I will start by saying that, so far, the Bible has been a pretty good read. A lot happens in Genesis 1-10, thus I have decided to split this post into two parts. This is a still a work in progress and I am not totally sure how I will approach it. For now, I have given a sentence or two summarizing each chapter. Then, I give you my unfiltered and knee-jerk reactions to what I have read. I look forward to thoughtful conversation and to start this undertaking with you!
Genesis 1-5 Summary: God created earth and Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve getting ousted from the Garden of Eden after eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve’s oldest son kills his brother.
Genesis 1: God created the earth in six days, then he took a break.
- I find it fascinating that after each day of creation, the Bible says, “And God saw that it was good.” (e.g., Gen 1:10). It implies to me that the concept of goodness is not something that God always possessed. He had to be shown goodness. Goodness that appears to be something that even God himself had to learn. But an all-knowing God would not have found the concept of good and bad as something to be learned. Does that then mean that goodness exists outside of God as a universal truth that even he cannot escape? Or was this just God expressing how pleased he was with himself for almost a whole week’s worth of work?
- God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen 1:26). Our?
- God gives everything he has put on earth for human consumption. (Gen 1:28-31). Could this explain the American religious right’s views on climate change and conservation? Probably, but they’ll never say it out loud—unlike me.
Genesis 2: God creates Adam out of dirt. Adam is set up on a blind date. God tells Adam to stay away from that tree.
- God formed Adam from “the dust from the ground.” (Gen 2:7). Adam was a dirty boy.
- God told Adam, take all you want, eat all you take, but whatever you do, do not eat from that tree over there unless you want to die. (Gen 2: 16-17). The tree is special because it is the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
- Now that God figured out what was good (see above), he planted a tree that would give man the same knowledge he had of good and evil. All the man had to do was eat the forbidden fruit—seems like a pretty easy road to enlightenment.
- God decides that “It [was] not good that the man should be alone.” (Gen 2:18). It seems like God was tired of taking care of Adam all by himself. This is the first evidence we have that even God recognizes men need someone to take care of them and keep them company–kind of like a baby.
- While Adam was sleeping, God took one of his ribs and used it to make Eve. Adam woke up the next morning in a hotel room in Mexico sitting in a bathtub full of ice.
- Just for the record, men and women have the same number of ribs. Go ahead, google it.
- Finally Adam and Eve were naked. But they weren’t ashamed. (Gen 2: 25). This is important later . . .
Genesis 3: Eve meets a serpent and screws everything up. Adam takes no responsibility for his decision to eat the forbidden fruit.
- The serpent tells Eve that God lied to her and if she ate the fruit she wouldn’t die. Rather, the serpent says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5).
- Eve decided to try the fruit. It looked delicious, it was pretty and the tree could “make one wise . . .”
- Once they eat the fruit, their eyes are “opened.” (Gen 3:7). Yet, they do not die. (I do acknowledge at this point that “die” might imply that they are immortal until they eat the forbidden fruit and are cast out of Eden).
- God lied in order to withhold wisdom and knowledge from Adam and Eve. Why would he lie? What is the harm in wisdom? From what I can tell, the harm is that when people begin thinking for themselves, they begin questioning everything. God wanted a flock of sheep, not rational, thinking men and women.
- All of a sudden they realized they were naked and immediately covered themselves up. I guess knowing good and evil, means you know your naked body is evil. But if God made man in his own image, is God inherently evil? Even God body shames others.
- Adam immediately tells on Eve and tells God that “the woman whom you (God) gave to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree . . .” Way to go, Adam. You were a real gentleman. The funny thing is that God doesn’t even seem phased by Adam sassing him and taking zero responsibility for his actions.
- God agrees with Adam and tells Eve that because of her, now it is going to really hurt to have babies, her desire should always be for her husband, and “he shall rule over you.” (Gen 3:16). Woman = chattel.
- For Adam, he had to become a farmer and God was cutting him off like a parent does to a college student who won’t attend his intro to Philosophy class while he is away at college. (Gen 3:18-19).
- Turns out, there was also a tree of life. It would make Adam and Eve immortal. But God said, “Behold, the man has become one of us in knowing good and evil. Now lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever . . .” Again with the “us.”
- This seems to imply that the only thing standing between man and God is immortality now that Adam and Eve at from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If this logic is true, how great can God really be? Does this mean that just like humans, he makes mistakes, he learns, he throws temper tantrums, and throws out his company. Does it mean that he is intellectually limited just like man? It appears so.
- He sent Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, made them some clothes and placed an angelic-like beings (cherubim/cherubs) and a flaming sword that turned “every way to guard the tree of life.” (Gen 3:20-21; 24).
- We have been introduced to angels, a floating flaming sword, and a talking snake. This is getting good.
Genesis 4: Adam and Eve are expecting and it’s a boy . . . two boys (Cain and Abel)! God registers for gifts and Cain goes off registry.
- Eve is so grateful that God blessed her with two boys. (Gen 4:1-2). Who would want a girl anyway? Yuck.
- Eve’s sons were Cain and Abel. They both brought offerings to God. Cain decided on “the fruit of the ground,” and Abel sprung for fat and the firstborn of his flock. (Gen:4:3-4). I assume these are sheep.
- God hated Cain’s gift and told him it sucked. (Gen 4:4-5)
- That pissed Cain off, and seeing Cain was upset, God began patronizingly asking Cain why he was angry. He said, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Gen 4:6-7). Is failing to please God with an offering is itself a sin? How could Cain know? It’s not like God could register on Amazon.
- Cain and Abel went on a walk and Cain killed Abel. (Gen 4:8). This angered God. God told Cain that he was going to be a wanderer and a fugitive on the earth. (Gen 4:12). Cain complained that his punishment was unbearable (what a wiener), and that anyone who saw him should kill him. God decided that nobody would be allowed to hurt Cain or he would punish them seven-fold. So, Cain moved down the road to Nod—that’s east of Eden. (Gen 4:16).
- Now that Cain was living away from home, he got married and had a kid named Enoch. They grow up so fast.
Genesis 5: From Adam to Noah, a family tree.
- Needless to say, Noah is a descendant of Adam. Adam lived 930 years before he died. The rest of his family also enjoyed what seems like obscene hereditary longevity. I guess an organic diet really can do wonders for one’s health.