God or Allah – truth or bull? – chapter 7

Chapter 7

 A critical review of the story of Adam and Eve 

We are now talking about God in the context of his portrayal in the Old Testament. The story of Adam and Eve cannot and should not be read in isolation from the rest of the Bible but whether it can be taken as testimony that God exists and that he created us for a specific purpose – to populate the Earth and live forever, whether in spirit or physically – is of course subjective, depending on who you are, your cultural upbringing, your education and experience. However, if we regard the story as an ill-conceived mythology riddled with conundrums that are indisputably incredible, or nonsensical or unexplainable, the question of whether God exists becomes superfluous. The person who posted this comment in an Internet website can be seen as having similar thoughts: It’s incredulous that anyone could really be brainwashed into being convinced that the bible is anything other than a collection of myths and legends written by ancient men and used to control the masses. Comments of a similar nature have also been expressed by other like-minded people, as exemplified by these passages [partial excerpts], taken from the Internet; however, as there is a section headed Reading of Bible in chapter 16, some of the excerpts [6-10] are presented in that section, as a further reminder of the numerous opinions other people have expressed, concerning the Bible:

[Excerpt 1]

….I realized that the entire bible is full of contradictions that cannot be reconciled. How can this be the work of god? It obviously isn’t the inerrant thing I was taught it was. More, the god of the bible is downright EVIL. He condones rape, child sacrifice, pillaging, conquering, slavery, treating women as animals and as vulgar, unclean, overly emotional, unthinking, vain, inferior possessions. It’s despicable. I not only don’t understand how people believe it, but I don’t understand WHY anyone would want to.. 

 [Excerpt 2]

….In reading the Bible, I figured out that the Bible is crap. It’s not good literature, it’s bad. It’s not historical, it’s mythical. It’s not even good mythology. But most of all, it’s totally unbelievable…. The Bible is the ONLY book I can credit with helping me become an Atheist.

 [Excerpt 3]

….The bible, in my view, along with any other religious text, is at the top of the list of the most evil, bigoted, and misused writings on the planet. Right up with ‘Mein Kamph’.

[Excerpt 4]

….If you read the bible, god is impatient and jealous and boastful and conceited and rude and selfish, he takes offense and is resentful, he takes pleasure in peoples’ sins and constantly changes ‘His’ mind as to what truth is or isn’t, doesn’t like excuses, trusts no one and his claimed love is purely conditional, based on fear and wrath. God is the contradiction of what love is supposed to be.

 [Excerpt 5]

….It’s so completely obvious to me, now, that everything in the Bible – everything – is primitive philosophizing about life, all wrapped up in supernatural yarns and myth. Some stories were written to provide an explanation for what seemed incomprehensible mysteries. Some were written to teach children various practical moral lessons. Some were crafted by raving madmen. Some are pure political propaganda. Some of the stuff was just made up, the result of passionate, misdirected zeal.

 Any person with a modicum of common sense would find it hard to believe that God, so-called Creator and believed by his followers to be omnipotent, omniscient and all-loving, had allegedly acted so ignorantly, stupidly, malevolently and unjustifiably. If God had wanted to give Adam and/or Eve the elixir for living forever, by making available the Tree of Life, why did he project an image of being timorous, of showing fear that Adam, after having eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, might react by eating from the Tree of Life and then living forever? Vide Genesis 3.22/3.23: “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.” So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. It thus seems clear that God banished Adam and Eve from the so-called Garden of Eden partly as a form of punishment for their disobedience resulting in their acquisition of knowledge of good and evil and partly because of his own fear that either or both might start eating from the Tree of Life and then become immortal. With access to the Garden of Eden or the Tree of Life no longer a possibility, mortality was expected to be the norm for Adam and Eve and their descendants; and it seems, from reading the script, that their lives would still end even if they had not eaten from the tree forbidden by God. God, however, allegedly made an exception with their grandson, Enoch, vide Genesis 5.24, where it is stated: Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. And later on in the script [2 Kings 2.11] we are told that the prophet Elijah became another exception when he is reported to have ascended, alive, to Heaven in a fiery chariot.

Anyone who believes in Jesus as “the way and the truth and the life” or as the Second Person of the so-called Trinity cannot have their cake and eat it, too, in the context of what Jesus allegedly said, in John 6.46: No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. They will have to consider seriously whether they should denounce the Old Testament accounts of Enoch or Elijah meeting God or ascending to Heaven to see God as sheer nonsense. But denouncing anything in the Bible as nonsense can be viewed as rejecting a doctrine of the Catholic Church that every passage in the Bible [both Old and New Testament] was written with the inspiration of God. Whether you like it or not, there is no denying that the Bible is brimming with inconsistencies or contradictions. The picture being projected to us when we read Genesis, Exodus and other parts of the Old Testament is of God appearing and talking to people including of course Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Abraham, Moses and some elders of the Jews. Can Jesus be seen as talking nonsense? Or should the blame be put on the people who wrote the nonsense, or the many people who consider the Bible as absolute truths?

Adam and Eve had apparently acquired knowledge including being aware and shameful of their nakedness after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and such awareness plus what further mental or intellectual capability they had supposedly acquired had apparently resulted in God becoming timorous. God allegedly created them naked in the first place; it would of course be mere speculation to wonder whether God felt any shame when he gazed, presumably with divine glee, on their nakedness. How much knowledge can a human being amass in today’s environment would depend on his intellect, education, life span, experience, social life with others, interest in world affairs and reading materials etc. What sort of knowledge had Adam and Eve acquired from eating from the magical Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is something we can only imagine or speculate in futility, whether we treat the story as myth or otherwise. But can or should we believe in God being omnipotent for having expressed fear? Why should a so-called all-powerful being – allegedly also all-loving – be fearful of something he himself created? It appears that expressing or evincing fear is not an uncommon trait of God, however; we can see examples aplenty of his fear being expressed or evinced in other areas of the Bible, for example: [1] fear that stepping on the ground with sandals would in some way affect the “holiness” of the ground or his own holiness, as when he allegedly exclaimed to Moses in Exodus [NIV] 3.5: Do not come any closer, God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground [2] fear of the witch, as when he allegedly said in Exodus [KJV] 22.18: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live [3] fear of physical uncleanliness, as expressed in Exodus [NIV] 19.10, 29.4, 30.19/21, Leviticus [NIV] 5.2, 11 and 13 [4] fear of “altars”, “sacred stones” and “Asherah poles” of non-Hebrew tribes, as expressed in Exodus [NIV] 34.13: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and cut down their Asherah poles [5] fear of yeast, as expressed in Exodus [NIV] 34.25: Do not offer the blood of a sacrifice to me along with anything containing yeast, and do not let any of the sacrifice from the Passover Feast remain until morning. Anyone versed with the Bible may have other examples to offer.

