A quick Google search told me that I am not the first person to blog the Bible. However, this is partly for my further education, and I’ll probably have different interpretations anyway. (Flaming lampstands, anyone? Oh yes – I read literally.)
Right now, I’m using the New Oxford Annotated edition. For the record, there are way too many versions of the Bible. This is my mother’s, but once I’m off to college, I might actually have to blow $20 and buy a copy. Oh the horror.
Enough chit-chat. Today I’m starting relatively slow – just reading the first three sections or chapters or whatever they’re called of Genesis. Once I see how long that takes me and how much I have to write about it, I can adjust as necessary. And so… we begin.
1: So far, typical creation story. The Big Creator Entity tells things to happen, and they do. Life must be pretty easy for him/her/it. (This begs the question – why doesn’t god fix everything by saying ‘Let there be enough food for everyone’ or ‘Let genocide go bye-bye’? Perhaps there is an explanation later.
God is talking in the royal we for some reason – “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness”. Is god plural now?
Ah, here’s where we get the first deviation from other myths. Most earlier myths had humans as part of the great worldly cycle, part of their environment. But here “let them have dominion… fill the earth and subdue it”. Instead of having their fingers on the pulse of the planet, humans now have their foot on the throat of mother Nature. Good call.
2: Wait… what? God already created humans. Now he made man again? It seems that someone put two different versions of the story in here and forgot to take one out. This time, at least, god makes man out of the earth, a throwback to old pagan, Earth mother days.
3: “So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” That is original sin? The big, bad thing that screwed the entire human race over, took away their immortality, and cast them out of paradise? Eating the apple of knowledge? That’s just… stupid. Why didn’t whoever wrote this thing just put in big bold letters ‘We want you to be ignorant sheep. Knowledge is bad. Do not question authority. Ever.’ Seriously. This is just a big conditioning thing. What on earth is wrong with knowledge and knowing the difference between good and evil? Oh wait – God says “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever.” So humans are no different from the gods? God is feeling threatened? This is rather odd… and definitely not covered in Sunday School. Basically, God curses the heck out of everyone (especially Eve, setting her up to take the fall for everything for the next few thousand years) and kicks humanity out before they find out they’re no different from him. Brilliant. And Adam and Eve don’t tell him to take a long walk off a short pier either. They just go along with it.
The best part is that this little myth – a story people made up thousands of years ago – is still hurting people today. I mean, seriously, how can you read this and take it literally? Men made of dirt, magic apples, talking snakes, all humanity coming from two people… (we’d all be really inbred by now, two heads and all). And yet people do, and the consequences often fall heaviest on the female half of the human race. Because of what some non-existent chick named Eve did in a fairy tale, women have borne the brunt of hatred and condemnation for centuries. Religious figures especially demonize them. Here are some interesting facts and quotations:
“Every woman should be filled with shame by the thought that she is a woman” – St. Clement of Alexandria
“To embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure” – Odo of Cluny
Thomas of Aquinas questioned whether women should have been made at all, since they are so imperfect.
Bishops at the sixth century council of Macon voted on whether women had souls.
This can be seen quite clearly in Medieval times, when the Church controlled most aspects of life. Women were the devil incarnate, the temptresses, the reason men had lost paradise. After all, many of the old pagan religions focused on goddesses. That must be wiped out. Witch burnings followed, as well as the simpler and quite effective method of banishing women from all positions of power, keeping them stuck in the house doing chores. It’s only recently that we’ve started coming back out – and in some countries, sexism is alive and well, thanks to a little parable about a talking snake.