Genesis: A quick redux. Genesis grade: A-

Genesis was an interesting read in that I started to find tangents and parallels taking place that I was not aware of before. I’ve heard people say the Bible is perfect, infallible, and the “word of God”. Well to be honest, I would think the word of God wouldn’t come off like a typical incomplete novel that was still in the works. Sounds critical of me to say but that is the truth. The timeline is erratic, a lot of information and data is missing, and I almost get the impression it was a series of stories squished together to try to fit into one.

Some major observations and questions I come across as I quickly review my findings:

  • Creation. Two stories and they do not match
  • Why is it important that precious stones exist in the lands where Jehovah and the Garden of Eden are placed?
  • Adam and Eve are assumed to be the first two people on earth but after reading the story again and comparing Genesis books 1 and 2, I no longer think that is the case: Cain is afraid of ‘whosoever’ he comes across will want to kill him despite the insinuation of modern translation that he is only the 3rd person on earth.
  • Elohim and Jehovah: Different traits, characteristics, actions
    • Elohim seems cosmic, universal, ethereal, spiritual “Elohim’s spirit floats over the waters”
    • Jehovah seems earthly, worldly, physical “he walks in the cool of the evening”
    • They give different instructions to Noah regarding animals to bring on the Ark and what animals they are allowed to eat
    • Elohim’s offerings are of bread and wine, oil and drink offerings
    • Jehovah’s offerings are beasts and blood, and rejected Cain’s offerings of first fruits
  • The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, the sons of Jacob and Esau) are all well off, lot’s of flocks and land. They live lives that TODAY would be considered sinful and evil
    • Lying and cheating their brethren
    • Having multiple wives, including wives of slave women
    • Having multiple children with multiple wives
    • Treating their children unequally in terms of their inheritance
    • Disobeying their fathers
    • Not paying heed to the promises of Jehovah “do not fear” yet they do and bring chaos to those around them (Pharaoh, Abimelech, etc.)
    • The non-Jehovah special lineage (Ishmael and Esau) really didn’t do anything wrong compared to their counterparts
  • There is no mention of a priesthood until we find out about Melchizedek, King Priest of the Most High God, who gives thanks with bread and wine (Jesus like) but not the blood and burning flesh of Jehovah
  • There is no mention that evil done by man is caused or influenced by the Devil/Satan.
  • Jehovah is not omnipotent or omniscient “I came to see for myself if the evil of Sodom and Gomorrah is true”
  • With all the knowledge we know about ancient Egypt, many data points are missing in the Genesis description of Egypt (Pharaoh names for example)
  • For one event to happen (the reunion of Joseph with his brothers which saves them from the drought) a WHOLE LOT of other steps were put into place to cause this event, as claimed by Joseph that it was all part of a master plan. Why would an omnipotent god need to do such a thing?
  • Big questions pop up why many of the events and geographical sites mentioned in Genesis are all big mysteries. Where is the evidence?
    • Where was the Garden of Eden and why is it not around today with Jehovah walking around it. Where is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Where is the “flame of a sword” that protects the Tree of Life? Where are the rivers Havilah and Pishon?
    • Do we know where Sodom & Gomorrah really were?
    • Where was the Tower of Babel?
    • Did the Nephilim who were offspring of the sons of Elohim and the daughters of man leave remains behind? Why do we not know the whole story of how that took place and what happened to those that “fell” in Genesis?
    • Is there physical evidence of the great war of kings in Genesis 14? It was of a grand scale and surely something would be left behind. And where did these kings come from?
  • “Israel” was NOT monotheistic, they CLEARLY worshiped other gods, they KNEW of other gods, they POSSESSED other gods (Jacob hiding his family’s idols from Elohim)
  • The patriarchs and the 12 sons of Israel are not boasted about, they clearly are human teetering on a wickedness that modern Christians would condemn. Will this be the case in future books ahead? SPOILER ALERT: I’m jumping ahead and spoiling the narrative by saying no, they get special treatment in future books and their wickedness still exists, if not worsens. This tells me there are yet more authors with different intentions in our future.