God allegedly created humans and animals with two distinguishing characteristics – masculine and feminine – to differentiate them sexually as male and female creatures. God can be said to have sex in mind when he “designed” the sexual organs of male and female creatures. But Eve, a female, was allegedly created as an afterthought, arising apparently from the alleged loneliness being experienced by Adam after he was allegedly given the breath of life. Thus when God created Eve it was not for the purpose of producing someone, so many generations down the line, for the purpose of crushing the serpent’s head. Nothing had been said to this effect when God decided to create a woman [Eve] for Adam. His purpose, allegedly, was to provide human companionship and suitable help for poor Adam, who was allegedly lonely – the only human – in the so-called Garden of Eden. That Eve was allegedly created as a female, rather than a male, companion may serve as indication that there was a specific purpose to it and “sex” is obviously the word to describe this purpose. One can, however, view the term, sex, from several perspectives: sex is for procreation, sex is for pleasure, sex is healthy, relieves stress and prolongs life’s longevity, sex can lead to heart attack and can add to existing misery by creating new responsibilities, etc.

By eating from the tree forbidden by God, Adam and Eve had allegedly sinned against God and so originated what is now commonly known in the Christian world as the sin of disobedience, or “original sin”. And in tandem with the belief that they were our first parents and we are the descendants, all humanity has become tainted with this so-called original sin, which one can expunge by conversion to Christianity by baptism. The concept of original sin as an inherited spiritual infection is irrational and absurd, without any semblance of justice or equity, appears as an idiosyncrasy applicable only to Christians [or Catholics only?] and seems to imply the evilness of God in punishing the innocent for the so-called guilt or sins of others. One cannot and should not punish all the members of a family for a wrongdoing that was committed by only one of them.

Typical human justice in a civilized society will not result in the punishment of another family member or the rest of the family members if only one of them has committed a wrong. Human justice without a doubt appears to be more coherent or superior to so-called divine justice involving punishing not only the present generation but future descendants. Use any pejorative you want, but divine justice of the kind narrated in the Bible can be labeled as twisted, warped or mad. We have to add a caveat though: We are discussing a particular belief so if one does not believe in God or in Adam and Eve being our first parents one is not obliged to believe in the concept of original sin; but if the belief says that everyone, whether or not a member of the Christian flock, is also tainted with the original sin I am obliged to say something about it.

However, for those who are interested, a prime consideration or question to evaluate is: Can Adam or Eve be considered capable of committing sin, in the context of their ignorance of the meaning of good or evil? Remember, knowledge of good and evil for them was something they acquired from eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. So the blame, it is not unreasonable to say, must fall on God for his faulty creation or his inability for sound reasoning. Or maybe we should think of those with a blind faith in the concept of original sin as the ones incapable of sound reasoning.

It is apparent that theists, generally, do not hold themselves accountable to their fellow men for their religious opinions, being responsible only to their God. But as a non-theist I am entitled to ask:  What the hell has Adam’s or Eve’s alleged original sin got to do with me? Why should I, a non-theist, be tarred along with others who have chosen to indulge in their own idiosyncrasies? Freedom to exercise one’s religion is an undeniable right but this right cannot be exercised as though one’s religious tenets or beliefs are applicable to everybody else, including people of other creeds. If people wish to tar themselves, by all means please go ahead but they should not use the same brush to tar others who do not share their idiosyncrasies or beliefs.

Using my free will I have in fact deconverted from Christianity, years ago, after, ironically, giving the Bible a critical review and receiving a shock in the process – that I was worshipping, with regrettable ignorance, a barbaric, bloodthirsty, capricious, freakish, tyrannical, genocidal egomaniac. What if there is no question of me embracing Christianity, ever again? Presumably, by giving up my Christian faith and becoming an atheist, I can be deemed to have already forfeited my right of qualifying as a member of the Heavenly Club. Based on the so-called doctrine of original sin, no one who has not been baptized into Christianity should harbor the thought of joining this invisible, nowhere to be found club. Well, we all have to live by what we have chosen to be our choices or decisions. Sometimes, and for some people, there are no other options, and living the kind of life they were born with and have been experiencing since early childhood is the only option available.

Let’s back-track a little and familiarize ourselves with the events leading to the eating by Adam and Eve from the tree forbidden by God. God had allegedly cautioned Adam and Eve that although they could eat from whatever else they could find in the Garden of Eden they must not on pain of death eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But judging by the script, God did not give Adam and Eve the necessary protection and can be accused of being totally ignorant with regard to security issues. The Garden of Eden, presumably a paradise, was apparently also accessible to an animal called the serpent, which the Bible describes as “more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made”. Eve, according to the script, entered into a conversation with the serpent, which in this story happened to be a talking serpent, vide Genesis 3.1 – 3.5:

Serpent:                    “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from  any tree  in the garden’?”

Eve:                   “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 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.’ “

Serpent:             “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

As a result of the serpent’s persuasion – that eating from this tree would “open” her eyes and make her like God knowing good and evil – Eve allegedly took some fruit from the tree and ate it and she gave some of the fruit to Adam who was with her, and the outcome is only too familiar to those who have read this story; in case this is something you are reading for the first time, Adam also ate the fruit he got from Eve. 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. The serpent, it can be argued, was not telling an untruth. Before consuming from the forbidden tree, Adam and Eve were not aware of their nakedness. With the acquisition of knowledge concerning good and evil, they acquired an awareness that being naked was something inappropriate or shameful. If being naked is something to be shameful of, then God can be critiqued for being shameless for creating them naked and, presumably, for getting enjoyment from ogling the naked body of Eve, or even that of Adam. Genesis does not say how this serpent gained access to the Garden of Eden. Presumably, the serpent was also one of its residents, after it was created along with other creatures, vide Genesis 1.24 to 1.31:

  • 1.24. And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so.
  • 1.25. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
  • 1.26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
  • 1.27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
  • 1.28. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
  • 1.29. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
  • 1.30. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
  • 1.31. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Apparently, there is no mention of the animals being endowed with an ability to talk. Was the serpent the only kind of animal created with such ability? There is no indication from Genesis. What seems strange, however, is that Eve was persuaded [“deceived” would appear inappropriate] by the serpent despite, together with Adam, having been blessed by God. So the blessing from God was not effective in that it failed in preventing the serpent’s persuasion from taking effect. God was presumably unaware that his blessing would turn out to be valueless or useless. When he said to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground”, he was evidently looking ahead at an increase in human population and giving human beings dominance over all the other creatures he had allegedly created including, presumably, the serpent. Could it be that dominance over the other creatures would be possible for Adam and Eve only after they had increased in number and filled the Earth? Since “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature” was spoken after “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it”, God can turn around and say “my words are clear – that dominance would not be effective until the fulfillment of certain conditions.” Still, God must admit his blessing was useless, since it gave no protection to Adam or Eve.

Genesis gives no explanation as to why the serpent had opted to point the way to knowledge for the human inhabitants. What seems to stick out is that the serpent’s verbal output is far more powerful, more persuasive, than the command of an allegedly omnipotent God, notwithstanding that this particular command was issued with a death threat. God can be seen as the loser in this instance, trumped by a crafty, talking serpent he allegedly created. God can be viewed as the one who was the liar who lied to Adam and Eve, for giving them the impression they would suffer death by eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil when in fact they had not been endowed with immortality and thus would die anyway, regardless of the precaution from God. God can be viewed as a nincompoop oblivious to his surroundings.

You can say the story is about an imperfect God with a warped sense of justice or, if you think this story is credible, you may have to thank the serpent for ruining the garden party of the couple as through its skilful initiatives they were expelled from the garden, the home allegedly created for them by God, since  had Eve not been persuaded by the serpent you or I might not have been born to talk or read about this, assuming of course the creation story is true. A point that is seldom discussed is the possibility of Adam and Eve achieving immortality by eating from the Tree of Life, but without eating also from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil they could be forever running around naked without realizing it. Going by the script, they were apparently denied the luxury of having their cake and eating it. However, to give a person a piece of cake and then tell that person he/she cannot eat it can be viewed as an act of idiocy. But then, this only shows that God was not prepared to accept the existence of human beings with attributes of knowledge and immortality; can this be seen as a sign of fear or concern that such beings may pose a challenge to him? You can try to imagine the scenario of Adam and Eve eating first from the Tree of Life, then eating from the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and then producing a race of super-humans each of whom may be the equivalent of God, or even superior to him.

Let’s continue with Genesis to get a picture of what allegedly happened after Adam and Eve had eaten from The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil:

  • 3.08. 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.
  • 3.09. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
  • 3.10. He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
  • 3.11. And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
  • 3.12. The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
  • 3.13. Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”  The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
  • 3.14. 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.
  • 3.15. And I will put enmitybetween you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush [b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”
  • 3.16. 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.”
  • 3.17. 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.
  • 3.18. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
  • 3.19. 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.”

The punishment being meted out by God, as expressed in these few lines, is an example, the first among many, of justice being dispensed by a so-called “omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving God.” Line 3.19 deserves further comment in terms of belief in life after death or so-called postmortem hope. Clearly, if one seriously believes in the Bible being the spoken words of God, then one ought to be realistic and accept that to dust one shall return. This passage says nothing about Adam continuing life after he is dead and seems to rule out the idea of life after death. One can, however, point to the accounts in the New Testament about Jesus and his so-called resurrection and his promise of eternal life; in which case one will have to accept that God can be accused of spouting gibberish or acting capriciously, whether or not one is a Trinitarian. Or one can consider Yahweh and Jesus as mythic characters borne of human imagination, or the Bible as a dunghill with a minuscule amount of usable material.

How many Christians are aware of the fact there are two creation accounts in Genesis and of the discrepancies or inconsistencies between them? In Genesis chapter 1 we are told that sea creatures and birds of the air were created on the 5th day, the day before land creatures were created with humans, both male and female, last on the list. The creation account in Genesis 1.1-31 gives the impression of God “creating” just by speaking out. Genesis 2.7: 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 – is, however, clear; man was allegedly formed from dust. Genesis chapter 2 gives the impression that the creation that followed after the creation of the earth and the heavens was in this chronological order: man [Adam], plant and vegetation, animals, and finally a woman [Eve], created from a rib taken from Adam’s body. The rib from Adam can be seen as a large chunk of Adam’s DNA and one can therefore argue that Eve was cloned from Adam but God, presumably, performed some miraculous DNA manipulation that resulted in the creation of Eve instead of a Steve with no boobs but with a penis similar to that of Adam; Eve was modeled, apparently, with beauty in mind with, among other things, sexy, beautiful curves and boobs.

Wherefrom or how did God get his idea of boobs, vagina and sex and procreation? Probably from his imagination or, more likely, the whole idea of God arose from human imagination. Why did God go to the extent of putting Adam into a deep sleep and then removing one of his ribs when he could have simply uttered the words “Let there be Eve,” or twitched his nose or scooped up another handful of dust from the ground? Since Eve was allegedly created from a rib of Adam it cannot be ruled out that Adam and Eve committed incense when they had sex and produced children. There would of course be no question of procreation if a Steve instead of Eve had been created. The two creation accounts of Genesis appear to have been written with conflicting data. It seems that God completed his creation on the 6th day, vide Genesis chapter 1, but in this chapter we hear nothing concerning the creation of the Garden of Eden, which comes into the picture only in Genesis 2.8: Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. Even if one assumes Genesis chapter 2 as a continuation of the preceding chapter, serving as further explanatory notes, the chronological order of creation after the creation of the earth and heavens is evidently dissimilar in both accounts.

