The flawed Bible

I don’t lie to myself. The Bible is a great book but also a book full of errors, flaws, false reasoning, or even possibly lies. I have had a James version with me for 10 years but haven’t finished reading. I couldn’t integrate everything said in the Bible with scientific discoveries, though some people claim they can.

But it doesn’t stop me becoming interested in Christianity and even more over the time.

Like everything in the world, Christianity’s value lies in helping people. It helps people have sounder judgment, behave better, avoid problems, achieve more, and then live a better life. To achieve that, people need to follow Christ. By following Christ, one will understand the greatest part of Christianity. It’s not done by observing but testing with oneself. The change of oneself is an evidence just like what one can observe when a metal melts in fire. It’s an evidence that one can experience and observe the change of oneself, (the change of a subjective thing), not like one watches a tree branch waving in the wind (the change of an object, while the subjective thing doesn’t change.)

But the Bible doesn’t stop here. It doesn’t say, “Hey people, try to follow Christ, test it and you will see the truth (how it would change you, prove by testing yourself).” Instead, it tries to explain the world, including the physical world, or tells the stories that largely involves physical things to “prove” that Christianity is true about everything, even physics.

It’s a mistake, probably the most serious mistake in a great book.

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Why do you expect this to be the case? The cosmology of the Bible is very similar to the ancient near east, i.e. the surrounding worldview in which the Biblical writers lived yet they had some particular viewpoints that are worth focusing on.

Sounds good.

But does it though? Does the Bible honestly aim to explain all of this or is it more focused on revealing Yahweh and ultimately the work of Christ? Many Christians seem to think the Bible is all focused on “revealing secrets of Lambda-CDM cosmology or other things” yet all these seem to occur after the science has been established. But it’s essential to ask, does the Bible do this? Or does it have another purpose than what concordist (i.e. the Bible is secretly describing modern cosmology) writers think?

I think I understand what you mean and would agree!

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Because I take the Bible very seriously and I had already accepted science before I started to read it.

No, it’s not the Bible’s aim but something like reasoning. The Biblical writers didn’t reason like mathematicians that would make every statement plain and crystal clear. But you can understand what they tried to prove. And some stories actually become distractions to their main aim - to convince people to follow Christ.

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I guess I’m not quite following this either… could you give some examples of Bible stories that you believe were intending to “prove” things about physics?

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I’m not even sure that its main aim is this. It’s more, I think, (as Enns notes), a record of people’s interaction with how they perceive God. You wouldn’t find that the OT stories definitely predict Christ, of course, though there are those who see parallels and (I think incorrectly) take them as direct predictions of Christ. (these are examples of Second Temple Judaism). For further reading, I’ve enjoyed his books, “Evolution of Adam,” “Inspiration and Incarnation,” and “The Bible Tells Me So.”

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I agree with Matthew @pevaquark. It is not the Bible that claims the Bible rivals science, it is the people who claim that they believe the Bible. About a 100 years ago people claimed the Bible was false because it was not scientifically accurate. Sadly, instead of saying that the Bible is not intended to teach science, but morality and theology, some Christians believed they had to defend the Bible by “proving” it was scientifically true.

Jesus said. “Follow Me,” not Believe the Bible.

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I got the same message!

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Hi Laura,
I have long been suspecting another God existed.
For example, who was the witness in the below narratives? Did God tell anyone? Or was there another God by the side of God watching, recording or taking notes? Or God didn’t tell anyone, nor did another God exist, but the Biblical writers imagined such a scene?

# Genesis 1 King James Version (KJV)

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.

11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

While I absolutely believe there is a spiritual realm and that I’m pretty ignorant of how it works or developed, I don’t know that I would call it “another god” in the sense of the God of the Bible. The Israelites indicated that other gods existed – just that YHWH was chief over all of them. They may have been referring to actual spirits, or just products of their imagination – I don’t know.

As far as the scenes in Genesis, that’s a good question, and we aren’t told who wrote the story of God creating the world, and since nothing existed, there couldn’t be a human “eyewitness” at the time, at least in the sense that we would think of it today. But there are lots of ways the narrative could have developed. I would not be at all surprised if God communicated this portion of history by giving the writer a vision. This is how John wrote Revelation, although that book is a lot more “self-conscious” in terms of its authorship. Either way, I don’t think “another god” has to exist in order for the one God to divinely inspire a human writer to write about the creation story – he’s certainly capable of communicating the important parts of the story and gifting the right person with the ability to write it down, perhaps with the “aid” of other spiritual beings.

Clearly there could be no human witness until sometime on day 6, and even then their view would have necessarily been limited. However from Genesis 2 onward we see God in direct communication with Adam & Eve so God could have easily have told them what happened earlier. So the answer would be that the witness is God himself.

Hi Chris,
You reminded me of Agatha Christie. A lot of other Christians also remind me of the same.

But by following Jesus, Christianity could be proven true scientifically. People only need to realise that the subject and the object are the same in this case. Following Jesus is what they need to do, and experiencing the change of themselves is their observation. Perfectly scientific and objective.

