Monday, August 01, 2005

These are the generations... (Genesis overview)

The first contradiction listed in the SAB is "The two contradictory creation stories." No surprise; this is usually the first point any list like this will bring up, because it's the first thing evident in a casual reading. In verse 1:1, God starts creating the world, in verse 2:1, He finishes, and after a breather, He seems to start over again in verse 2:4. What the heck?

First of all, it's quite right to notice this. A person who reads the book of Genesis and fails to notice two separate accounts of creation wasn't reading closely enough. It doesn't take a genius; I think I first noticed this when I was about 9 years old. Even at that age I noticed a lot of the repetitiveness between chapters 1 & 2. Didn't God already do all this?

On the other hand, if you think there's a real problem with this, I don't think you're reading as closely as you could. Yes, there are two stories, but I don't think they contradict, and having two stories serves a very specific purpose for the original writer/editor of the Bible.

The book of Genesis is odd for various reasons, and this particular oddity of the book shows up early: it's not a single story, but a collection of stories put together. Among skeptics of a more scholarly bent, there is a prevailing idea that the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) was not written my Moses as is claimed by Bible believers, but rather "redacted" or edited together from several sources hundreds of years later. I'm not sure what that has to do with the validity of the content (and maybe they don't intend to impugn its validity anyway), but the concept doesn't bother me much, especially in the case of the book of Genesis. I seem to recall as a child (and as I was raised Jewish, it may be a belief among some Jewish sects) being told that the book of Genesis was not so much written by Moses but edited by him and committed to paper from oral history. This makes sense, since Moses wasn't there when all the events took place, nor were any of Moses' contemporaries.

So, the phrase "These are the generations" that appears in 2:4 is a key to the structure of the book as a whole. Every time you see those words, the indication is, "And now, another story." most of the time, these stories overlap time periods they represent:

Gen 2:4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth
Gen 6:9 These are the generations of Noah (cf. Gen 10:1)
Gen 11:10 These are the generations of Shem
Gen 11:27 Now these are the generations of Terah
Gen 25:12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael
Gen 25:19 And these are the generations of Isaac
Gen 36:1 Now these are the generations of Esau (cf. Gen 36:9)
Gen 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob

So, including chapter 1, there are nine main stories. The problem that one encounters with these stories is trying to make sense of them as a sequential whole when that key phrase is telling you, "Now I'm going to go back and tell you this other story." If you doubt that's what it means, sit down and read Genesis 25 and tell me that it makes any sense to read it as a single, continuous story. (V.1, Abraham gets married, has some children. V.5, Abraham gives everything he has to Isaac, a child from a previous marriage. Vv.8-9, Abraham dies, and "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him". V.12 Abraham sires Ishmael. V.18 Ishmael dies after having many children and grandchildren. V.19 Abraham sires Isaac. And so on... remember as you reconcile all of this that the Bible states plainly that Ishmael is only 13 years older than Isaac.)

If you want a more contemporary example of non-linear storytelling, check out the movie "Pulp Fiction". (Spoilers ahead: for those who haven't seen the movie but intend to, skip this paragraph.) One of the main characters in the movie is Vincent Vega. In the course of the movie, we see these things happen to Vincent, in order: 1) He enters apartment A, and we do not see him leave it. 2) He takes his boss' wife to dinner, same day, after dark. 3) He is shot to death in the early afternoon of day two. 4) He leaves apartment A, and it's still day one somehow. 5) He and his partner go get breakfast, same day, midmorning. Which do we conclude about Director and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino? A) He doesn't understand concepts like the linear flow of time, the order of meals in the day, and the finality of death. OR B) He's decided the story would be told better in three parts, each of which overlaps in time. I vote for B.

The story that we see in vv. 1:1-2:3 is concerned with the physical origins of the world. The following story, vv. 2:4-6:8 (roughly) is concerned with the spiritual origins of mankind. The time scale is different, the stories overlap, and the details are focused on in another manner. I'm going to focus on only the supposed differences in the order of events, and leave problems with the details in themselves for later.

The easiest one to refute is the assertion that Genesis 1:27 says both sexes of human being were created simultaneously. It doesn't. It says God created humans male and female, but the word "simultaneously" doesn't appear, nor am I aware of anything in the Hebrew grammar that points definitively to this interpretation of events. Nonetheless, on a genetic level, He did anyway, since in creating a man first, one might be fair to assume the presence of both an X and Y chromosome in the first human being. But that's another matter.

