Today’s been a good day.
1. I have a snowboard! Of course, now all I need is snow, but for some reason Tasmania tends to realise that winter’s really here somewhere around August, so I’m not fretting too much. I just want to learn the basics – you know, steering, stopping – and next winter I’m hoping to do a trip to Mt Buller or Perisher, and if I’m really lucky, even a trip to New Zealand. We’ll see how that pans out, anyway!
2. Had a great cruise today, and was once again reminded that I live in the most beautiful place on Earth. We took a drive down through New Norfolk, originally scheduled for Mt Field national park, but ended up deciding to keep going and went all the way to Strathgordon, and wow… I wish I’d taken my camera. It was just amazing. Not to mention one of the best driving roads I’ve been on.
Oh, and a nice little gravel patch led to some great fun drifting, too.
3. It was my cousin’s engagement party tonight, had a great time. Reunited with an old friend I haven’t seen in over two years and sang a couple of karaoke duets just like the old days. It was fun, I had a ball.
But on topic. I was going to do two chapters today, but it’s late, so I’m just sticking with one. At some point though I’m hoping to catch up to Steve and balance the chapters out.
Reading Genesis is easy, Exodus will probably be okay too. It’s going to be the Leviticus/Numbers bit that will be the struggle, but I’ve got what – about three months to worry about that.
Almost everyone knows the story of Cain and Abel, they offered sacrifices, Abel’s was accepted (or at least “looked on with favour”) while Cain’s wasn’t. Cain spat the dummy, killed his brother and then God exiled him – Eastwards.
Strange thing about East, it’s also the compass direction that is detailed in the previous chapter. Adam and Eve were exiled from Eden, leaving a cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth on the East side. I’ve never noticed that before, I’m sure someone has though. I wonder what the significance of that is?
Anyway, moving on, Cain is exiled and sent to live in the Land of Nod. My bible’s footnote says that Nod means ‘wandering’, so it would imply that he lived a Nomadic life, at least until he built the city of Enoch, then a few more generations are born, and then this interesting little sidenote.
Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. Genesis 4:20-22
This entire story, the tale of Cain, seems to be irrelevant. Given that in two chapters’ time, the entire population of the world is about to be destroyed, why tell the story? Where’s Enoch? Who are the people who live in tents and raise livestock, supposedly descended from Jabal? Or the musicians descended from Jubal? Or the iron and bronze-workers who were descended from Tubal-Cain?
My initial thought is more along the lines of those people being the “inventors” so to speak, of those things. Jabal made a life out of nomadic heritage; Jubal maybe was the man who invented man-made music? Tubal-Cain was the first blacksmith?
Perhaps the lesson to be learned here is that even though Cain was punished and exiled, that wasn’t the end of it. There was still a lot of good things that came from his lineage. In spite of being remembered in history as the first murderer, his descendants gave us – well, nomads – but also music and iron.
Perhaps there’s two lessons to be taken from this chapter:
1. Cain was worried about being killed, but God said that anyone who killed him would suffer vengeance seven times over. Perhaps we should take the lesson that really, we’re better off not doling out our own judgment on other people. Just let their lives take care of their own.
2. Even though Cain’s part in the bible is to be the world’s first murderer, his descendants did great things. It doesn’t matter what’s in our past or in our heritage, we can still do great things no matter where we come from.
God: takes care of things.
So, I’m sick.
Not too bad now, but yesterday was terrible, which is my excuse for not actually posting.
And I lost my claddagh ring.
So the past two days have been interesting. It’s strange how you remember things, I remember suffering the same sickness back in 1996, on an Easter Camp at Liffey Falls. Peter Shurley and Corazon both came along to that camp, it was actually a lot of fun. A couple of people were baptised in the river (in central Tasmania, at Easter, it was freezing!), there was a duck race, I got leeched, we drove go karts on a wet grass ‘track’ and drove up to Liffey Falls from the camp site hanging out the windows of one of the camp leaders’ cars… And I do mean hanging out – as in the windows were wound right down, and we were sitting on the doors.
Can you imagine if a camp leader got caught doing that today?
That’s not the only strange story I have from camps I went on that would have people arching their eyebrows about the leaders, but hey, it was a different time.
So I asked yesterday, why put the tree there?
Some people seem to have this magical concept of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It was the most beautiful of all the trees, soft, smooth bark, with a hint of moisture always on the outside that seemed to make it shimmer; golden leaves, and a fruit that looked like radioactive mango – glowing, shimmering, tempting.
– Yes, if you didn’t know what radioactive actually meant, then you’d find it tempting too.
Personally, I think it was a lemon. Or a plum. Or – well, we’re talking Eden, and Eden seems to have this sense of being a tropical rainforest type setting, so perhaps something more exotic. Maybe it was a mango?
The point is, the actual tree doesn’t matter. The fruit wasn’t magical or special, it had no need to be. The “sin” was in eating the fruit. God could have just as easily said they could eat everything, just don’t dive into the Pool of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and then Adam and Eve would have been fine, as long as they didn’t go swimming in that glorious little lake, with a gentle waterfall streaming down into it – you get the picture.
