Deconstructing Genesis

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by citizenzen, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Shawn, what I am saying is that if we want to know how life started here on earth, we study the field of evolutionary biology.

    If we want to know how the universe started we study astrophyics.

    If we want to learn ethical and moral lessons we might study Genesis.

    Of course, we always have to consider new evidence, as the saying goes, that is what puts the "re-" in "research". :)

    Sorry if I came off as arrogant :eek:, it is past my bedtime.
     
  2. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    One might also study Hammurabi's Code. Genesis is not the first or last word when it comes to ethical and moral lessons.

    Could you relate to us some of the moral lessons you learned from Genesis?
     
  3. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I learned that as a parent that it is natural if I tell my kids not to do something that they will try it (forbidden fruit)

    I learned that planning for the worst and implimenting those plans is valuable (noah)
     
  4. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    FS, it is a new thing. Religious studies scholars have noted it is uniquely American (originated here) and is quite recent (obviously, America itself is only 200 years old).

    For most of church history until Martin Luther, there were Catholics and those that dissented from Catholics (including Celtic Christians, gnostics, etc.). Then you got Lutheran and Anglican as the first Protestant movements, with smaller fringe movements such as the Amish and Quakers. Modern evangelical fundamentalism is very recent compared to the rest of church history, and it is quite unique in doctrinal focus and many of its ideas (such as a widespread belief in the rapture).

    There's nothing wrong with something being new. Druidry is only about 50 years old in its current modern incarnation and I still think it holds some truth and usefulness. But why spuriously pass off something recent as something old, when research clearly states otherwise?

    I learned that the animals and other creatures of the earth were actually designed as our companions, not resources for our use.

    I learned that first was the separation of light from darkness, before the origin of the stars- which speaks to a dualism, a sort of Taoist yin-yang (to me) before the beginning of creation.

    I learned that with knowledge comes responsibility, and that with full human-beingness, full adulthood, comes hard work.

    I learned that if you have a vision, something you feel strongly about, then you should follow it despite social ridicule (Noah's flood).
     
  5. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    Here is an interesting lesson.
    Adam in original vernacular means earth (clay, red earth).
    Allegorically this would mean the physical body, the outer principle.
    So we see that the body came first.
    The comes Eve.
    Eve means heart.
    Adam said," she is my heart...Eve."
    Allegorically this means the psyche, the inner principle, the mind.
    If you do bad (or good), first, your mind has to be convinced about it, then your body follows through with it.
    Idea becomes actualized.
    How can you be persuaded to do something....anything unless your mind is ready?
    Thoughts are represented by the serpent... NHSH, which means "to decipher, to find out".
    They have a "serpentine" nature to them as they move about within a person.

    I agree with CZ in that we need for people to actually understand the texts which they revere.
    By reading the story literally, one will become confused.
    The key is found in the proper names of people and places, etc.
    Then one reads the story allegorically and many fascinating lessons about "you" appear.
    It is kind of like the invisible ink trick.

    To try to glean wisdom from reading only the outer meaning of that text is like trying to gain physical sustenance from eating only the rinds of a fruit.
    Kind of stupid (would be the nicest thing I can say).
     
  6. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Now shawn, what are you doing reconstructing in the deconstructing thread. First you must thank CZ for putting this in Ancient History and Mythology, as he's opened the door for your very identifications.

    Now CZ, this isn't the be all and end all, though, it isn't just the literal interpretation and what Shawn provided.... let's see what you get out of it! (not superficially, dig my brother) Your biography is written and it is in this book!
     
  7. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    One tears down, the other builds up.
    Balance must be maintained.
    One hand washes the other....and all that jazz:D.
     
  8. Faithfulservant

    Faithfulservant New Member

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    oh yes.. then I agree with you.. Its called the Church of Philadelphia.. :)
     
  9. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    This book more than any other? Isn't that an arbitrary judgement? Why choose any book at all? My biography is being written moment to moment, it is not bound between the covers of a 2,000 year old tome.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Ah but that is exactly it. You've had or will have the A&E relationship, the Cain and Able, the Noah, the Jonah, the Joeseph...that is what makes it unique...well maybe not unique, I'm sure you can find similar in other books...but it also describes the value of these sacred texts...

    Not that they are 2,000 years old...but that they are applicable to assist you in your life today, incredible.
     
  11. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    Yet it seems many Christians (and non-Christians) see animals and the Earth as resources for man's use. If only more interpreted it your way, the world might be a better place to live.

    Whatever dude. I'm glad you get something from that. That just sounds like gibbledy-geck to me.

    My moms taught me that one.

