7. Can you name any other piece of literature in which the existence of a talking snake and trees with magical powers would suggest to you that it was meant to be taken literally?
I've always been a little confused about the “talking snake” caricature people use to describe the Serpent in Genesis 3. Most people understand this is Satan, right? I mean, it wasn't just a garden variety snake talking to Eve – it was Lucifer. I'm not even sure he was in the form of a snake; he is merely being called a “serpent.” He is similarly described in Revelation 12:9, where he is again called that old “serpent”:
“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
I'm entirely aware that most artistic renderings of Eve and the Serpent show a snake in a tree so maybe I'm at odds with many Christians. I just don't believe Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a “talking snake.”
Let's put all that aside for a moment. The question was, are there any other examples where talking animals are meant to be believed as real. Of course there are. In Norse mythology, Fenrir, the wolf, could talk. In Greek mythology, Arion, was a talking horse. In Hindu tradition, there was a man named, Kindama, who could assume animal form. There are also myriad examples of satyrs, fawns, and other woodland creatures which possessed varying degrees of human attributes but it always included speech. Of course, we know now that all of these creatures were mythical but they were believed to be real.
I'm sure the author was aware of these other examples because he says he, “just completed a survey of 6,842 stories that feature talking animals.” He follows up his point by saying, “none of them were history,” which, I believe, makes his point entirely non sequitur. What exactly is proved by his point? Is it that because Aesop wrote about talking animals, there can't really be talking animals? One doesn't necessarily follow the other. I could similarly say that Jesus didn't really turn water into wine because similar, miraculous feats (like King Midas turning anything he touched into gold) are all mythical. You can see how that doesn't really work.
Francke's entire premise in asking this question is a sort of argument of incredulity. He's trying to say that since these things might sound far fetched, they can't be true. I wonder if he would try the same thing with other “incredible” accounts from the Bible – like the Resurrection?
8. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 contradict?
The short answer is that Genesis 1 and 2 don't contradict each other. They are talking about different things. Genesis 1 describes the creation of the universe in six days and God's rest on the 7th day. This initial chronology – described in the King James as, “the generations of the heavens and the earth” - ends at Genesis 2:4. Genesis 2:5 begins an elaborate description of the creation of Adam and the Garden which occurred on day 6.
Now in Francke's defense, a lot of Christians don't get this – even some young-earth creationists. Why? I believe the passage if extremely clear. In fact, I cannot see how anybody doesn't get it. Yet, the confusion persists. It's very curious. I have a theory about why people miss what should be obvious. I believe the confusion exists precisely because people like Francke and other, old-earth Christians write commentaries that seek to “reconcile Genesis with science.” Worse yet, some theistic evolutionists, like Francke, probably understand the difference and intentionally hype the alleged contradictions in order to bolster their claim that the entire creation account is allegory.
In his criticism, Francke links to a Creation.com article that explains the seeming contradiction between Genesis 1 and 2. In that article, we find this quote:
“It should be evident that chapter 2 is not just ‘another’ account of creation because chapter 2 says nothing about the creation of the heavens and the earth, the atmosphere, the seas, the land, the sun, the stars, the moon, the sea creatures, etc. Chapter 2 mentions only things directly relevant to the creation of Adam and Eve and their life in the garden God prepared specially for them.”
Francke has either not read the article to which he linked, has read it but doesn't understand it, or has read it but thinks that what Creation.com calls, “evident,” isn't really that evident. Of course, there is still the other possibility that he understands perfect well but is just flat out lying and continues to claim the chapters are contradictory in order to make a literal interpretation seem impossible.
Read the entire series: