BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Should We Take Creation Stories in Genesis Literally?

Finding multiple truths in Biblical myths

garden-of-eden-fall-of-man

What purpose did creation stories in Genesis serve? Were they Biblical myths? Pictured here is The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man (c. 1617) by Flemish painters Peter Paul Rubens and Jan Brueghel the Elder.

Were the creation stories in Genesis meant to be taken literally?

Maybe not, says Biblical scholar Shawna Dolansky in her Biblical Views column “The Multiple Truths of Myths” in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Our world is very different from the world in which the Biblical authors lived over 2,000 years ago. The ancient world did not have Google, Wikipedia and smartphones—access to information on human history and scientific achievements developed over millennia at the touch of their fingertips.

Many scholars believe that the ancient Israelites had creation stories that were told and retold; these stories eventually reached the Biblical authors, who wrote them down in Genesis and other books of the Bible. Creation stories in Genesis were etiological, Shawna Dolansky and other Biblical scholars argue.1 That is, the creation stories in Genesis served to provide answers to why the world was the way it was, such as why people wear clothes and why women experience pain during childbirth.


In the free eBook Exploring Genesis: The Bible’s Ancient Traditions in Context, discover the cultural contexts for many of Israel’s earliest traditions. Explore Mesopotamian creation myths, Joseph’s relationship with Egyptian temple practices and three different takes on the location of Ur of the Chaldees, the birthplace of Abraham.


Creation stories in Genesis were among the many myths that were told in the ancient Near East. Today we may think of myths as beliefs that are not true, but as a literary genre, myths “are stories that convey and reinforce aspects of a culture’s worldview: many truths,” writes Dolansky. So to call something a myth—in this sense—does not necessarily imply that it is not true.

Scholars argue that Biblical myths arose within the context of other ancient Near Eastern myths that sought to explain the creation of the world. Alongside Biblical myths were Mesopotamian myths in which, depending on the account, the creator was Enlil, Mami or Marduk. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the creator of the world was Atum in one creation story and Ptah in another.

shawna-dolansky

Shawna Dolansky

“Like other ancient peoples, the Israelites told multiple creation stories,” writes Shawna Dolansky in her Biblical Views column. “The Bible gives us three (and who knows how many others were recounted but not preserved?). Genesis 1 differs from Genesis 2–3, and both diverge from a third version alluded to elsewhere in the Bible, a myth of the primordial battle between God and the forces of chaos known as Leviathan (e.g., Psalm 74), Rahab (Psalm 89) or the dragon (Isaiah 27; 51). This battle that preceded creation has the Mesopotamian Enuma Elish as its closest analogue. In Enuma Elish, the god Marduk defeats the chaotic waters in the form of the dragon Tiamat and recycles her corpse to create the earth.”

In what other ways do Biblical myths parallel ancient Near Eastern myths? What can we learn about the world in which the ancient Israelites lived through the creation stories in Genesis? Learn more by reading the full Biblical Views column “The Multiple Truths of Myths” by Shawna Dolansky in the January/February 2016 issue of BAR.

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BAS Library Members: Read the full Biblical Views column “The Multiple Truths of Myths” by Shawna Dolansky in the January/February 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on January 31, 2016.


 

Notes:

1. For example, see Ziony Zevit, “Was Eve Made from Adam’s Rib—or His Baculum?” BAR, September/October 2015; Mary Joan Winn Leith, “ReViews: Restoring Nudity,” BAR, May/June 2014.


 

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

The Adam and Eve Story: Eve Came From Where?

The Creation of Woman in the Bible

What Does the Bible Say About Infertility?

How the Serpent Became Satan by Shawna Dolansky

Love Your Neighbor: Only Israelites or Everyone? by Richard Elliott Friedman
From the September/October 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review

The Animals Went in Two by Two, According to Babylonian Ark Tablet


 

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106 Responses

  1. Robert Pahls says:

    Oh good, more resources in support of not believing the historical narrative of the Bible, as if it is just yet another book from men (not God? We’ll just ignore 2 Timothy 3:16… and the references Jesus made to both creation and Noah’s flood). Ironic this article is in “Bible History Daily” – hey, it’s not ‘history’ if you don’t believe it. Have you considered the possibility that the Bible is actually true and similar creation/flood stories are found with the Babylonians and other cultures of the time because it is true, though they have twisted the truth to suit their own desires and rejection of the only true God? Broad is the road that leads to destruction, so thanks for helping to pave the way to not believing in the authenticity, the historicity, and authority of God’s word, I think?

  2. MichaelDooley says:

    It is instructive to study the words of Christ in the gospels regarding the Torah in general and Genesis in particular. I recently did such a study and found 54 references to the Torah in the gospels mostly in the words of Christ. My study made at least 12 points abundantly clear.
    1. He believed that the Torah was written by Moses.
    2. He believed that the Torah was inspired by God.
    3. He believed that the Torah was inerrant.
    4. He believed that the Torah was literal history.
    5. He believed that the Torah had theological authority.
    6. He believed that the Adam and Eve existed at the beginning of creation.
    7. He believed that Abel was slain near the beginning of creation.
    8. He believed that Satan had been deceiving mankind since the beginning of creation.
    9. He identified himself as the Lord of the Sabbath.(derived from a literal 6 day creation)
    10. He identified himself as the “I Am that I Am” that spoke directly to Moses.
    11. He identified himself at the Shepherd of Israel.
    12. He identified himself as the Stone (rock) of Israel.

    So as a Christian, if one thinks of Genesis as a mere myth derived from ancient pagan sources, one is in direct disagreement with Jesus Christ. One has to believe that Jesus was wrong, or misled, or just a “child of his time”, which I think seriously reflects on his claim of divinity. And for me personally, with all due respect, if there is choice to believe Jesus’ words, or the words of modern scholars, I know who I am going to believe.

    So to deny

  3. denise the greath says:

    The Near East thought in terms of function, not materialistically. The Creation story should be read in a functional sense, not a material sense. Think of creating light as creating a period of light (that is distinquished from a period of darkness) and that is named “day”. In this way, what was created on day one was TIME. The remaining days in the Creation story make much more sense with this understanding.

  4. John says:

    J.T. says: “Day 1: God separated light from darkness. Scientifically that means the creation of stars and galaxies”
    This is not correct……..Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning (whenever that was),
    God created the heavens and the earth.
    The earth could have been in existence for millions of years, before day 1 of the creation, when God turned His attention to the earth to make it habitable………and these creative days were each thousands of years in length.

  5. J.T. Smith says:

    While the texts are written in rather broad strokes, they do agree with scientists for the most part. The trick is to realize that a day is defined as the complete rotation of a planet upon its axis, but in the beginning there was nothing, so there was no way to measure a day.

    Day 1: God separated light from darkness. Scientifically that means the creation of stars and galaxies.

    Day 2: God separated the heavens and earth. Creation of planets, comets, etc., et al.

    Day 3: God separated the land from water. Next in planetary evolution would be when icy comets struck the Earth delivering water.

    Etc. Even the animals being created before humans.

    The thing to remember is that both creation stories in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis should be considered to be the highlights, rather like the sports section of the newspaper or evening news, rather than giving every detail, like watching those same sports live and in person.

  6. Walter R. Mattfeld says:

    I have written two books (in 2010) on the pre-biblical origins of Genesis’ Garden of Eden story tracing that story’s motifs to Mesopotamian myths which were recast by the Hebrews. They are (1) Eden’s Serpent: It Mesopotamian Origins, and (2) The Garden of Eden Myth: Its Pre-biblical Origin in Mesopotamian Myths. Both books are illustrated and with maps. They are available via Amazon.com. My two books cite the research of PhD scholars, circa 1858-2010, trained in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Between 1858 and 1898, a number of scholars had concluded that motifs and scenarios found in Genesis were recasts of motifs in earlier Mesopotamian works like Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, Adapa and the South Wind, and the Enuma Elish, etc. By 1858 Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson of England had identified Eden’s serpent to be a recast of the Babylonian god called Ea living at Eridu in ancient Sumer (Ea was called Enki by the Sumerians). Rawlinson is famed for his ability to read ancient Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform texts (unearthed in the 1840s-1890s in Iraq). Professor Morris Jastrow of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, had by 1898-9 identified Adam and Eve as recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat (his Eabani and Ukhat) of the Epic of Gilgamesh. By 1892 Professor Archibald Henry Sayce of Oxford University had identified Adapa of Eridu as also being recast into Genesis’ Adam. This research published between 1858-1899 is available only via Google searches. Yahoo is useless in this task. Google got permission to digitalize and copy to the internet out of print texts in Universities and Seminaries in Europe and America and thus these works are now available for the public to access. Most Christians, Jews and Moslems are unaware of the existence of this research made 1858-1898. Why? The public outrage and condemnation that initally met these scholar’s declarations that Genesis was recast Mesopotamian myths, was so intense and scathing that it was decided not to publish this research anymore for general public consumption. So the research was published quietly only in Academic Journals serving Universities with Departments of Ancient Near Eastern Studies. My website also deals with these issues, http://www.bibleorigins.net quoting from these scholars’ research, 1858-1898, and even later, to 2017.

  7. Eddie Ventley says:

    “many truths” is as ambiguous as they come. It can be whatever one wants to believe. Certainly, there would be allegorical levels as well, but these ride upon the original succinct recording of the creation story. Both creation biology and plasma cosmology easily fit the Genesis account.
    More here: http://www.setterfield.org/

  8. Shane Byrnes says:

    Nope. Genesis is not a historical text.

  9. Ryan McGinnis says:

    Some of these so-called “professors/theologians” need to stop buying the “evolution/false science hype, and start reading the research done that proves the Biblical texts are true and literal. Some are just made to be destroyed.

  10. Wes says:

    There is no doubt that Genesis is to be taken literally. Luke 3:38 genealogy traces Jesus’s lineage back to Adam. (as a real person). ! Chr.1:1,Hos 6:7, Rom 5:14,1 Cor.15:12,45; 1 Tim 2 13-14; Jude 1 14. All represent Adam as a historical figure.
    Genesis is the foundational book for the Christian faith. Foundational to Christian
    theology and Christian morality. Satan, the great deceiver still asks ” Did God really say”?

  11. Bruce Hal Miner says:

    As I read through your Minimalist interpretation of ha satan, I was surprised that you never referred to Ezekiel 28:1-19 and it’s clear and specific definition of and the history of Ha Ra – the evil one. (My use of “Minimalist” comes from the additional articles of yours that I read.) That was not the only significant passage that you neglected to include, but, to me, it is about the most significant and important that you failed to address.
    May I add, that in your repetition of “myths” of Genesis & Creation, I would be quite happy to share with you the many unfolding proofs of biblical Creation – shall I start with: who created the Big Bang?

  12. Joseph Bongiorno says:

    Conventional scholarship that plays safe, says nothing new, and reiterates bad biblical exegesis, ad nauseum. This is the problem with this magazine and why I stopped subscribing. It’s stuck in the 1980s and refuses to move forward with some of the exciting, challenging, but solid scholarship that’s been coming out of late, and which is changing the landscape of biblical understanding.

    If you want to know why the Genesis accounts seem to conflict, or what the Serpent portends, or how we can understand the Bible literally, but not stupidly, please see the works of Dr. Michael S. Heiser.

  13. Dennis B. Swaney says:

    They are just as literal as the stories of ancient Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, etc. Besides the stories in Genesis don’t agree even with each other.

  14. Alan Schuetz says:

    Yes, it should be taken literally. Otherwise, we’d have to believe the #FakeScience that we are hurtling through space on an oblate spheroid spinning at approximately 1,040 mph at the equator (0 mph at the poles) on an elliptical path around a GV2 yellow dwarf star that is rotating at 514K mph around an arm of the Milky Way spiral galaxy (taking 230M years to orbit it), which has a supermassive black hole at its center, while said galaxy is allegedly moving away from the origin of the Big Bang at an astonishing 1.3M mph! Wow!!! And, these are the same “scientists” who tell us exactly how the core of our planet is comprised, yet the deepest borehole ever drilled (Kola Superdeep Borehole) is 7.62 miles… and (gasp!) they discovered the “waters below” just as is described in the Bible. We have been indoctrinated since birth with our solar system mobiles on our cribs. #WakeUp #QuestionEverything

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole

  15. lovemore nganunu says:

    Should We Take Creation Stories in Genesis Literally?

    YES! and no further comments

  16. wes says:

    If we really want to be strict in these matters of Biblical interpretation, then we should consider the case of Galileo Galilei in the early 17th century. It was pointed out to him that his views conflicted with verses in several OT books.

    Heliocentrism conflicts with references such as Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 which include text stating that “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, “the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place.”

    In February 1616, an Inquisitorial commission declared heliocentrism to be “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” The Inquisition found that the idea of the Earth’s movement “receives the same judgement in philosophy and… in regard to theological truth it is at least erroneous in faith”.

    In all fairness, anyone who believes that the Earth rotates on its axis against the fixed stars or orbits in a path about the Sun is not simply in disagreement with Ptolemy and 3rd century Egyptian astronomers, but the texts cited above.

    Like the police inspector in the movie Casablanca, I am shocked that no one has jumped on this error in belief as well. After all, the controversy was explicit enough to construct a case of heresy and obtain a guilty verdict. I don’t think there were any biblical scholars of the 17th century rushing to the rescue.

  17. jerrym83 says:

    QUESTION ABOVE
    “Should We Take Creation Stories in Genesis Literally?”

    If we do not take the creation story in Genesis as true and literal. one ought to throw the Holy Bible away, it will not serve anyone any logical purpose at all…!

  18. Tyndale says:

    Is anyone on this posting a Christian or what…? I just don’t know for sure…?

  19. alans73 says:

    This is the seventh of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 7 (“evening” of 3/22 and “morning” of 3/23 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (NASB)

    This is the first of God’s appointed times — the weekly Sabbath:

    Leviticus 23:3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. (NASB)

    For those of you who think that “New Testament Christians” don’t need to at least understand the Law (Torah), this is in Christ’s own words:

    Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (NASB)

    With that being said, I will leave you with this message:

    2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

    Don’t believe what I’ve posted regarding the creation; study it for yourself! The Holy Spirit, our Helper, was sent on Pentecost/Feast of Weeks in 36 CE to guide us. You don’t need some mega church or denomination:

    Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (NASB)

    Shema Yisrael!

    #QuestionEverything

  20. alans73 says:

    This is the sixth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 6 (“evening” of 3/21 and “morning” of 3/22 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (NASB)

    To recap, God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, a formless water world, and His Son (the Light of the world; the firstborn of creation; everything was created through and for Him)
    Day 2: The atmosphere and clouds
    Day 3: A supercontinent as well as all terrestrial flora
    Day 4: The sun, moon, and stars
    Day 5: All aquatic and avian species
    Day 6: All terrestrial fauna including mankind

    Why did God say, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…?” Because we were a special creation. Remember: There is not only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but a multitude of Heavenly Hosts including archangels, angels, cherubim, and seraphim. In the opening verses of Genesis 6 and expounded upon in the Book of Enoch, the Book of Giants, et al., it is stated that the “sons of God” (lit. fallen angels — aka Watchers) came to Earth at Mount Hermon; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hermon#Epigraphy.2C_archaeology_and_references_in_religious_texts. They had sexual relations with the “daughters of men,” and their progeny were literal giants. There were several kinds, but the first were called Nephilim; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephilim. Bottom line: Human males are so closely related to angels that there is sexual compatibility with women. Now, what these fallen angels did and the mysteries they taught were abominations and ultimately led to the Great Flood in the time of Noah, but the fact remains, man was made in the image of the Elohim (the family of God)!

    Who is taught this at their church or synagogue? Why are the archaeological remains of these giants hidden from the general public? See http://www.sydhav.no/giants/newspapers.htm. Folks, it’s time for a spiritual awakening! We are a very special creation — the ONLY species on Earth capable of having the indwelling Holy Spirit in our circumcised hearts. Our body is a temple, and our heart is the Holy of Holies!

    1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (NASB)

    Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NASB)

    The Big Bang and evolution attempt to downplay our standing in this wonderful thing called God’s creation. We have been deceived…

    #QuestionEverything

  21. alans73 says:

    This is the fifth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 5 (“evening” of 3/20 and “morning” of 3/21 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (NASB)

    To recap, God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, a formless water world, and His Son (the Light of the world; the firstborn of creation)
    Day 2: The atmosphere and clouds
    Day 3: A supercontinent as well as all flora including seed-bearing plants and fruit-yielding trees
    Day 4: The sun, moon, and stars
    Day 5: All aquatic and avian species

    For those trying to reconcile creationism with evolution… Could all forms of terrestrial flora exist without the sun if each “day” represented eons? Paleontologists state that birds had a reptilian ancestor (see http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_06), but terrestrial species are not created until Day 6. Furthermore, this portion of the evolution debate hinges upon the alleged intermediate Archaeopteryx; see a well-researched counterpoint here: https://www.icr.org/article/321/. Regardless of mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, it is still taught that Archaeopteryx is an intermediate species in our schools and universities. Evolution predicts there would be thousands upon thousands of intermediates discovered in the fossil record; look at how far the reach had to be to produce one!

    Recall, too, that the Big Bang theory supposes that the sun would form first then slough off matter to form planets, moons, et al. These cockamamie theories and Biblical creation cannot be reconciled, so why continue the futility?

    Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (NASB)

    #QuestionEverything

  22. alans73 says:

    This is the fourth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 4 (“evening” of 3/19 and “morning” of 3/20 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate 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 expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (NASB)

    Now, it really starts getting good… the sun, moon, and stars were created for what? SIGNS and for SEASONS and for DAYS and YEARS! Yes, folks, this was when time as we know it began, and there is only ONE calendar in the world that affirms this essential truth — the one discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf.

    Note that the first day of the first month of Abib (not Nisan!) commences on THE FOURTH DAY OF THE WEEK during the creation week. And, all of God’s appointed times occur on the same day of the week in perpetuity! The false Babylonian (Masoretic) calendar of the modern Jewry certainly doesn’t allow for that; see https://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00674.html. Heck, the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) with all their “wise” sages state that the creation week commences in the seventh month. There is no mention of Rosh Hashanah or “head of the year” in the entirety of the TaNaKh; that is the machinations of men. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/rh1.html. It’s just a bunch of meaningless drivel…

    Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (NASB)

    Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” (NASB)

    Others of you may be thinking: this guy has totally lost his marbles; today is Sunday — not the THIRD day of the week!* (Recall that the fourth day does not occur until this evening). I submit to you that we follow both the pagan Gregorian (from the Julian originating from Rome) and the Masoretic (originating from Babylon) calendars (among others). Ask yourself: Would Satan, who desires to corrupt EVERYTHING from the Most High, change His calendar, too? Did God’s day start at midnight or when the sun’s orb “kisses” the horizon in the west? Folks, again, we have been deceived….

    Shema Yisrael!

    *Note: This was originally posted on the morning of Sunday, March 19, 2017; therefore, it was still the third day of the week at that time. The fourth day of the week commenced on the “evening” of 3/19 at twilight — when the sun’s orb sits just on the horizon in the western sky towards sunset.

  23. alans73 says:

    This is the third of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 3 (“evening” of 3/18 and “morning” of 3/19 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. (NASB)

    So, what does the Big Bang and evolution predict? Matter magically coalescing into stars; stars magically sloughing off matter to form planets, moons, asteroids, et al. in a solar system; a fraction of planets magically acquiring an atmosphere; a fraction of planets magically acquiring an atmosphere able to support life as we know it; a fraction of those planets magically having liquid water in a temperature range between 0-100 degrees Celsius, exclusive; a fraction of those planets magically raining down inorganic elements able to support life as we know it; a fraction of those planets forming a correct composition of an organic, primordial soup (from inorganic elements in an extremely hostile environment no less); a fraction of those planets with magically forming amino acids with the appropriate stereochemistry to form polypeptide chains to form proteins; yada, yada, yada; ad infinitum. Honestly, who thinks that is even possible in billions of “years?” Again, it’s a statistical improbability regardless of the multitude of solar systems in galaxies with black holes at their center.

    What does the Bible say? God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, the waters, a formless world, and His Son (the Light of the world)
    Day 2: The atmosphere (=heavens) and the cloud types
    Day 3: Dry land (a supercontinent some refer to as Pangea) as well as vegetation — seed-bearing plants and fruit-yielding trees — after gathering the superocean (some refer to it as Panthalassa).

    Where are the sun, moon, and stars? Oops! They haven’t been created yet. What life appeared first? Terrestrial flora. That also solves one conundrum: plants vs. seeds. Does that mesh with the Big Bang and evolution theories? Not even remotely…

    In the following year, this particular day served a very special function: it was the vernal equinox that marked the last day of the year (or the day before the first day of the year depending on your perspective). The Book of Enoch describes exactly when the equinoxes take place — on the day of the year when the sun first sets due west (270 degrees) and rises due east (90 degrees) in the appropriate season at the most important place on Earth! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/1Enoch/1Enoch-Sun.pdf.

    When does that occur in accordance with the (pagan!) Gregorian calendar in 2017? On the evening of March 18th and the morning of March 19th; see https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/israel/jerusalem?month=3&year=2017.

    But, wait… there’s a five minute difference between the length of the “evening” and the length of the “morning.” That’s because our “day” is short! According to God’s calendar, the year is 364 days, and each day is divided into 18 portions — not 24 hours. A sidereal year (a year in relation to the fixed stars) is 365.242189 days.

    365.242189 / 364 = 1.00341260714 x 24 hrs/day = 24.0819025714 hrs/day

    0.0819025714 hrs = 4 mins 54.8492571429 secs (which roughly equates to the 5 minute differential observed above)

    Our “astronomers” tell us that the equinox falls on March 20, 2017. The modern equinox/equilux definition has nothing to do with the implied meaning of equal parts night/light! The equinox is based on the alleged time when “the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun.” God’s law has been changed (i.e., His definition of a year, day, and portion). We have been deceived… nothing is quite as it appears. That’s what Satan does, folks. Shema Yisrael!

  24. alans73 says:

    This is the second of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 2 (“evening” of 3/17 and “morning” of 3/18 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (NASB)

    So, on the second day, our atmosphere was created! The waters above are contained in clouds, and waters below were what we know as the ocean (prior to any land mass). The word translated as “expanse” in these verses is likewise translated as “firmament.”

    From Merriam-Webster:
    firmament
    noun fir·ma·ment ˈfər-mə-mənt
    1: the vault or arch of the sky : heavens

    This is what was created specifically on this day: The atmosphere or “heavens” (what meteorologists et al. call the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, exosphere, and magnetosphere) as well as the differing cloud types (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cloud_types).

    The Big Bang theory suggests that the initial state of the entire universe was one of INFINITE density and temperature at a finite point in time. I challenge ANYONE to explain how that could possibly occur; it defies ALL known scientific laws! Plus, from where did that dense matter of incredible temperature originate? It simply came into existence from nothingness? What scientific law proves that ANYTHING can be formed from NOTHING? There isn’t — one must have FAITH! Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” states that the universe expands, contracts back into the “initial state” or singularity then expands again in an endless cosmological cycle, yet he NEVER explains how that singularity came to be in the first place or exactly why all the laws of physics breakdown within it. He is called one of the greatest minds of our time; I submit that he is given nearly unlimited intellectual leeway due to his physical infirmity.

    All this infinite matter magically coalesced into stars which magically started a fusion reactor in each. Billions of stars magically formed galaxies. Sloughed off matter from stars magically formed planets, moons, asteroids, and every other celestial body in solar systems all while traveling through infinite space at incomprehensible speeds. Recall that we’re allegedly on a spinning oblate spheroid in an elliptical orbit around the sun that is in a rotating arm of the Milky Way galaxy which has a black hole at its center. It’s laughable when you really think about it, but we were all indoctrinated into this way of thinking from the time we had solar system mobiles attached to our cribs.

    In a fraction of planets, water magically formed and in even fewer, atmospheres, and in fewer still — life! What logical, intellectually honest person could believe in such a fantasy — even over billions of “years?” It would certainly require FAITH! Even all the essential amino acids (which originate from diet alone) cannot be synthesized in a lab — much less in a primordial soup in the unimaginably harsh environment of early Earth. That doesn’t even touch upon the complexity of even single-celled organisms and all the intricate, biochemical processes that must occur beforehand to form them in an undirected way. Then, these organisms must magically evolve — again in an undirected way unsupported by the fossil record (lacking evidence of intermediates) — into the interdependent biodiversity in myriad biospheres and habitats observed in our modern world. It’s statistically IMPOSSIBLE! Folks, we have been deceived…

  25. alans73 says:

    This is the first of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 1 (“evening” of 3/16 and “morning” of 3/17 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (NASB)

    And, here is the mystery… Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (NASB)

    Confirmation of the mystery… John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (NASB)

    According to Reuben Alcalay, a famous Hebrew lexicographer, Christ’s Name (Heb. Yehoshu’a [yod-he-vav-shin-ayin]/Eng. Joshua) is closely associated with “Let there be…”

    Christ is the Word and the Light — the firstborn of creation. All things were created through and for Him! If one believes in the Big Bang theory and evolution, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see Genesis 1:2) are ALL denied….

    We have been deceived!

    * https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/10/28/pope-francis-backs-theory-of-evolution-says-god-is-no-wizard/?utm_term=.c9c78de389d0
    * http://www.nas.edu/evolution/StatementsReligion.html
    * http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/06/christians-evolution_n_4732998.html
    * http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/theology/religions.php
    * http://www.pewforum.org/2009/02/04/religious-groups-views-on-evolution/

    Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (NASB)

    Shema, Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

  26. Steve says:

    I do appreciate BAR for its archeological reviews. But I had not realized until now where it stood, or failed to stand, from a theological standpoint. That said, i can no longer support their efforts and will be canceling my support and subscription.

  27. albertv10 says:

    If you are a true child of the living God then the Bible is the only authority, the only scripture to believe in. If you are a true child of the living God then you will experience His divine interaction with you on a constant basis. If you are a true child of the living God then you will feel the Spirit of God dwell in you.

    If you experience these things then you will not at any point doubt the authority of the Word of God(Jesus Christ) who made everything during the creation time period, who sustains everything since the creation and still does today.

    What is described in Genesis 1-11 is way above and beyond the mind of the creature, only the One that created can do what was done.

    We are all living a life of death on this planet, still blessed by God every single day whether we love Him or follow Him, we are all his children created in His image for His pleasure and glory. What happens when we die depends on what happened when we lived. Free will is a gift from God, use it wisely.

  28. Sheila says:

    Frankly, in 2017 why is this even a question – what happened to the world of the biblical scholar? Just a rhetorical question – I do know the answer.

  29. Dawn says:

    Believing is part of faith. I believe the stories of Creation that are in the Bible are literal (taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory) and true.
    Hebrews 11:1-3 ” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    For by it the elders obtained a good report.

    Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

  30. victorz8 says:

    To BAR: How did Shawna Dolansky qualify as a “Biblical Scholar”? If you really believe that than why not consider a name change – “Biblical Nonsense Review”?

  31. Rick C says:

    When I taught Disciple Bible Study and the topic of literal interpretation came up, I had a simple exercise. I asked the students to tell me about the first three years of their child’s life. After all was said, I recapped the stories. Generally: the women experienced no pain; the child was born with a full head of hair, all teeth, and could walk and talk; never cried one day; etc. They replied that they only told me enough details so that I could get the picture. “Exactly,” I would say.

  32. wes says:

    Thanks for the post, Paul.
    Hoyle was an enjoyable, provocative writer of both fiction and fact.
    As a scientist, sometimes he was right, sometimes not.
    But as a clever advocate for an alternative to an existing theory, he was worth listening to.
    As many know, some of the early contributors to the Big Bang theory of
    cosmology were religious people, most notably Father Georges. Lemaitre.
    Perhaps you could call his contribution Biblical Archeology of a very fundamental type. Lemaitre was said to advise Pius XII against taking an advocacy on this discovery or conclusion, however. It was Lemaitre who recommended that we keep open minds in our search for truth whichever way the path twists and turns.

    In that sense, when we see something in scripture which does not jive with what we know or experience, we should not ignore it, but investigate it. In searching deeper we hope for better understanding.

  33. rmpearlman says:

    Yes, it is the reliable testimony needed in order to understand science in context.
    reference RCCF (The Recent Complex creation Framework) – for how to understand the science in max. available context.

  34. Dr. Derek P. Blake, Ph.D says:

    You do realise that if the creation is just a myth, then it makes the Christian faith a complete lie? With articles like this we can understand the decline in the Christian faith, simply because with evolution we are exactly what God intended us to be, so why do we need a Saviour? We would not. It is so sad when what we consider to be Christian organisations come up with this sort of anti-scriptural junk.
    In reality, the creation account fits very well the science that we know about the formation of the universe. There is also many scientific points contained in the Bible that your “world in which the Biblical authors lived over 2,000 years ago.” could not possibly have known. If only your writers would read the Bible and understand what the Bible is all about, we would be a lot better off.

  35. Paul says:

    I find both the article and the responses interesting. Historically within the Christian Church there have always been two schools of interpretation of the first six chapters of Genesis-the Antiochian School which was more literalist, and the Alexandrian school which took a more allegorical view. Today we see the rise of the Antiochian school in the understanding of many Christians, but the allegorical view of the Alexandrians irons out many difficulties a literalist point of view creates (no pun intended). Psalm 103 (LXX)/104 (Masoretic) is a Psalm of Creation of which Alexander Schmemann says that in that hymn the Church takes us back to “that first evening on which man…opened his eyes and saw what God is His love was giving to him” And in many ways this could set the standard for all interpretations of the various Creation Accounts which are found in Holy Scripture. Interestingly, the atheist scientist and astronomer Fred Hoyle rejected The Big Bang Theory because, he said, it implied the existence of God. Today very few atheists would deny the Big Bang Theory. Plato taught that God is the source of all things. These are all in line with Holy Scripture which says the “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. The fact is that God is the First Cause, the mechanics He used are in many ways are irrelevant

  36. george doucet says:

    I would not read that “book” if I were paid to do so! This is a glaring example of why people are getting farther from THE only true God. Such hogwash comes only from non-believers; and the Bible well mentions that kind of people, and how they will proliferate in the latter days. So we have apparently have arrived at that tome.

  37. Robert MacClennan says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Ms. Dolansky’s article and the comments. I think that this form of discussion and debate is most needed in the faith communities of the world today. Let me ad a single thought to the many well thought out answers already given.
    The biggest problem with failing to take the creation story literally is that you have just destroyed Jesus Christ as the redeeming Savior of mankind. From an OT view- if Genesis is false, then death and disease and violence can predate man by millions or billions of years. If that is true as many in science claim- then man’s sin did not cause death to enter the world. If that is true- then Christ’s sacrifice can not redeem us, because we were not the cause. From a NT perspective- if Adam and Eve and the rest of the Genesis story is fake- then Christ is not perfect (since He claimed that it was true)- thus destroying His perfection and voiding His acceptable sacrifice. Other than that, I think it is an interesting article.
    Blessings on your Journey through His word.
    Pastor Robert

  38. David Paul says:

    There are lots of people speaking out against this article who insist that it is wrong because it doesn’t agree with their own sense of what must be true about creation. They insist that they have the CORRECT understanding, and this understanding is provided by the Holy Spirit. They would ALL say that “the Holy Spirit leads into all truth”, and they would insist this article is false. The problem with that view is that if you took all of the people who posted those kinds of replies here and gathered them in a room, it is virtually CERTAIN that NONE of them would agree on all the various points of Biblical doctrine. Ironically, though, each one would likely INSIST that they were correct because the Holy Spirit had guided them into all truth. That is a serious problem, because it means one of three radical things:
    1) the Holy Spirit is a liar, telling fibs to every new person it encounters
    2) the Holy Spirit is a deranged psychotic with multiple personalities
    3) ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE GRAVELY MISTAKEN ON TWO POINTS: (A) they don’t really know what ‘:Elohhiym actually means (i.e. they misunderstand and misinterpret) when He says “the Spirit leads into all truth”, & (B) they don’t really comprehend what YHWH is doing, nor how and why He is doing it.

    Only one of those can be correct, and it isn’t 1 or 2. If you reject 1 & 2, then 3 MUST BE TRUE. There are no other options, because the second you say 3 isn’t true, you are immediately back to insisting 1 or 2 is true. Guess what? BIBLE PROPHECY INSISTS THAT 3 IS TRUE. Every single person who posted to this thread is a victim of “the strong delusion” and “the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH”. The Bible is CLEAR that many of those who are so deluded WILL THINK THEY HAVE A VALID AND CORRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. The fact that nearly everyone thinks that everyone else is a victim of delusion is PROOF that the strong delusion has already wrapped the world in a strangle hold. The Bible describes this condition in detail, and there isn’t much anyone can do but wait until He acts to remove the delusion. The upshot is this: your ability to (in your view) recognize error is others is NOT proof that you know truth. There are thousands upon thousands of “Spirit-led believers” who believe they have been shown a truth that you think is a lie. They say YOU are the liar. The REAL truth is that ALL OF YOU ARE DECEIVED, and you will stay that way until YHWH reaches the point in His plan when He removes the fog of deception that HE allowed the dragon to implement to “deceive the whole world”. I promise…you AREN’T the exception to that Bible truth.

    In such a circumstance, self-righteous pontificating about others’ errors is highly dangerous. Call me a hypocrite for saying so if you are so “led”.

  39. Paul Burroughs says:

    When 275 cultures report that there was a universal flood that was survived only by the occupants of a boat load of animals and a human family, then we are talking history, not mythology. Even what we all agree is mythology, like Greek and Roman mythology, we discover is only revisionist history where the good guys (Shem and his descendants) by other names are demonized, and the rebels (Ham, Cush, and Nimrod) by other names are lionized.

  40. George May says:

    The Genesis account is not allegorical nor a “summary” but a literal starting point for creation. The brevity of its actuality is all we need for our belief. There is no need to fear scholastic contrariness. However, it is always good to be accurate by reviewing the presuppositions going into the analysis of discovered artifacts. For example, Wescott and Hort gave us “textual criticism” with the purpose in mind for all Biblical students to (like them) approach the Bible as “literature” instead of “the Divine Word of God. In other words, it doesn’t matter what Christ said about the “Law and the Prophets” doubting God is a good thing.

