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Sunday, 27 June 2010

Breaking down the Bible.
Genesis, 3
The Fall.

“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty." — Albert Einstein.

This is a crucial event in the book and history of mankind, because this is the point where all our misfortunes began...
Despite the fact that it should be taken as an allegory, something terrible must have happened anyway. We became weak slavish mortals; lost all privileges and were ousted from the paradise.

The Fall
The Fall.

(Capella Sistina. Michelangelo)

Genesis 3:1

'Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:'

Why did He make the serpent more “subtil” than the rest of the beasts? Why did he put the serpent in the garden in the first place? Looks like the idea was to test the couple’s loyalty, fidelity, trustworthiness, faith and, I’d add, common sense.

I’m at a loss to understand why the wicked ones are actually always smarter than the good guys — makes you wonder if good nature is synonymous with gullibility. I guess the serpent approached the woman because he thought or knew she was deliberately created inferior to the man, unless God himself sent the reptile on the mission. How come she wasn’t surprised to see a talking serpent? She didn’t know serpents couldn’t talk, did she? Or maybe humans weren’t the only speaking animals at the time?
 The question is why would the Perfect Being need to test some primitive creatures? Doesn’t He already know our hearts, when even we, miserable worms, often see right through each other?

Genesis 3:3

'But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'

So why on earth did He put the forbidden tree in the middle of the garden and then warn the two blockheads off tucking into its fruits? OK, granted, it was a trial, and He needed proof to rub our noses in it until the end of days.

Genesis 3:4

'And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:'

Genesis 3:5

'For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.'

So God lied to the first humans. While apparently the idea that generally it’s unseemly for people to lie is common currency, looks like it’s a perfectly justifiable tool for the Lord. Might makes right, which is fair enough, after all He created us. But don’t moral principles belong in the realm of absolute rights and wrongs or universal verities?

It’s like parents telling their offspring about the harmful effects of smoking, while puffing on cigarettes like chimneys themselves. Although deep down we all know, it’s not the words, but the actions that set an example to the children.

If “knowing good and evil” makes you like gods (what gods, by the way, are/were there more than one — are we talking about aliens here?), how come it hasn’t made us like gods as yet?
Another conundrum is whether these concepts have existed independently from God (then again, how can something exist independently from the omnipresent Almighty? Kind of Catch 22) all along since the dawn of time or have been specifically established by God or someone else for inferior beings like us together with Sod’s law? What’s the point of knowing good and evil at all — it doesn’t stop us from wrongdoing anyway? Animals have fared pretty well without these concepts. If it’s some kind of universal law, shouldn’t God observe it, too? Or maybe the applicability of laws depends on circumstances.

Genesis 3:6

'And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.'

This is where the tragedy struck and all hell broke loose.
Basically, expiry date was stamped on all flesh by means of built-in biological clocks. As if death alone weren’t enough, diseases and painful demise were added to the lot.

That said, here God’s wrath is totally justified. These two dimwits ignored one simple request made by someone who created them, placed them in paradise and provided them with halcyon carefree life, in short, someone they owed everything, and fell for some weird talking reptile they saw for the first time in their lives. Turns out it wasn’t one of Adam’s lucid moments either, and he agreed to taste the apple like a slack-jawed gawping dolt, without questioning her judgement. Wasn’t he supposed to know better than the woman and talk her out of taking a bite of the bloody apple?

It’s simply against common sense, if they had brains they would have figured out it was dangerous to spite a superior being. They did indeed deserve a good spanking.

However in their defence, were they responsible for the flaws in their original design?
Looks like the Almighty threw a crooked pot, and then punished it for being such a waste of clay. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Incidentally, "Judaism and Islam interpret the account of the fall as being simply historical, Adam and Eve's disobedience would have already been known to God even before he created them, thus draw no particular theological implications for human nature." Sounds like The Maker didn't control the quality of his work — it's just came out wrong, which is hard to believe for obvious reasons.
Like I said, was it equitable play to punish someone who couldn't help letting God down?
I suspect we might hear the rumble of malicious gloating high above, if we listen out.

