I have written a blog post comparing the inconsistencies and contradictions found in these two very different narratives of creation, but for the purpose of this post I am going to focus specifically on the first narrative. The purpose of this post is to show that a literal interpretation of this narrative would demonstrate that the story as presented would be impossible to accept as an historical event.
The garden of Eden
Most fundamental literalist agree that the earth was created approximately around 7,000 years ago. Science on the other hand has been able to prove that the earth is at least 4.54 billion years old, for more details on how scientists have come to this conclusion read this article here. Theists also assume that everything was "created" at once; the universe and the earth etc. But once again science has shown that the universe itself is at least 13.77 billion years old! To see how scientists have come to this conclusion read this article here.
A beautiful 13.7 billion year old!
To date from my days as a theist to today I have seen two different ways in which the age of the earth and the universe have been reconciled by theists with their faith. When I was a theist we were taught to insert an unspecified amount of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. 1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (insert unspecified amount of time here) 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
This unspecified amount of time could be millions or billions of years thus eliminating the contradiction between the word of God and science. They based this on two particular verses regarding God's perception of time in Psalm 90:4 "A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night." and in 2 Peter 3:8 "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."
The former in my view was very simplistic and stupid but this next one was even sillier. Theists desperately grasping at whatever branch would keep them from drowning then decided to attempt to show that the 6 days of creation were not a literal six days! At least not as we think of a day as represented in a 24 hour cycle.
Before I explain this let's define what we call a day. A day to most sane and modern folk is one 24 hour cycle. But how did we come to this determination? Most believe that the earth takes 24 hours to make one complete rotation on its axis. This is almost correct but in actuality it takes 23 hours and 56 minutes. But scientist look at two factors in determining this. They have a solar day (24 hours) and a sidereal day (23 hours,56 minutes, and 4.09 seconds). You can read about that here.
The book of Genesis clearly betrays this belief that a day was longer back then than it is today with one phrase often repeated: 5"God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day." Genesis 1:5 The author of Genesis separated the days utilizing this phrase.
"So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day." Joshua 10:13
That last sentence should end with an exclamation point or two. For this to happen the earth had to stop rotating on its axis and orbiting around the sun. It literally had to stand still in space for about 24 hours! Only a fool would believe that! The very language used illustrates the authors lack of knowledge of how the universe worked. Stating that the sun and the moon stood still reinforces the concept of geocentrism as taught by the church. And this is supposedly written by someone who was inspired by God! Either God didn't know how the universe works either or the author wasn't reading his inspired messages right or they weren't coming through clearly.
Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version.