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Summary: God creates the world in six days and declares it all very good. God then creates humans to rule over the animals. He then tells them to eat from any tree except this specific one or you’ll die. A serpent says “nah” and they eat from the tree. God punishes all three by making snakes hated, childbirth terrible, and yard work difficult. They are banished from the Garden of Eden forever.
Y’all, it is day-freaking-one and I already have Problems. Let’s just go chapter by chapter.
Chapter 1: The Beginning
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.Genesis 1:1-2, NIV
First of all, Earth’s first surface was magma, not water. GET IT TOGETHER, DUDES WHO WROTE THIS 2,000 YEARS AGO.
One of the things I wrestle with the most is the reconciliation of religion and science. Is it even possible? Are the two bound to be mutually exclusive forever?
To me, religion springs from two fears: death and the unknown. We didn’t know how we got here, or how we can do things like breath air and eat certain plants and animals without keeling over. We didn’t know anything, and so we assigned it all to divine intelligent creation.
And then, some extremely smart people began doing things like looking at the sky at night and drawing extremely incorrect maps and tying keys to kites, and getting beaned by apples falling from trees, and telling everyone how the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. They began making sense of life, things, what’s beyond the sky; for some reason, calculus.
We figured out that the Earth was not, in fact, created in less than a week.
And that really pissed off a lot of people. Still does, in fact.
We know for certain that the Earth, in its present form, took billions of years to come together. So…yeah. “Six days” is doing a lottttt of heavy lifting there.
What I like the most about this chapter is the idea of God as a creator (THE creator), an artist, an engineer. Taking this enormous blank canvas and creating a complex system of terrain, flora and fauna. The sun rises, the sun sets. Fish swim. Birds fly. Animals gambol. Tides rise and fall. The Bible mostly takes place in the Middle East, so the writers probably didn’t have much in the way of seasons, but you know they happen elsewhere. The point is everything works together in harmony. And it was good.
Then he invented humans. Oops.
27 So God created mankind in his own image,Genesis 1:27, NIV
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
As a non-binary person, I get stuck on the very binary nature of this verse, but when you’re reading a text that’s thousands of years old in 2022, them’s the breaks. What I feel most strongly is that if all of creation is very good, if all humans are created in God’s image, then that includes those outside the binary. Full stop.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”Genesis 1:28, NIV
Yeah…I think we nailed that one. Since God is omnipotent and all that, I think some caveats would’ve been useful here. Instead, I have to go back and forth between enjoying the serotonin boost and dreading the direction of our planet in the throes of climate change every time it’s unseasonably warm in January.
Chapter 2: Adam and Eve
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.Genesis 2:2-3, NIV
Honestly, we stan a king who recognizes good work/life balance! I really hate hustle/grind culture and how resting is seen as weakness or a waste of time and if you’re not productive every waking second of your life, then what are you even doing?
What I’m doing is working to live, not living to work! I like my job and I enjoy what I do, but my off-time is sacred. A work culture that values ladder-climbers and people working horrendous hours for more money doesn’t do it for me. If it does for you, fine! I just don’t see how it’s worth it in the end.
God prioritized resting and so should you. God is worthy of rest and so are you.
And that’s where my God fandom ends for this section.
So God creates Adam to take care of the earth (which, like…is the Biblical Earth the size of an office park to start? If not, ONE person is gonna take care of all that??), creates the Garden of Eden and plants Adam there to live. And then, in the most mind-boggling ridiculousness imaginable, plants two trees, shows them to Adam, and says “Don’t eat from these trees or you’ll die.”
I will complain about this in greater depth, I’m sure, but I truly despise how God is constantly testing people in the Bible (Job is gonna be a wild ride when we get there). Maybe God somehow didn’t realize how humans…are? Did he dump too much Curiosity into humanity and just decided to roll with it? If God wants to A/B test His creations, no one is stopping Him, but maybe lower the stakes a little??
In any case, don’t tell someone not to eat from two very conspicuous trees and then get all surprised Pikachu face when they do the thing.
On the other hand, Adam and Eve, consider not listening to talking serpents, idk.