Some odd impressions about Jehovah I took that conflict with modern church teachings that I think the bible clearly insinuates:

  • Jehovah was a surrogate father, after all it was until “he did that thing when he visited Sarai” who the bible clearly says both her AND Abraham were beyond child birthing age, did she give birth to Isaac. Was Abraham really the father when it was only by a visit from Jehovah that she gave birth? The precedent was set in Genesis 6 when we are clearly told the spiritual/heavenly beings ARE able to breed with the daughters of man.
  • Jehovah clearly starts to sound like an earthly, tribal god. His physical form means he can walk the earth but is not always on earth because other times he appears in dreams to the patriarchs. He needs physical specificity in the case of: sacrifices (he enjoys the smell of burning flesh), Sodom & Gomorrah (he needs to see the evil for himself)
  • The 12 sons of Jacob and Jacob himself were pretty wicked, yet were protected by Jehovah despite their sins.
  • Jehovah has dragon and/or volcano traits to his being and I think we will see more of this in Exodus.

The “sins” of Adam and Eve all the way down to Jacob (who admitted to the Pharaoh his days have been short and evil) do give a very humanistic aspect to these early peoples, an aspect that even modern man can associate with: deceit, family conflict, land issues, weather related catastrophes, widespread wickedness, and much more.

Some points I’m looking to get clarified in future books:

  • The devil was not accused of involvement in any of the evil actions taken by the peoples of this day (save for the serpent who people insinuate is the devil but Genesis does NOT specify this). The evil comes from man himself, no credit is giving to the devil/Satan
  • The difference between El*elyon, El Shaddai, Elohim, and Yahweh. I no longer believe they are one in the same and have multiple Genesis verses to prove my point. I’m hoping it gets clarified in further verse.
  • When the flood occurred it was (again, different reasons were mentioned pertaining to the difference between Elohim and Jehovah) because the world was overly wicked. There is NO mention of CORRECTION to keep the world from becoming overly wicked again. All we have is a flood that wiped out the wickedness but no measure to prevent it from happening again.
    • SO, BIG QUESTION: Can the world ever become as wicked as described in the pre-flood days?
    • Just how did the author(s) of Genesis define “the world”? Was it the entire globe? The middle east specifically? The eastern hemisphere which we find that not until at least 1492 people thought was the entire world?

Overall my latest study into Genesis really opened my eyes about details NOT discussed by any church officials, bible studies, or conversations with fellow Christians of many denominations. All I get from them is broad assumptions (Adam was first man; Jehovah is the only god; the patriarchs were faithful and role models).

Let me say this, the patriarchs get a big NO WAY in terms of being role models. It can not be denied that their lifestyle would not mesh with modern times, whether the lifestyle of a modern Christian or an average US citizen (polygamy is now illegal).

The big hypocrisy between modern church goers and Genesis: Today it is frowned upon, if not outright illegal, to own slave servants or to marry multiple wives. But that’s what the patriarchs did and it was not frowned upon by Jehovah or Elohim! So why do people point to Genesis and say there are things in there that we should be doing? Isn’t it all or none? Do we get to pick and choose which rules we follow listed in the bible? I know future books of the Bible are really going to hammer this point home.

There is much much more to discuss regarding Genesis, but I need to move on to Exodus for the purpose of this blog. Genesis complete. Overall status: Confused but still open to the word of the bible, not convinced modern science meshes with Genesis, but I know there are many more themes to come in future books so I move on.

I give Genesis an A- because it is absolutely fascinating, but mysterious (thanks to all the missing information) so it puts me in detective and critical thinking mode. I think there are multiple authors and multiple stories squished into one, which is glaringly obvious, but because it warrants more questions it incites my imagination and critical thinking skills in looking for more proving data. Flaming swords, magic trees, Nephilim, giant sea and land creatures (Leviathan and Behemoth), tribal war gods: sorry to say it has a Lord of the Rings feel to it all. If someone does not take it serious I can see why, it’s not that hard to see. I loved the imagery I got from it all (Jehovah, who is given no physical description, “walking” in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, or the Elohim floating over the cosmic waters) so I give it an A- in terms of its effect on my mind and how I place myself in this world.

Let’s see what Exodus does.

