Let’s assume the creationists are right
I’ve recently been debating with a Young-Earth Creationist (YEC) for the first time in ages. I’d forgotten how soul-destroying it is – locked in an argument with someone who will insist that the world was created in exactly six days, that all scientific investigation to the contrary is worthless, misleading or fraudulent, and if all else fails, that God created everything to look really old in order to mislead anyone who doesn’t have genuine faith.
It’s a bizarre belief, but once someone’s got to the point of taking the Omphalos hypothesis seriously, they’ve effectively and conveniently ruled out any evidence they don’t like. There’s no way of shaking their belief, because this sort of special pleading allows them to explain away absolutely anything. So I’m going to give up arguing – clearly, as they say, Genesis is literally and unambiguously true in every respect, and anyone who says otherwise is just wrong.
So that would mean God created a perfect world (apart from the huge, tempting tree in the middle – I’m told that’s a feature, not a bug, but even the Death Star’s fatally flawed exhaust vent was no bigger than a womp rat), and then created sinless people to live in it, which was great, even though they obviously did sin by doing what He told them not to. And then He punished them and their descendants forever for doing what He must have known they’d do, because hey, He’s omniscient, right?
Then just a few generations after throwing mankind out of paradise, God got really pissed off that people were being Naughty In Unspecified Ways, so He decided the only thing to do was to kill everyone and start again from scratch with the few good and faithful people in the world. But rather than killing just the bad people with a few thunderbolts, He decided to have a big flood so He could kill lots of dumb animals as well.
But everything would be fine after that, because God promised never to drown everyone again. Not that drowning everyone is a bad thing to do – it can’t be, because He’s God, and He doesn’t do bad things. So He must have promised for some other ineffable reason of His own, like He wanted to branch out into earthquakes or something.
Once the flood had gone, the New Plan was for Noah’s family, specially chosen for their righteousness, to recolonise the Earth. So naturally, the first thing Noah did was to get smashed on wine and collapse naked in his tent, eventually waking up to curse his son for seeing him naked while he was sleeping. As new starts go, this was less like The Waltons than The Simpsons.
Maybe God went back to the drawing board after that incident, maybe He didn’t like the look of Noah’s immediate descendants, or maybe He got bored and did something else for a while, but eventually He popped up again after a number of generations had passed to make lots of promises of yet another fresh start to Abram, who then took Abraham as a stage name.
This time, God was totally going to get it right. Abraham was just the kind of guy He was looking for – someone who was willing to kill his own son if God told him to. This time, nothing could go wrong.
As part of this New New Plan, God was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for being generally naughty, but not before Abraham’s nephew Lot bravely fought off the people of Sodom and prevented them from molesting the angels who were visiting him (yes, really) by offering the mob his daughters to rape instead. As a reward for this gesture, Lot was considered righteous and allowed to escape the destruction with his family, and his daughters celebrated by getting him drunk, sleeping with him and having his babies.
And that’s not even halfway through Genesis. Taking this as a literal story of a loving, holy, omniscient and omnipotent God makes the worst excesses of the oxymoronic Creation Science look positively rational.
Images courtesy of Tilemahos E, used under Attribution License, and Wikipedia from Public Domain