  41. edward woolf says:

    if a bride claims to be a virgin, and can not prove it, should she be stoned? Ia an engaged woman is raped in the city limits, should meet the same punishment as her attacker, because she did not scream loud enough? according to the “innerrent word of God”, the answer to bout of these questions is yes..
    itf we allow the bible to be falible moarllay, how can we allow it to be infallible in tn the face of scientic discoveries

  42. Dr John G Leslie PhD, MD, PhD says:

    I completely disagree with almost everything the author, Shawna Dolansky, in the online article ‘Should We Take Creation Stories Literally?’ has to say. But, it is nothing new-“there is nothing new under the sun.” This same old debate rages back to the earliest of civilizations. Peter the Apostle warned against this in 2 Peter 2:5-7
    As well, Collin, in the comments section, makes good points about God’s ability to say what he means and preserve it. But I would like to add that I have studied the Noah Flood Account and it fits the concept of a True Narrative Account-that is an actual eye witness account. This is seen by the ancient words used in the text, a precise timeline, and the residual evidence for not only a local flood but an actual worldwide one time event. The observations of science: geology, biology, anthropology, and archaeology can be fit within a worldwide flood scenario . Historically, the Bible links the Flood with the judgment on Sodom-one worldwide and one local. Was the judgment on Sodom real? If one allogorizes it or the flood-does God really judge sin? Yet, it doesn’t stop there. The coming of Christ, in which every eye will see him: is that a legend, myth, fable or allogory? Will only those in the area of Jerusalem see Him? My understanding of the scriptures is that as God judged and distroyed all of mankind, except Noah and his family who had faith to obey Him; He will do the same at His, Jesus Christ’s, return to the earth during the end of times. Thus, both are portrayed as worldwide events in the Biblical scriptures.

    Do you interpet scripture by first looking at mans’s limited understanding of the physical earth, or do you first look at the scriptures and try to understand the limited observations of science within the all encompassing framework of the Biblical scriptures. As important, do you understand that science can only answer questions regarding the physical properties of earth and how to manipulate them for technology. When doing archaeology you and I are looking through a trash heap, so our evidence is often very limited and to what degree can we extrapolate it to understand the past. The Bible gives an accurate framework in which to understand the pyhsical evidence. Why would we, as Christians, want to manipulate it, the scriptures, to fit some limited transient, usually secular, ideas of mankind? Yet, I do not deny that Biblical archaeology has given us much information about the peoples of the ancient world, e.g. a Roman soldier’s uniform and the structures of buildings. But these observations do not change the framework of the scriptures. They color in the background.

    If you consider yourselves a Christian organization then I beg you to not compromise the integrity of God’s Holy Word, as many have.
    See what Jesus said:

    Luke 17:
    1 “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!….
    26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
    27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
    28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
    29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
    30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” KJV

  43. Charles Hall says:

    For what it is worth, Judaism has always admitted non-literal interpretations of Biblical narratives, some of which directly contradict the plain meaning of the text. For example, no less a figure than Maimonides (12th century) explicitly denies the literal truth of the talking snake in the Guide to the Perplexed. Rashi (11th century) wrote in his commentary to the very first verse in Genesis that the book’s purpose is NOT to teach history and should NOT be taken literally. You simply do not get bigger figures in Judiasm than these. And of course Judaism never accepted the “original sin” doctrine nor the necessity of a mediator to ameliorate sin.

    With this understanding one can see why religious Jews such as myself are not concerned with most of the issues raised in this comment section.

  44. Robert Crompton says:

    Colin said: “…and IF that omnipotent God has the power to inspire humans to write only as God dictated… then we can have confidence that the Biblical narrative is fact and not myth or fiction.” Isn’t this a rather odd sort of thing to say? That if God were to write something, then what he would write would be the kind of thing a Thomas Gradgrind would aspire to; that it would not be poetry, or legend, or enigma; that it would not be fiction conveying meanings in many different settings as readers engage with it. That it would not reveal to late readers the mindset and outlook and understanding of the people among whom it originated. That it would not engage the imagination but only require the assent of its readers. Here is what you must know – learn it because you will be tested upon it on judgement day. 🙂

  45. Michael Bethel says:

    Chapter 2 of Genesis is not a second creation story, it is an expansion on day six. The use of the term “of the field” signifies cultivated crops not plant life in general but what was provided specifically for mankind.

  46. Eutychus says:

    I wish I had time to write a more thorough comment on this; not on the article so much as the comments in response to it. Christian practitioners need not be alarmed or afraid of the word or concept of ‘myth.’ I’m reminded of Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    If the only way you can understand the Bible to be authoritative for Christianity is to declare in faith that it must be all history and no mythology, then you’ve missed so much of its meaning and importance that you might as well hang up your boxing gloves. Truth is not fact. The distortion of Biblicism is that it denigrates the idea of myth rather than revering it. The question of whether it’s historical or factual in an empirical sense is a red herring: the authority of the Bible for Christianity lies in discerning its truth, not its fact, and if you can’t embrace the distinction between them, you’ve reduced the sacred text to a list of propositions, and exchanged a relationship with a living and loving God for a laundry list of doctrinal assumptions to be checked off via intellectual assent. That, in turn, leads to a kind of “works righteousness” in which your assent to the laundry list is what make you acceptable to God rather than God’s work of grace toward those (we) who deserve none.

    Don’t be afraid of real scholarship; embrace the possibility that the Bible can be authoritative in the lives of Christian practitioners even if they don’t perceive it as literally and scientifically descriptive.

  47. Geoff Woodgield says:

    I agree completely. I was thinking exactly the same thing as I read it. I love BAR and often use what I learn from it to privide evidence to my students of the Bibles authenticity. So Im always disappointed in these types of articles. Its what I call a “shoot yourself in the foot” article. Its like me going door to door selling, providing proof that I am offering the best vacuum cleaner in the world and at the same time leaving a list of potential problems that might show up. If the Bible really is the Wiord of God it must be at the very least trustworthy. Nowhere do the Scriotures suggest that the creation account is anything but literal. GEN 1:27; PS 139:14; MATT 19:4-6; AC 17:24, 25. Just to mention a few. Kind regards.

  48. Mike Mitchell says:

    For Colin: “Myth” doesn’t mean fiction when applied to ancient Near Eastern culture. It refers to stories meant to convey a truth.

  49. colinb7 says:

    Interesting. IF there is an omnipotent God of the Universe who reached down to man to offer salvation to all who would believe in His name, and IF that omnipotent God has the power to inspire humans to write only as God dictated to them, and IF God has the ability and desire to preserve his Word in written form down through the ages, then we can have confidence that the Biblical narrative is fact and not myth or fiction. A person’s worldview will color their interpretation of the Bible, and if any of the Bible is false, we can question the authenticity and accuracy of all Biblical narratives, not just Genesis. That includes Christs divinity, purpose on earth, and atoning work on the cross. As a research engineer, I’ve gone through the questions in the Bible, secular literature, and my mind for the last 40 years, and am convinced that we can rely on the Bible 100%. No myth here. I admit, it’s weird from a human perspective to “Look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal”, but worldly research and experience doesn’t definitively negate a reality that we cannot yet perceive.

  50. Joe says:

    Dear BAR,

    I realize that this is not, strictly speaking, a forum for debate even though the published information often inspires it; However some reasoned conservative scholarship touching Biblical inerrancy would be a welcome breath of fresh air in the face of what seems like a featured majority of liberal and often skeptical positions.
    This is quite incongruous considering the Biblically affirming nature of much of the actual field work being done.
    I do very much appreciate the work of BAS.
    Thanks.

  51. Roger Leonard says:

    Shauna is wrong and Jesus is right. Shauna is a scholar? Not in my book! One either believes in the inspiration of Scripture, or falls prey to this kind of misrepresentation of God’s word.

  52. S. Megha Chandra Singh says:

    It will be very wrong to consider such writing as ‘Biblical Scholarship ‘based writing. Because such study or writing has nothing to do with the intended meaning or purpose of the original author of the Bible. It is just what such a person thought, it is just an opinion of a writer about creation apart from the biblical narrative which is the only truth. Therefore, such opinion should not be considered as ‘biblical based scholarship.’ Of course, such writer is entitled to her or his own opinion, but never consider him or her as ‘Biblical Scholar, but he or she can be considered as secular academician. ‘ For biblical scholars always interpret the Bible from the viewpoint of the original authors of the Bible.

  53. Wiffin Zebe says:

    Shawna is one of those ‘scholars’ that I’m beginning to dislike.

  54. janec36 says:

    The wisdom of man is foolishness to God!

  55. janec36 says:

    All Scripture is God breathed period end of discussion.Don’t waste my time!

  56. ericb65 says:

    This is an article based upon Biblical Scholarship disciplines and not Faith Based studies. In fact, this whole web site is dedicated to Biblical Scholarship and Archeology related to Biblical age subjects. It is not a faith based endeavor. Any discussion between the two methods is fraught with discomfort, and dangerous schisms. Don’t even try. Most, but not all, Faith Based students of history tackle faith as truth and therefore fact, and pick amid the ruins of the ages for convenient confirmations. Biblical Scholarship is research and science based and leaves faith behind. There are many positions and discussions that ensue on almost any point of Biblical Scholarship because the truth is forever revealed but never overtaken. Faith based studies hold truth in both hands and stride forthright into the fray. Those who practice Faith Based reasoning will not like this online magazine. Biblical Scholars roll their eyes at Faith Based dicta. This is a site for for Biblical Scholars by Biblical Scholars. Tote thy Faith to more receiving hands.

  57. Johnny says:

    The author of this article, Robin Ngo, is obviously very bias in her reporting. A side from the number of scientific, historical and other scholary works she has purposely ignored to slant this article shows that the she is not biblical scholar herself. She states “Scholars argue that Biblical myths arose within the context of other ancient Near Eastern myths that sought to explain the creation of the world.” This gives the impression that all biblical, historical, scientific and other scholars view the Creation Account in Genesis as being a myth – this is no where near the truth.

    Robin has also misused the quotes that she applied here in this article. One person that she quotes multiple time is Shawna Dolansky. Ms. Dolansky work boarders on atheistic view (read several of her articles to see what I mean) and should not be classified as a “biblical scholar” and is a poor source to use.

    This article by Robin also degrades billions of people who belong to the three “Abrahamic Faiths” of the Jews, Chrisitans and Islam. Each teach that Genesis is correct and that God created the Cosmos in six days and rested on the seventh. If we take the stand that God is the author (God breathed, man wrote) of the Torah, Holy Bible and the Q’ran then Robin is also calling God a liar as well as billions of people. A rather smug statement to belittle the faith of billions. It is a shame that Biblical Archeology would publish this article.

  58. AL says:

    GOD’s Word is GOD’s law, and GOD’s law is the law of mankind, these are His Commandments, these are our commandments. His laws are also the laws of nature, the laws of physics and the laws of gravity. He has given us these certainties to discover for ourselves in order that we may better understand His being and his purpose. Regardless of the how, what, when and where these stories of creation originated, they may not be taken too literally but they should all be taken as truth. Truth as told by those who first recorded them, truth as seen through their eyes and truth as understood by their place in history and their ability to comprehend them…

  59. AL says:

    GOD is the creator, He is the progenitor of all things in the Heaven and of the earth. And Jesus is the image of the invisible GOD…As it says in Colossians 1:16… “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Through Jesus, GOD has given us His Word as he has also given us the tools to use in the quest for knowledge and understanding. GOD has also given us all the sciences to which we may better understand His Word…For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, proof means nothing…

  60. gregoryg26 says:

    And did the authors of the bible took the Genesis account as literal?

  61. gregoryg26 says:

    If the Genesis account is not literal then how did sin came into the world? Is original sin real? Why did Jesus die? And why did Jesus took the Genesis account as literal?

  62. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m with Al. I definitely won’t be unsubscribing any time soon

  63. Brad says:

    In the end, belief is the foundation of our interpretation. We have faith in God (Yahweh) or we have faith in something that is not God. There is plenty of factual evidence to support God’s accounts as written down by men through the inspiration of the Spirit (Ruach), but through which lens is it interpreted? Do you believe the One who is the perfect infallible creator of everything or do you believe men who make mistakes?

    It is academically irresponsible and deceptive to propose theories on baseless conjecture. Take a look at this paper highlighting research on the statistical analysis of the Hebrew in Genesis. http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Statistical-Determination-of-Genre-in-Biblical-Hebrew.pdf

  64. Alan Schuetz says:

    A resounding YES! The calendar from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) PROVES that! The sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day for signs, seasons, days, and years, and the DSS calendar commences on the FOURTH DAY OF THE WEEK! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf.

    These false teachers must turn from their sins or be judged in accordance with Torah on the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Judgment Day) on a future Yom Kippur. All those judged will be found GUILTY! Only Yehoshu’a, the Lamb of God, will judge and only He provides Grace (i.e., a judicial pardon from sin). All we must do is believe in Him as ALL (except Him!) have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of Eloah. Shema Yisrael!

  65. paulg103 says:

    Shawna and the unnamed “Biblical scholars” who believe the creation and other accounts as recorded in Genesis are just etiological, providing a reason/meaning as to why and how things were, are quite simply wrong.
    Such a position is fully in the camp of the atheists who posit that all religion and the Bible account itself is just a “god of the gaps”, explaining things as “god did it” because they don’t have enough knowledge or understanding to explain it properly/scientifically. That is implicit in the statement the article makes “The ancient world did not have Google, Wikipedia and smartphones—access to information on human history and scientific achievements developed over millennia at the touch of their fingertips.”
    No, the ancient world did not have these, it had something better – the Word of God given by the Holy Spirit so that it could be trusted as completely true (2 Tim 3;16; 2 Pet 1:21).
    Too, and unarguably, they are wrong because they stand in direct disagreement with the Lord Jesus Christ who believed the literal text of the Genesis account as evidenced in His statements and teachings in the Gospels (Matt 10:15; Matt 12:40-41; Matt 19:3-6; Matt 24:38-39; Mark 10:6; Mark 13:19; Luke 4:25-27; Luke 11:50-51; Luke 13:14; Luke 17:28-32; John 3:14; John 5:45-47). Each of these references by Jesus to Old Testament events are used literally and not allegorically, showing that Jesus, the living Word of God believed literally the written Word of God including all the record of Genesis.

  66. John Coombes says:

    For me it is quite simple. Either 2 Tim 3:16 is true or it is false. If the account of Genesis 1-3 is a myth then we have no basis upon which to base either the Jewish or the Christian faiths. Jesus never refuted a single word of the OT.
    So, either God the Holy Spirit imparted divine knowledge to the 40 or so authors of the various books of what we call the Bible, or He did not.
    I know without any doubt which story i believe. And it is certainly not Ms Dolansky’s, with due respect to her. She makes claims that neither she nor any other created being can do, because she simply was not there when it all happened. But Jesus was.

  67. W. Ron Hess says:

    Deliberately I wrote my reply to Ngo’s excellent article without reading all the prior replies. Now that I’ve read them, I see that all but a few are absurd “faith-based” emotional replies along the lines of “how dare you to think for yourself, rather than to believe what you’ve been taught without question.” Such a pity that adults choose to behave like bratty children that way! Usually, as adults, we become more interested in reality and facts, not the “shut up and vote for me” mentality that is now dominating one of our major political parties. I suggest that most of the tantrum throwers should be welcomed to unsubscribe, as they claim they will. Biblical Archaeology should be devoted to just that, and not to merely Biblical Fanatic Mythologism. W. Ron Hess, Winder, GA

  68. W. Ron Hess says:

    I enjoyed the article about the Creation Myths by Robin Ngo, and for the most part agree. However, Ngo seemed to have ignored the 800 lb gorrilla in the room — the Canaanite gods El, Baal, etc. It is well and good to compare the Yawhist cult to similar Babylonian and Egyptian cults, and their creation myths. But the Canaanite myths are well documented now that texts from ruins on the coast of northern Syria have been deciphered and compiled. And it appears that to a great extent, the Yawhist cult merely subsumed the Canaanite cults, and only later borrowed from Babylonian and Egyptian sources. In fact, Yaweh as a revamped El-Baal composite is the best way to account for the alternate name for Yaweh — Elohim, or “the gods” plural (Heavenly host might be a better but less literal definition). W. Ron Hess, Winder, GA

  69. Bart. says:

    This is the shallowest analysis of the Bible I have ever read.

  70. Christopher Dalton says:

    Dear Robin Ngo,

    Please call out to Jesus and await him. Shut your door and call out privately. You have been mislead. By writing this article you are misleading others.

    Sincerely,

    Christopher Dalton

  71. AL says:

    Really, it never ceases to amaze me…As I have said to my sister on several occasions, the comments are far more interesting, informative and entertaining than many of the articles themselves. When an article pertains to specific archaeological discoveries, excavations, ruins and other such tangible artifacts, I read the article intently. On the other hand, when an article is posing an erroneous digestion of theological subject matters, I generally give it a cursory glance and head straight for the comments. I will never understand why some seemingly well educated people will try so fervently to draw correlations and conclusions between the contents of the Bible and their own convoluted opinions of how their explanative assumptions pursue some sort of alignment to their own personal views…Sophistry, pure and simple. While most commenters here are highly intelligent and very well versed in many fields of study that conveys dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, there are some commenters that betray their lack of knowledge and understanding by being priggish and puerile…Remember, you will never be able to reason someone out of a position or opinion that they reasoned themselves into…
    I will NOT unsubscribe to BAR because there is too much to learn, too much insight to gain and too many doors to be opened by way of discussion and analysis that would otherwise be closed if one chooses to ignore them…

  72. James Latimer says:

    Shawna Dolansky proves that her human wisdom and foolish speculation about taking the Bible literally are nothing more than extrabiblical, thus her opinion is pure fiction. Either a Christian takes the Word of God literally, or he/she errs (sins) by adding to or subtracting from the Scripture.