The Old Testament is brimming with other examples of the vengefulness or revengefulness of God. And the New Testament projects the impression that this same God so loves the world that he sent his only son into the world to preach peace and forgiveness and to save humanity. God must be joking, or having a wry sense of humor. Can you imagine God, all-powerful, sacrificing himself to himself? What is strange is that people who may have heard or read about the vengefulness or revengefulness of God and his capriciousness, cruelty, despotism, egotism, freakishness with animal sacrifice and blood splashing, homicidal instinct, racism, lack of foresight, high dependency on his human followers to execute actions on his behalf, etc as narrated in the Bible, still persist in believing in his so-called all-lovingness and almightiness, attributes that are evidently borne of human imagination. Call it anthropomorphism or human stupidity or unpredictability. Vide Genesis 3.24: 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. So it can be said that God became wiser after the event and like human beings he went through a process of experience and learnt the folly of his complacency or the ill-designed architecture of his creation, inclusive of course the Garden of Eden. But has anyone advised God that it is pointless to close the stable door after the horse has bolted? If it was his intention that Adam and Eve should not eat from the Tree of Knowledge, why did he put the tree there in the first place? Being allegedly omniscient God should have known what was going to happen, yet he did not pre-empt any possibility of access by Adam or Eve.

Any human parent who is not totally daft would ensure that any unsuitable substances for their children, say, for example, a bottle or tube of medication labeled “Poison. Keep out of the reach of children” would be safely tucked away, well out of reach of their children. God could have rendered the tree such that its fruits were hanging high and out of reach of humans. If this was something not within his powers, did it not occur to him to consult Chubb Security or any of the big, well-known security companies for advice regarding security issues? If he had consulted, they would have told him that the erection of a fence or barrier around the tree would suffice. Since we have already considered God as a nincompoop, there is no point now in deliberating why he was so daft as to leave the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil unguarded or unprotected if not allowing Adam or Eve to eat from it was his intention. Apparently, a common view taken by theistic Christians is that Adam and Eve had disobeyed God and this obedience – the eating from the tree that God forbade – was the cause of their downfall and thus would have been the cause of the downfall of humanity if not for God’s alleged mercy in sending his so-called son, Jesus, as the “Messiah” or “Savior” of the world. However, the question: Who allegedly created the talking, crafty serpent with the full knowledge that Eve would fall prey to its persuasion? – appears to have been lost in the theistic world, despite theistic belief in God being omniscient.

Someone who gave his name as Mitchy, who has apparently deconverted from Christianity, posted a testimonial regarding his deconversion which has a paragraph concerning original sin, viz: …..I listened to some preachers say that, because of original sin, we deserved any evil that we suffer. This seemed unfair, cruel, and far from loving. And furthermore they taught that our goodness was not good enough to get us into heaven if we don’t believe; only faith will do, no matter how evil we’ve been. Again, it shows that my religious orientation was Protestant. So a lot of goodness from non-Christians means nothing, but a tiny bit of sincere faith from a serial killer before he or she dies (even when the choice to believe is made under duress with the threat of hell) is enough to do the trick? This sounded like a terrible game with absurd rules! And why was believing so important anyway? After all, God, who supposedly loves us, will send us to hell for not believing but is unwilling to reveal Himself to everyone like He did to Paul to get us to believe? These moral scales God was using seemed terribly unbalanced….[http://exchristian.net/testimonies/2009/04/why-i-left-christian-faith.html, 28 Apr 2009]

I was at a funeral wake some years ago when I heard a pastor during a brief sermon saying that it was because of the alleged disobedience of Adam and Eve that we now have to suffer sickness and death. Going strictly by the script, taking such a view is unreasonable and therefore untenable, whether or not the story of Adam and Eve can be considered a real-life event. If we treat God as only a mythic figure then we shall have to treat Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden as imaginary productions of the mind, like Homer’s gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus. But can we have life alone without death? Life and death in this world are inseparable. While mortality is an empirical fact of life, immortality is not. Death being a condition of life, there can be no life if there is no death; but if there is life there is death. Whether there is life eternal without death waiting for us is not a matter of fact but something that is beyond verification or falsification, in the realm of metaphysics.

While dark-eyed houris [beautiful virgin women] may await Muslim male believers, the Koran [Quran], if I am not wrong, is not clear as to which assumption one should apply, for example [1] Muslim male believers will be endowed with new physical bodies in Paradise to enjoy being wedded to the so-called houris, assuming the latter are endowed with physical bodies similar to those of women on Earth [2] houris are non-physical and the enjoyment of Muslim male believers in Paradise, with or without houris, is strictly spiritual. However, according to Christian beliefs, God will eventually give a new physical body to every human being in their new abode in Heaven. But for Christians there is no question of marriage in Heaven between a man and a woman [or whatever they have become], in terms of what Jesus allegedly said: [Matthew 22.30] At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven – when he was queried by the Sadducees as to which of seven brothers a woman would be wife to when all of them had died and gone to Heaven, as during their time on Earth she was married to all of them, although she was only married to one brother at a time until his death before starting her marriage with the next brother. So there seems to be a contradiction between the Islamic belief of righteous Muslim men being wedded to houris in Paradise and the Christian belief that there can be no question of marriage in Heaven, assuming Paradise is Heaven.

To return to Adam and Eve; attributing disobedience to Adam and Eve as the cause of our sickness and death would seem illogical or difficult to connect, to a non-theist who is familiar with the story. And one can only wonder whether Christian theists who have read this story have ever tried to analyze it from a logical viewpoint. Eve was merely attempting to ascertain what was going on, after receiving information from a talking serpent. Remember, Eve and Adam were like children ignorant of what can be counted as good or evil, hence to accuse either of committing evil would be absolute evil in itself. In the worst case scenario, if we grant that guilt can be assigned to Adam and/or Eve, then a far greater guilt should be assigned to God because he was the architect of the entire drama. If you believe in God being omniscient then it would not be unreasonable to ask: Why did God create the talking, crafty serpent, knowing full well that it would turn out to be an adverse persuasion for Eve and Adam? Surely, it would not be unreasonable to question as to why God did not confront the serpent face to face when the serpent was trying to persuade Eve.

Nothing in Genesis 3.1 to 3.4 says anything or gives any hint about the serpent being Satan [Devil] in disguise, notwithstanding a Judeo-Christian belief associating the serpent with Satan. Whether it is a distortion to say that it was Satan in disguise – and not the serpent – who persuaded Eve would depend on your reading or interpretation of biblical text; either way, the episode is wholly controversial, whether or not it is mythical. If you wish to take the view that Eve was deceived by Satan disguised as the serpent, then you may have to accept the possibility of God being afraid of confronting Satan face to face, or the possibility of God having no, or only limited, power over Satan. But by believing that the talking, crafty serpent was Satan, you are imputing, in an irrational way, something which is not there, just as you may believe in God being all-powerful and all-loving when there is absolutely no empirical evidence to support such belief or the belief in God’s so-called existence.

