“… pretend that you’re God for a minute. You created everything in the universe, including humans. You love humans, you want them to know you and your guidelines for how they should live, and you also want them to have free will.
Given these parameters, how do you go about revealing yourself and your plan to them?”
Hemant’s response questions:
Would Christians have answers different from the biblical story?
What would atheists answer even if it is just a hypothetical?
I thought these were interesting questions – I’ve actually considered them before, though not quite with the same original motivation from the above quote.
I think it would be fairly easy to construct alternate and more plausible story-lines for Genesis that result in a ‘happily ever after’ ending for Adam and Eve, without anyone having to die after eating some magick fruit.
However, such an alternate story – or even just plain ridiculing the first few chapters of Genesis itself – isn’t a good argument against the fact of whether the biblical story happened or not. If it really did happen, then all storylines flow from this point, and we can’t really argue with it. The only catch is, there isn’t any hard evidence that it happened. So effectively, it’s like arguing about the plausibility merits of various similar fairy tales. This gets one nowhere.
For the believer, there is no reason to question the story – it is simply a fact of life. For non-believers, however, it begs the question: Why did God do it that particular way as narrated by the Bible?
The simple answer to this is that it just doesn’t make sense.
The more complicated: There are many ‘christian-y’ answers I could come up with on the spot that seem to explain it – illumination of God’s character, or the observant intelligences of the universes need an extended example of what happens when things go wrong. The fact is though, they are simply guesses, and really don’t fit with many other events that occur later in the Bible.
The short, tongue-in-cheek examples I gave are really pretty close to answers that I get when I ask Christians questions like that. It is something that also really annoys me – when I ask a straight question, I get an answer that explains nil about God’s character. Most can be answered with the pat response, “Well, we’ll get to learn all about it in heaven when this is all over! I can’t wait to get all those questions answered too!”
Let’s circle back to the original motivation of this inquiry though: If you were God, how would you go about revealing yourself, and your plan, to humans?
When it comes down to that question, I cannot see the pure logical necessity for the specific storyline of the Bible. Can you?