Monday, June 6, 2011

The Bible Is Really Poorly Written

This. The creator of the universe couldn't handle this. Now go look at your car and think about a few things.

I got a lot of writing done this weekend and ended up surprising myself. (Twice, actually. The surprise twist surprised even me!) If nothing else, writing Avoiding the Apocalypse has allowed me to see that the Bible is really poorly written.

Here's the thing. When I told my husband the broad outlines of my book*, his immediate question was, "How is that going to work? God's omnipotent, Satan's basically omnipotent, how do have an interesting story involving people that can snap their fingers and make anything happen?"

"So, darling, have you ever read the Bible . . . "

Really. I had to seriously scale back both Yhwh and Satan in order to make them, well, writable. Is Yhwh capable of ending his own creation? Absolutely- within the confines of the system he himself set up**. Is Satan the most powerful character other than Yhwh? Sure, but he is by no means omnipotent, and while even the most powerful demon couldn't take him one on one, a number of demons working together could.

But see, I put a lot of thought into this. I've read books that contained virtually omnipotent characters. They sucked. Either there was no conflict, or the character was constantly "forgetting" his abilities or getting taken out of the action in improbable ways, or omnipotence became impotence whenever it was convenient with no explanation at all.

You know, like in the Bible. Omnipotent God makes absolute everything, but in Judges 1:19 omnipotent God is thwarted by, of all things, iron chariots.

"And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron."

The worst part is, I can't even use that in my book! If Yhwh can be defeated by iron chariots, then all my protagonists would have to do is sneak into heaven with an M15, or a couple of AA12s. I couldn't possibly stretch that more than a few chapters, even if I described every building and angel individually and in great detail. (Lookin' at you, Jonathon Kellerman.)

A lot of people propose that everyone should have to read the Bible because it is such good literature. Um, no. It's an inconsistent translation of a translation of very old documents written by people who had no ethical issues with raping women and killing babies. And it's not even good writing.


*It's only fair. He shows me his songs when they're nothing more than a drum beat or a chord sequence.

**Can a nuclear power plant be shut down? Sure, using the shutdown procedures. Try anything else and you've got quite the mess.


  1. the iron chariots makes me wonder if there had been some sort of cultural cross-contamination with celtic-cultures...

    is it posted??? if it is, link? i did "fav" that blogger, but in the period where i had to "restore" my poor computer, it got lost. i don't have it [and didn't think to put "follow" it damnit!]

    please to link? i've LOVED everything i've read thus-far!

  2. sigh. THERE'S A LINK IN YOUR POST. i'm a dork.


  3. I love your writing. love love love it.
    I would like to comment on the book though. "You shall have no other gods before me" is what the bible says. IMPLYING THERE IS MORE THEN ONE. this is something to keep track of. Also, If you wanted to add some East Indian gods, that might be fun.


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