Misinterpreting facts or ignoring evidence can be detrimental to oneself, let alone others, as court cases can testify. Misinterpreting facts or ignoring evidence can be a result of being irrational or ignorant, but it can also be perceived as lying or concealing the truth. Now for a brief digression, for recounting an experience: About 14 years ago I decided to take up an insurance policy to cover myself against a list of critical illnesses. The insurance company that I was discussing with told me that they would proceed with the insurance on one condition, which was that there would be an exclusion of coverage for paralysis, after a so-called consultant of theirs read a letter written by an orthopedic surgeon whom I had consulted about my backache. The letter reads:

“The abovenamed first consulted me on 16.11.93 for spontaneous onset of low back pain of four weeks duration. This pain was aggravated by protracted walking, sitting and the wrong spinal movement. He gave a history of spontaneous low back pain off and on for the previous 8 years.

On examination there was only some stiffness of his lumbar spine. There was no neurological deficit in his limbs referable to his spine.

Radiographs of the lumbosacral disc. This degenerated disc was responsible for his recurrent low back pain.

He was treated with anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy which settled his pain. He was advised on back care and back strengthening exercises which helped.

Opinion

Mr ….has low back pain off and on due to degenerative narrowing of his lumbosacral disc.

This is controlled by back care and back strengthening exercises.

During recurrences the pain usually settled with anti-inflammatory medications and physiotherapy”

Post-script [added 25 days later]:

Basically his back pain is due to some degenerative changes of his lumbar spine which is consistent with his age and common in his age group. It has nothing to do with any injury that may cause paralysis. His condition does not lead to paralysis either.

Before the addition of the post-script the insurance consultant took the view that I would become paralyzed should I slip or fall as a result of “stepping on a banana skin” while walking or running, and refused to cover me for paralysis, notwithstanding that nothing about paralysis was mentioned in the testimonial. I was thus prompted to seek further clarification from the orthopedic surgeon. He reviewed what he had written in the letter and then expressed his dismay with the insurance company’s consultant for misinterpreting its content. There is no dispute that anyone can become paralyzed if the backbone gets damaged severely. Even with the backbone fully intact and working normally, a person can still be paralyzed as a result of a stroke. I considered it fortunate that the surgeon did not charge me for taking up his time, which could have amounted to something like the present cost of ten of the most expensive breakfast set available today in a Macdonald’s restaurant. For the sake of clarification, the surgeon wrote a post-script to his letter. After reading the freshly added explanatory note [which was unnecessary from my perspective] the insurance company agreed to proceed with the insurance without any exclusionary clause. But by then another insurance company had offered to cover me without any exclusion risks, after reading the letter with the post-script. Whether this other insurance company would have taken a similar stance without the benefit of the additional explanation would be mere conjecture, at the present time. They agreed with me, however, that the original content says nothing about risks of paralysis stemming from my condition and that somebody had apparently misconstrued the text. The fact that to date no claim has been made under the policy is a significant factor; it implies that I have not suffered any of the insured illnesses and that the insurance company has benefited to some extent from the relative premium they received for the past 16 years.

Back to the Bible; by recalling the words spoken in Genesis 3.14 and 3.15:

  • 3.14. 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.
  • 3.15. 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 may be struck with the realization that it was the serpent “above all the livestock and all the wild animals” that God cursed. Genesis 3.15 refers to enmity being put between the serpent’s offspring and the woman’s offspring; 3.14 is clear about the punishment allegedly meted out by God to the serpent for telling the truth: the serpent being cursed by God to crawl on its belly and to eat dust all the days of its life. Is there anything in the Bible about Satan having offspring, or about him crawling on his belly and eating dust? If Satan was using the serpent’s body, then it was evidently bizarre of God for taking out on the serpent instead of Satan; similarly, it was bizarre of Jesus, so-called Son of God, for allegedly censuring Judas for betraying him. In the New Testament we hear Jesus saying [Mark 14.21]: The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born. Jesus as God-incarnate is forgetting his death on Earth being allegedly a pre-arranged affair. Can it be free will [on Judas’ part] if it was pre-arranged or pre-determined? Furthermore, Judas’ mind was allegedly hijacked by Satan, vide gospels of Luke and John: Luke 22.3: Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve; John 13.27: As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him etc. In the Adam/Eve story, however, we are confronted with a narrative that is clear: that it was merely a serpent, an unusual crafty, talking serpent that persuaded Eve. Nothing is said in 3.14/15 or anywhere else in Genesis about the serpent being stripped of its power of speech; but has anyone come across a talking serpent? You can search through every cubit inch of the Earth, every nook and cranny, and you know that you will not expect to find a talking serpent.

We have to live with reality, though we are not precluded in any way from reading fairy tales, whether for amusement purposes or otherwise. And since time immemorial people have been creating all kinds of fairy tales, for pleasure reading or otherwise. A person with a flair for fairy tales may however offer the explanation that as a result of God’s curse, laid out in Genesis 3.14 to 3.15, the serpent has lost its power of speech and its legs; but is there anything in Genesis that says that the serpent was created with legs and was moving about like other animals with legs? Genesis says nothing about God depriving the serpent of its power of speech or its legs. One cannot simply interpret according to one’s fancy, where the text is clear and unambiguous. The serpent was only cursed to crawl on its belly and to eat dust all the days of its life. But not all serpents today crawl on their belly and no serpent can be found to be reliant on dust or eating dust to stay alive. Whether the snake descended from a creature with legs is a different matter, however. According to some researchers, the snake’s closest relatives, considered to be inhabitants of the ocean, were the mosasaur, a gigantic marine lizard and the Pachyrachis, the most primitive snake. Fossil evidence of the mosasaur and the Pachyrachis show them to be animals with legs. If lizard-like animals with legs were the progenitors of the snake, then it may be a misnomer to call these lizard-like animals “snakes”; it would be more accurate to simply call them lizards.