Genesis 3:7

Rubens. Adam and Eve'And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.'

That’s when they started leering at each other. As far as I know, Papuans and some savage Amazonian tribes’ eyes hasn’t opened yet, they neither know nor give a darn they’re naked. Maybe they don’t descend from Adam and Eve. Then why aren’t they in paradise, either? Were the Western missioners the serpent for those tribes they “clothed”?

Genesis 3:8

'And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.'

Genesis 3:9

'And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?'

Genesis 3:10

'And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.'

He didn’t expect punishment, did he? Moron. For all I know, stupidity is what you get the most severe scourging for.

Genesis 3:11

Zampieri. The Fall'And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?'

Genesis 3:12

'And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.'

This is the man all over: a cowardly weasel that snitched on his goofy wife instead of admitting he screwed everything himself.

Genesis 3:13

'And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.'

Genesis 3:14

'And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:'

Here I can’t but deduce that before the malediction the serpent either walked on feet or could fly apart from the ability to articulate and other probable morphological differences. Curiously, modern snakes don’t eat dust, unless any live prey is considered dust, and have been a pretty successful species so far. Granted, the talking serpent might as well have fed on fruits.

Genesis 3:15

'And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.'

Genesis 3:16

'Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.'

This is the starting point of sexism, and when the woman got the “microchip” (or some kind of “software”) of deep-rooted sense of inferiority and slavish obedience to the male implanted into her brain — most of her descendants have carried it right up until the present day.
No creature suffers more than a woman in childbirth, not to mention pregnancy or period. Couldn’t we just lay eggs or give birth in sleep like bears? While the man got off relatively scot-free compared to the woman, of course. That’s the divine justice.
On the other hand, the whole tale suggests that before that black day humans were supposed to procreate in a much more elevated and painless way. The sad thing is, as a species we have no means and even less desire to revert to that blissful state — in fact, we are moving right in the opposite direction.
Jacopo Amigoni

Genesis 3:17

'And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;'

Admittedly, Adam deserves his comeuppance, but what had the Earth or animals to do with it? They ended up whipping boys for no comprehensible reason; unless there’s something more to it we haven’t managed to crack yet.

Genesis 3:18

'Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;'

Mind that this is a clear recommendation of vegetarianism.

Genesis 3:19

'In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.'

Proof positive that labour (except for true art, though) doesn’t dignify, it’s just punishment, which the rich are usually exempt from by God’s grace. And it didn’t make a man out of an ape as some enlightened thinker claimed, but just the opposite, it turned a man into a slavish ape.

Genesis 3:20

'And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.'

Couldn’t they just abstain from procreating? Alas!

Genesis 3:21

'Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.'

The first indication of ice age, like I said He didn’t clothe Papuans.

Genesis 3:22

'And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:'

What does “one of us” mean, who else was there? Other aliens?
So eternal life is possible?
Why was the Tree of Life in the garden? It seems originally Adam wasn’t immortal. Where’s the coveted tree now? Is that what genetic engineers and nanotechnologists are looking for?
What kind of fruit it bears? Looks like it all comes down to vegan food.

Genesis 3:23

'Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.'

Serves him right!

Genesis 3:24

'So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.'

Why at the east of the garden?
Didn’t other sides need protection, too?
Who are Cherubims?
I guess a flaming sword (sounds like Star Wars swords) means you can’t get round it.
Wouldn’t it be easier to destroy the Tree of Life than take the trouble to protect it? By the way, for our benefit, I hope the sword keeps swivelling.

To wrap it up, what did He expect from an imperfect creature? Why not get rid of it and design a new one?

I do understand the Bible must be a metaphorical recountal of some mysterious events — the sad thing is that by and large our society is still predominantly guided by the creed based on the literal interpretation and countless misinterpretations of this book (and other similar writs), which gave rise to and served as an excuse for religious fanaticism, inquisition, wars, and sexism among other barbarities.

On the other hand, what do these allegories stand for? For 2000 years, we have been steered by a book that doesn’t provide a single clear clue or reasonable answer.
Just like 'Lost'.
To be continued...

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