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Genesis 22 – The Test, Human Sacrifice, the Lineage to Isaac’s wife

Genesis 22:1 – And it came to pass after these things, that God did prove Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham; and he said, Here am I. And he said, Take now they son, thine only son, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

If ever a verse would turn away the average reader into abhorrent disgust from this book, this would be it. Jehovah promises Abraham that his seed will be as countless as the sand, yet God is telling him to now sacrifice him as a burnt offering? Abraham seems response-less, not even asking for clarification. He questioned Jehovah multiple times about the future, his destiny, his covenant. But sacrifice your only son? No response.

It was a 3 day journey to the spot in Moriah, and Abraham, without emotion, separates himself and Isaac from the two young men that accompanied him. In yet another act of deception by Abraham:

22:7 – And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold, the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering? And Abraham said, God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son…

Why couldn’t Abraham just tell him the truth? More fear from Abraham, maybe Isaac would run off and Abraham would incur the wrath of God? Then we learn it was a test, a test to find out if Abraham feared God.

Why the need for a test, doesn’t God know all peoples thoughts and motives? The only reason to test Abraham is because God didn’t know if Abraham feared him. Why go through such a test if you are all knowing? Why does anyone prove something they already know?:

  • To prove it to other people
  • To wallow in the knowledge of being right
  • They are unsure of their knowledge

The angel of Jehovah interrupts Abraham right before he slays Isaac:

22:11 – And the angel of Jehovah called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not they hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto him; for NOW I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.

Abraham Isaac altar
No fear mentioned from Abraham or Isaac. Just a normal day of sacrifice?

An insecure God? He didn’t know that Abraham feared him before this test? Not knowing the loyalty of his servants with which he has performed miracles, destroyed cities, and created covenants for him and his generations to follow? The only one in this story with conviction is Abraham, who did what he was instructed without hesitation. It is God in this verse who has to test the lesser being for his devotion. This is odd and undermines the omniscient quality modern religion has applied to our understanding of God.

Not only that, was it normalized in biblical times for a man to sacrifice his children? It’s not mentioned yet but the answer is yes, and future verse will prove it. Maybe not in the realm of Jehovah but certainly in this land, and we know Abraham has traveled in all directions at this point. We already read how Lot was ready to give up the virginity of his two daughters to scores of wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah, possibly leading to their death. We know the Israelite’s fed their children to the fires of Moloch/Molech in future verse. Is this why Abraham didn’t flinch at the thought of sacrificing his son? It was already normalized?

Now I’m seeing the difference between what modern churches and interpretation apply to God as a trait and what the Bible states. They are not the same. If God knows all then why the need to test his servant and finally state “yes, NOW I know you fear me”. He admits he didn’t know before hand.

Genesis 22 ends with the lineage of Abraham’s sister in law Milcah from Abraham’s brother (including children from his concubine).

Genesis 15 – Jehovah speaks to Abram about the future. Entrail Divination?

After the affair of Genesis 14, Jehovah comes to Abram in a vision, tells him not to fear, that Jehovah is his shield and great reward. Abram wonders about his current heir, who is not of his birth, and Jehovah assures him he will have a heir of Abram’s seed.

Just how has Jehovah been speaking to Abram in previous verse? We are specifically told this is a vision. What about Adam/Eve, Cain, and Noah? Had they been having “visions” as finally mentioned in Genesis 15:1? Or were they actually hearing Jehovah’s voice through their ears?

Jehovah tells Abram the land he is in is his to inherit. Abram asks “how will I know it is mine to inherit?” Jehovah says:

Genesis 15:9 – And he said unto him, take me a heifer three years old, and a she-goat three years old, and a ram three years old, and a turtle-dove, and a young pigeon. And he took him all these, and DIVIDED THEM IN THE MIDST, and laid each half over against the other: but the birds divided he not. And the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, and Abram drove them away.

So Abram is already in communication with Jehovah, and to answer his question, Jehovah has Abram go through an animal ritual. They were cut open down the middle “divided them in the midst” and then laid over each other to form an odd shaped pentagon “they were laid each half over against the other”, and because they were cut open with exposed entrails, Abram had to swat the birds of prey away.

