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Amph I Might Go to Hell for This: A Look at the Bible: Humanity Survives the Flood & Carries On!

Discussion in 'Community' started by Rogue1-and-a-half, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. LandoThe CapeCalrissian

    LandoThe CapeCalrissian Jedi Youngling star 3

    Dec 30, 2012
    the worst part is the major cover up was done by the most recent pope, who in the eyes of catholics is the closest to god on earth. So it leads me to believe that he didn't take these things seriously. Which means if the "man" closest to god doesn't take the church or GOD seriously why should anyone else.. It loses all its credibility.

    IMO the pedophile cover up makes everything the church says moot. Its also been going on since the 4th century. So this is a cover up that's been around basically forever.
  2. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Three whole pages on just one post. That's awesome, you guys!

    Mans’ Sin Calls for Judgment

    Genesis 4-5; I Chronicles 1:1-4; Genesis 6

    Simplified Reading: Genesis 4-6; I Chronicles 1:1-4


    *So, Genesis 4 begins with Adam and Eve outside the Garden of Eden. As the chapter begins, two sons are born to them. Their names are Cain & Abel.

    *So, in the fourth chapter of the Bible, we get one of its major themes, that of the warring siblings. Cain is a tiller of the ground, a farmer; Abel keeps sheep. Both attempt to offer a sacrifice to God and God accepts Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s. Cain isn’t happy with this; God tells him that he shouldn’t be angry; if he forsakes evil, his offerings will be accepted.

    *There is some commentary about this passage that says that Abel’s offering is accepted by God because Abel is somehow prescient in sacrificing lamb. Of course, as we move on through the Bible, the sacrifice of sheep becomes incredibly important, even to the point that Jesus as the Lamb of God becomes one of the most important symbolisms in the Bible. Cain’s sacrifice is rejected because he offers vegetables that he has grown, which has no symbolism.

    *Of course, the Bible gives the real reason. Cain is a man of evil. Nothing to do with what he offered.

    *Cain, having received this wise counsel of God, decides that he could do that. Or he could just murder his brother. He settles on the second option and, “it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” This has, of course, come down to us in myriad works of art as the first murder.

    *It also stands in for . . . well, the brutal murder of a brother is one of the most evocative concepts in a lot of literature. The sword between the siblings also works metaphorically, but this story of a brother’s murder has become iconic.

    *Just to quote the most obvious example, it’s referenced by Claudius in the scene in Hamlet where he seems to actually feel guilt for killing his brother, Hamlet’s father, and to seek some sort of absolution. Claudius’ great soliloquy begins: O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon't, a brother's murder.”

    *Thus for Claudius to kill his brother is for him to commit the most primal sin imaginable, a sin with roots in the most ancient of histories and, as we will see below, a crime that provokes the ‘eldest curse.’

    *Actually, that isn’t true, as one might argue that the eldest curse is in fact that curse that drives Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. Well, Shakespeare was a genius; we’ll give him a pass on his theology, shall we?

    *Then we get one of the great phrases of English literature, as God questions Cain on the location of Abel: “I know not. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

    *God responds, beautifully, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Another great image.

    *So, God curses Cain and drives him out from among his family. Cain argues that he will be hated of all men for his horrible crime and that he will be killed by someone seeking vengeance or justice. God sets a ‘mark’ upon Cain, warning people not to kill him.

    *This, obviously, is also a huge, iconic and evocative concept for Western art. The Mark of Cain comes to stand in for the taint of shame and evil; it is in the back of the mind of many practitioners of literature.

    *The Mark of Cain has also come in for some really dodgy theology. The Bible doesn’t explain exactly what this mark is. That weird John Huston movie, In the Beginning, argued that it was a giant tattoo of a tree on Cain’s forehead. Which seems . . . arbitrary. And stupid.

    *Yeah, I still hate that movie.

    *Regardless, the Mark of Cain has gotten even weirder treatment than that. There’s an RPG called Masquerade, I think, that posits that the Curse of God on Cain was to make him the first vampire. This is because Cain mentions that everyone that finds him, or recognizes him, will kill him. Therefore, God makes him immortal. Why God would require Cain to become a mass murderer, however, is left to the imagination.

    *This is silly, but the interpretations get even more reprehensible. The Mormons, among others, were great proponents, in their original incarnation, of the idea that the mark on Cain was black skin. Thus, they argued, all black skinned people had descended from Cain and were cursed of God; slavery, then, was part of God’s curse.

    *Yes, it’s true, right here in America, people argued that by enslaving and cruelly treating black people, they were doing God’s work for Him. This can still be found among some particularly extreme quasi-Christian cults who believe in white supremacy.

    *Anyway, this entire ridiculous interpretation came from the verse that says that Cain’s ‘countenance fell,’ which the racists (to call a spade a spade) say indicates that his skin underwent a color change. This is, as most wackadoodle interpretations are, easily discounted. The Bible states that Cain’s countenance fell before the murder of Abel, specifically when Cain saw that Abel’s sacrifice had been accepted. Thus, it could hardly be part of the curse put on Cain as punishment for Abel’s murder, since he hadn’t committed it yet.

    *So, we’re four chapters in and we’re already come across a particularly egregious example of the Scriptures being twisted in order to support the agenda of men perpetrating cruelty and evil. I wish I could say that this is the last time this happens, but we all know it isn’t. We’ll be seeing a lot more of this kind of reading in as we progress. Sad, isn’t it, that this story that seems specifically about how evil it is to do harm to another human being was used by people to excuse wholesale torture and murder? And people say man is basically good.

    *But enough about Cain & Abel. We are then told that Cain goes out, takes a wife and then given a brief genealogy for Cain’s offspring.

    *Oh! Two things. First of all, Cain’s wife? Yeah, she would have had to have been a sister of his. Right, I know. Crazy, isn’t it? But how else would it work? That’s right, children, we’re all products of inbreeding. I suppose the basic genetic lines were more pure then? Or something?

    *Second thing, we have here another extremely important phrase: “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” So, obviously, Steinbeck’s epic novel of sibling rivalry and betrayal is another text that is very consciously written to be viewed through the lens of this first sibling rivalry.

