality. Now if all of them did, and if the observations were non-trivial, then you might have an argument.

Genesis doesn’t do anything for me, either. You have to overlook quite a lot of stuff in order to find the Big Bang, etc., in there. Right at the beginning you have God dividing light from darkness, a day/night cycle before the creation of the sun, and a firmament to keep back the waters of Heaven. None of that fits very well with the scientific description of how Earth came into being.

Many people have said that the creation story parallels evolution. If that were the case, science would tell us that birds evolved before insects, and apple trees evolved before fish (and, for that matter, before the sun was created).

I don’t buy that. The creation narrative is a nice folk tale, told to explain where the world came from, where people came from, why snakes don’t have legs, and why bad things happen to good people — nothing more.

Posted on February 24, 2011 at 7:47 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: Bible

2 Responses

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  1. Written by ff42
    on February 24, 2011 at 10:30 pm
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    And why would Hell be hot? If I were to design a hell it would be absolutely void; no sensory input, no heat, no light, no others.

  2. Written by Lynne Oeschger
    on March 2, 2011 at 2:22 am
    Reply · Permalink

    I spent some time (two years) doing Catholic catechism for adults, in an attempt to understand the church teachings. Interesting how the Catholics interpret Genesis – not literally at all. As an example, the priest who took catechism explained the whole light and firmament thing like this: “Well, we know this is not factual because the sun is a star and is part of the firmament. We have science to thank for this knowledge. Genesis is not literal in terms of timing or actions.”

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