Friday, September 16, 2011

Adam and Eve and all that stuff



I admit God passed me by for most of my life, although I went along to confirmation classes to get a sup of  wine underage on a Sunday and joined the church choir because I had the hots for a girl called Cheryl; someone has to have the hots for a girl with the same name as one of the singers in Buck's Fizz.

I've spent most of the rest of my life with a skepticism for religion which all the threats to the well being of my soul have failed to quench. For a start hanging out with all those horny devils down below and having a BBQ every night sounds like more fun than lounging around on a cloud all day with a giant harp.

So when my daughter recently developed an interest in the Bible; coincidentally after a few too many summer school classes at church play groups, I was somewhat disconcerted at first.

But finally I got into reading the Bible to her at night; not because I'm about to see the light and start spouting off about how we should divorce people with Alzheimer's. Rather because there was actually some interesting stuff in there and I missed many of the nuances in a younger life.

We started at the beginning, of course. God created the universe etc. I had previously missed the fact that no sooner had God created man than he charged him with naming all the animal and birds. Now I'm not being funny but if someone had just thrown me together from a few handfuls of earth and he charged me with naming all the animal and birds, I'd be somewhat pissed.

There are 5,490 species of animals alone and 9,998 birds. That's before we even get to amphibians and reptiles. Fish remain a grey area; there are 31,300 of those. To give this task to one man strikes me as the most unfair kind of delegation. You wouldn't even have time to enjoy the Garden of Eden, let alone chomp on apples from the forbidden tree.

If this wasn't enough God ripped out one of Adam's ribs while he was sleeping and whipped it into a woman. Nowhere in the bible does it say if this was a spare rib or if Adam really wanted his rib morphed into a chick. On the second day Eve whipped up a list and instructed him to load the dish washer and take out the garbage.

There's also rather an ungallant moment that I picked up on my latest reading of Genesis. When God came over all angry about the apple stealing incident Adam said something to the effect of: "It wasn't me guv - that chick you put down here gave me the apple and I ate it."

OK then there's some stuff about snakes being somewhat badass and God making them eat dust for eternity, that and the occasional Indian villager. And women, the Bible says, will always hate snakes. I have actually dated women who hate snakes. In saying that I know women who hate spiders and rate and the Bible doesn't have much to say about them.

Anyhow God said to the woman after that small misunderstanding with the apple: " I will increase your trouble in pregnancy and your pain in giving birth. In spite of this you will still have desire for your husband, yet you will be subject to him."

Run those last six words by me again.

By this stage I am getting somewhat freaked out because it has become clear to me my daughter can recite whole passages from Genesis almost flawlessly, whereas I can't even recite what I had for breakfast.

So God sent Adam out of the Garden of Eden and made him cultivate the soil from which he had been formed, which is a rather disconcerting idea. Then Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain offered his harvest to God and Abel offered the best part of his sheep.

But while God gave Abel positive reinforcement he rejected Cain's offering, leading Cain to kill Abel. Now I'm getting into it at this point because it occurs to me that while I have always known that Cain killed his brother, I never really knew why; and to be honest God should have know better than to show favoritism in my humble opinion. Not that it in any way excuses killing one's brother. I did once feel like killing my brother after he developed anal tendencies when I dropped crumbs in his new car, but in reality it wouldn't have gone further than a quick punch in the side.

Needless to say Cain is even less popular with God after the killing and he is banished to the East of Eden in a land called "Wandering" to toil in some even less prepossessing soil and come up with the names of the animals Adam left off the list; like the duck billed platypus, for example.

Then Cain and his wife had a son and named him Enoch, in anticipation of rivers of blood, perhaps. And then..

Hang on. You don't need to be Columbo to have a 'just one more thing' moment at this juncture. If Adam and Eve had just two sons where exactly did Cain's conveniently unnamed wife come from?

Sign me up to Bible studies, baby.

Now I'm getting a guilt trip, no doubt followed by a freak bolt of lightning that will hit me in bed. What if my posting leads me to lose another follower after the mystery person who unfollowed me last week? And I turn to the front page of the Bible and see an inscription from Proverbs written by a Sunday school teacher called Barbara who I have a vague gray and bespectacled memory of. It's from 1981. The poor woman is surely dead now and she would rest uneasy in her grave at my many blasphemies.

17 comments:

  1. I think this is just brilliant. Very well written and made me smile in a LOT of places. Isn't it funny how we just forget the details over time... Don't think you should worry about losing followers- you've gained a commenter!

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  2. A fun read.

