Questions about the bible as i read along


#1

Hi everyone! I hope everyone is doing well and is getting off to a good start with lent. I gave up facebook(cause i was on it waaaay too much) so these next 40 days will be rough, but i will make it! I also am going to try start reading my bible again. I started reading it at the beginning of the year and was reading with a bible in a year plan, then i got off a couple weeks in and havent gotten back into it yet. I figured now was a good time to start again. But also i thought i might start posting on here or other forums with questions i have as i go along so you all can help me out and maybe that will help me to stay on track.

Well so far i have gotten through Genesis. So here are some of my questions, and sorry if they are random or just a list of questions. I dont know if these questions should all be in different posts. But I hope someone out there can understand what im asking or answer any of my questions. Any help is appreciated!! Thanks!!

When were the dinosaurs?

Did Cain and Abel(Adam and Eve’s kids) marry their sisters? Gen 4

"When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. 3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. 6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. "
…Did they just hang out with God or have conversations with God? Otherwise how did they know what God said or thought? Gen 4

Couldn’t God find another way to punish everyone or teach them instead of killing them with the flood with Noah? And why did he have to kill all the animals? Gen 6

With this quote from the bible…
8 Then God told Noah and his sons, 9 “I hereby confirm my covenant with you and your descendants, 10 and with all the animals that were on the boat with you—the birds, the livestock, and all the wild animals—every living creature on earth. 11 Yes, I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.”
12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. 14 When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds, 15 and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures. Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life. 16 When I see the rainbow in the clouds, I will remember the eternal covenant between God and every living creature on earth.” 17 Then God said to Noah, “Yes, this rainbow is the sign of the covenant I am confirming with all the creatures on earth.”
…He says over and over how it will never happen again, does he feel bad for making it flood? Does he think that he shouldnt have done it? Gen 9

Also doesnt this…
And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.
…doesnt that kind of contradict itself? Wouldnt everyone just have to kill everyone then? Gen 9

This is more of just a side note, when Lot and his daughters ran away from the village and lived in a cave, and then the daughters wanted to have children but no men were around so they got their father drunk and had sex with him and got pregnant from him…what did Lot think 9 months later when they gave birth to a baby and their was no guys around? I bet he was mad! Gen 19

What did people look like when they were 100 back then, cause it says “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?”, so they were old then and too old to have children. But they lived to be 400, so after 100 did they just hobble around and not move much and lay around alot and be old and age? Or did they age slower or something? Gen 17

Couldnt Issac give a blessing to both sons Esau and Jacob? Why could they only give one blessing? Gen 27

I think that might be all my questions for right now. Im sure i will be back with more shortly. This is my first time reading through the bible so that is why i have so many questions. People have told me that i should start with the gospels, and a few days into genesis i thought about going and starting there, but after reading a little into matthew i kept asking who was this or what were they referring to there, so i decided that starting at the beginning was good for me. And i already know the basic story of Jesus so i know what he did and who he was but not in depth. Oh and in case anyone wonders or wants to know, im catholic and have been since i was born but i am working on my faith. Im not sure what i believe or if i do, im just trying to figure it out and i decided to start with reading the bible. Thanks everyone for any help!! Ask me any questions if you want and i will try to be back on here soon! Thanks!!


#2

Hey there! It’s great to hear that you’re reading through the scriptures. They’re very beautiful, but as you can see, also very mysterious. Don’t worry about having questions, that’s normal. I’ve been reading them for a few years now, and I still have plenty to learn. :stuck_out_tongue:

There have been a few threads on subjects like the flood and on the descendants of Adam, I suggest you look through the old threads. They’ll help a lot! It’s a good place to start. :slight_smile:


#3

Reading the Bible has left you
with questions that relate to contradictions that arise between what you read and what you have been told/learned about the world
some have to do with gaps in the narrative; not enough background information is available
you are told about things that happened then, that no longer seem to happen
the moral law seems too harsh

it's difficult to make sense of it; frustrating, isn't it?

you could have taken up quantum mechanics and had an easier time, but you are better off this way

actually, i think you might do better going through the Catechism
it is a summary of Catholic belief
written in a way that is understandable today
it will give you a good foundation to get to the original scripture
that would be my advice


#4

I'm sure Abel and Cain did marry their sisters. Who else was there for them to marry?