But if one were to assume as true that God’s so-called curse on the serpent resulted in the deprivation of its power of speech and its legs, then it must also be true that the punishment meted out to Eve and Adam seems, on the contrary, to have placed no restriction on them to continue with the exercise of their so-called free will, although free will, in a logical argument, was precisely that which culminated in the anger and frustration in God, who, despite his apparent stupidity or ignorance, took it out on Eve and Adam and the serpent, and their descendants. And, arguably, free will was the thing that exposed God’s tyrannical behavior in committing genocides in the stories that follow after the Garden of Eden episode. God can be accused of being an imbecile because with our free will we can choose to reject him as a spoilt-brat with an insatiable, morbid craving for adult attention, or consider him a fiendish, sadistic killer in need of psychiatric help. One theistic belief or inference from the free will concept is that by rejecting God we are destined for Hell. To argue for free will on this basis is to argue illogically. The fact that A loves B does not mean that B loves A or that B must adhere to the principle of reciprocity by loving A in return; whether B loves A needs to be established, and even if it is true that B loves A it cannot be ruled as a matter of reciprocity; B’s love for A may be the outcome of several factors, may even have originated from the moment they first met each other. The theistic argument for free will is clearly a flawed argument, a non-starter.

Someone familiar with the Bible may quote Romans 16.20: The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you – to support the view that this has a similarity to Genesis 3.15. So what if there is a similarity? It still does not prove that God was cursing Satan in Genesis 3.14 and 3.15. It is clear from 3.14 that he was cursing a member of the livestock; can Satan be considered a member of the livestock? Certainly not! In recalling the so-called dialogue between God and Satan in Job 1.6 – 1.12 [see below], we might be tempted to say that it would be strange or bizarre of God to have been talking like that to Satan if it was Satan he was allegedly cursing in Genesis 3.14 and 3.15. For one thing, nowhere in Job 1.6 -1.12 can we find any hint of Satan crawling on his belly or eating dust. These lines give us an impression of a friendly meeting between God and Satan:

  • 1.6. One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.
  • 1.7. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”  Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.”
  • 1.8. Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
  • 1.9. “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.
  • 1.10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
  • 1.11. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
  • 1.12. The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”  Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD;

However, there is still no denying that Adam and Eve had disobeyed God by eating from the tree he forbade, notwithstanding the mitigating circumstances. With tongue in cheek we might ask: What is the degree of guilt of this so-called disobedience? Was it a mortal sin or venial sin? Obviously, it must be interpreted as a big sin since as a consequence Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden to live by the sweat of their brow in the outside environment. But if this interpretation is correct, then God himself had committed a bigger or greater mortal sin for being a nincompoop because, as it transpired, he did not put in place the necessary measures to pre-empt any possibility of access to the so-called Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, despite being omniscient and if omniscience can be believed. And God can be censured for being totally ignorant about the “ounce of prevention” principle. Disobedience in this case can be considered a wrong but not an evil, since prior to this Adam and Eve were ignorant of good or evil.

Maybe, omniscience is not one of God’s so-called attributes. He was evidently presumptuous and clueless about security issues, about what was happening or going to happen; or he can be said to have experimented with free will and discovered, too late, that his lack of foresight was a cause of problems for others. Is there anything being said in the Bible about God admitting his own mistakes in this episode, or thinking of punishing himself for his apparent blunder in allowing the serpent, the “most crafty of all animals” access to the so-called Garden of Eden? Not that I am aware of. And this particular serpent, in case one forgets, was endowed with the power of speech, with an apparent ability to articulate, to hold a conversation with a human being and to impress. Why did God endow the serpent with such eloquence or persuasive power, if he knew full well that Eve would be persuaded? Maybe it was no blunder; maybe God had no power or only limited power, in which case God cannot be said to be omnipotent. And neither can he be said to be omniscient. His inaction, passivity or impotence [call it what you want] is a clear betrayal or falsification of such theistic beliefs. Let’s continue with our evaluation.

Would a loving father knowing the adverse conditions affecting his children just stand by and do nothing? A yes answer seems plausible and not unusual, if the father happens to be powerless to do anything, as for example, the father being a paralytic cannot move or speak but is not visually impaired. But what if the father happens to be omnipotent, able to do anything and everything? A yes answer in this case would sound illogical. But if the father does nothing despite being wishfully thought or believed to be omnipotent, omniscient and all-loving, then it would probably give rise to some contentious issues; one can then say that the father may be all-loving as he is believed to be but the belief that he is also omnipotent may be false; it would be illogical to believe he is omnipotent and all-loving in view of his apparent apathy or passivity in the face of adverse conditions affecting his children; the fact he does nothing can be seen as an indication of his impotence or powerlessness to intervene or influence. On the other hand, he may be omnipotent and omniscient, a combination that is not totally without difficulty, since it can be evaluated as being contradictory or illogical, but the belief in his being all-loving seems irrational, since despite his almighty powers he still does nothing to save his children.

By his apparent inaction of staying on the sidelines as a bystander one can logically conclude that the father can have only one or at most two of the three attributes cited above, notwithstanding that such human constructs can come only from wishful thinking or belief. Thus the father can be [1] omnipotent [but cannot be all-loving at the same time], or [2] omniscience, or [3] all-loving, or [4] omniscient and all-loving. Being both omnipotent and omniscient can be seen as conveying something contradictory or illogical; if God [assuming he exists] is omniscient, then God can predict with 100 per cent accuracy anything or everything that is going to happen, including your future actions and those of his own; however, being omnipotent he can do whatever he wants, including doing or behaving differently from his predictions or expectations, thus making his predictions or expectations uncertain and fallible. Hence, by this argument, he can’t be both omniscient and omnipotent.

