The all-in-one Christian Web Site Community - Praize.com
Skip to Content

An Introduction to the Book of Genesis

(Page 3 of 3)
Quote Reply
Re: [ASCombs2662] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Allen:

It is very late here now and, as I did yesterday, I spent my time working around the house, getting some deep cleaning done and decorating for Christmas, I have glanced at the links you gave me and will read them in detail tomorrow. For tonight I am very tired and need some sleep.

We all need our beauty sleep Allen. Getting some practical chores out of the way is good stress relief therapy. "A good days work, gives a good nights sleep, even without a full meal, but the rich toss and turn worried about losing their fortune".

To clear up any misunderstanding about how we are using the word 'Myth' when referring to some of the passages in Genesis which seem to have 'mythic' or symbolic meaning.

The word myth derives from the Greek mythos, which has a range of meanings from “word,” through “saying” and “story,” to “fiction”; the unquestioned validity of mythos can be contrasted with logos, the word whose validity or truth can be argued and demonstrated. Because myths narrate fantastic events with no attempt at proof, it is sometimes assumed that they are simply stories with no factual basis, and the word has become a synonym for falsehood or, at best, misconception. In the study of religion, however, it is important to distinguish between myths and stories that are merely untrue.

Last night I watched a most interesting documentary about the widely held 'Myth' that the Royal Air Force was not involved at all in the retreat from Dunkirk. It was believed to be true, (and still is by many who believe the 'myth' to be historical fact), that the Royal Air Force allowed the Luftwaffe to bomb the British Expeditionary Force on the beaches of Dunkirk, with impunity. This 'myth' was indeed recently proved to be 'false' and totally incorrect. However it is easy to see now how the 'myth' gathered wide acceptance and for many years became standard belief in an entire nation.

Records of daily RAF losses which had been withheld from public knowledge during wartime and beyond it, have now revealed that the RAF suffered heavy losses of over a thousand aircraft and many pilots during the six days of the Dunkirk evacuation. They also however inflicted heavier losses on The Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht. However, the army and navy involved in the evacuation correctly reported that the Luftwaffe aircraft bombing the beaches and shipping at Dunkirk were not noticeably opposed by RAF aircraft but seemed to be relatively unhindered. Thus, from the point of view of the soldiers and sailors involved in the actual evacuation, the RAF failed to protect them from the enemy.

IN FACT what was happening was that the RAF was attacking the Airfields and aircraft from where the Luftwaffe was taking off, and attacking the advancing Wehrmacht Army, holding them back so as to buy time for the evacuation to take place. Furthermore the action often took place between formations of aircraft often 5 miles in the air, far from the beaches, so the British army and Royal Navy could not see what was actually happening. What they actually thought they could 'see' was an absence of RAF aircraft defending them from the relatively few German aircraft that had 'got through', compared to the numbers that could have been involved had it not been for the intense RAF / Luftwaffe actions going on elsewhere.

When the 'Myth' took hold and widely circulated the RAF boys involved were understandably very upset about the false accusation. They had lost huge numbers of their comrades over France and over The English Channel stopping large numbers of the German aircraft from ever even reaching the Dunkirk beaches.

The extent of the RAF's losses over France and The English Channel could not be released however because within months the invasion of Britain was expected and it was imperative that the Germans should not know how depleted the RAF had become as a result of the Dunkirk action. So the matter necessarily remained secret.

Here we have a 'Myth', (that the RAF stood back at Dunkirk, and failed the army and navy in their hour of need), which, though it is now proved patently UNTRUE, is nonetheless based upon the FACT that very few RAF aircraft were actually seen by either the army or navy over the evacuation beaches of Dunkirk. So a 'Myth' can equally be either true or false, (and in this case BOTH true AND false), depending upon the FACTS that it purports to present and the impression it conveys.

In this case the 'Myth' is a story, originated by actual eye witnesses who correctly and accurately reported what they saw, (or rather what they did not see, i.e the RAF shooting down German aircraft while they bombed the beaches and evacuation craft), but who were unaware of their limited understanding and knowledge of what was actually happening outside and away from their immediate field of view.

The thing that makes it a 'Myth' though is not whether it is true or untrue, but the fact that it is a story of events with no attempt at proof, but with an actual factual basis.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 10, 2017, 6:06 AM
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi

Interesting how the march of time and the continental shift and the cycle of global climate has altered humanity's course. And through it all human beings have wrought some amazing things, both wonderful and terrible. I wonder if our era will be seen as wonderful or terrible when it is compared by future humans with the rest of their ancient past? I guess as we are able to see both in our ancient past, so will they...I hope.

So do I. It will not be very long now before the First and Second world wars pass into legend and then perhaps into 'Myth'. The Trojan wars and The Wars of The Roses are now 'mythic' and although they undoubtedly actually happened they are now irretrievably beyond human recollection. They have become the subjects of historians, archaeologists and poets. This is I suppose why it was so important to record the first hand experiences of those who actually took part in WW1 and WW2. One might hope that knowing as much as possible about the actual events might help mankind from going through a similar experience in the future.

Someone I know not who once said though, "History shows us that mankind learns nothing from History". It has the ring and style of a saying from Mark Twain, but I would not like to stake my life on that.