Abel and Cain must've had conversations with God. It was a different time back then.

Dinosours are not mentioned because they are not important enough.

As for harsh discipline, I would let God be a judge of that. Somday we'll understand--that is, if we ever make it to Heaven or are alive and in as state of Grace for the Second Coming.


#5

It seems that your questions, largely, have to do with how we should approach the stories found in Genesis. That is, are they scientifically accurate? Are they historically accurate? What ‘truth’ is found in them?

The Church teaches that the Bible isn’t a science book or a history book – that is, what the Bible does is teach the truth of God’s self-revelation and of Salvation History (i.e., God’s plan for the salvation of all humanity). So, the Church teaches that the Bible isn’t to be assumed to be read with a ‘literalist’ or ‘fundamentalist’ approach.

The devil’s in the details, though: how are we to know which stories in the Bible are literally true (like as in history) and which are more like allegory (as in, the lessons in the stories are true, even if certain details may have some… let’s call it… ‘creative license’ on the part of the human authors). Some folks around CAF stand firm on a more literalistic approach, while others are more willing to search for literal meaning not in historicity or scientific accuracy but in the message God was trying to tell us.

When were the dinosaurs?

The dinosaurs are part of the history of the earth, but they’re not part of Salvation History. So, it makes sense that God didn’t inspire the human authors of Scripture to talk about dinosaurs. On the other hand, the human authors of Scripture wouldn’t even have known about dinosaurs (in the way that we do), so it makes sense that they wouldn’t have included them in their stories. So: dinosaurs existed, but it makes sense that neither the divine nor the human authors of Scripture didn’t include them.

Did Cain and Abel(Adam and Eve’s kids) marry their sisters? Gen 4

If you want to stick to a literalistic interpretation of the story in Genesis 4, then you’re going to be stuck needing to come up with an answer to this question. Some who take this approach suggest that our first human parents were less affected by genetic mutation and such, and therefore, the genetic problems that we would have, if we had children with our siblings, aren’t problems that the first natural-born children of humanity would have.

One weakness of this approach is that the Jews, who wrote this story down into their Scriptures after the time of the Mosaic covenant, had a really strong prohibition against incest in the covenant. How then, people may ask, would they be able to write down a literal, historical story like this without dealing with the implications that all humanity is the product of incest? On the other hand, if you want to take a less literalistic approach, you might note that this question doesn’t seem to bother the human author of Genesis 4: in other words, this isn’t the point of the story – rather, the point is that the first humans obeyed God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”, and from these first unions, all the known peoples of the world (well… at least, all those who were known at that time!) proceeded from these beginnings.

"When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. 3 When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. 6 “Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. "
…Did they just hang out with God or have conversations with God? Otherwise how did they know what God said or thought? Gen 4

Good questions. A less literalistic approach would offer the potential explanation that some of the Genesis stories really cast God in a light that makes Him look almost human; this is one of those stories – the writer here used the technique of having his characters literally speak with God in face-to-face conversations.

Couldn’t God find another way to punish everyone or teach them instead of killing them with the flood with Noah? And why did he have to kill all the animals? Gen 6

I’ve got a better question for you: did God really ‘regret’ creating humans? Is God capable of ‘regret’, or has He ever made a mistake? If you say ‘yes’, then you’ll want to search for literal answers to these questions – but this will imply that you believe things about God that don’t fit real well with a Christian perspective about the perfection of God. On the other hand, if you say ‘no’, then you’re already admitting that the Noah passages tell their story using a certain kind of characterization. If God doesn’t ‘regret’, then does he really kill (almost all) animals and humans? Or, perhaps, the story isn’t about killing (almost) all life on earth: perhaps, instead, it’s all about whether there are intrinsically ‘good’ and intrinsically ‘evil’ people. That is, once God kills all the bad people and saves all the good people, then there should never be sin in the world ever again, right? Nope – you’ve read what happens once the ark hits dry land, right? So, from this perspective, the Noah story is about God letting us know that we’re all potential sinners; none of us is exempt from temptation and concupiscence.