    In today’s world, we Christ followers must test all teachings against the Scripture itself so that we may expose false teachings, and false teachers. And, we must pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide us in discerning the truths within the Scripture.

  73. Jeanne says:

    Oh my…..what a big to-do about such a simple truth…..GOD created. All the study, name-calling, arguments, puffed-up self appointed knowledge is silly. God gave us a brain to search for knowledge and understanding of our earth, its creation, and its creator. I am a teacher of genetic biology and the scientific facts I know and teach confirm and explain, to my understanding, how God created. If literal belief of the Genesis story confirms and explains, to your understanding, how god created, then rejoice in it. Please don’t condemn other believers…..it just may be you with a log in your eye.

  74. Kevin George says:

    Could someone please direct me to a website about Biblical archaeology? I seem to have stumbled into a site for mythological theorists by mistake.

  75. Tom says:

    in order to align the Bible w/ the majority of scientists, ?Christian scientists dis simple, normative meanings & tweak the Bible. For example, they wave the magic wand called, “metaphor,” which enables them to redefine simple words like “day” & “dust.” Such hoop-jumping doesn’t convince “fundamentalists” – or atheists.

    P.S. Old Earthers can never answer the [atheists’] question: “If animals were attacking & devouring one another for millions of years, i.e., “red in tooth & claw,” how could God call the cheetah’s sinking his teeth into the zebra, ‘very good?’” Only Young Earthers can correctly answer that question: “The cheetah began sinking his teeth into the zebra only after the vice-regent, Adam, sinned.”

  76. Robin says:

    Very interesting. This is a controversial subject for many. I have read Augustine’s and Calvin’s commentaries on the creation sections of Genesis. I have read others as well. Some commentators suggest that the biblical creation story was told in rebuttal to the other ANE accounts since they were polytheistic and various things that Genesis is not. Augustine seemed to think that the Day in Genesis was God-designed and not 24 hours……which should please no one. It is all interesting. But one thing remains: the Universe is old, but it was designed and planned and created by God……Beyond all that, surely lots of good insight here.

  77. Brent Dawes says:

    Why do atheists profess to have a better understanding than those of faith? If you don’t believe Genesis then you don’t believe in the suffering and sacrifice that Yehoshuah/Jesus made to free us from the burden of sin. Genesis 1 differs from Genesis 2 – 3 because the author is giving us more information on the same subject. Any Bible scholar with the smallest amount of theological knowledge realises that this is how the Bible is structured, all the Bible, “Here a little there a little.” The Genesis story was written with inspiration from a higher source than you can even dare to imagine. It is a literal history of how everything was made including us. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand the universe to have been formed by the word of God, so that the things being seen have not been made from the things being visible.” Ever heard of this before in your science textbooks before the 18th century? The Greeks understood it and that was over 2300 years ago and gee how far we have come, not. Scientists still don’t know how everything is held together. String theory is still just a theory. Maybe Robin Ngo, Shawna Dolansky and the other Biblical scholars should change their jobs or at least study something equivalent to their obvious ability to understand like, Dr Suess’ “The Hat in the Cat.” And maybe you should change this website to Skeptical Biblical Archaeology

  78. Tom (U of Colorado) says:

    So pain in child bearing is literal? Wow, what a genius to figure that out.
    It also doesn’t require a genius to figure out that heavens & earth, plants, sun, animals, people, etc. – are also literal – last time I checked.
    The only reason why “scholars” don’t interpret Genesis 1 in a normative sense is b/c it will lead a person to a young earth which doesn’t concur w/ the majority of scientists. As for me & my house, the Bible is our presupposition.

  79. William Poulos says:

    The Mesopotamian is more myth than truth and it is not even truthful to say that the Biblical story of creation was drafted or gleaned from the Mesopotamian or Near East creation myths. I want to remind you that there are some significant differences between the Near East creation myths and the Biblical creation narrative.

    1.) The Near East creation myth involves multiple gods, who create, fight and kill one another in jealousy and anger, where the Biblical creation narrative is ONE all powerful, all knowing GOD, who needs no help in doing his creation work, and he does ALL of it alone!!

    2.) Only the Biblical God of creation creates and looks back to examine his work and declare that it is “GOOD!”, this is not true of the Near East creation myth (Mesopotamian or Babylonian).

    3.) The God of the Biblical narrative RESTS on the seventh day, and commands that we do the same, there is no such “resting” on the part of the Mesopotamian or Near East creation myths.

    4.) The gods (little “g”) of those Near Eastern nations (Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Akkadian, people from Ur and others) DO NOT EXIST, because of the absolute TRUTH of the Bible has made those mythical gods—NULL AND VOID!

    5.) Moses was the writer of Genesis and this many, many years after the occurrence and with that come hundreds of generations who verify it’s as truth! Those other Near East myths have no such confirmation of thousands of years as we do now, because those myths DO NOT EXIST, but the truth of the Biblical creation as well as the whole truth of the Bible lives on!

    These are just a few of the countless differences between the Near Eastern myths and the Biblical narrative of creation

    I know these things because I have been a student of ancient Mediterranean history and archaeology for the past 45 years and I am working on a couple of books which are in progress about them.

  80. Kobus says:

    “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
    ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:18-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    http://bible.com/111/rev.22.18-20.niv

    Very disappointed, people take portions ofwhat they want to believe so they don’t have to be accountable to God. This comes from a lack of an intimate relationship with God. They don’t know HIM. Get to know God read the Bible, pray and listen you might get some wisdom.

  81. Rick says:

    I will unsubscribe after this comment.This is pure speculation and trash.

  82. Mark says:

    Uhm another “myth” advocate. I find it difficult to know when the myth stuff turns to true stuff. Like is the creation story a myth but the Abraham’s offering his son a myth or true. Is the flood a myth but David’s temple a myth it truth. Did the Israelites captivity to Babylon actually happen or is it a myth. What principle guide lines a inherent in the text to plainly show what is and what isn’t?
    I also have difficulty with genealogies. Are they myth, or truth. Is the nt genealogies true or myth? If myth, at what person does the mythical list become true. Rather than give an explanation to secularism, stating this is myth but then at this point to turns true but then these are mythical figures but then next one is true etc makes scripture a joke, but worse unbelievable. But after all that us probably the intended purpose for this line of thought.

  83. guys8 says:

    I am historian with a special emphasis on Religious Studies from Regis University and Arizona State University, and a graduate of a religious seminary. The life-long study of the Bible from both theological (doctrinal) and historical (scientific) viewpoints based on ancient manuscripts, cultural tradition, archaeology, and the study of ancient languages has given me a clear insight into Genesis and the Bible. The Book of Genesis was not a series of myths handed down generation to generation as many have been taught to believe. Moses was the author of Genesis, which he wrote after God showed him in vision the history of the earth from its very creation to its final end, making it much more accurate and literal than skeptics would care to believe. The book as we have it today is a diluted version filled with errors, mistranslations, and blatant omissions by scribes over the past 3,500 years, which leave many with questions over Adam and Eve, The Flood, the age of man, and doctrinal teachings no longer found in it, but are found in other texts. However, as pointed out by another comment, Jesus and his apostles did verify many aspects of accounts in Genesis as being true. How would they know? Again, the key is revelation from God through the Holy Spirit. God has spoken many times over the ages to men and women whom he chose to reveal his mysteries and will to, often to re-state truth formerly provided but lost through human error and willful apostasy from the truth. The Bible is full of accounts by many of these prophets whom God called for his special purposes to teach those who would listen the true word of God and obey it. What the world needs is fewer skeptics and more believers. Such belief is unpopular among liberal scholars, atheists, secular humanists, and others more interested politically correctness than divine truth, and they go great lengths to undermine that truth to maintain the establishment agenda of academia. Even though many have seen evidence to support the truth, they have no interest in letting the rest of the world know about it, allowing them to maintain control over what people believe and who they should follow. Anything or anyone who attempts to refute the truth of the Bible is either ignorant of the truth or is doing the bidding of a another master to deceive mankind.

  84. kirbyc says:

    Science? It was invented by Christians who saw God’s design in creation and sought to “think His thoughts after Him”. You look for evidence and follow where it leads. You theorize and test it. Why are we finding soft and liquid tissue in dinosaur bones? Why are the oldest living Bristlecone Pines only 4,000 years old? If you extrapolate current trends between the Earth, Sun, and Moon forward or backward in time, life becomes impossible outside of a relatively small timeframe. Earth cannot be as old as it is currently supposed. Indeed, the 19th century writings of early evolutionists indicate that their intent was to supplant the God of Moses and reject His laws. A long period of time would make any process plausible. They didn’t know how long. Our people still don’t when pressed. The only reason for not believing the God of the Bible is that you do not wish to be subject to His instruction. I assumed “Biblical Archaeology” meant He was respected here. Was I incorrect?

  85. Joe Bongiorno says:

    This forum needs an edit button: first paragraph should say “who either haven’t studied the ancient texts, or who parrot…”

  86. Joe Bongiorno says:

    Sorry, but this is yet another erroneous and clichéd article that represents the uniformed response of academics who’ve either haven’t studied the ancient texts, or who parrot the party-line of secularists who say “it’s all just a myth, but that’s ok because it has meaning.”

    I am NOT right-wing or conservative. I believe in climate change and progressive values, but unlike those who write these kinds of articles, I have studied the Enuma Elish and compared it to the Genesis account, and the two reveal huge, fundamental differences between their narrative and themes. In brief, the Enuma Elish is about the establishment of the ruling class and their so-called divine right to rule based on violent conflict (embodied in Marduk’s overthrow of Tiamat and the creation of man from the spilled blood of the god Kingu). Genesis presents the very opposite scenario, elucidating God’s right to rule based on the love and integrity embodied in his created works.

    Certainly there are portions of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles that are meant to be read metaphorically, but anyone claiming that Genesis was a borrowing of ancient mythic sources is not only barking up the wrong tree, but standing in the wrong forest. That this is considered the de-facto “truth” of the Genesis account is a testament to the lazy, unscientific, anti-religious thrust of modern secular academia, who think that by repeating something over and over again it will make it true. It won’t.

    For anyone interested in a deeper exploration of Genesis vs the Enuma Elish, there’s an excellent book by Walter Wink called The Powers That Be, which is a fascinating exploration of the myth of redemptive violence and its origins in ancient Babylon.

  87. brady says:

    I am interested in whatever ACTUAL ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE that you happen to find in various sources, but i am sick and tired of you finding people who claim to be educated in various liberal theological strains they chase after, who come up with their own theories of why we should not believe the Bible, as it is plainly written. Either get back to actual archeology or I will have to unsubscribe.

  88. Candace says:

    Simple: the Bible is the Inspire Word of God. I’ll take it as literally as the Spirit says. End of discussion.

  89. Deva V says:

    I am also thinking on same lines as Francois comment above.

    You can have this article but why mock the story, it’s so simple, the authors shared Creation story from God’s point of view in Genesis 1 and Man’s point of view in Genesis 2–3, we basically drop down to Day #6 as it’s of utmost import to look deeper.
    So there is not contradiction whatsoever here…
    And you mentioned fleetingly below verses without even saying what they are talking about: Can you please read below verses quoted in above article and tell me what it has about Creation controversy?
    Psalm 74 Psalm 89 Isaiah 27; 51

    Comeon we can do better than this, please don’t put something just because it would look different. Are you expecting Creation story to be told in 2016 style and format, remember this is written 4000 years ago to people who can understand in that setting and everything written only Glorified God by attributing Creation to Him but not primordial soup 🙂

    Please review the article in details and correct where you think needs attention.

  90. Deborah says:

    I guess I don’t understand why an article like this one is so threatening to belief. I love the old stories but understand that the stories are within a historical context that I don’t live in. When we as Christians become fearful of solid academic research, then we limit God; making Diety very small,

  91. STANLEY SMITH says:

    Faith alone supports a literal belief in the Old Testament and the stories from Genesis. That is Faith is in the Lord,
    who has spoken through the writings of those ancient Israelis or Hebrews, and if one chooses to believe in the
    scriptures, that belief is firm and will always declare Genesis to be The Truth, every sentence.
    But suppose that doesn’t matter? My belief may not be yours, but we both hold our understanding of Creation and all that followed to be true and those are the basis of our spiritual lives. Other versions of creation, the
    findings of contemporary science, are equally valid, and if one believes in God, it might be that the Creator just
    took a lot more time than those ancient writers could imagine. Or, if one has no spiritual basis of the way the
    Universe was created, well, that’s their belief. So why argue about it all? Fact is, we are here by the hand
    of the Lord, or of the infinite universe, and we still have a hell of a mess to deal with on our tiny speck of
    earth, fire and water. Hold onto your beliefs, my friends, they are desperately needed in times of chaos.

  92. Laura says:

    Right on Mike.

  93. Don says:

    One must understand that Jesus’ references to the creation myths do not affirm their historical authenticity. He can just as easily be using them as originally intended, not as historical narrative but as story, myth with a purpose. His reference to them affirms not their use as history but their use as myth. If I make a reference to or allude to a Greek myth in a speech or piece of literature I do not affirm the historicity of the Greek myth. My listeners understand my meaning. The literal reading of these stories misses the point of them and bogs people down in endless self defeating controversies. This childish approach, (not child like) is what is destroying the current generation of evangelicals who go to college and in large part jettison belief as they find the literal interpretation of Genesis to be untenable with undeniable observable truth about the earth and it’s history. A literal view of genesis places the Noah flood solidly in the old kingdom of Egypt which of course would be impossible since Egypt has a continuous culture that would not have survived a flood as envisioned by fundamentalists. For any fundamentalist please read and become familiar with your own bible. In John Jesus dies on the preparation day for passover and in the synoptic gospels he dies on Passover. Such discrepancies are not at all an issue for story written for a purpose but they cannot be reconciled with the way fundamentalists read the bible.

  94. Kevin says:

    Interesting take on the creation account. My feeling is that the bible was never meant to be a science book. That bein said, I don’t think our contemporary society has the faintest of ideas as to how everything came about to be, and that the creation of everything is far more fantastic then we’ve been led to believe…

  95. Francois says:

    I just subscribed to your magazine “Biblical” Archeology, but after reading this biaised, one-eyed denigrating article on the sacred text stating Genesis is full of myths, I regret doing that.

  96. johns577 says:

    Surely the purpose of Genesis’ creation stories is to tell us WHO made everything. That is an unchallangeable and unchangeable truth beyond man’s knowledge and wisdom. It is only by direct divine revelation that we can know this. Which, after all, is the purpose of all of scripture. As such, this article is quite out of place in an evidence based journal; it only airs the author’s speculations.

    “In the beginning, God created …”

  97. Michael Ledo says:

    Creation stories were astrological. Adam (Leo) and Eve (Virgo) the serpent (Hydra-at foot of Leo) the tree and its fruit (Corvus/Crater) the flaming sword (Regulus). Creation stories were typically stories which centered around the summer solstice. In fact the fantastic stories of the OT (and NT) are astro-myths.

  98. mikeb says:

    If God came to, say, an evolutionary biologist, or, say, and astrophysicist, and provided a direct God-to-a-man data dump on the truth of God, the truth of God’s omnipotence, and the truth of God as the true Word, and the truth of God’s creation and God-the-creator, our scientist would, as did Moses and Abraham and the earliest Israelites who began to know and call on God, tell us as best he could about this truth.

    In doings so, he’d try to explain, as best he could, how God went about creating his creation.

    Moses used the mechanisms of his day to explain the details of creation: voids, sky, earth, days, water, floods, rains, darkness, light.

    Our biologist would use the mechanisms of cell structure and mitochondria and DNA and carbon atoms and the like.

    Our astrophysicist would use subatomic particles and heat and energy and time and space and quantum events and strings and the like.

    Both would get it “wrong” in the details. In 100 years, our understanding of microbiology and our understanding of particle physics will make the explanations of our biologist and physicist sound silly, in the same way that modern principles of empirical science make the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2-3 and the flood sound silly.

    The mechanics of God’s creative methods will never be understood by humans. But we are capable of understanding, either by direct contact (Moses, Abraham, our biologist, or physicist) or through faith in holy scripture, that it is the God of the Hebrew Bible who did the creation and God of the Hebrew Bible that owns and holds power over the earth and universe and man his offspring.

    Is it really more accurate to say “God grabbed a pinch of raw energy and formed five carbon atoms, which he then twisted into a DNA helix,” than it is to say that “God grabbed a pinch of dirt from the ground, breathed on it, and out popped Adam?”

    Is it really more accurate to say that “God applied heat energy through a vacuum of space-time, circling what became an induced boson, then multiplied this effect until gravitational forces collapsed time….” than it is to say that “God placed the stars in the sky and called them by name?”

    The Bible’s explanation of creation of space and time and earth and man is sufficient. And it is not particularly relevant. The important things is that God did it. God created the universe. God created man. Man is different from the beasts. Man and woman are separate things. God owns everything. Man is given authority. Man is a sinner — seeking his own God-like authority. Man fell. Man therefore dies and is dead. There is however, a means to return to life. See this happen in Revelation 21 and 22. How? Read those four books the Christians call gospels. They are pretty short, and you get four tries to “get it.”

