Talk:Book of Genesis

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Phil Collins[edit]

What's all this got to do with Phil Collins? --Kels 12:04, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

Nothing, but what about saint Peter and the angel Gabriel? Totnesmartin 12:13, 30 July 2007 (CDT)
I didn't want to take his name in vain, so I used his drummer on earth. --Kels 12:15, 30 July 2007 (CDT)

I'm torn at RationalWiki between the lovely humorous side of articles vs. the informative side - and not really knowing when something is simply a mistake or when its said for fun. Given that I love reading creation myths, I made some changes to more directly reflect the POV of most academics in the field. If i step on anyone's toes in misunderstanding that something is supposed to be light hearted or humorous, please beat me up and I swear I'll relent without fight. guess that's why god invented "undo" and "rollback".

Two Genesis(es) Here[edit]

We have this article, and then we have Guide to Genesis. Should we make just one single entry?--WaitingforGodot 12:01, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

Actually it's worse that that He's dead Jim, Dead Jim, Dead (sorry about the Star Trek gag) because we also have Creation Week which covers some of the same ground - but it's got great references - and Original sin. I've often thought that they could be merged, but as they have a different view on the different elements I'm not sure it's a good idea.--Bobbing up 13:16, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
We also have Ecclesiastes and Guide to Ecclesiastes, Book of Job and Guide to Job. We need to sort out what the aims of these articles are and whether we actually need a verse by verse annotation of all of Genesis. I would think that the Skeptics Annotated Bible probably has covered most of that. Jollyfish.gifGenghisIs the Pope a Catholic? 13:26, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Maybe we need to set out a "sandbox" type page that lists all the different Bible related pages, and let the Editors discuss what is and is not redundant. and, as Khant points out, if an article really has a different aim, it might truly need to be a different article. I'd like to make sure that primary directs are going to the well written, fully fleshed out articles where two similar ones exist. --WaitingforGodot 13:30, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Our "Guides to ..." have a snazzy navbox at the bottom. This unifies the project. Other articles need to be linked to the navbox somehow. That's why more structure is needed. Jollyfish.gifGenghisIs the Pope a Catholic? 14:11, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
There is a reason... the "Guides" are fairly serious - actually guides to the works. The articles like Genesis tend to be snarkier and probably less respectful of the subject matter. Individual "stories" like Creation Week take a more debunking/sillifying approach, as I recall. Hence, there is a reason for two articles on any given book, and a reason for specific story articles. At least, that's my take on why it happened this way. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:43, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Interesting, cause what has evolved it seems, is that the short forms in the "guide" tend to be snarky, and the longer ones tend to be more serious. At least that is what I've found with the few I've edited at any length. And even with the snazzy Nav box, do we need two? Can humor be merged with serious? --WaitingforGodot 15:47, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Actually Creation Week in particular serves a special purpose in that it clearly sets out the two creation stories, and does not just say there are two. It's a challenge for the literalists. But this is a problem we've had before - do we write to show that the fundamentalist literalists have obvious problems, or do we write for the more informed audience. Many of our biblical articles come at things from one angle or the other.--Bobbing up 15:49, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Bob, it seems to me that one of the stated goals of RW is to challenge Fundamentalism on all it's forms. We are not wiki, and we don't need to explain minutia. When I write, here, vs., at wiki, i think "what would I want to know if i were battling Conservative Christians". That includes things like errors that are noted, and times when god comes down and kills millions of innocent animals in a flood cause his humans sucked, and that an all powerful god doesn't need to kill lots of baby bunnies, you know? So my first approach is to think of the xian agenda and where they are wrong. My second thought is simply to fill in the blanks on things that, frankly, are of interest to me. --WaitingforGodot 15:56, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
