The Phenomenal Language Argument And the Creation Accounts

I'll be gone for a week and a half, so this will be my last post until I get back. Let me leave you with something good to talk about:

Christians will argue that God described his creation of the world to the Biblical writers in “the phenomenal language of their day,” given that we still talk about the “sun rising,” and so forth. But it’s more likely that the Bible merely reflects ancient views of cosmology based upon a mythic non-historical consciousness. To see what the Hebrews believed about the universe see here.

Isn’t it crystal clear God could’ve described the universe differently in order to teach human beings about the vastness and age of the universe? Why didn’t the author of the first Creation account in Genesis start out by saying:

"In the beginning God created an immeasurable universe of billions of stars, some of which are billions and billions of miles (cubits) away, through a process that took billions of years out of which he finally created the sun, moon, and a spherical earth which revolves around the sun. On it he created water, land, the beasts of the sea, and eventually every living thing on it. Finally he created human beings to rule over everything he created."
I just don't see why God didn’t reveal this, if he exists, or why ancient people couldn't have had a good grasp of what he said. It certainly would be easily understood, and would not later be undermined by the findings of modern astronomy. By stating that the earth was spherical or that it went around the Sun would’ve done wonders for Biblical credibility with the dawn of modern science, since it would predate what science would later discover.

Apologists will argue that ancient cosmological beliefs were not important for God to correct; since all he wanted to do was to let humans to know that it was HE who created it. But when we reflect on the Galileo affair and the irreparable harm it did to the Christian faith once astronomers understood the vastness and age of the universe, one can only shake her head in utter amazement God didn’t foresee that because he didn’t reveal this, it would lead many of us to doubt the Bible. I am an atheist because this very problem started me down the road of doubt. Does God really not care about the fact he didn't tell human beings the truth about the universe? By not doing so, God has produced many unbelievers who don’t see any true divine revelation in the Bible!

Apologists will object that if God had revealed this to the ancient world it would’ve been laughed at by the ancients who knew differently, just like Socrates was laughed at in Aristophanes’ play called, The Clouds, for suggesting rain came from the clouds rather than from the sky itself. Several things can be said about this objection.

In the first place, if God had directly revealed this to Adam and Eve then all humanity would’ve accepted what God revealed. It would be the consensus opinion which would require evidence to prove differently. Secondly, if God actually did the many miracles claimed in the Bible, they would be considered strong evidence to believe what he said about the universe as well. Thirdly, God could also have provided Adam and Eve with the knowledge to confirm what he said by telling them how to make a telescope, for instance. Fourthly, if God had revealed the truth about the universe then human beings, especially believers, would find ways to confirm what he said, just like believers today try to confirm the stories in the Bible. So revealing this would also speed up what we know about the universe, and since it predated our discoveries, it would be strong evidence that the God of the Bible exists. Lastly, we must place this lack of divine foresight in the context of other things God could’ve revealed, but didn’t. He could’ve revealed to us how to discover penicillin; but didn’t. He could’ve unambiguously condemned slavery; but he didn’t. He could’ve condemned honor killings, witch burnings, and Inquisitions, but he didn’t. In fact, the Bible does not contain one single statement that could not have been written by a person living in that time period. The best explanation for this is that the God of the Bible doesn’t exist.

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