Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Reading the Bible - Genesis 11

Genesis 11 which contains the famous story of the tower of Babel does not start of well, in fact it starts of with a contradiction when it says
"Now all the earth continued to be of one language and of one set of words."
However, we know from Genesis 10 that many languages were spoken just by Japheth descendants within the second generation. As such we have to wonder about the tower of Babel story that is to follow, although the message of the story remains the same and trust me as we have seen so far with God it truly is a sinister story.

The Babel story starts with humans getting together and doing what comes naturally after years of evolution and that is form cities and co-operate with each other so that their quality of life can get better.
"They now said: “Come! Let us build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered over the entire face of the earth.”"
Again we see that God who is all knowing is so caught unaware by this fact of a city that he in fact comes down to Earth to check out the city. What he saw however did not impress him, and as such he decided to confuse all the peoples language in the city so that they could not communicate and co-operate. It is this action by God that then lead to the disbanding of the city and the subsequent spreading of humanity around the world. To understand why God did this you need to realize that he was pissed that they wanted to stay in cities and improve their life instead of spreading like a plague and going to all corners of the Earth. The reason for this is that God blessed humans in Genesis 9 after the flood and this blessing meant that he wanted them to spread around the world and be like rabbits. The problem is that this was a blessing and not a command, so by disbanding the city God is acting like a dick as he is showing that he has zero respect for human co-operation and free will so much so that he is already ignoring his blessing. Let me reiterate that a blessing is not a command.

I think this recurring theme of God being dead set against unity is rather strange, as why would a God not want his creations doing better which is what happens when humans unite and work together. Weird as this may be, I think it is important towards Christianity as it allows believers to discriminate against others and this is necessary when you want to enforce your will on others.

The rest of Genesis 11 is again another genealogy which is important as it introduces us to Abram who is to become Abraham and is the grandfather of Israel and hence the Israelite's. As such we start seeing the people that God has decided are the chosen people. I think this is very important as we really have to wonder about Gods choices, I mean he chose an alcoholic who banished a son (who noticed his fathers drunkenness) to sail an ark. As you will see from Abram's personality there is also doubt that this man was of a good character, and if you are a lady you will be horrified by his behavior.

I also want to highlight verse 18 where we see the very brief story if Peleg again (Genesis 10:25). Peleg is important, as it was during Peleg's time that the Earth divided. Now this means that the population divided which means that Peleg must have been alive when the Tower of Babel story took place, and language divided the world. Importantly, Peleg was a third generation descendant and the son of Shem who was the oldest son of Noah. However, This is weird as we know that the sons of Japeth and Shem lived together "Genesis 9:27 Let God grant ample space to Ja′pheth, And let him reside in the tents of Shem." However, Japheth's descendants already were spreading with different languages in the second generation i.e. these different languages occurred in the direct sons of Japheth. Remember that as Shem is the oldest son, his generations will certainly be older or the same than those of Japeth but not a whole generation older as is implied. Again, this short tale of Peleg casts more doubt on the story of Babel and we have to wonder about the consistency and authenticity of the Bible even on really simple points.

In closing this chapter I thought I would touch on one more subject that we have encountered so far in Genesis, and this is the insane ages that people of the Genesis era lived to. I raised this question with a friend who believes and said "how am I to accept these ages that people lived during Genesis i.e. Methuselah 969 and Noah having children at 500 etc. when we do not see that in our current day when medicine and life is just better" (It is better deal with it!). His response was insightful and so I am reproducing it here. Adam in the Garden was meant to live forever until he partook of the tree of good and bad, it is because he ate from the tree he had to die. Now as he had to die he did, however as he was made to be eternal he could live for a very long time and as such he did live for a long time 930 years. However, as time passed people started to live shorter lives as in essence number of years was effectively following an exponential decay curve. So when we look at the years the people lived in the Genesis era they should slowly be decreasing. But here let me show you graphically the difference between an exponential graph and a Genesis exponential graph.
Genesis exponential
Exponential (Source)-the various colors indicate differing exponentials, with normal decay indicated by the yellow line.

Naturally this explanation avoids current understandings of science which have in fact improved our life expectancy. But it ties in with the exponential decay which is not very good when you consider how it stayed constant and decayed at will. It is almost as if it was made up by a bad statistician.

I need to rest my head now, so see you next time.

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