Tag Archives: Literalist Interpretaion

Genesis Chapter 7

In this post:  I cover the genocide of every human on the planet except for seven people, I try to figure out how to stuff millions of animals on a boat smaller than any NFL stadium, we see a few examples of God’s senility, and we look at God’s confusion about how many animals to put on the Ark

Genesis Chapter 7

Remember at the end of chapter 6 when God told Noah that he would establish a covenant with him and that he should build an Ark then take his family and two of every animal and bird and put them into the Ark?

Well, chapter 7 starts off the same way by God telling Noah, again, to put his family in the Ark, only this time in a much more poetic way.(Gen 7:1)  Maybe God forgot that he had already told Noah this. God has been around for infinity, so he could be showing signs of senility.

Most  Biblical scholars say that the reason it seems to repeat itself a lot is that Genesis had more than one author, and early manuscripts combined all of the different accounts into the book we would come to know as Genesis.  I know what you’re saying:  It’s much easier to just believe that God forgot and is repeating himself.  I agree, because the only sensible reason for the confusion that follows would be divine senility.

Chapter 7 continues with God telling Noah that not only should he put his family on the big boat but the following as well:

2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.

Now some people might say that this completely contradicts the previous chapter when God told Noah to take two of “every” animal, whereas here God says to take seven of some and two of others.  These people clearly know nothing about Divine Senility, or they would understand that this is divinely inspired confusion and not a contradiction.  What other explanation could there be?

So, God goes on to tell Noah that he has seven days to get the boat loaded, because after that God plans to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights and thereby destroying “every living substance…from off the face of the Earth.” (Gen 7:4) Unless, of course, he forgets.

And Noah says ok, again.(Gen 7:5)  It would seem that Noah is familiar with God’s senility  because he doesn’t ask for clarification on the whole numbers thing.

We get a date for the flood from Gen 7:6 when it says that Noah is 600 years old when the flood started.  If you’re keeping track that puts the flood at  1656 AC or 2348 BC.

Where did I get the BC?  Well, a long time ago an Irish Bishop named Ussher meticulously went through the Bible and available historical records, and came up with the evening of Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC as the date creation was finished.  While challenged in many different arenas this date is the most widely accepted of the creation dates proposed, largely due to it’s inclusion in King James Bibles and Scoffield Reference Bibles.  Naturally, since it is the most relied on date it’s the one I use.

To put the date for The Flood in a historical context here are a few events to consider:

  • 5400 BC:  Almost 1400 years before the Earth is created, Eridu, the World’s first city, is built in Mesopotamia, near present day Abu Shahrein, Iraq.  No signs of the Flood some 2,100 years later have been found on that site, but of course that doesn’t discount its having happened.
  • 3800 BC Sumerian city of Ur founded.  Strangely enough this city survived the Flood with no apparent damage or interruption of daily life.  However, is was conquered by Sargon the Great  8 years after the flood, completely intact, people and all.  It would seem that Sargon and his empire survived the flood.
  • 2490 BC the last of the three pyramids at Giza is completed.  The is no sign of any flood at this location either.
  • 2500 BC Great Sphinx of Giza built.  Again no sign of flood damage.
  • 2375-2345 Unas is ruler of Egypt.  Oddly enough, Like Sargon to the east, he and his entire kingdom survived the flood unscathed, and there is no mention from this time period of the flood which covered the rest of the planet to a depth of 29,000 or so feet for a year.

Anyway on with our story.

The obedient Noah puts his family into the boat (Gen 7:7), and then puts two of each animal on the boat “as God had commanded Noah.”(Gen 7:8-9)  It seems that Noah made a command decision and went with the earlier amount for how many animals to load.  God didn’t correct him, so he must have forgotten all about the whole seven-of-some and two-of-others thing.

So at this point in the story we have 7 adult human beings, at least 2 million insects (2 of each known species), around 20 million other land animals (2 of each),  and 20,000 birds (2 of each), on Noah’s boat, which has three decks each of which is 33,750 square feet.