Be that as it may, I hope the human race wises up enough to learn some lessons from history, however 'Mythologized' the actual events eventually become.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 6, 2017, 12:36 PM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

I have yet to see the movie, "Dunkirk"...is that the title? If you have seen it or read about it, how does it hold up to history?

You are correct that soon WWI will pass into forgotten history. And maybe that is why we fail to learn from history. Nothing that could possibly be of any importance happened before we came into our majority.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

I have yet to see the movie, "Dunkirk"...is that the title?

That's the title certainly. I have not seen the film yet but my son has and gave it a good report for drama and excitement. Historically accurate? I don't know. In general terms probably yes, but I don't think it covered the 6 day period from the perspective of the RAF, only from the army and navy point of view.

The Dunkirk affair has passed into the consciousness of the British as a 'Myth' of miraculous deliverance. Which indeed it was, but there are still aspects of it which have gone into 'folk memory' in less than accurate recollection. For instance, the legendary little craft, skippered by their civilian owners, which ferried the soldiers from the beaches to the larger craft, (and some taking them all the way back across the English Channel), though crucial in getting off about 1/3 of the troops in 8 days, (112,742 of them), the other 2/3 (225,484) were evacuated from a breakwater utilized as a makeshift harbor wall, where the water was deep enough at high tide to accommodate some of the larger ships, both civilian and RN.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 6, 2017, 4:22 PM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Thanks for the clarification, Chris. What you say makes sense to me now. Myths and legends grow out of wrong, misleading information. Where the Bible is concerned, I believe it to be 100% true and without error. What you classify as a 'myth' is anything that doesn't dig into a passage and discover the true intent of the author in what he wrote. That is also a goal of the geammatico-historical interpretation of Scripture. Once that has been determined, the next step is to see how it applies in our society and culture today. After all, what good is an intellectual knowledge if the Bible if it doesn't have a meaning for our j\lives today.

Allen
Quote Reply
Re: [ASCombs2662] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Allen: Hi.

After all, what good is an intellectual knowledge if the Bible if it doesn't have a meaning for our j\lives today

Exactly!

And how many of us read the saga of Adam and Eve with ourselves as the central blame shifting characters and God as the one they are guiltily 'running away and hiding from'?

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Well...there is one here who does not.

Adam and Eve were children in the garden. After they gained knowledge of good and evil, they had to take on adult roles with responsibilities suitable for adults. Why would human beings want to continue as children? No matter what occurs, it is better to grow up, make your own way and take credit or blame as it comes to you.

Perhaps it was God who tempted them with the trees so they were forced to take on adult roles. Maybe that is one way of understanding the mythology surrounding the garden. As long as they were children, they would never want to leave. Would a creator have wanted his creations to never advance? That seems pointless. So in order to push them to fly from the nest, temptations were set.

Just wondering in my imagination. No need to get overworked by this post.

I always liked Lilith.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi

Why is it that almost ALL evangelical fundamentalists seem to think this is a history of how our ancestors seriously screwed it up for US.

Perhaps it was God who tempted them with the trees so they were forced to take on adult roles. Maybe that is one way of understanding the mythology surrounding the garden. As long as they were children, they would never want to leave. Would a creator have wanted his creations to never advance? That seems pointless. So in order to push them to fly from the nest, temptations were set.

This theory has some credibility but it still relies on a literally historical interpretation of the text and a denial of the texts in the Bible which indicate that God is not a 'tempter' but rather 'delivers us from evil'.

in James 1:13-14 the Bible tells us God does not tempt. "No one, when tempted, should say, 'I am being tempted by God'; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. But one is tempted by one's own desire, being lured and enticed by it."

The fact remains however that the standard interpretation of Gen. 2 to 5 seems to be that it is merely a history of 'someone else's cock up', and not anything much to do with humanity's predisposition to blame others for OUR mistakes and misdemeanors rather than 'fess up' and tell the truth, taking responsibility for their OUR own irresponsibility and rebelliousness.

You are right though to see that the author tacitly implies that innocence is another word for stupid and that the pair of them were set in a 'situation set up', fraught with the possibility of 'disaster'. The narrative offers no explanation for this apart from (1) implying that God either allowed the situation, (2) did not foresee it coming or (3) deliberately intended it to pan out as it did.

If God is (as it claims elsewhere in scripture), Omniscient, then option 2 is unlikely. God in the story seems surprised that Adam & Eve should 'know they are naked'. God is portrayed as expecting to find everything ticketyboo when he 'took His evening walk'. Unless God was on just this occasion NOT omniscient. But that would then indicate a major discrepancy or contradiction in Holy Scripture.

If God just 'allowed' the situation to come about, then we have to ask the question 'Why'?

What purpose might the pair's disobedience and indulgence of curiosity have served in God's master plan for His creation? So Option (1) might be a possibility but it would still mean that God (as a figure in actual, factual history), turns out to be manipulative, devious and a bit sly. Perhaps a bit quick to blame others for His own lack of oversight of his children too.

So what about option 3?