    The thing with the Bible that most people forget (or just gloss over) is that it was written A VERY LONG TIME AGO by men. In those days they didn't have the benefit of science and Charles Darwin's explanations of evolution. Whoever wrote Genesis was a great storyteller. He was dealing with an illiterate audience. Even if God has explained to him that it actually took millions of years to create earth and not just a (very busy) working week, nobody would have believed him. Simple people needed a simple tale which is what they got. They could understand and relate to it. It made sense to them. Now, let's move forward a few thousand years and we all know a few more things about the world we live in. Why doesn't someone re-write Genesis with what we know? You can still believe that it was all in God's plan, but it just took him a whole lot longer. Eventually some humans arrived and they weren't very nice to each other, so God punished them (though they were doing a pretty fine job of hurting each other themselves).

    We're very clever these days, yet it amazes me that people take Genesis as literal. It's a story to simplify millions of years of creation, evolution and man's descent into war, jealousy and hatred. A STORY!

    I think you're safe from the lightning bolt. God's probably been trying to get someone to rewrite those chapters for centuries! You offering?

    PS - I try not to take it personally when a follower leaves, but it's hard not to! I console myself with thinking that maybe they just cancelled their whole account!

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  3. There are a lot of mysteries in the Bible for sure. Scholars have struggled over some of the inconsistencies for years. Studying it is the first step to figuring some of them out. There are many passages that offer us wisdom and hope and inspiration, in my opinion, though, even if there are inconsistencies and things that can't be explained.

    And, I think Adam SHOULD load the dish washer and take out the garbage. Eve probably cooked the dinner, so he could at least help clean up, right? Just saying... ;)

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  4. Brilliant David. Absolutely brilliant!

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  5. Liked this. Enjoyed your thought process.

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  6. David;

    As always I enjoy your posts for two primary reasons - first; the writing is always wonderful - well developed, builds beautifully and flows seamlessly. Second, because no matter the topic, you have a particular elegance and wry humor in your presentation.

    Great perspective - loved the post.

    Best;

    PMT

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  7. Wonderfully written...Not sure if I should comment being a "Heathen" and all...but not just the Bible, every religious books has inconsistencies, exaggerations galore and lots of magical powers...wish Gods/Goddesses had passed some to us....except for the good stuff they help imbibe, I see them as the original fantasy and science fiction novels that J.R.R Tolkien and Issac Asimov took inspiration from.

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  8. I love this! I've always had an issue with religion as a whole--- another idea to ponder along with Cain's "convenient and unnamed wife"...one that I've always had a problem with... if Eve was formed from one of Adam's ribs, wasn't he, in essence, having sex with himself?? Seems a bit odd, but, maybe it's just me.... :-)

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  9. Great post David! I vaguely remember explaining to my Bible school class that the dinosaurs became extinct because they weren't allowed on the Ark - they were just too big to fit.

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  10. LOL! This made me laugh. I've forgotten a lot of stuff I learned from the Bible. Might be time for me to do a reread, too.

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  11. Oh my God. David, you seriously need to put out a Bible with your own commentary. This is hysterical!! Or you should at least teach Bible classes. I would attend them, just for your wit and hilarity alone. :)

    It's true the things that are so obvious in the Bible and yet so many "Christians" do not acknowledge it. Frightful thing, the Bible can be, when placed in the hands of someone who has an agenda.

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  12. PS. I realized I never told you what pinning is. It's basically when you find pretty images online (shoes, bunnies, cupcakes, etc) and post them to inspiration boards on Pinterest. I'm going to assume right away this activity does not interest you. ;)

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  13. Such a great post! Love visiting your blog!

    Lola x
    http://lola-x.blogspot.com

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  14. Another great post. I'm sure you realised I would like this one in particular after our discussion of dinosaurs missing from the bible. I hadn't thought about the notably missing duck billed platypus but now I always will.

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  15. thx Bth - it's mad how we do forget details. Wow thanks for the long posting WrightStuff; you raise a good point.it's actually amazing how much action is packed in a short space, no beating about the bush, well just the burning one.

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  16. for sure Daisy. I think the problem was the fact Eve wanted to make apple pie. Thanx so much Lidia. Cheers tbx and thanks for the follow that made up for my lost follower. Thanks Pam - you are so kind, even if I don't feel they are always so winderful. for sure Rek - always enjoy your prespective.

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  17. OMG eas - I hadn't really thought of that, excellent point. I know Li,the dinosaurs are a bit inconvenient. You should Talli; lots of great material there. Great idea J - maybe an alternative bible should be in order. Yeah don't think I'm pining for pinning. thanks so much Lola - I know Abi - they are a big omission. thx so much.

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