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Dennel Tyon

The Bible - A Good BOOK

  • Thesis Paper

    Dennel B. Tyon

    Composition II/ENG 102 (April, 2011)

    Module 7, Assignment 2

    Argosy University Online

    Dr. Pamela Allegretto-Diiullio



    I never understood why God and Evolution could not go hand in hand.  And yet, the church I was attending as a young child was telling me that it just was not so.  God created man in an instant (and woman an instant after that)… the Bible said it was so – and we just had to believe it.  But the idea “poof, here’s man” just never made sense to me.  I could not buy that.  There had to be more to it.  God would have put much more thought into His creation.  Why would He not go to such extravagant lengths as to spend billions of years preparing the earth for us, and millions of years on our construction.

    The Bible is generally seen as a “divine authority”, which should not be tread upon, but what is it that makes it divine?  Ordinary men wrote the words within its covers – perhaps a few extraordinary men, as well, but men all the same.  Whether inspired, or imagined, the words came to them as they put pen to paper (or etched on metal tablets) and preserved their thoughts for future generations.  These writings that eventually became known as the scriptures were originally written in many different languages and found in various places around the world.

    Some of the languages were obsolete by the time tablets were found and had to be deciphered using ancient means by scholarly men who had studied language.  Oxford and Cambridge theologians, as well as their colleagues in various European universities were greatly advancing their understanding of the ancient languages by the discovery and use of ancient documents (Wilson, 2011).  Approximations had to be made for words that no longer existed when translation was made and, in addition, being written by imperfect beings, these writings could have contained some incorrect information in the first place.  Hence, although the book known as the Holy Bible is highly respected by a majority of Americans, and esteemed by many religions worldwide, it is truly just a book, which was written and published by men; and is, therefore, prone to human error.



    In our arrogance, we fail to appreciate that the “majority of important, ancient scholarly works were lost” (Deloria, 2002, p. 163).  What we have found represents only a tiny portion of what was once known by our ancestors.   One certain Sumerian tablet was discovered which takes us “back to circa 11,000 B.C., when Man had just begun to til the land” and there are numerous Chaldean documents recording the stars “going back 370,000 years,” (Deloria, 2002, p. 166).  In addition, Babylonians kept the horoscopes of all children born for thousands of years (Deloria, 2002, p. 166), perhaps in an effort to find some sort of pattern.  For whatever reason, people have documented their history and individual thoughts for as long as they have been able.  These ancient civilizations, as well as many others, recorded great catastrophes, which wiped out nearly all of mankind, and predicted the occurrence of similar disasters in the future.  Noah’s flood really is not that unique.  Over the centuries, however, “many ancient libraries were destroyed in wars and religious purges” (Deloria, 2002, p. 164).  There have been a minimum of 1,700,000 books – in scroll form – which have been burned to ashes over the centuries as so many great libraries have been destroyed, either by consequence of war or deliberate order of certain ancient leaders (Deloria, 2002, p. 164).  Who knows how much we could have learned much from these ancient writings if they had been preserved?

    There are many other ancient writings, from the same time period as those of the scriptures.  Some of them have now been published in book form and called The Lost Books of the Bible.  These writings, among others, were reviewed by a limited number of men (who were appointed by the Catholic church) and discarded as not worthy of canonization.  The chosen writings were taken and compiled by these men, and in 400 A.D., set and bound to form the first book ever printed.  Declared holy by the Roman Catholic Church, the Bible was then massively distributed to the people and indoctrinated as the Word of God.  Since its first printing, the book has been revised and reprinted time and time again.  The scriptures have been translated so many times it is highly likely that errors in translation have been made from the original writings.

    In 1250 A.D., the scriptures were divided into chapters… the division, as we know it today, was made about 1550 A.D.  An eight-volume work, which held the Latin translation of the Bible, together with “the best available Hebrew, Greek and Chaldaic texts in parallel columns, together with lexicons and grammars of the Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Syriac languages” (Wilson, 2011) was fashioned in 1572.  This massive work was known as “the Royal Antwerp Polyglot… [and] By 1600 there were no less than seven different versions of the English Bible [which] did not in all respects ‘answer to the original’” (Wilson, 2011).  Most antiquarian was the Tyndale New Testaments, which had been around for 70 years.  Then there was the relatively new Douai-Rheims text, which supported Catholicism and the superior authority of the church.  But the most commonly-read version was the Geneva Bible” (Wilson, 2011).

    In 1604, the King declared “that there should be one more exact Translation of the holy Scriptures into the English Tongue” (The Epistle Dedicatory, p. 16, The Holy Bible, King James Version).  Among Christians, there was already a great variety of beliefs and attitudes by this time.  There was also a great variation in people’s status.  Society ranked from a sovereign monarchy, with nobles and bishops, to the country priests and peasants.  Religion and politics were one and the same.  But some people, like the Puritans, felt that there should be a “clear distinction between church and state” (Wilson, 2011).  Party differences were set-aside in an effort to develop what would simply be the best English translation of the Bible yet (Wilson, 2011).  It took seven long years before they completed this translation.