    Science is very good at peeling back the layers of the onion. It is a very good human endeavor that we do so. But we will never prove or disprove the existence of God by peeling the onion, as science will never, ever, get to the center core of the onion. This is a little trick God is playing on us. The onion is infinite.

    Read the actual Bible for yourself. Accept it. Reject it. But don’t live your entire life without reading the actual thing for yourself.

  99. Joe Vasquez says:

    Jesus affirmed creation accounts, he affirmed the marriage of Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, the lie of the serpent, Noah and the Ark, the destruction of sodom and gommorah, just to name a few. He created creation John 1,
    Is Jesus Christ the truth?

  100. Veli Voipio says:

    Well, reading literally Gen 1 does not speak of the creation of the world or of the universe. Ancient people thought that when the flood is over, the land is created, and when the clouds disappear, the skies are created etc. Genesis 1 is just fine when taken literally as a local chain of events. Much later it was interpreted metaphorically without understanding the original figure of speech, and now we have a problem.

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106 Responses

  1. Robert Pahls says:

    Oh good, more resources in support of not believing the historical narrative of the Bible, as if it is just yet another book from men (not God? We’ll just ignore 2 Timothy 3:16… and the references Jesus made to both creation and Noah’s flood). Ironic this article is in “Bible History Daily” – hey, it’s not ‘history’ if you don’t believe it. Have you considered the possibility that the Bible is actually true and similar creation/flood stories are found with the Babylonians and other cultures of the time because it is true, though they have twisted the truth to suit their own desires and rejection of the only true God? Broad is the road that leads to destruction, so thanks for helping to pave the way to not believing in the authenticity, the historicity, and authority of God’s word, I think?

  2. MichaelDooley says:

    It is instructive to study the words of Christ in the gospels regarding the Torah in general and Genesis in particular. I recently did such a study and found 54 references to the Torah in the gospels mostly in the words of Christ. My study made at least 12 points abundantly clear.
    1. He believed that the Torah was written by Moses.
    2. He believed that the Torah was inspired by God.
    3. He believed that the Torah was inerrant.
    4. He believed that the Torah was literal history.
    5. He believed that the Torah had theological authority.
    6. He believed that the Adam and Eve existed at the beginning of creation.
    7. He believed that Abel was slain near the beginning of creation.
    8. He believed that Satan had been deceiving mankind since the beginning of creation.
    9. He identified himself as the Lord of the Sabbath.(derived from a literal 6 day creation)
    10. He identified himself as the “I Am that I Am” that spoke directly to Moses.
    11. He identified himself at the Shepherd of Israel.
    12. He identified himself as the Stone (rock) of Israel.

    So as a Christian, if one thinks of Genesis as a mere myth derived from ancient pagan sources, one is in direct disagreement with Jesus Christ. One has to believe that Jesus was wrong, or misled, or just a “child of his time”, which I think seriously reflects on his claim of divinity. And for me personally, with all due respect, if there is choice to believe Jesus’ words, or the words of modern scholars, I know who I am going to believe.

    So to deny

  3. denise the greath says:

    The Near East thought in terms of function, not materialistically. The Creation story should be read in a functional sense, not a material sense. Think of creating light as creating a period of light (that is distinquished from a period of darkness) and that is named “day”. In this way, what was created on day one was TIME. The remaining days in the Creation story make much more sense with this understanding.

  4. John says:

    J.T. says: “Day 1: God separated light from darkness. Scientifically that means the creation of stars and galaxies”
    This is not correct……..Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning (whenever that was),
    God created the heavens and the earth.
    The earth could have been in existence for millions of years, before day 1 of the creation, when God turned His attention to the earth to make it habitable………and these creative days were each thousands of years in length.

  5. J.T. Smith says:

    While the texts are written in rather broad strokes, they do agree with scientists for the most part. The trick is to realize that a day is defined as the complete rotation of a planet upon its axis, but in the beginning there was nothing, so there was no way to measure a day.

    Day 1: God separated light from darkness. Scientifically that means the creation of stars and galaxies.

    Day 2: God separated the heavens and earth. Creation of planets, comets, etc., et al.

    Day 3: God separated the land from water. Next in planetary evolution would be when icy comets struck the Earth delivering water.

    Etc. Even the animals being created before humans.

    The thing to remember is that both creation stories in chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis should be considered to be the highlights, rather like the sports section of the newspaper or evening news, rather than giving every detail, like watching those same sports live and in person.

  6. Walter R. Mattfeld says:

    I have written two books (in 2010) on the pre-biblical origins of Genesis’ Garden of Eden story tracing that story’s motifs to Mesopotamian myths which were recast by the Hebrews. They are (1) Eden’s Serpent: It Mesopotamian Origins, and (2) The Garden of Eden Myth: Its Pre-biblical Origin in Mesopotamian Myths. Both books are illustrated and with maps. They are available via Amazon.com. My two books cite the research of PhD scholars, circa 1858-2010, trained in Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. Between 1858 and 1898, a number of scholars had concluded that motifs and scenarios found in Genesis were recasts of motifs in earlier Mesopotamian works like Atrahasis, Gilgamesh, Adapa and the South Wind, and the Enuma Elish, etc. By 1858 Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson of England had identified Eden’s serpent to be a recast of the Babylonian god called Ea living at Eridu in ancient Sumer (Ea was called Enki by the Sumerians). Rawlinson is famed for his ability to read ancient Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform texts (unearthed in the 1840s-1890s in Iraq). Professor Morris Jastrow of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, had by 1898-9 identified Adam and Eve as recasts of Enkidu and Shamhat (his Eabani and Ukhat) of the Epic of Gilgamesh. By 1892 Professor Archibald Henry Sayce of Oxford University had identified Adapa of Eridu as also being recast into Genesis’ Adam. This research published between 1858-1899 is available only via Google searches. Yahoo is useless in this task. Google got permission to digitalize and copy to the internet out of print texts in Universities and Seminaries in Europe and America and thus these works are now available for the public to access. Most Christians, Jews and Moslems are unaware of the existence of this research made 1858-1898. Why? The public outrage and condemnation that initally met these scholar’s declarations that Genesis was recast Mesopotamian myths, was so intense and scathing that it was decided not to publish this research anymore for general public consumption. So the research was published quietly only in Academic Journals serving Universities with Departments of Ancient Near Eastern Studies. My website also deals with these issues, http://www.bibleorigins.net quoting from these scholars’ research, 1858-1898, and even later, to 2017.

  7. Eddie Ventley says:

    “many truths” is as ambiguous as they come. It can be whatever one wants to believe. Certainly, there would be allegorical levels as well, but these ride upon the original succinct recording of the creation story. Both creation biology and plasma cosmology easily fit the Genesis account.
    More here: http://www.setterfield.org/

  8. Shane Byrnes says:

    Nope. Genesis is not a historical text.

  9. Ryan McGinnis says:

    Some of these so-called “professors/theologians” need to stop buying the “evolution/false science hype, and start reading the research done that proves the Biblical texts are true and literal. Some are just made to be destroyed.

  10. Wes says:

    There is no doubt that Genesis is to be taken literally. Luke 3:38 genealogy traces Jesus’s lineage back to Adam. (as a real person). ! Chr.1:1,Hos 6:7, Rom 5:14,1 Cor.15:12,45; 1 Tim 2 13-14; Jude 1 14. All represent Adam as a historical figure.
    Genesis is the foundational book for the Christian faith. Foundational to Christian
    theology and Christian morality. Satan, the great deceiver still asks ” Did God really say”?

  11. Bruce Hal Miner says:

    As I read through your Minimalist interpretation of ha satan, I was surprised that you never referred to Ezekiel 28:1-19 and it’s clear and specific definition of and the history of Ha Ra – the evil one. (My use of “Minimalist” comes from the additional articles of yours that I read.) That was not the only significant passage that you neglected to include, but, to me, it is about the most significant and important that you failed to address.
    May I add, that in your repetition of “myths” of Genesis & Creation, I would be quite happy to share with you the many unfolding proofs of biblical Creation – shall I start with: who created the Big Bang?

  12. Joseph Bongiorno says:

    Conventional scholarship that plays safe, says nothing new, and reiterates bad biblical exegesis, ad nauseum. This is the problem with this magazine and why I stopped subscribing. It’s stuck in the 1980s and refuses to move forward with some of the exciting, challenging, but solid scholarship that’s been coming out of late, and which is changing the landscape of biblical understanding.

    If you want to know why the Genesis accounts seem to conflict, or what the Serpent portends, or how we can understand the Bible literally, but not stupidly, please see the works of Dr. Michael S. Heiser.

  13. Dennis B. Swaney says:

    They are just as literal as the stories of ancient Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, etc. Besides the stories in Genesis don’t agree even with each other.

  14. Alan Schuetz says:

    Yes, it should be taken literally. Otherwise, we’d have to believe the #FakeScience that we are hurtling through space on an oblate spheroid spinning at approximately 1,040 mph at the equator (0 mph at the poles) on an elliptical path around a GV2 yellow dwarf star that is rotating at 514K mph around an arm of the Milky Way spiral galaxy (taking 230M years to orbit it), which has a supermassive black hole at its center, while said galaxy is allegedly moving away from the origin of the Big Bang at an astonishing 1.3M mph! Wow!!! And, these are the same “scientists” who tell us exactly how the core of our planet is comprised, yet the deepest borehole ever drilled (Kola Superdeep Borehole) is 7.62 miles… and (gasp!) they discovered the “waters below” just as is described in the Bible. We have been indoctrinated since birth with our solar system mobiles on our cribs. #WakeUp #QuestionEverything

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kola_Superdeep_Borehole

  15. lovemore nganunu says:

    Should We Take Creation Stories in Genesis Literally?

    YES! and no further comments

  16. wes says:

    If we really want to be strict in these matters of Biblical interpretation, then we should consider the case of Galileo Galilei in the early 17th century. It was pointed out to him that his views conflicted with verses in several OT books.

    Heliocentrism conflicts with references such as Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 which include text stating that “the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved.” In the same manner, Psalm 104:5 says, “the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” Further, Ecclesiastes 1:5 states that “And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place.”

    In February 1616, an Inquisitorial commission declared heliocentrism to be “foolish and absurd in philosophy, and formally heretical since it explicitly contradicts in many places the sense of Holy Scripture.” The Inquisition found that the idea of the Earth’s movement “receives the same judgement in philosophy and… in regard to theological truth it is at least erroneous in faith”.

    In all fairness, anyone who believes that the Earth rotates on its axis against the fixed stars or orbits in a path about the Sun is not simply in disagreement with Ptolemy and 3rd century Egyptian astronomers, but the texts cited above.

    Like the police inspector in the movie Casablanca, I am shocked that no one has jumped on this error in belief as well. After all, the controversy was explicit enough to construct a case of heresy and obtain a guilty verdict. I don’t think there were any biblical scholars of the 17th century rushing to the rescue.

  17. jerrym83 says:

    QUESTION ABOVE
    “Should We Take Creation Stories in Genesis Literally?”

    If we do not take the creation story in Genesis as true and literal. one ought to throw the Holy Bible away, it will not serve anyone any logical purpose at all…!

  18. Tyndale says:

    Is anyone on this posting a Christian or what…? I just don’t know for sure…?

  19. alans73 says:

    This is the seventh of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 7 (“evening” of 3/22 and “morning” of 3/23 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. (NASB)

    This is the first of God’s appointed times — the weekly Sabbath:

    Leviticus 23:3 ‘For six days work may be done, but on the seventh day there is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings. (NASB)

    For those of you who think that “New Testament Christians” don’t need to at least understand the Law (Torah), this is in Christ’s own words:

    Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. (NASB)

    With that being said, I will leave you with this message:

    2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)

    Don’t believe what I’ve posted regarding the creation; study it for yourself! The Holy Spirit, our Helper, was sent on Pentecost/Feast of Weeks in 36 CE to guide us. You don’t need some mega church or denomination:

    Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” (NASB)

    Shema Yisrael!

    #QuestionEverything

  20. alans73 says:

    This is the sixth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 6 (“evening” of 3/21 and “morning” of 3/22 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so. 25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
    26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (NASB)

    To recap, God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, a formless water world, and His Son (the Light of the world; the firstborn of creation; everything was created through and for Him)
    Day 2: The atmosphere and clouds
    Day 3: A supercontinent as well as all terrestrial flora
    Day 4: The sun, moon, and stars
    Day 5: All aquatic and avian species
    Day 6: All terrestrial fauna including mankind

    Why did God say, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…?” Because we were a special creation. Remember: There is not only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but a multitude of Heavenly Hosts including archangels, angels, cherubim, and seraphim. In the opening verses of Genesis 6 and expounded upon in the Book of Enoch, the Book of Giants, et al., it is stated that the “sons of God” (lit. fallen angels — aka Watchers) came to Earth at Mount Hermon; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hermon#Epigraphy.2C_archaeology_and_references_in_religious_texts. They had sexual relations with the “daughters of men,” and their progeny were literal giants. There were several kinds, but the first were called Nephilim; see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nephilim. Bottom line: Human males are so closely related to angels that there is sexual compatibility with women. Now, what these fallen angels did and the mysteries they taught were abominations and ultimately led to the Great Flood in the time of Noah, but the fact remains, man was made in the image of the Elohim (the family of God)!

    Who is taught this at their church or synagogue? Why are the archaeological remains of these giants hidden from the general public? See http://www.sydhav.no/giants/newspapers.htm. Folks, it’s time for a spiritual awakening! We are a very special creation — the ONLY species on Earth capable of having the indwelling Holy Spirit in our circumcised hearts. Our body is a temple, and our heart is the Holy of Holies!

    1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. (NASB)

    Romans 5:5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NASB)

    The Big Bang and evolution attempt to downplay our standing in this wonderful thing called God’s creation. We have been deceived…

    #QuestionEverything

  21. alans73 says:

    This is the fifth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 5 (“evening” of 3/20 and “morning” of 3/21 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.” 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. (NASB)

    To recap, God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, a formless water world, and His Son (the Light of the world; the firstborn of creation)
    Day 2: The atmosphere and clouds
    Day 3: A supercontinent as well as all flora including seed-bearing plants and fruit-yielding trees
    Day 4: The sun, moon, and stars
    Day 5: All aquatic and avian species

    For those trying to reconcile creationism with evolution… Could all forms of terrestrial flora exist without the sun if each “day” represented eons? Paleontologists state that birds had a reptilian ancestor (see http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/evograms_06), but terrestrial species are not created until Day 6. Furthermore, this portion of the evolution debate hinges upon the alleged intermediate Archaeopteryx; see a well-researched counterpoint here: https://www.icr.org/article/321/. Regardless of mounting scientific evidence to the contrary, it is still taught that Archaeopteryx is an intermediate species in our schools and universities. Evolution predicts there would be thousands upon thousands of intermediates discovered in the fossil record; look at how far the reach had to be to produce one!

    Recall, too, that the Big Bang theory supposes that the sun would form first then slough off matter to form planets, moons, et al. These cockamamie theories and Biblical creation cannot be reconciled, so why continue the futility?

    Matthew 7:6 “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (NASB)

    #QuestionEverything

  22. alans73 says:

    This is the fourth of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 4 (“evening” of 3/19 and “morning” of 3/20 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate 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 expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also. 17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good. 19 There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day. (NASB)

    Now, it really starts getting good… the sun, moon, and stars were created for what? SIGNS and for SEASONS and for DAYS and YEARS! Yes, folks, this was when time as we know it began, and there is only ONE calendar in the world that affirms this essential truth — the one discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf.

    Note that the first day of the first month of Abib (not Nisan!) commences on THE FOURTH DAY OF THE WEEK during the creation week. And, all of God’s appointed times occur on the same day of the week in perpetuity! The false Babylonian (Masoretic) calendar of the modern Jewry certainly doesn’t allow for that; see https://www.mail-archive.com/[email protected]/msg00674.html. Heck, the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) with all their “wise” sages state that the creation week commences in the seventh month. There is no mention of Rosh Hashanah or “head of the year” in the entirety of the TaNaKh; that is the machinations of men. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/rh1.html. It’s just a bunch of meaningless drivel…

    Romans 11:25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery—so that you will not be wise in your own estimation—that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (NASB)

    Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. 52 Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become; 53 you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.” (NASB)

    Others of you may be thinking: this guy has totally lost his marbles; today is Sunday — not the THIRD day of the week!* (Recall that the fourth day does not occur until this evening). I submit to you that we follow both the pagan Gregorian (from the Julian originating from Rome) and the Masoretic (originating from Babylon) calendars (among others). Ask yourself: Would Satan, who desires to corrupt EVERYTHING from the Most High, change His calendar, too? Did God’s day start at midnight or when the sun’s orb “kisses” the horizon in the west? Folks, again, we have been deceived….

    Shema Yisrael!

    *Note: This was originally posted on the morning of Sunday, March 19, 2017; therefore, it was still the third day of the week at that time. The fourth day of the week commenced on the “evening” of 3/19 at twilight — when the sun’s orb sits just on the horizon in the western sky towards sunset.

