I’ve been using a biology curriculum this semester that was written by a very devout Christian. I think my family picked it because the textbook’s normal and available online and free and divided into manageable bits unlike that densely packed one I had last semester. The thing is…the curriculum has a “have I mentioned I’m Christian today” insert like every couple of days (it’s divided into days) and it’s getting kind of confusing to me.
There’s this implication that if you don’t believe the world was created in 7 days and that the Old Testament is a perfectly accurate representation of everything, you’re just not a believer at all.
I’ll admit I’m not Christian so I’m biased, but isn’t it kind of obvious that God did not actually write the Bible? There were lots of writers, and they were all human beings. I’m not telling people what they should believe in terms of whether or not God inspired that writing. I could get into that if I wanted to, but I’m not going to. For now, I just want to know why people seem to think you have to believe the entirety of it word-for-word to be “truly” Christian when:
a.) The whole Bible has been re-translated dozens of times, and there are some passages that Biblical scholars are more historically confident in than others. I’m pretty sure there is even a part in the NT where it appears like some pages may be missing due to a sort of “time jump.” Given that, there was definitely some human influence on what you can buy at Barnes and Noble in the religious section.
b.) Humans wrote the Bible, and even if humans were inspired, they likely had their own biases going into the work. Specifically, humans back then had no way of knowing about the dinosaurs or the Big Bang. Even if God inspired the Bible, it’s possible that God figured people would be more interested in how man appeared on Earth than about the “big history” of the universe, since ultimately the Bible was written to be read by humans. If God inspired a Bible intended for camels or plankton or sea algae or turtles, the history might look quite different.
c.) Some people say God was like…whispering the words to the people as they wrote them. Even if he was, simple things can happen when you do that. Have you ever tried giving somebody a grocery list and had them come back with wrong stuff? I haven’t, but I saw it enough as a kid that I know it’s a thing. For example, God could have said “your world (the world of humans) is 10,000 years old,” and people could have written down “the world (as in the whole universe) is 10,000 years old.” Slight variations can make a huge difference.
d.) Maybe I’m wrong, but isn’t the point of Christianity to live the way Jesus suggests and to have faith in the power of his sacrifice? I guess…I don’t see how dinosaur bones and evolution are a threat to how Jesus asked people to live their lives or to the value of Jesus’s sacrifice. A natural history museum won’t prevent you from loving your neighbor.
e.) I guess I wonder how evolution even really invalidates Genesis at all. I’m not a Christian myself but…couldn’t Adam and Eve be the first modern humans? I know the Bible doesn’t talk about existence prior to them, but people who wrote it likely did not know about life before then and possibly didn’t need that knowledge to understand their own history/the history of mankind at that point.
f.) Don’t Hebrew words all have a lot of meanings beyond just what the word itself means that factor into how you might interpret the Bible? I remember hearing that “Adam” means “man” and “Eve” means “life.” Given that, it could open up a lot of contemplation I’d think.
I’m not trying to offend anybody but…I don’t get why people seem to think that God wrote the Bible or that God had to be the author for it to have any spiritual importance.
If you do want to answer, I’d prefer no conversion attempts or “because the Bible says so!” type answers or “well I’m sorry if you think this is a ‘the Bible says so’ answer, but the Bible says so!” type answers.
Do people actually believe that God authored the Bible and it is therefore all-or-nothing, or is there another reason why believing the Earth is more than 10,000 years old is incompatible with belief for many people?