An Atheist Reads the Bible

A godless heathen’s religious experience

Posts Tagged ‘god’

Genesis 18

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on May 10, 2010

The Three Visitors

1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

3 He said, If I have found favour in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by.

So what’s your first thought when you’re out camping and look up to find three men standing near by? That’s right – they are God incarnate. How could any right minded person think otherwise?

4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree.

5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way— now that you have come to your servant. Very well, they answered, do as you say.

I’m sure they did. Who’d turn down a free footwash and slap-up meal?

6 So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. Quick, he said, get three seahs of fine flour and knead it and bake some bread.

7 Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it.

8 He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.

9 Where is your wife Sarah? they asked him. There, in the tent, he said.

Is it just me or is this coming across as plain old intimidation? Three guys show up, the old guy hopes to pacify them with food and drink so they leave him alone and just go on their way. Then they suddenly ask after his wife … it doesn’t look as if this story is going to happy places.

10 Then the LORD said, I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son. Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him.

So God, aka Three Burly Strangers in the desert, have eaten all his food, found his wife and suddenly (flash forward) one of them is sneaking out the back of the tent whilst zipping up his fly, and the others are telling her husband she’s “miraculously” with child.

Good cover story – should persuade most vulnerable old men out in the wilderness. Even if …

11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing.
12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?

Or perhaps they haven’t got into the tent yet, but Sarah sounds like she’s not getting much satisfaction from Abraham in that department. Sounds like God, aka TBS, is the most excitement to come her way in a long time.

Also sounds like we should be cueing up the cheesy 70’s porno soundtrack. What’s the betting these three burly geezers are all built like Wesley Snipes and hung like donkeys?

13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’

14 Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.

15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, I did not laugh. But he said, Yes, you did laugh.

Nope, my mistake, we’re back to intimidation …

Abraham Pleads for Sodom

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down towards Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?

18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.

19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.

20 Then the LORD said, The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous

21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.

22 The men turned away and went towards Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.

23 Then Abraham approached him and said: Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?

24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it?

So God’s off to do a bit of smiting and Abraham decides to argue with him. Well, the guy has balls, I’ll give him that.

25 Far be it from you to do such a thing— to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26 The LORD said, If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,

28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?

If I find forty-five there, he said, I will not destroy it.

29 Once again he spoke to him, What if only forty are found there?

He said, For the sake of forty, I will not do it.

30 Then he said, May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?

He answered, I will not do it if I find thirty there.

31 Abraham said, Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?

He said, For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.

32 Then he said, May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?

He answered, For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.

And not only argue, but haggle with the big man. Some serious respect to our boy Abe there.

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Chapter ending leaves a bit to be desired though. Not exactly a cliffhanger that last sentence is it? I mean, have the writers never watched the old Saturday morning “Rocketman” or “Flash Gordon” episodes. What’s needed is Abe going out in a ball of flames, only to tune in next week to see that he’d used his tent as a parachute at the last minute.

Or something …

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Genesis 17

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on February 26, 2008

The Covenant of Circumcision

For some reason I don’t remember this passage ever being read in our local methodist church. Wonder why?

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.
2
I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.

So it doesn’t matter that Abram has pimped his wife out and got his maid pregnant, if he “walks before” god (whatever that might mean) he will be blameless? Nice deal if you can get it.

3 Abram fell face down, and God said to him,
4 As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.

God’s offering him stuff again, you can just smell the catch around the corner.

5 No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

And Abra(ha)m said unto god, “but I’ll have to change all my credit cards. And do you know how long it takes to get a new passport these days?”

6 I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you.
7 I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.
8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.

“Sounds good so far, I get a load more land and slaves to go with it. By the way, do you think you could let them all know I’m their master this time?”

Essentially these are the same old promises we’ve heard before. You’d think god would have a slightly more spiritual outlook on life.

9 Then God said to Abraham, As for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come.

I’m guessing this is the point at which Abraham starts to get nervous.

10 This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised.

Ouch!

11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

So at 99 years old Abraham’s got to get himself circumcised. At least god’s not asking for Talmudic circumcision

The operation [circumcision] consists of three parts: “milah,” “peri’ah,” and “mezizah.”

