Tag Archives: Answers In Genesis

Questions About Answers in Genesis: Part 2-“Kind”

How Noah could have fit two or fourteen of every animal that has ever lived onto a boat with the floor space of about one and a half American football fields, has always been a major problem with accepting Biblical mythology as reality.  In recent years, creationists have tried to answer this problem by creatively interpreting the word ‘kind’.  Answers in Genesis and it’s founder Ken Ham rely heavily on this weak argument, to keep funding for their various money pits.

Two Bengal Tigers Breed, and I Get This

Two Siberian Tigers Breed, and I Get This

According to this wildly erroneous theory, the word kind as used in the King James Bible, generally means what real scientists would call “family” and that all animals belonging to a specific family were represented on the Ark by a single pair of animals from that family which later bred all of the various species from that family that we see today. For instance: a Siberian Tiger (Panthera tigris altaicia) which is a species of the, Genus: Panthera tigris, which is a group from the Sub-family: Panthernae,  of the Family: Felidae would have hybridized through breeding from the same pair of animals as the domestic cat.  In fact, according to this idea, all 55 living species of felids, from the 480 pound Bengal Tiger to the 3 pound Rusty-Spotted Cat, spread across five continents are hybridized naturally from two cats who walked into the Ark around 4,500 years ago. Although this sounds like an infantile representation of evolution, creationists flatly deny any similarity.

Occasionally, this classification causes problems, so creationists will change it to sub-family, order, or whatever other classification suits their needs.  In such cases, the apparent contradiction of this with other statements they make is completely glossed over, or just simply ignored.  By playing with the word ‘kind‘ these pseudo-scientists are able to claim a significantly smaller group of animals on Noah’s Ark than is stated by their own mythology.

For the sake of this post I won’t go into how this ‘theory’ still ignores an overwhelming amount of actual scientific findings; how it still doesn’t give enough room on the boat for the animals; how it doesn’t account for sea life; or how it only works for translations of the Bible which have been selectively edited into Shakespearean English.  Instead, I will just use their own fairy-tale book to show that they are starting from a flawed foundation, which consistently contradicts itself and reality.

What Does Genesis Say About “Kinds”:

The particular passages where “kind” is used in reference to the animals on the Ark are as follows:

Genesis 6:20–Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Genesis 7:14–They [Noah and his family], and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.

Genesis 8:19 Every beast, every creeping thing, and every fowl, and whatsoever creepeth upon the earth, after their kinds, went forth out of the ark.

That’s right, of the 14 passages which talk about the animals on the Ark, three use the word kind.  So, what do the other 11 passages have to say about what animals were on the Ark?

Well first up we have Genesis 6:19:

And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.

This is the first passage which tells which animals and how many of each are to go onto the Ark.  It is also the passage which is the most damaging to the whole “kind” theory.  The key phrase in this passage is “…of every living thing, of all flesh,…” This passage clearly says that there are to be two of every sort of living thing of all flesh brought into the Ark.  Not two representatives of each family of animals, but two of every animal.

My assumption would be that the argument here would be that the following passage (shown above) clarifies this problem by saying “their” and “his” “kind” of animal.  If we are to take this literally, then we get male and female kinds of birds, male and female kinds of domesticated animals, and only male kinds of other land animals which means that there were females of every other land animal.  But, his could be used as a generic form of their, so we will overlook that, and focus instead on the word ‘sort’. 

If we are to accept that kind means ‘family’, then sort also means the same thing, since in Genesis 6:20 and 7:14 (see above) kind and sort are both used to describe the amount of animal representatives on the Ark.  This would do a good job of explaining away my passage if no problem could be found with the idea.

So, if sort means family in the biological classification sense, and the Bible is consistent and not contradictory in its word usage, then, what is meant by 2 Kings 24:14 which speaks of sorts of poor people?  A sensible reading of this passage, and the surrounding chapter would show that sort is being used just as we use it today, to break things down into specifics.  Just as a sensible reading of the passages above would show that sort or kind in the Genesis flood myth means every type, or what we now call species, of animal i.e. if the Bible is true, then tigers, lions, ocelots, and all the other sorts of cats were represented by a pair of tigers, pair of lions, pair of ocelots, etc. and not just by a single pair of cats.  The same would apply to all other animals, and we are back to having way too many animals to fit on such a relatively small boat.

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

How Many Species of Humans Do You See?

But, we’re not talking sensible here, we’re talking fundamentalism.  So, according to the creationist kind theory, 2 Kings is telling us that princes and blacksmiths belong to different sub-families of hominid, which means that there are more than one species of humans, only one of which was represented on the Ark which would violate God’s command, and leave the question:  where did all of these other different kinds of humans come from, and where are they now?