WfG, it might be possible to merge them, yes. I was actually thinking about some of this earlier today - we have a range of perspectives among our editors on biblical issues, and having multiple articles helps present several "voices" - not to say they can't be in sections of the same article, of course. Having separate articles with different tones helps keep the tone in each more consistent. Of course, as you point out, I couldn't even remember which way the tones go (of course, I don't read or edit them much, either). I thought the guides were supposed to be serious, but of course if a humorous or snarky editor starts one from the red link, how are they supposed to know which tone belongs where? Personally, I would generally support whatever the more involved editors decide to do. ħumanUser talk:Human 15:57, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
My snarky answer is we should just throw the whole Bible out and start a new one. I"m guessing we could all write a MUCH better "guide to living with an invisible Sky Fairy God with 'size' issues". You know if the multitude of wikian editors were to look at it, there wouldn't be any of those silly contradictions.--WaitingforGodot 16:03, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
I think I agree with most of the above. But I'd like to get back to audience. There are really three I think. The fundies; "Normal Christians" (Whatever they might be) and academics. (and atheists could make four) Whatever works for one group probably won't work for another.--Bobbing up 16:04, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
I'm cool with different types of article but feel we need to unify the groups and improve the nav. I'm open to ideas on this currently only the Guides have any unifying structure. Jollyfish.gifGenghisIs the Pope a Catholic? 16:07, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
(dang, lots of little dots). I think, Bob, that multiple arguments, audiences and voices is great. but maybe we can find a way to either 1) label them or 2) collect them under one single ruberic?--WaitingforGodot 16:09, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Yes, but it's not just this. For example, all the flood stuff suffers from a similar problem. It's all YEC orientated.--Bobbing up 16:13, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Frankly, the Flood stuff *should* be YEC oriented. It really acts, at least for me, like a "guide to why YECs are idiots". I know my floods, but i don't know my Darwin, and rationalpedia is great for me to come read why anti-darwinists are wrong. I'd like to retain that same tone for the Biologist who has never read the bible to say "ah, here's a site where it says you are wrong in your whole Noah story". (baring that it's simply OBVIOUS they are wrong in the noah story).--WaitingforGodot 16:17, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Ok, but then we got some other guy coming through saying, "Hey, nobody believes this global stuff, your responses are just stupid". Which would mean that we'd need another series of articles about the possibility of a local flood which could have been involved in later stories. And then we'd get another guy saying "No, it's all allegorical" - which would imply a few more responses. Ok - we could do it. If people are into it then fine.--Bobbing up 16:23, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
But it is all allegorical! --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 16:25, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
SEE!! SEE!!!--Bobbing up 16:44, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
Just joking.
It's not actually allegorical. It's mythical. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 16:52, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
OK, taking you at our word this time that's ... now I'm getting confused .... how many ways to interpret the bible while still staying inside some Christian ideology/faith/viewpoint/interpretation? Then there's atheist, snarky, agnostic, Muslim or what have you viewpoints. No matter how many we put, somebody will come along and say it's all wrong. (All this leaving aside the possibility of us actually being able to agree on an a single RW viewpoint on the bible or religion in general)--Bobbing up 17:35, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