#6

[quote="stacky1, post:1, topic:314912"]
....He says over and over how it will never happen again, does he feel bad for making it flood? Does he think that he shouldnt have done it? Gen 9

[/quote]

Same questions as above, right? Does God make mistakes? Does he regret doing things? If so, then you have to take these statements literally. If not (and I would suggest that the Church doesn't think God makes mistakes), then I'd say that this passage just shows the means of description that the human author chose to tell his story. :shrug:

Also doesnt this....
And anyone who murders a fellow human must die. 6 If anyone takes a human life, that person’s life will also be taken by human hands.
....doesnt that kind of contradict itself? Wouldnt everyone just have to kill everyone then? Gen 9

I don't think so. After all, the punishment of a murderer with death is really God's demand for an accounting for that murder (see verse 5); the human who acts as an executioner is seen in this passage as simply fulfilling God's command, not as someone who unjustly kills a person.

What did people look like when they were 100 back then, cause it says “How could I become a father at the age of 100?” he thought. “And how can Sarah have a baby when she is ninety years old?”, so they were old then and too old to have children. But they lived to be 400, so after 100 did they just hobble around and not move much and lay around alot and be old and age? Or did they age slower or something? Gen 17

A Scriptural literalist would give exactly the answer you proposed: due to the fact that they were closer to the time of creation, people lived longer back then. A less literal interpretation would suggest that the human author used big numbers to impress upon us the relative longevity of the patriarchs.

Couldnt Issac give a blessing to both sons Esau and Jacob? Why could they only give one blessing? Gen 27

That's not how it works in ancient Hebrew culture: one son (presumably the eldest) received the blessing, and thereby, a greater share of his father's inheritance. It's not like the younger son(s) got nothing -- but the big inheritance went to only one son.


#7

[quote="ChibiViolet, post:4, topic:314912"]

........Dinosours are not mentioned because they are not important enough.

[/quote]

They absolutely are important, just not as far as Salvation history is concerned, as stated below. Thank you Gorgias....

[quote="Gorgias, post:5, topic:314912"]
......The dinosaurs are part of the history of the earth, but they're not part of Salvation History. So, it makes sense that God didn't inspire the human authors of Scripture to talk about dinosaurs. On the other hand, the human authors of Scripture wouldn't even have known about dinosaurs (in the way that we do), so it makes sense that they wouldn't have included them in their stories. So: dinosaurs existed, but it makes sense that neither the divine nor the human authors of Scripture didn't include them.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

Will get a religious paleontologist's opinion on this, just for fun...


#8

**Genesis 4:1 the man knew his wife Eve and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have produced a man with the help of the Lord.’ 2Next she bore his brother Abel.

Genesis 4:10 And the Lord said, ‘What have you done? Listen; your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground! 11And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12When you till the ground, it will no longer yield to you its strength; you will be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.’ 13Cain said to the Lord, ‘My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14Today you have driven me away from the soil, and I shall be hidden from your face; I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and anyone who meets me may kill me.’ 15Then the Lord said to him, ‘Not so! Whoever kills Cain will suffer a sevenfold vengeance.’ And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him. 16Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord, and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Beginnings of Civilization
Genesis 4:17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch; and he built a city, and named it Enoch after his son Enoch.

Genesis 4: 25 Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, because Cain killed him.’

Genesis 5
This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind, he made them in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them ‘Humankind’ when they were created.
3 When Adam had lived for one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. 4The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters. 5Thus all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.**

:gopray:
Look at Genesis 4:25 and Genesis 5! After Eve had Cain and Abel, the next child she had is Seth when Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, but in Genesis 4:13 when God punished Cain for murder Abel, Cain afraid anyone who meets him may kill him. And where is anyone he fear comes from? which from reading not looks like only Adam and Eve and Cain live in the wild place, but looks like they were living in a village with lots other people; or could it be after God made Adam and Eve , he made other humans like Adam and Eve also? In that case Cain did not marry his sister, and Able not marry before he dead-I know that we read Bible must not like protestant treat it like Encyclopedia, Holy Bible is only part of God creation story, same like in New Testament ** John 21:24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true. 25But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.**


#9

I haven't read each of the posts. Sorry. I just decided to jump in with some basic stuff.