Supposing God deliberately engineered the situation and circumstances so that Adam or Eve or both would inevitably fail God's 'obedience test'. Presumably God made both Adam and Eve with natural curiosity. I find it difficult to imagine either being truly human without CURIOSITY being an integral part of their make up. It seems to me that the responsibility for the ensuing disaster then tends to fall squarely on God's shoulders, not Adam's or Eve's, with only SOME blame going to the snake, for his 'decidely snakey behaviour', (excusable since he was actually a subtle serpent at the time). To inflict a punishment of DEATH to them and to the entire human race, for giving in to an urge of CURIOSITY, seems a bit harsh to me. (If indeed the story is real and actual history, rather than just 'making a point' about why human beings all have to die).

Incidentally, it is strikingly characteristic of Myths and Fables to contain explanations for various phenomenon, such as the almost universal fear of and antipathy to snakes, of human beings. Also it seems quite likely that an Israelite story existed which explained the reason why human childbirths seem so much more traumatic and dangerous for the mother giving birth, than animals of almost any other species. Why? They must have asked. Also 'just so' stories probably existed explaining why agriculture is so unrewarding in a Palestinian climate. Later these stories get incorporated into the saga of Adam and Eve, (an explanation of why mankind is such a generally deplorable bunch of reprobates).

Also the translation of the Hebrew word for 'rib', (as in eve being made from one of Adam's ribs), can also mean the word for a penis bone, the baculum. Human beings are almost unique among mammals in that they have not even a vestigial penis bone. Whereas all other apes have one, ranging from 1 cm long to about 4 or 5, and most other mammals do too, up to 2 feet long in a large walrus. (Humans however, male and female both have the same number of ribs). This presumably would have been a fact that curious people would have tried to find an explanation for, and why that explanation might have been couched in innocuous language, unlikely to offend the over sensitive or be understood by the prepubescent members of the tribe.

So it still looks to me as if this story is not actual literal history, but it nevertheless still has the vibrancy and literary power to stimulate debate about important matters to do with fear, guilt, obedience, responsibility, lies, truth, deceit, desire, fear of nakedness, shame, etc. Therein is its reason for inclusion in the Biblical text.

It is an ancient, and still useful, teaching aid.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 13, 2017, 3:18 PM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

The story is a familiar one of creation, temptation, guilt, deceit, murder, betrayal and humanity's fall from innocence.

An omniscient creator already knew what would occur and a benevolent one would then act for a reason to force humans to "evolve" intellectually, spiritually, creatively. Open Pandora's Box and ...well, there we are.


If you find credence in the theory of a time when very early humans spent an era during millions years of drought surviving in the sea and along the sea, there may be reasons why we instinctively fear "slimy" snakes and spiders. Eels are slimy and can be deadly and spiders resemble the tiny crabs that can burrow under the skin. I have always found this theory to be very interesting.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
How is it that God was able to conjure up all of existence...stars, planets, black holes, our Earth, a plethora of trees and plants in all sorts of varieties, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, fishes, insects, single-celled organisms, fungi, various soils and rocks, oceans and rivers, frozen tundras and fertile plains and deserts and jungles...out of non-existence.

Not from its own deity-matter, whatever that may be, but from some Nothing that was non-existant anywhere to make Everything that existed in the Universe...but...but...

God used mud to conjure up a human male and then a part of the male to conjure up a human female?

Why not just conjure up humans from Nothing? Mud? And then a bone? Is that God making a joke? As if the platypus wasn't enough?

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

Why not just conjure up humans from Nothing? Mud? And then a bone? Is that God making a joke?

Platypus aside, (and didn't that confuse the taxonomists and creationists alike).

No joke! If the whole thing is a cleverly edited series of 'just so' stories, then it is an explanation of why human beings eventually all return to 'mud' when all is said and done. Therefore they must have also started out as 'mud'. Logical isn't it?

Almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium.

Ground up and mixed with a little water it all looks very much like mud I imagine.

Of course if the story teller had just got God to conjure man up from just nothing then he would have logically have to have done the same for woman. This would have then denied him the opportunity to explain why human males have no baculum, whereas most other apes and mammals do. He would also have missed the opportunity of making the point that the only fit breeding companion for man is woman since she is the only other creature of like flesh, an actual part of man himself.

Another important teaching point perhaps for lonely peasant shepherds to take note of, as they tended their sheep on a cold winters night, that was so deep. Lev. 18:23. To stop them taking animal husbandry too literally.

The more one tries to make literal history out of Genesis ch. 2-5 the more inconsistencies you will find and the less moral sense it makes. The more you are able to discern the moral lessons contained in the story the more it makes sense as a simple moral teaching aid and a perfect introduction to the problem of where mankind got its sinful nature from and how it might be eventually overcome.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
Quote Reply
Re: [ASCombs2662] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Allen: Hi

We are not the first people of faith to puzzle over the meaning of Gen. ch. 2-5. Allen.

These words come from The Apocrypha. It's not Biblical but it is, what we might call 'Cosher'. It sees the fall in terms that affect us NOW. It muses on the remedy from a distinctly Jewish point of view, but it is very relevant to how I believe Genesis should be read.