    *So, Chapter Four finishes with a tantalizing story that no one has ever managed to explain to me. Basically, Lamech, who is Cain’s great-great-great-grandson, takes two wives and then he tells them the following: “Hear my voice, ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and seven-fold.”

    *Then he disappears from the text completely and we are told nothing else about him. I find this brief little passage fascinating. Lamech appears in only seven verses here, but there seems a wealth of information withheld. He’s killed someone, but the killing has resulted in only bad for Lamech; what’s even more stunning is that he says that his crime is eleven times worse than Cain’s. And yet, while the Scriptures tell us in detail about Cain, they tell us nothing about Lamech’s grievous crime. This is one of my favorite Biblical mysteries. I’d love to know Lamech’s story.

    *Also intriguing is that this is the first passage in the Scriptures to be in the form of Hebrew poetry, which features a line that sets up a thought and then a second line that either completes it, repeats it or contrasts it. Therefore, the phrasing, “I have slain a man to my wounding/and a young man to my hurt,” would be a line of Hebrew poetry, as would, “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,/truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.” So, I wonder, is this just supposed to be a song Lamech makes up? Is Lamech the first blues singer? I wonder.

    *The reference to the first song isn’t something I just pulled out of my head. The Scriptures tell us that Jubal, one of Lamech’s sons, invented the harp and the organ and, apparently, music itself. So, this is all very interesting. To me. Maybe not to you.

    *Anyway, Chapter 4 closes with Eve giving birth again to another son, Seth. Seth then has a son, named Enos. Then, to end this rather grim chapter on a high note, the Bible says, “Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.”

    *So, Genesis 5 is the first occurrence of a particular kind of chapter that will continue almost throughout the entire Bible and generally send one’s mind to wandering. This is the kind of chapter that has labeled the Bible dull and unreadable. I mean, of course, that we have come to our first chapter dedicated to a genealogy.

    *Or, as John Lithgow put it on Third Rock from the Sun, after reading a similar chapter, “These people begat their brains out.”

    *We begin again with Adam and move through several generations, ending with Noah being born at the end of the chapter. The structure is that we are told how long a person lives until they father their first child (except in Adam’s case, where Cain and Abel are both skipped, and we are told how old he was when he fathered Seth) and then told how many years he lived after that firstborn son was born and then his age when he died.

    *I will pass over completely the foundation being laid here for the devaluing of women and the rise of the corrupt patriarchy. I just don’t have the strength to get into it.

    *There are a couple of interesting things here, however. First and foremost, as most of you will already know, are the extreme ages given. We are, for instance, told that Adam was a hundred and thirty years old when he fathered Seth and that he was nine hundred and thirty when he died!

    *These extreme ages continue throughout the chapter. They create an icon in verse 27 when we are told of Methusaleh, who was nine hundred & sixty-nine years old when he died. This is the longest span of life recorded in Scripture and so Methusaleh, about whom nothing else is really told, has become famous, even down to this day; he’s used comedically to refer to elderly people or to ancient customs or whatever.

    *So, do you want me to talk about these extreme ages? They begin here, at extreme lengths, but slowly fall away. Within just a few chapters, Abraham will be talked about as being a hundred years old and that this is far too old for him to father a child without some sort of miracle happening. By the time, we’re out of Genesis, all ages are within the realm of possibility.

    *Some people argue that the numbers are actually supposed to be months, not years. This puts the death dates in a pretty typical range. However, there are problems; for instance, if we do this translation, this means that Enoch fathered Methusaleh when he was five years old! This seems about as outside the realm of possibility as someone living to be nearly a thousand years old.

    *Others, who take the Bible as not an accurate history, ascribe the status of myth to these numbers, while others, seeking a deeper theological explanation, argue that mankind had not yet begun to feel the detrimental effects of the Fall and that the first few generations were therefore incredibly long lived. A sort of afterglow from the Garden, if you will.

    *Make of these numbers what you will.

    *One other interesting thing from Chapter 5 , and then we’ll move on quickly to Chapter 6, is the presence of Enoch, Methusaleh’s father. We are told that Enoch “walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” This rather tantalizing phrasing has led many scholars to link Enoch up with Elijah, another prophet of God who was taken directly to Heaven without dying (in Elijah’s case, in a chariot of fire; we’ll get there; not soon, but we will get there). Some people believe that Enoch was a similar case, a sort of divine translation from this life to God’s Heaven, without having to go the way of the grave. He is thus seen as a sort of symbol of the church that will be raptured when Christ returns to Earth.

    *You guys all have a sort of basic understanding of rapture theology, right? I don’t need to go into that? If I do, just say so and I’ll do a follow up post about it.

    *For my part, I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to write a sort of mystery style, literary novel about someone looking for Enoch after his mysterious ‘disappearance’ and uncovering all sorts of weird supernatural things. It could be sort of a post-modern gloss on a noir novel, only set in the period of ancient, ancient history and with some interesting things to say about God’s presence and absence in our lives. Does this sound awesome to anybody else?

    *Anyway, there is an apocryphal Book of Enoch which purports to be Enoch’s visions and prophecies before his ‘translation.’ It isn’t accepted as a book of Scripture, but it is quoted in the New Testament by Jude, which means that a brief portion of it is sort of second-hand Scripture. I haven’t read it, the whole book I mean. I guess I should.

    *You know, keeping up with these apocryphal texts wears a guy out. The Gospel of Thomas was just stupid. I could hardly get through that one. Or was it the Gospel of Judas? See, they all run together. I mean, the Gospel of Judas was like Platonic or something. Weird.

    *I actually considered adding in the Apocryphal texts to this project, at least the ones that were originally in the Bible (and still are in the Catholic Bible). I decided against it. This is a huge enough project as it is.

    *So, as Chapter 5 ends, with all of our old characters dead and gone (Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel), we are privy to the birth of our new main character. His name is Noah. In the final verse of Chapter 5, Noah reaches the age of 500. He has three sons, Shem, Ham & Japeth.

