Questions About the Bible

A  Jehovah’s Witness asked me if I had any questions about the Bible.

Let’s see…

If God is all-knowing, didn’t he know Satan would rebel before he created him? Didn’t he know that Eve would eat the fruit? Didn’t he know in advance that he would banish Adam and Eve from the Garden? Either he knows everything or he doesn’t.

If God is perfect in every respect, not needing anything from any outside source to complete himself, why did he create humans, the universe, etc.?

If God created everything, wouldn’t he be ultimately responsible for what he created (esp. if he knew the end result, being all-knowing and all)? If I put a baby in a crib with a knife, I know that that baby is likely to cut itself. If I am all-knowing, then I would be considered to be even more at fault (responsible) if I put a baby into a crib with a knife and KNEW in advance that it would cut itself. According to the Bible, God places Adam and Eve into a Garden and tells them the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is forbidden. It’s worse than putting a baby in a crib with a knife.

Why would this God punish Adam and Eve for not obeying him if they didn’t know any better before they ate the fruit? Why would he punish their descendants since they weren’t even there? If my father commits a crime, is it justice that my grandchildren have to suffer for it?

If your God created everything and knows everything, isn’t he creating people who he knows will be eternally tormented in hell before he creates them? That seems like a pretty sick and twisted God to me.

Why would a God ALLOW anyone to be eternally tormented for temporal crimes (or so-called “sins”)?

The Bible says that the punishment for eating of the fruit is death (“for in THE DAY that you eat of it, you shall die”). That doesn’t seem to be the actual result. Instead, no one dies right away. Perhaps you could argue that “morality” is what is meant, but that doesn’t seem to be the case either, because God seems worried that they might also eat of the tree of life (“and live forever”). This implies unless they ate of the tree of life, they were already mortal. So, why did God make an empty threat about what would happen if they ate of the fruit of good and evil?

While we’re on that subject, who is God talking to when he says things like, “Behold, the man has become like US, knowing the difference between good and evil” or “Let US make man in our image,” or “Come let US go down, and there confuse their language,” etc.?

That last quote was when God seemed worried that humans might get together to accomplish things that might be some kind of challenge to God himself (“this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them”).

He seems kind of afraid that humans might eat of the tree of life and become immortal like he is, so that is the reason they are kicked out of the Garden. Later, he seems to be afraid that they might build a tower that reaches into the heavens and that “nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them” if they do, so he confounds their language to stop it (even though, we’ve now built larger buildings than they could have ever built in the past and have sent objects into space much further and still not breached any domain he seems to have been worrying about).

Later, God “regrets” he has made “man,” and he causes a flood to wipe most of us out. How can a being like God is supposed to be “regret” anything? Didn’t he know what was going to happen before he started all this “in the beginning”?

He also claims to be “jealous,” which most human beings consider to be a petty emotion. It’s as if he is “needy” of our worship and approval (not commonly associated with a ‘perfect’ being). And didn’t he know in advance what to expect? Every time he is angry about something it appears he didn’t expect it or know what was going to happen in advance.

This God of yours seems to be more like a petty tyrant in need of absolute obedience and worship, and he doesn’t appear to be all-knowing, all-powerful, or all anything except a petty asshole with superpowers (fearing what humans might accomplish that might challenge him, if he doesn’t keep a close eye on us and knock us down if we get too uppity in his eyes).

We haven’t even gotten out of Genesis yet, and I’m only scratching the surface of the questions I could ask.

Obviously, whoever wrote Genesis wasn’t even there to give an accurate account of what happened. You have to believe whoever wrote it down was “inspired” by the God you believe in in some way. Not only do you not have any idea of who wrote it, you really have no idea if they were really “inspired” or not. You are buying all this on FAITH without any empirical evidence (and it contradicts the empirical evidence that we do have about the origins of the earth). Your FAITH is just another word for credulity. Why should we believe your mythology more than the mythology of thousands of other myths (and religions)?

“Extraordinary Claims….”

