John, So far your only claim to fame appears to be that you can toss out more questions in less than a minute than it takes generations to answer. Allow me to mirror your form of "argumentation":
Here is a challenge to creationists. Please answer all the questions below:
How exactly and by what steps did God create light and separate it from the darkness?
How exactly and by what steps did God separate the waters and create a firmament and make the dry land appear?
How exactly and by what steps did God make the earth directly bring forth seed bearing plants?
How exactly and by what steps did God "make" the sun, moon, and stars and "fix them" in the firmament?
How exactly and by what steps did God make birds and fish directly (out of water/ground)?
How exactly and by what steps did God make the beasts of the field and creeping things and man directly out of the ground?
How exactly did God spend his time "resting" on the seventh day? (I guess He was exausted from all the exertion. See in this respect, Exodus 31:17, "In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed." According to learned editors of a Bible published in 1774, the true meaning of the Hebrew is, “on the seventh day He rested, and fetched his breath.”)
FINAL POINT: EVOLUTIONARY INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE, BUT WE ALREADY HAVE ANSWERS AS TO WHY THE CREATION ACCOUNT IN GENESIS READS AS IT DOES, AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE IT IS A "SCIENTIFIC" ACCOUNT OF WHAT "REALLY HAPPENED." SEE BELOW:
Did God “gab” the world into being? Did His glossolalia fill the void? If so, in which tongue did He Dictate Creation? Literalistic Hebrew scholars assume that the book of Genesis contains the first recorded syllables of God’s speech, “Let there be light!” (in Hebrew). Moslems insist that Arabic is the language of Allah (God), and therefore it is an insult or worse to translate their holy book, the Koran, into foreign tongues that are not the language of God. While Hindus claim that the Sanskrit syllable, “AUM,” encompasses all the vibrations of Creation.
Personally, I do not pretend to know what language God used to call forth Creation. It appears that only angels were listening to God’s speech at the time, and I hesitate to declare if these were Hebrew, Islamic, or Hindu angels. Therefore, I find it easiest to assume that creation by the “word” of God is merely a poetic description of how God “called” the cosmos into being. But if the description of God “speaking,” and the record of His alleged “words,” is poetry, what does that say about how the rest of the creation account in Genesis should be viewed? - E.T.B. ____________________________
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS EARTH, WIND, AND FIRE? All ancient “recipes for creation” begin with a few simple ingredients like “earth, wind, fire/light, darkness/night, and water.” According to ancient Egyptian tales of creation, nothing existed in the beginning except a waste of “waters,” also known as “the deep.” Greek tales speak of “earth, murky night, briny deep.” Babylonian tales speak of “waters.” One Sumerian tale spoke not of water, but of another basic ingredient, a mountain of “earth” that existed in the beginning. Phoenician/Canaanite tales speak of “the beginning of all things” as “a windy air and a black chaos which embraced the air and generated a watery mixture, and from this sprang all the seed of creation.” The Hebrew tale in the book of Genesis has the “spirit of God” (the literal Hebrew word for “spirit” also meant “wind or breath”) moving on the surface of “waters” in “darkness,” with “light” and “earth” to follow.
Neither does it appear to be a mystery why the same simple ingredients would appear in so many ancient tales of creation. The pre-scientific authors of such tales imagined that “earth, wind, fire, and water” constituted the “elements” of creation.
ABRACADABRA: THE MAGIC OF THE CREATOR’S “WORD” Many ancient tales of creation, not just the Hebrew one, attributed supernatural power to a god’s “word,” i.e., simply “say the magic word” and things instantly appear, disappear, or are transformed. According to the Egyptian Book of the Dead every act of creation represented a thought of Temu and its expression in “words.” A host of Egyptian creation myths agreed that the agency of creation was the god’s “word.” The pre-Babylonian civilization of Sumeria believed that all things existed and were created by the “word” of Enki. In fact, they viewed the “word” of all their gods as a definite and real thing - a divine entity or agent. Even Sumerian personal names reflected their belief in the power of the “word,” including names like, “The word of the wise one is eternal,” “His word is true,” and, “The word which he spoke shakes the heavens.” After the Sumerians came the Babylonians and their creation tale, Enuma Elish (nicknamed by scholars, the “Babylonian Genesis”), which began, “When Heaven had not been named, Firm ground had not been called by name... when no name had been named.” The Hebrew tale arose out of that same milieu.
Added to the ancient belief in the “magic” of “naming” things, was also the belief that the “word” of a ruler or king must be obeyed, and the gods were believed to rule over nature much like kings were believed to rule over their fellow men, i.e., by “divine right.” Therefore, whatever a god said, was “done” in nature. A fragment from Sumeria states, “Thy word upon the sea has been projected and returns not [void].” The Babylonian Enuma Elish, states, “May I [Lord Marduk, the Babylonian creator], through the utterance of my mouth determine the destines...Whatever I create shall remain unaltered, The command of my lips shall not return [void], it shall not be changed.” Compare the Hebrew usage of the same phrase in Isaiah 55:11, “So shall my [the Lord’s] word be which goeth up from my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, For it shall have done that which I desired.”
DIVIDE THE INGREDIENTS IN TWO It was a common feature of early Greek cosmological beliefs, which they shared with those of the Near East and elsewhere, that in the beginning all was fused together in an undifferentiated mass. The initial act in the making of the world, whether accomplished by the fiat of a creator or by other means, was a separation or division. As the Hebrew myth has it, “God divided the light from the darkness... and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament.” - W. K. C. Guthrie, A History of Greek Philosophy, Vol. I, (Cambridge Univ. Press: 1962)
Ancient tales of creation often involved a division of primeval stuff into two equal halves - like cracking a cosmic egg in two and making “heaven” out of the top half and “earth” out of the bottom half. A Sumerian tale of creation has heaven and earth arise from a celestial mountain split in two. In Egyptian tales a god and goddess are pulled apart: “Shu, the uplifter, raised Nut (a water goddess) on high. She formed the firmament, which is arched over Seb, the god of the earth, who lies prostrate beneath her...In the darkness are beheld the stars which sparkle upon Nut’s body.” The Egyptians also employed the less mythologized concept of a celestial dome (above which lies “the heavenly ocean”). In the Babylonian Enuma Elish, a water goddess is split in two by the creator to form upper and lower bodies of water, the upper half also becoming a “heavenly dome” that held back vast celestial waters. The Hebrew tale in Genesis has the creator make “a firmament in the midst [middle] of the waters, that it may divide...the water which was below the firmament from the water which was above the firmament.” Both the Babylonian and Hebrew tales continue with the “earth” being created in the lower half of the recently divided waters.
It is interesting to note that the Father of Protestantism, Martin Luther, was adamant that the Bible spoke of waters lying above the moon, the sun, and the stars. He countered the views of astronomers of his day with the words of Scripture:
Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters...We Christians must be different from the philosophers [astronomers] in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity; with our understanding. - Martin Luther, Lectures on Genesis, Vol. 1, Luther’s Works, Concordia Pub. House, 1958
A Hebrew psalm also acknowledged the existence of “waters above the sun, moon, and stars”:
Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him stars of light! Praise Him highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens! - Psalm 148:3-4
And when the book of Genesis described a “flood” that covered the whole world, and reduced the world to its pre-creation watery beginning, the story states that the “flood gates of the sky” were “opened.” Neither did the author of that fable suppose that all the water above the firmament fell to earth, but that the “flood gates” had to be “shut” to stop more water from falling, and the creator had to promise not to flood the earth again with such waters. So, the Bible agrees with Luther that “the waters above the firmament” remained “up there” - and this agrees completely with ancient tales of creation in which the world arose from a division of waters which encompass creation still, and which the creator keeps at bay, having prepared a place in the “midst of such waters” for the earth.
