Controversial topic, yes, but definitely worth discourse. For the purpose of full disclosure, the topics discussed do not necessarily represent my personal beliefs, but rather I do like to stir the pot for a good debate.
First, let me start off by explaining where I am coming from. I grew up in the church and, like many young Christians do, took everything that was said to me and believed it as fact. Through high school, I suppose, I was a young earth creationist. It’s only been the last few years I’ve heard that term used, but nevertheless this is what I believed when I was younger. I did not accept the notion that the universe was in fact almost 14 billion years old and believed the dating methods used on fossils to be inaccurate.
As the years have gone by, the idea of a young earth made less and less sense. There was simply too much empirical evidence to support an old universe and earth. So where does the Bible fit in? Fortunately, from time to time, the pastor of my church likes to touch on controversial topics. A few years back he did a series on some, one of which was evolution. He didn’t go into great detail about evolution itself, but the main takeaway is that the book of Genesis was not written as a science document.
To say this blew my mind is an understatement. I had never heard such a thing but it made complete sense. Moses had never had coffee with Charles Darwin; there was no need, at the time of writing, to provide a detailed account of how the earth was created. This finally explained how the book of Genesis could be true, without contradicting the scientific evidence regarding the age of the universe.
As of late I have been watching many great debates on Youtube between notable atheists and theists and find myself with more questions than answers. My main question? Is any part of Genesis or Exodus true?
The creation account was easily explained, but there are other things that simply don’t make sense. Let’s start from the beginning; Adam & Eve. I understand the Bible is not meant to be a scientific document, however why have the age at which someone died listed if it isn’t true? Based on the ages given, and how old people were when they had their children, Adam & Eve would have been created about 6 or 7,000 years ago. Without even touching on the subject of our early ancestors, those we would consider modern humans, homosapiens, have been around approximately 200,000 years. Even the earliest cave painting found is 40,000 years old. How can this be then? Either Adam & Eve truly weren’t the first humans, or the ages listed in the Bible aren’t true. Again, why list ages if not true? Furthermore, if Adam & Eve aren’t real, where do we get the idea of original sin? Scholars will say the Garden of Eden is in the Middle East, but homosapiens evolved in East Africa.
A few months ago I did manage to read through the book of Genesis and I am left with some questions. First, there seems to be quite a jump in population. We go from Adam & Eve in the garden, they have a couple kids in chapter 4 (Cain & Abel) and suddenly in chapter 5 there seems to be quite a population. Secondly, with regards to the story of Noah. Of course there is much speculation at the flood mentioned; was it truly worldwide or just regional since their view of the earth was much smaller at the time, but I’m not referring to this. My question is a question of methods.
In chapter 6, it is told that since God regretted creating us because of how wicked we had become he would wipe every living creature of the ground from the Earth and start fresh. Okay, I’m on board so far, but what happens next loses me. God finds favor in Noah and decides to not only use him, but also his wife, his three boys and their wives to repopulate. Let me get this straight. According to the Bible, we are all born into and all have sinned. So if you’re going to start from scratch, why start with damaged goods? If my computer was infected with a virus and the only way to fix it was to startover, I’m not going to delete all but 8 of the infected files, I’m going to delete them all and start with all new files. So why would God, having regretted what humans had become, decide to start over with 8 humans already infected with sin?
Let’s move next to Exodus. This entire book is a mess for one simple reason: there is no archaeological evidence or written history (other than the Bible) that the Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt. There are other stories I did not touch on in these books, however those mentioned are the main stories. If they’re not true, what is? As a Christian, we are told to have faith in what we believe. Faith, however, isn’t enough when faced with real evidence to the contrary.