  23. alans73 says:

    This is the third of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 3 (“evening” of 3/18 and “morning” of 3/19 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so. 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good. 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. 13 There was evening and there was morning, a third day. (NASB)

    So, what does the Big Bang and evolution predict? Matter magically coalescing into stars; stars magically sloughing off matter to form planets, moons, asteroids, et al. in a solar system; a fraction of planets magically acquiring an atmosphere; a fraction of planets magically acquiring an atmosphere able to support life as we know it; a fraction of those planets magically having liquid water in a temperature range between 0-100 degrees Celsius, exclusive; a fraction of those planets magically raining down inorganic elements able to support life as we know it; a fraction of those planets forming a correct composition of an organic, primordial soup (from inorganic elements in an extremely hostile environment no less); a fraction of those planets with magically forming amino acids with the appropriate stereochemistry to form polypeptide chains to form proteins; yada, yada, yada; ad infinitum. Honestly, who thinks that is even possible in billions of “years?” Again, it’s a statistical improbability regardless of the multitude of solar systems in galaxies with black holes at their center.

    What does the Bible say? God created:

    Day 1: The firmament of the heavens, the waters, a formless world, and His Son (the Light of the world)
    Day 2: The atmosphere (=heavens) and the cloud types
    Day 3: Dry land (a supercontinent some refer to as Pangea) as well as vegetation — seed-bearing plants and fruit-yielding trees — after gathering the superocean (some refer to it as Panthalassa).

    Where are the sun, moon, and stars? Oops! They haven’t been created yet. What life appeared first? Terrestrial flora. That also solves one conundrum: plants vs. seeds. Does that mesh with the Big Bang and evolution theories? Not even remotely…

    In the following year, this particular day served a very special function: it was the vernal equinox that marked the last day of the year (or the day before the first day of the year depending on your perspective). The Book of Enoch describes exactly when the equinoxes take place — on the day of the year when the sun first sets due west (270 degrees) and rises due east (90 degrees) in the appropriate season at the most important place on Earth! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/1Enoch/1Enoch-Sun.pdf.

    When does that occur in accordance with the (pagan!) Gregorian calendar in 2017? On the evening of March 18th and the morning of March 19th; see https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/israel/jerusalem?month=3&year=2017.

    But, wait… there’s a five minute difference between the length of the “evening” and the length of the “morning.” That’s because our “day” is short! According to God’s calendar, the year is 364 days, and each day is divided into 18 portions — not 24 hours. A sidereal year (a year in relation to the fixed stars) is 365.242189 days.

    365.242189 / 364 = 1.00341260714 x 24 hrs/day = 24.0819025714 hrs/day

    0.0819025714 hrs = 4 mins 54.8492571429 secs (which roughly equates to the 5 minute differential observed above)

    Our “astronomers” tell us that the equinox falls on March 20, 2017. The modern equinox/equilux definition has nothing to do with the implied meaning of equal parts night/light! The equinox is based on the alleged time when “the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun.” God’s law has been changed (i.e., His definition of a year, day, and portion). We have been deceived… nothing is quite as it appears. That’s what Satan does, folks. Shema Yisrael!

  24. alans73 says:

    This is the second of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 2 (“evening” of 3/17 and “morning” of 3/18 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so. 8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day. (NASB)

    So, on the second day, our atmosphere was created! The waters above are contained in clouds, and waters below were what we know as the ocean (prior to any land mass). The word translated as “expanse” in these verses is likewise translated as “firmament.”

    From Merriam-Webster:
    firmament
    noun fir·ma·ment ˈfər-mə-mənt
    1: the vault or arch of the sky : heavens

    This is what was created specifically on this day: The atmosphere or “heavens” (what meteorologists et al. call the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, ionosphere, exosphere, and magnetosphere) as well as the differing cloud types (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cloud_types).

    The Big Bang theory suggests that the initial state of the entire universe was one of INFINITE density and temperature at a finite point in time. I challenge ANYONE to explain how that could possibly occur; it defies ALL known scientific laws! Plus, from where did that dense matter of incredible temperature originate? It simply came into existence from nothingness? What scientific law proves that ANYTHING can be formed from NOTHING? There isn’t — one must have FAITH! Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” states that the universe expands, contracts back into the “initial state” or singularity then expands again in an endless cosmological cycle, yet he NEVER explains how that singularity came to be in the first place or exactly why all the laws of physics breakdown within it. He is called one of the greatest minds of our time; I submit that he is given nearly unlimited intellectual leeway due to his physical infirmity.

    All this infinite matter magically coalesced into stars which magically started a fusion reactor in each. Billions of stars magically formed galaxies. Sloughed off matter from stars magically formed planets, moons, asteroids, and every other celestial body in solar systems all while traveling through infinite space at incomprehensible speeds. Recall that we’re allegedly on a spinning oblate spheroid in an elliptical orbit around the sun that is in a rotating arm of the Milky Way galaxy which has a black hole at its center. It’s laughable when you really think about it, but we were all indoctrinated into this way of thinking from the time we had solar system mobiles attached to our cribs.

    In a fraction of planets, water magically formed and in even fewer, atmospheres, and in fewer still — life! What logical, intellectually honest person could believe in such a fantasy — even over billions of “years?” It would certainly require FAITH! Even all the essential amino acids (which originate from diet alone) cannot be synthesized in a lab — much less in a primordial soup in the unimaginably harsh environment of early Earth. That doesn’t even touch upon the complexity of even single-celled organisms and all the intricate, biochemical processes that must occur beforehand to form them in an undirected way. Then, these organisms must magically evolve — again in an undirected way unsupported by the fossil record (lacking evidence of intermediates) — into the interdependent biodiversity in myriad biospheres and habitats observed in our modern world. It’s statistically IMPOSSIBLE! Folks, we have been deceived…

  25. alans73 says:

    This is the first of a series of seven (7) posts from earlier this year regarding the creation:
    =======
    Day 1 (“evening” of 3/16 and “morning” of 3/17 in 2017)

    The following commenced this evening in history… Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. (NASB)

    And, here is the mystery… Colossians 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. (NASB)

    Confirmation of the mystery… John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (NASB)

    According to Reuben Alcalay, a famous Hebrew lexicographer, Christ’s Name (Heb. Yehoshu’a [yod-he-vav-shin-ayin]/Eng. Joshua) is closely associated with “Let there be…”

    Christ is the Word and the Light — the firstborn of creation. All things were created through and for Him! If one believes in the Big Bang theory and evolution, then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see Genesis 1:2) are ALL denied….

    We have been deceived!

    * https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/10/28/pope-francis-backs-theory-of-evolution-says-god-is-no-wizard/?utm_term=.c9c78de389d0
    * http://www.nas.edu/evolution/StatementsReligion.html
    * http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/06/christians-evolution_n_4732998.html
    * http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/theology/religions.php
    * http://www.pewforum.org/2009/02/04/religious-groups-views-on-evolution/

    Matthew 12:31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (NASB)

    Shema, Yisrael! (Hear, Israel!)

  26. Steve says:

    I do appreciate BAR for its archeological reviews. But I had not realized until now where it stood, or failed to stand, from a theological standpoint. That said, i can no longer support their efforts and will be canceling my support and subscription.

  27. albertv10 says:

    If you are a true child of the living God then the Bible is the only authority, the only scripture to believe in. If you are a true child of the living God then you will experience His divine interaction with you on a constant basis. If you are a true child of the living God then you will feel the Spirit of God dwell in you.

    If you experience these things then you will not at any point doubt the authority of the Word of God(Jesus Christ) who made everything during the creation time period, who sustains everything since the creation and still does today.

    What is described in Genesis 1-11 is way above and beyond the mind of the creature, only the One that created can do what was done.

    We are all living a life of death on this planet, still blessed by God every single day whether we love Him or follow Him, we are all his children created in His image for His pleasure and glory. What happens when we die depends on what happened when we lived. Free will is a gift from God, use it wisely.

  28. Sheila says:

    Frankly, in 2017 why is this even a question – what happened to the world of the biblical scholar? Just a rhetorical question – I do know the answer.

  29. Dawn says:

    Believing is part of faith. I believe the stories of Creation that are in the Bible are literal (taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory) and true.
    Hebrews 11:1-3 ” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    For by it the elders obtained a good report.

    Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

  30. victorz8 says:

    To BAR: How did Shawna Dolansky qualify as a “Biblical Scholar”? If you really believe that than why not consider a name change – “Biblical Nonsense Review”?

  31. Rick C says:

    When I taught Disciple Bible Study and the topic of literal interpretation came up, I had a simple exercise. I asked the students to tell me about the first three years of their child’s life. After all was said, I recapped the stories. Generally: the women experienced no pain; the child was born with a full head of hair, all teeth, and could walk and talk; never cried one day; etc. They replied that they only told me enough details so that I could get the picture. “Exactly,” I would say.

  32. wes says:

    Thanks for the post, Paul.
    Hoyle was an enjoyable, provocative writer of both fiction and fact.
    As a scientist, sometimes he was right, sometimes not.
    But as a clever advocate for an alternative to an existing theory, he was worth listening to.
    As many know, some of the early contributors to the Big Bang theory of
    cosmology were religious people, most notably Father Georges. Lemaitre.
    Perhaps you could call his contribution Biblical Archeology of a very fundamental type. Lemaitre was said to advise Pius XII against taking an advocacy on this discovery or conclusion, however. It was Lemaitre who recommended that we keep open minds in our search for truth whichever way the path twists and turns.

    In that sense, when we see something in scripture which does not jive with what we know or experience, we should not ignore it, but investigate it. In searching deeper we hope for better understanding.

  33. rmpearlman says:

    Yes, it is the reliable testimony needed in order to understand science in context.
    reference RCCF (The Recent Complex creation Framework) – for how to understand the science in max. available context.

  34. Dr. Derek P. Blake, Ph.D says:

    You do realise that if the creation is just a myth, then it makes the Christian faith a complete lie? With articles like this we can understand the decline in the Christian faith, simply because with evolution we are exactly what God intended us to be, so why do we need a Saviour? We would not. It is so sad when what we consider to be Christian organisations come up with this sort of anti-scriptural junk.
    In reality, the creation account fits very well the science that we know about the formation of the universe. There is also many scientific points contained in the Bible that your “world in which the Biblical authors lived over 2,000 years ago.” could not possibly have known. If only your writers would read the Bible and understand what the Bible is all about, we would be a lot better off.

  35. Paul says:

    I find both the article and the responses interesting. Historically within the Christian Church there have always been two schools of interpretation of the first six chapters of Genesis-the Antiochian School which was more literalist, and the Alexandrian school which took a more allegorical view. Today we see the rise of the Antiochian school in the understanding of many Christians, but the allegorical view of the Alexandrians irons out many difficulties a literalist point of view creates (no pun intended). Psalm 103 (LXX)/104 (Masoretic) is a Psalm of Creation of which Alexander Schmemann says that in that hymn the Church takes us back to “that first evening on which man…opened his eyes and saw what God is His love was giving to him” And in many ways this could set the standard for all interpretations of the various Creation Accounts which are found in Holy Scripture. Interestingly, the atheist scientist and astronomer Fred Hoyle rejected The Big Bang Theory because, he said, it implied the existence of God. Today very few atheists would deny the Big Bang Theory. Plato taught that God is the source of all things. These are all in line with Holy Scripture which says the “in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”. The fact is that God is the First Cause, the mechanics He used are in many ways are irrelevant

  36. george doucet says:

    I would not read that “book” if I were paid to do so! This is a glaring example of why people are getting farther from THE only true God. Such hogwash comes only from non-believers; and the Bible well mentions that kind of people, and how they will proliferate in the latter days. So we have apparently have arrived at that tome.

  37. Robert MacClennan says:

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Ms. Dolansky’s article and the comments. I think that this form of discussion and debate is most needed in the faith communities of the world today. Let me ad a single thought to the many well thought out answers already given.
    The biggest problem with failing to take the creation story literally is that you have just destroyed Jesus Christ as the redeeming Savior of mankind. From an OT view- if Genesis is false, then death and disease and violence can predate man by millions or billions of years. If that is true as many in science claim- then man’s sin did not cause death to enter the world. If that is true- then Christ’s sacrifice can not redeem us, because we were not the cause. From a NT perspective- if Adam and Eve and the rest of the Genesis story is fake- then Christ is not perfect (since He claimed that it was true)- thus destroying His perfection and voiding His acceptable sacrifice. Other than that, I think it is an interesting article.
    Blessings on your Journey through His word.
    Pastor Robert

  38. David Paul says:

    There are lots of people speaking out against this article who insist that it is wrong because it doesn’t agree with their own sense of what must be true about creation. They insist that they have the CORRECT understanding, and this understanding is provided by the Holy Spirit. They would ALL say that “the Holy Spirit leads into all truth”, and they would insist this article is false. The problem with that view is that if you took all of the people who posted those kinds of replies here and gathered them in a room, it is virtually CERTAIN that NONE of them would agree on all the various points of Biblical doctrine. Ironically, though, each one would likely INSIST that they were correct because the Holy Spirit had guided them into all truth. That is a serious problem, because it means one of three radical things:
    1) the Holy Spirit is a liar, telling fibs to every new person it encounters
    2) the Holy Spirit is a deranged psychotic with multiple personalities
    3) ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE GRAVELY MISTAKEN ON TWO POINTS: (A) they don’t really know what ‘:Elohhiym actually means (i.e. they misunderstand and misinterpret) when He says “the Spirit leads into all truth”, & (B) they don’t really comprehend what YHWH is doing, nor how and why He is doing it.

    Only one of those can be correct, and it isn’t 1 or 2. If you reject 1 & 2, then 3 MUST BE TRUE. There are no other options, because the second you say 3 isn’t true, you are immediately back to insisting 1 or 2 is true. Guess what? BIBLE PROPHECY INSISTS THAT 3 IS TRUE. Every single person who posted to this thread is a victim of “the strong delusion” and “the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH”. The Bible is CLEAR that many of those who are so deluded WILL THINK THEY HAVE A VALID AND CORRECT RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. The fact that nearly everyone thinks that everyone else is a victim of delusion is PROOF that the strong delusion has already wrapped the world in a strangle hold. The Bible describes this condition in detail, and there isn’t much anyone can do but wait until He acts to remove the delusion. The upshot is this: your ability to (in your view) recognize error is others is NOT proof that you know truth. There are thousands upon thousands of “Spirit-led believers” who believe they have been shown a truth that you think is a lie. They say YOU are the liar. The REAL truth is that ALL OF YOU ARE DECEIVED, and you will stay that way until YHWH reaches the point in His plan when He removes the fog of deception that HE allowed the dragon to implement to “deceive the whole world”. I promise…you AREN’T the exception to that Bible truth.

    In such a circumstance, self-righteous pontificating about others’ errors is highly dangerous. Call me a hypocrite for saying so if you are so “led”.

  39. Paul Burroughs says:

    When 275 cultures report that there was a universal flood that was survived only by the occupants of a boat load of animals and a human family, then we are talking history, not mythology. Even what we all agree is mythology, like Greek and Roman mythology, we discover is only revisionist history where the good guys (Shem and his descendants) by other names are demonized, and the rebels (Ham, Cush, and Nimrod) by other names are lionized.

  40. George May says:

    The Genesis account is not allegorical nor a “summary” but a literal starting point for creation. The brevity of its actuality is all we need for our belief. There is no need to fear scholastic contrariness. However, it is always good to be accurate by reviewing the presuppositions going into the analysis of discovered artifacts. For example, Wescott and Hort gave us “textual criticism” with the purpose in mind for all Biblical students to (like them) approach the Bible as “literature” instead of “the Divine Word of God. In other words, it doesn’t matter what Christ said about the “Law and the Prophets” doubting God is a good thing.

  41. edward woolf says:

    if a bride claims to be a virgin, and can not prove it, should she be stoned? Ia an engaged woman is raped in the city limits, should meet the same punishment as her attacker, because she did not scream loud enough? according to the “innerrent word of God”, the answer to bout of these questions is yes..
    itf we allow the bible to be falible moarllay, how can we allow it to be infallible in tn the face of scientic discoveries

  42. Dr John G Leslie PhD, MD, PhD says:

    I completely disagree with almost everything the author, Shawna Dolansky, in the online article ‘Should We Take Creation Stories Literally?’ has to say. But, it is nothing new-“there is nothing new under the sun.” This same old debate rages back to the earliest of civilizations. Peter the Apostle warned against this in 2 Peter 2:5-7
    As well, Collin, in the comments section, makes good points about God’s ability to say what he means and preserve it. But I would like to add that I have studied the Noah Flood Account and it fits the concept of a True Narrative Account-that is an actual eye witness account. This is seen by the ancient words used in the text, a precise timeline, and the residual evidence for not only a local flood but an actual worldwide one time event. The observations of science: geology, biology, anthropology, and archaeology can be fit within a worldwide flood scenario . Historically, the Bible links the Flood with the judgment on Sodom-one worldwide and one local. Was the judgment on Sodom real? If one allogorizes it or the flood-does God really judge sin? Yet, it doesn’t stop there. The coming of Christ, in which every eye will see him: is that a legend, myth, fable or allogory? Will only those in the area of Jerusalem see Him? My understanding of the scriptures is that as God judged and distroyed all of mankind, except Noah and his family who had faith to obey Him; He will do the same at His, Jesus Christ’s, return to the earth during the end of times. Thus, both are portrayed as worldwide events in the Biblical scriptures.