I answered and said, "This is my first and last word, that it would have been better if the earth had not produced Adam, or else, when it had produced him, had restrained him from sinning. For what good is it to all that they live in sorrow now and expect punishment after death? O Adam, what have you done? For though it was you who sinned, the fall was not yours alone, but ours also who are your descendants. For what good is it to us, if an eternal age has been promised to us, but we have done deeds that bring death? And what good is it that an everlasting hope has been promised us, but we have miserably failed? Or that safe and healthful habitations have been reserved for us, but we have lived wickedly? Or that the glory of the Most High will defend those who have led a pure life, but we have walked in the most wicked ways? Or that a paradise shall be revealed, whose fruit remains unspoiled and in which are abundance and healing, but we shall not enter it, because we have lived in unseemly places? Or that the faces of those who practiced self-control shall shine more than the stars, but our faces shall be blacker than darkness? For while we lived and committed iniquity we did not consider what we should suffer after death."

He answered and said, "This is the meaning of the contest which every man who is born on earth shall wage, that if he is defeated he shall suffer what you have said, but if he is victorious he shall receive what I have said. For this is the way of which Moses, while he was alive, spoke to the people, saying, ‘Choose for yourself life, that you may live!' But they did not believe him, or the prophets after him, or even myself who have spoken to them. Therefore there shall not be grief at their destruction, so much as joy over those to whom salvation is assured."
2 Esd. Apocrypha.

In Jesus Christ our salvation is assured.

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Heb. 10:22-23.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
No, it is not logical.

Everything that is known is made up of the same sort of stuff that humans are.

Nearly all species only breed with like species, despite the fact that they were conjured up...no borrowed bone necessary. Lilith, who is as provable a real person as Eve, was made the same time as Adam and from mud, but refused to be subservient to him and left. Eve represents to Christian men the woman who relies upon him for her very being and was made to be subservient. Which myth made it into the Bible? And...women have suffered for it ever since.

Animal "husbandry" does not produce offspring; a warm place is just a warm place.

All the creation, temptation, good vs evil, fall of humanity mythologies that I can think of have similar moral lessons; cross a deity and disobey and pay for it with the need to work for a living and die eventually while dealing with evil at the same time.

The ultimate "problem" that produced humanity's "sinful" nature was the introduction of evil into the Garden allowed by God. To many the brain of humans desiring knowledge, such as reading, figuring, writing and more advanced learning that comes from our curious and wonderful minds, is what brought sin. That lesson is strong in the Garden myth and was taken to heart by many who controlled the Church and the masses. To this day, learning too much is thought to be bad, prideful, sometimes sinful and the bringer of evil upon the individual and the whole of humanity.

I honestly can't see a good moral lesson to be got from the Christian Garden myth. I see guilt and fear and a blaming for all the sorrow and evil in life given to one woman and hence to all women. I see a bully, an entity of power playing with his newly formed creations, who were as children. And...for what reason? To make them fear it, never disobey it, not trust each other, have guilt forever, accept their lot in life, hate knowledge, be ashamed?

Whether taken literally or figuratively, what is the good moral lesson in the Garden myth? How does it introduce the problem of where humans got their sinful nature by having its followers accept this tale?

Children are often told tales that have a hidden or not so hidden moral lesson, but they do not grow up to believe that the tale is absolutely true. When they grow older, then understand that people do evil things, sometimes even very good people do evil things...and sometimes evil people do good things. They understand what killing is and that to kill without reason is very wrong. They understand societal laws and that theft and bearing false witness and creating disharmony in the community are going to get one into trouble and maybe outcast from that community.

They learn to obey the laws of society and of morality and that what they do determines how their life will go forward.

This myth was concocted to teach adults something more sinister through fear and blame and it only leads to more, because it was used by humans to keep other humans enslaved due to their own guilt. Without the NT, where would this have taken the belief? How much of it all is political and concocted to maintain a strong grip upon those who believe?

I am surprised that the OT was just not discarded as the religion advanced.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi

My, my, you are still very angry about something. Whatever it was you still have not got it out of your system yet. Past experiences have obviously hurt you very deeply.

There is more than one way of understanding ch. 2-3 of Genesis and the way you have described is as hysterically historical as is the fundamentalist interpretation.

It would seem that the Bible's astonishing capacity to reveal the secret thoughts of the readers heart is perceptible in your interpretation. Go deeper and search for what has made you feel the way you do, if you dare.

Try taking it from "the hypocritical elders and peers of my church", and see where you get from there.

Remember, it is just a story, make of it what you will.

As always: Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 12, 2017, 6:25 AM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

Why do you think I am angry or been hurt from past experiences?

I am giving my perspective as a person who doesn't start from a belief in creator deities.

I disagree that there is anything to be gained from creation and garden stories that cannot be gained from reality.

Is it the default condition of believers to assume that disagreement means those who disagree have been wounded by belief and are probably still angry?

I am not angry and I have not been hurt by past experiences. I rarely think on God or anything to do with God except when I am interested in a discussion.

Still shaking my head.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Jeanne: Hi.

Everything that is known is made up of the same sort of stuff that humans are.

No it's not. Some comes close, like dolphins, dogs and chimpanzees. Some is nothing like us, like mushrooms, jellyfish and spiders. But human beings all return to 'mud' in the end, or rather what is left of human beings does.

If you mean we are all made of 'matter', then you may have a point. The fact is that every living thing in the universe we know of is ultimately mortal. Which is most likely a point the author is making.