Which makes for a nice story … but if you look at the generations of Adam … there were dozens, even hundreds of humans who appear to have known Adam and Eve.

Where are the cute stories about the flowers Adam picked for Eve on their anniversary (whichever one they thought mattered)? Where are the stories of Adam’s death? Where is the story about the time Eve short-sheeted Adam’s side of the bed?

Frankly, Genesis is a mess when it comes to credibility…

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I thought I would do some math using the chart provided by Jeremy.

[ CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ENLARGE FONTS TO MAXIMUM ]

If we assume Young Earth Creation, the vertical red line is when Adam dies (around year 930 from the zero Year of Creation); in the graph, Adam is on the bottom, but in the table Adam is at the top of column [D].

The vertical blue line is the year of the Flood (blue for water!)… which happened the year of Methuselah’s death (about 1656 years after the first day of Creation, shown in column [D] ), at the age of 969 (shown in column [E] ).

Notice that except for Noah (and for Methuselah too, if he died because of the flood), all the first generations after Noah are dead before the Floor arrives. Not too shocking, right?

But let’s look at these life arcs from another perspective! How many years did these 7 generations know “Old Gampy” (their pet name for Adam growing up!)… before he died?!

How old were these men when Adam’s funeral was held?!

Now the tables are reversed… and Noah is the only person in my version of the chart who did not know the First Man Ever… and who lived 930 years!

Not only was Methuselah there for Noah’s birth, but he knew Noah for 600 years before the year of the flood (see column “H” )! Furthermore, Methuselah knew Gampy Adam for a real long time too!: 243 years before Adam’s passing in the year 930 BCE (see column “G” ).

Skipping over Enoch, who died at 365 yrs of age (having known Adam for 308 years!), next we have Jared: he knew Noah for 366 years … and Adam for 470 years.

Mahaleel knew Noah 234 years, and Adam 535 years!

That wild scamp, Cannan, knew Noah for 179 years, and Adam for 605 years!

Enos knew Noah for 84 years, and Adam for 695 years!

Seth, like Enoch, missed meeting Noah… by a mere 14 years… so I guess it wasn’t Seth who taught Noah how to navigate!! (The rumors were that Jared used to kid Noah that he couldn’t hit the broad side of a mountain with a cargo ship! Adam kept reminding Jared to say this to Noah after the Gampy Funeral … but Jared never really knew why! )

But doesn’t anybody think these numbers are strange? People knew and saw Adam and Eve, walking around, buying bagels, for hundreds of years. And they had almost as much time to tell Noah all about it. But it doesn’t seem like anyone ever did.

We know nothing of Adam’s personal habits (the rumor is he was constantly nibbling on fruit)!
We know nothing about what the family did for his funeral, or for Eve’s funeral. It is almost as if Adam and Eve, were figureheads… statues … not real people… I know, I know… hard to imagine!

But someone emailed me a photo believed to be from an archaeological site… it was marked ZED!

But the Aramaic carvings are confusing … carved at their feet their ages are texts saying “578 years old” and and “578 year old”, respectively! But, truth be told, they don’t look a day older than say 167 years … if they consistently laid out in the sun when ultraviolet was at its most intense!

The Genesis account is highly condensed and omits much detail that we 21st Century humans would like to see. Neither do we have details of how Moses celebrated his anniversary or what Jesus gave his mother for her birthday.
These sorts of details are just not relevant for the type of history the Bible is telling.

I disagree. This is an ancillary benefit in my opinion. Christianity’s primary value is in attaining eternal life.

Actually Jesus had a very high view of scripture and quoted it often, which to me implies that He believed it and, by extension, so should we.

The paradox is if eternal life is something independent of the subjective things like wish, belief, etc., then it must be something you can show just like you show people the moon, if it’s dependent on the subjective things, then when people die, the subjective things disappear, and eternal life disappears together with them, and then people have no eternal life to live.

Eternal life being independent of subjective things does not imply that it one must be able to show it, like the moon. The multiverse might be real, and yet we may never be able to show it, like the moon. Dark energy and dark matter may be real, but we may never be able to show it, like the moon. There is no paradox.

That’s easy. It is either real or it’s not, independent of what any of us believe. (Whether you attain eternal life might depend on what you believe, but the reality of eternal life does not.)

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Why is so hard to take the Bible literally when it needed to be? Here is a summary of Genesis 5

And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
And all the days of Noah were nine hundred and fifty years: and he died. Genesis 5:5,8,11,14,17,20,23,27,31,9:29 (KJV)

The Bible literally says that total years that each of these souls lived on Earth, not how long their physical body lived, where there is no genetic support. From reincarnation research we know that 25-30 lifetimes is the norm, which equates to about 930 years in total. What I find most enlightening is that the yahwehist lists Adam much later, indicating that his restoration actually took much more total time than Enos and the others.

You didn’t mention anything that could prove the existence of eternal life.

I thought I was clear that that the fact that there isn’t anything that proves the existence of eternal life (or the multiverse or dark matter or dark energy or God) does not mean than these things cannot be real.

There’s a difference between a possibility and a fact.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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