<-- Indeed. Actually, I believe there are even more problems - and more complex problems - buried here than is immediately apparent. The number of possible interpretations of, say, the Bible even within a single tradition are practically unlimited. Many of those different traditions are fairly incompatible. When you start adding more traditions, most of which are definitely incompatible, you end up with a real problem. Do you try to accomodate all these different viewpoints, and if so, how?

Personally, I think it would be ideal if at least some of these could be accomodated somehow, so that we could try to reach a sort of "heteroglossia", a diversity of languages or ways of speaking about a subject(WaitingforGodot: Hey! Bakhtin again!), instead of just one. However, here we run into the obstacle that the Wiki software is not really built to do that - we'd probably end up with either enormous articles that would be all over the place, or with a huge number of different articles about the same subject. Neither option seems particularly elegant. Wikipedia tries to solve this by enforcing the NPOV, but we can't really do that, either.

The obvious, if unpleasant, solution seems to be that RW makes a decision and says "This is our official point of view. We're going to use that one, and ignore the others." This would solve the immediate problem, but would most likely alienate those editors who do not agree with the new line. Or, of course, we can always ignore the problem and hope it goes away on its own, but that's hardly ideal either, especially if RW continues to grow.

Or maybe there are other solutions that I just haven't thought of. --AKjeldsenCum dissensie 18:03, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

ot to AK see, i think Bakhtin would have loved wikis I would like to suggest this, then. 1) For articles that are fun, snark, or have a distinctly "anit-conservative" air, leave them as seperte pages. 2) for articles that are not "voiced" in any particular manner, but happen to just be on the same topic with differnt headers (Genesis, Guide to Genesis) we integrate them into one hopefully-coherent page. I'm far less concerned with the fact that there is "Creation week" and "documentary hypothesis" and "problems in Genesis" pages (as those really do have a separate focus that can be stated) than I am with two virtually redundant pages about "Ruth" vs "guide to Ruth".


Here's a question, and maybe a start. Is there a way to make an "index" page, where we can list everything (and the links, of course) that is a bible related article? Then we could look at each article, and see what kinds of categories or nav guides we might want; what kinds of categories we have; what tones we have, etc. --WaitingforGodot 16:12, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

We could do. But it makes it kinda big and is there that much interest? In fact, I gave up on the bible stuff for this very reason.--Bobbing up 16:16, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
We've got Guide to the Bible. Jollyfish.gifGenghisIs the Pope a Catholic? 16:17, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
GK I didn't want to use the formal Guide to the Bible, cause we would be listing stuff for Editor's interest more. But I would be willing to link there, if that was ok? Bob - Gave up on the Bible? no wonder you are a heretic. I'm sure you are against school prayer, too, you liberal!--WaitingforGodot 16:19, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
I am well beyond heresy.--Bobbing up 16:24, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
What about a category? Aren't these all in category:Bible, at least? ħumanUser talk:Human 16:33, 16 July 2008 (EDT)
I think "that's the thing", many of them are not in any Category.--WaitingforGodot 16:36, 16 July 2008 (EDT)

TV series and Genesis[edit]

There was a UK TV series - Secrets of the Bible or similar - in which the presenter claimed that the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden was actually about some king in Jerusalem about 500 BC and actually means something completely different, and was displaced (so we are not suffering from Original Sin). (talk) 21:23, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Merging with Guide to Genesis[edit]

Nobody seemed to object to the merge, so I went ahead and did it and added a redirect on that page. Metz77 (talk) 15:43, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

So everything was kept? --Pink mowse.pngGodotSome would use a tautology to describe it ("The way things are done around here is the wa 16:03, 28 November 2011 (UTC)
I edited down the introduction and the subsequent editor that moved it to the current namespace seems to have edited it down further and moved the summary to another page, but otherwise yes. Further Edit: Oh, that was you. So yes, I kept everything except I edited out a bit of one of the introductions when combining them. Metz77 (talk) 03:36, 2 December 2011 (UTC)
Cool. I kept wanting to do it, but never had the motivation. Glad you did. I pulled the "summary" stuff cause the page was just too wieldy with both the history of genesis, and this summary.Pink mowse.pngGodotAround, around, around, around, over, and under and through 04:08, 2 December 2011 (UTC)

Some of the "contradictions" aren't.[edit]

In no way do I think there's any chance the book of Genesis is the literal truth, or even a particularly useful metaphor for anything. However, I think there's a number of small ways this article goes overboard in making that point. In particular, the list that follows the sentence "Still, Genesis is ripe with blatant contradiction from which the text cannot hope to revive. To name a few examples;" contains a lot of things that don't seem like contradictions to me.

In this sort of context, I understand the term "contradiction" roughly as follows: It's a contradiction to say two things that can't both be true; for example, two irreconcilably different accounts of the same event. A good example of something that is a contraction is item 2 on that list; the world can't have both started covered with water and then become divided between land and sea, and started completely dry before becoming so divided.

On the other hand, item 1 doesn't seem to be a contradiction to me. This item merely says the first myth mentions a thing the second one is silent on. Two descriptions of the same event can emphasize different things; there's no contradiction in this. If (for example) the first one mentioned six days while the other clearly stated that it all happened in a single day, that would be a contradiction. There clearly are some genuine contradictions between the two accounts, but this isn't one of them. Or if it is, this article is missing some crucial piece of information needed to convey that.

