After my last post, I continued rewatching Qualia Soup’s videos, and one of the standouts was this:
He presents a lot of familiar objections to the Genesis story, but one idea that he emphasized was what the text said. Being culturally Christian, even if I’ve grown to be an atheist, I’m still used to thinking in terms of apologetic interpretations. Of course, many Creationists are also used to thinking in those terms. Reflecting on all the exchanges I can remember, I can’t recall anyone who ignored all the apologetic tweaks I realize I’ve been taking for granted. Some apologetics refer to passages from later books to alter the meaning of the text as is.
One example in Qualia Soup’s video was the idea that a thousand years is like a day to the Christian god. The problem is that the text says Adam and Eve would die the day they ate the forbidden fruit. “Day” only becomes a millennium if you reinterpret it through the lens of a later passage (2 Peter 3:8). A more literal interpretation would be the period of time the sun is visible in the sky or a period of 24 hours. In such a case, as Qualia Soup noticed, it was god who lied and the snake who told the truth.
Of course, another favorite more literal interpretation many atheists have managed to see despite the veil of apologetics is the alternative model of cosmology (Genesis 1:6-1:8, 1:16-1:17), describing water above and below a firmament called “Heaven” with a greater light (presumably the sun) to rule the day, a lesser light (presumably the moon) to rule the night, with stars thrown in. Looking at Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the first definition for “firmament” is the vault or arch of the sky: HEAVENS. Granted, we’re separated by a large expanse of time and translation work, but being more literal does suggest an Earth covered by a solid dome that separates bodies of water, with the sun, moon, and stars being solidly attached to this dome.
I’m going to think a bit more about this. If you’re reading, go ahead and let me know if you’ve got a more literal interpretation of something in Genesis (or the Bible in general) to share.