    *Okay, now according to the exact chronology, I would now skip over to I Chronicles for a few verses and then back to Genesis for Chapter 6. This gets really complicated as we move on. There’s a day coming up where the reading stars in Genesis, jumps to I Chronicles, goes back to Genesis, then back to I Chronicles, then back to Genesis and then wraps up in I Chronicles.

    *So, I’ve decided that I’m going to go ahead and break the readings up by book. So, in the case of this day (and the other example I gave), I’m just going to read the entire reading in Genesis and then the reading in I Chronicles. Make sense? I’m posting those up there with the daily reading as well, under the heading Simplified Reading, in case you tend, like me, to get weary with a lot of page flipping.

    *So, Chapter 6. As you might expect, our final chapter today is taken up mostly with the story of Noah.

    *And, I mean, if you went to Sunday School for thirty seconds, you know the story of Noah. It’s such an epic show stopper; every teacher wanted to tell that one. So, I’m assuming you all know this story.

    *But before we get there, there’s a brief, odd passage at the start of Chapter 6 that I have to talk about.

    *Man, I thought that, after my first post, these would start getting shorter. Not yet, they’re not.

    *Anyway, Chapter 6 opens with a bit about . . . well, let me quote: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose . . . there were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

    *So, we’ve got daughters of men, that’s obvious. But who or what are these strange ‘sons of God?’ And how do they connect to the ‘giants’ that are in the earth at this time? Are the ‘sons of God’ the giants? Are they called this because they’re bigger and stronger than ordinary men? Just some sort of hypo-glandular cases ascribed a descent from deity because of their great size?

    *Or are we talking angels here, descending from Heaven to make love to earth women? Some people actually believe this.

    *Others believe that this is evidence of, and I kid you not, alien abduction in ancient history.

    *Those who comb through ancient culture for evidence of alien abduction are generally out of luck. Unless they make a movie about it and stick Indiana Jones in it; then we’re out of luck. If you get my drift.

    *There are, however, some interesting things in ancient art and literature that do seem to point to some non-earthly visitors. My favorite are the sand drawings in New Mexico, images that are only visible from high in the air . . . how would ancient people have conceived to create these images? Weird stuff.

    *There are also two very specific passages in the Bible that alien enthusiasts love. This is one of them. The other is quite a bit later in Ezekiel. Still, I think it’s stretching here. I mean, it’s possible, if you squint and tilt your head and come with preconceived certainty about aliens breeding with humans . . . but if you just read it, no. I think I come down on the most natural explanation; a group of strangely sized humans. I mean, let’s not get too crazy here. I mean, I know God speaks openly to people and stuff and a snake was talking earlier, but alien abduction? Angel rape being carried out willy-nilly? Nah.

    *Anyway, also at this point, God says that from here on out, man will live only to a hundred and twenty. I guess the earth is getting too crowded (though that won’t be a problem for long!) and people are getting more and more evil and such. Huh. You know, I had actually forgotten that this was just in here explicitly like this. So, this is the change over, I guess, from the thousand year life span.

    *So, anyway, God sees that wickedness is spreading; cruelty and evil abound. Beautiful, chilling line: “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

    *Man, doesn’t it feel that way sometimes to you? Like when you watch the news? And like some kids like set a stray dog on fire for laughs or some methhead stuck her baby in the washer or some teacher just got caught raping a student or some bastard just sent a kid out wearing a bomb to blow up a load of other kids and then said he was doing God’s work? It’s like you just wonder, how can people come up with such awful stuff to do? How do you think about evil long enough to come up with this crap? Is every imagination, every thought, focused on finding a new way to **** somebody up, to wreck somebody’s life? I mean, God.

    *I don’t watch the news a lot. I can’t take it. Give me a nice, sweet movie like Saw or something. I can’t take the absolute bleakness and darkness of the evening news.

    *Anyway, things get so bad that God has reason to find regret: “And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.”

    *A lot of people find God’s actions at this point extremely chilling and vindictive and such. I see the point. He does, after all, set out to entirely destroy every human being on the planet, except for his few favorites. But, I have to be honest: I kind of get it. I mean, yes, it’s horrible, yes, it’s chilling, yes, it’s grim. But, seriously, like I was talking about the kind of stuff you see on the news . . . I mean, if you had created mankind, wouldn’t you occasionally just throw up your hands and say, “What a disaster. What an absolute disaster.” I mean, sometimes you do just stop and think, “Well, God, this whole humanity thing? Yeah, it has really not turned out well.” I mean, just think about it. If it was you, wouldn’t you have a regret now and then? Like, after the Holocaust?

    *So, God visits Noah, who has found grace with God because of his faithfulness and holy life. He opens with something you never want to hear God say: “The end of all flesh is come before me.”

    *So, God instructs Noah to build an ark, a giant boat. He gives Noah dimensions, strict instructions on its construction. He tells Noah that once it is finished, he is to take his family and also two of every animal on the planet into the Ark. God will then send a flood to cover the entire earth. Only two of every animal and Noah’s family will survive.

    *As Chapter 6 ends, Noah sets to work according to God’s plan.


    *Okay, so let’s very briefly hit our section of reading for today that’s in I Chronicles. I Chronicles comes quite a bit later in the Bible, as most of you probably know. There’s Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings and then I & II Chronicles. So why are we leaping so far ahead so early in our reading?

    *Well, simply put, it’s because I & II Chronicles is essentially a parallel telling of stories told elsewhere in the Bible. Some of the stories, like the stories of King David, which takes up I & II Samuel, are told in great detail. But the first ten or so chapters of I Chronicles are taken up entirely with genealogies.

    *You see, the anonymous scribe who wrote I & II Chronicles was interested in creating a sort of history of the entire Jewish race, so he (or she, though this is incredibly doubtful, obviously) started at the very beginning. There is no easier way to demonstrate what I mean than by quoting the first four verses of I Chronicles in full. This is, of course, our reading for today, but I’ll just go ahead and quote them completely.

    *Here they are: “Adam, Sheth, Enos, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

    *So, you see both what we can look forward to in the first ten chapters of I Chronicles and also why we’re breaking up the reading as we go through the other historical books.