So we have a boat with a total floor space of 101,250 square feet housing at least 20 million animals, 2 million insects, 20,000 birds, (Remember, God said two (or seven) of “every” animal, and we know that every animal alive now or in the past was created in one day back in 4004 BC 1400 years after the Mesopotamian city of Eridu was built.) and 7 humans, plus enough food to last all the inhabitants for just over a year.  And this doesn’t even count the 250,000 or so species of extinct animals that we have fossils of which includes 1,047 dinosaurs some of which were as large as 120 feet long and weighed more than 100 tons.  Creationists will tell you that these animals were on the Ark too.

Fun fact:  The San Diego Zoo houses around 3,700 animals and employs 6,000 people.  The 3,700 animals at the San Diego Zoo produce about 2.5-3 tons of manure every day.  If we put this in terms of the number of animals on the Ark we get at least 6,757 tons or 13.5 million pounds of manure every day that Noah and his family had to scoop up and throw out an 18” square hole on the roof of the boat.  The amount of ammonia and methane in the air would have probably killed everything on the boat since the only ventilation was the little hole in the roof.

Another fun fact:  If each animal on the Ark took up only a 3”x 3” space (just a little bigger than a dollar bill folded in half) they would have taken up 625,000 square feet or just over six Arks. But we all know that there was only one Ark, so each animal only had about a 1½ inch square space (about the size of a silver dollar). And this isn’t counting insects, birds, dinosaurs, mammoths, food, or humans.  Animals were obviously quite teeny back in Noah’s day.  How they have gotten so big since then, and why fossils and skeletons of these animals are so much larger are things which aren’t explained in the Bible.

Of course, to get really picky, it is estimated that of all the species that ever lived only about 10% are alive today or are known about from fossils, and since God said two of “every” animal, and creationists say that the only mass extinction event ever was the flood then all 90,000,000 of those animals were on the boat also, so each animal and human would have had a square with sides as long as the thickness of 4 sheets of notebook paper, but I think things are getting a bit silly now.

Now some doubting Thomases will try to deny God’s great feat of shrinking all the animals to fit on the boat by saying that Noah took baby animals, and only took two of every “kind”, or family, of animal, and that these animals bred afterwards to give up the diversity we see today.  Aside from this idea being stupid and not grounded in any way by science or the Bible, there is the issue of what the Bible actually says.  These heathen unbelievers obviously haven’t read Genesis 7:2 where it says: “Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens (pay no attention to this number, Noah doesn’t), the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female”; or Genesis 7:15 where it says:  “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life”.

If people are going to try to say a story is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, they shouldn’t try to rewrite that story,  ignore parts of it, and make up ‘facts’ to fit their beliefs.  They should just believe the story or not.  Just my opinion.

On a personal note, I had a toy Noah’s ark when I was a kid and I could never get all of the two dozen or so animals to fit into it, but then again I wasn’t a 600 year old Bronze Age shipwright either.  When I told my father as a child that the animals wouldn’t fit, I got disciplined.  When I told him again as an adult, he ignored me.  My how times change.

Enough fun, back to Genocide.

496px-World_Destroyed_by_Water[1]So, after seven days the flood starts. (Gen 7:10) God didn’t forget about this, after all, killing every man, woman, child, and newborn infant on the planet, except for Noah and his crew, was important to him.

We are told again (in case we forgot while reading) that Noah was 600 when the flood started, and that it was the 17th of February (Gen 7:11) and, we are told that it rained continuously for the next 40 days. (Gen 7:12)

Genesis 7:13-17 tells us that Noah and his family as well as the animals went into the Ark and that it rained for the next 40 days.  Obviously the author forgot that he just told us that.  Senility is starting to run rampant.