The scriptures are what they are. They are writings about faith, and they are written with faith. The Catholic Church teaches us that we need to pray for divine assistance from the Holy Spirit, for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is not answering some of these questions about dinosaurs or who was marrying who, because that is not the focus of the story -- it's not important. It's true, even as its written, we naturally have those questions.

Jewish and Christian scholars feel that Genesis is very important in order to understand the rest of the Bible. If you don't understand sin in Genesis, then you can't explain why Jesus had to take flesh and die on the cross.

The Catholic Church has a committee it calls the Pontifical Biblical Commission. In their 1993 document called The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church, there are some side issues discussed. One of these is how to read the Bible. They recommend that you read a commentary book along with the Bible.

Commentaries are often more in-depth than footnotes in a "study" Bible. I have not found a commentary, series of commentaries, and/or study Bibles that answer all the questions that I can think of. They talk about what is important, though, like the Bible itself.

One thing that you need to keep in mind is that the focus of scripture is Jesus Christ. On the evening of the resurrection, Jesus was walking with two of his disciples to Emmaus. He explained to them "all" the parts of the Jewish scripture that pertained to him. Wish we had a transcript of that conversation.

When you read a Bible edition that has cross-references on the page, it can tip you off what other part of scripture is related to that verse. It's most revealing when there are cross-references in Genesis, let's say, to the gospels or really anyplace in the New Testament.

please read my next post


#10

an example of something you SHOULD be thinking about:

In the first couple chapters of Genesis, God “rests” on the seventh day. That’s a big idea in the Bible. This is a religious question, as opposed to the curiosity questions you have about dinosaurs, and about who married who.

In my experience, I sometimes think of questions, and it takes literally years to find somebody talking in some book who addresses my question.

You have to learn to investigate questions. Like some people say there is a bewildering command or law in Leviticus or Exodus that the Isrealites are not supposed to make a garment or anything, which is a combination of cotton and wool. How dumb is that?

Well, it’s not really dumb at all. The combination of cotton and wool is used to construct a veil in the tabernacle, to conceal the Holy of Holies. So, that combination of fabrics is used for a holy purpose, and the people are not supposed to use for anything else.

That one’s not so obvious. There’s an explanation of the mixture of incense that is supposed to be used in the sanctuary of the Tabernacle. Same idea. That particular recipe for incense is not supposed to be used for anything else. It is holy.

Why does God exterminate people? He is sovereign – that means, he is in charge of eveerything. Scripture tells us that for each of us, the number of days of our life is numbered already on the day we were born – for one thing. God decides when we die and how we die – in every case, or, we sometimes say, he allows people to die in certain ways. What higher idea does this teach? God is the Judge - the only Judge. And, first of all, we are not to judge God.

When we read the Bible the first time, it is full of surprises. But, when we read it again and again, we start to thnk about it in more detail and depth. That is what we should plan to do with our life, to know, to love, and to serve God better, every day of our life.


#11

[quote="sirach2v4, post:10, topic:314912"]

When we read the Bible the first time, it is full of surprises. But, when we read it again and again, we start to thnk about it in more detail and depth. That is what we should plan to do with our life, to know, to love, and to serve God better, every day of our life.

[/quote]

:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

I read many books by a particuar author, who connects many dots for me when it come to the stories of the Bible. Between that and the in depth commentaries, which have me investigating the notes, it is just so wonderful when I think things like, "So THAT'S what that means!!" "THAT'S where that comes from!" This is good circular learning in another way, too; It has me reading again and again......


#12

Stacky,

Dinasours first appeared during the Triassic period, approximately 230 million years ago.

I believe this is before man.


#13

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