    *Frankly, I’m kind of glad we’re breaking these sections of I Chronicles up. It’s probably the single most difficult passage of the Old Testament when you hit those first several chapters of I Chronicles and you’re just plowing through this endless list of names.

    *This also points out that the Bible contains a lot of versions of different people’s names, often because of passages being written in different language. What I mean is that the person listed as Sheth is Seth from Genesis. Enoch, the character who walked with God in Genesis, is listed here as Henoch. This can create some confusion, so we’ll try to keep everybody straight. Not that these differences are often important or anything.

    *So, is anyone interested in a comparison of the two genealogies? You know, to see if the one in I Chronicles lines up with the one in Genesis. Most likely, they more or less do, since the book of Genesis was probably a source used by the scribe who wrote I Chronicles.

    *So, let’s just do this real fast for fun. We maybe won’t do this every time we have two dueling genealogies, unless people want (!!) me to do so. But we’ll do it this one time to see how things shake out.

    *So, I printed the genealogy from I Chronicles above. I’ll just quote the names, and none of the details, as they occur in Genesis.

    *Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methusaleh, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham & Japheth.

    *Okay, so as you can see, they line up exactly, only with the few spelling changes. Of course, as I said above, this isn’t really surprising.

    *Okay, so today’s Further Exploration is a couple of songs and, by extension, the fabulous albums they appear on.

    *So, we talked about Cain and Abel this time around. So, let’s point out a couple of references to Cain in popular music. First of all, let’s take a look at Elvis Costello’s Blame It on Cain.

    *And, like I said, I recommend not only that song, but the entire album it’s on, My Aim is True. It’s a frigging fantastic album; it’s Costello doing his great pop-punk routine. It’s got Alison and Mystery Dance and a ton of other great songs.

    *And secondly, Bruce Springsteen’s Adam Raised a Cain.

    *This isn’t one of Springsteen’s most famous songs, but it’s a great example of how even the Boss’s second tier (or maybe even third tier) contains a heck of a lot of fantastic recordings. I mean, Springsteen’s vocal performance here is just incredibly soulish. I mean, it’s fabulously raw.

    *And, once again, as long as you’re listening to this song, you should listen to the whole album, Darkness on the Edge of Town, which is one of Springsteen’s best albums. I might put it only behind Born to Run and The Rising. I dunno, I mean maybe Born in the USA and The River and Tunnel of Love plug in there somewhere, but Darkness on the Edge of Town is just darn good, that’s all there is to it.

    *Okay, boy, I think we’re done for today.

    *Next time, we’ll continue through both Genesis (four chapters) and I Chronicles (more of chapter 1). Join me as we see the Flood come, God making His second promise to mankind and . . . of course, more genealogies.

    I Might Go to Hell for This
  3. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Well, I just didn't want your thread on the Bible to be derailed by scandals in the Catholic church.

    What did you think of my response to your OP?

    Yes, some are awful. But they're not a hive-mind. And this isn't about the Bible. I don't want to say any more on this in this thread, you can start your own thread on it if you want.
  4. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Yeah, let me respond to that stuff now.

    That's an excellent and thought provoking way of putting that.

    Be ready for a pattern to emerge: I will spend way too much time on everything. :p But, yeah, one of the main points I want this thread to have is that it'll tell the stories that haven't become famous and pick up some of the lesser known principles and philosophies and such. I definitely want this to be informative for people who have never read the Bible.

    Yeah, I've done a little reading about Lilith. She's a very important figure in Kabbalah and is really seen as a malignant figure in a lot of mythology. George MacDonald, who was a huge influence on C.S. Lewis (who said once that he'd never written a book that didn't have MacDonald in it) wrote a great fantasy novel called Lilith about a similar figure. In a book by Scholem about Kabbalah that I read he indicated that Lilith is seen in some traditions as the mother of all demons. She's impregnated with demons every time anyone masturbates. With countless demons each time. That's kind of freaky to think about. Obviously, there's something there of the succubus mythology, it seems to me. I might also point out that Lilith on Cheers and Frasier is specifically named after this malignant female figure. I love that.

    Good catch. When I saw that you said that I was like, "No way did I make that mistake." But I did. :p Thanks for catching it.

    Oh, man, that's a great thought. I'll be thinking about that for a few days. But it has the instant effect of sounding like an insight of pure genius.

    There's definitely a lot of Christian mythology that's grown up around the figure of Satan. For much of the Bible, he's really pretty enigmatic, just a kind of mysterious enemy of humanity and of God (or an "adversary" which is what the word "satan" actually means.) It'll definitely be interesting to look at the figure as he develops through the Bible. We'll be getting to Job pretty quick and I think that the vision of Satan in Job (and later in . . . one of the prophets of post-captivity . . . um, I forget, but the one who was there when Joshua was trying to build the Temple) is pretty close to the Christian conception of the Devil. I wouldn't say he's totally absent from the Old Testament.

    I talked about the passage in Genesis you're talking about, the one about the Sons of God and the daughters of Men, in the post I just put up today. I hadn't heard the story spun out to the length that you did there though. Very interesting. I take a very naturalistic approach to the story myself.
    Summer Dreamer likes this.
  5. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    I have always understood the story of Lamech to be an illustration of the problems described at the time of the Flood. In the first place, there is a very deliberate seeming parallel between the lineages of Seth and Cain: Methusael, Lamech, Jabal vs Methusaleh, Lamech, Noah. Lamech's statements are colored by an incredible predilection towards violence. He essentially obliterates any distinction between a fit of pique and a murderous rampage, promising grossly disproportionate responses to every slight. He boasts that his own capacity for bringing force to bear against someone will exceed even the power divine power exercised by God on Cain's behalf. In so doing, he epitomizes the twin characteristics of pride and violence that make such a constant refrain in the description of wicked men at later points in the Bible ("there is a generation whose teeth are as swords" "violence covereth the mouth of the wicked" "they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence" etc). These are the kind of people, in essence, who were going to be drowned after ignoring Noah. The kind of people who, frankly, deserved to be drowned.
    Sarge likes this.
  6. DarthMane2

    DarthMane2 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Sep 20, 2003
    Loved the little bit on snakes. Total BS. Sorry you don't like snakes, but you don't speak for everyone. That being the 4 billion people on the planet. Some of which who even eat the things. Now if the story had had an evil Giant Spider. Then you might be on to something.
  7. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Yeah, I've heard it before, and it really does summarize what I find so irritating with people do treat the Bible like, well, like an idol.