Crack open the Bible and start reading from the beginning. It won’t take long before you start spotting things that don’t seem to make much sense or contradict what we know today.

God creates light before he creates the light producing objects, he builds a “firmament” to separate the higher waters from the lower waters (the firmament is evidently a solid protective structure to support the stars and higher waters above the Earth – when it rains, God has to open “windows” to release the higher waters), from the Bible’s point of view, the stars seem to be merely small lights in the firmament to provide light, God the all-powerful decides to “rest” after six days work (he must have been “bushed,” but we will get to the bush story later), and then there seems to be another creation story that got mixed up with this one where the order of events don’t quite match.

Shortly afterwards, there is the story of the creation of Adam out of dust and a woman Eve from Adam’s rib, both of which contradict what is known about evolution. Then there is the story of the talking snake and the Tree of Knowledge (that God puts nearby but warns them not to eat of its fruit, least they learn about good and evil). Eve (without understanding the difference of good and evil) is tricked into eating the fruit by the snake, when she eats the fruit she gains knowledge (which is strange by itself). Eve gets Adam (who is also unaware of the difference between good and evil) to eat the fruit as well, and God punishes them both along with all their descendants (which seems even less fair than his punishment of Adam and Eve, acting in innocence as well as ignorance that it would be “wrong” to disobey God by eating fruit he placed in front of them… when he should have known what was going to happen before he put it there, if he is really all-knowing). God makes Eve’s punishment worse, making her (and all women to come) suffer in childbirth and be subservient to their husbands. God also punishes the snake and all the snake’s offspring.

The monolithic God makes the announcement; “Behold, the man has become as one of us” (but maybe this is like the royal “we”) and appears worried that Adam and Eve might eat of another tree there (the Tree of Life) that will cause them to live forever, so he has to kick them out of “paradise” before that happens. (Earlier God had said that eating of the Tree of Knowledge would bring them death which, if they didn’t die right away, must have meant they would become mortal. This implies they were immortal before, so what was the point of the Tree of Life?)

Adam and Eve have children; two boys Cain and Abel. God seems to play favorites between the two for no special reason, which pisses Cain off causing him to kill Abel. God gets mad and punishes Cain. Cain is worried that because of this curse, “Every one who finds me shall slay me,” and God puts a mark on him to prevent that. It is unexplained where all these other people came from that Cain is worried about unless Adam and Eve have really been busy behind the scenes. God says that Cain will be “a fugitive and a vagabond,” yet he moves into another area, marries someone (???), settles down, has a son, and builds a city.

After a few more problematic passages, we get into several generations of people that lived to be very very old. Adam lived to be 930 (despite the death threat from God), Seth 912, Enos 905, Cainan 910, Mahalaleel died young at 895, Jarad 962, and Methuselah 969 (the world record). In the meantime, in contraction to a later passage, Enoch doesn’t die but ascends into heaven.

The population grew to the point it seems that there were a lot of good-looking women around. All these good-looking women evidently attracted the “sons of God,” who came down and mated with them, whose offspring “became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.” These sons of God aren’t explained very well and it seems to be a bit of a sticky point considering Jesus was supposed to be the “only son of God.” But these were fabulous times; like the Bible says, “There were giants in the earth in those days.”

But, despite the production of all these “men of renown,” God decides that he regrets having made man because of man’s wickedness and decides to wipe them off the face of the earth along with all the beasts, creeping things, fowls, and “all flesh wherein there is breath of life” by causing a world-wide flood The Bible twice says that God “repents” that he made man. This is hardly something you would expect from an all-knowing, supposedly perfect being. These passages imply that God didn’t know what was going to happen when he created mankind in the first place. It also implies that this perfect being’s project was a bust. So now he plans to wipe it all out, killing everything in sight, because “the earth was filled with violence” (the acorn didn’t fall too far from the tree, I guess). So all the innocent animals and all the innocent babies are going to be drowned by the hand of God. We will see many more examples of this omnibenevolent being’s murderous tendencies throughout the Bible.

