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3:4 Bible Stories

When taking a detailed look at the stories in the Bible it becomes clear that they are simply... stories. Looking at similar, and sometimes identical, stories from surrounding and earlier cultures tells us the origins of each tale. Recognizing the embellishments and contradictions causes the stories to read as folklore.

Origin: The Great Flood

Origin: The Great Flood

In many mythologies the action of a god or gods flooding the earth was seen as returning it to its pristine condition, enabling a fresh start. The story of Noah's Ark is just the most popular of many ancient flood myths from the Mesopotamian area. Its origins are not traced back to an actual worldwide flood, an event that never happened, but to a much earlier Babylonian story based on a small local flood.

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Origin: The Great Flood

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the most popular of the Babylonian flood stories. It pre-dates the story of Noah in the book of Genesis yet is not as old as the recently discovered Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis. Gilgamesh was two-thirds god and one-third human. Gilgamesh asked Siduri, goddess of wine and wisdom, how to find Utnapishtim who was a survivor of the Great Flood and the only human to be granted immortality. When he found him, Gilgamesh asked Utnapishtim about the flood and was told how the gods, angry at humankind's noisy and unruly behavior, had decided to wipe out the mortals in a flood. He himself had been saved because Ea, the god of water, visited him in a dream and told him to build a boat. Upon the boat was Utnapishtim and his family along with "the seeds of all living creatures." Since he was still alive after the storm had subsided, the gods granted him eternal life.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Similarities between Genesis & Gilgamesh

  • Global Flood
  • Reason for flood was to punish man
  • Intended to kill all of mankind
  • Main character is warned of the flood
  • Main character is told to build a boat to escape
  • Main character is told to save himself, his family, and a sampling of animals
  • The boat was loaded with all species of animals
  • The boat was sealed with tar
  • The boat had many compartments inside
  • The boat had one door and at least one window
  • Rained for several days and nights
  • The boat came to rest on a mountain
  • Birds released to determine if the waters receded
  • Main character sacrificed an offering

Based on a True Story?

Nile Flood Story

A world wide flood as described in Genesis never happened but like all myths it contains a small bit of truth. The flood that inspired the Babylonian story which later inspired the Bible's story was actually just a localized flood. Several ancient floods could have been the inspiration, such as rise of sea level after the ice age, but the flooding of the Nile is most likely the origin for the Mesopotamian area. Every year the Nile would flood causing destruction. The water would strip away the land but when the water receded a layer of black mud was left making it the only soil in Egypt fertile enough to plant crops, thus allowing life to begin again. Ancients referred to it as the "Gift of the Nile."

The Epic of Atrahasis

One of the oldest known great flood stories is The Epic of Atrahasis which is dated to the reign of Ammi-Saduqa (c. 1646-1626 BC) who was a king of the First Dynasty of Babylon. The story continued to be copied into the first millennium and contains an account of both a creation and great flood story. In its stories heaven is ruled by the god Anu, earth by Enlil, and the freshwater ocean by Enki. Enlil had the lesser gods work on earth taking care of farming, maintaining the land, and the irrigation of canals but after forty years they refused to work any longer. Enki, who is also the wise counselor to the gods, proposes that humans be created to take on the work. The goddess Mami makes humans by shaping clay mixed with saliva and the blood of the under-god Awilu who was slain for this purpose.

The Atrahasis Epic goes on to talk about how the god Enki warns a hero, Atrahasis, to dismantle his house (which is made of reeds) and build a boat to escape a flood. The flood was going to be caused by the god Enlil who was angered by the noise of the cities and planned to wipe out mankind. The boat is to have a roof like Apsu (a freshwater swamp near the temple of Enki at Eridu), upper and lower decks, and must be sealed with bitumen. Atrahasis boards the boat with his family and animals then seals the door. The storm and flood begin and after seven days the flood comes to an end when Atrahasis offers sacrifices. Enlil is furious that Enki defies him by warning the hero of the flood. "I made sure life was preserved," Enki exclaims. Eventually Enki and Enlil agree on other measures for controlling the human population.