    Thanks. That always just made sense to me... people were digging and had to have discovered plenty o dinosaur fossils long before the idea of modern science was created, right?

    Well, I'm not sure if "Satan" is even mentioned with that name in the Old Testament... maybe the Book of Job? But many consider the Book of Job apocryphal (fan fiction), anyways.

    And even when the Devil/Satan/Lucifer is viewed as the adversary of Man, he's not always viewed as the adversary of God. In fact, a common belief used to be that Satan was God's servant, and his duty was to continually test and tempt humanity under God's orders, and would act like a prosecutor on the day of judgment.

    Haven't gotten around to responding to your new post yet, but I will sometime soon.

    On this... yes, the writers of the Old Testament and New Testament definitely did believe that angels could and did have sex with humans. That's clear.

    I think there's even more of a metaphor behind this story, though. The Giants destroying Humaniy are said to be the offspring of Angels and Humans, right? And the Angels also taught Humans both good knowledge and bad knowledge, that led to civilization, right? Well, maybe the original authors of this story meant that the Angels were actually impregnating Humans with Ideas, not actual physical hybrid children, and these Giants/Nephilim were an allegory for the conequences and inventions of those ideas (like machines of war). And then in later times, by Jesus' time, the original meaning was lost and many just literally believed the Angels were out looking to seduce women, like what Paul apparently literally believed and referenced in the NT.
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    Humanity Survives the Flood and Carries On

    Genesis 7-10:5; I Chronicles 1:5-7; Genesis 10:6-20; I Chronicles 1:8-16; Genesis 10:21-30; I Chronicles 1:17-23; Genesis 10:31-32

    Simplified Reading: Genesis 7-10; I Chronicles 1:5-23


    *Well, we left Noah beginning work on the Ark that he will use to save himself, his family and a literal boatload of animals. In Chapter 7, God begins qualifying his instructions, telling Noah to take seven of some animals, two of others, seven of birds and etc. I’ve had bosses like this. You no sooner get started than they start changing things all around. I mean, dude, you just said two birds and now you say seven and I just want to know, what’s it going to be tomorrow? FIVE?!

    *Oh, that’s right, you’re about to kill everyone on the planet but me. Heh heh, never mind, just . . . however many birds you want, you got, dude. You sure you don’t want like twelve? Those toucans are right pretty. Good job on those. Did I ever tell you that? Good job. But I mean, it’d be a shame to get off the ark with seven toucans and be like wishing you’d had me take ten, you know? So, I . . . seven? Seven toucans. Right you are, sir.

    *Does God have a sense of humor? Obviously. He puts up with me. And I kid Him about as often as I kid anybody else. Is such mockery sacrilegious? Come on. Don’t you kid the people you love more than the people you don’t care about? I believe in God and I believe He is absolutely greater than I am. But, man, if you don’t joke about some things, you’d go crazy: death, sex, God. I mean, you have to joke; your mind can’t take it all in otherwise.

    *I doubt God gets offended about His depiction in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in other words. I mean, some of those Psalms, as we’ll see, are pretty grim. I think He gets offended when some people talk about Him seriously; you know, when the Catholic Church argues that it’s God’s will to cover up institutionalized child molestation or the Westboro Baptist Church decides to say that God killed soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq because He’s pissed about gay civil unions. But I doubt He cares if we joke. We got our sense of humor somewhere; doubtless He has one too.

    *So, it takes Noah a hundred years to build the Ark. We’re told in the New Testament that he also spent this hundred years preaching to his neighbors, trying to get them to repent and join him on the Ark. Noah is six hundred years old and, alone with his wife, sons and sons’ wives, he boards the S.S. Minnow (Original Version) and God shuts the door behind them. The Ark sits for seven days with Noah’s family and all the animals aboard. Then the rain begins.

    *Those were probably the longest seven days of Noah’s life. I bet his sons were busting his chops like crazy. “So, dad, look like rain today? *snicker*” You know how kids can be. Those two hundred teens, it’s like they know everything.

    *So, it rains for forty days and forty nights. This phrasing is also pretty important. You know, it’s come down through literature and poetry and Josh Hartnett sex comedies. God’s probably pleased about that last one.

    *The chapter ends with utter bleakness: “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowls of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”

    *Man, can you imagine the stench on that boat? Two of every animal known to man all seasick at one time?

    *Okay, I guess it falls to me to now discuss (and I’m not even going to say briefly) the prevalence of flood mythologies all over the world. This story of the entire world being flooded, or at least of their being a huge flood, recurs over and over again in cultures that have often not communicated with the outside world.

    *The most famous example of this is, of course, in The Epic of Gilgamesh, which is, as far as we know, the oldest written narrative in human history, in which one of the characters tells Gilgamesh about the huge flood that he survived by building a huge boat. In this instance, it is indeed the entire world that is flooded. However, rather than the flood being justified because mankind is wicked, it is in this case justified because mankind is too loud! The Gods literally say that they can’t concentrate because of all the noise mankind is making. This gives a new meaning to the term “The Man Upstairs,” doesn’t it?

    *So, Chapter 8 begins with the waning of the Flood. God stops the rain, stops up the fountains of the deep and sends a wind upon the earth. The waters “returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.”

    *The ark, as you may know, comes to rest on Mount Ararat, which is in modern Turkey. There’s some great stories over the years of people launching expeditions to search for the Ark or, in some instances, have claimed to have found it or to have found “remains” of Noah’s Ark, by which the explorers generally mean that they found some wood, which is hardly conclusive. Of course, not a single one of these stories has been seriously authenticated. The debate over the great flood remains a debate, as it most certainly always will. There’s even an Indiana Jones novel about a search for the Ark. As with most of the Indiana Jones novels, it’s not particularly good; suffice it to say that, at the end of the book, Indy has a vision/travels through time and actually talks to Noah, who he mistakenly think is Merlin the Wizard (I mean, Jesus, Indy, you’re in the ******* Ark; why the hell would it be Merlin?). Then the Ark slides down the mountain like a giant sled during an avalanche. Like I said, not too hot.

