Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Reading the Bible - Genesis 4-5

Now that Adam and Eve have been thrown out of the garden of Eden, they have time to procreate and Eve gives birth to Cain and Abel. This story of Cain and Abel is well known and predates the other famous brother story of Romulus and Remus and the foundation myth of Rome. In a nutshell Cain (plants) and Abel (animals) make offerings to God, and God is more impressed by Abels offering. This clearly shows that God is into the killing of his creations, which is rather bizarre as I am not sure of many people who like destroying their creations. Here God also is honest about what happens when you displease him or sin when he tells Cain that
"If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor?"
This has been interpreted by some scholars as meaning that sin leads to punishment by God. However, I would go further that it was god asserting that offerings to him should be blood offerings.

The story continues with Cain killing Abel and then God confronting him and punishing him by sending him into exile. This is strange, as it comes across as another fall story, as we see here that Cain took up residence East of Eden which was where Adam was, so was Cain kicked out of the Garden of Eden again?
"Then Cain went away from before Jehovah and took up residence in the land of Exile, to the east of E′den."
and from Genesis 3 verse 24
"So he drove the man out, and he posted at the east of the garden of E′den the cherubs and the flaming blade of a sword that was turning continuously to guard the way to the tree of life."
However, if this is confusing just wait for the next line in Genesis for your mind to be blown apart.

Cain now has sexual relations with his wife, and she gives birth to their son Enoch...... wait what? Wife? How, is this possible I mean there are only two possibilities. Firstly, this women is his unmentioned sister and we have God again busy with his freaky sex ideas or this women was somehow made by God again. Now, if we choose the latter idea, then that surely means that the creation never ended, so why are we not seeing new creations to this day? The other option means that the Bible is okay with incest to the point that it endorses childbirth from incest relationships.

Moving on we see that Cain builds the first city and names it after his son Enoch. Remarkably, there is no information about the existence of this first city in any historical texts beside the Bible. Although, this does not mean it did not happen as a lot of cities have been lost to time.

Following this is a lot of boring genealogy for more or less 7 verses. The only important thing to take form this text is that we see that Lamech took two wives, however this does not mean God accepts polygamy as we know that everyone that descends from Cain is automatically cursed. Exactly what we would expect from a loving God right?

The 4th chapter of Genesis ends by telling us that Adam and Eve again copulated and had a son Seth who was effectively a replacement for Abel. This again has to make us wonder exactly who Cain's wife was, but more importantly it makes us wonder about Gods power and love for his creations. God allowed Cain to kill Abel this is a simple fact, but feeling guilt maybe he allowed Eve to have another son. However, this does make sense in terms of the bigger picture about good and evil as we need the deviant and the noble characters for this story to work. On the one side we have the unfaithful Cain and his descendants,
"Hear my voice, you wives of La′mech; Give ear to my saying: A man I have killed for wounding me, Yes, a young man for striking me. If 7 times Cain is to be avenged, Then La′mech 77 times.”"
While on theother side we have the faithful Seth and his descendants
"At that time people began calling on the name of Jehovah."

Genesis 5 is a genealogy again, with not too much going on except the fantastic ages to which these people lived and started having children them self. For example we find out that Methuselah lived to be a respectable 969, and Noah only had his first children at the young age of 500. Pity that we have never seen this type of vitality again except for the Biblical tales. However, Genesis 5 does contain two stories that can be easily glossed over and which I want to highlight.

The first story is the disappearance of Enoch (not the first Enoch, the second Enoch that was Methuselah's father) who apparently impressed God so much that he got magically whisked away. Now, what exactly happened is anyone's guess, however what I got from the Bible I was reading is that Enoch certainly did not go to Heaven as it says in John 3:13 that
"Moreover, no man has ascended into heaven but the one who descended from heaven, the Son of man."
so where the hell did Enoch go?

The other interesting tail is that we hear Lamech (Noah's father) saying of his son that
"This one will bring us comfort from our labor and from the painful toil of our hands because of the ground that Jehovah has cursed."
Which is strange as somehow Lamech knew that God was going to flood the world (or do something big) before God knew and talked about his master genocide.

In conclusion, we can be certain of two things. God really likes blood, or as Steve Wells book title says Drunk with Blood. Additionally, God really is into some freaky sex, as the only people Cain and Seth could have had sex with is Eve or their sisters.

All verses quoted come from the New World Translation Of The Holy Scriptures.
Online version available at the Jehovah's Witnesses official website