Babylonian influences on Genesis

Question 156, from Ed, United Kingdom

I have a question about comparing the Babylonian ancient writings with the Bible. My theology lecturers suggest much of the beginning of Genesis is based upon these Babylonian writings. Does that undermine the creation story as a authority and does it have to suggest that Genesis cannot be interpreted literally?

There are definite similarities between some (not all) of the Babylonian creation stories found by archaeologists and the stories found in the first chapters of Genesis. However, there are also significant differences, and many of the ‘similarities’ claimed are theoretical at best. (more…)

God doing “evil”

Question 155, from Matt, United Kingdom

Does God have evil thoughts? [With reference to Exodus chapter 32, verse 14]

In this verse in Exodus, Moses appeals to Yahweh not to destroy the Israelites who had been practising idolatry. According to the text, Yahweh relents from destroying them. In some versions of the Bible this is described as “The LORD relented from the evil that he was about to do to his people.”

The idea that God can commit ‘evil’ is fairly nonsensical in many Christian theological viewpoints. God is often regarded as (more…)