The next passage to pose a problem for the kind theory is Genesis 7:2

Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.

This passage not only contradicts the number given in Genesis 6:20 above, but says “every” “beast”, with no division by kind.  But, with the theory of kind “every…beast” cannot mean every beast. So, if every beast does not mean every beast then ‘beast’ also has to mean kind or family.  So, you would need only 14 bovids total, and not 14 cows, and 14 sheep,  and 14 musk oxen, etc.  But if beast and kind mean the same thing, then what is meant by ‘kinds of beasts’ in Genesis 7:14 and 8:19 above.  To conform to the theory, it would mean that there are families of families, or kinds of kinds which completely changes the meaning of kind back to the original meaning of individual types of beasts, or, as we call it today, species.  This, in turn, destroys the whole kind theory espoused by these quack-scientists.

The division of animals in the passage above into clean and unclean, brings us to another place in the Bible where kind is used for animal classification: Leviticus 11.

In this chapter of Leviticus we are told what animals we can eat, and what we can’t.  Ignoring the Biblical classification of a jack rabbit as a ruminant (Lev 11:6), and the Biblical classification of a bat as a bird, we see that vultures, kites, owls, hawks, night hawks, and cormorants are all different “kinds” of birds. Since actual scientists put hawks, owls, and vultures into the same family then kind can’t be family.  In this part of the Bible kind is shown to be a classification closer to species.  This is again shown clearly in Leviticus 11:22 which separates locusts of two different types and grasshoppers by the word “kind.”  Since locusts are specific species of grasshoppers, then clearly, kind would either mean species, or it would simply mean type as is “a type of grasshopper”, which brings us back to the huge number of animals again, and once again, destroys the whole kind theory.

There are other instances of kind clearly meaning species, such as Genesis 1-3 wherein fruit trees are separated from other fruit bearing trees, but I think it’s clear by now just how stupid and illogical the kind-theory truly is.

The Overall Problem With This Theory

Simply put, the overall problem with this theory is that it relies on a belief that the Bible is a literal representation of reality.  If we are to believe that the Bible is anything more than a collection of mythological stories, then we have to take everything as correct, and there can be no contradictions with itself or easily observable reality.

The passages used to back up the whole kind stupidity not only contradict each other as to what a kind is, but they even contradict each other on other things, such as how many cows were on the Ark: 2 according to Genesis 6:20, and 14 according to Genesis 7:2.  And, the whole thing flies in the face of common sense, since kind, as it’s used here, clearly means what we would call today: species, despite what creationists would want it to mean.

Yep, They're Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

Yep, They’re Real, Because the Bible Tells Me So

If creationists really want any sensible person to believe that the Bible is a scientifically accurate depiction of history and the natural World, then they have to stand by their belief and scientifically prove that rabbits chew their cud and have multiple stomachs like other ruminants, that bats are birds not mammals, and that there are distinctively different species of humans, which can be biologically classified according to social status and occupation.  When they can do this I will give them some credibility, and I will also believe that fire-breathing dragons, unicorns, and satyrs are real instead of merely mythological creatures like other Bible story participants such as:  Adam, Eve, Noah, a talking donkey, and God.

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Questions about Answers in Genesis: Part 1-Genesis 1-11 as Literal History

Part 1 of a Multi-Part Series on articles from answersingenesis.org

This post was prompted by the article from the Answers in Genesis website entitled: Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?

In Did Bible Authors Believe… the author (Terry Mortenson) tries to make the case that since the authors of the various parts of the Bible take the stories found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis as “…straightforward, reliable history…” then this is the only way someone should read it if they want to get the correct message from the Bible as a whole. Mortenson, who has a Ph.D.(?) in the History of Geology which is not about the history of geology from a school that teaches neither history nor geology, takes a rather wandering and illogical route through various ideas and Bible passages to prove his hypothesis, and brings us to his conclusion that:  “We should take Genesis 1–11 as straightforward, accurate, literal history because Jesus, the Apostles, and all the other biblical writers did so.”