    *So, the story of how Noah discovers that the waters have significantly abated is kind of interesting. Noah sends out a dove from the Ark, but the dove, in a turn of phrase that I find strangely beautiful, “found no rest for the sole of her foot,” and so she flies back to the Ark. A few days later, he releases her again and she returns again, but this time, she has an “olive leaf” in her mouth. Noah therefore knows that the waters have definitely begun to recede. Seven days later, he sends her out again and this time she “returned not unto him any more.” I just love that story. It’s just kind of poetic somehow, this idea of the dove flying away and just not coming back.

    *The Bible tells us here that it is the six hundred & first year of the earth’s existence that Noah and his family comes out of the Ark. I didn’t remember that the Scripture gave the exact date like that.

    *So, Noah comes out of the Ark, builds an altar and offers some animals and birds as a burnt offering to the Lord. Given how the animal population of the earth has been incredibly depleted, you’d think God would let him pass on the burnt offering thing, but apparently not.

    *The Lord closes Chapter Eight by saying “in his heart” that He will never again visit such a huge judgment on the earth. I particularly like the final verse of the chapter: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

    *Of course, this is probably one of those verses that the global warming doubters use to back up their theory that global warming can’t be real because God wouldn’t allow it. I should state that not every Christian doubts global warming; I certainly don’t.

    *So, at the beginning of Chapter Nine, God lays down a brief selection of laws. Other than the previous command not to eat of the Tree of Life, this is the first time that God explicitly states rules of conduct. This is the first time we see God attempting to really collate a series of rules as a sort of book of law. As we proceed, especially through these first five books of the Old Testament, the Law will become something of a character unto itself. Well, not really something; it just is a character, something that the New Testament writings of Paul and Peter will particularly underline. So, it’s interesting to see the very beginnings of the law in the Old Testament.

    *The dietary rules particularly come in for ridicule by modern critics of the Bible. I’ll save a lengthy discussion of all that for when we get to the more in-depth dietary restrictions. But there is a brief dietary restriction here: “Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.” I take that to mean that your steak should be well done. Maybe not that extreme; maybe just not raw. Medium rare is surely no sin, am I right?

    *Basically, the only other rule is about killing. It’s not even really a rule; it’s just God alerting us to the law of reciprocity: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

    *In some sense, this seems like the establishment of the death penalty, at least for murder. (As we’ll see later, the death penalty ends up being expanded to a LOT of other offenses). In another way, it could be seen as a statement about the circular nature of violence. If you’re the kind of person who kills another person, it’s most likely that you’re the kind of person who is going to end up killed by another person. This is kind of the way that I take the famous statement that Jesus makes later: “He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.” Jesus isn’t exactly saying, “If you kill a bunch of people, God is going to kill you.” He’s just pointing out that if you’re a violent person, then that’s probably how you’re going to die. If you live a violent life, you’ll probably die a violent death.

    *He also tells Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply. That hardly qualifies as a law though, I don’t think. I mean, we hardly need to be ordered to have sex, right?

    *Oh, shoot, do I need to get into birth control and the moral issues surrounding it? I guess I do. So, yes, as stated here, the purpose of sex is to reproduce. This is, I think, in many ways the basis for the objection to birth control from, most obviously, the Catholic Church. I, however, as I think many Christians, and even many Catholics do, find this to be a misunderstanding on the part of those who say that birth control is a mortal sin.

    *Now, it should be said that the Catholic Church’s position on this is not entirely consistent, even with itself. I mean, a Catholic bishop stated last year that the rhythm method of birth control is actually a God given method of birth control and that using it is fine. Now if the purpose of sex is to reproduce, there shouldn’t be any difference at all, no matter what method of birth control you’re using. He literally said that the difference between using the rhythm method of birth control and using a medical method of birth control is of “vast moral import.” I mean, not to offend any Catholics here, but to me this just signals how utterly out of touch with reality the Catholic Church has become. I mean, they’ve become totally lost in the doctrinal weeds, as it were, and they’re not making anything even approximating good sense anymore, particularly when it comes to matters of human sexuality. Leave that where it is. It’s an opinion I happen to hold.

    *So, back to the central issue. If God lays down here that the purpose of sex is reproduction, what about birth control? Is it, in fact, subverting God’s will for sex? I think not and here’s my case for that.

    *First of all, let’s remember that there are exactly eight human beings on the planet at the moment when God gives this command. As the Scriptures say, the earth needs to be “replenished.” So, yes, of course, the emphasis on sex now is going to be on building up a new population on the earth. Currently, in the modern era, when the earth’s population is ballooning at a rate that is frankly quite alarming, to a degree in fact that things that we have always taken for granted, like food and water, are in danger, in the next few decades certainly, of becoming incredibly scarce, I think that it would not be God’s will that we continue to “replenish” the earth via expanding the human population. In order to “replenish” the earth at this point, it probably requires that we start taking measures, involving birth control, to begin to curtail the earth’s ever skyrocketing population. It isn’t the human population that needs to be replenished at the moment; it’s the natural world itself: plants, food, water, natural elements, etc.

    *Secondly, there are lengthy passages later in Scripture (and this is something that may surprise you, given the fact that Christians rarely, if ever, focus on these passages) entirely dedicated to using sex for pleasure and as a way to create intimacy between lovers. These passages, of course, fall within a moral framework of not being incredibly promiscuous, but they are, in some cases, fairly explicit, in a poetic fashion, about the fact that sex is supposed to function as an instrument for pleasure and intimacy. So, that’s a legitimate, Scripturally sound purpose of sex: pleasure & intimacy. Yes, that’s in the Bible. Go figure.

    *There are those who argue that some of these passages, like the most famous one, Song of Solomon, are in fact intended as metaphors to explore the love of God and the relationship between God and those who serve Him.

