If a Scientist Wrote the Book of Genesis, It Would Look Like This

Tom Carver has written the first five books of the Bible from the perspective of someone who cares far more about science than faith. His Pentateuch is called The Newer, More English Version:

In the excerpt below, we go right back to the beginning:

In the beginning was the singularity, and the singularity was infinitely dense and infinitely hot,
And the singularity expanded and the singularity cooled and there was chaos,
And of the primeval atom was born the Universe.

And the Universe was matter and antimatter, and baryogenesis was violated and matter annihilated antimatter until only matter remained,
And matter resolved into hydrogen, and after hydrogen came helium and deuterium and all elements,
And with elements came mass and with mass came gravity,
And gravity caused gas clouds to form into stars and planets and moons,
And gravity caused planets to revolve around stars, and moons around planets,
And on some planets the elements manifested as water and as earth, and there were seas and lands and atmosphere,
And the orbit of planets cast days and nights and the orbit of moons pulled tides, and of the imperfection of orbits sprung seasons,
And of the chemistry on one particular planet, and maybe others also, came nucleic acids, and nucleic acids were good.

Now nucleic acids were unlike other molecules, and nucleic acids were loosely replicable,
And in the disorder and the richness on the earth the nucleic acids became numerous,
And the nucleic acids all were different.

And of the chemistry also came proteins and proteins too were unlike other molecules,
And some proteins encased and some protected and some catalysed nucleic acids, and it was good.
And from the proteins and the nucleic acids and the symbiosis thereof was borne life.

And each life needed raw material to replicate, and those with most raw material became most common,
And as time passed and generations of lifes came and went simplifications and complexities arose by chance,
And some garnered more raw material and some garnered less and the fittest survived.

And in time life begat ur-cells and those ur-cells lived and replicated and evolved through luck and circumstances,
And of those ur-cells came photoynthesisers and fungi and algae and all sorts,

And by the same force multiple celled constructs arose and flourished and in time all forms of squirming masses and photoynthesisers.
And so in time from the first nucleic acid came animals that lived on the land and those that lived in the air, and plants that lived in the sea and plants that lived on the land, and all forms of complications and devices permitted.

But as the lifes thrived a terrible event did come to pass, and ninety-five of every hundred of the species of creatures then alive were destroyed.
But the squirming masses and photosynthesisers did recover, and the ecosystem did rebuild, and the dinosaurs did have dominion.
And as the climate shifted and niches moved, birds and mammals and grass did evolve and dinosaurs extinguished.

And of the multitude did emerge an ur-hominid, whose seed would come to have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moveth.

And God was pleased.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Neko

    Now this is awesome!

    • TMPC

      Thanks!

      • Neko

        Oh! You’re welcome–I’ve got it on order.

        • TMPC

          I hope you enjoy it.

  • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    He kind of left out an important bit between the H/He and the rest of the elements. And you don’t really need elements to create mass. But on the whole, this is much, much better than the version being parodied!

    • Neko

      Of course now I’m curious what the important bit might be. Are you willing to explain?

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        The early Universe only created hydrogen, then helium and a tiny bit of lithium. These then needed to be cycled through one or more generations of stars in order to produce all the heavier elements, which were needed to produce planets and moons.

        The reason I’d want to include that is because it’s an important step in understanding the source of the poetic “stardust” that we are all made of.

        • Neko

          A lucid explanation! Thank you.

        • Eric Moody

          Yeah, the original supernova explosions that created the heavier elements should have been included to further illustrate the immensity and complexity of the universe.

          • dandaman

            Supernova explosions didn’t create as much as disperse the elements the stars produced through fusion in their cores prior to exhausting their fuel and going supernova.

        • David Manhart

          Heathen!!! Burn him!

    • Beth

      It’s all a metaphor, not to be taken literally. :)

      • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

        Do i sense a schism forming?

    • Stev84

      Yeah, that’s what I noticed too.

  • QuantumDarkness

    No helium till after the Stars. Boy it’s hard to find an inerrant version of Genesis.

    • Mark P Richardson

      Actually there was primordial He and Li as well as Hydrogen.
      The very first stars contained some He and Li.

      • Monaka der Hund

        How sexist. What about She?

        • Taneli Huuskonen

          Heli is a Finnish variant of Helena, does that count?

          • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

            Yes!

        • Richard Barnes

          Gender is only a very recent emergent property of nature … and likely only a temporary one.

    • Mike

      Yes, and deuterium appears way too early in his version. Everyone knows that shouldn’t show up until the Book of Deuteronomy. Duh!

  • Brodestar

    This version is much more accurate to what happened. Im not entirely sure that it is verifiable but at least makes sense and doesnt require faith.

    • Bassgroove

      A new bible is being born and already there is dissent on orthodox interpretations of it as well as discussions about the language and actual wording… Despair all rationalists.

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Nope. Unlike the older document, this one inspires open discussion and a willingness to expand or revise. Rejoice all rationalists.

    • keddaw

      Anything unverifiable requires faith. The amount of faith required (by a rational, impartial observer) to believe something varies greatly based on a huge number of factors, not least of which is prior knowledge of related facts.

