"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
From what? What was God doing prior to eternity that made him decide to create? Was he bored?
"And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light."
God "said"? Does he have vocal chords? Was he speaking in an atmosphere where sound waves could vibrate? What are God's vocal chords made out of? If we are not supposed to take "said" literally, what else are we not supposed to take literally?
"So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it."
Water above the water? This is reference to ancient cosmology, when it was believe a firmament (a dome like structure) separated ocean-like waters from above.
"And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day."
So God requires time to do things. Let's keep this in mind for later.
"Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth."
This is describing the idea of lights attached to the firmament -- which was basically the end of our atmosphere. Of course, the distance of stars was not known - apparently not even by God.
"God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."
Well, when God made the "lesser light" he forgot to give it a light source. God apparently did not realize that the moon reflects light from the sun, and does not make its own light.
Wait a minute. What light did God create on the first day if the sun and stars were created on day four? And liquid seas and plants days before the sun? Well, perhaps it was the "light of God or something", but that won't work, because three "days" of lightness then darkness already passed -- a day being the time it takes the earth to make one full rotation relative to the sun, that was not yet created. What gives?
"Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness,..."
"Us" and "our"? Sounds like we have a little polytheism action here. Whomever is "making" mankind, it is clearly more than one being. So if God himself is referring to mankind's creators in the plural, why do we use the singular? A direct quote from God should take precedence over the narrative that uses the singular.
"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work."
So God gets tired and rests. He certainly deserves it, but let's not call him "all-powerful" for getting fatigued.
So in summary, it took him six days to create the earth. We now know that our solar system has 9 planets, there are an estimated 100 billion stars (suns) in our galaxy alone, and 100 billion galaxies in our universe (conservatively speaking). For simplicity and a conservative estimation, let's say every star has just one planet. We know, of course, not all planets contain seas and life, so let's conservatively say that on average, it takes God one earth day to make a planet. Now let's break out the calculators...
100 billion planets for 100 billion stars times 100 billion galaxies x 1 earth day = 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 earth days now divide that by 365 to get years and we get 2,739,726,027,360,000,000,000 earth years. This is how long it would have to take God to create the universe. Science tells us the universe is only 13,700,000,000 years old, and going by the Bible, we estimate a universe that is 6000 years old. It seems as if the author of this creation story either has no idea that there were other planets, or is really bad at math.
Now we have the other creation account (yes, there are two)...
"Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground..."
So God made us from dirt, not much of an improvement from the "pond scum" anti-evolutionists like to use as an example. At least pond scum is biological.
"... and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being"
So how did everything else become living? Did God blow in every living being's noses? I don't think trees and plants have noses.
"In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
Why did God put that tree there? In retrospect, that is worse than putting a loaded gun inside a crib with a curious toddler. Did God really not foresee what would eventually happen?
"...but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die."
Eventually die, God must have meant. Just like how doctors tell new parents when their baby is born that their baby will certainly die.
Why would God not want us to be moral creatures? Why would he not want us to know right from wrong? If he made us "in their image" why is God so against us knowing good from evil?
"It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky."
That's strange. In the first creation story God made the birds the day before he made man, and the other animals on the same day as "they" created man, but before they created man. Which is it?
"Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man"
Now was that really necessary, given he created everything else from his word and dust?
"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made."
Doesn't this imply that the LORD God made the serpent? If not, who did make the serpent? What was the serpent doing being allowed in the garden? Did God not know about him? Was he powerless to remove the serpent from the garden?
"...the serpent said to the woman"
The serpent could talk? Does it speak parseltounge like in Harry Potter? How could a serpent vocalize words? How did a serpent have the brainpower to do all this?
"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye..."
OK, so perhaps God really wanted that tree in the garden, but did he have to make the fruit so pleasing to the human eye? Now that's like dipping our crib-based gun in chocolate, then allowing a "crafty" babysitter to tell the toddler how great it tastes -- especially when he licks the trigger.
"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was ... desirable for gaining wisdom..."
Wouldn't it take basic wisdom to desire wisdom?
"But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'"
You would think God would be a little better at hide and seek.
"Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"
Apparently God likes to end sentences with prepositions.
Then God "discovers" what they had done and dishes out the punishments. This raises some questions that Christians must not gloss over. First, prior to eating the fruit, the man and woman did NOT know good from evil, so why is God holding them morally responsible for disobeying him, even though they were incapable of making a moral decision? But it gets worse. God is holding the entire human race (and serpent species) responsible forever. Yes, God is cursing the serpent. There are a few ways to interpret here. First, if the serpent was just a crafty animal that God created, then God is cursing the animal for his nature that he gave him -- and holding an animal morally responsible. Or, if the serpent is really SATAN in the form of a serpent, the God is punishing an innocent species because one member of the species is being possessed by SATAN. So according to this story, God is making you suffering the consequences of a decision made by a distant ancestor who was unable to know right from wrong. Not quite the "just" God preached about in church.
Oh, and ladies,
"Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you."
Nothing like a little divine command to keep you in your place.
So God magically undid the gift of immortality, why couldn't he magically undo the knowledge of good and evil, then move the damn tree?
Here are few misconceptions about this story that have no Biblical basis, but have taken root in our culture:
- The Garden of Eden was paradise. Not quite. Although the term is used in some translations, it is not quite the "paradise" we imagine. We know it consists of crafty serpents who get us in big trouble with God. We also know man was put there to be an eternal gardener. I don't know about you, but I really don't like gardening, and would not want to that for eternity.
- There is no death in the Garden of Eden. We can assume that mankind was immortal, since part of the punishment was to return to dust (notice there is no mention of an afterlife of paradise -- simply returning to dust), but it says nothing about animal life, and it does say that plant life was there for food. I can't imagine plants surviving digestion and excretion.
- SATAN was the serpent. It says no such thing in the story, and as mentioned, it would be ludicrous for God to curse all serpents because SATAN possessed one. But if it is not SATAN, it makes the story even more ludicrous.
- God breathed a soul into mankind. The Bible does not say this. it says he breathed "life" (chayah), the same word used in Gen 1:21 to describe the living plants. Whatever God breathed into man, plants and animals have it as well.
Now what if Adam and Eve did not disobey God? Mankind would be reproducing like rabbits, with a zero percent mortality rate, and of course, no contraception. How long before the Garden is out of food? Out of space? Where does all the human waste go? How many gardeners does God need? With an exponentially growing number of humans in the Garden, an almost certain shortage of food, all not knowing right from wrong, how long before someone eventually ate the "pleasing" forbidden fruit, from the tree that God purposely put right in the middle of garden?
Doesn't seem like a game we were ever meant to win.
There are a growing number of Christians who don't believe this creation story to be an actual historical event (thank God), but many of them do find "spiritual truth" in the story. As we have seen, there are so many disturbing problems with this story that serve as the foundation of the Christian faith. If the whole concept of original sin is bogus, then the entire Christian faith begins to fall like dominoes.
Perhaps the answer to all these questions is a simple one: "shut up and just have some 'faith'".