Creating Biblical Absurdities

Creating Biblical Absurdities

Both skeptics of the Bible and biblical fundamentalists frequently make the same mistake when addressing a biblical issue. That mistake is not taking the Bible literally. To take the Bible literally means that you look at who wrote the passage in question, when and to whom they wrote it, why they wrote it, and how the people it was written to would have understood it. Sometimes failing to take the Bible literally results in creating biblical absurdities.

A classic example of not taking the Bible literally and, as a result creating biblical absurdities is the use of the Hebrew word “nephilim.” You will find nephilim translated in many different ways. We have seen it translated as alien, spirit creature, angel, and the King James Version translated it as giant. None of these words accurately translate the Hebrew word, and they leave a mistaken view of what the passage is saying.

According to the lexicon, the Hebrew wordnephilim” means “fallen ones,” and it is used in Genesis 6 and Numbers 13:33. Genesis 6:4 is the most common place causing misunderstanding and creating biblical absurdities. This passage describes the flood of Noah. Is the flood about aliens or angels or spirit creatures? Obviously not! It is an account of humans becoming so morally corrupt that God wipes them from the face of the Earth, leaving only a remnant of people who have not corrupted themselves. (See Genesis 6:5-8.)

There are three Hebrew words translated as “giant.” “Gibbor” is translated as “giant” in Job 16:14. “Rapha” is translated as “fearful one” or “giant” 13 times, including several verses in Deuteronomy 2 and 3, 2 Samuel 21, and Joshua chapters 12, 13, 15, and 17. The message of Genesis 6 is not the same as those passages, and none of them are designed to talk about aliens or spirit creatures. This is just one example of people creating a biblical absurdity that doesn’t exist.

The book of Revelation contains many passages in which people don’t look at who wrote it, to whom, why, when, and how the people of that time would have understood it. That leads to misunderstandings of Revelation even though John clarifies to whom the book was written in the first three chapters.

We argue that the Bible should be taken literally, but that doesn’t mean reading a particular modern English translation and forcing a human opinion on it. Creating biblical absurdities is not the way to understand the Bible. The first two chapters of Genesis are victims of this issue, and you can read about that in the booklet “God’s Revelation in His Rocks and His Word,” which you can read on our website.