Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Selection 1 - Genesis

Reference: Genesis Wikipedia Entry

Audio: Librivox


Chad said...

I am about half through and it is amazing how much of Genesis is just filler, most of the major stories we remember are almost asides.

In general Genesis starts as a standrd creation story, a more poerful being creates the Earth and man. The major difference I see is that one god is responsible for both unlike the Greco / Roman Mythos. Something else I had never picked up on before, God doesn't claim to be the only god. In fact some of the early characters in Genesis are polytheistic.

Finally my perceptions of the Bible have really changed. The last time I read this I was a kid. At that time I always that of Palestine and Israel as kind of make believe. Now mt view has kind of changed because I am aware those places really existed. It's weird.

Chad said...

Finished today. I don't know if I would be real proud of that cultural heritage if it was my family. Every other page someone is lying to someone eles or sleeping with a daughter in law or cheating someone. Between the drunken incest and the lying, cheating and stealing I can see why God had to give them the 10 commandments.

Endymion said...

Had to coach tonight so I only read three chapters.
Chapter One
What is this God being like? Creative. Big? Powerful. Perfectionist? Curious. God seems really interested in good. 4 goods in the first twenty verses. Then in the final verse, God deems everything that has been done to be "very good." In my view, there is a lot of beauty on earth, so it's not difficult to agree with God's assessment.
What are these first days like? There is an evening and morning, yet there is no sun until the fourth day. The writer has distinguished each group creative acts to a specific day. It might not be important, but it leaves open the question about a "day's" length until day four.
Day six shows male and female being created together equally, " the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Four verses later, all this is considered "very good."
Chapter Two
"Let us make man in our image..." Why are "us" and "our" used? In the second verse of chapter one we've been told that the Spirit of God was moving over earth. Now I wouldn't assume that God and the Spirit of God were separate. Is there a group of junior Gods being taught "How to Create a Planet," beyond the firmament?
This is a really beautiful chapter. Verse six has the fantastic scene of "a mist [that] went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground." Then the final verse has the really peaceful scene where man and woman "were both naked and they were not ashamed." Rivers flowing and gold and a garden planted by God. I would have been happy there.
What's odd is that Woman is created in verse twenty-two and by verse twenty-five she's already "wife." Of course, what exactly is meant by "one flesh?" Woman's intended purpose in this chapter was "helper" to man. So much for gender equality. Tsk, tsk. Inequality breeds contempt as man will learn quickly.
Chapter Three
Snakes and pain.
What draws the serpent to the woman? Has she somehow communicated her displeasure with the "helper" situation? Does the serpent see her as the risk-taker of the two? Now maybe woman simply wanted for her and her man to know about good and evil. Being reminded by the serpent of God's command not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, she kinda knew what was at stake. The perfect harmony between man and God and nature has unraveled. Was there harmony between man and woman? Man didn't hesitate to eat the fruit that woman offered. Neither did he hesitate to blame her for breaking God's command. Did man know that he was eating fruit from the forbidden tree?
God makes one rule. Man breaks it. Why doesn't God do a supernatural snap of the fingers and reset time? What is time like in the garden? There's no death for man, so does he not age?
What in the world would have happened had man, who has now been named Adam, eaten from the tree of life? This obviously troubled God because he placed a cherubim at the east of Eden with an awesome flaming sword that pointed everywhere at once. This happens after God makes Adam and woman, now named Eve, clothes from animal skins and "sent him forth."

Chad said...

Yeah there are parts of the bible that can really make your spine tingle but then there are parts like "the begats" that just really drag.

Endymion said...

Who wrote this down? Maybe the question is who relayed the story to the ones who wrote it down? These people are living for eight and nine hundred years. (What are they eating and with whom are they sleeping?) People who have no electricity, no planes, trains, or automobiles. They have a lot of time to think and translate their thoughts about life, the universe, and everything. Why does God keep giving them the choice to fail? Why didn't God put a force field around the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Why didn't God push a dream into Abel's mind that he shouldn't go into the field with Cain? How could people who have to spend the majority of their time and effort to stay alive maintaining the fields and herds even come up with the concept of heaven or a supernatural being? All the time in the world couldn't make that possible. True, a lot of people can spin tales that will make your eyes sparkle, yet, they are based on tangible exaggerations of experience. God is stubborn and is going to love man even through the regrets. There always seems to be a price to pay. Why is this literature important? It seems very honest. Cheating, stealing, murder. The attempt by humankind to interact with itself beyond or above it's own nature seems pretty essential to abort self-annihilation. It's interesting how evil Egypt is portrayed.