I think it quite reasonable for someone long ago to surmise that what goes back to being 'mud' probably started out that way originally. Although it may be an oversimplification it is a sort of scientifically demonstrable fact that human beings are not made of anything more 'special' or 'peculiar' than what can be found in just plain ordinary 'mud'.

Nearly all species only breed with like species, despite the fact that they were conjured up,

Do I see a straw man in this or are you becoming a fundamentalist? Most species are incapable of interbreeding for various reasons both technical and practical. Surely it is not beyond the wit of our ancestors to have noticed that and wanted an explanation. Surely it is not also unlikely that they would have surmised that some sort of universal 'rule' is being applied to regulate this observable phenomenon. And from that hypothesis extrapolate and apply it to human beings, then incorporate this 'meme' into a tribal teaching story. It doesn't seem at all unlikely to me.

Lilith, who is as provable a real person as Eve, was made the same time as Adam and from mud, but refused to be subservient to him and left.

Lilith is as mythical as the historically factual EVE. However there is no genetic evidence so far that suggests the existence of a mitochondrial Lilith. There is some evidence for a mitochondrial EVE though. (Albeit it does not suggest that the human race started from scratch from one individual man or woman).

Eve represents to Christian men the woman who relies upon him for her very being and was made to be subservient.

Here your interpretation of scripture is as ill founded as that of Literal Creationists.

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.” The story relates that God then made all the animals and Adam named them. (Incidentally Adam, 'mankind' still is doing exactly that). Unfortunately, God was either lacking the foresight to realize that each species needed a partner of its OWN kind, (or things simply would not go according to plan), OR more likely, the story teller wants to make a point about the special companionship relationship that should exist between man and woman.

for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. "And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man."

there is no real justification to render the word in Gen. 2:21 as Adam's rib. Rather, it should be Adam's side. According to the words of the story God divided Adam in half to create a
woman for him. This is a much more powerful symbol than merely taking a small bone out
of his side. Eve was every bit the man Adam was (pardon the pun), in fact in Gen 1:27 it
says "In the image of God He created him, male and female He created them" suggesting
complete equality. In the story then, Eve began, literally, as half of Adam. Even today people sometimes refer to their spouse as their other half or their better half and that seems somehow appropriate. Of course God then closes the flesh to restore Adam to wholeness. Though not specifically stated, the story implies God did the same for Eve in the process of fashioning her into a woman. How appropriate the language used in Genesis. The words "bone of my bone" and "flesh of my flesh" take on new significance. Even the expressions are grammatically symmetrical.

It is not surprising that fundamentalists dislike this imagery. It seems too difficult to imagine the literal historical reality of God performing an entire half human amputation, then putting the two halves together as male and female 'companions'. But that is semantically exactly what the story suggests. The two halves are then said to be 'one flesh'. The Hebrew word for 'rib' actually is only translated as 'rib' in this one place in the Bible. Everywhere elsethe word is used, (except one other place where it is debateable), it means "A Whole Side of something".

Difficult as it may be for fundamental creationists to swallow the STORY actually suggests that EVE was every bit the EQUAL of ADAM because she was actually his OTHER HALF.

http://www.jasher.com/Insights%20page/Adamsrib.htm

However, the actual meaning of the passage is greatly disputed and it is unlikely we shall ever be certain exactly what the author intended. We just have to go with what we now have; conjecture. In fact the baculum theory is now considered unlikely. Apparently it just doesn't hold up. It was a pretty limp theory anyway. Laugh https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/1.694338

It is very likely though that the author intended us, the readers, to assume that the natural state of man and woman is to love and depend upon each other, not to have a hierarchical relationship at all. That only came about AFTER the fall and is representative NOT of God's will but of MAN'S sinful, fallen state.

Has it ever occurred to you that Eve ate first of the 'magical' fruit, wrongly supposing it would make her wise, then ADAM, fully knowing that it would bring about HER DEATH and then HIS if he ate of it, then went ahead anyway and ATE. It is as if the author intends us to understand that Adam, not wanting death to take Eve from him, chose rather to die with her, rather than suffer such bereavement, i.e. losing 'half of himself' through the death of his beloved, while he would have remained alive bearing the grief of his loss. Is this not a situation frequently experienced by those who are bereaved?

I declare my interpretation of the text to be equally as validly possible or even more so, than the standard literal fundamentalist view that Adam was 'tricked' into eating the fruit by a cunningly rebellious or stupidly inept female, in league with Satan. That is not what the text actually says at all. That is simply what male supremacist misogynists have desired to make of it.

My explanation of the wording of the text is positively in keeping with a high view of 'marriage' while the fundamentalist view is extremely negative in the way it sets up antagonism between the sexes and offers the text as justification for unjustified misogyny.


To many the brain of humans desiring knowledge, such as reading, figuring, writing and more advanced learning that comes from our curious and wonderful minds, is what brought sin.

More fools them.

That lesson is strong in the Garden myth and was taken to heart by many who controlled the Church and the masses. To this day, learning too much is thought to be bad, prideful, sometimes sinful and the bringer of evil upon the individual and the whole of humanity.

