The collective termed humanity has one overriding trait that doesn’t seem to have much in the way of additional evolutionary survival value – imagination in the form of storytelling. Language, yes; large highly developed brains, yes; intelligence, yes; pattern recognition, yes; memory, yes; curiosity, yes; ability to figure things out, yes; inventions and tool use, yes – but imagination in the form of storytelling, not so much. There’s, of course, non-fictional storytelling is via the human imagination -that almost hardwired inborn trait we seem to nearly all storytelling (i.e. – like gossip), but that doesn’t require imagination.That other kind. We use our imagination for storytelling purposes. We have the ability, almost duty, to tell tall tales otherwise called works of fiction. Dreams are one sort, but dreams are pretty much highly personal fictions. I’ll ignore those, albeit dreams can, in turn, inspire non-realities, sometimes even real realities for public consumption. For the public arena, that still leaves novels, short stories, poems, plays, feature films, TV shows, video games, operas, songs, campfire tales, even non-literary works of art like paintings and sculptures, etc.
All up, humanity has generated multi-millions and millions of imagination-derived works of non-reality fiction and said works of fiction vastly outnumber non-fiction showing the overriding urge for humans to create non-reality ‘realities’, all courteous of the human imagination.
One such subdivision of all fiction, even if not always so realized by its human creators yet still a product of pure storytelling imagination, is mythology or folktales. There are multi-thousands upon thousands of invented mythologies originating from all across the human globe; from all cultures and societies across all of recorded history and probably as oral stories before the dawn of written records.
Today nearly all mythologies are accepted as works of pure imaginative fiction, except those that are still accepted as non-fiction and therefore as truth. These brands of mythology collectively go under the banner of religions and are otherwise known as such. Of course, each religion regards each and every other religion as a fictional mythology. So the question is, given human propensity to tell tall tales – the products of human imaginations – those multi-millions and millions of fictional works and the multi-thousands upon thousands of mythologies, how can just one mythology, a religious mythology, represent a really real reality and not be a non-reality ‘reality’? Only one (of multi-thousands) of religious mythologies can be true at best, although that’s not of necessity a given. If multi-thousands are non-reality ‘realities’ then the odds are that all such religious mythologies represent non-reality ‘realities’.
So, what are the odds that the Bible represents really real reality and not just another one of the multi-millions and millions of fictional works and the multi-thousands upon thousands of mythologies including religious mythologies? The odds favor the Bible as posing as a make-believe ‘reality’, the product, like so many others of just pure human imagination. Faced with a choice, is it more logical to believe the Bible is the product of the human imagination – especially given the multi-dozens of rather absurd happenings related therein that violate all kinds of rational and scientific realities as we know them – or a non-fictional but supernatural reality with events that cannot be independently verified? Given the vast number of works of fiction generated by the human imagination, where would you place your bets?
Now a fictional Bible doesn’t of necessity negate a deity (or deities), yet the related odds are that deities in general part and parcel of all those other religious mythologies, as well as God, are also fictional and products of the human imagination. In other words, God – like all those other deities consigned to the realm of fiction – is just a creation of the human imagination, and thus God was created in the image of ‘man’ and not the other way around.
Case History: That Talking Snake!
By any stretch of the human imagination, you’d put down talking snakes to a product of the human imagination. But you get such an event in the Bible. So, is it imagination at work or something else?
It’s been frequently claimed that the talking snake/serpent in Genesis 3 was really Satan. You just won’t find any such association with you read the relevant verses.
Genesis 3: 1 (King James Version):
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
Do we note the phrase “beast of the field” here? Do we note the word beast here? Isn’t the word “beast” also used in Genesis 1: 24-25, 30 and Genesis 2: 19-20? It’s also frequently used in the Noah’s Ark mythology.
Genesis 3: 14 (King James Version):
“And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:”
Again, comparisons to cattle and “beasts of the field” not to anything remotely humanoid. And we note the method of locomotion imposed on this serpent. There is not even a remote association to Satan here in Genesis 3.
Of the 49 references to “serpent” or “serpents” in the King James Version of the Bible, only Revelation 12: 9 and Revelation 20: 2 link a serpent with Satan / the Devil. Also, there are 13 references to “serpents” and Satan, of course, is singular. Further, there are three other references to serpents and dust: Deuteronomy 32: 24; Isaiah 65: 25 and Micah 7: 17. There is no Biblical association between Satan / the Devil and dust. There are no Biblical references to Satan / the Devil and belly or even to crawling.
And so ultimately we’re left back with the concept of a talking snake, an obvious product of the human imagination on the grounds that real snakes/serpents don’t talk.
And hopefully, by now, you’ll probably put down that talking snake (the “Mr. Ed” of Genesis) to artistic license and the product of the human imagination. But if you suggest that any one part of the Bible is the product of human imagination; if the talking snake is the product of the human imagination, then you would have to logically be willing to concede if not downright conclude that nearly all of the Bible* is the work of the human imagination.
Other obvious examples of the human imagination at work and waxing lyrical in the Bible include the creation of a woman from a male rib; another woman being turned into a pillar of salt; a burning bush (that talks) that actually isn’t being consumed in the flames; the relationship between human hair length and strength; Jonah’s ‘whale’-of-a-tale; and the turning of water into wine, an obvious case of imaginative wishful thinking.
*Excluding a few non-supernatural historical events that have been independently confirmed.