Saturday, August 04, 2007

Where did God tell the truth and where did the serpent lie?

Let's do a little analysis of Genesis chapters 2 and 3 and see if we can't ascertain where God told the truth and where the serpent lied.

We start with Genesis 2:8-9:
8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
and Genesis 2:15-17:
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
With that, the stage is set. God creates Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden. In the Garden of Eden he has 2 trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Of these two trees, he forbids them to eat from the second tree (the tree of knowledge of good and evil), but makes no mention of the first (the tree of life). He tells them that if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they will die.

With this God has created the first temptation, the first command and the first deception.

This brings us to Genesis 3.

First let's look at Genesis 3:1-5:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' "

4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Pay close attention to what the serpent says here. He says that while God has told them they will die if they eat from the tree, and Eve affirms that if she touches the tree she will die, the serpent clarifies that she will actually not die, but instead gain the Knowledge of Good and Evil like God.

Which brings us to Genesis 3:6-7:
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Here Eve, prompted by the desire of knowledge and wisdom planted in her by God, listens to the advice of the serpent who tells her that she will not die if she eats from the tree, but will instead gain God's knowledge. She eats from the tree, shares with Adam and they both gain the knowledge of their own nakedness and clothe themselves.

Which brings us to Genesis 3:8-10:
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"

10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
Here we have God actually walking, as a physical being, through the Garden, where Adam and Eve hear him coming and hide themselves. God cannot find them and calls out to them, upon which they emerge and explain why they had hid themselves.

This brings up a few interesting points. First the question of why an omnipotent God would not be able to find them. Second, why was he physically strolling through the garden? We'll get to the latter point, and another related point, in a bit.

Next we have Genesis 3:11-13:
11 And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"

12 The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"
The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
Here God questions how they gained the knowledge of their nakedness and Eve places the blame on the serpent for deceiving her. (A bit humorous, given the context, as we'll see shortly.)

Upon hearing this, God proceeds to damn both them and the serpent for disobeying him, and in the process catching him in a lie.

Genesis 3:14-15:
14 So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
"Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.

15 And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel."
We see that God curses the snake to be reviled for eternity and be the enemy of man to be crushed under foot etc.

Then God proceeds to curse Adam and Eve for their part in the discovery...

Genesis 3:16-19:
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."

17 To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."
Here he not only curses Adam and Eve and all their descendants for eternity to suffer in every aspect of lives through pain and toil, as an added bonus he makes sure to point out that Eve (and all women thereafter) will be subservient to her husband as the master who will rule over her.

And this brings us to the key verses that tie it all together...

Genesis 3:21-24:
21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. 22 And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." 23 So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.
And there we have the clincher... God admits that instead of dieing, they did indeed gain his knowledge of good and evil just as the serpent said would happen, and that lest they eat from the other tree which he neglected to mention and become gods themselves, he makes sure to banish them from the garden and plant an angel with a flaming sword at the gate to make sure they can never get at that tree and gain the other half of what he has and become gods themselves.

So the question stands in its simplicity... Where did God tell the truth, and where did the serpent lie?

In case you missed it, notice that God specifically speaks of "one of us". Early Hebrew religion was polytheistic and anthropomorphized. The Gods were physical beings who strolled about the garden with Adam and Eve. They had human emotions and acted as humans, albeit with great knowledge, power and eternal life.

The particular God referred to in these chapters first creates Adam, then Eve, then tries to keep them from gaining his knowledge by threatening them with certain death if they eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He avoids mentioning the tree of life, as if they ate from that they would gain eternal life. The serpent then comes along and points out that God had lied, and that they would not die like he said, but gain his knowledge if they ate from it. When they ate from it, instead of dying like God had said, they did in fact gain his knowledge. God was enraged when the game was up and cursed the lot of them and all their progeny for eternity to lives of suffering, torment, enmity and death and then quickly cast them out before, by his own words, they could gain eternal life on top of the knowledge of the gods and become one of them (the gods).

