Sunday, September 6, 2009

1: In the Beginning

Genesis: 1-3
In Genesis 1 (as I'm sure most of us know by now) God creates the heavens, earth, plants, animals, and humans. Wait... Humans? I thought that was Genesis 2... Apparently not, there are two alternate stories of creation, but I will get to that in a moment.

God says let there be light, day and night, sky, water, land, and vegetation. As a side note, in reading it seems like God may think the earth is flat. God then creates stars. This takes, as far as the reader can tell, as long as it took to create the earth. However, we know today that there are trillions upon trillions of stars in the sky that are all billions of times larger than the earth, and they are all trillions of miles away. Did God trace photons back to the stars as he was creating them, knowing that 6000 years later humans would look upon them and wonder how light got from the stars to the earth, millions of light years away? Assuming God did do this, wouldn't it take a little longer to accomplish this than it took to create the measly little earth?

God then creates fish, birds, (rests for the night) animals, and finally humans. After giving humans rule over the planet he rests.

Genesis 2 begins before plants are created. Keep in mind plants are created in Genesis 1 on the third day, and humans on the sixth. "When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up ... LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground..." Wait a minute now, did we mess up the order, or are there two different stories? It is only after this that God makes the garden of Eden and vegetation.

God then creates all of the animals (out of order again) , has Adam name them, and creates Eve from Adam's rib (this is different from the first story wherein male and female were created at the same time). God also forbids Adam from eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or he will surely die. This is before Eve is even created, so she is never expressly forbidden from eating from the tree, this will come up later. Genesis 2 leaves off with Adam and Eve naked in the garden feeling unashamed.

Genesis 3 opens with the dreaded snake asking Eve whether God told her not to eat from any tree. She says that they may eat from any tree except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or they will die. I'm not sure if she heard this as hearsay from Adam or God told her directly, as a seemingly important part of the story is cut out between Gen. 2 and 3. The serpent replies that they will not surely die, which turns out to be the truth. Did God just lie? In the end Eve eats from the tree (was she expressly forbidden by God to eat from the tree? we may never know), and shares some with Adam.

This next scene strikes me as strange so I will quote it "Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, 'Where are you?'". They heard him walking? Where are you? God isn't seeming very all powerful or all knowing at this point.

To put it mildly, God was pissed. He curses the snake to crawl on his belly (I'm not sure what the serpent was doing before), Eve to have childbearing pains, and Adam's farm land to be cursed, just to name a few. We are thus, all of mankind, cursed forever. But for what? How were Adam and Eve supposed to differentiate between the word of God and the word of the serpent if they had no idea, at that point, of good and evil? Do we punish a child for holding up his middle finger when he doesn't know the meaning? Why does God punish us for the ignorance of the people he just created, why did he let this serpent anywhere near them? They seemed perfectly content in following the rules until another being, that to them would have seemed just as much of a reliable source as God (not knowing anything of good and evil), convinced them to do something else.

Genesis 3 closes with God casting Adam and Eve from the garden and placing cherubim and a flaming sword on the east side of the garden of eden to guard the tree of life. It seems like someone would have noticed a magical flying, flaming sword at this point and tiny winged men next to a big tree.

22 comments:

  1. The all-knowing omnipresent god that everyone talks about isn't being very all-knowing and omnipresent, is he?

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  2. Damn Eve for eating that apple or whatever the fuck it was... now I bleed every month. UGHH haha. This is awesome though!

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  3. Bryan, just make sure you're being critical about this and not cynical

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  4. The dictionary definition I find for critical is:
    1. Inclined to judge severely and find fault.
    2. Characterized by careful, exact evaluation and judgment.

    It seems like it would be bad to try to "find fault". But if this is the word of an all powerful, all knowing creator, then we should be able to look closely for fault and find none. I am merely pointing out the faults as I see them.

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  5. In your review of the order in which God created you left out a good portion of verse 2:6 and all of verse 2:7 which put into a visual the lack of creation. after giveing us the visual it tells us that God created man whom he sent to a garden he had already created as is explained in verse 2:8

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  6. in the first part of the creation explanation does not state that men and women were created at that same time but that man was created (Gen. 26-27) the purpose of Genesis 2:was to tell how God created them. which is where it is stated that man was first and woman second

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  7. All the reference to creations in Gen. 2 are past tense, again to explain adam's and eventually eves purpose not what order things were done.

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  8. At best it is ambiguous in Genesis 1.

    Gen. 2:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

    The first line says God created man, and the last line says God created them (male and female). It's a contradiction.

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  9. The race of man includes man and woman. Moses broke it down. You're thinking about it too hard.

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  10. But wait? Hasn't science proved Dinosaurs existed long before Humans did? Wouldnt it make more sense if 'God' created Dinosaurs, let them sit for a few thousand years, decided they were unworthy so he killed them all and created man instead?

    Only a selfish creature of hubris such as man would think that he is the pinnacle of creation, and was amongst the first creatures on this planet (when at the time they had no way of proving other creatures came before)

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  11. Hey, glad you are doing this, but I think a little critical critique of your reading is useful. When god (or God, whatever feels good) said 'they would die' I believe he 'intended' (ugh, I don't know, I'm going to speak as a Christian from here on to just give the damn argument). God intended man to live forever, and eating of the tree gave their life a finite number of years. So 'they will die' was not a lie, just that they would have the capacity of death.

    And whatever you say about the Bibble (yes, bibble) it is a pretty good collection of stories. Wait until you get to the end, ripping good read.

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  12. I'm glad I re-read this to respond to you. The exact working in the NIV bible is "but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die". WHEN you eat of it. Not eventually you will die if you eat of it.

