If you can ignore the gratuitous violence, brutality, misogyny, child abuse, racism and appalling misanthropy, there are some pieces of ignorant stupidity which can be a thoroughly enjoyable read to connoisseurs of the absurd, written as it was by simple people with a very primitive understanding of the world they lived in. We can forgive them for this ignorance of course. If it wasn't for generations of scientific research we would all be that ignorant still.
Knowledge doesn't come sleeting through the atmosphere to lodge itself in our brains; we have to learn it and because we don't normally have the time to discover everything afresh for ourselves, we rely on other people to have discovered it for us and record it so we can learn from them. Bronze Age nomads simply hadn't got that history of research and body of knowledge to draw on. Incidentally, that's why so many people who can't or won't learn from that body of accumulated knowledge seem to have the same level of understanding as Bronze-age nomads.
It's probably not nice to laugh at their naive ignorance but what we can laugh at is their ludicrous attempt to pass it off as the word of an omniscient creator god. Hint: don't claim your simplistic understanding has come from an omniscient source. In the long run you'll never get away with it.
Anyway, let's enjoy some of these absurdities:
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Right! So it was all water, presumably stretching to infinity in all directions, then God produced a 'firmament', like some sort of upturned pudding basin inside the water to divide it into two - and the water didn't run round the edge of the 'firmament'. I wonder how he got it to seal around the edges and how he pumped the water out.
You can understand the Bronze Age authors looking up and thinking all that blue stuff was water, which is blue like seawater, obviously, and looking at the sea and thinking the land was floating on it, but where did they think the edge of the 'firmament' was? Whatever it was that was inspiring them, it wasn't an omniscient creator. If it was anything, it was as ignorant as they were. What did they know of light rays and the effect of scattering of certain wavelengths of light by the atmosphere?
But an omniscient creator...? I sometimes like to think of the expression on it's face when it read what they had produced. If only it were real... Maybe it just can't read.
This idea gave the translators of the Bible a bit of a headache it seems. The original word in Hebrew was raqi'a derived from the word raqa which meant "to beat or spread out" as in making a dish, so the authors obviously meant the firmament to be an upturned dish. Next time you're in your bath, get a dish and see if you can separate the waters above from the waters below with it. You'll find the water keeps running round the edge. Some translators have tried to give the authors a helping hand by translating raqi'a as 'expanse' (NIV 1984) having earlier toyed with 'vault' (NIV) but the authors spoke and wrote in Hebrew so presumably meant what they wrote.
There's more. In fact, there's lots more...
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
Now our Bronze Age Creationists have shown that they hadn't yet connected light with the source of light in the sky. To them, the sky lit up and the sun and moon were there to separate light from dark, so there was no inconsistency in writing about light and dark being created on day one but the source of light not being created for a couple more days. Well, you see, when you look at that bit of sky there, there is obviously light coming from it because it's, well... er... light, yet the sun is over there, so obviously the light there can't be coming from the sun over there, can it?
Obviously the Creator put the sun there so we can see that it's the morning, not the evening. The moon tells us it's the evening.
And days and nights have nothing to do with the earth rotating!
Perhaps it was just the goat-herders...?
Well, unless Isaiah (Isaiah 30:26) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 32:7) were goat-herders we can't even proffer that excuse.
Let's move on from the crass blunder in thinking the moon is a light just like the sun. What did they know of the sun shining onto it and being reflected? Weren't they both orbiting the earth? Or were they sinking into the sea and being recreated afresh every morning?
"Hey God! How come you let them get away with making you look like an ignorant Bronze Age goat-herder"?
"Okay! I guess non-existence is a good excuse".
But maybe it was just a temporary aberration.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Alas not. Now we have plants, which rely on sunlight for photosynthesis of sugar and for the production of oxygen in the atmosphere, for their existence, being created on day three before the source of light on day four.
And this shuts down the common Old Earth Creationist apologetic of saying a biblical day was an allegory for millions of years. Maybe plants could have survived for a day waiting for some light, but not for millions of years. A bit of a sod that the authors specifically mention fruit, grass and seeds, all of which are angiosperms, i.e. the most evolutionarily advanced forms of plant life, otherwise apologists could have tried getting away with arguing that these plants were primitive forms that somehow could live in the dark like mushrooms and creationists. Unfortunately, even primitive plants rely on photosynthesis so even that's a non-starter. (No, mushrooms and creationists aren't plants. I know that! They just both thrive on bullshit.)
"Hey God! They're making it look like you don't understand basic plant biology now!"
You'd think a creator who came up with photosynthesis, one of the key factors in life on earth, would have been proud of it, not completely ignorant of it. Not so Bronze Age goat-herders, of course. They saw no reason at all why plants couldn't exist without sunlight because they knew nothing about photosynthesis or basic plant physiology.
And what about the stars? Maybe a creator god who created the immense Universe would be proud of its creation and would make sure we understood the real majesty of the cosmos, eh?
Oops! The goat-herders blunder again.
The stars are set in that 'firmament' to give light to the earth. Little tiny points of light, not great balls of fire giving off vast amounts of radiant energy, the product of hydrogen fusion. Nope. the 'stars' are accounted for with the understanding of someone who has very little understanding and no appreciation of the distance to the stars and just how bright they must be for us to see their light at that immense distance.
In fact, they thought the starts were merely high, not distant and there could be something above the stars:
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.
Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
All the stars are 'up' apparently. The goat-herders knew nothing of the other side of the globe.
"Globe? What globe? It's either up in the sky or down in the ground and the stars are all up!"
And no real ideas of their numbers either.
He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.
There are an estimated 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the Universe. Let's suppose this god could name them at one per second, never taking a break, it would take over 317,000,000,000,000 years to name them. So much for creation 6000 years ago. Even the normally accepted age of the Universe of 14,000,000,000 years is dwarfed by this figure.
And are there enough distinct sounds available to construct enough different names short enough to be spoken in one second?
"Hey God! They're now saying you only created a few tiny stars and don't even know which way is 'up'!"
But surely by the time those who wrote about Jesus and what he is supposed to have said lived, they knew better didn't they?
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.
This is reputedly the god son of the creator god showing his abysmal ignorance of the cosmos! The moon gives off her light and the stars can fall down?!
And who can forget that wandering star which led the wise men to the house in Bethlehem where Jesus lived, and stopped over that house but no other? Try it on a starry night. Find a star over your town, city or village and decide which particular house it's over...
Lastly, what Jason Long, in Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians describes as in his opinion, "...easily the single most embarrassing error contained between the Bible’s covers", there is this nonsense in Genesis:
And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted.
And to add insult to injury, the goat-herders even have their creator god praising Jacob for this ingenious piece of genetic engineering:
And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee.
"Hey God! How do you feel about them showing you don't understand DNA and how genetics works?"
And still there is silence...
There is no rational way a god who wanted to show mankind what an amazing job it had made of the Universe and life on earth would have stood by and allowed uneducated and ignorant people to write such a book of simplistic nonsense that makes it look no better than a Bronze Age goat-herder itself.
No where in the entire Bible is anything which was not then known by an educated person; instead it contains a great deal which was misunderstood and now known to be wrong. If the Bible were to be discovered today we could date its authorship from the errors in it and the ignorance they showed. Not only is the Bible full of crass errors that could only have been made by people singularly ignorant of that about which they wrote, the Bible is also one of the best pieces of evidence that the god it describes and claims inspired it does not exist.
The only use for the Bible is as an interesting record of what people used to believe in the infancy of our species, in a remote corner of the Middle East.
The Bible could not have been written by the god described in it.