15:12 – And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram…

Is this sleep with a horror of great darkness the result of his animal ritual? Is this horror of great darkness Jehovah? It sure sounds like it because right after the darkness fell upon Abram, verse says as if pointing to the horror the verse indicated: “he says…”

This sounds like extispicy, haruspicy: divination/fortune telling using animal entrails. In this case Abram performed the ritual to expose the entrails and Jehovah performed the divination and only through Abram’s deep sleep could Jehovah communicate this divination.

haruspicy
Roman rendition of a man about to cut open a fowl for the purpose of entrail divination. This ritual is done all around the world for similar purposes.

15:17 – And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold, a smoking furnace, and a flaming torch that passed between these pieces.

The only pieces we know of are the pieces of animals, so it sounds like the end of the divination ritual involved a smoking furnace and flaming torch passing through this animal pentagon, and finally the sun going completely down.

  • Abram was already in communication with Jehovah through his vision, why the need for the ritual?
  • How can we explain a smoking furnace and flaming torch in this instance?
    • We know there is smoke and flame, and the words furnace and torch can be non specific, so I’m not sure that an actual furnace and torch were involved here.
  • The coincidence that this book is about Abram’s future and what sounds like a well known ritual of animal organ readings for knowledge of the future takes place doesn’t lend credence to the idea that Jehovah did not use ritual divination to foretell the future to Abram.

So the even bigger question, why the need for divination with Jehovah?

Genesis 8 – Water & the Return to the Earth

Water didn’t just come from above, it also came out of the earth:

Genesis 8:1 – And Elohim remembered Noah, and all the beasts, and all the cattle that were with him in the ark: and Elohim made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; the fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained.

If the entire globe floods with water, how and where does the extra water subside too? Ice caps are one way of drawing this water out from the earth. It almost sounds like water returned back *into* the earth from the fountains it once poured out of.

One question I have is, just how different was the earth (temperature, rainfall, flora, etc.) after flood? Not sure if it will be mentioned but that is one question that gets raised. Reason being, if something did change atmospherically in our historical record, it would be a good correlation to tie into the story of a world wide flood.

Noah’s ark. Where did it go?

8:4 – And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the 17th day of the month, upon the MOUNTAINS of Ararat.

Ararat
The MOUNTAINS of Ararat (not just Mt Ararat)

Was it large enough that it sat upon multiple mountains at once? To put all the known life we know exists on the earth today into one vessel, it would have to be enormous. Of course, Elohim gave explicit measurements on the size of this ark so, in terms of dimensions, I see no mystery. How everything was squeezed into it is another story.

So after 40 days Noah sends a raven out, not really indicating why, but we are told the raven goes to and fro until the waters dried.  Then he sent a dove out which found no footing, and he tried again 7 days later, and this time the dove returns with an olive leaf. 7 days later he sends the dove out again and the dove never returns.

Oops! Well there just went ONE of the TWO doves. We can only assume its partner ended up finding him/her otherwise they were doomed to go out of existence.

So we are told we are now in the 601st year, first month, first day of the month when Noah opens a window and sees dry ground. In the 601st year, 2nd month, 27 day of the month, God speaks to Noah and tells him to return to land with all the animals he harbored and again repeats the mantra from the Creation in Book 1 to go forth and multiply.

So far so good.

Noah then builds an altar to Jehovah and offers a burnt offering of every clean beast and bird. But wait, we were told he brought TWO of each. Wouldn’t a burnt offering kill one of the two? So now the SEVEN and SEVEN would make more sense, but looking back we are told he only brought TWO.

So which story is incorrect?

Regardless, Jehovah enjoyed the sweet savor of burning flesh of the clean animals, and he said in his heart (which I read as he didn’t tell this to Noah or to anyone else):

8:21… and Jehovah said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake, for that the imagination of man is evil from his youth

This is interesting because we are often under the impression, in modern Western culture anyways, that children are innocent. I don’t know many evil (as defined here) youth. Not saying they don’t exist but this verse is being applied to all man.

Also, can we attribute burning flesh to a sweet savor? This has always struck me as odd, why would a spiritual being require earthly sensations and senses to be pleased?