When we ended last week, Adam and Eve had been evicted from Eden. Since myths shape our understanding of ourselves, let’s evaluate this. How do we see ourselves through this story?
Humans are flawed idiots who screwed up and are cursed forever, who aren’t where they belong and can never make it right until they die. Cheery. But let’s move on to somewhat more positive matters – like fratricide. (Which my spell check won’t recognize, for some reason.)
4: So Adam and Eve’s first kids are Cain (the farmer), and Abel (the shepherd). Both brothers offer a share of their labor to god, who prefers Abel’s. This is rather rude. Why play favorites? Why is mutton so much better than wheat? Does god get his kicks out of turning people against each other?
Anyway, Cain gets pissed off and kills Abel. You’d think being rejected by the big man in the sky wouldn’t be that much of a downer, but apparently it is. Then god punishes Cain… and marks him so no one will kill him. Am I missing something here? Sinners go to hell for eternal torment, right? So why is he prolonging Cain’s life? Whatever. Moving on. It’s also good to note that myths helped set up societal standards and rules. The moral here? Don’t kill your relatives. Also, don’t be a farmer.
Cain finds a wife somewhere, which brings up yet another question. Where the heck did she come from? Either she’s his sister, or random people are popping out of nowhere. Wonderful.
We then get a brilliant list of people having kids.
5: More kids. Also, Adam lives to be nine hundred and thirty years old. Either years meant months, or we have some serious life extension treatments going on.
6: “When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose” – I’m not a hundred percent sure of who ‘sons of God’ are. Perhaps angels? If so, so much for the ‘pure servants of god’ shtick. Everyone in the Bible is chasing after a girl… except god. Maybe he’s jealous and that’s why Eve bugged him so much.
God becomes annoyed, and limits everyone’s life span to one hundred and twenty years. This is kind of odd, because Noah (mentioned later) is said to have lived for nine hundred and fifty.
The story of Noah begins when god sees that all humans are wicked and evil or whatever, and “the Lord was sorry that he had made humankind on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart”. Hindsight is 20/20 in deities too, it seems. Anyway, he decides, “I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created – people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air”. That’s just cold. What did the animals do?
However, god likes Noah, who is apparently still decent, so he warns him and tells him to make a boat to save himself from the flood. He takes up two of every animal (again, the writers of the Bible clearly had no understanding of inbreeding) as well as his sons and their wives. Notice the odd progression of thought here: all mankind is evil -> Noah is ok -> Noah’s sons are ok -> they can all bring their wives. God is a big generalizer, it seems.
Tune in next time for the flood!