Milah: The child having been placed upon a pillow resting upon the lap of the godfather or “sandek” (he who is honored by being assigned to hold the child), the mohel exposes the parts by removal of garments, etc., and instructs the sandek how to hold the child’s legs. The mohel then grasps the prepuce between the thumb and index-finger of his left hand, exerting sufficient traction to draw it from the glans, and places the shield (see Fig. 1, next column) in position just before the glans. He now takes his knife and with one sweep excises the foreskin. This completes the first act. The knife (see Fig. 3) most commonly used is double-edged, although one like those ordinarily used by surgeons is also often employed.

Peri’ah: After the excision has been completed, the mohel seizes the inner lining of the prepuce, which still covers the glans, with the thumb-nail and index-finger of each hand, and tears it so that he can roll it fully back over the glans and expose the latter completely. The mohel usually has his thumb-nail suitably trimmed for the purpose. In exceptional cases the inner lining of the prepuce is more or less extensively adherent to the glans, which interferes somewhat with the ready removal; but persistent effort will overcome the difficulty.

Mezizah: By this is meant the sucking of the blood from the wound. The mohel takes some wine in his mouth and applies his lips to the part involved in the operation, and exerts suction, after which he expels the mixture of wine and blood into a receptacle (see Fig. 4, below) provided for the purpose. This procedure is repeated several times, and completes the operation, except as to the control of the bleeding and the dressing of the wound.

You really have to wonder where they get this from. Is there a special version of the bible somewhere that defines Peri’ah and Mazizah or, far more likely, was the procedure thought up by repressed, dirty old men who got their rocks off with 8 year old boys?

12 For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner— those who are not your offspring.

So it’s OK to force this religious observation on family and slaves alike, regardless of their beliefs? (And we’ll ignore for the moment the implicit approval of slavery here).

13 Whether born in your household or bought with your money, they must be circumcised. My covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting covenant.

Let me just say that again in case you didn’t get it the first time.

14 Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.

I think I’d rather be cut off from my people than have a bit cut off my little person …

15 God also said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.

But Sarai can be her facebook hooker name.

16 I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.

Now you’d think he could have done this before all that trouble with Hagar. God sure has a crappy sense of timing.

17 Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?

I assume by this point people aren’t living quite as long as Adam and his immediate descendants. Still, 90 isn’t a bad age to reach in a time with no modern medical facilities and when penicillin lies far in the future.

18 And Abraham said to God, If only Ishmael might live under your blessing!
19 Then God said, Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.

God sure is pushy on the whole naming thing. What’s it to him anyway? Abraham’s now going to end up with two sons at 100 years old. Just wait until Sarah’s stopped breast-feeding and makes him get up for the nightly feed. He won’t be getting up bright and early for altar-building exercises then I can tell you.

20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.

So Ishmael’s going to do alright for himself. I’m sure he’d have been happy with a house in the suburbs and a decent job, but obviously that wouldn’t have increased god’s little following in the same way as being, say, the father of a great nation.

21 But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.
22 When he had finished speaking with Abraham, God went up from him.

I’ve got plans for your unborn son, but you’re nuts if you think I’m going to tell you what they are yet.

23 On that very day Abraham took his son Ishmael and all those born in his household or bought with his money, every male in his household, and circumcised them, as God told him.
24 Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised,
25 and his son Ishmael was thirteen;
26 Abraham and his son Ishmael were both circumcised on that same day.
27 And every male in Abraham’s household, including those born in his household or bought from a foreigner, was circumcised with him.

Snip, snip, snip …

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Genesis 16

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on February 7, 2008

Hagar and Ishmael

I bet you never knew there were vikings in the bible

OK, a bad joke, but I couldn’t help myself … sorry about that.

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar;
2 so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said.

Hands up those people who think Abram’s wife actually told him it was OK to go and sleep with the maidservant … nobody? … Bueller? Didn’t think so, and does poor Hagar get no say in this?

3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.

Without duress? I’m surprised Abram didn’t go all out and just ask for a threesome.

4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress.