    With individual scrutiny “on chosen parts of the text… committee and sub-committee discussion over minute details of word selection and grammatical inflection” (Wilson, 2011) and despite the death and replacement of some of the original committee members over the years, they finished this so-called final translation of the Holy Bible.  This, The Authorized Version of the Holy Scriptures (being the English translation, which is otherwise known as ‘the King James Bible’, now in common use) was published in 1611 A.D. (The Bible Reader’s Aide, The Holy Bible, King James Version).  And even though my King James Version strictly forbid the changing of even a tittle, changes have been made to it too, as there are now numerous different versions out there in the marketplace.  Nonetheless, the fact is, in the first place and the latter, the words were written by men.  Whether inspired or not, they are, therefore, prone to error (because no man is perfect).

    The proof is in the book, itself.  It is full of paradoxes and clear contradictions.  In order to make sense of it, you have to understand that men wrote it – not God.  There are differences galore, particularly among the four books of the Gospel, like the fact the day of Jesus’ death differs, Jesus’ attitude is calm on the day of his death in one book and he is distraught in another, and “John says he performed miracles to prove his provenance; Matthew says he demurred” (Ehrman, 2009).  Most of the books of the Bible were actually written many years after Christ’s death and only eight of them have been verified to be written by the people originally ascribed as the author.

    When the Bible was canonized, there were lots of so-called Gospels being spread around.  It is unclear why some endured and others did not, but the ones that did simply “reflected contemporary biases” (Ehrman, 2009).  




    Being imperfect, as we are, we struggle with the question of whether we are just human beings who occasionally have a spiritual experience; or if we are spiritual beings, who are having a human experience.  Either way, we feel the need to band together to come up with an answer to this question.  In an effort to do so, we formed congregations.  From these, sprang up numerous religions.  And so many different religions around the world now revere the Bible as holy, holding it to be the true Word of God, so it appears that it would be blasphemous to insinuate that it is otherwise. 

    However, if it were – in fact – truly the Word of God, then it would be reasonable to assume that it contains no errors.   Contrary to what we now know as scientific fact about the creation and evolution of our Earth, the Bible says that God created the entire world, including man and animals, in a matter of days.  But we don’t have to believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible to believe in a divine influence upon the history of the earth.  It makes perfect sense to me that God would have used evolution as the means for our creation.  In fact, “the majority of people who believe in evolution also believe that there is a God” (Sonder, p. 25). 

    Further, fossil studies support scripture in that there was, in fact, a genetic boom, where many different species arose in what seemed to be an instant – in comparison to the overall age of the earth.  Fossil studies have revealed “a ‘biological big bang’… about fifty separate, major groups of organisms, or ‘phyla’, (including… basic body plans of most modern animals) emerged suddenly without evident precursors” (Forrest, 2005, p. 50).  Although this period of time did not actually include the creation of man, I must admit, it does give credence to the writings of the Bible.

    It has been determined that the biggest explosion of life, which occurred during what is known as the Cambrian period, began about 500 million years ago, although life – itself – began only “about 3.7 billion years” ago.  (Ruse, 2001 p. 18).  Fossil records also show evidence, in several places around the world, which seems to be consistent with catastrophic flooding.  The fossil record actually reveals “… sudden death and destruction that is consistent with Biblical teaching concerning a Worldwide Flood” (Parker & Shimmim, 1997, p. 367).  However, although the geological record does show evidence of a massive flood in several different areas of the earth, there is no evidence that the entire earth was ever flooded at one time. 

    Aside from the fossil evidence before us, there are many similar stories in other cultures around the world like those of Adam & Eve, Noah’s Ark and many others.  These similarities in legends give all the more credence to the writings of the Bible, showing that many different cultures had people who knew of these supposed events.  The similarities, however, could also be a byproduct of pure and simple inspiration having been given to several different people in different places around the world, probably at different times.



    The similarities of the Bible stories to those in other cultures should be seen as evidence that the Bible cannot be taken literally, or every other culture around the world would have to be deemed wrong, as the details of facts among the legends vary so.  In addition, the facts among the stories of the Bible, itself vary to such a degree that it is simply impossible for the book, in its entirety, to be considered literally.  Dan Barker, who is an ordained minister, also points out that there are hundreds of discrepancies in the Bible… going so far as to state, “Even if a defender of the bible were to eliminate all of the above (and no one has come close), we are still only scratching the surface. The bible is a flawed book” (1992). 

    Furthermore, there are far too many contradictions throughout the books of the Bible for it to be taken as literal.  In addition, we must consider that it has only been a matter of a few thousand years that these particular writings have existed.  Many ancient civilizations prior to biblical times had their own beliefs and their own inspired writings.  As mentioned before, the majority of those writings have been lost to us.  This means that the Bible is not the only such authority to have ever been written.  A lot of other religious texts exist still to this day.  The Tora, which is technically part of the Bible, and the Q’uran, which, believe it or not is quite similar to the Bible, are just two of the better known.  These ancient scriptures also contain a vast amount of wisdom and, yet, should be considered ‘with a grain of salt’ just the same.  The Church of England even conceded that the story of Adam & Eve, as written in the Bible, was a fable when they openly accepted Darwin’s theory of evolution.  In fact, “when he died, Darwin was lionized… elevated to a place of great importance, and buried at Westminster Abbey in London” (Thorndike, 1999, p. 27).  This was certainly in direct contrast to Galileo’s experience with the Roman Catholic Church.