A little more involved is the problem of what order mankind, plants, and beasts were made (plants are for some reason omitted from the list on the page linked above, probably an oversight). I see mankind as being created last, definitively. Why does chapter two seem to contradict? In the case of plants, vv.2:5-9 do not say that God created them at this time, but rather that they were lying dormant in the ground, waiting for water. Whether this was upon all the earth, or perhaps only in the area of the garden He proceeded to plant is not clear.

Verse 19, where God seems to create animals all over again is trickier, but involves a translation subtlety. In the NIV, this passage is translated, "Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air." The question becomes whether God is creating animals all over again, if the stories contradict, or if we've translated in a way that makes it sound wrong. I believe that God had already done the process of creation at this time, and He's only taking a moment to bring the animals to Adam to let him give them names. Sure, it's not 100% clear, but that's not the same as outright contradiction and as a believer I'm certainly willing to give the Bible the benefit of the doubt.


Durokemit said...

I like your style even though I do not believe in the Bible. In fact I am even now writing my Eulogy to Yahweh. But I am glad you pointed out that truth about Genesis. I get tired of anti-bible-ites always trumping up dork wad arguments that any Jew or Christian worth his salt can easily poke holes in. The anti's should stick to the main points where the Bible is so thin there is no way around its silliness.

As regards their silly attacks - they always bring up the huge box-boat of Noah. As if 450 feet was just too big to build. But of course making such a silly argument was bound to fail - which it has as now it comes out that China in the 1400s had a ship 500 feet in length.

"The largest ships of the Zheng He expeditions were about 500 feet long"

but no doubt the Atheist-Crusaders will tilt at this too - promping some 'Howard Hughes like' Christian or Jew to go out and actually build one that works.

Why can't Atheist-Crusaders just stick with the many locations where the Bible kills itself with its own spiel? Like for example all the missing books listed:
Wars of Yahweh - Nu. 21:14

Book of The Just – Josh. 10:13 & 2nd Sam 1:18

Book of The Acts of Sol – 1st Kings 11:41

Book of The History of Kings of Israel – 1st Kings 14:19

“ ‘ ‘ ‘ of Judah – 1st Kings 14:29

Annals of Samuel – 1st Chron. 29:29

Book of Nathan the Seer – 2nd Chron. 9:29

Book of Gad the Seer – 1st Chron. 29:29

Book of Shemaiah the Seer, Book of Iddo the Seer and Book of Ahijah the seer – 2nd Chron. 12:15 and 9:29

Annals of Jehu – 2nd Chron. 20:34

Lost section of Isaiah – 2nd Chron. 26:22

Or the Missing New Testament:

For example, what Christians today call 1st and 2nd Corinthians are actually likely 2nd and 3rd Corinthians. Paul stated in the so-called 1st Corinthians 5:9 that he had already written to their church in an earlier epistle. That would be the true 1st Corinthian letter. Since the modern so-called 1st Corinthian letter was written to answer misunderstandings about the real first one, it would mean a person would need the true first letter to fully understand the one that is today called 1st Corinthians.

In Colossians 4:16 Paul not only mentions a missing lost epistle, the one sent to the Laodiceans, but he actually commands the Christians at Colossi to read this missing epistle (and as Christians always state in their theology, if Paul commands one set of Christians to do something, then Christians today should attempt to obey these commands. There must have been something important in that missing letter!).

Ephesians 3:3 also indicates that today’s Ephesians should be renamed 2nd Ephesians.

Durokemit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Durokemit said...

Oops I forgot to add:

Lost thousands of Solomon’s songs and proverbs – 1st Kings 4:32 - I once tried to count every Solomon proverb both in the Bible and in all the Apocrypha – treating each verse as a different proverb(which were of course later creations, in that verse numbering was invented much later) and still I could not come up with 3000. Likewise I searched all the known scriptures, the Apocrypha, and Pseudepigrapha and could in no way come up with 1005 songs from all the supposed authors combined, much less from just Solomon himself.

