Note: While we at Holey Books have moved on to cover the second book of the Pentateuch, Exodus, I thought it would be worthwhile to sum up some of the main holes our examination of Genesis turned up.
While there are many holes in Genesis, these are the top six most ridiculous (in no particular order). If any of you readers out there find any other candidates, by all means — supply them in the comments.
1. God creates the world, and then creates it again (Gen. 1-2). The two different accounts of Genesis are clearly—if you read them with any critical sense whatsoever—two vastly different versions of the creation of the world. The consensus is that these were originally two different oral traditions written down by two different authors, identified by the vastly different way they refer to “God.” But their details, too, are confusing. In one, for example, God creates both man and woman after the animals; in the second version, he creates the animals first, and then man after them, and woman only after man. Of course, the creation here also makes no logical sense: God creates night and day before he creates the sun and stars (Gen. 1:14-19)
2. God breaks his promises (Gen. 2 & 5). God told Adam he would die when he ate the fruit. Adam ate the fruit. Adam lived to be more than 900 years old.
3. Jacob wrestles God (Gen. 32). Taking this story literally: God descends into man form, for no apparent reason, and wrestles with Jacob until daybreak. Jacob, the entire time, doesn’t seem fazed by the fact that a random dude is wrestling him all night. And then eventually God gives up, again for no real reason.
4. God endorses polygamy (Gen. 29, 30, others). Throughout Genesis, God consistently supports — or rather doesn’t take action against — polygamy. Yes, you might say, but God lets a lot of things pass that he doesn’t approve of, right? Wrong. Throughout Genesis, he frequently takes action to intervene. Yet he gives polygamy a pass by rewarding Jacob and his wives with children (Gen. 29:31; Gen. 30:17; Gen. 30:22), for example.
5. Abraham is not a good guy (Gen. 11-25). For the supposed patriarch of three of the world’s great religions, it’s amazing how terrible a person Abraham seems to be. First, he essentially whores out his wife to Pharaoh to save his own skin (Gen. 12), deceives Abimelek (Gen. 20), takes up with a servant girl when his wife is older (Gen. 16) (but kicks them out later (Gen. 21)), and nearly kills his own son (Gen. 22) (although for argument’s sake we will assume that God deceived him on this one—which is no less ridiculous). Throughout his life, Abram/Abraham is self-centered, heartless, avaricious, and heir-crazed. He’s just not admirable.
6. A Talking Snake. Snakes can’t talk. This is impossible. No other animal in the book talks, and never again are snakes talking. This isn’t in and of itself ridiculous, however, unless we take the story literally. Then it is. Snakes are too stupid to talk. A further point, though: While the text itself, it’s important to note, isn’t otherwise ridiculous in this sense as we have mentioned before, nothing in Genesis indicates the serpent in Gen. 3 is the devil, what is ridiculous is the later interpretations of Genesis asserting without equivocation that the Serpent was Satan. There is, simply, no evidence in the text for this interpretation.