Weiners are bad, mmmmkay?

My first observation today is how little continuity there is between chapters so far. There are some commonalities, but stylistically and thematically, things don’t seem to line up between chapters. Chapter 2 ended with the new people being psyched about going nude, Chapter 3 starts with a talking snake. I’m going to have to do some research on how the Bible was chapterized and chopped into verses. I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me earlier, but it’s not normal to break up garden-variety prose into chapter and verse numbers, that seems to be a religious book phenomenon. I’m curious when and how that happened. I’ll admit I know very little about how the Bible was actually assembled, besides the basics about the Council of Nicaea. I’m going to look into that further. Anyway, back to the text…

There’s a snake who is described as “subtile” which, interestingly, can mean anything from clever and wise to crafty and sneaky. It seems that most translations decide to make the snake sneaky and cunning, and I suspect most people’s conception of the snake is that he is basically Kaa from Jungle Book, or Sirr Hiss from Disney’s Robin Hood, a self-serving, benignly threatening trickster. Interestingly, the Biblical snake is not as much of an active participant in the “original sin” as I remember. He doesn’t really cajole, trick, or convince the woman to eat the fruit. He basically asks her a couple questions and then makes a point to her which ends up to be true (that they will gain some insight or knowledge when they eat the fruit). He never suggests they eat from it, or makes it sound particularly interesting, just gives them some facts.

*Note: when I say something is “true” I don’t mean that in the meta sense, I mean that it is “true” in the Biblical universe, meaning, basically, that it is internally consistent.    

So the snake didn’t lie at all, he basically called God out on his lie. If the snake is Satan, which is the common conception, then Satan is inquisitive, wise, and honest, and God is a liar. I’m on the snake’s side at this point.

They eat the fruit, get embarrassed about their nudity, and sew together fig leaves for clothing. I find it interesting that the book gives the specific name for the leaf-clothing, and it just happens to be a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine. They haven’t even named the people yet, but we know their clothing is made with fig leaves. Also, why is the very first moral precept the Bible propounds that nudity is shameful? What is the real “original sin” here? here’s how I see it

  1. God creates people, and makes them intentionally stupid and lacking the ability to know right and wrong.
  2. God creates a snake, and makes him wiser and more discerning than people.
  3. The snake informs the people that God lied to them.
  4. The people eat the fruit, which the Bible deems objectively wrong, and curses them for eternity.

Yet, the Bible never actually says what the sin is that  curses humans for the rest of their existence. God curses (1) the woman for knowing she is naked, (2) the snake because he “caused the woman to forget,” whatever the fuck that means, and (3) the man because he listened to his wife. What the fuck kind of message is that upon which to found a religion? There is no cohesive message, no useful universal moral precept, no point of calibration for any objective code of ethics. It’s fucking useless. Even if there was a coherent original sin, let’s say “doing something that God told you not to do” what kind of message is that? The religion has to set out everything that is forbidden rather than proposing ideals to which to aspire. It’s the opposite moral equivalent of disproving a negative, anything you can think of that is not specifically outlawed by the Bible is morally right? And philosophically how can you punish someone for making a “choice” when you have made them intentionally stupid and without the ability to know right and wrong, and you lie to them, and then you create another creature who is wiser than them and provides them with information that leads them to call your bluff? That is the sin that curses mankind for ever and ever?

God curses the shit out of them, telling them they are going to return to dust, and die during childbirth, and be subservient to men forever, and have to work to eat, and so on. Then, because the timing was right, the man names his wife Eve “for she hath been mother of all living,” which doesn’t make any sense because they are supposed to be the only people alive at that point. The man still doesn’t have a name. God makes them clothes, because nudity is so bad it needs to be mentioned three times in the section that essential provides the founding moral precepts of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and then returns to cursing them again.

The chapter closes with some strange internal inconsistencies:

22 And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,’ —

So now, man apparently already did have knowledge of good and evil? And we’re back to having two magical trees, which the man also sampled? Who knows. God bounces the man from the garden and guards the tree with flaming swords, despite the fact that the people already ate from the fucking tree, and you can’t exactly gain the knowledge of good and evil twice, that’s kind of a one-and-done thing, I would think.

So that’s the story of original sin, and it sounds so fucking ridiculous now that I cannot believe that it is the foundation for the religion of billions of people around the world.

GENESIS 3

1 And the serpent hath been subtile above every beast of the field which Jehovah God hath made, and he saith unto the woman, `Is it true that God hath said, Ye do not eat of every tree of the garden?’

And the woman saith unto the serpent, `Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we do eat,

and of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden God hath said, Ye do not eat of it, nor touch it, lest ye die.’

And the serpent saith unto the woman, `Dying, ye do not die,

for God doth know that in the day of your eating of it — your eyes have been opened, and ye have been as God, knowing good and evil.’

And the woman seeth that the tree [is] good for food, and that it [is] pleasant to the eyes, and the tree is desirable to make [one] wise, and she taketh of its fruit and eateth, and giveth also to her husband with her, and he doth eat;

and the eyes of them both are opened, and they know that they [are] naked, and they sew fig-leaves, and make to themselves girdles.

And they hear the sound of Jehovah God walking up and down in the garden at the breeze of the day, and the man and his wife hide themselves from the face of Jehovah God in the midst of the trees of the garden.

And Jehovah God calleth unto the man, and saith to him, `Where [art] thou?’

10 and he saith, `Thy sound I have heard in the garden, and I am afraid, for I am naked, and I hide myself.’

11 And He saith, `Who hath declared to thee that thou [art] naked? of the tree of which I have commanded thee not to eat, hast thou eaten?’

12 and the man saith, `The woman whom Thou didst place with me — she hath given to me of the tree — and I do eat.’

13 And Jehovah God saith to the woman, `What [is] this thou hast done?’ and the woman saith, `The serpent hath caused me to forget — and I do eat.’

14 And Jehovah God saith unto the serpent, `Because thou hast done this, cursed [art] thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life;

15 and enmity I put between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; he doth bruise thee — the head, and thou dost bruise him — the heel.’

16 Unto the woman He said, `Multiplying I multiply thy sorrow and thy conception, in sorrow dost thou bear children, and toward thy husband [is] thy desire, and he doth rule over thee.’

17 And to the man He said, `Because thou hast hearkened to the voice of thy wife, and dost eat of the tree concerning which I have charged thee, saying, Thou dost not eat of it, cursed [is] the ground on thine account; in sorrow thou dost eat of it all days of thy life,

18 and thorn and bramble it doth bring forth to thee, and thou hast eaten the herb of the field;

19 by the sweat of thy face thou dost eat bread till thy return unto the ground, for out of it hast thou been taken, for dust thou [art], and unto dust thou turnest back.’

20 And the man calleth his wife’s name Eve: for she hath been mother of all living.

21 And Jehovah God doth make to the man and to his wife coats of skin, and doth clothe them.

22 And Jehovah God saith, `Lo, the man was as one of Us, as to the knowledge of good and evil; and now, lest he send forth his hand, and have taken also of the tree of life, and eaten, and lived to the age,’ —

23 Jehovah God sendeth him forth from the garden of Eden to serve the ground from which he hath been taken;

24 yea, he casteth out the man, and causeth to dwell at the east of the garden of Eden the cherubs and the flame of the sword which is turning itself round to guard the way of the tree of life.

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