Genesis 1 for Atheists

This article was originally published on Humorality, on September 14, 2009.

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

1 In the beginning nothing created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the nothing was dark and void; it was really nothing. But then there was something hovering right in the middle of it. How about that!

3 And there was a really big bang, and then there was light. 4 The light was really, really bright. The big bang separated the light from the nothing. 5 The light was called “universe,” and the nothing was forgotten, because if anyone knew about the nothing, they’d never believe any of this. And there was evening, and there was morning—well, not yet.

6 And a planet formed at just the right distance from an average star. And the planet was good—very good. It was a rare planet where something interesting might happen. 7 And an expanse of water formed on the planet. And if you have water, you might as well just admit that you have life. Ever hear of Mars? 8 The water was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—but if no one was there to see the sunrise, did it really happen?

9 And the elements were gathered to once place, and they combined in new ways, randomly, inexplicably. 10 The elements begat biomolecules, which begat amino acids and phospholipids, which begat nucleotides and lipid bilayers, which begat RNA and mRNA, which begat ribosomes, which begat proteins, which begat fully-programmed cells with three meters of DNA folded neatly inside a microscopic nucleus with its own mitochondrial power supply. Things like this just seem to happen.

11 And the life-bearing cells produced cyanobacteria and vegetation. At least, once the asteroid bombardment abated. 12 The cells used mutation to produce various kinds of species. And all the mutations were good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—yada, yada, yada.

14 And there was that time when a really huge asteroid slammed into the planet. 15 After things settled down, there were two lights in the expanse of the sky. 16 The greater light governed the day 17 and the lesser light governed the night. 18 It sure was pretty. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—finally.

20 And even with the bacteria modifying the atmosphere from one type of toxicity to another, new life still formed. 21 Individual cells teamed together and figured out how to create complex organs with full nutrition, oxygenation, and waste removal systems connecting them all. 22 These new creatures were blessed, for it all just seemed to happen so quickly. They were fruitful and increased in number, filling the seas and the air. 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—give or take a billion.

24 And the mutations just kept getting better. The creatures became more complex, which was really amazing, what with smaller population sizes and longer gestation periods and one type of mutated creature preying on another. But somehow, they still produced more kinds. 25 Oh my, there were lions and tigers and bears. And monkeys, too. We can’t forget the monkeys. They weren’t really that good, but they’re important to the story later on.

26 Then one creature appeared that could rule them all. This creature ruled over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that moved along the ground.

27 Male and female, they had an image that was unique: thoughts and language and art and multi-year courtship rituals and stupid religions and opposable thumbs and tools and creativity and guilt and consciousness and a lot of fun when trying to have kids and self-reflection and emotions: they got it all, even though their DNA only differed by two percent from other creatures.

28 They were blessed and ruled over everything. But when they mutated, none of the mutations were good.

29 And they ate a lot, too. 30 Not just the plants, but the animals, too. None of plants or animals seemed to be mutating much, either. Adaptation? Sure. Speciation? Not really.

31 And it was all very good, until the image-creatures started trying to explain it. And there was evening, and there was morning—but with no purpose and no reason to exist, you might as well sleep in.

Tim Patrick

Tim Patrick is an author, software developer, and the host of Japan Everyday. He has published a dozen books and hundreds of articles covering technology, current events, and life in Japan. Find his latest books at

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