MAKE DO WITH WHAT’S AT HAND Ancient creation accounts never explain where the first “waters,” or “earth,” or “darkness,” came from. Nor do the various creators make everything “out of nothing.” They often have to resort to creating plants, animals and human beings out of the earth or from parts of divine beings. Sometimes this includes molding creatures like a sculptor molds images out of clay - then imparting some magic to them. The Hebrew tale of creation in Genesis is no exception. It does not say where the water and the darkness came from “in the beginning.” Neither does it say that the “earth” was created out of nothing, but simply that “the dry land appeared” after the creator “gathered together the waters into one place.” Moreover, the Hebrew creator does not create vegetation and living creatures out of nothing but has “the earth” sprout vegetation, and “the earth” bring forth living creatures. The Hebrew creator also “formed man from the dust of the earth.” Then “blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being,” kind of like blowing on a clay sculpture to magically bring it to life. Neither was the divine “breath of life” shared only with man, for the same phrase is used in regard to every living creature that the earth brought forth, “all in whose nostrils was the breath of life.” (Gen. 7:21,22)
In the Babylonian tale, Enuma Elish, the creator is called “the god of the good breath [of life],” and he creates man from something divine, the blood of a diety. (Sort of like the Hebrew tale where man is created in the “image” of the divine creator and brought to life by divine breath.) Alternate creation accounts from ancient Babylon have mankind springing up from the ground, or created from the flesh and blood of a god mixed with clay, or even fashioned by the chief Babylonian god with the help of a divine “potter” - not unlike the Genesis account of man being “formed [molded] from the dust of the ground.”
THINGS WERE CREATED AS THEY APPEARED TO THE ANCIENT MIND Another factor most ancient tales of creation share is that things are created as they appeared to the ancient mind. Plants and animals are described as having been created in the forms in which they appeared in the author’s own day. The earth appeared like the flat and firm foundation of creation, the sun and stars appeared to move across the sky on a daily basis, the sky appeared like a dome stretched over the earth with a blue color reminiscent of the ocean’s waters below it, and the sky contained objects whose function appeared to be to “light the earth” below.
In a similar fashion, “days and nights” as measured on earth appeared central to earth-dwelling ancients like the Hebrews, who divided their tale of creation into six “days and nights” of earthly duration. While today, astronomers recognize the earth as one planet among many, each having “days and nights” of their own unique duration.
Moreover, every one of the “six days” of creation in the Hebrew tale is devoted to creating things for the earth alone. Even the “first day of creation” when the Hebrew creator instituted “day and night,” it was an earth-day and an earth-night which were instituted. And on the day when the Hebrew creator set lights in the firmament above the earth, they were created after the earth and “for” the earth - and a day after fruit trees! In fact the entire Hebrew tale supports the idea that naive earth-centered appearances dictated the tale from beginning to end.
IS ANY INSPIRATION REQUIRED TO ACCOUNT FOR ANCIENT TALES OF CREATION? The level of inspiration required to explain the origin of naive and simplistic concepts like “earth, wind and fire,” “abracadabra,” “divide the ingredients in two,” “make do with what’s at hand,” and, “things created as they appeared” - is equal to the level of mental sophistication of a young child. In fact the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics conducted a study during the 1980s on the mental sophistication of children and discovered that almost one-half of children aged ten years and younger in the United States and other countries believe the earth is flat. And those who say it is round picture “round” as a giant pancake or a curved sky covering a flat ground. One in four thirteen-year olds also believes the earth is flat. - E.T.B. ____________________________
“EVENINGS AND MORNINGS” / “DAYS AND NIGHTS,” WERE CREATED BEFORE THE SUN? Genesis tells us that the creator “divided the light from the darkness” and instituted “evenings and mornings.” But He did that “three days” before the “sun” was made! So the sun was kind of an afterthought, and alternating periods of light and darkness were God’s primary creations. The book of Job like the book of Genesis, represents “light and darkness” as not relying upon the sun, but having their own separate and distinct dwelling-places:
Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof? - Job 38:19
Therefore the belief arose, especially among Christians, that the light of “day” had no relationship to the light of the sun. Indeed, in the fourth century, Saint Ambrose wrote in his work on creation:
We must remember that the light of day is one thing and the light of the sun, moon, and stars another - the sun by his rays appearing to add luster to the daylight. For before the sun rises the day dawns, but is not in full refulgence, for the sun adds still further to its splendor. (Hexameron, Lib. 4, Cap. III).