But God decides to let Noah live because he was “a just man and perfect…” He has him build a 450 foot long ark to hold two of every “kind” of animal and the ark is to have one small 18 inch square hole for ventilation. Despite being over 500 years old at the time, Noah is able to accomplish all this.

Before we get to the actual flood, it seems fairly ridiculous that an all-powerful being would make this whole process so convoluted. He wants to wipe everything out except for Noah, Noah’s family, and two of each “kind” of animal (7 of some kinds). If he was all-powerful, it seems like he could have just snapped his divine fingers and made whatever changes were needed, bringing instant death to those he is about to destroy instead of having to go through the terror of drowning. I guess all these people are destined to eternal hell anyway, so a little terror before they die isn’t that much of a difference.

So it rained for 40 days and 40 nights and flooded the earth such that it covered everything with 15 cubits to spare (of course, God had to open the “windows” of heaven for this).

Here are just some of the problems with the story:

(1) The whole story seems to be a copy of an earlier story from the Epic of Gilgamesh that predates it by 1,000 years.

(2) Building a boat of that size with the materials Noah had at hand is considered extremely unlikely if not outright impossible.

(3) There are many problematic aspects of getting two or seven of each kind of animal into the ark, even if God sent them to Noah to line up on the dock instead of him having to hunt them down from all over the earth, considering there were hundreds of millions of animal species to consider and the ark would have had to be much larger. There are various estimates I’ve seen regarding how fast Noah would have had to get each pair loaded in time, but we are talking about fractions of seconds apiece. That is some heavy hustling for a man almost 600 years old.

(4) Keeping all the animals fed with the correct diet, dealing with their various other needs, dealing with their waste in this poor ventilation, and keeping them from attacking one another are just a few of the problematic aspects of this situation (not to mention the breathing problem with ventilation being what it was).

(5) There is no archeological evidence to support a world-wide flood during this or any other time in history.

(6) There is no historical record to support this from other civilizations that existed during this time; there are no records to support this from Babylon, China, Egypt, or Mesopotamia whose records cover this period of time.

(7) There isn’t enough water in earth, on earth, and in the earth’s atmosphere combined to create a flood of the magnitude depicted in the Bible.

(8) The speed the rain would have to fall in 40 days and 40 nights to cover the earth to the depth the Bible suggests would be six inches a minute. This speed of impact would cause the water to boil and keep it from rising.

(9) The results of this much water out of nowhere flooding the earth in that amount of time would boil off the earth’s atmosphere.

(10) There are many other problems with the story which can be found by visiting; and reading “101 Reasons Why Noah’s Story Doesn’t Float”

I’ll pass over several more problematic aspects of some of these animals being deposited in a climate that they may not have had an easy time dealing with, the problems with saltwater vs. freshwater fish, the fable of how the rainbow came to be, and some other things to go right into the Tower of Babel story.

It seems some people decided to build a tower to the heavens and God “came down to see” it (as if he couldn’t see it from where he usually was, which is a weird thing for a being that is supposed to be omnipresent). After he sees it he says, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Again I wonder who the “us” is or who he is talking to, it seems God is worried for the second time that mankind might attain some level of power equal to his own and he has to “confound their language” to prevent them from building this tower. Now, despite the fact the Bible has referred to people of different tongues previously, which seems to be in conflict with God’s statement that “they all have one language,” we can only wonder why he might have been concerned that they would succeed unless this fits in with the idea that the Heavens were in the “firmament” that was close enough to the earth that a tower could be built up to it. Considering we have since sent rockets into space and not run into heaven or this “firmament,” it is clear that these people would not have succeeded, so God seems to be worrying needlessly and irrationally. I wonder why God hasn’t tried to stop the building of skyscrapers since then? I’m sure they are much taller than anything that could have been constructed at that time.

We haven’t gotten a quarter of the way through the first book of the Bible, yet we have found one thing after another that appears either fabulous, nonsensical, or unjust. Not only is much of it in conflict with what we know today from various sciences and the extra-biblical record, it fails to even make internal sense most of the time. It is like the people that wrote it never bothered to proofread.