Somewhere along the way I had developed pre-conceived notions or beliefs about the Bible. I watched documentaries like Religulous, read articles and books from other people, and adopted their points of view as my own. You could find me regurgitating all the classic anti-Christianity lines. “There are so many despicable things in the Bible! How could God sign off on such a terrible book!?” “Am I really to believe that these supernatural miracles were real events? Two-thousand years ago no less? Give me a break.” Well, I sauntered through my twenties with these notions and beliefs and went absolutely nowhere with them. Actually, I went downhill pretty fast. Well, recently it had finally occurred to me that I have never read the Bible for myself. Have the people that I gathered secondhand knowledge from about the Bible read it? The Bible is something like 1,300 pages long. It’s a lot of work to read the whole thing and given the lack of effort people put into anything these days I figured that to be a long shot. How could I fully discredit something that I have never personally investigated? Accompanied with the necessity to find a spiritual way of life, I thought it was time to put my money where my mouth is and read the Bible myself.
Before I get to the notes, I have to say that the Bible is meant to be explored. I got into a tilt the other day with my sponsor when I was telling him certain things that I *may* have discovered while reading. For example, it’s possible that Nimrod was the Egyptian god “Osiris,” and that God may have had him slain for thinking he was on the same level. “Does it say that in the Bible?” he asked. No, it doesn’t. While I understand his point, that approach to reading books is how kids learn fuck-all in school. If you ask a kid who George Washington was, they might say, “George Washington was the first President of the United States” like a robot. You will never hear them say, “forget Founding Fathers, George Washington was the Father of America in many ways. You know, when Washington saw Braddock assassinated by the French and Indians in the Battle of Monongahela, maybe that’s when he decided he didn’t want to fight with the British. Maybe that’s when he found out he could beat them.” Again, while I understand the point he was trying to make, that is not how the Bible is meant to be read. It’s not just words on paper. They mean something. Read and explore. After all, that is what “seeking” is. Anyway, with no further ado, here is what I gathered from the book of Genesis:
The Creation. I contend that people find God within themselves. With that said, there is a reason you see people exercising their spirituality at places like the beach, in the mountains, or under a tree. You hear God by way of the birds singing, the crashing of waves, or the whistle of the wind. You feel God’s presence with that wind, through the beaming of the sun, or the mist of ocean. God is everywhere, but we find Him within ourselves. He made us in His image, and that’s where He is.
Adam and Eve. This might be something: There is only life. Our ideas of good and evil are simply that. Ideas. It might be that because of these artificially constructed ideas of good and evil that we have had division since the beginning of time. What is good for one person may be evil for somebody else. Perhaps if we make a concerted effort to view life in this manner, we would all be better off.
Every living thing on this planet is part of God’s creation and should be treated as such.
I think I understand the concept of gender fluidity with the creation of Eve. It isn’t so much that men and women “need each other,” although I would argue that marriage is a design for living that works best, but it is more so that we need to incorporate some combination of masculine and feminine qualities into our lives. We can see how necessary a combination of the two are when raising kids. With only one parent in the picture the kid is forced to take on the responsibility of parenting himself. Fortunately, I never had to do that, but that appears an extremely difficult task. Perhaps even a lifelong task.
“They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed.” You know, the majority of these verses do not require complex interpretations. There is no reason to be ashamed of what we look like. We should not try to alter the form God has given us, nor treat it poorly. Preserve it to the best of our ability. This is cheesy shit, but beauty does lay on the inside. How often does an infatuation with physical appearance, whether it be our own or somebody else’s, wind up being in any way productive?
The Fall. The Bible is the truth, man. Here’s a short synopsis of the book: “Most of the time life is going to suck, but if you live properly, which we’ve outlined how to do in this book, it will suck a lot less. It might even be worth it.”
Genesis 3:24 says, “So he drove out the man, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim’s, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” One of the books I have been attempting to read is Carl Jung’s Symbols of Transformation. It’s an extremely difficult read and I hardly understand any of it, but one of the passages that I have been able to get something out of was the analysis of the poem “The Moth and the Sun.” This is getting long already, so I’ll try to condense it. Basically, you will “burn your wings” attempting to become God-like. Don’t fly too close to the sun.
