Points of Contention with the Book of Genesis

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What did God create the universe from?

  • From formless, pre-existing matter (WIS 11:17).
  • From nothing, since he created everything (JOH 1:3; HEB 11:3).

Who created Heaven and Earth?

  • God created the world alone (GEN 1:1; ISA 44:24).
  • God created the world with Jesus' assistance (1COR 8:6). The Word that was with and is God is an allusion to Jesus (JOH 1:1-5, 9-10, 14).

Who created Heaven, and When was Heaven prepared for the believers?

  • God created Heaven for his believers during the creation (MAT 25:34).
  • Christ prepared Heaven for his believers after his ascension (JOH 14:2).

How long did it take for God to create Heaven and Earth?

  • Three days; one to create Heaven, one to create the evening and morning, and one to create the land (GEN 1:6-13).
  • One day (GEN 2:4).

When did God separate light from darkness?

  • On the first day (GEN 1:3-5).
  • On the fourth day (GEN 1:16-19).

What underlies the earth? What is the earth set upon?

  • A series of pillars (1SAM 2:8).
  • Foundations (PSA 104:1, 5).
  • The earth floats on a giant sea (PSA 24:1-2).
  • Nothing; the earth floats freely in space (JOB 26:7).

When did God create humans and birds?

  • God created male and female humans simultaneously (GEN 1:26-27) on the sixth day, after creating all plants (GEN 1:11-13) and other land animals (GEN 1:24). Marine life was created previously on the fifth day (GEN 1:20-23), when birds were also created from the waters (GEN 1:20).
  • God created man (GEN 2:7) before he created land animals and birds from the ground itself (GEN 2: 19). Although God had previously created seeds (GEN 2:4-5) there were no plants until after he created man to till the earth (GEN 2:8-9). Women were created (GEN 2:22) after men (GEN 2:7).

Was Adam allowed to eat everything in the Garden of Eden?

  • Yes. God explicitly stated that man is permitted to eat any and all seed-bearing fruits and plants (GEN 1:29).
  • No. God explicitly banned Adam from eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (GEN 2:17).

Did God curse Adam for eating from the Tree of Knowledge?

  • Yes. The very concept of death itself is part of God’s punishment for eating from the Tree of Knowledge (GEN 2:16-17).
  • Not exactly. Adam had many sons and daughters and lived to be 930 years-old, which is pretty much the opposite of being cursed (GEN 5:4-5).

Who is to blame for original sin?

  • Adam is explicitly stated to be responsible for original sin (ROM 5:12-19).
  • Adam is explicitly innocent, and Eve is entirely responsible for original sin (1TIM 2:14).

Who was the first to worship the Lord?

  • Cain and Abel were, via their sacrifices (GEN 4:3-4).
  • Seth was explicitly stated as being the first to worship the Lord, following the birth of his son, Enos (GEN 4:26).

What was the world’s population when Cain was marked?

  • There were only three people in the entire world at the time; Adam, Eve, and Cain (GEN 4:1-2, 8).
  • Other people had to have existed, because God marked Cain so that others knew to kill him on sight (GEN 4:14-15).

What became of Cain?

  • Cain is cursed from the earth itself; meaning his farming would never produce food. As such, Cain became “a fugitive and a vagabond” (GEN 4:11-12).
  • He died, since those who “have gone the way of Cain” have “perished” (JUDE 1:11).
  • Cain does fairly well for himself. Cain got married (somehow), started a family, and founded a city (GEN 4:16-17).

Who defined the clean and unclean animals?

  • Moses did. He gathered the Israelites and gave them additional laws (DEU 5:1) which included the definitions clean and unclean animals, thus forming the basis of Jewish dietary law (DEU 14:3-21).
  • The notion of clean and unclean animals predates Moses. God commanded Noah to take 7 pairs of the clean animals onto the ark, and only one pair of the unclean animals. Therefore, clean and unclean animals were previously defined (GEN 7:1-3).

When did Noah enter the ark?

  • On the day the rains started (GEN 7:11-16).
  • Seven days before the flood (GEN 7:6-10).

How long did it take for the ark to come to rest?