In 7:18-20 things get a little confusing concerning how deep the water got.  First, in 7:19 it says that “…all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.”  Since we now know about Mt. Everest, we know that this means the water had to be at least 29,036 feet deep.  But then in 7:20 it says that the water was 15 cubits deep which comes to 22.5 feet.  But, maybe it meant 15 cubits a day, although it doesn’t say that, and it would still only be 900 feet.  Of course it could have meant an hour, though it doesn’t say this, which would get us to  21,600 which is closer.  Either way, contradiction aside, 22.5 feet or 29,036 ft of water over the whole planet is a lot of water.

481px-007.The_Great_Flood[1]In 7:21 we are told that everything died.  Babies and puppies included.

In 7:22 we are told that everything died.

In 7:23 we are told, you guessed it, that everything died.  But, this time we are reminded about the boat and its passengers, and it tells us that they lived.

Why we are told three times in three different ways that everything died is unclear.  What is certain is that it couldn’t have been due to the combining of three different stories from three different authors, and, that everything died.

Chapter seven ends with the author telling us (once) that the water stuck around for 150 days. (Gen 7:24)

So, there you have it;  God’s first Genocide, if you don’t count the de-creation after chapter one.

As we continue through the rest of the Bible you will come to understand that genocide is something that God is a big fan of.

See you next time, when we learn about how the flood ended, and that Noah is something of a drunk.  Then we learn about Noah’s bloodline to Abraham, and about the Tower of Babel.

Note:  I had intended to combine this chapter with chapter 8 into one post, but it was starting to get rather long and chapter 8 has a few things to point out, so I didn’t.  I will combine two or more chapters as it is prudent, so don’t worry, not every single chapter of every book will get its own post, and we will start gliding though the Bible at a quicker pace very soon. Thanks for Reading,  Ron

Advertisements

Genesis Chapter 3

Genesis Chapter 3

This post will cover the infamous Fall of Man, God’s punishments, and God’s first lie  as portrayed in Genesis Chapter 3.

The story starts by telling us that a serpent was the sneakiest of all the creatures that God had created. (Gen 3:1)  Why the snake is so sneaky and bad we are not told, but since God is perfect we can be assured that it was on purpose.

This sneaky snake can also talk, and asks Woman if God had said that she and Adam could eat from every tree in their little garden. (Gen 3:1)  It seems that species of talking snake has gone extinct, because we have no recorded evidence of any snake, any where, talking since then; unless you count the snake in Disney’s A Jungle Book.  The talking snake thing in Harry Potter doesn’t count because Harry is the only one who can understand it.

Woman, who is obviously accustomed to talking snakes (definitely from Slitherin House), tells Sneaky Snake that God said they could eat from all the trees but one, and that not only could they not eat from it, but couldn’t even touch it or they would die.  (Gen 3:2-3)  As far as we were told, God never mentioned the not touching the tree part, so I’m assuming that Adam embellished the rule when he later told Woman about it.

Sneaky Snake tells Woman that God was lying when he said that rubbish about dying the day  they eat from the tree.  According to Ole’ Sneaky, God was just scared that when they ate from the tree that they would become like gods in that they would know about good and evil. (Gen 3:4-5)

The_Serpent_Beguiled_Me_(Sunrays)[1]So, what does Woman do?  She looks at the tree thinks it’s pretty, that the fruit looks tasty, and thinks that it might be good to not be stupid, so she eats some of the fruit and gives some to Adam who had been standing there, but saying nothing, and he, like any good husband, did as he was told and ate it. (Gen 3:6)

As soon as they ate the fruit they noticed that they were naked, and quickly fashioned aprons out of leaves to hide their bodies. (Gen 3:7)  Nowhere does it explain why God had let them be evil by being naked in the first place, or why not covering your butt was ok.

After making their crude clothing they heard God wandering around the garden enjoying a little relief from the heat, so they went and hid in the trees (Gen 3:8)

Obviously, they hid themselves pretty well because God couldn’t find them, and had to call out for Adam. (Gen 3:9)

Adam called back from the trees (it never says he came out of hiding) and tells God that he had heard him coming and hid because he was naked. (Gen 3:10)

Then the following conversation ensues: (Gen 3:11-13)

God- Who told you that you were naked?  Did you eat from the tree that I had told you to leave alone?