Ambrose’s teaching remained one of the “treasures of sacred knowledge committed to the Church” right up till the Middle Ages at which time Jews could still be tortured or condemned to death for disputing it! Like all dogmas it inspired subversive humor from those forced to assent to it:
“Which is more important, the sun or the moon?” a citizen of Chelm asked the rabbi (“Chelm” being a village of Jews who lived in the shadow of the Inquisition).
“What a silly question!” snapped the rabbi. “The moon, of course! It shines at night when we really need it. But who needs the sun to shine when it is already broad daylight?”
- E.T.B. (Joke drawn from Encyclopedia of Jewish Humor, Henry D. Spalding, Ed., New York: 1969) ____________________________
In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed. - Exodus 31:17
According to learned editors of a Bible published in 1774, the true meaning of the Hebrew is, “on the seventh day He rested, and fetched his breath.” So, God was panting after having over exerted Himself? What an awe inspiring picture of God that is. Isn’t it an insult to depict an infinite Being getting worn out from six day’s work? Or to depict a God who works for only six days then spends the next 6,000 years on holiday? Heck, for all anyone knows, when God created heaven and earth He might have spent five days just futzing around, then pulled an all-nighter. Which reminds me, what does God do when He “rests and catches his breath?” What does He do in His spare time? - E.T.B.
He was “breathless” after he created the world? Maybe that’s why so many people have put words in His mouth since then. - L.A.A. ____________________________
According to the first chapter of Genesis, the earth was created before the sun, moon, and “the stars also” (notice how the “stars” were regarded as mere trifles, lumped together at the end of the inventory). This order of creation is absolutely farcical. Our earth is a child of the sun. The offspring could not have existed before the parent.
The sun, moon, and stars were “made and set” in heaven “to give light upon the earth?” When we look beyond our solar system into the mighty universe of other suns and planets, we see that the cosmogony of Genesis is a dream of childish ignorance. When the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras dared to suggest that the sun was as large as the southern part of Greece he startled his Greek contemporaries. What must have been the notions of a grossly unscientific people like the Jews? For them it was easy to regard the sun, moon, and “the stars also,” as mere satellites of the earth, “set” up in the sky as lanterns for the human race. - George William Foote, “The Creation Story,” Bible Romances ____________________________
If the sun, moon, and stars were created “to light the earth,” then why create 50,000,000,000 galaxies whose light is invisible to the naked eye? (The two nearby galaxies that can be seen with the naked eye appear no brighter than two dim stars in our sky.) In other words, 50,000,000,000 galaxies produce light that can only be seen with our most powerful telescopes, and it took a telescope mounted in space to detect 49/50ths of those galaxies! Moreover, each of those galaxies is composed of about 1,000,000,000 stars, some of which are far larger than our sun. God sure did go through a lot of trouble to not “light the earth” with those 50,000,000,000 galaxies, didn’t He?
Recent astronomical evidence even supports the “dark” matter hypothesis, namely that most of the matter in the cosmos sheds little or no light at all. - E.T.B. ____________________________
My older brother Joshua had become “enlightened” at about the age of eighteen and began to argue religious problems with my parents. I heard him say, “All religions are based on old books, but these books were written by men and men can lie, distort the truth, or have illusions. If we Jews don’t believe in the old books of other religions, how can we know for certain that our books contain the absolute truth?” My parents could never give him a clear answer. All they could do was scold him and call him heretic, betrayer of Israel.
