Recent reviews of biblical scripts have shown the Bible is increasingly unable to
stand up to scrutiny and scientific evidence. I it is becoming increasingly worrying
that the Bible may not be able to claim authority on any issue relevant to our
physical reality we call the universe, particularly the final direction and divine
plan for humans. Some examples include some of the most famous and strong beliefs
of the Judeo-Christian faiths such as the narrative of the six day creation story,
the Tower of Babel, the great flood, and Jonah and the whale, among others. In each
case the details of the entire stories, that are hardly ever mentioned by the
religious faithful, did not stack up to the scrutiny of the narrative, or contained
certain statements and claims that fly in the face of known scientific facts.
In comments related to recent articles published on this website, this author has
been challenged to review the original Hebrew Scriptures for a proper perspective of
the Bible. As always this author took up the challenge and actually mobilized
resources to acquire the original bible written in Hebrew as well as companion
materials to facilitate the translation of the Hebrew scripts. Snippets of this
review which is on-going are presented in this article. These snippets are then put
into perspective of some of the other religious traditions that existed before or
concurrent with the time period in which the Bible?s original texts were written.
It is clear that the religious particularly Christians do not actually read the
bible for themselves except for the few cherry picked passages given to them by
their pastors. As one famous atheist said, the more you read the bible for yourself,
the more false and untenable you see it to be. Generally speaking, Christians
believe in a single God who exists, as a trinity, the Father, the Son, and Holy
Spirit. This triune God is typically thought to be all-knowing, all loving, all
seeing, all hearing, and all powerful. But is this what the Bible actually presents
in a factual manner? Let us start at the beginning of the Bible and review some of
the claims and core beliefs of the Judeo-Christian faiths.
Genesis 1:1 states that ?In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth?.
The original Hebrew scriptures do not say ?God?. The word used is Elohim, which is
plural for El which means God or a god. This is the same word from which we also
get the following words or names:
Allah, the name of God as used by Islam.
Gabriel meaning Strength of God
Michael meaning who is like God?
Raphael meaning God's medicine
Ariel meaning God's lion
Daniel meaning God's Judgement
Israel meaning one who has struggled with God
Immanuel meaning God is with us
Ishmael meaning God Hears or God Listens
And many other examples.
So the bible actually says in the beginning gods (Elohim) created the heavens and
earth. Who were these gods? Were they the angels or some other unidentified
heaven-based beings? We would assume that this all-powerful being would make it
crystal clear who actually created the universe, in his own book of final authority.
Now, does the original Hebrew text say -heavens or heaven? The Hebrew word that is
used is Shamayim which means sky. So the correct translation of Genesis 1:1 is In
the beginning gods created the sky and the earth. There is no heaven mentioned in
this scripture, just sky. The concept of heaven was invented and added later.
The creation account goes on to say the earth was without shape or form and darkness
was on the face of the deep. The deep here ostensibly referring to water. So after
the heavens and the earth were created the earth consisted of only water. The
narrative continues that the spirit of God was moving over the surface of this
water. So what is the meaning of the spirit of God? The Hebrew word being used here
is Ruah which means wind, breath or air. So the spirit of God is synonymous with the
breath of God blowing over the water, or a wind from God blowing over the water. Now
the Hebrew word for the movement of God in this instance is Merahefet which means
flapping, like for example a bird. So the fact is the Hebrew text says a wind was
blowing over the face of the water. This wind was like that coming from the flapping
of some kind of bird or flying creature. It is interesting that this creation
account is similar in some ways to the Greek creation account that posits a great
bird called Nix was flying over a void when it laid a golden egg into the wind that
resulted in humans. This is also very similar to the ancient Egyptian creation
story which pre-dates the bible, in which, in the beginning there is a dark ocean
abyss referred to as the goddess Nun who produces an egg from which the sun god Ra
hatches out of. It is worth noting that Ra is the pre-eminent god of ancient Egypt,
who is always symbolized by the sun and also gold.
The above can be correlated back to Genesis because the golden sun produces light
which is the first thing created in Genesis. . Remember in Genesis the light is
created first and later in the story the sun is created three days later, even
though we know from astrophysics that this scenario is scientifically non-factual
and not defendable. And also because the very phenomenon of a day is due to the fact
that the earth rotates perpetually, alternating which side faces the sun (day) and
which one faces the darkness of space (night). That aside where is the sun anyway?
Currently we know it is exactly 8 light-minutes away from us in space, approximately
95 million miles away. In other words if we were to travel at the speed of light it
would take us 8 minutes to get there. However the bible does not confirm this fact.
