The Creation Myths: Internal Difficulties
Most skeptics tend to dismiss the story told in the first three chapters of Genesis as so obviously mythical as to be unworthy of any serious discussion. Therein lies the main difficulty-most fundamentalists do not! Thus we have no choice but to look at the accounts closely.
Two Contradictory Creation Stories
Let us start by pointing out that that there are actually two separate and different stories of creation contained in Genesis. The first is given in Genesis 1: 1-2:4 while the second is given in Genesis 2: 4-24. That these two stories are actually different (mutually exclusive accounts) we will show below:
According to the first creation story the whole universe was made in six days, while on the seventh day, God rested. The table below gives the order of creation as described in those verses:
|Day||Relevant Verses||Things Created|
Genesis 1: 20-23
“Firmanent” (the sky)
Dry Land, Seas, Plants
Sun, Moon and “the stars also”
Fish, “sea monsters”, winged bird.
Cattle, “creeping things”, beasts and finally man.
Given below is the second story.
Genesis 2:4-9, 18-19 |
In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground, then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food...
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him." So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
The two stories contradict each other in many areas:
It is quite obvious that we are looking at two contrary accounts of the creation of the universe. And if they are contrary, at least one must be false-i.e. just by looking within the Bible itself we have shown that at least one story is a myth.
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There are further problems with the story of creation in Genesis chapter one:
- We know today that the phenomenon of night and day is caused by the rotation of the earth moving different parts of the earth away from or towards the sun. Yet, we are told that there was evening and morning from the first day-but that the sun was only created on the fourth day!
- Why does God need to “separate the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:18) on the fourth day when there was already “evening and morning” on the first day ? (Genesis 1:5)
The second account too has its own internal problems:
We have thus accomplished our first task; we have shown that the creation accounts are filled with contradictions, mythical and pre-scientific elements.
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|1.||McKinsey, Biblical Errancy, p354-356|
|2.||Graves & Patai, Hebrew Myths: p25|
|3.||Graves & Patai, Hebrew Myths, p24|
|4.||McKinsey, Biblical Errancy, p356-357|
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