    Also, it doesn't say anywhere in the bible (as far as I know) that God meant humans to live forever before they ate from the tree. So you (or your Christian alter-ego) are assuming something to make the story fit.

    I haven't gotten to the collection of good stories yet. I've gotten to the collection of stories about mass murder and random animal sacrifice. Let me know when I get to the good part.

    Just as a side note, I hate to do this. In the King James version the wording of that passage (Gen. 2:17) is "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". I'd like to know what the Hebrew says.

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  13. Actually, the Book of Isaiah does support the idea of dinosours being around before humans. And the KJV and NIV translation of 2:17 say the same thing.

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  14. There are some really strange 'theories' that say that the dinosaurs were brought onto the ark... and others say that they still exist. Thought I'd give you a laugh.

    Question about the death thing: Does anyone know if the Hebrew specifies a physical death or if it is possible that the Bible was referring to an emotional death, or perhaps the relationship with God?

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  15. First of all...Amazing!!! I love this blog.

    Secondly, physical death? emotional death? It's god making the threat, maybe it shouldn't have been so ambiguous? Great point about not knowing where they were in the garden, kinda blows away the omniscience/omnipotent powers.

    Anyone read "Ishmael" by Danial Quinn? Gives an alternative theory as to what some of the stories in the bible were really about? Specifically the creation myth of genesis.

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  16. What about Genesis 3:22 -- "And the lord God said, 'Now that the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil, he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever."

    There are a couple of points here: first, who is "us"? There are theories around that Yahweh was not the only god worshipped under the banner of pre-Christ Christianity (for lack of a better word), and this (as well some other verses where he refers to "us" or "we") support this theory.

    Secondly: there was another tree, a tree of life, and eating from the tree would give immortality. So Yahweh did not initially intend man to live forever, otherwise there would be no need for two trees (why he's said to have created either tree in the first place is beyond me). So by saying "you will surely die" must equate to "immediately" not "eventually", because they were going to die anyway. In fact, they apparently lived 900 years, which is a pretty good stretch.

    Third: Was Yahweh scared that man would become gods? He certainly seemed concerned that man should not do that. Do gods get scared?

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  17. I am reading this late, but another interpretation of the death that god said would be suffered if Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life would be spiritual death. The same spiritual death that unlucky souls suffer when they are thrown into the fiery pits of hell, they are separated from god for all eternity.

    Just so everyone knows, I'm totally shocked that all of the religious indoctrination that I suffered as a child is so deeply ingrained that spiritual death and being taught that god intended man to live forever therefore Adam and Eve effectively made themselves mortal by eating the fruit immediately came to the surface when I was reading this post!

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  18. A couple of things about this.

    When someone says "You are going to die if you eat this," do you think you're going to die a spiritual death? Or do you, like any other reasonable person, think that you're going to die (normal die)?

    Secondly, is there any evidence that Adam and Eve died a spiritual death? There is no mention of any death (spiritual or otherwise) until they are ridiculously old.

    This just seems like another cop-out to me.

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  19. Ok I am very happy that someone decided to take on the task of reading The Bible completely through and critique it. I've wanted to do this for some time now and it inspired me to go ahead and thrust myself into the task.
    I agree that Genesis 1 is an overview and Genesis 2 is a more detailed account of the creation of man. I also agree that Adam and Eve were not intended to live forever since the tree of life was in the garden of eden.
    I have a blog of my own and in it I try not to introduce science in anyway into the arguments or analysis because I simply feel that its irrelevant. The Bible is capable of tearing itself down. I also try to analyze in such a way as to not assume anything that The Bible has not said itself yet. If you wanna read the address is vermillionsoapbox.blogspot.com. Be gentle I'm just starting out and aware of my capacity for missed details and sometimes error in logic. By the way I think The Bible is a good read so far albeit not living up to be the whole truth about the world as we know it.

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  20. Why don't people see the inconsistencies in the bible?

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  21. Well, the Jewish interpretation of a couple of the discrepancies you've noted:

    1: man and woman were created as a singular, unified entity at first - a hermaphroditic creation, as it were, only later separated where the feminine was removed from the masculine.
    As a result - "God made human (rather than man) in his image, it (singular) was created male and female"

    2: The plants were CREATED before man - they just hadn't fully SPROUTED yet. Though the verse is decently translated in the text you are using, this difference is much more apparent in the original Hebrew.

    3: As Woman (not yet named Eve) wasn't extant at the command of God not to eat from the tree, she didn't "hear" it, but was told by Adam. The general understanding is that Adam embellished the story by exhorting her not to even touch it, appending on an additional man-made commandment to God's original words. This was man's fault (based on faulty logic, not evil), not God's.

    4: Here things get a little interesting - the threat of death upon eating from the tree isn't seen as an immediate death - generically, Adam was considered "functional immortal" at the outset, and the sin introduced the gradual flaws of aging and decay.
    "On the day you shall eat of it you shall die" - quick read up into Psalms shows that the concept of time doesn't have the same meaning in the "divine" frame of reference. "For a thousand years is like as a day in the eyes of God" - and Adam lived to just under a thousand (930 years).
    Also read Genesis and the Big Bang for how this relates to the six-days of creation conflict -- Actually, the Jewish Talmud contains an explicit reference to the primordial singularity of the Big Bang as the seed of the creation story.

    5: The principle problem at play here is the conflict between "divine" action and the human frame of reference. There exists a rather respected opinion that man was actually supposed to fail the test of eating from the tree, though it's difficult to comprehend why god would create a universe and mankind with the intent of us failing.

    Keep in mind while reading that things we don't understand or "get" aren't inherently wrong.

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  22. Re your last paragraph:  My mother calls this, "shutting the barn door after the cows all run away."

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