Origin: Plagues of Egypt

Origin: Plagues of Egypt

What reads to us like a series of escalating plagues brought down by a supernatural force upon Egypt is actually just an exaggerated account of common natural events described in an Egyptian poem known as "The Admonitions of Ipuwer". The sole surviving copy of this manuscript, also known as the Ipuwer Papyrus, was written between 1900-1300 BCE and appears to be the source of the story found in Exodus which was written between 1000-600 BCE. When comparing the two writings side by side they appear almost identical even though the Ipuwer Papyrus story is about the First Intermediate Period (c. 2200-2040 BCE) and the Exodus story is set approximately during 1446 BCE.

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Origin: Plagues of Egypt

Natural Origins

River to blood

1. Water turned to blood

The water did not turn into blood, it simply became red and resembled blood. The water can naturally turn red when the red soil of Ethiopia washes into it or through an event known as red tide. Red tide is caused when a large amount of algae accumulates rapidly and release harmful toxins that discolor the water. In the cause of Ipuwer Papyrus the red tide could have very easily been triggered by the eruption of Santorini.

The volcano was 500 miles north of the Nile delta but its eruption was large enough that its ash cloud could have completely blocked out the sun above the delta plunging it into darkness. This would have been accompanied by the kind of unusual weather seen after volcanic eruptions, lightening and perhaps hail. This would explain two of the 10 plagues, darkness and hail.

2. Frogs

The contaminated water would have caused all the frogs to retreat to the dry lands of Egypt.

3&4. Lice & Flies

The rotting corpses of all the dead frogs and the dead fish washing up on shore from red tide would obviously attract swarms of lice and flies.

5. All livestock were diseased

The abundance of lice and flies along with the contaminated water and rotting frogs would spread diseases and sicken the livestock.

6. Boils broke out

Again, disease will travel with flies, lice, and dead frogs lying around.

7. A hailstorm

As previously mentioned the eruption of Santorini would have caused this.

8. Locusts

swarm of locusts

A massive swarm of Locusts is actually a regular thing in Africa and happens about once a year when water from rare rainfall brings life to new vegetation. The locusts travel down wind and devour all plant life on the way. These swarms are so massive it usually takes them three hours just to pass by. As recorded in the Encyclopedia Britannica the swarm of locus in 1889 that flew across the Red Sea was 2,000 square miles in size.

9. A thick darkness

A swarm of locusts would have blocked out the sun and so would the eruption of Santorini.

10. Murdering of all firstborns

The Bible says every single firstborn son, who were too young to be guilty of any crimes, were killed in their sleep but there is no record of such an event in Egypt's history.

Exodus & the Admonitions of Ipuwer

EXODUS: And all the waters that were in the river were turned into blood... The Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. (7:20-21)
IPUWER: Indeed the river is blood, yet man drink of it. Men shrink from human beings and thirst after water.
 
EXODUS: The fire ran along upon the ground. (9:23)
IPUWER: Indeed, gates, columns, and walls are burnt up... Behold, the fire has gone up on high, and its burning goes forth against the enemies of the land.
 
EXODUS: And the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. (9:25)
IPUWER: Indeed, trees are felled and branches are stripped off.
 
EXODUS: And there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the fields, through all the land of Egypt. (10:15)
IPUWER: Neither fruit nor herbage can be found... everywhere barley has perished.
 
EXODUS: And there was a thick darkness in all of the land of Egypt. (10:22)
IPUWER: The land is not bright because of it.
 
EXODUS: And all the cattle of Egypt dies. (9:6)
IPUWER: Indeed, all the animals, their hearts weep; cattle moan because of the state of the land.
 
EXODUS: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die... (11:5)
IPUWER: Indeed men are few, and he who places his brother in the ground is everywhere...
 