    If you read Genesis, there is not one mention of social ridicule. Oh, wait... the flood was ridicule? Okaaay.

    But again... my moms taught me that too, and she was an atheist. Seems like these lessons can come from many sources. Even Godless ones!
     
  12. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    This is part of my point that the fall is God's fault and not man's. If any parent knows what Wil knows, why didn't God, who's supposed to be all-knowing?

    Where was God when Eve was being tempted by the snake? He literally arrives afterward to find his creation has gone terribly wrong. He even asks, "Did you eat the apple?" So where did God go at this crucial time? A mother knows that a newborn needs constant supervision and attention. Why doesn't God know what most every mother knows?

    Why does God tell Eve that she will "die" if she eats the fruit? Is this a lie? I suppose the answer is, well, she died "in a way," but why didn't God simply tell her the truth, "If you eat the fruit, I will be very angry, and you'll be banished from this garden." Why did God lie?

    Why didn't God just follow through with his original threat and kill A&E? He doesn't seem hesitant about wiping the Earth of every living creature when humans disappoint Him. It would have been the smart thing to just start over with two new humans. God's poor decision-making comes to fruition when just one generation later Cain slays Abel. He has to send a flood to kill (nearly) all of humanity. Even then he (supposedly) has to send Jesus to die for our sins. It's pretty evident that the creation that God thought was "good" turned out to be only "fair" and in need of constant maintenance.

    And through this all we never question God and His ability to manage His creation. That's part of that confuses me the most. The myth clearly indicates that the Creator is to blame for these failures. How is it that God's is viewed as all-powerful, all-knowing, all-pervasive and yet these qualities aren't in evidence in Genesis?

    Now it's easy for me to explain this contradiction: Genesis is a fable, a weakly concocted myth that should not be taken any more seriously than the other creation myths spun by cultures around the globe.
    Africa
    Bakuba - In the Bakuba account of demiurge, the Earth was originally nothing but water and darkness, ruled by the giant Mbombo. This giant, after feeling an intense pain in his stomach one day, vomited up the sun, moon, and stars.

    Maasai - The Maasai of Kenya in their creation narrative recount the origin of humanity to be fashioned by the Creator deity from a single tree or leg which split into three pieces.

    Voodoo - Damballah (Sky-serpent loa and wise and loving Father archetype) created all the waters of the earth. In the form of a serpent, the movement of his 7,000 coils formed hills and valleys on earth and brought forth stars and planets in the cosmos. He forged metals from heat and sent forth lightning bolts to form the sacred rocks and stones.​

    Asia
    Ainu - The Ainu people of Hokkaidō recount the demiurge with a cosmology consisting of six heavens and six hells where gods, demons, and animals lived. Demons lived in the lower heavens. Amongst the stars and the clouds lived the lesser gods. In highest heaven lived Kamui, the creator god, and his servants. His realm was surrounded by a mighty metal wall and the only entrance was through a great iron gate.

    Hmong - According to Hmong tradition, a long time ago the rivers and ocean covered the Earth. A brother and sister were locked in a yellow wooden drum. The Sky People looked out and saw the Earth. Everything was dead. Only the yellow wooden drum was left on the water.

    Korea - A bear and a tiger wished to become humans. They prayed to the Supreme Being, Hwan-ung, and he gave them 20 cloves of garlic and a handful of mugwort, and told them to live in a dark cave for 100 days. The bear was patient enough to withstand the hardship of the cave and the starvation from eating only garlic and mugwort, but the tiger failed at the last minute and ran out of the cave.

    Shinto - The god Izanagi and goddess Izanami churned the ocean with a spear to make a small island of curdled salt. Two deities went down to the island, mixed there, and bore main islands, deities, and forefathers of Japan.

    Chinese - There was something featureless yet complete, born before heaven and earth; Silent – amorphous – it stood alone and unchanging. We may regard it as the mother of heaven and earth. Not knowing its name, I style it the "Way."

    The Way gave birth to unity, Unity gave birth to duality, Duality gave birth to trinity, Trinity gave birth to the myriad creatures. The myriad creatures bear yin on their back and embrace yang in their bosoms. They neutralize these vapors and thereby achieve harmony.​

    North America
    Kiowa Apache - In the beginning nothing existed, only darkness was everywhere. Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above.

    Aztec - The Aztec narrative describing creation proceeds with an Earth mother, "Coatlique", the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. At first she was whole without cracks in her body—a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and self-containment, yet her features were square and decapitated).

