Surprise, surprise! Adam and Eve never existed!

Surprise, surprise, Adam and Eve never existed! Who says so? No less than the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Roman Catholics, ‘G-d’s representative on Earth’ – the Pope.

Scholars have known for over 200 years that most of the Bible stories are myths, that even the accounts of historical events were written hundreds of years later and contain many inaccuracies. Even the official Gospels, on which the Christian faith depends, have no contemporary written or archaeological evidence (outside the New Testament) to verify them. Surely a man who attracted huge crowds, performed miracles and rose from the dead would have attracted some comment from the Greek, Roman and Jewish authors of the time?

Evenso, for centuries the mainstream churches have doggedly stuck to their guns in the face of the increasing evidence that the very basis of their religion is deeply flawed. In a nutshell, they believe Yeshua came to save humanity from the effects of sin, and G-d’s reaction to sin could be traced right back through the Hebrew Scriptures to the very first humans, Adam and Eve, who wickedly ate fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. This seemingly innocent action led to them being expelled from the Garden.

If there were no Adam and Eve, there was also no ‘fall of man’, and no need for the ‘son of G-d’ to come to Earth!



Now enter the debate Pope Francis l, Time Magazine’s Man of the Year 2013. In a speech in December 2013, ‘His Holiness’ claims that ‘Through humility, soul searching, and prayerful contemplation we have gained a new understanding of certain dogmas. The church no longer believes in a literal hell where people suffer. This doctrine is incompatible with the infinite love of God. God is not a judge but a friend and a lover of humanity. God seeks not to condemn but only to embrace.’

The Pope continued: ‘Like the fable (my italics) of Adam and Eve, we see hell as a literary device. Hell is merely a metaphor for the isolated soul, which like all souls ultimately will be united in love with God.’

As welcome as this is, there are many more fables in both the New and Old Testaments that could be similarly refined – the first creation story in Genesis (which the Adam and Eve story blatantly contradicts), Noah’s flood, Abraham’s almost-sacrifice of his son Isaac, the Hebrews’ enslavement in and eventual escape from Egypt (there is no historical or archaeological evidence for either) led by Moses (he probably didn’t exist either), the fall of Jericho (likewise), Jonah and the whale, Job, Daniel in the lions’ den, Yeshua’s fictitious birth in Bethlehem, his 40 day temptation in the wilderness, burial and resurrection, and Acts’ version of Paul of Tarsus’ vision on the road to Damascus – and these are just for starters.

For the truth is, most of the Bible has no more basis in fact than the stories of Robin Hood, King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes or James Bond!

Soon after his election, Pope Francis inaugurated a series of discussions of long-held Catholic doctrines and dogmas, aimed at redefining Catholicism as a ‘modern and reasonable religion, which has undergone evolutionary changes… We must recognize that religious truth evolves and changes. Truth is not absolute or set in stone.’

Then he dropped a few more bombshells: ‘The Bible is a beautiful holy book, but like all great and ancient works, some passages are outdated. Some even call for intolerance or judgement. The time has come to see these verses as later interpolations, contrary to the message of love and truth, which otherwise radiates through scripture.’

Needless to say, Pope Francis’ latest declarations don’t carry the support of everyone in the Catholic Church. Some cardinals are said to be against them, and this is doubtless the case lower down the hierarchy too. One wonders what his predecessor makes of them.

But the most hysterical condemnations have come from that bastion of free speech, the internet. Some critics have suggested he’s off his rocker (he’s off his rocker?!!!) and others that he’s the antichrist forecast in the Book of Revelations, sent as a precursor to the end of time and judgement day.

The Catholic Church has always been behind the times, suspicious of new knowledge and anything which contradicts ancient or existing doctrine, so the Pope’s utterances should be universally welcomed. The fact that they haven’t been by evangelicals, apocalysts and other religious nutters should only strengthen our resolve to bring the truth out into the open.

©David Lawrence Preston, 13.1.18

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G_d is an equal opportunities employer – pity about the church!

I saw a T shirt, ‘God is an equal opportunities employer – pity about the church!’

20th November 2012 saw the debacle in which a handful of Church of England members were able to scupper the Church’s plans to introduce women bishops. It was later reversed, but not to universal acclaim.

The argument against women bishops centred on a number of fallacies. The first (and most obvious) is that 21st Century humans should pay blind obedience to words written nearly two millenia ago by people belonging to a primitive society very different to ours. Opponents of women clergy claim that the scriptures state unequivocally that only men are suitable for the calling. They say Yeshua himself was a man, he chose only male disciples and there are biblical references to women taking a subsidiary role in church. These don’t come from Yeshua himself, but from his self-appointed, celibate and seemingly misogynistic apostle, Paul.

Paul clearly regarded women as subservient to men. For example, in Corinthians 1 he stated that a husband is the head of his wife and tells women to cover their heads when prophesying.[1] Nor did he regard them as suitable leaders. ‘Paul’s First Letter to Timothy’ sets out the author’s advice for running a church. ‘I permit no woman to teach or have authority over a man; she is to keep silent’, he wrote. He then tells women that their salvation comes from having children, which makes me wonder what devout and celibate nuns make of that!


There are many reasons for not relying on these words. For a start, Paul didn’t write them. The letters to Timothy were written in the final decade of the First Century (thirty years after Paul’s death) by an unknown author. It was considered perfectly acceptable in those days to ‘borrow’ the name of a deceased person and express what the author thought that person would have said had they still been alive.  That’s what the author(s) of most of the New Testament letters did.

The early Christian community was noted for its egalitarian attitude to the genders, which brought condemnation from their Jewish neighbours. By the end of the First Century some Jewish Christians thought it had gone too far. 1Timothy was part of their attempt to put Christian women back in their place.

Secondly, the ‘Purity Laws’ that ruled Jewish religious practice decreed that women were less pure than men due to their natural bodily processes of childbirth and menstruation, and because they don’t have a penis (yes, really!!).

Thirdly, we don’t know for sure what the original passages actually said. All the New Testament writings were augmented, edited, redacted, translated and mistranslated many times before reaching their final form. That year, church leaders in Rome recognised today’s 27 books as the New Testament, but by then many ‘adjustments’ had already been made. Women were thought to be a distraction and carry a greater burden of sin than men. The evidence was the  story of Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden, proof of the evilness of women.

Another fallacy that was put forward by opponents of women bishops is that the Church of England should pay heed to the wider community of churches, including the Roman Catholics. But excuse me, didn’t the Protestant churches break away from Rome precisely because they didn’t agree with Catholic teachings and practices? Fortunately in 2014 the C of E took the lead. By then the outgoing and incoming Archbishops of Canterbury supported women bishops, and even Pope Francis was moving slowly in that direction.

Who can seriously argue that women are not just as capable of being good priests, ministers, bishops – and Popes – as men? Women have proved their worth as ministers in many denominations for many years. Aren’t many of the feminine traits the essence of spirituality? Yeshua certainly thought so. The gospels say he cared deeply for women, and frequently put his reputation on the line by praising them.

It’s time for enlightened 21st Century thinking to put unenlightened and outdated 1st Century thinking in its place in every denomination. I just hope I live long enough to see it!


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Copyright David Lawrence Preston, 23.3.2016


[1] 1 Corinthians 11:5

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