Deconstructing Genesis

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

  1. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    HTML Bible Index - King James Version - Strongs Concordance - Frames Version
    This is one source, but one needs to use several concordances, lexicons and other tools to get a feel for the actual meaning of the word, plus read the text and think about it, read some lessons on it from various Jewish sources (after all the Rabbi's are the learned experts on all things Torah based)
    Here is another:
    http://bible.ort.org/books/torahd5.asp?action=displaypage&book=1&chapter=1&verse=1&portion=1
    I have several of these in hardcopy which I use so am not familiar with any internet resources, but I looked this one up for you.
    And the LORD God formed4 man [of] the dust of the ground,
    So Adam was made first from red clay, dust, thusly earthy.
     
  2. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Additionally Adam is the masculine form of adamah or earth.
     
  3. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Thanks! Very interesting!
     
  4. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    In it's simplest form, the story of A&E is about immortality. As long as they are kept within the confines of the Garden, they could live forever. Once they were banished, they would eventually die.

    The question was asked why A&E didn't die right away. They way I see it is that they did die (the process of death began as soon as they left the Garden, presumably the same day of the offense. The natural course of decay led them to eventual physical death, the fruition of the sentence was merely delayed, a slow death, as it were). If God knew what was going to happen, then he made contentions for the human race to continue. A&E procreated for some 800 years after the event in order to populate the world. The cycle of life and death preserves the human race up until this day.

    If there is any allegory in the story, it's the distinction between a life in God (the Giver of Life, and symbolized by the garden) and a life apart from God (which brings death, symbolized by banishment from the Garden).

    Even if A&E are themselves allegorical, that message is still clear. One must connect to God if one is to experience the fullness of life in His Spirit. The theory of evolution doesn't necessarily change that concept, because the Adamic race could be the race of HomoSapiens evolved to the point where God's presence and spirit can commune with Man. Perhaps, then, in the manner of choosing between communion with God or not is the Apple. The Tree of Life is safe haven. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a place learning, trial and error, we find out what satisfies the soul. Until that divergence leads us to we discover that the other tree is much better.

    So is too much knowledge evil? Not necessarily, because in contrast to evil, when properly recognized, we find the presence of good. How else would we be able to discern one from another.

    My question in all this is why the Garden is still banned? According to Genesis 3:22, A&E were banned because "the man has become like one of us, to know good and evil". Which seems to indicate that the Serpent was right when he told Eve, '..ye shall be as gods.' In what sense, though? That we have free will? Perhaps, and maybe that is why we were banished from the garden, lest we 'eat and live forever', until we find the wisdom of what to do with this newfound 'knowledge'. Only then when we have been properly orientated to the responsibilities of 'godhood' (and I use the term metaphorically) can we enjoy the Garden to the fullest.

    I also suspect that that won't happen until the human race learns as a whole. I do not believe that God intended us as individuals to hold 'godhood' over each other. There must be unity in spirit, which is hard to have when everyone has their own opinion.
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Staff Member

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    From a wider perspective, to me the whole point of the A&E story is to struggle with the question: "why are humans different from animals?"

    In that regard, Eden does not represent a paradise, but a state of ignorance - people being among the animals, and unable to perceive the world any differently.

    What we then have is humans - through the eating of the apple (through the connection with the snake*) that leads to a self-awareness that raises us above the state of the animal - an awareness that is both great and diminishing - a realisation of our place and our possibilities, but also the realisation that we shall die (which would have been the case anyway, just not aware of it).

    So the story is never about "sin" as much as becoming human, and if humanity has defied God (in the Genesis account) then it's solely because humanity has sought to rise above the animals and the "natural order" of things (hence the reference to eating the Tree of Knowledge, and therefore become like Gods - something rarely touched upon in the common Christian description).

    In which case, returning to a state like the Garden of Eden would be to become a savage, ignorant, animal again. Heaven forbid!



    * It's also interesting to note the role of snakes hinted at regarding female association.

    The Maya Prophecies book which claims earth destroyed in 2012 is utter pants, but it does contain a great treatise on the role of the snake in learning, lifted directly from native Central American tribal lore.

    Then there are a range of Greek legends (a number of which are probably composites from other legends) where women are associated with snakes and downfall - Prometheus has woman unleashing death; Medusa is alive with snakes; Python is originally resident at Delphi before Apollo slays it.

    All in all, it gives a strong impression to me that if there was a matriarchal society before recorded Patriarchal societies, then the snake was a symbol of learning and knowledge, and very much controlled by women. Which if considered, gives an extra level to the Genesis account.
     
  6. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    If we assume the writer was Moses, we also know that he was greatly familiar with the religion and rituals of ancient Egypt. Armed with this, would it be beyond the pale of reason to suggest that some ideas in the Genesis account could have been derived, in part, with that knowledge?

    Ancient Egyptians believed in the existence of seven souls (seven spirits, anyone?). Two of these souls are the ka (the life-force, closely connected to the body) and the ba (soul or personality).

    In Egyptian mythology, the snake-god Nehebkau guards the entrance to the underworld (but held as a benevalent god) and the one who binds the ka and the ba after death.

    So follow me on this. What if Moses is somehow relating this same figure in the snake of our Garden, that by tempting A&E he was invoking individual personality (ba) to their condition (thereby the idea of personality apart from God in a state of conscious knowledge).