The Real 10 Commandments

The Real 10 Commandments

The Bible is full of commandments given by its god Yahweh but there is only one group of commandments that he specifically gives the title "The Ten Commandments" to and they are not what most Christians think they are. If you ask almost anyone to list The Ten Commandments they will try to recite a partial list found at Exodus 20:1-17 and repeated at Deuteronomy 5:6-21. However if one reads the Bible those commandments are never referred to as "The Ten Commandments" and according to Exodus they are not even on the stone tablets. They are just select commandments from a collection which Moses recited verbally to the people in Exodus.

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The Real 10 Commandments

Deuteronomy

The name "The Ten Commandments" is only used once in the Bible and it is used for the covenant listed in Exodus 34:10-2 and according to Exodus it is this set of commandments which are on the stone tablets within the Arc of the Covenant. However, the book of Deuteronomy which was written after the book of Exodus tells us that a different list of commandments are written on the stone tablets. Deuteronomy 5:6-21 lists the more commonly known commandments as being written on the stone tablets despite what Exodus clearly tells us.

Why different lists?

Both Exodus and Deuteronomy claim a different list of commandments are written on the famous stone tablets. There are two potential reasons for the differences. Since Exodus was written earlier the author of Deuteronomy could have simply recalled the story wrong and accidentally credited the wrong list of commandments as being on the stone tablets. The second possibility is that the author of Deuteronomy intentionally change what commandments were said to be on the tablets because a list of proper eating habits did not sound as appealing. Either way the changing in the story clearly shows that Exodus and Deuteronomy where written by different authors without any divine guidance. These sort of changes are exactly what we expect to see during the retelling of nonfactual stories and legends.

Which Ten Commandments

Where are the actual
Ten Commandments?

In Exodus 24:12 Moses gets stone tablets.

In Exodus 32:19 Moses breaks the stone tablets before anyone else has a chance to read them.

In Exodus 34:1 Yahweh said to Moses, "Chisel out two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke."

In Exodus 34:10-26 Yahweh says he is making a covenant with Moses then cites the commandments of the covenant.

In Exodus 34:27-28 Yahweh tells Moses to write down the commandments he just cited. The Bible says Moses wrote on the tablets (even though Yahweh said he was going to write on them) the words of the covenant then calls the covenant "The Ten Commandments."

The Ten Commandments
(according to the Bible)

the ten commandments
  1. Obey the commandments. Yahweh will conquer the Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going, or they will be a snare among you. Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, and cut down their Asherah poles.

  2. Do not worship any other god, for Yahweh, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous god. Do not make treaties with those in other lands who worship other gods.

  3. Do not make cast idols.

  4. Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For seven days eat bread made without yeast during the first month of the Hebrew Year.

  5. Sacrifice the first born of every womb, including all the firstborn males of your livestock. You can sacrifice a lamb in place of a firstborn donkey but if you do sacrifice the donkey break its neck. If your firstborn child is a boy sacrifice something else in its place. None shall appear before Yahweh without a sacrifice.

  6. Do not work on the sabbath, even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.

  7. Celebrate the Jewish holiday "The Feast of Weeks" with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest and celebrate the Jewish holiday "The Feast of Ingathering" at the turn of the year. Three times a year all your men are to appear before the god of Israel and he will conquer surrounding nations before you enlarging your territory.

  8. Do not mix blood sacrifices to Yahweh with yeast and do not let any sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning.

  9. Bring the firstfruits of your land to the house of Yahweh, your god.

  10. Do not cook a baby goat in his mother's milk.
Christian Creation Story

Christian Creation Story

The book of Genesis contains two completely different creation stories which should not be surprising since the Bible its self is simply a collection of various Mesopotamia area stories. Both creation stories in Genesis are by different authors, were written five centuries apart, are contradictory, and are about different gods. The Genesis 1 version derives from the Hebrew Priesthood and was created by the Deuteronomic School around 500 BCE after the Jewish Exile. The Genesis 2 version derives from a much earlier Sumerian story of creation dating to 1,000 BCE but was altered to apply to Yahweh, the god of Abraham, as the creator god.