A few points in closing. The Hebrew religion did not become a unified, monotheistic religion with a God that transcended this world until the time of Moses, when the Hebrews fled from Egypt. There are also a number of other glaring contradictions in the first two chapters of Genesis such as two conflicting stories of the creation and the more modernly understood errors of considering the sun and moon to be two of the same objects, and the stars something different from the sun. Or the fact that the light appeared before the objects, which were thought to be two different things, the sun and the stars, were created to give that light.

Let's address these points as well, just for thoroughness' sake.

In Genesis 1:6-10 we have God separating the waters into the ocean of the sky and the ocean of the Earth, which were believed to be as two oceans. He then further separates the ocean of the Earth from the land beneath it and creates the oceans and continents.
6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.
See Psalm 148:4 for another verse that backs up this stance:
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
The heavens were considered a type of physical dome that separated the oceans on earth from the oceans of the heavens. Upon this dome were the stars that moved fixed in their rotations.

Then we have Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Here God first creates plant life, which relies on photosynthesis to survive, before he gets around to actually creating the Sun which they depend on for their nourishment. He also states that days are passing when there is not yet a Sun created to facilitate the passage of days. This belies the obvious lack of knowledge of photosynthesis, and a puzzling disregard for what had been known for millennia at this point as the cause of the passage of days, beyond the other glaring errors I'll address momentarily.

Which brings us to Genesis 1:14-19:
14 And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
Here we have God creating the Sun and the Moon as two like bodies that create the day and the night, after already pronouncing day and night previous to their creation, and then creating the stars as separate entities. He then specifically notes that due to the creation of these, there was evening and morning, the fourth day. Which specifically clarifies that the days spoken of in creation were the literal days as we know them. The rising and the setting of the sun and the traversal of the moon during the night.

First let's have a look at Genesis 1:11-13:
11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Here all plant life is created on the third day, with Man not created until the sixth day.

Then, let us contrast that with Genesis 2:4-9:
4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground- 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
This further clarifies that the biblical authors had no concept of photosynthesis, but instead believed in their primitive ignorance that plant life relied solely upon water for its nourishment. So by their reckoning, there was no problem with creating the plants before there was ever a Sun to provide light for photosynthesis.

Beyond that, if we look specifically at verses 4-7 above, we see that in this tale of the creation man is created before the plants. Whereas in the previous tale of creation, only one chapter prior, the plants were created a full 3 days prior to the creation of man.

Now as we move beyond these first contradictions and fallacies, we come to the first instances of things in which man, in his original state, should have had no interest, being devoid of knowledge and of worldly things...

Genesis 2:10-17:
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Here God extols the inherent values of the lands being replete with Gold and Onyx, although Man at this point is supposedly bereft of the knowledge of such material things. Then God explicitly claims the aforementioned curse of death upon eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

This basically brings us full circle, without delving into even more issues such as the animals of creation being specifically the livestock (cattle, sheep, goats etc) of the contemporary biblical authors, as well as numerous other aspects that have been proven to be absolutely impossible as written in the bible.

Apologists will try to claim a variety of things to reconcile these biblical narrations with the reality we live in, but it takes very little effort indeed to relegate them to the inconsequential realm of primitive mythology where they belong.

A simple example is thus: "If all the supernatural claims of Christianity, and the requisite Hebrew religion, are nothing more than metaphors, then why should we ascribe any inherent supernatural power or godlike authority to a teacher who came along and contradicted the teachings of his own religion and created his own sect, and whose only authority comes from its explicit link to that prior Abrahamic God?"

We can go on at length, book by book, chapter by chapter, verse by verse and debunk this belief system as the conglomeration of shams that it is.

(I've been doing some further research into various aspects of early Christianity, its links to astrology, formation under Constantine, lack of any resurrection story for the first several centuries, lack of any virgin birth story for the first several centuries, lack of any contemporary mention of Jesus whatsoever for the first several centuries. It's rather easy to state at this point that the New Testament as we know it is a wholly fabricated and plagiarized collection of stories that retroactively created the Jesus Christ we know today. A person who never existed in reality, but was instead a creation of a vast array of authors over the centuries, pulling often times verbatim excerpts from other previous historical and religious texts.)

Never be afraid to question.


Anonymous said...

And people call MY posts and comments lengthy!

Well, I might get to a few of your points in the time I have. I don't know if quoting scripture would do much good, as you have made pretty much made up your mind it's all bullshit, so maybe we'll try a logical and/or philosophical swing at this.

Prejudice reeks here, but your analysis concerning the 'temptation' is somewhat limited, in my view, in that an open mind might see it more as a warning and a test of fidelity. The omission of the other tree's existence in the verse doesn't necessarily imply that they didn't know it existed, either. In fact, Eve's statement to the serpent DOING THE TEMPTING about her dying if she ate of the fruit, implies some previous knowledge and instruction being given to her. What all that entailed maybe wasn't included in the verse, but that doesn't say that it didn't happen! Adam's reaction to her telling him what she did also proves he knew what was coming, even though he wasn't present when she gave in to the SERPENT'S temptation! Scripture says that God doesn't tempt anyone, but since scripture has no voracity here (except as a tool to discredit itself) we'll leave that out.

Sure, by disobeying God, Adam and Eve now had the same knowledge (experience) of what it meant to disobey God as Satan, and being that misery loves company, he was happy to share his 'advanced' enlightenment of what it meant to be separated from God with God's highest creation, in order to get back at God for challenging his (Satan's) rebellion in the courts of heaven, and to destroy the human family.

Satan calls disobedience a higher level of learning and being, whereas I just call it disobedience.

The guilty pair hid from God because they knew the price for sin. Also, their guilt made it rather difficult to face someone they previously loved without reserve, but now felt they had betrayed. Satan was initially spared for the same reason that they were, and that was made clear in God's announcement of the 'curses' that were really statements of prophetic insight as to what humanity could expect from their own voluntary removal from God's protective custody, as it were. You tell a kid; don't touch the hot pot on the stove! So, when he wilfully pulls it down on his head and scalds himself, that's your fault? Maybe you should eat at McDonald's and slowly poison yourself so you don't "tempt" Junior!

The only deceiving being done was by your hero Satan, who also laughs at you now for going along with him in his accusations against God. Anyway...

So, now with all of the agonized screaming and yelling that Junior is making wearing that hot pot on his head, you now go running into the kitchen like the concerned parent you should be, and exclaim: "Junior... what have you done?!" (As if you didn't know!) You may even ask, where are you honey-bunch, knowing full well he's running around the kitchen bawling like a branded calf wearing your dinner! You think God's response to their sin was any less mysterious? Of course He knew where they were, it was a rhetorical question, for crying out loud!

Sure, God was walking in HIS garden... is anything impossible for the framer of the universe? We enjoyed face-to-face communion with our Creator before Satan TEMPTED US to disobey and bring the ravages of sin into our lives!

The 'enmity' that God spoke of, that he would put between Satan and man, was Christ, in a MERCIFUL endeavor to win back His fallen creation! Your hero wants us all DEAD, but our Creator wants us all BACK, even if He has/had to die for it to happen!

God always tells it like it is, but your hero lies ALL of the time, like he did when he told us we wouldn't die if we went against God. Before, the potential for immortality was 100%, until Satan, your hero, came in and said his way was better. Hell... NOW we're living to the mind-boggling age of about 85 years on average... a BIG advance from living FOREVER! Wow! Thanks for that, Satan!

I know about the two atheist-inspired versions of creation, too. There is no disparity there except in the mind of a rebel. When you tell a story, do you tell it exactly the same way each time? Go ahead... say yes! I have a criminologist friend that would disagree statistically on that assumption! There are other examples of that being done in the gospels under different authors, but the theme is still consistent.

Your claims that it would be impossible for certain natural occurrences to have happened... like plants being created in whole before the chemical processes including light were available to sustain them, shows the arrogance and limited thinking of the atheist who feels that an Almighty God would be subservient to His own natural processes! What crap!