  • 148 days. Noah and his family entered the ark (GEN 7:7) on the 17th day of the 2nd month (GEN 7:11), and landed on Mt. Ararat on the 17th day of the 7th month (GEN 8:4). By the traditional Jewish calendar, the ark was thus afloat for 148 days.
  • 219 days. The floodwaters receded slowly, and mountaintops were not visible until the 1st day of the 10th month (GEN 8:5). Since Mt. Ararat was submerged until this point, the ark must have been afloat for 219 days, by the traditional Jewish calendar.

How long did the flooding last?

  • 40 days (GEN 7:17).
  • 150 days (GEN 7:24).

When did the earth dry up, following the Flood?

  • The first day of the first month (GEN 8:13).
  • The twentieth day of the second month (GEN 8:14).

Did anything survive the flood?

  • No. The flood destroyed every single living, excluding Noah and the contents of his ark (GEN 7:23).
  • Yes. There were other survivors:
    • The ancient race of giants (GEN 6:4) was not mentioned among the ark’s passengers, yet they later reappeared as the Sons of Anak (NUM 13:33).
    • Before the flood, the Kenites lived between Egypt and the Euphrates River, as part of God’s covenant with Abraham (GEN 15:18-19). Yet, the Kenites still existed after the flood, and Moses’ father-in-law may have been a Kenite (JUDG 1:16).
    • By tracing back various genealogies (GEN 5:25-29; 7:7, 11) one can calculate when the flood occurred with respect to the age of Methusalah. While the exact year varies between translations, the genealogies and Methuselah's stated age at the time of his death (GEN 5:27) together imply that flood occurred before Methuselah's death. Therefore, Methuselah survived the cataclysm.
      • This fact alone forced St. Augustine, of all people, to admit that the Bible contains errors (City of God, XV, 11).

Where did Abraham go after leaving Haram?

  • They intentionally ventured forth into Canaan (GEN 12:5).
  • They wandered, by faith, without any destination (HEB 11:8).

Did Abraham spend time in Canaan?

  • Yes. Abraham lived on the plain of Mamre, in Hebron, where he built a temple (GEN 13:18).
  • No. Jacob’s father (Isaac) “was a stranger, in the land of Canaan” (GEN 37:1). God gave Abraham no inheritance in Canaan, and mentions that he never set foot there (ACT 7:4-5).

Did God promise Canaan to Isaac and Jacob?

  • Yes. God explicitly promised “all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession” to Isaac, Jacob, and all of their descendants (GEN 17:8).
  • No. Despite obeying God’s call (HEB 11:8-9), Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died without ever receiving what God had promised (HEB 11:13). None of them ever set foot in Canaan (ACT 7:4-5).

What was the city was the city of Dan called in the time of Abram?

  • The city of Dan was originally named Laish, but it was later renamed in honor of Israel’s son, Dan (JUDG 18:29).
  • The city was always called Dan. Abram went there when it was known by that name (GEN 14:14).

Was Lot a righteous man?

  • Yes. In fact, Lot was the only virtuous person living in the greater Sodom-Gamorrah area. He was constantly sickened by all of the crime and vice surrounding him. When those cities were destroyed, God saw to it that only Lot and his daughters were spared (2PET 2:7-9).
  • No. Lot freely surrendered his daughters to be gang-raped by a crazed mob (GEN 19:8). Later, Lot allowed his daughters to get him so intoxicated that he submitted to their desires for incestuous sex. (GEN 19:36)

Who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?

  • Two angels were sent to destroy the cities on God’s behalf (GEN 19:1, 13).
  • The Lord himself personally destroyed them, via raining fire and brimstone (GEN 19:24).

Did Lot's daughters think there were men left on earth?

  • Yes. Lot’s daughters were with him when God promised not to destroy the city of Zoar (GEN 19:21-22). The mountain cave that Lot and his daughters took refuge in was on the outskirts of Zoar (GEN 19:30).
  • No. Lot’s daughters were convinced that their father was the last man on earth (GEN 19:31), and they probably would not have committed drunken incest if they knew otherwise.