    *Now, this isn’t entirely off the beam; in the New Testament, this metaphor is used, ie: the Church as the Bride of Christ.

    *But the reason I think it doesn’t really apply here is simple. Song of Solomon is simply too sexual to be applied in this way. When the metaphor is used in the New Testament, it’s in a non-sexual way, couched in very romantic terms of love and compatibility. Song of Solomon, on the other hand, as well as some passages in Proverbs, are very definitely sexual. And I don’t think that we’re supposed to be using it as a metaphor for that reason; you know, the image of God groping my breasts is not one that I find particularly inspiring.

    *Yes, the Bible does indeed advocate groping breasts. The Bible. In the Bible. Groping breasts. Can I get a **** yeah from the congregation?

    *Okay, so now that we’ve just totally derailed, let’s get back to the actual reading for today.

    *So, next up God makes his promise to Noah, his family and, interestingly enough, also to all the animals (that are presumably still standing around or something) that He will never again destroy the earth with a flood. As part of this promise, God places the rainbow in the clouds; now, whenever the storm clouds pass over, God will be reminded, and so will humanity, that this storm will end without the destruction of the entire world via flood waters.

    *So, anyway, I have to bring in a song that I really, really love right now, which is an old early twentieth century spiritual called “God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign.” I suppose the most famous version would probably be the one by Flatt & Scruggs, but it’s a classic piece of early twentieth century gospel repertoire.

    *Anyway, there’s this amazing verse that just gives me a little chill every time I hear it. It has the plain simplicity and yet the evocative power of some of those early spirituals. It goes like this: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign/Be no water, but the fire next time.” This obviously references the fact that, as we press on through the Bible, we see that God will eventually destroy this world, only, as the song says, with fire, instead of with water.

    *James Baldwin took the phrasing from this song, which he grew up singing, of course, for the title of his seminal and historically significant book of essays, The Fire Next Time. Anyway, there’s just something about that phrasing that I just love.

    *Okay, let’s move on to the final recorded incident of Noah’s life and then say farewell to the iconic character. This last story about him never gets covered in Sunday School and you’ll soon see why.

    *So, after the Flood, Noah becomes a gardener. He plants a vineyard, makes a little wine, does a little dance, gets down tonight. In short, yes, Noah becomes blind, stinking drunk. And then takes off all his clothes. Yes, really.

    *Some Bible scholars, in an effort to keep Noah as a sort of iconic hero, point out that this is the first time in the Bible that someone gets drunk and that they therefore believe that Noah didn’t know about the power of fermented grapes to make people take off all their clothes. In short, they say this is the invention of intoxicating beverages.

    *I dunno. The text doesn’t say that or anything like it. I mean, you’re reading in if you say that’s what happened. But, if you need to think that in order to make Noah less of a flawed character, go ahead. But part of what I love about the Bible is exactly the fact that so many of its characters are deeply flawed individuals. The Bible isn’t into hagiography; it presents its characters, in contrast to a lot of early religious texts, as real people, complete with, sometimes quite crippling and horrible, flaws and weaknesses. This is one of the reasons the stories are so compelling to me. The Bible is based on the principle that humanity is weak and prone to failure and that God loves us, uses us and speaks to us in spite of those weaknesses and failures. I mean, that’s quite profound and beautiful, really, much more beautiful than if the message was that God will love us and use us once we overcome all our weaknesses. So, it doesn’t particularly matter to me. I mean, maybe old Noah liked the wine a little too much; well, we all have a weakness or two, don’t we? Maybe that’s the point of the story.

    *So, anyway, Ham discovers his father passed out naked. He goes and tells Shem and Japheth, thinking the whole thing is rather funny. Shem and Japheth take a blanket and, in order to show respect to their father, not only do they go and cover him up, they actually back into the tent so that even they themselves won’t see their father in such a shameful state.

    *When Noah comes out of his drunken stupor, he finds out what happened. He therefore gives a blessing to Shem and Japheth that they’ll be prosperous and successful. He curses Ham and says that henceforth his name shall be used to refer to a food item.

    *Well, no, actually, what he says is that Ham’s descendants will be “a servant of servants . . . unto his brethren.”

    *What you’re probably wondering now is, “Gee, this sounds like another one of those Scriptures that nuts could use to try to justify slavery!” And you’re right!

    *The previous justification for slavery being God’s will because of the curse on Cain needing a little back-up, proponents of slavery also used this scripture, saying that God had cursed Ham’s descendants with being servants to everyone else. Ergo, black people are probably Ham’s descendants (you know, because they just probably are) and so we are fulfilling God’s will by enslaving them.

    *Something else interesting about this passage is that some Bible scholars feel that this is kind of extreme curse for Noah to lay on Ham and his descendants just because Ham thought it was funny that Noah got drunk and naked. These Bible scholars have pointed to verse 24, which says, “And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.” They say that this actually implies that Ham had committed some kind of sexual act on the drunken Noah.

    *In case it’s not totally clear at this point, the term “Bible scholar” often basically means people that read the Bible and then make stuff up about it.

    *Okay, anyway, Chapter Nine ends and we bid farewell to our latest main character. Noah lives three hundred and fifty years after the Flood and dies at the ripe old age of nine hundred & fifty.

    *Of course, it was several chapters ago that God said he was going to make it so men only lived to be a hundred and twenty. I guess maybe Noah got grandfathered in or something.

    *Chapter Ten won’t take long. It’s entirely taken up with the genealogies of Shem, Ham & Japheth, telling about their descendants.

    *A couple of small details. One of Ham’s sons was named Cush and one of Cush’s sons was named Nimrod. I’m not at all sure why the term “nimrod” became an insult as everything the Bible has to say about this original Nimrod is positive: “He began to be a mighty one . . . he was a mighty hunter before the Lord.”

    *It is also said that Nimrod ruled several areas of the land. One of these areas is Babel, which we’ll be hearing about again soon. Another is Erech, which many Bible scholars connect to ancient Uruk, which is an ancient city ruled by Gilgamesh in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Iraq, by the way, as a name is a derivative of Uruk and Uruk actually still exists in Iraq. I’m not sure how much of it still exists, but there is at least one massive building that still stands there.