On this last point some Christian excuse makers try to say that most of these songs, and proverbs must have been of non-spiritual nature! But of course this flimsy argument falls apart when one points out that this would mean that Solomon (the wisest man in the world) must have spent 98% of his time writing pointless songs and worldly proverbs. These same flimsy arguments are used to try to explain away the missing books listed above – along with some attempts to prove that some of the missing books are actually books now in the Bible. But this attempt fails also, for none of the books can be shown to be now existing in the canon, and no matter what, the missing books of seers (prophets) cannot be labeled as NON-SPIRITUAL.

Brucker said...

Some people do spend a lot of time pondering these lost books, and it's an interesting subject. I've often wondered if, for instance, Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans were to be discovered and authenticated some day, would it be added to the Canon? Would that imply that the previous Canon(s) were incorrect?

Your talk of labelling certain books as "non-spiritual" is, I think, misguided, but it may lead one to another point that ought to be logically examined. Just because a book has a spiritual title doesn't mean it's spiritual, nor does it mean that it has specific value to add to the existing Canon. If you take a look at the "Gospel of Thomas", there's a book that has a lot of spiritual things to say, but it has never been accepted into the Canon, because it just doesn't fit in with the teachings of the rest of the accepted books.

Now, the thought that this brings up to me personally when I look to it is that Christians, who are so keen on insisting that the Bible is a compilation of 66 books that make up a cohesive whole collection, may be missing out on the fact that if you get to pick and choose the books you put in it, it's going to be considerably easier to make that collection cohesive. I think there's more to it historically than simply a Christian here or there saying, "Oops, I don't like what this book is saying, let's toss it!" but at the same time, It's worth contemplation.

As for Solomon, though, the deal with having far less proverbs recorded than 1Kings attibutes to him is, in my opinion is just that Proverbs collects the ones that were considered to be the best of the bunch. The number of verses from Proverbs 10:1 through 22:16 is 375, which is the gematria value of Solomon's name, so no doubt limiting the number was intentional for that section.

Durokemit said...

Since few "Christians" really follow the Bible anyway in their "religious walk" I don't think it does make much difference to them about what is in the Bible anyway. One could print up Bibles with printing on the first few pages and some at the rear, with the rest left blank, and I think most Churches would just breath a sign of relief. I am fairly certain the early Church Fathers would consider the term "21st Century Christian" to be an oxymoron.

After growing up a fair-weather atheist (one who would cry out to a god when about to die rock climbing), I finally got into Zen and became the kind of atheist who would calmly face the destruction of his dear wife in an avalanche. But one day while walking through a half mile train tunnel it dawned on me that the only real reason I didn’t believe in God was because I didn’t want to. For certain other reasons I just flipped from “0” to “1” (about the only free will I think actually exists). By a series of steps I ended up in a small church, became a preacher, and was a Bible thumping sort of guy for 5 to 6 years. Later, after seeing the ways of Christians (big topic) and realizing that few ever followed the Bible anyway (in that most just made up their own religion due to personal desire and ignorance) I set out on a quest to find out just what this crazy religion of mine was all about.

I ended up adopting a larger Bible canon, and believed I found many bible teachings – some forgotten and some never expounded – in the New Testament. There were certain factors I can’t go into here that led to this. Not important now anyway. After 27.5 years I suddenly ran into the MOTHER OF ALL BIBLE MISTAKES – one not really dealt with by any atheists, not in the way they should. Until that point I had reached a happy point of stasis in my spiritual walk, but as a thinker I was always rechecking my old assumptions about once a year (a habit I have always had since about age 14). In that instant my whole enormous edifice of ‘excuses to patch Bible weak spots’ began to fall into dust. The upshot was that I and my whole family (they are all above 22 years of age) in 36 hours simply walked away from Yahweh the war god – though I did spend another 2 months attempting to create some LOOPHOLE (a ‘How-it-could-have-been’ excuse of sophistry) that Bible believers are always using to patch up their beloved ‘crazy book’. But try as I may – and I even went to some extreme goofy excuses – I could not fix this one. It shattered the very foundation of the Law of Moses. And it was of such size and complexity that a simple ‘loophole’ would not cover it.

What was it? I keep that to myself. My family and I agreed that Bible believers are likely better off staying where they are, since few of them actually know the Bible or follow it (in a America they follow a kind of ‘Americana-steeple-religion’), and were they to leave this path most would just end up in something worse. Churchianity actually makes a good lock-box to keep most people in. If you spend 27 years searching the Bible, (never ceasing to explore your past assumptions) perhaps you will stumble on the rift in the Law too. You do realize I hope that once the Law is proven a work of man rather than God that Jesus ends up stepping off a cliff as be begins his ministry.