Did Sarah have faith that she would conceive a child in her old age?

  • Yes. Sarah was able to bear children well-after menopause through the power of her faith (HEB 11:11).
  • No. Sarah had no faith in her ability to conceive, and straight-up laughed at God when told her that she would (GEN 18:10-12).

Did Abraham need God's help to have children in his old age?

  • Yes. Abraham was so old and infirm that he was unable to impregnate anyone without divine intervention (GEN 21:2).
  • No. Abraham’s other wife, Keturah, had at least six of his children (Zimram, Jockshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah) without any sort of divine intervention (GEN 25:1-2).

How old was Ishmael when Abraham abandoned him?

  • Ishmael was still a child; he was hidden in some shrubbery (GEN 21:14-15).
  • Ishmael was 14. (GEN 17:24-26; GEN 21:5, 8).

Who named the city of Beersheba?

  • Abraham did (GEN 20:1, 2, 9; 21:31-32).
  • Isaac did (GEN 26:6, 7, 10, 28, 33).

When did using Jehovah/YHWH/LORD as the name of God come into use?

  • Before the time of Abraham, since Seth (GEN 4:26) and Noah (GEN 9:24-26) both used the term. Abraham must have known the name of God, because he was the one who named Jehovahjireh, “the Mountain of the Lord” (GEN 22:14). Both Abraham (GEN 12:8) and Isaac (GEN 26:25) were shown to know the Lord by name.
  • After time of Abraham. When God revealed his name to Moses in their first conversation, he explicitly mentioned that his name was unknown to Abraham and Isaac (EXO 6:2-3).

How was Abraham justified?

  • Abraham was justified by his faith in God, which made him righteous (ROM 4:3). This was demonstrated when, by faith alone, Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac (HEB 11:17). Abraham was not justified by his works; if he was, he would have had no glory before God (ROM 4:2).
  • Abraham was justified by his works, namely, his attempted sacrifice of Isaac (JAM 2:21). This incident explicitly proved that man can be justified by his works and not by faith alone (JAM 2:24).

What were the 12 Tribes of Israel?

The Bible is consistently inconsistent about listing the Tribes of Israel, as illustrated in the table below:

The Twelve Tribes of Israel
# Tribe GEN 29:31 to 30:24 GEN 46:8-27 GEN 49:3-27 EXO 1:2-5 NUM 10:14-27 NUM 26:5-51 NUM 34:16-29 and 35:1-8 DEU 33:6-24 JUDG 1:17-36 JUDG 5:14-23 1CHR 2:1-2 1CHR 6:54-80 REV 7:4-8
1 Asher X X X X X X X X X X X X
2 Benjamin X X X X X X X X X X X X
3 Dan X X X X X X X X X X X
4 Gad X X X X X X X X X X
5 Issachar X X X X X X X X X X X X
6 Joseph X X X X X X X X X X X
7 Judah X X X X X X X X X X X X
8 Levi X X X X X X X X X
9 Naphtali X X X X X X X X X X X X X
10 Reuben X X X X X X X X X X X
11 Simeon X X X X X X X X X X X
12 Zebulun X X X X X X X X X X X X X
13 Manasseh X X X X X X
14 Ephraim X X X X X X
15 Barak X
16 Machir X
17 Gilead X
18 Meroz X
  • The number of Israeli tribes fluctuates between 11 and 13. The traditional twelve those listed in GEN 46, 49; EXO 1; and 1CHR 2.
  • Traditionally, when territory was divided, Levi received no share, and Joseph received a double share.
  • The names of 12 of Jacob’s children were initially listed (GEN 29:31-30:24), but this list forgot Benjamin and included Dinah.
  • The Levites were not explicitly mentioned in NUM 10:14-27, but the Koathites were (NUM 10:21). Kohath was the son of Levi; therefore, the Kohathites are a subgroup of Levites.
  • The Song of Deborah (JUDG 5:14-23) lists eleven tribes, which forgets 5 of Jacob’s children (Simeon, Levi, Judah, Manasseh, and Gad). Four of these tribes are new and unique (Barak, Machir, Gilead and Meroz). Machir, Gilead and Meroz were not sons of Jacob; and this was the only mention of anyone named Meroz.
  • 11 tribes were mentioned when Solomon's kingdom broke up (2SAM 19:43; 1KIN 11:31), but their names were unlisted.
  • The Tribe of Dan is intentionally omitted from later books, because the Antichrist was rumored to be from the Tribe of Dan.