By whom? Pol Pot, the Cambodian mega-murderer, almost certainly. He tried to eradicate anyone who even wore glasses in his attempt to 'purge' all intellectuals, considered to be the most likely opposition to his atheistic creed. Stalin, quite possibly, because he decimated the officer class in the Red Army, fearing criticism from military intellectuals of his relative ignorance of military strategy. Hitler? Only if the intellectual was Jewish, Gay, Gypsy, Communist or Liberal. I agree there must be some, but I can't at present think of any world leaders who think that their nation would be better off without learned people. Unless we include President Trump perhaps. He would certainly gain an advantage if there was no one intelligent or learned enough to see through his subterfuges and fake news tweets.

I see guilt and fear and a blaming for all the sorrow and evil in life given to one woman and hence to all women.

That is what misogynists have made of it, but the text does not actually state the case in quite that way. Adam was first to blame another for his actions. Eve followed him. Eve was first to be tricked by the snake but SHE was never told by God not to eat the fruit. Presumably she just got a garbled version of the rule from Adam. (I would remind everyone that it is still JUST a story). The idea that Adam was in some way superior to Eve because he was, according to the story, created first, has to be utter nonsense. It that were actually true then ALL other animals on earth would be superior to man, since they also were all created first, before HIM and EVE. (See Gen. Ch. 1) Yet scripture clearly states that Man and Woman may take dominion over them all.

God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” Gen. 1:28.

I see a bully, an entity of power playing with his newly formed creations, who were as children. And...for what reason? To make them fear it, never disobey it, not trust each other, have guilt forever, accept their lot in life, hate knowledge, be ashamed?

It can certainly be seen that way, particularly if taken as literal historical fact. But it does take a certain mindset to do so and once it is interpreted that way it necessarily jaundices the mind to the rest of the scripture that follows it. I guess this is why it is not such a good idea to start with Genesis and work one's way through the Bible in the hope of learning what it is all about.

I am surprised that the OT was just not discarded as the religion advanced.

Marcion tried that and started the cult of Marcionism, but he also wanted to drop most of The New Testament as well. Marcionism didn't catch on.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 15, 2017, 3:36 PM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

As to elements of matter see here for one site: https://sciencing.com/six-elements-occur-living-organisms-8224328.html

<<All matter in the universe is composed of a number of chemical elements. These chemical building blocks are also the basis for all living organisms on Earth. While living organisms contain a number of different elements, some elements are found in greater abundance in living organisms. These elements are oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus.>>

So everything when ground down to "dust" resembles everything else. Why then just make humans out of mud or soil? It only makes for a good story, which reduces human beings to common dirt and allows them to think of themselves as common dirt. Why?

Try this site for how closely we are related to other life: http://freepeoplesearch.org/blog/were-all-related-12-things-you-might-not-know-about-human-dna.html

<<In fact, we now know that we share over 97% of our genetic blueprint with orangutans and a whopping 99% with chimps. Those tiny differences – the 1-3% – explain why most of us look and behave a little differently than these monkey relatives of ours. It is likely that the common ancestor of chimps, humans, orangutans and bonobo monkeys flourished in Africa some five million years ago. >>

And...with fungi:

<<Though we may consider ourselves rather distantly related to our tree and flower cousins in the plant kingdom, in contrast we are in fact as genetically similar to members of the fungi world as we are to other mammals. On the scale of genetic comparisons, we share only very minute differences with the common button mushroom or the portobello.>>

So, although as you state that humans are not special, only humans required God to make them out of dirt, rather than use his incredible conjuring power to make them from the Nothing substance of which he made Everything else. Why make that difference in the Garden story?

As for interbreeding, you brought up the lacking penile bone as a good moral story on not to interbreed. I stated that it hardly seemed necessary as no species interbreeds with another and this Bible "fact" has been used to denigrate women and place their very lives as owed to the male of our species.

Of course there were most probably several "Eves" and "Adams" as well unless we attribute to magic some other way of procreation. Lilith as a fictional character was made from dirt, as was Adam the fictional character at the same time, but had the good sense to be her own person, instead of a second class citizen of the Garden. The fictional Eve was made differently, so that she owed her life to Adam. "It was a set up, I tell you."

You reply to me:

Me: <<Eve represents to Christian men the woman who relies upon him for her very being and was made to be subservient. >>

You: <<Here your interpretation of scripture is as ill founded as that of Literal Creationists. >>

Exactly so. I am interpreting it that way for effect, not because I believe it but because many sects teach it. And...there is a major problem with the Garden story. Why make it that way? Power over the female? Whether or not the story actually wants the readers to imagine a male and female each as half a partnership to make them whole, it hasn't been used that way throughout history. The whole of the Garden story has been used to keep the female in her place and guilty of bringing sin and death and pain and sorrow into the world and the female has suffered greatly from this notion of male supremacy.

I wrote:

<<That lesson is strong in the Garden myth and was taken to heart by many who controlled the Church and the masses. To this day, learning too much is thought to be bad, prideful, sometimes sinful and the bringer of evil upon the individual and the whole of humanity. >>

By whom you ask. Wow, you don't get. out of your circle much do you? Well..by my neighbors, by much of rural country, by several Christian sects. Leaders? Sure, both throughout history recent and past, and today in various third world nations. I bet there may be some person you know who believes that too much learning is detrimental to people. Book-learning as the beginning of a path of sin. When my husband talks with some constituents (and he is running again for elected county office) he doesn't mention his advanced degree or his membership in a national honor society....because they scorn too much book-learning and value his real-life learning more.