The bible actually posits the sun is within our atmosphere. Of course the bible
does not call it our atmosphere it uses the same word Shamayim which means sky.
According to Genesis, an expanse separates the waters below it from the waters or
oceans above it, and they are all part of the sky.. This expanse in the Hebrew text
is called Rakia. So according God when you are looking up at the sky where the sun
is you are actually looking at on overhead ocean being held up by some divine object
(Rakia) or by some divine power. Some biblical scholars have posited this expanse
is some sort of solid transparent crystalline dome. That is why in later Latin
translations the word Rakia was changed to the Latin word Firmamentum (Firmament in
English). The firmament is therefore a solid object holding the upper ocean above in
place, in the sky. Today we know for a fact that this description is false, and not
such object or overhead ocean exists.
It is interesting that the Book of Gensis is not the only text claiming that a solid
object or expanse is holding up an ocean in the sky. In the ancient Egyptian
religion, the sun god Ra is seen as walking on the water or riding his boat across
the ocean sky.
Now let us go to the second creation account in Genesis chapter 2 which is
substantially different from the account given in Chapter 1. In this narrative Adam
is created, then animals are created to keep him company but after it is realized
that none of the animals can be a suitable mate for Adam, then Eve is created.
Apparently the omniscient creator did not foresee this happening. Adam and Eve are
then provided with a tree that they are ordered not to eat from. But Eve is tricked
into eating from this tree and becoming knowledgeable and hence infecting the whole
world and all humans yet to be born with this knowledge. This is interesting because
in the Greek creation story the first couple is Epimetheus and Pandora. After
Pandora was create she was given to Epimetheus as a wife, and she was a given a box
that should never be opened. But out of curiosity Pandora was tempted and opened the
box anyway. By so doing she released evil spirits that were confined to the box to
now unleash pain and suffering on the world.
Later Adam and Eve have two sons Cain and Abel. The time came for them to make
offerings to God. It turned out that God liked Abel?s offering of slaughtered
animals better than Cain?s offering. This made Cain so angry that he killed his
brother. This is interesting because in ancient Egyptian text Set kills his brother
Osiris because Osiris was favored by the goddess Isis. In another episode Ra decides
to punish humanity for pursuing evil deeds, by wiping out all humans except for a
righteous few. To do this he creates the goddess Sekhmet, the lion goddess to
perform the killing by chasing and eating all the humans. In the Hebrew text we have
a flood occur for this same purpose, to wipe out humanity except for a righteous
Another worrying example is the original Hebrew text does not contain the phrases ?
the Lord your God. This phrase is ubiquitous throughout any modern bible, however it
does appear even once in the original Hebrew text. What appears is - YHWH your God.
This is the so called tetragrammaton. Hebrew scribes of Judaism changed this phrase
to ? Adonai , meaning Lord, to replace the tragrammaton because they deemed it
disrespectful to mention the real name of God continuously over and over just like
that. Later some claimed the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton is
something to the effect of ? Yehowa, or Jehova. This was later adopted by the
Jehovah?s Witnesses?. The Jehovah?s Witnesses?, bible called the New World d
translation completely replaces the phrase ? the Lord your God with - Jehovah your
God throughout the bible.
These are a but a few of the examples that cast serious doubt on the veracity and
even the originality of the Hebrew scriptures. It is easy to see that the concepts
of the bible are not even original but were copied and modified from pre-existing
religions of that era. What makes it worse is that by studying the original Hebrew
texts we can see that the translated versions we have today contain changes,
mistranslations, editing and even outright plagiarism, by scribes church fathers
over the generations. And apparently the religious are completely oblivious of these
facts. The few who are aware claim it is irrelevant and the details don?t matter,
just accept Jesus. But that is false. This is a document that claims it has
omnipotent authorship. Therefore it must be 100% true and accurate, not even 99%.
Otherwise the authorship is not divine, but rather human based on the perspective of
that particular human author. So if the omniscient being was unable to prevent these
falsehoods from being written in his book then one may argue that this being is not
omnipotent. If this is true then he is not God and by extension one may argue
therefore that there is no god, but we shall leave that for another debate for
another day. So back to the defining question of this essay. Is the bible an
original, inerrant document? No. Not at all. The bible as we know it today copies
and modifies pre-existing ideas at the time it was written. It contains many
non-factual statements, several questionable translations, and many mistranslations.
It also contains editing and modifications by scribes and copiers over the
generations who inserted their own ideas and understanding as they saw fit and
kwaku ba, October 2010