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Author Topic:   Contradictions: Hint that Genesis 1 and 2 are Allegorical
Inactive Member

Message 1 of 100 (37452)
04-21-2003 1:16 PM

Here's a fun theory I just thought of.

That the Biblical God had inspired the Bible's writers to compose two different creation stories that contradict each other on important details in order to give a hint that those stories are allegorical and not literal.

The same can be said of the differing accounts of Jesus Christ's resurrection -- they were made to contradict each other so as to indicate that that resurrection is something spiritual instead of physical.

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Message 9 of 100 (37525)
04-22-2003 4:41 AM

And furthermore, those differing creation orders are critical to the storylines of the two creation stories.

G1 is step-by-step, with God creating one thing at a time, and with humanity as God's last and best creation. God seems very happy with what he had done -- happy enough to take a day off, the first Sabbath Day there ever was.

In G1, anything created after humanity would be rather anticlimactic -- and both sexes are created at the same time.

However, in G2, God has to fix his creation as he goes. First he creates Adam, but Adam gets lonely. Then he creates lots of animals, but Adam is still not satisfied. Then he creates Eve, but though Adam becomes less lonely, a certain mischievous snake leads that couple astray. God must be rather exasperated at the end of that story.

In G2, it would not make sense for God to create Adam's most satisfactory companion, Eve, before the others.

There are other differences:

G1: God is elohim
G2: God is yhwh elohim, often translated as "the LORD God"

In G1, God is relatively distant, creating by commanding that this, that, and the other thing come into existence.

In G2, God is more down-to-earth, walking in the Garden of Eden, creating Adam from some dirt, and creating Eve from one of Adam's ribs.

Inactive Member

Message 13 of 100 (37755)
04-23-2003 10:14 PM

Paul's account seems very contrived and forced; by comparison, my reading of the text is much more straightforward.

And as to drummachine's view, here's an analysis I once did.

Our chemical composition is a poor match for dirt, which is essentially powdered rock with some decayed organic material. We have lots of hydrogen but essentially no silicon, while rocks are the opposite.

In fact, this discrepancy in chemical composition could be yet another clue that God has left that Genesis 1 and 2 are allegorical and not literal.

Here is the typical dry composition of a microbial cell, from this page:

(by weight, by number):

Carbon - 50% - 30%
Oxygen - 20% - 9%
Nitrogen - 14% - 7%
Hydrogen - 8% - 54%
Phosphorus - 3% - 0.7%
Sulfur - 1% - 0.2%

Potassium - 1% - 0.2%
Sodium - 1% - 0.3%
Calcium - 0.5% - 0.1%
Magnesium - 0.5% - 0.15%
Chlorine - 0.5% - 0.1%

Iron - 0.2% - 0.02%
Manganese - 0.05% - 0.006%
Copper - 0.05% - 0.005%

By comparison, seawater's most abundant non-water elements are sodium and chlorine, which are 10 times more abundant than the next one, magnesium.

Also by comparison, the Earth's crust has the approximate composition (from this source):

Oxygen - 46.6% - 62.5%
Silicon - 27.1% - 20.7%
Aluminum - 8.1% - 6.4%
Iron - 5% - 2.0%
Calcium - 3.6% - 1.9%
Sodium - 2.8% - 2.6%
Potassium - 2.6% - 1.4%
Magnesium - 2.1% - 1.9%
Titanium - 0.46% - 0.21%
Carbon - 0.19% - 0.34%

Inactive Member

Message 16 of 100 (38916)
05-04-2003 9:34 AM

Peter's hypothesis is better-known as the JEPD hypothesis, in which the first 5 books of the Bible (Torah, Pentateuch) are a mixture of documents from 4 sources:

J: Yahwist (starts with J in German)
E: Elohist
P: Priestly
D: Deuteronomist

- southern kingdom of dual monarchy
- God is YHWH, is anthropomorphic, walks and talks with us (Genesis 2)
- most of Genesis
- northern kindom of dual monarchy
- God is Elohim until Exodus 3, speaks in dreams
- some of Genesis and much of Exodus and Numbers
(J and E merged after fall of northern kingdom in 722 BCE)
- much of it likely post-exilic (539 BCE)
- God is Elohim until Exodus 3, distant and commanding, demands precise worship
- Genesis 1, Leviticus, lots of genealogies and stuff on priests and worship
- Jerusalem-centered; resembles the "book of the Law" found in the Temple in 622 BCE (2 Kings 22)
- God is YHWH, Jerusalem his preferred place of worship
- Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings

There are also various stylistic differences that are more apparent in the original Hebrew than in translation.

For more details, see:
this nice introduction
another article
this lengthier article

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Message 22 of 100 (39631)
05-10-2003 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by manwhonu2little
05-09-2003 10:24 AM

Re: Genesis & Time
Actually, it didn't feel like twisting at all to me. What seemed like twisting has been to take away authorship of the entirety of Genesis from Moses with extremely little to no proof that such was the case.

That book has no claimed author, and it contains anachronisms, like the patriarchs' camels. Finkelstein and Silberman's The Bible Unearthed discusses that question in detail.