So I am back to my own search for the true GOD – the one who has shown his power to many times, and the one I was seeking when 27 years ago I stumbled down the wrong alley of the ‘crazy book’.

Brucker said...

I can't deny that far too many Christians don't actually read their Bible in depth. I had an elder at a church I once attended who told me that he never bothered reading the Old Testament. I was in a Bible study group with him, and somebody was talking about something that bothered them, and he said, "Don't forget that the Bible says we need to forgive our enemies!" The ther guy replied, "I've always liked that verse that says doing nice things for your enemies piles hot coals on their heads, heh-heh!" Then this elder says, "The Bible doesn't say *that*!" I replied, "Actually, it's in both the Old and New Testaments."

I also know what you mean by flipping from 0 to 1. I remember in college I was largely an agnostic, but usually I leaned stronger for or against the existence of God, almost never completely indetermined. Maybe that's why I have a fair amount of respect for hard-thinking, determined agnostics: I just find it hard to find solid ground in the middle.

Your spiritual journey sounds like an interesting one. I'm always interested in hearing about people who have tried a lot of different sorts of religious viewpoints, and are still searching. Perhaps that's part of my own reason for searching out Bible contradictions; having once been on that journey myself, there's probably a part of me that misses the search for Truth. While of course it is better to have found it (if indeed I have) there's something fun in the pursuit, isn't there?

One pastor friend of mine says that the Bible has been studied for 2,000 years, and as such, it's not so likely that anyone will find something wrong with it today that wasn't already known by somebody somewhere. As Paul said in ICor.15:19, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable." I'm not really worried about your "MOTHER OF ALL BIBLE MISTAKES", and I suggest you check the SAB to see whether or not it's already there, and if not, post it on the discussion board, as many will be wanting to hear about it, and it deserves a greater audience than you'll get in my comments section.

Durokemit said...

Thanx for the kind words of advise Brucker. I can see that you try to live your life in a state of objective reality and that you are aware of your reasons for following the path that you have chosen.

Its funny, back in 82 I was in this medium sized group (having left another church that had melted down in divisions and infighting) and I knew of this one old Christian who made cold calls on the phone offering bible studies, and I mentioned to my wife one evening how it be funny if that guy called me up by accident one night, so I could play like I was a non-churchgoer and lead him on. And not 3 minutes after I said that, he actually did call and tried to sell me on his bible study (it was an old set of film strips that I had used once myself). But I was in so much shock – trying to look around the room as if my house was bugged (it was a town of 55,000) that I forgot to play my joke. The upshot was that I told him who I was and ended up going with this old guy - seemed old back then - on his ‘bible-home-invasions’. The point is, that night he admitted that though he had been a Christian deacon for 40+ years he had NEVER read the Old Testament – I still carry bruises and grass stains where my lower jaw hit the ground that night J.

And come to think of it, it was that same church that threw me out some months later (all the elders asked me to leave politely) because I was “rocking the boat too much” by making statements of fact far less blunt than your: “Actually, it's in both the Old and New Testaments."

Yes, I checked everywhere about the MOTHER-OF thing. Of course I checked my Hebrew sources, the Septuagint (LXX), early Church writers, etc. etc. – hoping to find anything that might suggest the text was messed up. I knew I’d fail though, cause I knew this part of the Hebrew text was solid – its in the core – I knew it would stand solid. I’d read it perhaps 30 to 40 times over the years but had IGNORED its meaning – cause today it doesn’t mean much in our society. Also, kike most American males I was still living in stone-aged myths about this subject. Of course the 2000 years of study you mentioned missed it since what I read had to do with medical science. In fact those nations under the Bible’s strong influence would have missed it partly because of the other injunctions of the Bible. This is not “it”, but its kind of like the way the Middle Ages paid dearly for Jesus’ words against the importance of washing of the hands.

I like you too much to ruin your religious walk - and besides, I could be wrong and what if my insight planted a horrible seed of doubt in you? But you have given me a better idea. I’ll pick some of the denominations I never liked and I will visit their WISE men and see if they can help me out. For me it would be a win, win situation either way. Good luck – and remember, never be ashamed to reveal openly to God the things you don’t like about the Bible or your true feelings. After all, Yahweh doesn’t want you telling fibs to him, or pretending to believe things you don’t really believe. Reality – its what God should be all about.