Taken as a whole, this article could easily supply me with a half-dozen or so posts about circular logic, presumptive analysis, scriptural cherry-picking, and several other topics, but it was the following footnote which really grabbed my attention as something by which Mortenson completely contradicts, and invalidates his own conclusions:

17 Why Christians have trouble believing Genesis 3 when it speaks of a talking serpent is a mystery to me. We have talking parrots today, which involves no miracles. And if the Christian believes in any miracles of the Bible, then he must believe that Balaam’s donkey was used by God to speak to the false prophet (Numbers 22:28). Since Satan is a supernatural being who can do supernatural things (e.g., 2 Corinthians 11:11–13; Matthew 4:1–11; 2 Thessalonians 2:8–9), it is not difficult at all to understand or believe that he could speak through a serpent to deceive Eve (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3; Revelation 12:9).1

Eat the Fruit, Aack, Eat the Fruit

Eat the Fruit, Aack, Drink the Kool-Aid Aack

I will bypass the comparison of a bird which mimics sounds around it through a process that can be fully explained by scientific means, with a donkey as a vessel of God’s speech, and instead focus on the idea that in this note, the snake referred to was a vessel for Satan’s speech.

On its face, and separate from the article it is attached to, this statement is reasonable enough in a conversation about Bible stories from a literalist stand, but his referenced passages, when taken in the context of his own article, either contradict his statement, and/or the article or have nothing to do with what he’s saying, while at the same time, do a wonderful job of refuting everything he himself is saying not only in the footnote, but in the article as a whole.

In the second paragraph of his article, Mortenson says: “If we interpret something [in the Bible] literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, then we will misunderstand the text.”  It is important to remember this statement, as it continually comes up below. He then goes on to give two examples of differing literary styles in the Bible.  In one, he uses an example of an obvious metaphor: “‘I am the door…’ (John 10:9)”, and for the other “‘The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up’ (Matthew 17:22–23)”, he uses as an example of a passage which he says is to be taken literally.  So, let’s look as his cited passages in the footnote above in regards to their being proof of Satan’s supernatural ability to talk through a snake to Eve.

2 Corinthians 11:11-13:

11 Why? Because I do not love you? God knows! 12 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.

This passage, in which Paul is talking about how he is careful to continue preaching to keep false prophets from deceiving people, is supposed to be an example of how Satan can do supernatural things, presumably to speak through animals, as God had done in Numbers 22:28.  I can only assume that Mortenson meant to include the following verse which says:

“And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”

With this verse, or without, this is clearly not an example of Satan’s power to do anything supernatural. Mortenson has made the mistake he warned his readers about early in his article: he took words and phrases which are clearly simile as literal statement.  In these passages, no one is actually transforming themselves into anything, they are merely deceiving people by appearing to be something that they are not.  This is made quite clear in the next passage which compares a false prophet’s deceitful practice of pretending to be a man of God with Satan’s deceitful practice of pretending to be a good guy.

Satan_Baptizing_a_disciple_(582x800)If we are meant to assume that Satan is doing an actual transformation, then, according to these passages, the same must be said for the false prophets.  This idea makes no sense, because if Satan, or the false prophet, transformed himself into the good versions of themselves then why would he transform back, when he would now be of God, and therefore be doing the work of God, by telling the truth and doing good, which would negate his desire to transform back into Satan or a false prophet?  As many preachers will tell you, and have told me, you must be careful lest you be proven a fool by your own ignorance

Well, that passage fails, so what about Matthew 4:1-11?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”

8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”

11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

439px-Temptation-of-Christ-in-the-WildernessThis, of course is the famous temptation scene.  And, sure enough, Satan’s transporting Jesus around could easily be said to be supernatural.  But remember, Mortenson states that we either read it as literal or not. So, if we are to take this as a literal example of Satan’s literal ability to do such things, then we are led to a rather perplexing issue.

If Satan is literally transporting Jesus around and literally takes him to the top of a mountain to show him “…all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”  then the Earth is flat.  There is no way that from a point on one side of a sphere, no matter how far above the surface of that sphere that point is, one could see the other side of the sphere, so it would be impossible to see “all the kingdoms”; at best, a person could see half, yet the passage clearly uses the word “all.”

So, by Mortenson’s own words, if we take this passage to be a literal word for word account of Satan’s supernatural abilities being used to try to tempt Christ, then we must also accept that the Earth is a disc and not a sphere.  However, another article  written by Mortenson’s colleague, Donald B. DeYoung, for Answers in Genesis, says that nowhere in the Bible does it say that the Earth is flat and “when the Bible touches on scientific subjects, it is entirely accurate.”  So, is Mortenson interpreting something literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, and therefore misunderstanding the passages, or is his colleague wrong, and the Earth is flat?  Or are they both wrong, and the Bible cannot be read literally and the Bible is often scientifically inaccurate? (My money is on the answer to the last question being “yes.”)

2 Thessalonians 2:8–9 is just as poor an example of Mortenson’s assertion as the other two:

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

This passage is clearly referring to another false prophet and his teachings, and when read with the rest of the chapter is meant to reassure the reader that this false prophet is a sign that Christ is on his way.  It refers to the prophet’s being like Satan, but also refers to his being destroyed by God’s breath.  This is clearly a form of parable wherein the false prophet’s teaching will be refuted by the true teachings from God that Paul claims in this letter to be spreading, similar to what I am doing to Mortenson’s teachings here.