      • Brodestar

        Most of what is in this version is verifiable. The part that I’m not not 100% sure is verifiable is the beginning. With that said I do think it is 99.9% verifiable with the evidence we currently have available. If I’m wrong please let me know.

      • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        Believing anything with 100% certainty requires faith. No faith at all is required to believe things that aren’t verifiable, if the degree of belief is based on the degree of objective evidence.

        Little if anything is entirely verifiable. That doesn’t require rational people to have faith, not in the slightest.

  • Angel Rivera

    Actually it makes god more powerful. since the process is complicated and intricate with acts of simplicity and complexity that shape a universe to this day…

    • John

      And a being that created it would necessarily be more complex, so how would you explain that?

    • guest

      Except that god is totally unnecessary since the process runs itself and things happen as a logical consequence of how the universe is.

    • Pattrsn

      More powerful? I thought it was supposed to omnipotent, flawed only by being cursed with the personality of an Iron Age nomadic goat herder?

  • Sids

    To be a bit overly picky, there are quite a few typos for such a short excerpt, ‘photoythesisers’ x2, ‘lifes’ etc. Was that from you (Hemant) or the book itself? Also, for being an explicitly ‘newer English’ version, it seems odd that it still uses ‘moveth’

    • Travis Myers

      I think the title is supposed to be a parody of the New American Standard Bible. So basically, it’s more English and less American.

      • TMPC

        Almost right – it’s a parody of ‘The New English Version’

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      That’s how we spell ‘photosynthesisers’ in most English speaking nations besides America. Along with terrorise, rationalise, synthesise, etc.

      Guess what? The way we spell (the original way) is not a typo even if you don’t recognise that.

      Welcome to the big, strange world.

      • Taneli Huuskonen

        “Synthesise” and “synthesize” are acceptable variants according to every dictionary I know. “Ynthesise” and “ynthesize” are not.

        • TMPC

          Good spot. Those typos aren’t in the published version. Must have been in the Word version I sent to Hemant.

          However, ‘lifes’ was deliberate. ‘lives’ didn’t feel quite right in the context.

  • Travis Myers

    “and of the imperfection of orbits sprung seasons”

    That’s not what causes seasons. Seasons are caused by the tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis, not imperfections in its orbit.

    • Greg G.

      He mentions that the orbits cause days so the wobbling tilt (axial precession) of that “orbit” is an imperfection which is permitted under the terms of his poetic license.

      • Travis Myers

        Okay, that works I guess. But axial precession doesn’t cause seasons either. It is simply the fact that the axis of rotation is inclined relative to the orbital plane.

        • http://www.dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          That’s largely true for Earth. But in the case of planets with higher eccentricities, that factor could be the primary cause of seasons. Even on Earth, our seasons are partly defined by our less than perfectly circular orbit.

    • http://Www.theirishatheist.wordpress.com/ The Irish Atheist

      “And there was disagreement on the details of the creation account, and there was discussion and debate and clarification, in which no one was condemned to eternal damnation.”

  • wilz

    And it came to pass that primates created god in their own image. yea, multitudes of gods, male and female created they them.
    And it came to pass that the gods they thus created have caused them to fight with one another, and caused them to kill and destroy each other…

  • guest

    You’ve got to admit it lacks a certain amount of poetry. All those ‘ands’ at the beginning of sentences, it just doesn’t flow well.

    ‘nucleic acids were good.’
    Until creatures evolved that were capable of having preferences, nothing was good or bad.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    Beautiful .

  • http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-los-angeles/hugh-kramer Hugh Kramer

    For some reason I still miss all the murder, mayhem and sexual intrigue that characterizes the Book of Genesis. Oh, and lets not forget all that begatting.

    • Brodestar

      Yes there is a certain amount of poetry in the bronze aged goat herder version.

      • TMPC

        Keep reading and you’ll find the murder , mayhem and sexual intrigue in later chapters

        • Brodestar

          Oh absolutely. Most “christians” don’t even bother to read their biblical tome. If they did we may have even more atheists. Yes there are some good things like self sacrifice and generosity but they dont make up for the murder, rape, incest, slavery and mass genocide also present.

          • TMPC

            There is some pretty extraordinary stuff on how to be a conquering power…
            “And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
            And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
            Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
            Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”

            • Neko

              And God said, “Let there be imperialism.”

              • TMPC

                Quite!

  • ZenDruid

    Who says the singularity has to be dense and hot? Just say that it was a stray eigenstate that decayed into the space-time continuum.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/OffensivAtheist bismarket

    This would be awesome as an audiobook just don’t ask Bill o’reilly to narrate it…who am i kidding, i doubt he could manage the “big words”.°◡°

  • dandaman

    RNA world hypothesis prior to protein synthesis?

  • http://somewhatabnormal.blogspot.com/ Robert Oerter

    Yuck. I counted six errors – just in the first two paragraphs. C’mon, if you’re going to do this sort of shtick, you need to at least get the science approximately correct.

  • LT

    Axial tilt us the reason for the season

    • LT

      Axial tilt is, not us.

  • Ciro Galli

    Maybe we should talk to the Pope and see if he can have the Genesis replaced for this? He seems a nice guy after all.


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