    Interesting in reading further to discover that Egyptians would often invoke Nehebkau in magic spells in order to protect or cure snakebites. One can't help but wonder what was going through Mose's mind when he wrote about the incident in the wilderness where the Lord God sends venomous snakes to punish the Israelites for their complaining, only to have Moses construct a bronze snake (which in Judaism is called Nehushtan) for their cure.
     
  7. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    While many believe that, I can't make that assumption.
     
  8. Dondi

    Dondi Active Member

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    Well, play with me, please, for the sake of argument.
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I find a lot of metaphor and allegory in Genesis, but what I have come to believe is that it is a "mythical" telling of humanity passing from hunter-gatherer societies into agrarian societies along with the mental shift and knowledge explosion that followed. It is a telling of the dawning of "modern civilization," and the entering into the historic age with written language, told in a culturally relevent context that acknowledged G-d.

    Just as G-d had been acknowledged previously and universally already among human tribes, that aspect of human recognition of the Divine continued into the era of written language with Genesis and other more or less contemporary creation myths.

    I also find the passing of the human mind into consciousness from whatever pre-conscious state.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2009
  10. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Genesis is a book about how things work. It is concerned with origins and archetypes.

    Boomf, there you go...

    Chris
     
  11. Netti-Netti

    Netti-Netti New Member

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    Brian,

    G-d specifically assigned A&E dominion over the animals, which implies a separateness.

    To me, Eden is a baseline normal state of affairs that hasn't been ruined by afflictions like greed and conceit - wanting more than what was allotted and wanting to have divine powers for personal use.
     
  12. citizenzen

    citizenzen Custom User Title

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    More like, how things malfunction.
     
  13. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Well, I mean...who cares...really, it's just someone else's holy book.

    Chris
     
  14. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    You mean like the Caduceus?

    The whole apple/tree/snake thing was allegory for a sexual encounter that led to Eve's being impregnated by both her husband and this walking-talking "serpent" that later magically loses his arms and legs and is turned into a snake. She birthed fraternal twins by different fathers, Abel and Cain.

    Even if one happens to not buy into that allegory, it is still substantial to note that the human body is still referenced as a tree: the body is a trunk, we have limbs, and our progeny are kept track of via a "family tree."

    I would be interested in the Jewish POV on this aspect, but that is what I have learned over the years regarding some of the symbology contained in the story.

    The Adam and Eve story is a geneology of one family, father to son to grandson and so on. I haven't thought it to be the only family or original family on earth for quite a while, since there is a 6th day creation of men and women, and the 8th day creation of ha-Adam and later Eve. Not to mention genetics points to a mitochondrial Eve and a paternal Adam...bottleneck with founder affect, and all that jazz. ;)
     
  15. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    It is said that the one who got demonized in this garden story was actually a friend of humanity who was attempting to liberate people from their servitude to the Custodians/Elohim/Lord God, but was thwarted in his/their efforts and has been vilified ever since.
    I am not sure as to whose version of this pile of stories/wild speculations is correct, but if we keep adding nuggets we shall be able to have a good pile of mental compost, provided we water it and stir it about every so often.:D
     
  16. immortalitylost

    immortalitylost Say Meow.

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    Ooh, from the mental compost, sprouts the flowers of wisdom.

    The snake was demonized by man. This story of creation was man's story. It's a tale meant to explain the beginning. The unexplainable. God created the universe. God created the snake. The snake did right by his creator. Everything went according to plan, and the world is still a-spinnin. The story has its purpose just as the snake had its purpose within the story.

    Just as everything has its purpose.

    Putting God in the context of a slave master is letting your ego guide your thoughts. It's the simple refusal to acknowledge your position in regards to a higher power. Not you personally shawn, but you in the sense of whoever reads this.

    We are not small and insignificant. We are of the same stuff as, and part of that higher power, as well as manifestations of its will.

    We are not slaves. We are a part of God, and created by God.
     
  17. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    Hey Chris, this little sentence has me somewhat baffled, because :

    1) Since this is an interfaith forum and this thread is posted in an ancient history and mythology sub-forum, whom are you referring to as "someone else" ? It seems like all the posters are right here in this sub-forum, with you and I.

    2) Also, are you saying it is ok to deconstruct Genesis because it is someone else's holy book ? If so, does that mean it is not ok to deconstruct your's, just others ?

    3) Also, isn't the OT part of the Bible which includes the OT and NT ? If this is the case, your comment about "someone else's" holy book doesn't makes sense to me again.

    4) Interestingly, and perhaps ironically, the idea of deconstruction is quite appealing to me, as long as it is followed by reconstruction. :).

    The only reason I am asking is because I have read other posts of yours which made sense to me, but I do not understand this one.
     
  18. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    As parent, to me, Genesis is the result of millenia of children tugging at your clothing saying, why?, why?, why is the sky blue, where did we come from, why are the stars there, what makes a rainbow, who says...why why why...a compilation of the acceptable answers...

    And the issue is today...to many people use Genesis as the answer to those questions, and straghten up and fly right or G!d'll smite you and send plagues upon your family...
    ah, the joy of it.

    I'm thinking 2) was eliminated by 4) yes?

    We aren't really deconstructing but discussing other interpretations.
     
  19. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Sorry for the confusion. I was saying that to CZ. He's a Buddhist so it's not his holy book. But in general, the Bible is just a collection of old writings which are considered sacred by some, and not by others. Imagine us arguing over whether or not to take the story of Hercules literally.

    Chris
     
  20. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Now you've gone to far.

    But seriously Chris, that is exactly what we are doing. And exactly why it is so important.
     

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