I’m pretty sure the despising started before she found out she was pregnant.

5 Then Sarai said to Abram, You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.

“O husband mine,” complained Sarai, “this lowly wench is giving me lip. Do something about it.”

6 Your servant is in your hands, Abram said. Do with her whatever you think best. Then Sarai ill-treated Hagar; so she fled from her.

And Abram, having had his way and getting a little concerned about what the neighbours would say about him getting the maid pregnant, replied, “look, she’s your servant, you deal with her.”

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur.
8 And he said, Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going? I’m running away from my mistress Sarai, she answered.
9 Then the angel of the LORD told her, Go back to your mistress and submit to her.

Hearing the pitiful story of a maid who has been forced into sleeping with the man of the house and becoming a surrogate mother for his child, then subsequently abused by the wife, god’s messenger tells her to get the hell back to the household and be meek and submissive.

Later on he popped over to africa and started suggesting to the tribal chiefs they might want to start selling their war prisoners to those funny looking white men that showed up from time to time.

10 The angel added, I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count

Oh, well that’s OK then.

11 The angel of the LORD also said to her: You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers.

Why does the fact that god knows she’s miserable mean she has to name her kid Ishmael? What she really needs following rape and abuse is a good counsellor, possibly an abortion clinic, and a relocation package.

And for the moment I’ll refrain from making any comments about Ishmael being a wild donkey. I’m sure they didn’t have innuendo in those days. Doesn’t sound like he’s going to have a very good life either though. I imagine Sarai’s wondering what the hell god’s picking on her for.

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: You are the God who sees me, for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me.
14 That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered.
15 So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne.
16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Beer Lahai Roi is Hebrew, meaning “the well of the living one who sees me”. Doesn’t do much for the plot but then the bible seems to be full of filler and we’re only on the 16th chapter of the 1st book.

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Genesis 15

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 31, 2008

God’s Covenant With Abram

1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.

Not god, but “the word of god” came to Abram in a vision. What is that? The Metatron, which isn’t actually mentioned in any hoy text anywhere and yet seems to be part of the whole mythology (and is not to be confused with Megatron, who was a robot in disguise).

And Abram said unto the voice of the lord, “thanks very much, but a disembodied voice is rather insubstantial. Do you think I could have some kevlar body armour instead? And I’ll be happy with a small heap of gold as a reward.”

2 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.

It sounds like Abram’s more concerned about passing on the family business. What is that, by the way? The most lucrative branches so far seem to be stealing land and dispossessing entire peoples in the name of god and pimping out family members to royalty.

4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.

If I was taking this literally that would sound really painful!

5 He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars— if indeed you can count them. Then he said to him, So shall your offspring be.
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

And then god said unto him, “did you know they’ve taken the word gullible out of the dictionary?”

7 He also said to him, I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.

Who gave it to god to give away in the first place?

8 But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?
9 So the LORD said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.
10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half.

Of course, kill a few animals in a ritualistic manner and the land’s yours. What does god get out of these sacrifices anyway? I know the good folk who like to think they’ll get caught up in the rapture any day now have interesting discussions on whether dogs will get caught up in the rapture but I’ve never seen mention of cows and goats. Especially cows and goats that have just been cut in half. Sounds more like a Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate than anything else. Perhaps Abram was up for the Turner prize.

So why do the birds get away with it?

11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.
12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him.
13 Then the LORD said to him, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years.

Sounds more like what goes around comes around to me.

14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions.

Put up with a load of crap I’m going to heap on you (and blame it on Egypt, but as an omnipotent god I could obviously prevent it any time I felt like it. It’s a good job I’m ineffable, hey?)

15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age.

Always good to know.

16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.
17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking brazier with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces.
18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates—
19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites,
20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites,
21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.

That’s a whole lot more disposessed peoples. I guess we’ve worked out the main arm of that family business anyway.

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Genesis 11

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on January 11, 2008

The Tower of Babel

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.

That would be nice. God must be very pleased. Everybody can talk to each other with no misunderstandings. Things must have been a lot more peaceful in those days.

2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. They used brick instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar.
4 Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.