Durokemit said...

Oh, Brucker, by the way, don’t let any old fart scare you with that 2000 years of study jazz. The truth is that free and critical thinking about the Bible only took place among the Church Fathers up until about 200 A.D. After that fears and fights over supposed and real heresies clamped down across Christendom. Once the rich farts who controlled all the leading churches all got together and voted Emperor Constantine as isapostolos ("equal-to-the-apostles") – a man who was not officially to become a Christian until shortly before his death – all true investigations into scripture more or less ceased for over 1000 years. And even during the later years the constant religious wars and superstition made true open study of Bible truths a near impossibility.
I am certain the chief scribes said something like this in Jesus’ time too, “the Law and the Prophets have been studied for over 1400 years now and nothing was found about the Messiah being killed on a cross.” Tell those old farts to go blow their winds elsewhere.

Dennis Day said...

Wow! I was out looking for information on Christian and Bible blog sites and came across yours. You have put together an interesting blog. I was trying to look for Christian sites pertaining to the descendants of Ishmael... I have a website that may be of interest to you as well.

Many Blessings,
the descendants of Ishmael

Anonymous said...

I came accross your site by accident. However, I had just finished writing something very similar on Genesis. There is only one slight problem, you state things in a much better way than I can. Thank you.

Brucker said...

That's not a problem. There's always a better writer out there somewhere. If I only wanted to write on the condition that I was the best there is at this stuff, then I probably wouldn't have written a single post. My old philosophy instructor always told me I was much too verbose, and I believe she was right, but I've never seemed to get over it. Read some more of the blog, I'm sure quite a few of these posts are awful.

In any case, thanks for the compliment. I suggest that you keep writing for yourself and publish it or don't as you see fit.

Anonymous said...

Each of us takes a journey of our choosing...

According to Mathew 7:7 we can ask.. A door will open.. Through my own interpretation is that we just have to keep our minds open enough to see the answers we seek..

wow power leveling said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brucker said...

Your story is truly inspiring, strange little spammer.

Na said...

Just going to make one comment for now, you say
"Nonetheless, on a genetic level, He did anyway, since in creating a man first, one might be fair to assume the presence of both an X and Y chromosome in the first human being. But that's another matter."
Actually although from an evolutionary perspective humans would have arrived as man and woman, that being dealt with through its early ancestry, as far as male and female are concerned, the Y would be the mutation, so you would assume just the X chromosome to being with; effectively adam would have been made from eve's rib.

Brucker said...

Sure, from an evolutionary perspective that's the case, but that's not the perspective I was running with here. Evolutionarily speaking, nobody was made from anyone's rib.

On a side note, I just noticed I never put in a note about something interesting I learned last year. Durokemit mentioned in the first comment that there may be pieces missing from the Bible. While as I said before, that doesn't really bother me, there is an interesting factoid about one of those books: the so-called "Epistle to the Laodiceans". As the SAB itself notes, "Also, the words 'to the saints which are in Ephesus' does not occur in the best manuscripts."

When you read about the founding of the Ephesian church in the book of Acts, you find that Paul himself was the founder of that church, and he spent about three years there teaching them and having fellowship with them. Yet unlike most of his other epistles, this one doesn't end with personal messages to people he knows there. Why would he leave that out when he must have had many dear friends in Ephesus? A suggested answer is that this is not actually a letter to the Ephesians, but may actually be the "lost" epistle to the Laodiceans.

Well, I find it interesting anyway.

Na said...

I was speaking metaphorically, I'm not crazy! ;p

Catalin said...

I hope you are going to read this, Brucker, but I will like to know that big mistake Durokemit was talking about. I don't know how to reach him and I thought he might have told it to you.

Brucker said...

No, Durokemit never told me, and I was awfully curious, too!

The SAB does have plenty of material, though, and not all of it was stuff I could handle, so if you're interested in Bible mistakes, I've used the tag "contradiction" for any post where I come across a contradiction the SAB suggests that I couldn't resolve. (Of course it doesn't mean that there is no resolution necessarily, just that I couldn't think of one.)

Catalin Oancea said...