After their eviction from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve allegedly gave birth to three sons, first Cain then Abel and then Seth. Needless to say, the story of Adam and Eve and their children has so many mysterious implications and gaps that not to treat it as myth would seem irrational. But if we treat it as myth, what about the rest of the Bible? Everything else in the Bible, including the New Testament, seems to be flowing from the accounts reported in Genesis or having some connection with the belief in the existence of God as the Creator, as reported in Genesis. I was discussing with someone, via an Internet forum, concerning the Bible and Christian beliefs and received a huge surprise when he said: “Either way, mainline Christian Tradition (which excludes the Creationists and Adventists) treats the story of Adam and Eve as a myth.” I was surprised because he had intimated to being a Catholic and a student of philosophy. And when I countered that if the Adam and Eve story is myth, then God is also myth, he insisted that God [as portrayed in Genesis and the rest of the Old Testament] is not myth. In fact, prior to his statement on Adam and Eve being myth, he had already initiated an incredible output by declaring: “On Eden: Fruit is considered a metaphor. That is to say, the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not part of the fruit’s biochemical composition. (And incidentally, it is “fruit”, not “apple”.) The Tree of Eternal Life, on the other hand, may have had a genuine chemical that prolongs life.” Unmistakably unbelievable! It was clear he wanted to have his cake and eat it. But that kind of talk has been typical of my experience talking with God-believers. He made a good observation, though, about “fruit” and not “apple” as the term being referred to in the script. If there is a Bible version that refers to the fruit consumed by Adam and Eve as an apple I would like to know which version. But does it make a difference to the story, whether it was an apple or another fruit? Did he analyze the biochemical composition of the fruit in question? Was there a “tree of knowledge of good and evil”? What about the claim of the story being myth? And saying: “may have had a genuine chemical that prolongs life” can be seen as self-contradicting or irrational. Should he agree, after his graduation, that it is not unreasonable to say that “if the Bible is truly the word of God, then God is irrefutably a bloodthirsty, cruel, despotic, hypocritical, manipulative, revengeful, genocidal maniac”, then I would happily applaud and congratulate him for his educational achievement.

Maybe not everything reported in the Bible is myth and, to be sure, it is not an easy task to say with precision which particular area is not myth, notwithstanding that all biblical stories are nothing but myth to some people. Even for Jesus, no account of his life story, the kind reported in the canonized gospels, can be found in any history books written by non-Christians. In fact, the canonized gospels appear to be the only sources about Jesus but, regrettably, they provide little or no information about the first 30 years of his life. That period, sad to say, is a big chunk of Jesus’ life span, considering that Jesus allegedly died in his early thirties. To return to our main theme, it was Abel’s animal sacrifice, not the sacrifice of the fruits of the land being offered by Cain, which allegedly found favor with the Lord [to read as God]; Cain’s offering was allegedly rejected by God and this rejection allegedly resulted in Cain killing Abel out of jealousy. One can be excused for asking: Why was God such an imbecile in the handling of this apparently simple situation? The Garden of Eden episode can be viewed as the first example of God’s disastrous administrative ability, or irrationality or stupidity. Being ostensibly incapable of handling a situation involving only two people, can you expect God to handle a human population in the billions and the millions or billions of prayers being plausibly directed at him at any given moment? Was there a need for him to exercise favoritism? Even if he had a morbid zest for meat rather than fruits or vegetables, he could have, with a bit of tact or diplomacy, accepted the offerings from both of them. Can he be said to have been unaware that his stupidity or favoritism in accepting one and rejecting the other would end in tragedy for Abel?

If God can be said to be omniscient then it can be said he engineered Abel’s death, regardless of whether the concept of free will can be legitimately brought into the argument. But there is another mysterious aspect: How did Cain know that his sacrifice was rejected but that of his brother was accepted? Presumably, but speculatively, God must have made a physical appearance or some clear indication as to which offering found favor with him and which was rejected; he might have eaten the animal sacrifice of Abel in their presence, while leaving untouched the fruits or vegetables offered by Cain. God, we have to remember, is portrayed in the Old Testament as a being with a morbid zest for animal sacrifice, and the sprinkling and splashing of blood on his so-called altar. The story of the angelic rebellion, from bits and pieces scattered here and there in biblical narrative, can be viewed as another example of the deplorable state of God’s leadership or statesmanship and lack of foresight. As you continue with your reading of the Bible, you will no doubt discover more examples of God’s ineptitude along with examples of his brutality, cruelty, immorality, insanity and his other vices.

The story says nothing about other human beings, and the impression it gives to the reader up to the point of the offerings to God by Cain and Abel is that there were nobody else besides their parents. But Cain is reported to have expressed fear that other people might harm him should they come to know that he had killed his brother without justification. Let’s recap the dialogue between God and Cain:

Genesis

  • 4.9. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
  • 4.10. The LORD said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.
  • 4.11. Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
  • 4.12. When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
  • 4.13. Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is more than I can bear.
  • 4.14. Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
  • 4.15. But the LORD said to him, “Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
  • 4.16. So Cain went out from the LORD’s presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

The impression one gets is that this dialogue would not be possible without Cain having a clear indication that he was talking to God; can it be assumed that God appeared as a recognizable person to Cain [and to his parents and Abel], similar in manner to the time he allegedly appeared as a man to Abraham, generations later? Vide line 4.14, who were these other people who allegedly gave rise to Cain’s fear of getting killed? Line 4.15, the alleged putting of a mark by God on Cain’s forehead as a precaution to others to leave Cain alone, seems to be saying something obvious: there were other inhabitants on the Earth besides Adam, Eve and Cain; but this is mysterious, since before the killing of Abel and up to that stage the story has been confined to four people: Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel; hence with Abel dead, the only reasonable assumption available is that Cain and his parents were the only people left.

Cain, sometime after the killing of Abel, went to live in the land of Nod, got married and produced a son called Enoch, vide Genesis 4.17-18:

  • 4.17. Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.
  • 4.18. To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

Who was this female person Cain married, since Adam and Eve according to script had given birth to sons only?

According to Genesis 4.26: Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. Who was Enosh’s mother? Could it have been Eve? If not, who?

One cannot be faulted for saying that the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and their children was written with too many gaps. God-believers will no doubt believe in the story as a true account of the origin of mankind, despite the fact that it is more akin to a mythology than to anything else.  Anybody who is able to reason or analyze would say the author was talking nonsense. Adam is reported to have lived a life of longevity, before dying at the age of 930 years [Genesis 5.5].

If anything the story of Adam and Eve is all but a disproof of God being all-loving, omniscient or omnipotent; it is one of the numerous biblical accounts that point to an imperfect God or a mythical God. In fact nothing in the Bible can be adduced to support the belief in God being all-loving or almighty, regardless of the question of existence or non-existence. The fact that Eve was persuaded and got the blame should give us pause for reflection, for making inferences and drawing a conclusion. And it would not be illogical to infer or conclude that the belief in God being omniscient is either false or has no validity. However, theistic argument for his apparent non-intervention revolves on the concept of free will, a pseudo concept, and not on the possibility of God being a mythical being or a being having no foreknowledge of the future. If the Genesis story is true that God created humans and endowed them with free will and now humans, or some humans, doubt his existence by merely exercising their free will, then God must carry the blame for the existence of such doubt.

