Every ‘old’ or ‘aboriginal’ culture which the modern world has uncovered has its own, unique origin story. None of these stories are remotely possible in any scientific sense. One of these is Sumerian (before Abraham, but in what would become the Holy Land) – and a thousand years later Abraham had a very similar version which wound up in the book of Genesis.
It wasn’t one whit more realizable, in view of what we know today about wind, weather, and physics world any of the others. BUT I agree wholeheartedly with conservative Christians that it is GOD’s word.
How? All things are possible with GOD, but ask yourself why HE would describe the origins of the universe in a way that would actually break through to someone living in that Sumerian-descendant culture. Ask yourself what terms would make sense. Why would GOD choose to break so much from the culture in place then?
Rather, to me “Inspired Word of GOD” means that GOD breathed HIMself into the teaching and rules of the Jewish Scripture. Once actual history began to accumulate, how much of it resembles King Arthur? Joseph is a good approximation. Does it matter to me whether Joseph and his twelve sons are fact or embellished fact or something lesser still?
Not one whit.
Does it matter to me that the Jewish history of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan accurately record Israel’s failure to faithfully execute GOD’s commanded genocide of the people of Canaan who weren’t Israeli?
Not one whit. I know that GOD loves; it’s why HE made the universe in the first place. Does GOD’s infusing of HIMself into the Jewish religious writings invalidate its ability to contain their lame excuses for mass killing?
Not one whit. GOD is love, and HIS children are sinful. On a good day. Just like me and everyone else who has ever lived, save for Jesus Christ.
Once we reach the birth of Jesus, the Scripture gets down to historical reality. I personally refuse to comment on Paul’s attack on homosexuals, by the way – None of the gospels mention the idea, Jesus never condemned it, and the few places in the Abrahamic legends are a) condemnation of ritual humiliation of a stranger passing through (Sodom and Gomorrah) and one among a series of instructions which also proscribe e.g. mixing materials (cotton with wool?) when weaving. Polyester blend, anyone?
In short, the conservative Christian’s abhorrence of homosexuality looks from here like a case needing a dose of “Pluck the log from your own eye before assisting your neighbor in plucking the mote from his own eye.” Christians have perverted GOD’s love to an impulse to hate, condemn, despise, an drive out people whose innate, wired-in sexual response is to their own gender.
t’s not a choice. I’ve run across two step-nephews, a daughter, and a college sweetheart all of whom had to deal with an inner and utter inability to find pleasure with their opposite gender. My own experience counts for nothing except for this: I know four homosexuals, all family members (well, I was engaged to one) and none of them signed up to be singled out for their poor choice of wiring.
Back to topic: No, Genesis is in no possible way historical. For that matter, potsherds in the ground date and define cultural changes. Those found in the Holy Land provide zero evidence for an influx of foreigners, whether or not around the time attributed to Moses. That evidence is just is not there.
Rather, one explanation I’ve encountered, and regard as a “what-if,” is that the poor agricultural underclass found that the urban elites of that era, and yes there were such, had overspent their credit. The peasants rose up and burned down every major town. Over time, that excess was, supposedly, hushed up, perhaps shrouded in “God made us do that” language.
The above conjecture offers no insight into the flourishing twelve-tribes story, the clear delineation of one tribe for religious service and the other eleven given specific homelands within greater Israel. BUT the fact that I can’t come up with one is hardly proof that there was no such root material for the twelve tribes, and the fact that they did have specific areas in Israel, and that one of them was in charge of all religious rites and materials.
In short, requiring someone from modern era to take at face value the other-than-possible legends from the earliest part of the Old Testament is tantamount to slamming the door to faith in the face of anyone who can read.