Even if it can be demonstrated that Moses did not author all of Genesis, how is it proven he did not have complete editorial control over all of the material presented? Why would he allow "conflicting" accounts to be recorded for all future generations?

Except that it was assembled long after a historical Moses would have lived, and that Moses himself was at least partially mythical.

The accounts were likely assembled by some Babylonian-Exile-era priests who were reluctant to snip out any "recognized traditions", no matter how incoherent they may be.

So far as "adding" material at some later date: were not our ancestors deeply religious, attributing great mystical significance to holy scriptures? ...

Except that that has never stopped pious fraudulence. Consider the enormous quantity of medieval relics -- the Shroud of Turin was one of many such relics. Some big bulk of wood from the True Cross, several colors of the Virgin Mary's hair, Jesus Christ's foreskin, ...

So I have trouble accepting scholarship which ignores the influence of a society's culture (its beliefs and practices)

Except that that has never precluded pious fraudulence.

and the underlying ego of human authorship (which would preclude any single author from setting forth contradictory information).

Except that that has never stopped people from contradicting themselves. "There is nothing on which Lenin does not contradict himself several times", some Marxists have noted.

Similarly, I must admit that translations suffer. One language simply cannot perfectly capture the nuances of another language, and I doubt any of us knows the nuances of Anciet Hebrew, Chaldean or even Greek.

Which suggests that the Bible is purely a human invention -- where is its translation guide?

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Inactive Member

Message 23 of 100 (39635)
05-10-2003 4:08 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by manwhonu2little
05-09-2003 10:24 AM

Re: Genesis & Time
What I find truly astounding is the notion that after several thousand years, the words contained in Genesis 1 can still provoke intelligent -scientific- debate.

That "debate" is only among Biblical literalists; the mainstream of the scientific community totally ignores Genesis 1 in their work.

The accounts of creation given by other major world religions have been completely debunked by science.

Whatever those debunkings are supposed to be.

But one can make cases for how creation stories of other religions have been confirmed by modern science.

The Old Norse creation story states that the familiar Universe had been created from the pieces of the dismembered giant Ymir. Which seems much like the Big Bang.

And here is Hesiod's creation story, the Theogony:

In the beginning, there was the void, Chaos. And from that void emerged Gaia. She had some children in parthenogenetic fashion, including her partner Ouranos. This couple had several more children, including Kronos and his fellow Titans. But Kronos rebelled against Ouranos, castrating him. And Kronos and his partner Rhea had kids of their own. But Kronos was afraid that they would do to him what he had done to Ouranos, so he swallowed them as they were born. Rhea got tired of having kids for nothing, so when she had Zeus, she had him sent away and she fed a bundled stone to Kronos. Zeus eventually grew up and forced Kronos to vomit up his brothers and sisters. And Zeus and his Olympian friends overthrew Kronos, becoming the new rulers of the Universe.

That is an anticipation of the Big Bang, since according to some quantum-cosmological speculations, the Universe originated from a quantum fluctuation in a void. And as it expanded, it went through several generations of structure. The earlier generations are still murky, but the later ones are well-understood: a quark-soup phase, then a hadron-soup phase, then a lepton-soup phase, and then a photon-soup phase, which we are still in. In that phase, there were first electrons, protons, and neutrons, then electrons and light nuclei, and then light atoms -- mostly hydrogen and helium.

When stars formed, they went through some generations. The first one, "Population III", was mostly massive, short-lived stars, but it produced enough heavier elements ("metals") to allow lower-mass stars to form. These were the "Population II" stars, which we can still see in the Galactic center, the Galactic halo, and the globular clusters. This was succeeded by a more recent generation, "Population I", in the Galactic disk; the Sun belongs to that generation.

Likewise, life on Earth has had numerous generations. This is a very complicated subject; I'll give an overall view and then some subviews. The first generation of life on Earth was various chemosynthesizers (they live off of chemical reactions) and anaerobic photosynthesizers (they do not release oxygen). At about 2.3 billion years ago, this was followed by a generation of cyanobacteria (blue-green "algae") and oxygen-utilizing bacteria. This was followed at about 1.5 billion years ago by the first protists, some of which became inhabited by their favorite food -- various bacteria. And about 600 million years ago was the beginning of the multicelled-animal generation. However, these generations have largely been cumulative; earlier ones coexist with later ones.

The earliest generation likely has subgenerations of prebiotic chemistry, the RNA world, the first RNA-protein systems, the first RNA-genome cells, and the first DNA-genome cells. And of later generations, I'll confine myself to land plants. The first of these, starting perhaps a billion years ago or more, were soil algae. These were followed about 450 million years ago by the generation of the mosses and liverworts and other such primitive land plants. Which, in turn, were followed by a generation of early vascular plants, like ferns, horsetails, and club mosses. Which were followed about 350 million years ago by early seed plants (gymnosperms). Which were followed about 150 million years ago by the generation of flowering plants (angiosperms). These have been somewhat cumulative; there are stragglers from the earlier generations still alive today.

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Inactive Member

Message 28 of 100 (39898)
05-13-2003 4:01 AM

peanutbean6111's "reconciliation" of G1 and G2 is nothing more than a lot of contrived hairsplitting. The inventors of such argumentation would have splendid careers as lawyers.

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