In regard to what he said, I don't mean to be rude, but throwing the word of God out the door because you found what seems to be to you a contradiction doesn't really indicate a true child-like faith in God. He doesn't cite what version he was reading, what were those Hebrew sources and the Septuagint isn't the most reliable source; his only argument was that he studied the Bible for a long time and that he thought so because, well, he thought so. Studying and reading the Bible thousands of times doesn't mean anything to me, since people can study the Bible their whole life and still be unsaved if they aren't guided by the Holy Ghost in their journey. I find people like these sensationalists, trying to justify their own sins and weaknesses and needing an excuse to just throw away everything and reducing the holy word to man made doctrines and fables, plagued by errors and contradictions which only the "enlightened ones" can see; this is what I am left with from these kinds of people.
I was just curious what all the boasting was about, since he is the only one in history (what a bloated ego) to find something like that. I don't think it's possible to reach him since his profile doesn't show anything and I can't find his name anywhere else.
I will consider your suggestion and see to it if I have the time.
Regarding the subject of apparent contradictions or errors, I believe that the King James Bible is inspired and preserved and God can test our faith in this way too, to see if we care about what He says about His word or what man says. It's always been like this for a true believer: you want to trust God with all your heart (Proverbs 3:5) or listen to man, including yourself, for you too can be in error.

Brucker said...

I think you're right, and it matters a great deal where you are spiritually. I recently had a commenter who insisted that if I believed in the Bible, it could only be because I haven't really read it. I informed him that truthfully, I've only read about 60 of the 66 books comprising the Bible, but if I could read through the books of Joshua and Judges and not be turned away by the violence, I'm not sure what I could be missing that's so horrible.

The Bible is a tool for helping you in your spiritual life, but really most people get out of it whatever they expect to get out of it. In my own past, I read the Bible before I was a Christian, and thought it was a good book. Later when I truly gave my heart to God through the leading of the Holy Spirit, it was a whole new book like I'd never read it before.

Catalin Oancea said...

You said it well, the Bible is just a good book if you take God out of it.

"It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." - John 6:63

Once the Spirit of God indwells you, the words are more than words, they are life. I think, not dogmatic about it, that if the words are spoken by nonbelievers, they don't mean anything; for example:

13 ¶Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?" - Acts 19:13

That exorcist didn't believe in Jesus Christ, he just said His name. I think it's the same with the words of God, if you don't believe they are life and that the word is the sword of the Spirit, able to pierce, break and tear down the enemy strongholds, they won't have any effect. You see all kinds of cults "exorcising" by using the Bible and not having any effect at all. I don't want to elevate man in a position where he has any power at all (our strength is Christ), hope I'm not transmitting that. The power comes from God, but believing makes you a complete tool for Him to use. Just like adding a handle to a tool head, making it fit for the master's use.

Brucker said...

You know, it's funny, but while I do of course hope that anything that I do, whether blogging or talking with people face-to-face about my beliefs, might have some positive effect on their spiritual life, I have no expectations that this blog will ever convert a single non-believer. Even if I were clever enough to explain away every footnote of the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, in the end it's no better than sophistry because people believe whatever they will. I guess I'm too much of a Calvinist to believe I have any power to change hearts, but I think that's okay doctrinally. I hope I do change a few minds from time to time.

the thinker said...

I find the fact that you referenced NIV for the creation of the animals in the second creation story rather disturbing. A quick look at every other version clearly shows the distinct lack of "had". If we were to consider just plain translation alone, which is more likely, that KJV, ASV, NASV, NLT and orthodox jewish bible all got that wrong, or that the translators of NIV intentionally put it there to bypass the contradiction?

In general, it would be far more credible if you had double checked every translation first for correlation.

Brucker said...

You've got a point, I'll have to admit. While I can't realistically check "every translation", I suppose I've cherry-picked a translation that happens to work. A couple things still could be said, though. The Hebrew verb in that sentence is in the imperfect tense, which I understand to indicate an ongoing action; creation was not instantaneous, but an ongoing process. Secondly, I'm not sure it really matters; the two creation stories are telling the story in two different ways with two different focuses, meaning that a lot of these differences are more stylistic than technical.

In the end, it really depends on how you look at it. Some people are going to insist that the contradiction is there, and they've got a basis for asserting that. I happen to look at it differently.