We have to question God for creating faulty humans and  blaming them for his own mistakes, a view that was expressed by Gene Roddenberry [Aug 19, 1921 – Oct 24, 1991; an American scriptwriter and producer and the creator of science fiction television series “Star Trek”] vide his comment: We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes. There is more to be said about the concept of free will, although our initial reaction is that it appears illogical and full of loopholes. According to theistic reasoning, God allegedly gave humans free will to choose or act freely because he didn’t want us to be robots; so with Adam and Eve having the power of free will to act in accordance with their choices, God could no longer intervene, as intervention would make free will meaningless. If free will is the reason for God’s non-intervention, then why did he allegedly intervene on so many occasions in the affairs of humanity? Free will cannot be seen as a restrictive barrier for God when viewed against the numerous interventions God allegedly made as reported in the Bible. We shall subject free will to further evaluation.

Let’s recall some stories from the Bible concerning certain actions of God: [1] he allegedly engineered, excepting Noah and his family members and some animals, the genocide of humanity and other creatures [2] in the time of Abraham he allegedly punished Pharaoh, King of Egypt, and members of his household with diseases because Pharaoh slept with Sarah, Abraham’s so-called sister/wife [3] he allegedly enhanced the sexual or procreative ability of Abraham and Sarah, despite their old age [4] he allegedly offered a well of water to Hagar and her son, Ishmael, to save them from their ordeal in the desert when they allegedly ran out of water [5] he allegedly destroyed, excepting Lot and his family members, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their people, allegedly on account of their lifestyle, although it can be viewed that the people were merely exercising their free will when they were embracing a certain kind of lifestyle [6] he allegedly punished King Abimelech by allegedly making King Abimelech impotent, and he also allegedly punished members of King Abimelech’s household by “closing up” the womb of all the female members – all because King Abimelech tried sleeping with Sarah after being told by Abraham that Sarah was his sister; Abraham can be seen as a man pimping for his wife to gain financial benefit [7] in Exodus he allegedly hardened Pharaoh’s heart to gain glory for himself [8] In 1 Samuel 10.9 he allegedly changed Saul’s heart.

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6 Responses to “God or Allah – truth or bull? – chapter 7”

  1. Agagooga Says:

    Why do you paraphrase a quote and then quote it in its entirety (Roddenberry)?

    There’s also no need to go through the whole story in such exhaustive detail. You can stop at the Fall – why mention Cain?

    And you don’t address the problems with taking the Fall as allegory/myth – and there’re many. Refuting fundamentalism should not be the only point of this thesis

  2. richardwkc Says:

    It’s perfectly okay to paraphrase in a few words as a prelude or introduction and then quote the source.

    The title says “A critical review of the story of Adam and Eve” – so why should the comments stop at the “Fall”?

    Why mention Cain? The story about Cain and Abel – and I don’t think you have read chapter 7 in its entirety – is biblical evidence of God’s stupidity or imbecility.

    Whether Adam and Eve and the rest of the Bible are myth is for each individual to decide. I present these stories as they are taken from the Bible and of course I have expressed my personal views about them. But others who think that the Bible is the word of God, or something inspired by him, may take all biblical accounts literally and believe every word in it. Christians in the early years of Christianity are said to have taken the Bible as absolute truth. Until Christianity started facing challenges concerning biblical inerrancy, everything was interpreted literally, by some Christians, if not all. And you may find people today who still give a literal interpretation to biblical accounts.

    This thesis is a discussion of God/Allah, based partially on biblical texts. It is not about refuting fundamentalism; it is about God/Allah as he is portrayed

  3. Agagooga Says:

    The history of biblical literalism is very complicated. Suffice it to say that there have always been people who believed that the bible had to be literally interpreted, but they were not of a significant number until the Protestant Reformation

    Taking only a literal interpretation of everything does not provide for a complete discussion – which is something you seem to want to provide.

  4. richardwkc Says:

    If any biblical passage appears ambiguous or parabolic, then it is obvious the reader has to evaluate as to what can be rationally gleaned.

    One can always try asking exegetes for an opinion.

    Many of the passages in the Bible are straightforward. If people want to interpret a passage in a way that suits them, then it is their business.

    The Adam and Eve story was at one time [and even now, for some people] seen as an event happened as alleged. But faced with criticism from the non-theistic world of the ridiculousness of the story, some Christians have begun to back off and claimed that the story should be read allegorically or metaphorically.

    The option is yours; my option is to denounce the Bible God as a malevolent, genocidal egomaniac. And I have lots of textual evidence, and they are from none other than the Bible.

  5. skipper Says:

    I haven’t managed to read the entire text here but here’s something from the top of my head: The Genesis creation myth is actually a bastardisation of the much earlier Sumerian creation myth. In the Sumerian version, there are two gods involved. Enki was the god who designed and created man and woman after much tinkering with various animals’ and gods’ genetic material. Enlil, his brother, hated Enki’s creation for some reason; sibling rivalry maybe. Enlil plotted Man’s downfall, but Enki helped bail Man out. Whilst Enlil wished Man to be subservient like the other animals, Enki loved his creation and bestowed on him the ability to reason. When Enlil realised Man had become like one of them, (meaning having consciousness) he drove him and his partner out of the godly abode. This would help explain why the Jewish god seems rather schizophrenic in places, and why he apparently talks to himself, in the plural.

    So Enlil became the YHWH of the Jews and Enki became the serpent. Enki was sometimes represented by a serpent symbol in Sumerian art and sculpture. Of course, the Jews twisted the story to represent the serpent as the bad one. It was not uncommon to depict the gods of rival tribes as evil in the scriptures of those days.

    Ever wondered why the science of medicine is symbolised by a snake? Enki could possibly be the answer; after all, he was a medical scientist (geneticist to be precise).

  6. richardwkc Says:

    Skipper, tks for the feedback.

    First, the Bible can in no way be trusted for authenticity, originality or truth. There is no discounting that the Bible authors could have copied from other cultures or other myths prevalent at the time.

    Even for the New Testament, the sources concerning morality could have originated from external sources [non-Jewish]. The Sources of the Morality of the Gospels [1914], by Joseph McCabe, speaks volumes in this area.

    I based much on the Bible for my thesis, for the reason it is believed by many people to be “the inerrant word of God”.

    If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then let’s use the Bible in our discussions about God.

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