    Do you interpet scripture by first looking at mans’s limited understanding of the physical earth, or do you first look at the scriptures and try to understand the limited observations of science within the all encompassing framework of the Biblical scriptures. As important, do you understand that science can only answer questions regarding the physical properties of earth and how to manipulate them for technology. When doing archaeology you and I are looking through a trash heap, so our evidence is often very limited and to what degree can we extrapolate it to understand the past. The Bible gives an accurate framework in which to understand the pyhsical evidence. Why would we, as Christians, want to manipulate it, the scriptures, to fit some limited transient, usually secular, ideas of mankind? Yet, I do not deny that Biblical archaeology has given us much information about the peoples of the ancient world, e.g. a Roman soldier’s uniform and the structures of buildings. But these observations do not change the framework of the scriptures. They color in the background.

    If you consider yourselves a Christian organization then I beg you to not compromise the integrity of God’s Holy Word, as many have.
    See what Jesus said:

    Luke 17:
    1 “Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!….
    26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
    27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
    28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
    29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
    30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” KJV

  43. Charles Hall says:

    For what it is worth, Judaism has always admitted non-literal interpretations of Biblical narratives, some of which directly contradict the plain meaning of the text. For example, no less a figure than Maimonides (12th century) explicitly denies the literal truth of the talking snake in the Guide to the Perplexed. Rashi (11th century) wrote in his commentary to the very first verse in Genesis that the book’s purpose is NOT to teach history and should NOT be taken literally. You simply do not get bigger figures in Judiasm than these. And of course Judaism never accepted the “original sin” doctrine nor the necessity of a mediator to ameliorate sin.

    With this understanding one can see why religious Jews such as myself are not concerned with most of the issues raised in this comment section.

  44. Robert Crompton says:

    Colin said: “…and IF that omnipotent God has the power to inspire humans to write only as God dictated… then we can have confidence that the Biblical narrative is fact and not myth or fiction.” Isn’t this a rather odd sort of thing to say? That if God were to write something, then what he would write would be the kind of thing a Thomas Gradgrind would aspire to; that it would not be poetry, or legend, or enigma; that it would not be fiction conveying meanings in many different settings as readers engage with it. That it would not reveal to late readers the mindset and outlook and understanding of the people among whom it originated. That it would not engage the imagination but only require the assent of its readers. Here is what you must know – learn it because you will be tested upon it on judgement day. 🙂

  45. Michael Bethel says:

    Chapter 2 of Genesis is not a second creation story, it is an expansion on day six. The use of the term “of the field” signifies cultivated crops not plant life in general but what was provided specifically for mankind.

  46. Eutychus says:

    I wish I had time to write a more thorough comment on this; not on the article so much as the comments in response to it. Christian practitioners need not be alarmed or afraid of the word or concept of ‘myth.’ I’m reminded of Inigo Montoya in Princess Bride: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    If the only way you can understand the Bible to be authoritative for Christianity is to declare in faith that it must be all history and no mythology, then you’ve missed so much of its meaning and importance that you might as well hang up your boxing gloves. Truth is not fact. The distortion of Biblicism is that it denigrates the idea of myth rather than revering it. The question of whether it’s historical or factual in an empirical sense is a red herring: the authority of the Bible for Christianity lies in discerning its truth, not its fact, and if you can’t embrace the distinction between them, you’ve reduced the sacred text to a list of propositions, and exchanged a relationship with a living and loving God for a laundry list of doctrinal assumptions to be checked off via intellectual assent. That, in turn, leads to a kind of “works righteousness” in which your assent to the laundry list is what make you acceptable to God rather than God’s work of grace toward those (we) who deserve none.

    Don’t be afraid of real scholarship; embrace the possibility that the Bible can be authoritative in the lives of Christian practitioners even if they don’t perceive it as literally and scientifically descriptive.

  47. Geoff Woodgield says:

    I agree completely. I was thinking exactly the same thing as I read it. I love BAR and often use what I learn from it to privide evidence to my students of the Bibles authenticity. So Im always disappointed in these types of articles. Its what I call a “shoot yourself in the foot” article. Its like me going door to door selling, providing proof that I am offering the best vacuum cleaner in the world and at the same time leaving a list of potential problems that might show up. If the Bible really is the Wiord of God it must be at the very least trustworthy. Nowhere do the Scriotures suggest that the creation account is anything but literal. GEN 1:27; PS 139:14; MATT 19:4-6; AC 17:24, 25. Just to mention a few. Kind regards.

  48. Mike Mitchell says:

    For Colin: “Myth” doesn’t mean fiction when applied to ancient Near Eastern culture. It refers to stories meant to convey a truth.

  49. colinb7 says:

    Interesting. IF there is an omnipotent God of the Universe who reached down to man to offer salvation to all who would believe in His name, and IF that omnipotent God has the power to inspire humans to write only as God dictated to them, and IF God has the ability and desire to preserve his Word in written form down through the ages, then we can have confidence that the Biblical narrative is fact and not myth or fiction. A person’s worldview will color their interpretation of the Bible, and if any of the Bible is false, we can question the authenticity and accuracy of all Biblical narratives, not just Genesis. That includes Christs divinity, purpose on earth, and atoning work on the cross. As a research engineer, I’ve gone through the questions in the Bible, secular literature, and my mind for the last 40 years, and am convinced that we can rely on the Bible 100%. No myth here. I admit, it’s weird from a human perspective to “Look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal”, but worldly research and experience doesn’t definitively negate a reality that we cannot yet perceive.

  50. Joe says:

    Dear BAR,

    I realize that this is not, strictly speaking, a forum for debate even though the published information often inspires it; However some reasoned conservative scholarship touching Biblical inerrancy would be a welcome breath of fresh air in the face of what seems like a featured majority of liberal and often skeptical positions.
    This is quite incongruous considering the Biblically affirming nature of much of the actual field work being done.
    I do very much appreciate the work of BAS.
    Thanks.

  51. Roger Leonard says:

    Shauna is wrong and Jesus is right. Shauna is a scholar? Not in my book! One either believes in the inspiration of Scripture, or falls prey to this kind of misrepresentation of God’s word.

  52. S. Megha Chandra Singh says:

    It will be very wrong to consider such writing as ‘Biblical Scholarship ‘based writing. Because such study or writing has nothing to do with the intended meaning or purpose of the original author of the Bible. It is just what such a person thought, it is just an opinion of a writer about creation apart from the biblical narrative which is the only truth. Therefore, such opinion should not be considered as ‘biblical based scholarship.’ Of course, such writer is entitled to her or his own opinion, but never consider him or her as ‘Biblical Scholar, but he or she can be considered as secular academician. ‘ For biblical scholars always interpret the Bible from the viewpoint of the original authors of the Bible.

  53. Wiffin Zebe says:

    Shawna is one of those ‘scholars’ that I’m beginning to dislike.

  54. janec36 says:

    The wisdom of man is foolishness to God!

  55. janec36 says:

    All Scripture is God breathed period end of discussion.Don’t waste my time!

  56. ericb65 says:

    This is an article based upon Biblical Scholarship disciplines and not Faith Based studies. In fact, this whole web site is dedicated to Biblical Scholarship and Archeology related to Biblical age subjects. It is not a faith based endeavor. Any discussion between the two methods is fraught with discomfort, and dangerous schisms. Don’t even try. Most, but not all, Faith Based students of history tackle faith as truth and therefore fact, and pick amid the ruins of the ages for convenient confirmations. Biblical Scholarship is research and science based and leaves faith behind. There are many positions and discussions that ensue on almost any point of Biblical Scholarship because the truth is forever revealed but never overtaken. Faith based studies hold truth in both hands and stride forthright into the fray. Those who practice Faith Based reasoning will not like this online magazine. Biblical Scholars roll their eyes at Faith Based dicta. This is a site for for Biblical Scholars by Biblical Scholars. Tote thy Faith to more receiving hands.

  57. Johnny says:

    The author of this article, Robin Ngo, is obviously very bias in her reporting. A side from the number of scientific, historical and other scholary works she has purposely ignored to slant this article shows that the she is not biblical scholar herself. She states “Scholars argue that Biblical myths arose within the context of other ancient Near Eastern myths that sought to explain the creation of the world.” This gives the impression that all biblical, historical, scientific and other scholars view the Creation Account in Genesis as being a myth – this is no where near the truth.

    Robin has also misused the quotes that she applied here in this article. One person that she quotes multiple time is Shawna Dolansky. Ms. Dolansky work boarders on atheistic view (read several of her articles to see what I mean) and should not be classified as a “biblical scholar” and is a poor source to use.

    This article by Robin also degrades billions of people who belong to the three “Abrahamic Faiths” of the Jews, Chrisitans and Islam. Each teach that Genesis is correct and that God created the Cosmos in six days and rested on the seventh. If we take the stand that God is the author (God breathed, man wrote) of the Torah, Holy Bible and the Q’ran then Robin is also calling God a liar as well as billions of people. A rather smug statement to belittle the faith of billions. It is a shame that Biblical Archeology would publish this article.

  58. AL says:

    GOD’s Word is GOD’s law, and GOD’s law is the law of mankind, these are His Commandments, these are our commandments. His laws are also the laws of nature, the laws of physics and the laws of gravity. He has given us these certainties to discover for ourselves in order that we may better understand His being and his purpose. Regardless of the how, what, when and where these stories of creation originated, they may not be taken too literally but they should all be taken as truth. Truth as told by those who first recorded them, truth as seen through their eyes and truth as understood by their place in history and their ability to comprehend them…

  59. AL says:

    GOD is the creator, He is the progenitor of all things in the Heaven and of the earth. And Jesus is the image of the invisible GOD…As it says in Colossians 1:16… “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.” Through Jesus, GOD has given us His Word as he has also given us the tools to use in the quest for knowledge and understanding. GOD has also given us all the sciences to which we may better understand His Word…For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, proof means nothing…

  60. gregoryg26 says:

    And did the authors of the bible took the Genesis account as literal?

  61. gregoryg26 says:

    If the Genesis account is not literal then how did sin came into the world? Is original sin real? Why did Jesus die? And why did Jesus took the Genesis account as literal?

  62. Gwendolyn says:

    I’m with Al. I definitely won’t be unsubscribing any time soon

  63. Brad says:

    In the end, belief is the foundation of our interpretation. We have faith in God (Yahweh) or we have faith in something that is not God. There is plenty of factual evidence to support God’s accounts as written down by men through the inspiration of the Spirit (Ruach), but through which lens is it interpreted? Do you believe the One who is the perfect infallible creator of everything or do you believe men who make mistakes?

    It is academically irresponsible and deceptive to propose theories on baseless conjecture. Take a look at this paper highlighting research on the statistical analysis of the Hebrew in Genesis. http://www.icr.org/i/pdf/technical/Statistical-Determination-of-Genre-in-Biblical-Hebrew.pdf

  64. Alan Schuetz says:

    A resounding YES! The calendar from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) PROVES that! The sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day for signs, seasons, days, and years, and the DSS calendar commences on the FOURTH DAY OF THE WEEK! See http://www.haderech.info/DSS/Calendar/QumranCalendar.pdf.

    These false teachers must turn from their sins or be judged in accordance with Torah on the great and terrible Day of the Lord (Judgment Day) on a future Yom Kippur. All those judged will be found GUILTY! Only Yehoshu’a, the Lamb of God, will judge and only He provides Grace (i.e., a judicial pardon from sin). All we must do is believe in Him as ALL (except Him!) have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of Eloah. Shema Yisrael!

  65. paulg103 says:

    Shawna and the unnamed “Biblical scholars” who believe the creation and other accounts as recorded in Genesis are just etiological, providing a reason/meaning as to why and how things were, are quite simply wrong.
    Such a position is fully in the camp of the atheists who posit that all religion and the Bible account itself is just a “god of the gaps”, explaining things as “god did it” because they don’t have enough knowledge or understanding to explain it properly/scientifically. That is implicit in the statement the article makes “The ancient world did not have Google, Wikipedia and smartphones—access to information on human history and scientific achievements developed over millennia at the touch of their fingertips.”
    No, the ancient world did not have these, it had something better – the Word of God given by the Holy Spirit so that it could be trusted as completely true (2 Tim 3;16; 2 Pet 1:21).
    Too, and unarguably, they are wrong because they stand in direct disagreement with the Lord Jesus Christ who believed the literal text of the Genesis account as evidenced in His statements and teachings in the Gospels (Matt 10:15; Matt 12:40-41; Matt 19:3-6; Matt 24:38-39; Mark 10:6; Mark 13:19; Luke 4:25-27; Luke 11:50-51; Luke 13:14; Luke 17:28-32; John 3:14; John 5:45-47). Each of these references by Jesus to Old Testament events are used literally and not allegorically, showing that Jesus, the living Word of God believed literally the written Word of God including all the record of Genesis.

  66. John Coombes says:

    For me it is quite simple. Either 2 Tim 3:16 is true or it is false. If the account of Genesis 1-3 is a myth then we have no basis upon which to base either the Jewish or the Christian faiths. Jesus never refuted a single word of the OT.
    So, either God the Holy Spirit imparted divine knowledge to the 40 or so authors of the various books of what we call the Bible, or He did not.
    I know without any doubt which story i believe. And it is certainly not Ms Dolansky’s, with due respect to her. She makes claims that neither she nor any other created being can do, because she simply was not there when it all happened. But Jesus was.

  67. W. Ron Hess says:

    Deliberately I wrote my reply to Ngo’s excellent article without reading all the prior replies. Now that I’ve read them, I see that all but a few are absurd “faith-based” emotional replies along the lines of “how dare you to think for yourself, rather than to believe what you’ve been taught without question.” Such a pity that adults choose to behave like bratty children that way! Usually, as adults, we become more interested in reality and facts, not the “shut up and vote for me” mentality that is now dominating one of our major political parties. I suggest that most of the tantrum throwers should be welcomed to unsubscribe, as they claim they will. Biblical Archaeology should be devoted to just that, and not to merely Biblical Fanatic Mythologism. W. Ron Hess, Winder, GA

  68. W. Ron Hess says:

    I enjoyed the article about the Creation Myths by Robin Ngo, and for the most part agree. However, Ngo seemed to have ignored the 800 lb gorrilla in the room — the Canaanite gods El, Baal, etc. It is well and good to compare the Yawhist cult to similar Babylonian and Egyptian cults, and their creation myths. But the Canaanite myths are well documented now that texts from ruins on the coast of northern Syria have been deciphered and compiled. And it appears that to a great extent, the Yawhist cult merely subsumed the Canaanite cults, and only later borrowed from Babylonian and Egyptian sources. In fact, Yaweh as a revamped El-Baal composite is the best way to account for the alternate name for Yaweh — Elohim, or “the gods” plural (Heavenly host might be a better but less literal definition). W. Ron Hess, Winder, GA

  69. Bart. says:

    This is the shallowest analysis of the Bible I have ever read.

  70. Christopher Dalton says:

    Dear Robin Ngo,

    Please call out to Jesus and await him. Shut your door and call out privately. You have been mislead. By writing this article you are misleading others.

    Sincerely,

    Christopher Dalton

  71. AL says:

    Really, it never ceases to amaze me…As I have said to my sister on several occasions, the comments are far more interesting, informative and entertaining than many of the articles themselves. When an article pertains to specific archaeological discoveries, excavations, ruins and other such tangible artifacts, I read the article intently. On the other hand, when an article is posing an erroneous digestion of theological subject matters, I generally give it a cursory glance and head straight for the comments. I will never understand why some seemingly well educated people will try so fervently to draw correlations and conclusions between the contents of the Bible and their own convoluted opinions of how their explanative assumptions pursue some sort of alignment to their own personal views…Sophistry, pure and simple. While most commenters here are highly intelligent and very well versed in many fields of study that conveys dedication to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding, there are some commenters that betray their lack of knowledge and understanding by being priggish and puerile…Remember, you will never be able to reason someone out of a position or opinion that they reasoned themselves into…
    I will NOT unsubscribe to BAR because there is too much to learn, too much insight to gain and too many doors to be opened by way of discussion and analysis that would otherwise be closed if one chooses to ignore them…

  72. James Latimer says:

    Shawna Dolansky proves that her human wisdom and foolish speculation about taking the Bible literally are nothing more than extrabiblical, thus her opinion is pure fiction. Either a Christian takes the Word of God literally, or he/she errs (sins) by adding to or subtracting from the Scripture.

    In today’s world, we Christ followers must test all teachings against the Scripture itself so that we may expose false teachings, and false teachers. And, we must pray for the leadership of the Holy Spirit to guide us in discerning the truths within the Scripture.

  73. Jeanne says:

    Oh my…..what a big to-do about such a simple truth…..GOD created. All the study, name-calling, arguments, puffed-up self appointed knowledge is silly. God gave us a brain to search for knowledge and understanding of our earth, its creation, and its creator. I am a teacher of genetic biology and the scientific facts I know and teach confirm and explain, to my understanding, how God created. If literal belief of the Genesis story confirms and explains, to your understanding, how god created, then rejoice in it. Please don’t condemn other believers…..it just may be you with a log in your eye.

  74. Kevin George says:

    Could someone please direct me to a website about Biblical archaeology? I seem to have stumbled into a site for mythological theorists by mistake.