I agree the myth of the garden and original sin is what each makes of it...or what each is taught of it. And, there is the problem for anyone past the Stone Age.

I never said discard the NT. I have repeatedly in this topic stated that the NT and the story of Jesus should be the base of Christianity.

Time short. Must stop.

But why do you think I am angry and hurt by my past experiences? You may have written that reply to me and if so..sorry. Really gotta go.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
jeanne53: Hi

Why then just make humans out of mud or soil? It only makes for a good story,

Quite so, I agree, but I don't think the author of the story intended to intimate the conclusion you reach when you say:

"which reduces human beings to common dirt and allows them to think of themselves as common dirt". Why?

There may have been no 'Why' as far as the author was concerned. Inferring that human beings were 'just dirt' may not have been his intention at all. The fact that some modern readers may see themselves personified in HIS story as 'worthless dirt' is entirely down to the way they have understood it, (influenced more by their own psychoses than by the story TELLERS intent).

This is what I meant by The Bible reading people rather than them reading it. Fundamentalists, atheists, (and all of us I suppose), often reveal deepest heartfelt and (frequenly HIDDEN from even ourselves), beliefs; in the way we choose to interpret and apply or reject scripture. Watch, listen, observe and learn!

Try this site for how closely we are related to other life:

I have no problem with that Jeanne, I am an evolutionist when it comes to physical life on earth. My point was suggesting that everything is basically made of 'mud' if water is included. It is hardly surprising then that we have elements in common with almost everything, but some creatures are more like us than others.

http://www.askabiologist.org.uk/answers/viewtopic.php?id=12889

So, although as you state that humans are not special, only humans required God to make them out of dirt, rather than use his incredible conjuring power to make them from the Nothing substance of which he made Everything else. Why make that difference in the Garden story?

You obviously have not read the story properly Jeanne. The animals were also made of 'mud', not just man.

So the Lord God formed from the soil every kind of animal and bird, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever he called them, that was their name. But still there was no proper helper for the man. Gen. 2:19-20.

Which brings us back to the fact that the story teller, in this case The Yahwist, (chapter one having probably been mostly authored or compiled by The Priestly writer), sees man and the animals as having ALL been made from the same stuff, 'the ground or mud'; by God.

One might say this is a poetic way of saying what science now thinks has happened but is just unable to discern a deity overseeing the process.

As for interbreeding, you brought up the lacking penile bone as a good moral story on not to interbreed.

Actually I was suggesting 'the naming of animals, not finding one suitable for procreation' as the 'moral story' inferring there might be something wrong with bestiality. Gen. 2:18-20.

I stated that it hardly seemed necessary as no species interbreeds with another and this Bible "fact" has been used to denigrate women and place their very lives as owed to the male of our species.

You might say that but the practice of humans engaging in intercourse with animals was fairly common among the tribes of Canaan. Why else would it have been prohibited in Lev. 18:23-24.

Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:

Bear in mind that this text was also probably recorded by The Yahwist writer.

It was also common practice in the Roman Empire judging from some of the statuary we have featuring such and celebrating their religious practices in emulation of some of their more lustful animal 'gods', Bacchus or Pan in particular.

The fictional Eve was made differently, so that she owed her life to Adam. "It was a set up, I tell you."

Actually she owed her life to God, who the story says, performed the operation. She was Adams absolute mirror image 'other half' and had the original 'breath of God' animating her as did Adam. They were not opposites, they were complementary halves, they were, as the story suggests 'one flesh'.

I am interpreting it that way for effect, not because I believe it but because many sects teach it. And...there is a major problem with the Garden story. Why make it that way? Power over the female? Whether or not the story actually wants the readers to imagine a male and female each as half a partnership to make them whole, it hasn't been used that way throughout history. The whole of the Garden story has been used to keep the female in her place and guilty of bringing sin and death and pain and sorrow into the world and the female has suffered greatly from this notion of male supremacy.

I completely agree with you. What you suggest however is not the fault of the story or the story teller, it is the fault of the people who have USED it to further their own wicked hearts desires. Once again Biblical interpretation revealing the innermost secrets of their degenerate nature. The true nature of mankind is absolute complimentary equality of man and woman. The fact that it is so rarely 'lived out' is the major point of the author's story. A moral point I might add that is mutually blindly unobserved by fanatical fundamental creationist and antipathetic atheist alike.

When my husband talks with some constituents (and he is running again for elected county office) he doesn't mention his advanced degree or his membership in a national honor society....because they scorn too much book-learning and value his real-life learning more.

Irony was a literary device obviously understood by our Yahwist story writer. Chapter 2-3 of Genesis is full of it. In Chapter 1 there is none, because the Yahwist was not the author of that account.

The woman was convinced. How lovely and fresh looking it was! And it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit and gave some to her husband, and he ate it too. And as they ate it, suddenly they became aware of their nakedness, and were embarrassed. Gen. 3:6-7.