Wow, god must be so proud. His children are growing up and achieving something. Not only have they left home they’re building a new one for themselves and thinking big.

5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building.
6 The LORD said, If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.

I can just see god now, down the pub, bragging about his creation – “you should see my children, they can do anything.”

7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.

Ah!

8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

I’ve had a number of managers like this. Somehow it reflects badly on them if their subordinates do well without supervision, so any progress that didn’t involve management intervention must be scuppered at the earliest possible opportunity. I wonder if god reads Dilbert? I can just see him as the pointy haired boss.

9 That is why it was called Babel— because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

This is a little confusing. It was called Babel because god confused the language? So which language was the word “Babel” taken from then? Surely it was the other way around and that is the etymology of “babble”.

Oh well, obviously the bible is the infallible word of god (or Moses in this case, as we’re still in Genesis) so it can’t be wrong. Confusing as hell seems to be OK though.

You can safely skip the rest – it’s more dullness. If you’re really interested in this stuff (why, man, why?) there’s a family tree diagram here

Never fear though, genesis 12 has sex and plagues. Things are looking up again.

From Shem to Abram

10 This is the account of Shem. Two years after the flood, when Shem was 100 years old, he became the father of Arphaxad.
11 And after he became the father of Arphaxad, Shem lived 500 years and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arphaxad had lived 35 years, he became the father of Shelah.
13 And after he became the father of Shelah, Arphaxad lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived 30 years, he became the father of Eber.
15 And after he became the father of Eber, Shelah lived 403 years and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived 34 years, he became the father of Peleg.
17 And after he became the father of Peleg, Eber lived 430 years and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived 30 years, he became the father of Reu.
19 And after he became the father of Reu, Peleg lived 209 years and had other sons and daughters.
20 When Reu had lived 32 years, he became the father of Serug.
21 And after he became the father of Serug, Reu lived 207 years and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived 30 years, he became the father of Nahor.
23 And after he became the father of Nahor, Serug lived 200 years and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived 29 years, he became the father of Terah.
25 And after he became the father of Terah, Nahor lived 119 years and had other sons and daughters.
26 After Terah had lived 70 years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.
27 This is the account of Terah. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot.
28 While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth.
29 Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milcah and Iscah.
30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.
31 Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there.
32 Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.

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Genesis 8

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 17, 2007

1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded.

You’d damn well hope that he remembered him, I mean who put Noah in that situation in the first place? Here it’s made to sound like god was doing him a favour by remembering that he’d killed every person on earth except for eight of them, and those eight were cooped up with thousands of animals in a confined space.

(Incidentally, I wonder how many species we lost because they were eaten by the lions, or a mammoth sat on them?)

2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky.
3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down,
4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
6 After forty days Noah opened the window he had made in the ark

Opened the window?

Opened the window?

You mean to tell me they’d been stuck inside this ark with no fresh air for 40 days, plus 150 days (to the 17th June) plus 105 days up to 1st October. 245 days in a confined space with that stench. Is it even possible to survive that? And how did they dispose of the waste?

7 and sent out a raven, and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth.
8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground.
9 But the dove could find no place to set its feet because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark.
10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark.
11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.
12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.

I do wonder what the purpose of the raven was here. If I was overly cynical I might think there were some racial undertones here but I’m sure that’s not it at all. In any case the dove gets a number of chances to find land and, sensibly, buggers off at the first available opportunity, probably to escape the stench of life on board the ark.

13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry.

It seems it’s a lot easier to flood the earth than it is to drain it. I wonder where all that excess water is going?

14 By the twenty- seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah,
16 Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives.
17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you— the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground— so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number upon it.
18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives.
19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds— everything that moves on the earth— came out of the ark, one kind after another.

Form a line please, nice orderly fashion.

20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it.
21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

So Noah burned some of god’s pets, and god was happy because he realised he didn’t have to burn them himself in future. Good news for the unclean animals though.

(Isn’t killing small animals one of the early signs of a serial killer?)

In fairness it doesn’t say god asked for this, just that he was happy about it when Noah went ahead and did it anyway.

22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.