Something else that amuses me about the Bible is how it’s also full of random tidbits that absolutely no one asked for but the writers thought should go in there anyway. For example, this passage about the four headwaters flowing from the river that goes through Eden:
10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin[e] and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.[f]14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.Genesis 2: 10-14, NIV
Well, thank goodness they included that information about the gold, resin and onyx in Havilah. I guess God was particularly pleased with that part of His creation and wanted a record of it. Or, more likely, someone from Havilah wrote Genesis (or at least the beginning of Genesis) and wanted to give a shout-out to their old stomping ground.
God realizes Adam needs a friend and creates Eve from Adam’s rib. Weird choice, but okay.
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”Genesis 2:18, NIV
I’m dying to know how God came to this conclusion. Was it entirely on His own, or was Adam doing some weird shit down in Eden and God was like “Woah, buddy, okay. I’ll make you another person, yeesh”?
My guess is that God was watching Adam name all the animals on Earth and decided it was time to spice things up. Season 1 of Humanity was off to a slow start and needed a kick.
So Eve is formed from Adam’s bone and the verse goes on to say that this is why when a man leaves his family to unite with a woman, they become one flesh (I do not have the time or energy to unpack that one) and that they were naked but not ashamed. There’s a lot of emphasis on nudity and the shame later associated with it after they eat from the Forbidden Tree. I don’t care for it.
Chapter 3: The Fall
Ohhhh my god, this is taking so long. I can’t believe I agreed to do this every day for a whole year and I’m not even getting money or an M.Div out of it.
God tells Adam to eat from trees, any and all trees, except for these two trees, but why? oh no reason they’re just the trees of knowledge of good and evil and if you eat from them you die nbd.
Sure, fine, whatever. Easy enough to avoid, lots of other trees in the garden. Nothing to see here.
And then comes Sneaky McSerpentface telling them that oh no, you won’t die at all! You’ll actually become as wise as God and have all sorts of knowledge. This sounds pretty good to Eve, who presumably only heard it secondhand from Adam that they’re not supposed to eat from the tree, and is (rightfully, to me!) not convinced that Knowledge Bad. They eat the fruit and lo and behold, their eyes are opened and they did not die.
The Serpent was right. God lied to them.
This is what I mean. How is this not the biggest pile of bullshit? The pursuit of knowledge is not a bad thing. It’s never clear why God doesn’t actually want them to eat from the tree. It’s all just a test He set up to determine…what, exactly? God intended for them to live forever; did He truly expect them to NEVER be tempted by the fruit of the forbidden trees?
Ahh…there it is. Temptation.
That’s going to come up a lot, too. A lot of these tests crop up in order to see how well humans (including, famously, Jesus Himself) can resist temptation. Honestly, it’s pretty rude. The story of Adam and Eve is the first and most famous example, probably because it’s also the most egregious.
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”Genesis 3:12-13, NIV
Love how the blame gets passed down. Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the Serpent, and the Serpent…well, it literally doesn’t have a leg to stand on. But also, “The serpent deceived me”.
…Did it, though?
Again, God said if you eat from the forbidden trees, you die. The Serpent said otherwise. Since Eve is still around to even blame the Serpent in the first place, who really deceived her?
And Adam? Who God Himself told about the tree and how it was forbidden? Fuck all the way off for blaming Eve. Do better. I’ll die on this hill.
The bigger hill that I’ll die on is that this was a shitty test because forbidding people from accessing knowledge and the difference between good and evil is ridiculous.
20 Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.Genesis 3:20, NIV
The way this verse immediately follows the previous verses that are all God doling out the punishments for the Serpent, Eve and Adam is so funny to me. As if after all that, Adam was like, “I guess I need to give you a name and since EVIL WENCH WHO GOT US KICKED OUT OF PARADISE EVEN THOUGH I’M A STUPID IDIOT WHO SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER IN THE FIRST PLACE is too long, we’ll go with Eve. Also, it’s considered a sin if your name has more syllables than mine, God said so.”
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[n] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.Genesis 3:22-24
Oh, GET OVER YOURSELF. Again, why are only God and the Serpent the only ones allowed to know about good and evil? And NOW you place someone to guard the FORBIDDEN trees?? Unbelievable. Every time someone says “God doesn’t make mistakes”, I’m going to send them this passage.
Man, Old Testament God is already on my shit list and it only gets worse from here. This is gonna be fuuuuuuun!