Recently, there has been a a bit of a brew ha ha over a biology text book titled Asking About Life because, within the text, it refers to the ancient Hebrew creation story as a “myth”.
Firstly, the Biblical creation story would most definitely classifies as a myth. Secondly, there’s nothing inherently insulting about that. In fact, it’s probably it’s only redeeming quality. Myths are an important part of world culture; every society has them. The fact that the movie industry is currently the largest export America has is a testament to the social importance myth making has on human psychology.
So, why bother writing anything debunking a 3 thousand year old myth? Because, the only reason the use of the word “myth” is considered controversial is because there exists a large percentage of the population of our country that is not aware that the story is a myth. And who’s fault is that? They, apparently, have been told throughout their lives that the universe exists solely because a big powerful creature wished it into existence, and then revealed that knowledge to a single group of nomads living in the middle east. Why? God only knows. I do get the impression that very few of them have actually ready the story, though. I mean, if I were under the impression that I could get the history of the entire earth written down on a single page, I would definitely read it. And, once anyone reads Genesis, it pretty much debunks itself.
The first problem that comes up is that there are at least two creation stories in the Bible, one right after the other; and they don’t agree. Most people when speaking of the “creation story”, are referring to the first one, which starts at Genesis 1:1, and ends at Genesis 2:3. Reading beyond that point is apparently seen as extra credit by most fans of the book, because the differences that come up make the two pretty incompatible. The second story (The Eden story) starts at Genesis 2:4,and continues onward.
In the Genesis 1 story, God (Elohim) creates the earth through a period of 6 days.
In Genesis 2, the Lord God (Yahweh Elohim), created the heavens and the earth in a single day.
“This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven.”
-Genesis 2:4 (NAS)
And, because he is able to make the earth in a single day, it is pretty obvious to me that the god in Genesis 2 is a much more powerful god.
In Genesis 1, the earth was formed over a series of 6 days
In Genesis 2, the earth and heavens were created in a single day
In Genesis 1, Man and woman are created at the same time
In Genesis 2, man is made first,”formed” from dirt, woman is created later out of a rib bone once Yahweh Elohim realized that the man he made needed help (tending the garden, presumably)
In Genesis 1, Light is created right away, but the sun, moon, and stars (the sources of the light) aren’t created until day 3. Also, the grass, trees, and other chlorophyll dependent plants are created on the 2nd day, prior to the creation of the sun.
In short, it’s about as mythical a story as you can get. Adam (or Adom, since Semitic languages have no vowels) isn’t even a proper name, it simply means “man”, the primordial man, or mankind in general).
Other hints that it is a myth:
Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.
and this one
His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.
And then, of course, the flood came, killing their descendants, no one lives in tents or plays the flute anymore.
Well, both Genesis 1 and 2, as well a lot of other stuff in the Bible is indeed mythology. And it’s not insulting to call it such. After all, how in the world would the ancient Hebrews know anything about the formation of the world?
It’s a myth through and through. All cultures on earth have myths of some sort. Proposing that the Hebrews did not is ridiculous.