The action was the problem, not the fruit itself.
So why put the tree there in the first place? Because it was necessary. There’s no such thing as free will if you don’t actually have a choice. I actually think there are times when we don’t realise just how many choices we have – probably quite frequently. If you only actually know of one option, then you’re not making a choice, are you? So it was necessary for there to be a choice.
And frankly – and call me a heretic if you want – I think God actually wanted, and was expecting them to eat the fruit, and I don’t just mean expected because, you know, he’s omniscient and can see through time and all of that. They couldn’t grow if they didn’t make their own choices. They couldn’t learn if they didn’t make their own choices.
There’s a more important, and overlooked part to this story than that of the actual sin of eating the fruit. It’s where the question was asked. Questions lead to growth, growth is what life is all about. So without asking the question, how can we grow?
And so they sinned. For some reason, it’s about here that the Genesis author decides to tell us that Eve’s name was Eve, and then Adam and Eve are banished from the garden. They can’t live forever, because they’ve been tainted.
God again says ‘us’ – He did so in chapter 2 as well. Potential lingering word choices from the pagan origins of the religion?
God: Wants us to grow.
I’m already impressed, two blog posts in two days are a rarity for me, as the archives will attest to.
I had a breakthrough tonight with some thoughts I was struggling with. It turns out talking things through can really help. Still haven’t sorted it all into coherent thoughts, so I pity the person who gets to read that email, but hey, progress is good, right?
Today was pretty average. I was productive, just felt blah. That probably comes from this tiredness thing. Tomorrow I’m meant to be going to work all casual-dress-like (although some would say my normal work attire in this job is fairly casual), but we’re moving furniture around, and I might actually have a desk that allows me to interact consistently with more than one person in the office. I’m also thinking of walking home tomorrow – it used to take me around an hour to get home from the city. I’m thinking, that if it doesn’t take me too long, I might start making it a semi-regular thing, every second night or so, walk home from work. Should be a good way to get fit.
Onto the topic, though.
That’s basically how it starts. Perhaps there’s a message here for us. I mean, come on, if God thinks taking a rest is something worth doing, then maybe the rest of us should consider it too.
Then we go back through this whole creation story again, although now it’s different. I’ve heard this justified as saying that Chapter 1 gives us an overview, and chapter 2 is just fleshing out some of the details. I’d be more inclined to go with the multi-source theory. I was in year 12, studying religion (I think?) when I first got told about there being two primary sources for the text of Genesis. Look it up, though, I can’t be bothered going into an explanation here.
Genesis 2 makes it more formal, more real. It gives us imagery and sensory recognition. There aren’t any plants, and then God makes man from the dust, he plants a garden, we can visualise the trees, the flowers, all these wonderful sights. We can smell the fragrances coming from a variety of different flowers and planets. It’s poetic, it’s a story.
At verse 17, though, comes something very important. God says “No.”
Why put it there? The tree of life was still there, so why give us a tree of the knowledge of good and evil? It seems to me like a whole heap of trouble could have been saved, had God just decided not to plant it.
– But given that that story’s coming up tomorrow, I’ll stop there.
God makes a companion for Adam, he says that it’s not good for man to be alone. We were designed for relationships.
So, I’m on a new little pathway here. Thanks to my good friend Stephen, the decision has come up that I’m going to work my way through the bible, chapter by chapter, and posting up my take on things on a daily basis. Stephen is doing the same thing, admittedly, he is two weeks ahead of me at the moment!
You can read his ideas, here.
But here, tonight, is my first step into this. It’s also a new step into the blog at Midnight Quills. I think this is going to lead me into a bit more of a journalism side of things. Moving things into a more personal space over these fancy political pieces of commentary.
I’ve been suffering insomnia lately, not sleeping much at all. It’s not good, especially given how much is actually going on in my world at the moment. Or maybe it is good, since the lest time I spend sleeping the more time I have to do other things that need doing, right?
Anyway, Genesis 1:
I’ve had some extremely intense discussions with people about this chapter. I believe in evolution and the old-Earth theories. I’ve heard some people try and explain the first chapter of Genesis by pointing out that the Hebrew used, the term “Yom” is not a specific time period, and so while it has been translated as day, it could easily be an aeon between each day listed in Genesis 1.
I can’t see that. Even if we do accept that the actual term translated to “day” isn’t necessarily a day, the words still specify that between each one, even passed and morning came. It’s quite clearly interpreted as a single day between each creation event.
It’s been a while since I read this, and I guess part of me had forgotten different elements of it. There’s some interesting aspects, but given my current perspective on Christianity and the bible, I want to bring it back to something. What is the heart, the essence of this story? Obviously it’s not meant to be a factual account of how the world was created. We know that’s not the case.
What it does tell us, though, that we’ve been given something amazing. In verse 28, God blessed them – the first thing the bible says he did after creating humanity, is to bless them. We have “dominion” over the birds, and the fish, and the animals and the plants – everything. I’ve heard this used as a basis to argue that Christianity/religion is to blame for Global Warming.
What we need to remember, is that with power and authority comes responsibility. We’re the caretakers of this Earth. As long as we look after it, it will also look after us.