Adam- It wasn’t my fault. The woman YOU gave me told me to do it.

God- Woman! Why did you do this?

Woman- It wasn’t my fault.  The talking snake told me to do it.

So, God looks at Sneaky Snake and tells him that he will from then on be the least liked of all the animals in the World.  He then takes away his legs (It seems that talking snakes once had legs) and tells him that he will have to eat dirt from then on, and that he will cause humans to hate snakes and go around stomping on their heads. (Gen 3:14-15)  The dirt eating combined with head stomping would go a long way toward explaining why this species of once-legged snakes went extinct.

God then turned on Woman and cursed her to have increased sadness and more babies which she will be sad about having.  He then says that from then on men will be in charge.  Thus God created PMS, and postpartum depression as well as misogyny. (Gen 3:16)

And God wasn’t finished with his punishments.  He turned to Adam and told him that since he listened to Woman and ate from the tree after being told not to, that the ground would from then on not do as well growing plants, and that Adam would have to be a farmer and baker if he wanted to eat.  He then tells him that he will be cut off from the Tree of Life and will eventually die. (Gen 3:17-19) The same thing, snake and all, had happened to Gilgamesh back before the Biblical story was written.

Let’s pause for a moment to look over something that I mentioned above.  Remember back in chapter 2 when God told Adam that the day he ate from the tree of knowledge that he would die?  And, remember earlier in 3:4 when Sneaky told Woman that the whole dying the moment you eat was hooey?  Well, as you can see above it was Sneaky who was telling the truth and God who was lying, because Adam would go on to live for 930 years.  So, in effect, God was angry at Adam and Woman for calling his bluff, and at Sneaky for telling his secret.  Truly a wrathful god.

To continue.  After God’s hissy fit, Adam arbitrarily changes Woman’s name to Eve (Gen 3:20) and God makes the couple some clothes out of animal skins. (Gen 3:21)

Then God goes back to his female companion, or some other god and says “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil (more proof that Sneaky was telling the truth): and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:” (Gen 3:22)  Obviously God is worried about Adam living forever and taking over, so God throws the couple out of the garden and makes them farmers. (Gen 3:23)

Tissot_Adam_and_Eve_Driven_from_Paradise[1]To keep the miscreants from sneaking back in, he puts guards on the eastern side of the garden, and puts a flying flaming sword by the tree of life just in case they figure out that the entrances to the west, north, and south are unguarded. (Gen 3:24)

So ends chapter three.  We’ve had lying, betrayal, trickery, and hissy fits, and God has given us pain, death, PMS, and postpartum depression.  Truly a loving and kindly god.

In the next chapter we are introduced to the beginnings of sacrifices, animal husbandry, music, metal working, the spread of civilization, incest, and murder.  Stay tuned.

Genesis Chapter 2

(editorial note: I have decided that a summary of each part of the Bible that I discuss would be helpful for those just skimming through, so I will post a summary at the beginning of each post to give an idea of what the post covers.  Thanks, Ron)

Genesis Chapter 2 contains the end of the first creation story, and begins the second creation story.  It is with Gen 2 that the Bible starts contradicting itself when viewed as a literal word of God.

The segue into the second creation story  Leaves a lot to be desired, because it is actually just the end of the first one.

Gen. 2:1-3 Is just telling us that in a somewhat redundant way, that the all-powerful God was tired after working all week and had to rest.  So, to excuse his having a day off, he makes the Sabbath a holy rest day and, since he knows all, he rather ingeniously made Saturday the Sabbath so that professional football players could work on Sunday and not go to Hell.  Praise be to God, lets all Tebow before him in thanks for our day of football.

So ends the story of creation, however, for some reason he scraped that creation without telling Moses (traditionally considered to be the author of the first five books of the Bible i.e. Pentateuch) and started over.  Since this obviously confused Moses, he left both stories in.

page1-388px-Creation_Diary.pdf[1]The second story of creation.

