In the beginging, God created the Heavens and the Earth. – Genesis 1:1
You know, the Bible is many things. Many of them unmentionable. However I will say this for it; as introductory phrases go, you can’t beat that one. Though it does beg one obvious question: clearly this wasn’t the very begining. After all, where did God come from? This is never explained.
But as openings go, this one is top-notch. Unfortunately, it quickly sinks down into what was, apparently, God’s “To-Do” List, as we get treated to a multitude of all the things God Did on His Summer Vacation. Finally we get down to the next interesting bit.
So God created Man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Apparently God created people here, though the text is somewhat vague (close-captioned for the sarcasm impaired). Interesting fact: God apparently created Male and Female in his image. Both. Not just male. What does this say about God?
Describing the area around Eden, we found out that four rivers spring out from it. One of which is, apparently, the Euphrates (Genesis 2:14). Sounds like all we need to do now in Iraq is follow it, and we should get to Eden.
Then we get to some more good stuff just a few verses later.
[B]ut of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat, for in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die. – Genesis 2:17
Right, so, in other words, do what you’re told. Of course, one could make the point here that the first humans wouldn’t have known eating the fruit would be wrong. How could they? They don’t know good from evil yet. Further, how would they know what it means to die, since they wouldn’t have seen anyone do so yet?
Now onto the second story of the creation of woman.
… he took one of [Adam's] ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man he made into a woman, and he brought her to the man. – Genesis 2:21 – 22
Right, so, from what we read here, there’s no ethical problem with cloning. Obviously. I mean, Eve was, in this version of creation, a clone of Adam. Logically God would have no problem with cloning if he did it himself.
Shortly after the eating of the forbidden fruit, God comes looking for Adam.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” – Genesis 3:9
Well, so much for omniscence. God shows his lack of knowledge again in a few moments.
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” – Genesis 3:12
Man, no one can torture a sentence like the writers of the Bible. Anyhow, so, yeah, in the space of just a couple verses, God fails to know three things any decently omniscent diety would know. Now, maybe he was testing Adam and Eve to see what they’d say but, again, since he’s supposed to be omniscent, he would know.
Now we move onto the delightful story of Cain and Abel.
[but God] did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenence fell. – Genesis 4:5
Basically, Cain gave God fruits and vegetables and Abel gave him grilled meat. Now, me, I’d rather have the meat myself, but if someone offers me free food, I’ll take it with a polite thank you.
After killing his brother, Cain is made to wander the Earth. You know, like that one guy. He concerned people might kill him for what he’s done (though what people these are, aren’t mentioned. Does God have a second family hidden somewhere?). He therefore puts the Mark of Cain on his face.
And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him. – Genesis 4:15
Believe it or not, that one little passage has caused much misery in the world, being used to justify all kinds of nastiness. Anyhow, despite whatever is on him, Cain manages to find a wife.
And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city and called the city after the name of his son – Enoch. – Genesis 4:17
Ah, this is one of those little things that pops up sometimes in Sunday schools. “If Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel were the only people alive, who did Cain marry?” It’s a good question that never gets answered, just like wondering who might kill Cain, if there’s only the four of them. Of course, we can say, “Well, God must’ve created other people.” True, that’s logically what he would’ve done, I guess. Never gets mentioned, though.
Also, the city reference… how would anyone even know what a city was at this point? Four people do not a city make. Assume God made Cain’s wife, and add his son and that gives us a city of three (since Abel, Adam and Eve weren’t there). To make matters worse, we find out shortly after this that Enoch now has a child. Wonder who the mother could’ve been?
This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. – Genesis 5:1
A few years ago, I read a book that described parts of the Bible as reading like an Israeli telephone book. I see what the author (or in this case, Holy Ghost-Writer), meant.
At the end of this, we come to the next relevant bit.
And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham and Japhet. – Genesis 5:32
500 years old? Viva Viagra!
And the Lord was sorry he made Man on the Earth… – Genesis 6:6
Ok, well, omniscence again, hello… God knew how this was going to turn out. Why did he create Man in the first place? Anyhow, he decides to do a little something.
So the Lord said, “I will destroy Man whom I have created from the face of the Earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry I have made them.” – Genesis 6:7
So, God gets pissed at Man and decides not only to kill every single person on the planet (even the newborn babies who are, one would think, blameless), but he also decides to off all the animals. Well, except fish, I would guess. They were probably quite pleased!
Anyhow, flood happens. God has a grand ole time going along undoing everything he did. Is it just me, or does he strike you as a frustrated gamer, always reloading Sims from a save point, after having done horrible things to his Sims? Anyhow, in all the fun of death and destruction, God seems to have forgotten something.
Then God remembered Noah… – Genesis 8:1
Damn that short-term memory loss! And yet another blow to the “God knows all!” theory. Anyhow, once having saved Noah and his family God, always up for a good barbeque, enjoys the smell of a burnt offering (Genesis 8:21). Apparently Noah protected at least some of these animals so God could have them sacrificed to him later.
Moving on, we come to another interesting bit.
But you shall not eat the flesh with its life, that is, its blood. – Genesis 9:4
I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure this is where the Jehova’s Witnesses get their thing against blood transfusions. Anyone know if I’m right there? Seems odd to me to relate the two, given that there’s a difference between eating blood and having it transfused, but ok. Of course, I wonder how this works out later with things like Communion. You know, “This is my blood”?
More things, like the Tower of Babel, happen. Then we get to the introduction of a slightly important Biblical figure; Abram, later to be called Abraham. At one point he’s traveling around in Egypt with his wife, and he has a conversation with her.
“Please say you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” – Genesis 12:13
… huh? This same trick gets repeated by Abram in Genesis 20:2, and I really don’t get it. He seems to think the people he is visiting will kill him and take his wife if they know he’s married to her. But if she’s just his (presumably single), sister, then they’ll leave her alone. What? I don’t get it. Can someone explain the logic here, please?
Moving on, we find the explanation for much of Jewish history.
Then [God] said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs… – Genesis 15:13
From what follows, I’m assuming we’re talking about the Jews spending a few years as the slaves of Egyptians (something there’s no outside proof of). Still, it works rather well for most of Jewish history.
Now we come to a fun rhetorical question:
“Is anything too hard for the Lord?…” – Genesis 18:14
Well, aside from the stuff up above that indicates “Yes”, we also find out in Judges 1:19 that God can’t overcome iron chariots. Nothing is said about him being unable to microwave a burrito that is so hot he himself cannot eat it.
Genesis 18:33 ends with God getting ready to drop the hammer down on Sodom and Gomorrah! Tune in next time to see my thoughts on them, and remember: What happens in Sodom stays in Sodom!