Of the remaining items on the list, only #7 and part of #3 seem to be genuine contradictions (again, assuming the article hasn't omitted anything important):

3: The main thing this item is pointing to is a contradiction, but the "be fruitful and multiply" aspect is not.

4: Not necessarily a contradiction, though admittedly this does seem like a strange thing for the second account to leave out.

5: Again, not a contradiction, just a topic one of them goes into detail on that the other doesn't see fit to mention.

6: Same comment as 5.

7: Straightforward, genuine contradiction.

So of the seven things on this list, only three (2, 3, and 7) clearly belong there, one of which needs significant editing.

There's similar problems with the list of "conflicts" just below. For example, I don't see the problem with the first item on that list; if you've ever been in charge of people, I can pretty much guarantee you've had to repeat an instruction like that. I'm not sure the Old Testament even claims God is perfect, but let's assume it does: It doesn't follow that the humans He's dealing with are perfect, or that He doesn't need to make allowances for this. Indeed, a God who failed to do this would ipso facto be obviously not perfect.

What do others think? I think the point that this account of the creation of the world is (even granting the whole sky-father aspect of it) obviously a Frankenstein's monster stitched together from at least two other documents can be made without artificially lengthening these lists by including dubious items on them. (talk) 10:57, 5 August 2016 (UTC)


Divide light from darkness--?photon-herding. Is Darkness reified, or is it simply absence of EM?DocSock 10:36, 1 June 2007 (CDT)

Umm, ask god, those are some heavy questions. I just assumed it was referring to the band The Darkness. Jrssr5 10:42, 1 June 2007 (CDT)
I think the light was divided from darkness at about 1-2 minutes after the big bang, when the plasma became transparent to photons. Am I writing this on the wrong article? ;) humanUser talk:Human 14:34, 17 February 2008 (EST)
Holy discussion necromancy, Hu-Man! --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 14:38, 17 February 2008 (EST)

You have given a new meaning to the word "Improved" Human.--Bobbing up 16:01, 7 July 2008 (EDT)

Thank you :) ħumanUser talk:Human 16:07, 7 July 2008 (EDT)

Human Civilization and Fire[edit]

I always wondered... if inventions that required the use of fire, like spear hardening or ovens, appeared several thousand years before humans could reliably make fire then how the hell did people exploit the use of fire? Did they just wait for a lightning storm or a volcanic erupt every time the fire went out? Because it pretty much had to, repeatedly. --Dr. Swordopolis (talk) 17:53, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

I suppose the short answer would be "yes". Forest fires are some of the most natural things, whether it's from dry seasons or lightning strrikes. The odds are early people would have been able to trap some and keep it going. That's one leap. The next leap is understanding it enough to generate it from scratch. Scarlet A.pnggnostic 17:58, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I propose to investigate this issue the next time I have my turn on the RW time machine. Till then we are left with reasonable assumptions and inferences.--BobSpring is sprung! 18:04, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
Something on fire Not sure it answers the question. Scarlet A.pngnarchist 18:07, 5 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm not questioning it or anything. It just feels weird to imagine living in that situation for thousands of years. It must have been unimaginably scary to live in a world where your livelihood depended on something that you couldn't create and could've gone away at any time. Just one small slip or stray breeze and you would've been unable to cook food or make weapons or warm your baby or anything for days, maybe even months. Gaaahhh. --Dr. Swordopolis (talk) 19:03, 5 November 2011 (UTC)

Sun-Day Paradox[edit]

While I don't have a source yet, I'd heard that a possible reason God created day/night before the sun was to differentiate God from sun-worship. God being able to create day without the sun to provide light implies that He is the actual source of the light, and not the sun. Or some such.

If/when I find a source, I think this little tidbit would be relevant to the section as it implies the original author(s) of the creation story wrote it more to define their religion than to literally dictate a history.Onychoprion (talk) 19:51, 11 December 2014 (UTC)