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Christian Creation Story

Different Orders of Creation

Genesis 1 says man and woman were created at the same time, after the creation of plants and animals. Genesis 2 says that man was created, then later on plants and animals were created, and finally woman was created last.

Some apologists claim there is not a contradiction in the order of creation "because Genesis 2 does not give an order of creation". They claim that Genesis 2 simply goes back to explain how each creation was created, in no particular order. However this is not the case because Genesis 2 specifically says that animals were created after man which directly contradicts Genesis 1. If you read Genesis 2:18-19 the Bible specifically says that after man was already created God noticed he was alone and then decided to make animals so man would no longer be alone. God then goes on to create every animal of both land and air then brought them to Adam but it was not until after Adam could not find a companion among the animals that God created woman as a companion.
Christian Creation Story
 
Genesis 1
1: Sky, Earth, light
2: Water above & below Earth
3: Plants
4: Sun, Moon, stars
5: Animals (of the sea & air)
6: Animals (of land) and then Humans (male & female)
7: The gods took a day of rest

Genesis 2
1: Earth & Sky
2: Man
3: Plants
4: Animals
5: Women

Multiple Gods

Genesis 2 refers to the creator as Yahweh which is the specific name for the god of Abraham and most of the Bible. The creation story in Genesis 1 however refers to the creator as Elohim, not Yahweh. Elohim in Hebrew is the plural majestic form of EL and primarily refers to the head god El from the Canaanite religions but at times it is also used to simply mean "gods." Either way the use of "Elohim" means that Genesis 1 refers to multiple gods as the creators.

NOTE: In English translations the Hebrew word for gods, Elohim, is falsely translated to simply "God" covering up the claim of multiple gods. Also the name Yahweh found in Genesis 2 is falsely translated to "LORD God." You can learn more about Yahweh in its translations here.
Some Apologists have argued that on "rare occasions" Elohim can mean just one god but that is simply a made up and unsupported claim which does not apply to Genesis. Genesis 1:26 reads, Then Elohim said, "Let US make man in OUR image, in OUR likeness." Not only does verse 26 say Elohim which means more than one god but it says "Let US make man" which clearly means there is more than one creator making man. Furthermore it states "in OUR image" and "in OUR likeness" meaning that the creators were all of the same likeness and image, the image of a god as that is the image the Bible clearly tells us man was made in. This then rules out verse 26 as a possible reference to non-god creatures also in heaven, such as angels, taking part in making man. No matter which way you look at it the creation story in Genesis 1 specifically states that there is more than one god and that they are the ones who made man which is a big difference from the story in Genesis 2 where just one god, Yahweh, is credited as the creator.

The Real Reason Adam & Eve Left Eden

Why were Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden? Most think it was part of the punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge but that is not the case. According to the Bible God kicked them out of Eden because he was afraid they would become gods themselves. Once Adam and Eve gained knowledge from eating the forbidden fruit they became like the other gods, knowing of good and evil. With their new found knowledge it would only be a matter of time before they discovered the Tree of Life which was also in the Garden of Eden. If humans also ate from this tree they would have immortality too, combined with the knowledge of good and evil they would thus become gods themselves. To prevent Adam and Even from becoming like the other gods and having eternal life, God banned them from Eden where the Tree of Life resides.

Genesis 3:22-24 "And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.' So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life."
Heaven & Hell

Heaven & Hell

Everyone is familiar with the image of the Kingdom of Heaven sitting on top of the clouds. That is where almost every ancient culture believed Heaven really was. Pyramids, towers, and temples were constantly built to bring people literally closer to the gods. Ancient man also placed Hell underneath Earth's surface. In the modern age we have extensively explored the heavens and beyond and know a lot about the Earth's core. Today the notion of a magical kingdom sitting on top of the clouds and a demon living in the center of the Earth is laughable at best. The Bible however is not laughing and tells us Heaven and Hell are physical places exactly as ancient man thought.