Well, erm, duh. So as long as the earth is around there will be seasonal and diurnal cycles. I’m not sure we needed god to tell us that.

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Genesis 7

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 10, 2007

1 The LORD then said to Noah, Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.

Were they really the only ones that qualified here? If this is the case does it not mean that we all trace our bloodlines back to Noah, his wife and his three daughters in law? Adam end Eve would surely become a little irrelevant now with this sort of convergence?

2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,
3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.

This is a little like one of those old Saturday morning cinema sequels (a la Flash Gordon or Rocket Man) where the hero died a tragic death at the end of one episode and at the beginning of the next, the following week, they showed a slightly different version of events to recap, where the hero magically got his cigarette lighter out and burned through his bonds to parachute to his escape before the plane crashed into the mountain.

Why does he have to take seven of some animals now? It doesn’t say if it’s seven animals or seven pairs but at this point it’s a little irrelevant as we haven’t yet been told what a “clean” animal is. For that we have to flash forwards to Leviticus where we find that it’s a cloven hooved animal that chews the cud, which does restrict the numbers somewhat.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that Genesis defenders often maintain that there were not that many species around at the time, suggesting that since, for example, horses and zebras come from the same ancestor, that we only need to count about 8000 species.

Apart from the fact that over 16,000 animals is a hell of a lot for eight people to look after for a month and a half that argument si rather self-defeating, as by using it they are admitting that all the animals were not created “in the beginning” and named by Adam.

4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.

Tabula Rasa, with only Noah’s innocent family and all those innocent animals (that haven’t eaten from the tree of knowledge) surviving.

5 And Noah did all that the LORD commanded him.

Now we’re done with the recap. That’s where genesis 6 finished.

6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.

Since Noah had the kids around 500, they would be around 100 by now. You would have thought they might have some kids themselves?

7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.
8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground,
9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah.
10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month— on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.

That is very specific. Obviously we’ve skipped the bit about somebody inventing the calendar.

12 And rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.
14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings.
15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.
16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the LORD shut him in.
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.

Just in case you weren’t clear what’s happening that was another recap.

18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water.

As arks are wont to do. We have to give Noah some credit here. There’s nothing to suggest he’d built anything like this before, and almost certainly not on this scale, yet he managed it with only the sketchiest of instructions from god.

19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered.
20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than twenty feet.

Mt. Everest is 20,035 feet, meaning the water was 20,055 feet above normal sea level. Considering we talk in terms of inches for sea-level rises associated with global warming that’s a huge volume of water. In fact, let’s calculate that.

The volume of the earth is 1.0832 x 1021m3.
20,055ft = 6113m
Equatorial radius of earth + water = 6,378,135 + 6113 = 6,384,248
Polar radius of earth + water = 6,356,750 + 6113 = 6,362,863

Using the same formula used in that link for the volume of the earth plus the water at that height, we have an equatorial radius of 6,378,135m and a polar radius of 6,356,750m we get a volume of 1086327265578564090274.1622957933m3, or 1.0863 x 1021m3.

That leaves a volume of water of 3.1 x 1018m3.

Now that might seem like not so much compared to the volume of the earth, but to put it another way it is 3,100,000,000,000,000,000, or 3.1 billion billion, or 3.1 quintillion square metres of water.

So how much water do we have on earth?

According to here, which states :

“Water is not only fascinating, but it is also one of the most important and ubiquitous substances on Earth. There are 1.3 × 109 km3 of water in the oceans, 3.3 × 107 km3 in the polar ice caps, 2 × 105 km3 in glaciers, 105 km3 in lakes, and 1.2 × 103 km3 in rivers. In addition, 2.2 × 105 km3 of water fall annually as precipitation.”

We have 33 × 106 km3 of water floating around the earth in various forms, that leaves us with a shortfall of 3.067 x 1018m3, or 93 times the total amount of water that exists on the earth.

To quote this by depth (of 6113m over 40 days) gives you an average daily rainfall of 152.82m.

