December 18, 2021

Historicity of Genesis


by Interfaith

I have been thinking about the Book of Genesis and would like to share some thoughts with you. I am going to make statements for the sake of practicality, but they should not be interpreted as expressions of what I think is the truth. As a lapsed Catholic, I am going to hypothesize based on the English version of the Catholic bible as made available by the Holy See.

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Before writing was invented, the only way to keep history alive was by passing it down orally from generation to generation. The most effective way to make people (especially children) retain information is by disguising it as a story, which requires facts to be mixed with fiction. People shared knowledge by telling myths.

The Chimú civilization from ancient Peru knew that they descended from people that arrived from the sea. Contemporary scientists know that South America was partly first inhabited by a group of people arriving from the Pacific in primitive boats. This is one example of a myth that can be partially confirmed by science as historical fact.

The Book of Genesis is largely symbolic and mythological, but that does not preclude it from being historical as well. The same story may convey both historical facts and spiritual symbolism through mythology, and thus can be reconciled with contemporary scientific knowledge – a true work of genius.

Adam and Eve

Genesis 1:27 seems to suggest that men and women were created around the same time. Maybe the first human was indeed a male mutant, but he was not the only mutant to be born. Even between twins there is an elder sibling, so the male was just the first born.

Genesis 2:7 states that “man” was formed out of clay. Clay is the raw material for pottery, so this is a figure of speech. Men and women were formed out of something that already existed.

The Book talks about the Lord, but not about the man at this point. There was not just one man. Man is used as a reference to the species that had just been created, male and female alike. Genesis 5:2 confirms this.

Maybe the Book is telling us the story of the first archaic humans (and the raw material is an ape). Maybe it is the story of the first Homo sapiens (and the raw material is Homo erectus). Maybe it is the story of the ancestors of Israelites (or Iraqis), who were genotypically different from their parents and relatives, not encompassing other human populations.

Genesis 2:18 makes the first reference to the man in the context of creation, and how he could not find a monogamous partner. Maybe he had not had a wife at this point even though there were women, or maybe he had once had a wife who preferred to mate with other men or other apes (Lilith?).

There was a point in history where there were not a lot of physical differences between men and apes (or between different species of humans), and Lilith (?) may have perceived both Adam and herself as defective (given that they were a minority as far as their looks went) but had no problem with mating with other males.

Genesis 2:21 through 2:23 tells us that Adam found a monogamous partner in a woman who was made of his flesh. The Book is not literal when referring to creation, so Eve may have been his daughter (besides a mutant just like him).

We find incest despicable nowadays (as we should), but it was quite common not so long ago, in the Middle Ages, when kings used to marry their own sisters just for the sake of royal blood.

The Garden of Eden

Genesis 2:8 through 2:14 tells us that the Garden of Eden was to the East from the place where Adam was born, and that it was the source of four rivers, two of which we know nowadays: Tigris and Euphrates.

Humans first appeared somewhere on Earth. The out of Africa hypothesis is the best scientific explanation that we have so far, and both the Tigris and the Euphrates are to the East from Africa.

Adam may have been the first to migrate from Africa to that region of Earth, assuming that the Tigris and the Euphrates were not named in the Book just to make it feel like the story belongs to Israelites (or Iraqis) or some other practical purpose – maybe the actual story is about now extinct rivers with valleys currently sitting below the dunes of the Sahara, since the oldest known human fossil was found in Jebel Irhoud, Morocco.

The Earth’s geology has changed drastically since the times of Adam (rivers dry and change courses for several reasons), so it may be pointless to try to find the exact location of Eden. However, the sources of both the Euphrates and the Tigris are in the mountains of Armenia, in the Caucasus, where the oldest human fossils out of Africa were found.

Maybe the Euphrates and the Tigris had the same source in the past, in the Caucasus. Maybe Eden was an area around the Caucasus. Maybe the first chapters of the Book tell the story of Adam the first Caucasian, not the first actual human.

The Flood

Genesis 8:4 states that, after the flood, Noah’s ark came to rest on Mount Ararat. What do we find in Mount Ararat nowadays? The source of River Murat, also known as Eastern Euphrates. From Adam to Noah, everything the Book told happened in the Caucasus, probably somewhere in Armenia or Turkey.

The flood story was well known in Sumer long before the Book was written and is part of the Sumerian creation myth. Maybe Israelites heard of it during their captivity in Babylon, but maybe both peoples knew about the great flood independently because such a calamity would be talked about across peoples and generations, and they ultimately have a common ancestor.

There is evidence to suggest that that a mega flood caused by global warming hit the Black Sea, just West of the Caucasus, and raised its levels by 60 to 70 meters during the Late Pleistocene.

It is well known that Neanderthals bred with modern humans in Europe until their extinction in the Late Pleistocene, and Genesis 7:21 tells us that mankind was extinguished in the flood.

Maybe Noah and his family were modern humans, and everyone else in that area were Neanderthals. A flood of such proportions would have definitively killed anyone who was not prepared for it.

***

What do you think? Can anyone refer any essay on the subject?

 

(Discussion in ‘Abrahamic Religions‘ started by plouton6 17/12/2021)

Follow thread:

https://www.interfaith.org/community/threads/19944/

 


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