This story is written with more detail and in a more poetic way.  Most biblical scholars say that this is because the two stories were written by two different people in two different times basing their stories on two different sets of other mythologies.  But, all good fundamentalists know that this is simply not true.

The story starts out by telling us that what follows is the order of creation on the day that God created everything.  (Gen.2:4) Obviously God had learned from his earlier attempt and managed to do it all in one day this time.

So, this time he starts with the Earth and sky already fully formed, but barren and quite dry. (Gen.2:5)

To correct this, he causes fog to come out of the ground and get everything wet, (Gen. 2:6) he then takes some dirt and creates a man. (Gen.2:7)  In his previous attempt he created man and woman at the same time and did it after he had created everything else.  It seems that he thought this would work better.  But he was mistaken, which he admits later.

God then does some gardening and calls his new garden Eden.  He puts the mudman in this garden along with all the pretty trees, the trees that produce food, the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Gen 2:8-9) We can also safely assume that he made all the other plants at this time, though it doesn’t specifically say so.

Genesis 2:10-14 describes the rivers coming out of Eden, and the mineral rich lands around them which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really important except that this geography lesson puts the Garden of Eden somewhere in modern-day Eastern Turkey, meaning that all mankind and every animal on the planet started in Turkey.

Then God puts the man in the garden again (I’m assuming he wandered off  while God was growing the trees and had to be brought back) and makes him the head gardener/groundskeeper. (Gen 2:15)

Then God tells the man that he can eat from every tree in the Garden (Gen 2:16) except for one: The Tree of Knowledge.  God then tells his first recorded lie, when he tells the man that if he eats of this tree he will die that very day.  (Gen 2:18)  This fib will be covered in another post.

In Genesis 2:18 God realizes the mistake I mentioned earlier and says “…It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet [old English phrase meaning:  helper] for him.”  It is unclear who he is talking to, but it’s probably the female companion from chapter 1.  See the post on Chapter 1 for an explanation of this unknown female.

So to keep the man company and give him help in the garden what does God do?  He creates all the land animals and the birds.  Doesn’t seem like they will be much help, but as the saying goes: “God works in mysterious ways.” This is the creation of the World’s first pets.  He then presents the man who, out of the blue, has acquired the name “Adam” with all of the animals and has him name them, thereby craeting the World’s first zoologist.  (Gen 2:19) No mention is made of the animals in the water, so I’ll assume that God kept the ones he created before, and then put them in the waters of the new Earth.  Who named these animals is unclear.

Adam then names all 6-10 million insect species,  6-7 million species of land animals, and roughly 10 thousand different birds.  How he did this in one day, and what all of these names were we do not know.  Luckily he didn’t have to name fish and marine mammals because that would have been another 27,000 or so.  Once he had compiled his species list, it became apparent to God that Adam’s 24-34 million companions (2 of each species) weren’t very good company, nor much help with the Garden. (Gen 2:20)   Note:  I used numbers for every species alive today, but if every species of animal that has ever lived was created that day then Adam had to name an estimated 24-34 billion different animals.  How this many animals fit into a small corner of what is now Eastern Turkey is unclear.

So, to correct his helper mistake, God put Adam into a coma, cut him open, took out one of his ribs, then sutured him back up. (Gen 2:21)  It seems that God’s supposed ability to do surgery and heal people without cutting them open hadn’t developed yet.  No Benny Hinn for Adam.

God then took the rib which he had surgically removed from Adam, left for a while, turned the rib into a woman, and brought her to Adam for his approval. (Gen 2:22)

Adam looked at her and decided to call her “Woman.” (Gen 2:23)  I know what you’re thinking, not a very imaginative name.  Makes you wonder if he called elephants “long noses“, or called kangaroos “hoppies.”  But, like I mentioned earlier, we will never know.