Hmm …

21 Every living thing that moved on the earth perished— birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind.
22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died.
23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Not entirely surprising with that amount of water, although I would have expected a waterbound creatures to get through it. This also assumes that Noah took all the sea and freshwater life with him on the ark, making for one huge aquarium – more work for those 8 people and a pretty big tank for that pair of blue whales.

24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.

And then this amount of water magically evaporated?

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Genesis 6

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 7, 2007

The Flood

1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them,
2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.

It’s rather unclear here exactly who “the sons of god” are. The general assumption seems to be that they are angels although, like so many other things in this book that is the basis of all christian belief, it’s not clarified, and not even really mentioned again. Whoever they were though it seems like they had very human traits – nipping down to earth and bedding the best looking women.

And you thought that sort of thing was reserved for false gods like Zeus and Odin!

But really, you’d think the sons of god had better self control than that. I guess they’d been eating from the same tree as Adam. One thing that does seem fairly clear here is that god has no daughters, only sons. Another example of religious misogyny.

The phrase “they married any of them they chose” is rather interesting too. It does tend to imply that “the daughters of men” didn’t have much choice in the matter.

So basically, we have god’s angels popping down to earth to mate with any women they feel like. Bunch of rapists.

3 Then the LORD said, My Spirit will not contend with man for ever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.

And of course god chooses to get upset with mankind about this, or perhaps this is just a huge non sequitur, it’s really not clear. Anyway, god’s fed up with fighting against man and decides to limit his lifespan to 120 years. Still not a bad innings and I’ll be quite happy if I make it that far. I can only assume that at some point he reduces it even further since the average lifespan until very recently was around the 30 year mark.

4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days— and also afterwards— when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

If the “sons of god” are angels then the Nephelim are the children of angels. Nephilim in a number of cases is translated as giants, and it’s not the only mention of giants in the bible.

I wonder why we’ve never dug up any giant Nephilim bones? Or have we? (Note, before you click on that link you should know the full URL is http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/giants.htm)

5 The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
6 The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
7 So the LORD said, I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth— men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air— for I am grieved that I have made them.

God’s sons nip down to earth for a bit of rape and pillage, begetting an entire race in the process, but god’s only pissed off with man for … what, precisely? It certainly makes no mention of it here. So far we’ve had a couple of murders in what seems to be several hundred years. Not a bad crime rate really.

8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.

I wonder what he did?

9 This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.

So did Job, but we’ll get to him later on.

10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.
12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.
13 So God said to Noah, I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth.

Wouldn’t this be akin to (although significantly more extreme than) Bill Gates ringing me up and telling me that Microsoft Office had got so bloated and buggy that he was going to scrap it and rewrite it from scratch? Noah is so far below the level of supreme being that you have to wonder why god really gives a toss.

14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high.
16 Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks.

And Noah said unto god, “listen mate, I’m not a boatbuilder, I’m going to need more than a few vague instructions if I’m going to put together something that floats. Preferably a blueprint and a B&Q* discount card.”

And god chose to ignore Noah’s facetiousness and continued with his rant.

17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish.
18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark— you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.

Assuming that all his sons are married that’s 8 people.

19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.
20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

“What, even the skunk,” asked Noah.
“Just do what you’re told,” said god, smiting a nearby tree with a bolt of lightning to make his point.

I don’t like to even think about how many species there are, but the suggestion is that there are about 1.8 million. Let’s be generous and assume that insects weren’t included and as they make up 2/3 of that number that takes us to about 0.6 million species (and presumably there were more in those days since we’ve had a few extinctions since then).

So we’ve got a boat, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high, housing 8 people that between them have to look after 1.2 million animals (two of each remember). What is this, the T.A.R.D.I.S? Even ignoring issues of space and how much weight a boat like that can carry we can add the fact that Noah and family are going to get mighty fed up with shovelling crap overboard so that they don’t drown in it!

21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.

Well at least we know they’re not going to starve, although I’d like to know how they fit the food in the pantry when there’s a couple of elephants shagging at the back and the lions are chasing the reindeer around.

22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.

Next time we go on holiday I’m going to get Noah round to pack the car.

* For the non-UK people here B&Q is a large DIY chain of the sort that gets very busy on a Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing else to do.