Cain and Abel. I had a friend in high school who got really bad grades, which is interesting to write considering the eventual point is that it doesn’t matter, but bad grades as in all F’s. However, he knew somebody that knew somebody. This friend wound up getting a high paying job because of that somebody, and now has everything I’ve ever wanted out of life. Marriage, kids, family, a house, the whole works. “What a joke,” I thought to myself. How is it that this “fuck-up” has everything I want, and I am still without? This is the mindset of Cain. You know what’s a joke, though? Half-assing my way through everything and expecting better results than someone else. It must be something we do a lot; otherwise, this story wouldn’t be in the Bible. Because I believe this is an accurate interpretation of Cain and Abel. God is not pleased with half-measures, and rightfully so. If we are honest with ourselves, we can feel that displeasure within. Later on, I thought to myself that maybe that was my friend’s best attempt. It doesn’t matter what I think about it. Maybe it was his best and it because it was his best, he has what he was. Anyone’s best-effort is always better than your half-effort. That could be the takeaway.
Man’s Wickedness. This is one of the most interesting areas of the Bible. We would never say that God made a mistake, but He is about to wipe out his own creation by way of a flood. Is it an admission of guilt? “For it repenteth me that I have made them.” People often debate over the idea that God has a plan for us vs. God giving us free-will. I think the Bible is telling us that it is the latter. God doesn’t necessarily “intervene” in our lives, or in the world itself. At least it doesn’t look that way; otherwise, we would not be where we are in society today. Here’s an analogy that comes to mind when thinking about God feeling negatively towards creation: How would the Founding Fathers of America feel toward what they essentially created if they were able to see it today? Would they feel something like, “this is never what we intended,” and would they feel that the country would be better off if most of the people in it were wiped out? Humans fuck things up. This pains God because we are His.
Noah and the Flood. For all the beauty we can find in Mother Nature, it can take us out just as well. As a matter of fact, it *will* take us out. You kind of just hope to not be alive when she decides to wipe everyone out. In the meantime, “minor” catastrophes and disasters are inevitable. Death, disease, earthquakes, fires, floods to name just a few will continue to happen. Who do we want to be when they do? “Aim to be the strongest person at your father’s funeral.” How’s that for a goal? Noah was that in the eyes of the Lord.
The Flood Recedes. If we do our best to be like Noah, when disaster and catastrophe have receded, people will have someone to point to as a reason to not fall into the depths of nihilism. Wouldn’t that be something to be that person?
The Noahic Covenant. A recurring sentiment from God is to “be fruitful and multiply.” It is because of this that I am in adamant disagreement with the popular figures who advocate for depopulation, or when they encourage people to stop having kids. No. God, who is Mother Nature, will sort that out himself, or herself in this case. God’s pronouns are He/Her. With that joke out-of-the-way, I suppose it needs to be said that the rainbow represents the covenant between Him and all flesh that is on the earth. He will never flood the earth again. This isn’t a shot, but the rainbow has nothing to do with who you are currently choosing to have sex with.
The Sons of Noah. Shem, Ham, and Japheth are the sons of Noah. Ham is the father of Canaan. This is an interesting little story. I’ve read theories about it being a condemnation of homosexuality, but I don’t see that here. Noah gets wasted and passes out in his tent. Ham, in what reads as an accident, walks into the tent, and finds his dad passed out drunk and naked. In lieu of this, Ham tells his two brothers, “Dad is passed out, balls-naked.” Shem and Japheth take a garment and cover Noah while turning away their faces, so they don’t see him. This is all the Bible says that happened. Noah finds out that Ham saw him in that state and proceeds to curse Canaan, Ham’s son, who had nothing to do with the matter. Maybe it’s this: 1) Never disparage your parents no matter what the case may be. After all, they are the reason that you are here. I got into a bit of a debate with a woman on twitter recently after she disputed a claim that “a relationship with your child is potentially the highest quality relationship one can have.” She said the relationship she had with her mother was the worst she has ever had. Fair enough. But, be that as it may, our parents’ mere existence is the reason that one has the opportunity to do a better job than they did, if of course you feel that way. Imagine if we could be grateful even for the people that have done us the most harm. What a pleasant state of being that would be. Finally, 2) The worst punishment for a parent is for them to watch their son or daughter suffer. “A Mother is only as happy as her saddest child.”
The Tower of Babel. A small fragment pops up here out of nowhere, but it potentially means a lot. Without injecting any “theories,” much like the flaming sword, God does not want us to fool ourselves into thinking that we are like him. Something like that, I mean, I don’t know. I’m kind of typing out loud here, but it is something to that effect. Obviously, we do our best to emulate the ideal of what God represents, and if we succeed in any minute way then we are better humans because of that. However, pride comes before the fall. We see that happen to ourselves almost always. As soon as I start to think that I am better than I actually am, BAM, life hits me and it’s a long way down. So, it seems God knows that he must keep us at bay, and maybe even reluctantly. There is proof of this, you know? What happens when we lose humility? Nothing good.
The Genesis Notes. Pt. 1.