  75. Tom says:

    in order to align the Bible w/ the majority of scientists, ?Christian scientists dis simple, normative meanings & tweak the Bible. For example, they wave the magic wand called, “metaphor,” which enables them to redefine simple words like “day” & “dust.” Such hoop-jumping doesn’t convince “fundamentalists” – or atheists.

    P.S. Old Earthers can never answer the [atheists’] question: “If animals were attacking & devouring one another for millions of years, i.e., “red in tooth & claw,” how could God call the cheetah’s sinking his teeth into the zebra, ‘very good?’” Only Young Earthers can correctly answer that question: “The cheetah began sinking his teeth into the zebra only after the vice-regent, Adam, sinned.”

  76. Robin says:

    Very interesting. This is a controversial subject for many. I have read Augustine’s and Calvin’s commentaries on the creation sections of Genesis. I have read others as well. Some commentators suggest that the biblical creation story was told in rebuttal to the other ANE accounts since they were polytheistic and various things that Genesis is not. Augustine seemed to think that the Day in Genesis was God-designed and not 24 hours……which should please no one. It is all interesting. But one thing remains: the Universe is old, but it was designed and planned and created by God……Beyond all that, surely lots of good insight here.

  77. Brent Dawes says:

    Why do atheists profess to have a better understanding than those of faith? If you don’t believe Genesis then you don’t believe in the suffering and sacrifice that Yehoshuah/Jesus made to free us from the burden of sin. Genesis 1 differs from Genesis 2 – 3 because the author is giving us more information on the same subject. Any Bible scholar with the smallest amount of theological knowledge realises that this is how the Bible is structured, all the Bible, “Here a little there a little.” The Genesis story was written with inspiration from a higher source than you can even dare to imagine. It is a literal history of how everything was made including us. Hebrews 11:3 “By faith we understand the universe to have been formed by the word of God, so that the things being seen have not been made from the things being visible.” Ever heard of this before in your science textbooks before the 18th century? The Greeks understood it and that was over 2300 years ago and gee how far we have come, not. Scientists still don’t know how everything is held together. String theory is still just a theory. Maybe Robin Ngo, Shawna Dolansky and the other Biblical scholars should change their jobs or at least study something equivalent to their obvious ability to understand like, Dr Suess’ “The Hat in the Cat.” And maybe you should change this website to Skeptical Biblical Archaeology

  78. Tom (U of Colorado) says:

    So pain in child bearing is literal? Wow, what a genius to figure that out.
    It also doesn’t require a genius to figure out that heavens & earth, plants, sun, animals, people, etc. – are also literal – last time I checked.
    The only reason why “scholars” don’t interpret Genesis 1 in a normative sense is b/c it will lead a person to a young earth which doesn’t concur w/ the majority of scientists. As for me & my house, the Bible is our presupposition.

  79. William Poulos says:

    The Mesopotamian is more myth than truth and it is not even truthful to say that the Biblical story of creation was drafted or gleaned from the Mesopotamian or Near East creation myths. I want to remind you that there are some significant differences between the Near East creation myths and the Biblical creation narrative.

    1.) The Near East creation myth involves multiple gods, who create, fight and kill one another in jealousy and anger, where the Biblical creation narrative is ONE all powerful, all knowing GOD, who needs no help in doing his creation work, and he does ALL of it alone!!

    2.) Only the Biblical God of creation creates and looks back to examine his work and declare that it is “GOOD!”, this is not true of the Near East creation myth (Mesopotamian or Babylonian).

    3.) The God of the Biblical narrative RESTS on the seventh day, and commands that we do the same, there is no such “resting” on the part of the Mesopotamian or Near East creation myths.

    4.) The gods (little “g”) of those Near Eastern nations (Mesopotamian, Babylonian, Akkadian, people from Ur and others) DO NOT EXIST, because of the absolute TRUTH of the Bible has made those mythical gods—NULL AND VOID!

    5.) Moses was the writer of Genesis and this many, many years after the occurrence and with that come hundreds of generations who verify it’s as truth! Those other Near East myths have no such confirmation of thousands of years as we do now, because those myths DO NOT EXIST, but the truth of the Biblical creation as well as the whole truth of the Bible lives on!

    These are just a few of the countless differences between the Near Eastern myths and the Biblical narrative of creation

    I know these things because I have been a student of ancient Mediterranean history and archaeology for the past 45 years and I am working on a couple of books which are in progress about them.

  80. Kobus says:

    “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll. And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
    ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭22:18-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
    http://bible.com/111/rev.22.18-20.niv

    Very disappointed, people take portions ofwhat they want to believe so they don’t have to be accountable to God. This comes from a lack of an intimate relationship with God. They don’t know HIM. Get to know God read the Bible, pray and listen you might get some wisdom.

  81. Rick says:

    I will unsubscribe after this comment.This is pure speculation and trash.

  82. Mark says:

    Uhm another “myth” advocate. I find it difficult to know when the myth stuff turns to true stuff. Like is the creation story a myth but the Abraham’s offering his son a myth or true. Is the flood a myth but David’s temple a myth it truth. Did the Israelites captivity to Babylon actually happen or is it a myth. What principle guide lines a inherent in the text to plainly show what is and what isn’t?
    I also have difficulty with genealogies. Are they myth, or truth. Is the nt genealogies true or myth? If myth, at what person does the mythical list become true. Rather than give an explanation to secularism, stating this is myth but then at this point to turns true but then these are mythical figures but then next one is true etc makes scripture a joke, but worse unbelievable. But after all that us probably the intended purpose for this line of thought.

  83. guys8 says:

    I am historian with a special emphasis on Religious Studies from Regis University and Arizona State University, and a graduate of a religious seminary. The life-long study of the Bible from both theological (doctrinal) and historical (scientific) viewpoints based on ancient manuscripts, cultural tradition, archaeology, and the study of ancient languages has given me a clear insight into Genesis and the Bible. The Book of Genesis was not a series of myths handed down generation to generation as many have been taught to believe. Moses was the author of Genesis, which he wrote after God showed him in vision the history of the earth from its very creation to its final end, making it much more accurate and literal than skeptics would care to believe. The book as we have it today is a diluted version filled with errors, mistranslations, and blatant omissions by scribes over the past 3,500 years, which leave many with questions over Adam and Eve, The Flood, the age of man, and doctrinal teachings no longer found in it, but are found in other texts. However, as pointed out by another comment, Jesus and his apostles did verify many aspects of accounts in Genesis as being true. How would they know? Again, the key is revelation from God through the Holy Spirit. God has spoken many times over the ages to men and women whom he chose to reveal his mysteries and will to, often to re-state truth formerly provided but lost through human error and willful apostasy from the truth. The Bible is full of accounts by many of these prophets whom God called for his special purposes to teach those who would listen the true word of God and obey it. What the world needs is fewer skeptics and more believers. Such belief is unpopular among liberal scholars, atheists, secular humanists, and others more interested politically correctness than divine truth, and they go great lengths to undermine that truth to maintain the establishment agenda of academia. Even though many have seen evidence to support the truth, they have no interest in letting the rest of the world know about it, allowing them to maintain control over what people believe and who they should follow. Anything or anyone who attempts to refute the truth of the Bible is either ignorant of the truth or is doing the bidding of a another master to deceive mankind.

  84. kirbyc says:

    Science? It was invented by Christians who saw God’s design in creation and sought to “think His thoughts after Him”. You look for evidence and follow where it leads. You theorize and test it. Why are we finding soft and liquid tissue in dinosaur bones? Why are the oldest living Bristlecone Pines only 4,000 years old? If you extrapolate current trends between the Earth, Sun, and Moon forward or backward in time, life becomes impossible outside of a relatively small timeframe. Earth cannot be as old as it is currently supposed. Indeed, the 19th century writings of early evolutionists indicate that their intent was to supplant the God of Moses and reject His laws. A long period of time would make any process plausible. They didn’t know how long. Our people still don’t when pressed. The only reason for not believing the God of the Bible is that you do not wish to be subject to His instruction. I assumed “Biblical Archaeology” meant He was respected here. Was I incorrect?

  85. Joe Bongiorno says:

    This forum needs an edit button: first paragraph should say “who either haven’t studied the ancient texts, or who parrot…”

  86. Joe Bongiorno says:

    Sorry, but this is yet another erroneous and clichéd article that represents the uniformed response of academics who’ve either haven’t studied the ancient texts, or who parrot the party-line of secularists who say “it’s all just a myth, but that’s ok because it has meaning.”

    I am NOT right-wing or conservative. I believe in climate change and progressive values, but unlike those who write these kinds of articles, I have studied the Enuma Elish and compared it to the Genesis account, and the two reveal huge, fundamental differences between their narrative and themes. In brief, the Enuma Elish is about the establishment of the ruling class and their so-called divine right to rule based on violent conflict (embodied in Marduk’s overthrow of Tiamat and the creation of man from the spilled blood of the god Kingu). Genesis presents the very opposite scenario, elucidating God’s right to rule based on the love and integrity embodied in his created works.

    Certainly there are portions of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles that are meant to be read metaphorically, but anyone claiming that Genesis was a borrowing of ancient mythic sources is not only barking up the wrong tree, but standing in the wrong forest. That this is considered the de-facto “truth” of the Genesis account is a testament to the lazy, unscientific, anti-religious thrust of modern secular academia, who think that by repeating something over and over again it will make it true. It won’t.

    For anyone interested in a deeper exploration of Genesis vs the Enuma Elish, there’s an excellent book by Walter Wink called The Powers That Be, which is a fascinating exploration of the myth of redemptive violence and its origins in ancient Babylon.

  87. brady says:

    I am interested in whatever ACTUAL ARCHEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE that you happen to find in various sources, but i am sick and tired of you finding people who claim to be educated in various liberal theological strains they chase after, who come up with their own theories of why we should not believe the Bible, as it is plainly written. Either get back to actual archeology or I will have to unsubscribe.

  88. Candace says:

    Simple: the Bible is the Inspire Word of God. I’ll take it as literally as the Spirit says. End of discussion.

  89. Deva V says:

    I am also thinking on same lines as Francois comment above.

    You can have this article but why mock the story, it’s so simple, the authors shared Creation story from God’s point of view in Genesis 1 and Man’s point of view in Genesis 2–3, we basically drop down to Day #6 as it’s of utmost import to look deeper.
    So there is not contradiction whatsoever here…
    And you mentioned fleetingly below verses without even saying what they are talking about: Can you please read below verses quoted in above article and tell me what it has about Creation controversy?
    Psalm 74 Psalm 89 Isaiah 27; 51

    Comeon we can do better than this, please don’t put something just because it would look different. Are you expecting Creation story to be told in 2016 style and format, remember this is written 4000 years ago to people who can understand in that setting and everything written only Glorified God by attributing Creation to Him but not primordial soup 🙂

    Please review the article in details and correct where you think needs attention.

  90. Deborah says:

    I guess I don’t understand why an article like this one is so threatening to belief. I love the old stories but understand that the stories are within a historical context that I don’t live in. When we as Christians become fearful of solid academic research, then we limit God; making Diety very small,

  91. STANLEY SMITH says:

    Faith alone supports a literal belief in the Old Testament and the stories from Genesis. That is Faith is in the Lord,
    who has spoken through the writings of those ancient Israelis or Hebrews, and if one chooses to believe in the
    scriptures, that belief is firm and will always declare Genesis to be The Truth, every sentence.
    But suppose that doesn’t matter? My belief may not be yours, but we both hold our understanding of Creation and all that followed to be true and those are the basis of our spiritual lives. Other versions of creation, the
    findings of contemporary science, are equally valid, and if one believes in God, it might be that the Creator just
    took a lot more time than those ancient writers could imagine. Or, if one has no spiritual basis of the way the
    Universe was created, well, that’s their belief. So why argue about it all? Fact is, we are here by the hand
    of the Lord, or of the infinite universe, and we still have a hell of a mess to deal with on our tiny speck of
    earth, fire and water. Hold onto your beliefs, my friends, they are desperately needed in times of chaos.

  92. Laura says:

    Right on Mike.

  93. Don says:

    One must understand that Jesus’ references to the creation myths do not affirm their historical authenticity. He can just as easily be using them as originally intended, not as historical narrative but as story, myth with a purpose. His reference to them affirms not their use as history but their use as myth. If I make a reference to or allude to a Greek myth in a speech or piece of literature I do not affirm the historicity of the Greek myth. My listeners understand my meaning. The literal reading of these stories misses the point of them and bogs people down in endless self defeating controversies. This childish approach, (not child like) is what is destroying the current generation of evangelicals who go to college and in large part jettison belief as they find the literal interpretation of Genesis to be untenable with undeniable observable truth about the earth and it’s history. A literal view of genesis places the Noah flood solidly in the old kingdom of Egypt which of course would be impossible since Egypt has a continuous culture that would not have survived a flood as envisioned by fundamentalists. For any fundamentalist please read and become familiar with your own bible. In John Jesus dies on the preparation day for passover and in the synoptic gospels he dies on Passover. Such discrepancies are not at all an issue for story written for a purpose but they cannot be reconciled with the way fundamentalists read the bible.

  94. Kevin says:

    Interesting take on the creation account. My feeling is that the bible was never meant to be a science book. That bein said, I don’t think our contemporary society has the faintest of ideas as to how everything came about to be, and that the creation of everything is far more fantastic then we’ve been led to believe…

  95. Francois says:

    I just subscribed to your magazine “Biblical” Archeology, but after reading this biaised, one-eyed denigrating article on the sacred text stating Genesis is full of myths, I regret doing that.

  96. johns577 says:

    Surely the purpose of Genesis’ creation stories is to tell us WHO made everything. That is an unchallangeable and unchangeable truth beyond man’s knowledge and wisdom. It is only by direct divine revelation that we can know this. Which, after all, is the purpose of all of scripture. As such, this article is quite out of place in an evidence based journal; it only airs the author’s speculations.

    “In the beginning, God created …”

  97. Michael Ledo says:

    Creation stories were astrological. Adam (Leo) and Eve (Virgo) the serpent (Hydra-at foot of Leo) the tree and its fruit (Corvus/Crater) the flaming sword (Regulus). Creation stories were typically stories which centered around the summer solstice. In fact the fantastic stories of the OT (and NT) are astro-myths.

  98. mikeb says:

    If God came to, say, an evolutionary biologist, or, say, and astrophysicist, and provided a direct God-to-a-man data dump on the truth of God, the truth of God’s omnipotence, and the truth of God as the true Word, and the truth of God’s creation and God-the-creator, our scientist would, as did Moses and Abraham and the earliest Israelites who began to know and call on God, tell us as best he could about this truth.

    In doings so, he’d try to explain, as best he could, how God went about creating his creation.

    Moses used the mechanisms of his day to explain the details of creation: voids, sky, earth, days, water, floods, rains, darkness, light.

    Our biologist would use the mechanisms of cell structure and mitochondria and DNA and carbon atoms and the like.

    Our astrophysicist would use subatomic particles and heat and energy and time and space and quantum events and strings and the like.

    Both would get it “wrong” in the details. In 100 years, our understanding of microbiology and our understanding of particle physics will make the explanations of our biologist and physicist sound silly, in the same way that modern principles of empirical science make the creation stories of Genesis 1 and 2-3 and the flood sound silly.

    The mechanics of God’s creative methods will never be understood by humans. But we are capable of understanding, either by direct contact (Moses, Abraham, our biologist, or physicist) or through faith in holy scripture, that it is the God of the Hebrew Bible who did the creation and God of the Hebrew Bible that owns and holds power over the earth and universe and man his offspring.

    Is it really more accurate to say “God grabbed a pinch of raw energy and formed five carbon atoms, which he then twisted into a DNA helix,” than it is to say that “God grabbed a pinch of dirt from the ground, breathed on it, and out popped Adam?”

    Is it really more accurate to say that “God applied heat energy through a vacuum of space-time, circling what became an induced boson, then multiplied this effect until gravitational forces collapsed time….” than it is to say that “God placed the stars in the sky and called them by name?”

    The Bible’s explanation of creation of space and time and earth and man is sufficient. And it is not particularly relevant. The important things is that God did it. God created the universe. God created man. Man is different from the beasts. Man and woman are separate things. God owns everything. Man is given authority. Man is a sinner — seeking his own God-like authority. Man fell. Man therefore dies and is dead. There is however, a means to return to life. See this happen in Revelation 21 and 22. How? Read those four books the Christians call gospels. They are pretty short, and you get four tries to “get it.”

    Science is very good at peeling back the layers of the onion. It is a very good human endeavor that we do so. But we will never prove or disprove the existence of God by peeling the onion, as science will never, ever, get to the center core of the onion. This is a little trick God is playing on us. The onion is infinite.

    Read the actual Bible for yourself. Accept it. Reject it. But don’t live your entire life without reading the actual thing for yourself.

  99. Joe Vasquez says:

    Jesus affirmed creation accounts, he affirmed the marriage of Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, the lie of the serpent, Noah and the Ark, the destruction of sodom and gommorah, just to name a few. He created creation John 1,
    Is Jesus Christ the truth?

  100. Veli Voipio says:

    Well, reading literally Gen 1 does not speak of the creation of the world or of the universe. Ancient people thought that when the flood is over, the land is created, and when the clouds disappear, the skies are created etc. Genesis 1 is just fine when taken literally as a local chain of events. Much later it was interpreted metaphorically without understanding the original figure of speech, and now we have a problem.

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