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Genesis 4

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on December 5, 2007

Cain and Abel

1 Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.

I have to question why this is with the help of the lord, seeing as his main contribution to the process so far has been to make childbirth unbelievably painful for Eve.

2 Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD.
4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favour on Abel and his offering,

Already god’s showing favouritism, and to the shepherd no less, depite telling Adam that he and his line would tend the soil for the rest of their days. Obviously we are not all equal in the eyes of god (and, not to give the game away or anything, but this is somewhat of a recurring theme).

5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

Well, you would be, wouldn’t you. After all, you spend all day working in the fields, tilling the land and growing food for yourself and your family and who gets all the praise? The guy that sits around in the field and watches sheep!

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?
7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.

Not only is god playing favourites but he’s confused as to why it upsets people. Yet another mark against the omniscient theory.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, Let’s go out to the field. And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, Where is your brother Abel? I don’t know, he replied. Am I my brother’s keeper?
10 The LORD said, What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

Now, again, god seems somewhat surprised that Cain has knocked off Abel despite that fact that he (1) blatantly favoured Abel and (B) by virtue of being cunning/stupid caused Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge int he first place, without which Cain just wouldn’t have been worried about any of this (or, indeed, have had to work in the first place).

11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.

Bit of a common theme here – Cain gets pretty much the same punishment as Adam did for listening to Eve in the first place.

13 Cain said to the LORD, My punishment is more than I can bear.
14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.
15 But the LORD said to him, Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over. Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no-one who found him would kill him.

So Cain is upset because he won’t be in the presence of god? More likely he’s just being sycophantic so that god will provide him some protection. Leaving aside the question of who actually exists to find him at that point (which is explained a little in the next chapter) any other people out there must be related somehow and would therefore be mighty pissed off that their nephew/cousin/son/whatever had been knocked off.

Fortunately ole’ Jehovah’s feeling mighty benevolent today, so he just marks him to make sure everybody knows he killed his brother and tells him that he’ll punish anybody that hurts Cain even more. Nice.

16 So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
17 Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

Whoa!! Slow up a little here. Where did she come from? And who lives in the land of Nod? (The sandman, perhaps?)

18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah.
20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.
21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute.
22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah.
23 Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, listen to me; wives of Lamech, hear my words. I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.

Well apparantly the Mormons have it right. Bigamy is not a problem, at least not from a religious point of view. I wonder when we were all forced into monogamy? And could the women have more than one husband here? The land of Nod is beginning to look a little like a 60’s free love hippy collective here.

Big family tree, there’s more of that to come. Most of it just as tedious as this. You’d think the editor would have stepped in here and cut a bit to pick up the pace.
24 If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.
Lamech’s a sneaky one – he bumps off some unspecified youth (probably picked up a hitch hiker!) and claims that god will avenge himself on anybody who dares take revenge on good old Lameth. No mention as to whether this is actually backed up by god or not.

25 Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.
26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

Poor old Adam, the implication seems to be that every time he gets laid another son pops out. It’s worse than being catholic.

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Genesis 3

Posted by Urbane Spaceman on November 30, 2007

The Fall of Man

1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?
2 The woman said to the serpent, We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’
4 You will not surely die, the serpent said to the woman.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

Now I had always been told that the serpent in the garden was Satan himself, disguised as a snake, tempting Eve. Here is a fairly typical argument for that one. Not only is there no mention of the snake being Satan but Satan has not even been introduced as a character yet.

I have to say though – that’s a fair temptation. Eat this apple and you will become a godlike being. Seeing as all god had done was issued a blanket “stay away” command with no explanation is it in the least surprising that Eve fell for this? If you ask me the serpent is far more likely to have been god testing his own creations and letting Satan take the fall for it is just mean.

6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Doesn’t seem like Adam needed much persuading though, or was he already under the thumb?

7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

OK, now they’ve eaten the fruit, which apparently means they can distinguish good from evil, and their first act is to be ashamed of being naked. Would this not imply that nakedness is evil? I’m sure the Catholics are happy about that but I have to ask: if nakedness is, in fact, evil, then why did god leave them naked in the garden in the first place? Why didn’t he create Armani on the seventh day?