All of these references show that Mortenson clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and could also be used to label him as one of his feared ‘false prophets.’ a conclusion which is easily proven by his own treasured source of proof:  the Bible.

Matthew 7:15-19

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

This is, of course, the famous ‘know them by their fruits’ lesson from the Sermon on the Mount. Clearly, Jesus is not saying that false prophets are trees.  He is comparing them to trees and saying that they will be easy to recognize by what they teach i.e. if they teach something which is incorrect, then you can be assured that they are not to be believed because “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit.”  In other words, if someone tells you that the Earth is flat:  don’t believe anything else they are saying.  If someone tries to tell you the correct way to interpret the Bible, but then contradicts himself, by interpreting things the wrong way:  they are not to be believed in anything that they say.

And finally, let’s get back to the article and what this footnote is saying.  The article defends, and even demands a literal reading of Genesis 1-11 as required for any validated belief in Jesus. In this footnote, Mortenson is clearly defending the belief that Satan spoke through, or even was, the serpent in the Garden of Eden.  I won’t go into the un-validated belief that this serpent lied to Eve, or somehow deceived her into believing something that wasn’t true, and I won’t go into the un-validated belief that Adam and Eve were thrown out of the garden for eating a piece of fruit; what I will focus on is what/or who a literal reading of the story from Genesis 3 tells us the serpent was.

So here are the parts of the story which concerns us here:

Genesis 3:1-4

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

The serpent has no more speaking parts, and later when God is handing out punishments for the whole mess Genesis says:

14 So the Lord God said to the serpent:“Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen 3:14-15)

According to Mortenson, these parts of chapter 3, along with everything else from the first word of chapter 1 through chapter 11 are to be taken as “as straightforward, accurate, literal history.”  So, let’s do so.

The first sentence of chapter three, clearly identifies the antagonist as a cunning “beast”, who talks to Eve.  Absolutely nowhere does it say that another being is talking through it, or that it is anything other than a serpent. Now, some might say that it is implied, but I would counter with Numbers 22:28 which is used by Mortenson in which the verse’s author clearly states that that God uses a donkey to speak to someone, combined with the story of Job wherein we see that Satan has no power to turn people away from God without God’s permission (Job 1:11-12).  (Before someone says that this passage shows that God gave this power to Satan, and that it proves that Satan has the power to corrupt people; I would point out that a literal reading would show that Satan is only given the power to corrupt Job and that this episode happens well after the story of the serpent and Eve, which would show that Satan had no such power prior to this point.)

The implication of this, as viewed through Mortenson’s hypothesis is that a) if it were Satan talking through the snake it would have been clearly stated as such, and b) if it were Satan, he couldn’t have done such a thing without permission which would imply that God caused the fall of man.

But, OK, there might be a way to weasel and wriggle through that.  Which is where verses 14-15 come in.  In these verses, God is clearly talking to a serpent, and that serpent is being punished by God with the loss of his legs, and enmity between it and humans who will constantly be stomping on its head.  A truly literal reading of this shows the creation of the snakes we know today that crawl around on their belly and are disliked by most people.

But, it could be said that God was punishing, not a snake, but the Satan who was talking through him.  Again, as I showed above, that doesn’t swing with a literal reading of what is supposed to be straightforward, accurate, literal history.  In fact, implying that God was talking to or about something different than what is written is the exact opposite of a literal reading.  Even if it were the case that it was Satan being punished, then by a literal reading, Satan would no longer have legs, and would have to crawl around on his belly.  This is clearly not the case, because we see in Job 1:6 that Satan has the capacity to be “going to and fro on the earth, and…walking back and forth on it.”  This clearly states that Satan was literally walking, so could not have been the entity who was talking in the Garden of Eden, and therefore not the entity who helped bring about the fall of man.

A literal reading of Genesis chapter 3, by Mortenson’s criteria would show that a, now extinct, species of once-legged, talking snakes is responsible for the fall of man, and that Satan has been unfairly accused of this crime for several millennia, something which is refuted by some of the same passages that Mortenson tries to use to back up his statements.

I would love to see Answers in Genesis’ answer to why that happened.

Footnotes:

1.  In contrast to most of my other posts, I am using the New King James version (NKJV) of the Bible instead of the King James (KJV).  I do this because the author of the article in question used this version, and I felt that it was only fair that I use his own preferred version for any passages that I use to refute him.