    Cherokee - In the beginning, there was just water. All the animals lived above it and the sky was overcrowded. They were all curious about what was beneath the water and one day Dayuni'si, the water beetle, volunteered to explore it. He explored the surface but could not find any solid ground. He explored below the surface to the bottom and all he found was mud which he brought back to the surface. After collecting the mud, it began to grow in size and spread outwards until it became the Earth as we know it.

    Creek - The Creek believe that the world was originally entirely underwater. The only land was a hill, called Nunne Chaha, and on the hill was a house, wherein lived Esaugetuh Emissee ("master of breath"). After thousands upon thousands of years he got lonely and decided he would create humanity out of clay.​
     
  13. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    You've done so well in Reconstructing Genesis! I am so proud of you!

    You see yes, Geneisis is a fable, but the part you have wrong is 'it should be taken JUST AS SERIOUSLY as any other creation fable!

    Each and every one of them has something to be gleaned from it. Of course this is better if you are a believer...and willing to look beyond the words.

    So now CZ the most amazing thing is. Yes the literalists blame man for the fall, my question is if it is a fable, and you believe it is, how do you blame G!d? You've stated he is just a bit player in the fable.

    And before you put me on high as a parent. It is soooo nice to have the creation story and to assist me in my learning about parenting.

    Now as an aside, as a Sunday school teacher one week I had to take care of both the High School kids and the elementary school kids. So we took the story A&E and the apple. I broke them into groups with each group having teens and youngins.. they were to act it out, any way they wanted, the only stipulation is they had to use everyone, and they all had to have lines and action. My favorite skit was where they set up like a school room, and the teacher had a bowl of candy on her desk, she got a call from the office and had to step out into the hall. Before she left she told her students they could have some candy from the bowl, they could have any candy from the bowl, any except for the red ones...

    You can picture the rest of the story....but the beauty of it is...the kids got it completely.
     
  14. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    A bit player? He was the director, the producer and the writer. A&E were a couple of unknown actors, yet they're the ones blamed when the movie bombed.
     
  15. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    CZ I am feeling ignored by your witty repertoire.
    I even went to some effort to contribute.
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Excuse me, again it appears you are believing that G!d litterally wrote, edited, translated, and selected the canon, amaxing.

    You gotta get over that fundamental atheism, it don't fly.
     
  17. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    But your efforts were appreciated nonetheless. I even tried to rep you earlier, but found I'd done that too much lately.

    Like, whatever rep system! :rolleyes:

    I'm a typical American... silent in my agreement... violently vocal in my dissent. Sorry for any confusion. :D
     
  18. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    I'm just going to take my ribbing like a man. But you wait... :p
     
  19. immortalitylost

    immortalitylost Say Meow.

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    OK, This whole genesis thing is getting crazy. It's a group of people's explanation of how they believe life was created. One of many. This is the oral tradition part of the bible.

    How could an omniscient God do what he did with Adam and Eve?

    What if what he did wasn't bad? What if that was just the human perspective showing through in their retelling of the history. An omniscient god would know what he was doing. From his perspective he knew adam and eve would eat the fruit. He would have also known what people would think and wright about that act, and about what he said to them once the "bad deed" was done.

    It's not God's bad. It's part of his plan. Like the rest of the world.

    Of course, I believe that the whole Adam an Eve thing was just a story created to explain why people were so much smarter than animals, why people could use them, "rule over them", and why people did such horrible things (ie. Cain), and animals didn't.

    As for Noah, the flood was obviously most likely localized. It would stand to reason that this is also a story created to explain the flood that killed so many of this group of people that they in all probability thought that it was a worldwide catastrophe. They explained it from their perspective, through their cultural beliefs.

    The same goes for Sodom and Gomorrah. I was watching a show about scientists finding evidence of a meteor that struck somewhere north of that stretch of land where the cities resided. The ground that blew up into the atmosphere landed. As it plummeted back towards the earth, it caught fire again. And it destroyed the cities. Surely the hand of God, if you look at it through the perspective of the Israelites of that time. There are also pillars of salt rising out of a lake near those cities. You see what I mean.

    So it's a story about events. Those events are explained by a certain group of people through the filter of their culture and their beliefs. But they are written in a way that knowledge can be gleaned from them. And it should. It should be taken just as seriously as any creation story from any other group of people. Because people may believe in different gods, but the God that created this world believes in, and created for a purpose, all people.

    Everything is relevant.

    Genesis included.

    The question I want answered is, if Adam and Eve were the first people created, the only people, and all others descended from these two... who were the people that their children paired up with? It says that they were distinct and separate people... where did they come from?
     
  20. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    That's interesting, shawn. Do you happen to have references for Adam & Eve? I had read that they mean "humankind" and "beginning/dawn" so I am curious...
     

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