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Heaven & Hell

location of heaven

Much like what ancient man thought, the Bible also makes it clear that Heaven is quite literally suppose to be sitting on top of the clouds. In Matthew 24:30/26:64, Luke 21.27, and Revelation 1:7 Jesus promised that his disciples would see him coming in the clouds of Heaven. 1 Kings 18:45 mentions that during a storm, it is the clouds of Heaven that are the clouds we see turning black up above. Exodus 20:4 even goes on to state that heaven is above the Earth. In Genesis 11:1-9 the tale about the Tower of Babel tells of people building a tower up to the clouds to literally reach Heaven. As the people get too close to the clouds where the Kingdom of Heaven sits God destroys the tower so man cannot simply climb to Heaven. God then punishes man, not just for trying to reach Heaven but so they cannot unite and build other structures that would allow them to physically reach Heaven.

How could something be "above" a spherical Earth? Read about the Bible's flat Earth.

In Matthew 12:40 we are told that just as Jonas spent three days in a whale's belly Jesus, when he spends three nights in hell, will be "in the heart of the earth." Ephesians 4:9 describes Jesus' time in hell as being a descent into the "lower parts of the earth." Several verses like Isaiah 14:15 describe Hell as being at the bottom of a pit but Numbers 16:32-33 makes it crystal clear that the Bible truly says Hell is supposedly in the center of the Earth. Numbers gives an account of people falling into hell alive and mentions that "the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them" and that they fell down "into the pit, and the earth closed upon them."

location of hell

How to Get to Heaven

According to Christianity the only way to get into heaven is by knowing, loving, worshipping, and giving total faith to Jesus Christ. Your love and faith to Jesus must be pure in your heart and you show this by being faithful to all of his teachings in the Bible. How good of a person you are or what good deeds you have done is of no importance, all that matters is worshipping Jesus.

Worship Jesus or go straight to Hell for all of eternity. Heaven & Hell are one of the best marketing campaigns the Church has ever come up with. If they can convince people of these two options and that their teachings of Jesus is the only way to save you from eternal damnation then people will easily and blindly follow what the Church says. Not to mention eagerly add to the collection basket.

"What god would create people sick then demand that they get better?"

Instant Ticket to Hell

According to Christianity you must believe in Jesus Christ and accept him as your lord and savior in order to go to Heaven and avoid Hell. What about babies? Romans 3:23 makes it very clear that everyone is born sinful and have "fallen short of the glory of God." A baby does not have a brain which is developed enough to preform tasks such as learning about Jesus and deciding to accept him as one's lord and savior. With that said, according to the Bible, anyone who dies while still a baby will not be saved or allowed into Heaven.

What about all of the people who lived before Jesus' time? What about the people who are not born into countries where the claims of Christianity are known and available for learning? According to the Bible people will be getting sent to Hell based on what country and/or year they are born in. Does that sound just to you?

Some say that the knowledge of Jesus Christ is within us all but if that were true there would be no need for the Bible or prophets. Plus there has never been a single person in human history that had knowledge of Jesus Christ until the story was spread by man out from the area where Paul first preached it. Others claim that a special exception will be made for those who did not learn about Jesus Christ during their life time. If that is the case then why preach the gospel at all?

Could you be happy in Heaven?

If Heaven and Hell did exist could you honestly be happy up in Heaven knowing that people are suffering below in Hell for eternity? One could argue that God would simply remove all knowledge and memory of those people and of Hell once you are safely in Heaven but would you still be you without the knowledge and memories that define you?

Do good people deserve Hell?

Do you honestly think that all good people who are not Christians not only will go to Hell but also deserve to go to Hell? Do you honestly think that homosexuals, most of academia, and Gandhi deserve the same fate as child rapists and murders? Almost all people who do not "accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior" do not reject him or choose not to accept him. They simply have not found convincing evidence for his legitimacy or they have found evidence for the contrary. Thus they do not even have the option to accept Jesus since they have not been provided convincing reasons to even believe in him. Do they all deserve to go to Hell based on what evidence, or the lack of, was presented to them?