If I build a model railroad with a steamer running around the track, and place ants on the board and they say to each other: "There's no way in effing hell THAT mother of a train could EVER be forced backward!" Imagine their surprise, when I, like the mighty hand of God simply place my hand on that sucker, and PUSH it back down the track from whence it came, box cars all twisting akimbo! No problem for me to move that baby, even if their scrawny ant asses couldn't do it! The same with nature and God! Just because WE can't do it or even conceive of doing it, doesn't mean HE can't! What shallow reasoning you boys employ! Course, I don't fault your intelligence, you're just parroting what many an atheist before you has done over the years, without taking the time to analyze thoughtfully what it is he's talking about. Typical.

People LOVE complex and lengthy dissertation-like explanations for anything, these days... God's Word and the critique of it, notwithstanding. Long and drawn-out speeches are what impresses folk in these our "enlightened" times. Funny, the Bible was written for the common man, but elitists claim only THEY have the understanding to interpret it rightly... even those that claim not to believe in it at all! So, unless we all have a doctorate in Theology, we may as well consign ourselves to the fires of hell, right guys? Very nice medieval thinking, there! Very revealing about a society programmed to believe their salvation lies in a college degree in the schools founded and controlled by elitists!

Show me the power that attends your cavilling and criticism of God's Word, and I'll show you COUNTLESS examples of individuals of all walks of life over the millenia going through great hardship and even to their deaths, singing and laughing, while their unbelieving neighbors cowered in fear in their basements in fear of the totalitarian forces that threatened them all! They had only their superior reasoning to look to, and a fat lot of good that was when they were staring down a spear or a sword! After all, all that an atheist can look forward to after a life of enslavement is a hole in the ground for eternity! How's that workin' for ya, by the way? Even if WE'RE the ones that are hoodwinked, at least we're happier in our lives knowing we have someplace to go but a maggot-filled grave after toiling for 80-odd years for the bankers!

Like the Browns in New Hampshire, facing death because the majority of gutless sheep will not give up a cozy lifestyle in slavery to the government to protest immoral taxation, because they might end up in prison or irk their fellow sheep if they do.

Well, before I digress too far, I'll just say you have an impressive lay-out, here, but my time is limited. I said I'd drop by and I have. If I get some time, I'll drop by again, but I think you guys know what it takes in terms of time and energy to live in the "real world" and still run a blog, never mind two, in my case.

Adieu... until next time!

And may God bless!


Anonymous said...

Uber Highwayman, for a believer you sure have a sailors mouth.

The thing that cracks me up about this PHREADOM website is it solely consists of two main topics; atheistic rants and support for Ron Paul.
In the end, all I see is a ranting atheist supporting a Christian Presidency.
Can irony be better defined?

JStressman said...

And all I see is someone who obviously failed to actually read more than a handful of articles, or even grasp the point of any of the articles that were read.

While Ron Paul might be a Christian President, if elected, the point remains that he is a staunch Constitutionalist, and the the founding fathers framed the Constitution to protect religious freedom, NOT Christianity specifically. Freedom of religious belief includes the right not to believe, which you'd know if you'd actually read some of the articles on here.

By the very nature of Paul's ideology, there would be better protection for people of differing faiths or even lack of faith due to the neutral and secular stance mandated by the founding fathers.

Try actually reading some articles and not just ignorantly popping off at the mouth and you might actually learn something and not look like a stupid troll next time. :)

JStressman said...

In the several years since I first wrote that, I've learned more about the whole Constantine issue (essentially false) and about the idea of Jesus not having been an historical person (also most likely false).

But these really do nothing to dismiss the more fundamental aspects of the bible being wrong on essentially every claim about the nature of the natural world we live in, and the subsequent disproval of the very core claims of miraculous power and authority from which all other authority and claims of an obligation to worship etc derive.

Hamman said...

The view that God was lying in Eden is a new one to me, and I'm just curious to know possible explanations about why God planted the trees in the first place. I know the traditional Christian explanation is that God was testing Adam and Eve. But If God's motives were not good, what are some possible explanations for why the trees would be in the garden?

JStressman said...

That's a deeper theological question... one I generally don't dig into because in reality the story is provably fictional.

There were no magical trees in the garden of Eden as depicted in the story because the story never happened in reality.

So the motivation of testing them is about as good as you're going to get without digging further into the historical roots of the story... about a king and his garden etc... which were the likely source of the inspiration for the garden of Eden story in the bible.