So this fictitious 'fruit' that was supposed by them to confer 'wisdom', actually only alerted them to their vulnerability. They became suspicious and fearful of God and self conscious, ashamed and awkward with each other. No longer 'one flesh' in complete agreement but, defensive, accusatory and rivals shifting blame from themselves.

Was this 'wise' behaviour. Of course it was not. It was the epiphany of human IGNORANCE. Your husband was the victim of HUMAN IGNORANCE because his constituents fear and loathe anyone they think might be wiser or more learned than themselves. The same constituency from whence came President Trump's majority. "He is one of US they cry". 'No book learning'. A fact he proves with every tweet.

I never said discard the NT. I have repeatedly in this topic stated that the NT and the story of Jesus should be the base of Christianity.

Yes, and to any sound Christian Theologian it is. The Old Testament points toward and prepares for Christ and should always be understood in the light of HIS teaching, not our own prejudices.

But why do you think I am angry and hurt by my past experiences? You may have written that reply to me and if so..sorry.

I just felt by the tone of the language that you must have been 'put through the wringer' by some religious bigots way back when, and have, phoenix like, risen from the ashes of the experience but with the smell of scorched feathers still in your nostrils.

I am as annoyed with purveyors of false religious certainty as you are, particularly when they demonstrate by their conduct that they are ignorant of the meaning of LOVE and strangers to the truth.

As always: Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.

Last edited by:

rdrcofe: Dec 13, 2017, 3:10 PM
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

Okay, I will have to read the animals and all from soil, dirt, mud part to see if I must fully agree with you. Laugh

And...no, nobody ever put me through the wringer. My experience with my youthful belief was ever only good for me, actually.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."

Last edited by:

jeanne53: Dec 14, 2017, 3:38 AM
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
  jeanne: Hi.

Is it any wonder why modern humans are more and more suspicious of its authenticity and truth?

Mistakenly so if they equate 'authenticity' and 'truth' with historical actuality and factual reality. Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Luke 6:39.

Suspicion is only a good thing if it leads to understanding. It is a bad thing if it closes the mind to other possible interpretations of the facts. The only facts we have in this instance are the text itself and what we can actually retrieve from history. Atheists reject 'religion' and therefore see no meaning in the text. Fundamentalists reject extra biblical historical evidence and textual analysis so see meaning in the text that is not there.

The blind leading the blind in both cases.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.
Quote Reply
Re: [rdrcofe] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
Hi Chris.

As you can see, I deleted most of my rambling mess.

As for suspicion, it leads to the path the individual chooses to be the correct one for themselves. Whether anyone else thinks it is the wrong one is not at all important, if the path doesn't end with evil, that is causing harm and sorrow to others.

I might understand why and how another can come to a certain interpretation, but that doesn't mean that I must accept it as my own. You are correct in stating that we have the text itself and what can be found in historical documents, but also in the manner the text was selected and in the historical significance of the text on humanity and the histories of comparable religions and on the opinions of theological scholars and normal folk and facts from science and facts from our own experiences.

Atheists reject the existence of any and all deities. Religion is a human corporation. If you mean that atheists see no proof of the existence of deities within any scripture, you are right. As for meaning, it is subjective and one's starting point of willingness to believe in what one wants to believe makes all the difference. I was willing to believe until I was no longer willing to believe. Each atheist has a path of his or her own that leads them away from belief. Mine was not traumatic. My children have never been willing to believe, as they were raised without the presence of deity belief in our family life. There must be some need to believe for there to be willingness to believe. We do not understand why most people have that need to believe.

Each of us here on this site have come to think of our understanding of God, Jesus and the Bible as a correct viewpoint or opinion. Neither of us thinks that we followed blindly into this viewpoint. And...fortunately, it seems that each of us has managed to live without evil after we formed our opinion.

So...each of us feels the others to be blind in varying degrees. What must each of the blind ones be willing to understand to make us see what the other considers to be obvious truth?

And...why would that be necessary? There is no starting point.

-Jeanne
"The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient."
Quote Reply
Re: [jeanne53] An Introduction to the Book of Genesis In reply to
jeanne: Hi

Hope you enjoy your cruise and safely return to us.

Atheists reject the existence of any and all deities. Religion is a human corporation. If you mean that atheists see no proof of the existence of deities within any scripture, you are right. As for meaning, it is subjective and one's starting point of willingness to believe in what one wants to believe makes all the difference.

One does not have to believe in any deities to discern meaning in Genesis ch. 1-5. Or in any other Biblical passage for that matter. The Bible is not interested in proving the existence of God, it is interested in teaching mankind to get along with each other, because that is what God most wants to happen. Religion is a 'take it or leave it' option as far as God is concerned. He is interested more in our behavior toward others than in unproven and possibly baseless religious theories.

Jesus said "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and yet not do as I say?" Luke 6:46.

As for meaning, it is subjective . . . .

Of course, and an Aesop's fable is just as instructive to an unbelieving but sensible atheist as it is to a believing deist. Neither has to believe that animals can actually 'talk' as they are made to do often in the fables of Aesop. Both can appreciate that the text is suggesting something much more subtle than trying to convince anyone that animals can talk.

Regards Chris.
Love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Pet.4:8b.