The Search for Understanding
I have sat here playing froggy on my phone for 2 hours, procrastinating. I want to start this project, but fear is holding me back.
I am afraid of what people will think of this project. I am afraid of a chain reaction being set off. I am afraid of what people will say behind my back. Afraid of this affecting relationships with family or friends. But most of all, I am afraid of what I will discover.
I have started this project before - over a year ago. I got as far as Noah, Noah’s ark was an interesting tale growing up. But reading it as an adult and seeing the things that adults choose not to tell children really bothered me. It has taken me a long time to come to terms with the idea of the bible becoming something I wasn't taught. Instead I am going to see thing very differently and it’s going to shake me to my core and I am not sure if I can handle it.
The Search for Understanding Is a research project into the Bible. Take it one chapter at a time, reviewing my thoughts on the context. Creating a safe haven for myself and anyone else to discuss ideas, theologies, morals, etc on the words within. The goal is to overcome those mentioned fears and come to a greater understanding of how I feel with what I was taught. I hope this doesn’t sound cryptic.
I will be using the Skeptics Annotated Bible as well as a NIV Version as I have paper copies of both. Google will be a great tool in this, so most links will be from a Google search I have done or be linked back to Skeptics Annotated. My goal is to go through all the books within the bible, chapter by chapter starting with Genesis. Most weeks will be one chapter, other weeks may contain more (mostly the ones that contain genealogy). Genesis is broken down into 40 Chapters and should take approx. 40 weeks.
If you would like to take part I would love any opinions shared. But please keep in mind that this is a safe haven and not a place to argue. Discussion is open to anyone, but I hold the right to cut any content that is destructive. All opinions are my own, unless otherwise stated. Please keep in mind that this is a journey and something that I will be struggling through.
Let’s Begin Genesis 1 I was taught creationism growing up. So the idea of evolution has never really been explained to me. This is something that frustrates me, is the lack of correlation between religion and science. On one hand they should be kept separate (like state policy and religion need to be) but on the other creationism and evolution are taught as if they are two different things.
Moving beyond the fact that science shows things in a different order than what is listed in Genesis 1:1, 1:3 (earth is created before light), 1:16 (sun and stars), 1:21 (birds and whales), 1:24 (reptiles and insects), 1:11 (flowering plants), and 1:20 (before any animals). The author of Genesis didn’t have access to the science we have now. If you consider what the author had access to then, his deductions may(?) make sense. It also makes sense that better facts will come to light as the years pass. With that in mind, I don’t understand why creationism and evolution can’t work together. I have heard it said that a day in God’s eye is a millennium to a human. Why should creationism and evolution be treated any differently?
Evolution to a degree is in the bible. The only current example of this I have is Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass… he didn’t create grass himself, he allowed the earth to bring it forth. However as I am not well versed in Evolution/Creationism, I'd like to move beyond this for now.
The Sun and the stars are created on the fourth day Genesis 1:14-19. But light is created and divided on the first day Genesis 1:3-5. How could there be “evening and morning” on the first day if there was no sun to mark them? Plants are also created before the sun and stars on days 3. But plants need the sun to drive their photosynthetic processes. So how did that work?
Genesis 1:10 Earth is the whole ball (for lack of better terminology), it encompasses the dry-land and the seas. Based on this verse would we not call dry-land earth versus dry-land and call “earth” something else?? Also the use of the word firmament is very confusing. This is why I like to bring up the NIV version as well, because instead of firmament it uses the word “vault” and while strange makes more sense. In the NIV version Genesis 1:10 has also been changed from the word earth to land.
And this brings up my biggest issue with the Bible. Each version of the bible has been translated by an person or group who have their own ideas about how things should be interpreted. Not every word is interchangeable, with language adjustments taken into consideration and the book being “2000” years old, it's hard for me to trust in a book that can so easily be adjusted to suit a person’s needs. I think I would like to cover this topic thoroughly in another post.
One of the things that Skeptics Annotated notes is Genesis 1:26. “Let them have dominion” is a verse that is used to justify mistreatment of other species and disregard the environment. This brings up the concept of morals into play and where you get your morals from. Jumping ahead a bit, but if Adam and Eve were the very first humans, I would assume they got their morals from God. An all knowing God should have foreseen Eve speaking to the serpent. Arguments can be made that he wanted Adam and Eve free will. But that leads me to, God showing favor in received sacrifices. You think he would have not shown favor on Abel’s sacrifice to prevent Cain from murdering him, that would not have harmed free will (Please note that I have not reread the story of Cain and Abel).
Moving On… I understand that Genesis 1:28 says to be fruitful and multiply but at that time there was only Adam and Eve, obviously they needed to multiply. In today’s day and age, there is not enough space on the planet and children starving. Until we solve that, multiplying should be the least of our worries.
Genesis 1:29-30 the bible supports vegetarianism at this point and poisonous plants don’t exist.
Verse 31 ends with “behold, it was very good.” Skeptics Annotated notes “God purposefully designed a system that ensures the suffering and death of all his creatures, parasite and host, predator and prey.” I want to give the book the benefit of doubt and say it was good until the fall of man, which happens when Eve bit the apple.
Stay tuned for next week where we jump into Genesis 2!