Monday, May 9, 2011

The Bible - Signature of a Supreme Being, or Mankind?

To me, the Bible bears all the signatures of being man-made, and does not bear the signatures of an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient creator. If all the intricate beauty and unfathomable depth of nature is indeed the intelligent creation of God, then it should be fairly easy to distinguish mankind's creations from God's creations. Just compare to nature. When I compare the Bible to nature, the Bible sticks out like a sore thumb as having originated from a different creator. When I compare the Bible to mankind's creations, it fits right in.

I propose we can distinguish mankind's creations from what would be God's creations by assessing three characteristics:

1) Quality: A creation generally reflects its creator in its quality
2) Location of origin: A creation generally originates next to its creator
3) Process of spreading: A creation generally spreads to new locations by a process implemented by its creator.

As I theorize on what these characteristics would look like for God's creations, keep these in mind: mountains, water, humpback whales, sequoia trees, stars, love, and the laws of nature.

God's Creations
1) Quality: We would generally find God’s creations to be of a breathtaking, mind-boggling quality, reflective of an infinitely superior mind.
2) Location of origin: We would generally find God’s creations originating not in one place but globally or universally, which fits with an omnipresent God.
3) Process of Spreading: We would generally find God’s creations spreading to new locations by a process that God implements, requiring little/no human intervention.

Now as I assess the three counterpart characteristics of man’s creations, keep these in mind: the airplane, the printing press, the transistor, the telephone

Man's Creations
1) Quality: We generally find mankind’s creations to be of a much lower, much more comprehensible quality, often wrought with mistakes, reflective of our human limitations.
2) Location of origin: We generally find mankind’s creations originating right next to their human creator in a confined location.
3) Process of Spreading: We generally find mankind’s creations spreading to new locations by a process that mankind implements.

Looking at these 3 characteristics, do the writings of the Bible bear the signatures of mankind's creations or the signatures of God's creations?

The Bible
1) Quality:
  • The Bible contains factual contradictions, ie King Azahiah's age at reign (2 Kings 8:26 vs 2 Chronicles 22:2), or who met who at Jesus' empty tomb and what was the reaction.
  • The Bible contains theological contradictions, ie God is vengeful and war-like, or merciful and peaceful (Jer 13:14 vs James 5:11).
  • The Bible contains known additions that are not original, ie the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 7:53-8:11, the beloved line "let he who is without sin cast the first stone"), and the last chapter in Mark.
  • The Bible contains failed prophecies, ie Jesus' return within one generation (Mt 16:28)
  • The original meanings of countless passages are unclear and heavily disputed due to time, language, and cultural barriers, as becomes true of all human writings.
  • The Bible contains theological and apologetic embellishments, ie Matthew's mystical genealogy of Jesus.
  • The Bible contains human opinions, as expressed by Paul in 1 Cor 7:12.
  • The Bible contains human influences such as different literary styles and education levels amongst the authors, ie Matthew's better understanding of the Old Testament language than Mark.
  • The Bible's understanding of science is capped by man's limited understanding at the time of writing, it conveys scientific misconceptions (ie the Earth is only a few thousand years old) and offers no new scientific insight, insight which an omniscient Creator of all the universe would possess in fullness.
  • The Bible stories contain similar themes to earlier Mesopotamian/Egyptian mythology, ie the Epic of Gilgamesh, and Horus.
  • The Bible stories depict events which defy the laws of nature that God supposedly instituted, laws which all of God's other creations (all nature) apparently uphold at all times.
With a quick Google search, one finds many more examples of each. One can also find apologetic attempts to refute these types of allegations. All I've been able to glean from Christian apologetics is just another serious blow to the Bible's quality; the Bible is defended by very lengthy, twisted, and ultimately crumbly human arguments, by humans committed to their prior conclusions regardless of the evidence, ie the works of William Lane Craig.
2) Location of origin: The writings of the Bible originated under the pen of human authors from a specific culture of people from a confined area of the Middle East. The outside world was initially unaware of these writings' existence, and parts of the world still are.
3) Process of Spreading: The Bible spread from its location of origin by massive human effort.

So to the best I can tell, the Bible bears the creative signatures of mankind, and does not bear the creative signatures of a Supreme Being.

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