8 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.
9 But the LORD God called to the man, Where are you?

This blows the omniscient god theory out of the water – he couldn’t even beat Adam in a simple game of hide and seek!

10 He answered, I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.
11 And he said, Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree from which I commanded you not to eat?
12 The man said, The woman you put here with me— she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

I sense a wrath of god passage approaching …

14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

Nice easy scapegoat there – the poor old serpent. If it was Satan disguised as a snake then it’s a bit mean to punish the poor old snake. If it was god that set the whole thing up then it’s even worse as he knows for sure that the snake’s innocent and is just using it to divert attention. If it was indeed just the snake having a bit of a laugh then why try and “interpret” it as meaning something different. Why not just say “snakes are mean and sneaky”?

Of course that would beg the question of why god created an evil creature in the first place. After all everything’s still pretty new here, so all these animals (including Adam and Eve) only have the traits that god gave them. Another pointer to the fact that poor old Eve was set up by god to take the fall for all of mankind. I’m not liking this god chap much so far. He sounds like a bad project manager or management consultant – take the credit when all goes well but when he’s cocked up it’s time to shift the blame to the closest unfortunate.

15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.

Now this is harsh. Man will suppress woman and woman will basically really bug man. It seems that any relationship issues you may have can be blamed directly on god and his little temper tantrum here. On the other hand Dr. Phil and John Gay (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: How to Get What You Want in Your Relationships) have made a pretty good living off it.

16 To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.

Whoah!! And if you thought he’d been a bit nasty so far here’s a really bad one. I’m now 100% positive genesis was penned by a guy, and a guy that had never been in the same room as a woman in labour at that.

17 To Adam he said, Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.

So the moral of this is, what precisely? Don’t listen to your wife? Incidentally it would seem that this is the first time the word wife has been used, although I haven’t noticed god presiding over any ceremonies.

This one really doesn’t make too much sense though. Does it mean that Adam’s not allowed to eat apples, and where does the assumption that it was an apple tree come from? God just calls it the “tree of knowledge” and leaves it at that. It would seem more likely that if Adam’s not allowed to eat this any more then the fruit was something unknown to us which god subsequently destroyed (or left growing in the garden of Eden, from which mankind is shortly to be banned. Oops, sorry, that was a spoiler…)

God obviously wasn’t thinking long term though. I don’t have a lot of painful toil when I nip down to the local shops to get something for dinner. Unless I take the kids with me – that can sometimes be painful.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.

Yadda, yadda, work for your food, aha, here we are. Now you are MORTAL! The implication here of course being that previously Adam was going to be around for a pretty long time, but now that god can’t trust him any more (having fallen for god’s sting operation) he’ll now only have a limited time on the earth.

I would imagine by this point Adam’s pretty relieved about this. He’s just been told the cushy life is over. Eve’s going to nag him for the rest of his days, which he’s going to have to spend trying to grow enough food to stay alive. Death will probably come as somewhat of a relief to him.

20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.

Another implication that the men and women created in genesis 1 don’t seem to exist, as supposedly god created them first. Or are we talking a different race here?

21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.

I’m really hoping we’re talking about animal skins and some decent sewing skills here, because otherwise, eeeww, it seems to suggest that they didn’t have any skin. I think I’ll just put this one down to poor writing and/or translation so that I don’t have nightmares.

22 And the LORD God said, The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever.

Now this is interesting – “The man has become like one of us”. US !! Who exactly is god talking to here?

There is a word in hebrew – Elohim – which is used in the hebrew version of the bible and would tend to reinforce this concept of plurality. The bible doesn’t seem to make much of it apart from this and I’ve really never heard any christians bring it up.

Should christianity and it’s offshoots be re-classed from monotheism to polytheism? That would confuse an awful lot of people.

23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.
24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

I’m beginning to think this garden of Eden lark was some kind of early reality show, along the lines of “Big Brother” or “I’m a celebrity idiot, get me out of here”. I can just see the Elohim sitting around somewhere working out which species to get thrown out of the garden next and devising elaborate ploys so that they can bring about their own downfall.

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