Yes, I began to study the Book of Genesis both with faith and with doubts. In my mind I had formulated many questions for the scribe of this holy book: What did God create first, the earth or the water? Or was the water already there beforehand? When did He create the wind which swept over the waters? And did He also create “the waste and the void?” I had heard that the light of day came from the sun. But according to the Book of Genesis, God created the light first and then the sun.
The more I read, the more questions and doubts assailed me. If God could have created Adam by the words of His mouth, why did He have to cast a deep sleep upon Adam to form Eve from one of his ribs? I have always heard from my parents that God is a god of mercy. But why did He accept the sacrifices of Abel and not those of his brother Cain? Didn’t He foresee that this would cause jealousy and enmity between the two brothers? And why did He create the serpent to lure Adam and Eve to sin? [“The serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” - Gen. 3:1] - Isaac Bashevis Singer, “Genesis,” Congregation: Contemporary Writers Read the Jewish Bible, ed., David Rosenberg ____________________________
To stretch the chronology of Genesis a bit, creationists are willing to admit there are mini-gaps in the genealogies of Genesis that total several thousand years. But why, if God directly inspired Moses to write those genealogies, should there be any gaps at all? - A. J. Mattill, Jr., The Seven Mighty Blows to Traditional Beliefs (enlarged edition) ____________________________
There’s these Christian fundamentalists, the ones who are trying to get creationism taught in school as a science. I think it would be great because it would definitely be the shortest class of the day. “Welcome to creationist science. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. On the seventh day he rested. See ya at the final!” - Bill Hicks ____________________________
I believe in equal time for creation science. But since creation only took six days and evolution took billions of years, the equivalent time spent teaching creationism should be six seconds for every twelve years of evolutionary science. - E.T.B. ____________________________
According to the Bible, God created the stars on the fourth day of creation. Even more remarkable is the fact that He is creating them still. Though the latter miracle is considered not worth mentioning by any of the Bible’s authors.
And God is still creating new galaxies (“baby” galaxies have been spotted at the furthest known reaches of our cosmos); and still creating new elements like carbon and nickel out of simple hydrogen atoms (inside stars); and still creating new multi-cellular organisms out of single cells that keep dividing (embryogenesis); and still creating new populations of microorganisms out of simple inorganic minerals that they ingest; and still creating new populations of larger organisms out of the smaller organisms they ingest; and so on and so forth up the food chain until those simple inorganic minerals we started with are turned into growing populations of brand new human beings. So, God is still turning simple inorganic matter into human beings (and turning simple oxygen molecules into “the breath of life”).
Yet creationists argue that aside from the creation of new stars and new elements inside those stars - aside from the turning of simple inorganic matter into an array of living organisms that keep increasing in number and branching off into new species - evolution is “prohibited by the second law of thermodynamics.” I’d say they are missing the forest for the trees which by the way, continue to grow from tiny seeds; trees that become forests which continue to reach out and envelop as much of the earth as they can, and whose members continue to branch off (forgive the pun) into new species as they do so. - E.T.B. ____________________________
Genesis 1:16 depicts the sun and moon as creation’s “two great lamps,” made after the earth, just to “light” it, “rule” its day and night, and, “for signs and seasons” on earth. But a couple thousand years after the Bible was written, astronomers discovered a curious thing. They discovered that Mars has two moons. Yet Mars has no people who need their steps “lit” at night, or who need to read the “signs and seasons.” Even more curiously, it was discovered that Neptune has four moons, Uranus has eleven, Jupiter has sixteen, and Saturn has eighteen moons. The earth was created with just one; and it “rules the night” so badly that for three nights out of every twenty-eight it abdicates its rule and doesn’t light the earth at all, at which time we bump into folks in the dark, which is to say, creationists. - E.T.B.