    The famous astronomer Galileo held strong beliefs in the Almighty.  These beliefs are demonstrated vividly in his writing, as he contemplates:  “…‘A hundred passages of holy scripture teach us that the glory and greatness of Almighty God are marvelously displayed in all his works and divinely read in the open book of the heaven’ – Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)” (Parker, et al., 1994, p. 272).  Obviously, he saw God’s work in the stars.  But in 1632, Galileo proved scientifically “that Earth revolved around the Sun” (Thorndike, 1999, p. 27).  This was clearly in direct contradiction with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church at that time, “that Earth was the center of the universe,” and was, therefore, declared to be blasphemy.  Galileo was banished from the church for opposing their views (Thorndike, 1999, p. 27).  Of course, we have to remember one thing.  “Christianity arose when we had virtually no knowledge of the larger cosmos and this planet was presumed to be the center of creation” (Deloria, 2002, page 214).


    In conclusion, after reading the Bible cover to cover, I determined that it can not possibly be the ‘literal’ Word of God.  But I do believe that it was divinely inspired.  God has inspired all kinds of people to write things over the years – just as, I believe, He inspires me at times.  And people wrote on whatever implement they had available to them, whether it be paper, metal or stone.  I have read every single word in the Bible and to take the entire thing as literal, would mean that God has Multiple Personality Disorder, ADD, is bi-polar and a bit obsessive-compulsive too.  Okay, that may all actually be true.  He speaks of Himself as more than one being, many times throughout the book and He demonstrates many personalities… He is an angry and vengeful God, and He is a loving God in favor of forgiveness – one minute threatening to destroy all of mankind and the next, promising us salvation.  He likes to make comparisons, to talk in riddles and tell short stories to make His point and He does so numerous times throughout these writings.  The Bible, so it says, was printed in English “to make God’s holy Truth to be yet more and more known unto the people,” (The Epistle Dedicatory, King James Version) but in order to find the Truth in it, one has to look past the lies.

    The Bible is full of Parables, sarcasms and Allegories.  The story of Adam & Eve is an allegory – a symbolic representation that uses fictionalized characters to explain human characteristics.  Time and time again, symbolic representations are used in the scriptures to tell hard truths, to give warnings and to provoke thought.  After all, “inquiry is the search for knowledge…  Fanaticism – religious, political, or cultural – is the eternal enemy of inquiry” (Forrest & Gross, p. 15).  I really think that God wants us to wonder.  He encourages it.  We should question everything. 

    Why should we put so much emphasis on one single book?  Whether the Bible is considered a divine authority or not, it must be taken into consideration that the words were, in fact, written by men.  This fact alone, aside from all the others contained herein, gives credence to the claim that the Bible is prone to human error.





    Anonymous, (1611). The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version, The Epistle Dedicatory, & The Bible Readers’ Aids, New York:  The World Publishing Company.


    Barker, D. (1992). Losing faith in faith: From preacher to atheist by Dan Barker, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Retrieved from:  http://www.ffrf.org/legacy/books/lfif/?t=contra


    Deloria, V. (2002). Evolution, Creationism and Other Modern Myths. Golden, CO:  Fulcrum Publishing.


    Ehrman B. D. (2009). Dear Lord, let’s agree to disagree, Newsweek, 153 (13).


    Forrest, B. & Gross, P. R. (2004). Creationism’s Trojan Horse – The Wedge of Intelligent Design. New York, N.Y.:  Oxford University Press.


    Parker, G., Graham, K., Shimmim, D., Thompson, G. (1997). Biology – God’s Living Creation. Pensacola, FL: Pensacola Christian College.


    Ruse, M. (2001). Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?. New York, N.Y.:  Cambridge University Press


    Sonder, B. (1999). Evolution and Creationism, New York, N.Y.:  Franklin Watts, Grolier Publishing Co., Inc. 


    Thorndike, J. L. (1999). Epperson v. Arkansas: The Evolution-Creationism Debate. Berkeley Heights, N.J.:  Enslow Publishers, Inc.


    Wilson, D. (2011). The king’s good book, History Today, 61(1)


    SEE ALSO: The Evolution of Creation

  • Brother Tim Peacemaker
    Brother Tim Peacemaker Now you have a good idea of what people of God not religion are dealing with. It has taken me 50+ years to understand that all bibles were written by man not by God. The Bibles only have stories of the God(s) the person has encountered.
    February 5, 2017 - 1 likes this
  • Dennel Tyon
    Dennel Tyon Glad to know I am NOT ALONE in this philosophy @Brother Tim
    December 12, 2017