In Genesis 2:24 the author inserts an editorial note saying that the bit about Woman’s creation is the reason that men should leave their parents’ house when they get married.  So, for all of you parents out there who are still housing your married sons you can point to this verse and tell him to leave.

The chapter ends with the author telling us that Adam and Woman were wandering around naked and proud of it. (Gen 2:25)

So, in summary, the second creation story tells us that when God recreated everything he changed the order up a little bit.

In the first story the order of creation was: (Numbered by day)

  1. A blob of water which would become the Earth, light, day and night, evenings and mornings.
  2. Dry land and the sky.
  3. All the plants.
  4. The Sun, Moon, and stars, (though no galaxies, asteroids, comets, or any other such nonsense) along with days, seasons, and years.
  5. Water animals and birds.
  6. Land animals, then men and women at the same time.
  7. Took the day off because he was tired.

The second time around the order of creation was:

  1. A complete Earth with light, seas, dry land, and I’m assuming (as they’re never mentioned) the Sun, Moon, and stars.
  2. Then he creates fog.
  3. Then he creates Adam.
  4. God then creates all the plants and trees as well as the Garden of Eden.
  5. God then creates all of the land animals and birds.
  6. God then created Woman.
  7. No rest day mentioned, it seems it was easier this time.

I mentioned before that this chapter along with Genesis 1 gives us out first Biblical contradiction.  If you look at the orders of creation it becomes quite apparent what I meant.  If, as literalists will tell you, the two stories are just one story with a summary followed by a more detailed account then the two accounts should contain the same order, but they don’t:  first everything takes six days, then it only takes one day; first plants are created before people then they come after Adam but before Woman; first birds and land animals are created at separate times, then they’re created at the same time; first birds are created before man then they are created after him; first men and women are created at the same time after birds then they are created at different times with birds coming after man but before Woman.

These same literalists will point to my usage of “then” when talking about chapter two instead of the word “and.”   They often say that since “and” is used instead of “then” that I can’t say with authority that the order is incorrect.  However, 2:18 clearly says that Adam is “alone” which means there were no other creatures around.  Then in 2:19-20 the animals and birds are created and Adam names them “but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him” meaning Adam was still lonely.  So, at this point we have Adam created, then animals created then we move on to the creation of the female named Woman.  The order is laid out quite clearly.  And, besides, if everything was created at the same time as these literalists suggest by pointing to the word “and”, what does that do to the whole ‘six days of creation’ story?  It destroys it, that’s what it does to it.

Another qualm they will have with my explanation is my saying that the second story all takes place in one day.  I say this because 2:4 says it.  Literalists often say that “day” could mean an era or any other such measurement and does not have to mean a 24hr cycle of rotation by the planet.  In principle I agree.  The problem is that if chapter 1 is also correct and part of the same story, then the 24hr ‘day’ was clearly created on days 1 (Gen 1:5) and 4 (Gen 1:14) before any animals or people were created, so that argument holds no water, unless… .

According to Biblical scholars these two stories are different, written by different people, at different times, in different parts of the Middle East, and when from the 5th-16th centuries  the Catholic Church compiled and edited the early manuscripts into what we call the Bible (the first standard version we would recognize today as the Bible was compiled in the 10th century), they left both stories in so that various points in each story (e.g the Sabbath, and the Tree of Knowledge) which come up throughout the Old and New Testaments will have a basis.  These conflicts wouldn’t have really been a problem at the time as the vast majority of Christians were illiterate, and laymen weren’t allowed to read the Bible because it was assumed that your average Joe wouldn’t understand the thing and that would cause problems and possible divisions within the Christian community; something we now know was an accurate assumption.

The scholarly explanation makes sense, and study of early manuscripts supports it, but, like most things for which there are mountains of evidence, literalists reject it.  And, the idea  espoused by some Christian sects (e.g. the Catholic Church) that the Bible is part fable and part truth brings up a  whole separate set of problems with its being considered divinely inspired.

Anyhow, next we move on to Genesis chapter 3 and the Fall of Man and the stories get interesting for a while.