How did Jacob get the birthright?

  • Jacob purchased Esau’s birthright (GEN 25:31-33). Esau willingly and knowingly consented to the transfer, despite only receiving a bowl of lentil soup in exchange (GEN 25:34).
  • Jacob deceived his father by pretending he was Esau (GEN 27:18-19, 26, 28-29).

What was the purpose of Jacob's errand?

  • Jacob was trying to flee from Esau and his anger (GEN 27:42-45).
  • Jacob was looking for a wife (GEN 28:2).

Did Jacob name the city of Bethel?

  • Yes. The city was originally called Luz until Jacob renamed it (GEN 28:18-19; JUDG 1:23).
  • No. He couldn't have because:
    • The city of Bethel was mentioned several times in the story of Abram (GEN 12:7-8; GEN 13:1-3).
    • Bethel and Luz must be different places, because Joseph travels from Bethel to Luz (JOS 16:1-2).

Was Jacob's name permanently changed to Israel? If so, where did this happen?

  • Yes. God permanently changes Jacob’s name to Israel, but it is unclear when; it either happened:
    • As Jacob passed over the Jabbok River, 30 miles (48 km) north of Jerusalem (GEN 32:22, 28).
    • At his altar at Elbethel, 5 miles (8 km) north of Jerusalem (GEN 35:7, 10).
  • No. Despite permanently changing his name, God still refers to Israel as Jacob when speaking to him (GEN 46:2).

How old was Benjamin when his clan migrated to Egypt?

  • Benjamin was a child, who was so young that he would die if he became separated from his father. (GEN 43:15)
  • Benjamin was a grown man, with ten sons of his own, who also accompanied him into Egypt. (GEN 46:8)

Where did Joseph's brothers find the hidden money?

  • After they returned home, while they were unpacking (GEN 42:29, 35).
  • While staying at an inn (GEN 42:27; GEN 43:21).

Did Zebulun's territory reach the sea?

  • Yes. His territory was a “haven for ships” (GEN 49:13).
  • No. While Zebulun’s territory reached towards the sea, it stopped at Jokenam, which was still inland (JOS 19:11).

What was Jacob’s final act?

  • He asked Joseph to bury alongside his fathers, not in Egypt, and died when he rested his head on the top of his bed (GEN 47:29-31).
  • After blessing Joseph’s sons, Jacob died while leaning on his staff (HEB 11:21).

Was Jacob brought out of Egypt?

  • Yes. God promised Jacob that he would leave Egypt (GEN 46:2-4).
  • No. Jacob died (GEN 49:33) in Egypt (GEN 50:6).

What are the circumstances of Jacob’s burial?

  • Jacob was buried in Machpelah, in a sepulcher purchased from Ephron (GEN 50:13).
  • Jacob was buried in Sychem, in a sepulcher that Abraham bought from the sons of Emmor (ACT 7:15-16).
  • Jacob was buried in a sepulcher that he bought from the sons of Hamor (JOS 24:32).

When did Abraham's descendants reclaim their homeland?

  • After 4 generations. God explicitly told Abraham that they would reclaim their homeland (GEN 15:13) in four generations (GEN 15:16).
  • After 6 generations. The Bible explicitly states that Abraham’s descendants did not return until the sixth generation:
    1. Abraham begat Isaac (GEN 21:3).
    2. Isaac begat Jacob (GEN 25:26).
    3. Jacob begat Levi (GEN 29:34).
    4. Levi begat Kohath (GEN 46:11).
    5. Kohath begat Amram (EXO 6:8)
    6. Amram begat Moses (1CHR 23:13).

What will become of the Israelites?

  • Their population will explode to literally astronomical levels as they spread throughout the world (GEN 26:4).
  • Their population will become decimated and scattered (DEU 4:27).