Monday, April 19, 2010

Genesis, Chapter 1 Say Whaaa?

For the time being, I plan to structure this project by creating a post for each chapter of each book. That may come to be incredibly tedious, but for now, this is how I'm rolling. To clarify: I grew up reading and being taught the Bible literally. This is the perspective from which I am coming, so my focus will mostly be on what my understanding of the Fundamentalist Evangelical interpretation of the Bible is. Onward!

Genesis, Chapter 1:

Verses 3-5, 14-19: The first set of verses contains the command, "Let there be light, mofos," [CLIT*]. This is the account of the first day. But! The second set of verses tells the creation of the stars, sun, and moon. This is the fourth day. So where the hell is the light from the first day coming from? Was this some sort of clap on, clap off system (Thank you, Mr. Deity)? Is this supposed to be a metaphor for something else? That can't be right, because when it comes to the creation story, there is one simple rule to follow when you are a Fundamental Evangelical: THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY NO METAPHORS OR SYMBOLIC PASSAGES.

Verse 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them," [NIV]. Okay... are we talking physical image? Even though Christians love their physical representations of god, I'm pretty sure most of them would say, if asked, "No, I don't believe God has a recognizable physical appearance." So what is this verse interpreted to mean? Is the Bible referring to a psychological or mental image? I can't imagine that's so, as god takes great pains in upcoming chapters to distinguish man from god. Perhaps an emotional image? That's probably not what is interpreted, but humans often seem to display a similar irrationality to what seems very characteristic of this Biblical god. Seems more likely to me that this is the case:

Random Notes:

1. Thus far I see no mention of a firmament. I can't remember, is that a Catholic thing?

2. This is strange, but I seem to be feeling a bit apologetic-y when I read this. I'm not saying I'm feeling in any way inclined to believe it again (I think that is close enough to an impossibility), but that I'm finding myself constantly attempting to assume the best possible interpretations of what I'm reading. I find myself making a lot of excuses, probably because I'm so used to doing so while reading the Bible. This is a little saddening. I thought I was past this. I'm not so much upset over it, though, as I am intrigued. I still feel this irrational pull to defend the Bible, even though I thoroughly disagree with what I know of it. I guess this is how deep the indoctrination can go, right? We'll see how this plays out.

*CLIT- Christy's Lame International Translation

1 comment:

  1. When I proposed to you I knew we would have to go through this book together some time in the future. Here’s my take on it so far:

    Re-reading the story of how the god character created everything, one thing immediately strikes me about this bizarre event: the words “day” and “night” aren’t used in the same sense as we normally would use them. “Day” commonly refers to the time period within each 24 hour cycle during which there is normally light outside and people are normally awake, whereas “night” commonly refers to a similar time period, but during which there is normally darkness. The god character, however, uses these words as being synonymous to the concepts of “light” and “dark” themselves. He (?) creates “light”, then decides to call it “day”. He creates “dark”, then decides to call it night. This seems unnecessary, since there are already perfectly fine words describing the concepts of light and dark.

    Well, to be accurate the god character doesn’t create darkness. The darkness is already there. He creates the light, then separates the light from the dark. This means that the darkness was already there before god created anything. (Remember, this is “the beginning”.) Who, then, created darkness? Was darkness there before the god character arrived?

    I am going to touch slightly on what you mention in your blog post about light apparently being created twice. My take on it is that the light that existed at this time was not natural light, since there is no sun. Still it can sustain life on the (one) created planet. The source of this light is unknown, but then again the source of the god character himself is even more unknown. As you rightly point out, it is not until after the creation of life that he creates “the two lights”, apparently in order to “separate the day from the night”. Something happened here. Before this event, no sun or moon was needed to separate day (light) from night (dark). The sun and the moon are the god character’s Plan B. (The stars also show up, but for no apparent reason.)

    On the fifth day the god character creates my favourite species of animal – “the large sea animals”. I love those guys. He then proceeds to inform all animals created so far about the importance of reproduction. Prior to this event, animals had no interest in reproducing.

    The sixth day is the day of the creation of humans. One thing about this is exciting: in the translation I’m reading, the god character claims humans are being created “in our image”. Once again, that is: “in OUR image”. Humans are created in the god character’s image, as stated in the next verse, but also in somebody else’s image. Somebody who’s exactly the same as the god character himself. Yet this other person is not mentioned again at this point.

    More questions than answers in this chapter.