    *So, this guy named Asshur goes and founds Nineveh. This is a pretty important city in the Old Testament. I forgot it was founded this early though.

    *So, a couple of interesting things in the genealogy cover Shem’s children.

    *First one is that one of his grandchildren is named Eber. Why is this important? Well, because etymologically, it is from the name Eber that the designation Hebrew comes. Yup, interesting. I hope.

    *Second, one of Eber’s son is named Peleg. Which I hate to get juvenile, but that’s a funny name. Peleg. Do you GET IT?

    *But that’s not actually why I mention him. Because frankly if I bring up everyone with a hilarious name, I’d never get anything else done. Example: “Arphaxad.” Also: “Jobab.” It seems that Peleg means “divided” and the Bible says that he was named this because “in his days was the earth divided.” Now, we all know that science tells us that all the continents were originally just one continent that drifted apart. Pangea, I think, it’s called. Now, of course, science has estimated the time that this happened to be an extremely long time ago, much longer ago than the history of the Bible really claims to cover. But some Bible scholars have linked the two, saying that the Bible in fact covers history that goes much farther back in the history of the earth than most people think.


    *So, let’s hop back to I Chronicles and continue marching through Chapter One. We’ll move through the next eighteen verses there.

    *So, this is basically a repetition of the genealogies of Shem, Ham & Japheth, of course. Last time, I checked the two genealogies against each other. Remember?

    *Well, if you think I’m doing that every time, you need to have your head examined. There are TEN chapters of genealogies in I Chronicles. Ten LONG chapters.

    *One difference is that Nimrod gets much less of a history in the I Chronicles version.

    *Also, Casluhim gets called out as the father of the race of the Philistines. Of course, they’ll be very important as we move forward. And their name has come down to the present day as a synonym for an uncultured & uneducated person.

    *Okay, so there’s essentially nothing else of any interest here.

    *There’s really only one choice for the Further Exploration pick for this post. We talked about the story of Noah and the Flood. I really have to recommend one of the worst movies I have ever seen, the television movie Noah’s Ark, starring Jon Voight as the great patriarch and F. Murray Abraham as an anachronistic Lot.

    *It is one of those movies that is so awful that it flips all the way around the bell curve to become an essential watch. I really can’t even begin to get into it. Suffice it to say that Carol Kane (!) plays Lot’s wife and James Coburn shows up on a paddleboat after the Flood begins and sells Noah two tiny hats for the two penguins on the Ark. I’m dead serious; that really frigging happens. And I won’t even spoil the hilariously awful scene where Noah and his wife try to come up with ten righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah. Suffice it to say that you just need to watch this movie.

    *So, this continues to be a ton of fun for me. I hope you guys are getting something out of it too.

    *Join me next time as we continue through the next four chapters of Genesis and we’ll continue through the first chapter of I Chronicles as well! Next time, the invention of different languages and, now that we’ve lost Noah, we need a new main character. We’ll get him, next time, in a man by the name of Abram!

    I Might Go to Hell For This: A Chronological Journey Through the Bible
    Jedi Merkurian and Bacon164 like this.
  9. Rogue_Ten

    Rogue_Ten Chosen One star 7

    Aug 18, 2002
    what if we didnt survive the flood. what if this is purgatory?
  10. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    Then we would all be part of a stupid heretical thing that does not exist.
  11. Rogue1-and-a-half

    Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 2, 2000
    That's the kind of substantial debate I like to see.

    Says the guy with "you couldn't invent the butt" in his sig.
  12. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003

    There's also been a lot of speculation that the Biblical author here was really writing about the conflict between Hunter-Gatherers (Abel) and those who chose Agriculture (Cain) that started at the dawn of human history, and led to the beginning of human civilization.

    Like Cain killing Abel, it was also the Farmers who overcame the Nomads in history too. Throughout the Bible, and in the Qu'ran too, it is the Herders and Gatherers who seem to continually earn the praise of God. While the Bible says Cain founds the first human city, and in history it was indeed because of agriculture that cities started to form, and the Bible does tend to associate most cities with evil throughout.

    Even Jerusalem and a government for the Jewish people were not part of God's original plan... the Israelis wanted government (a king) to be like all the other nations, which God originally did not want.

    And getting back to agriculture for a minute, while it did give rise to civilization, it's wrong to think that hunter-gatherers had it hard... in fact, they worked less, and were generally healthier and more prosperous.

    In short, the Cain/Abel story might have actually been a commentary on the biggest social/political/economic issue of the time of this Biblical author... the Neolithic Revolution.

    Briefly, I think it must come from the end of the last Ice Age, which saw coastal flooding across the entire world (though of course water didn't cover the entire world).

    I looked it up, and it's just the 601st year of Noah's life (chapter 8, verse 13) 8&version=NIV

    I don't really see that. God tells humanity to "be fruitful" and "multiply/increase"... no more, no less. Be fruitful means being kind to others and good to God, multiply means to keep humanity growing. It does not state here that every human must have kids, or that the purpose of sex is to have kids.
  13. Skywalker8921

    Skywalker8921 Jedi Knight star 4

    Jun 9, 2011
    Rogue1-and-a-half, there's something else I would bring up about Genesis 10 and Shem's descendents. This also ties into Shemite family line given in Chapter 11 as well as Luke 3, but given that the first mention of Shem's descendents is in Chapter 10, it seems to fit here.

    In Luke 3, when Jesus' genealogy through his assumed father Joseph is listed, verse 36 records a "Cainan" as the son of Arphaxad(the son of Shem) and father of Shelah. No mention is made of this Cainan in Genesis 10:24 or 11:24. I have heard it said that the Masoretic Text is the authoritative version of the Hebrew Bible in existence today, and that there is no mention made of this Cainan in the Masoretic version of the OT at all. Furthermore, Arphaxad's age given in 11:24(thirty-five) at the time of Salah/Shelah's birth would, I think, preclude him fom being Salah's grandfather.

    I am inclined to believe that the "Cainan" reference in Luke 3:36 is a later scribal error. Luke certainly would have known about the generations recorded in Genesis and would have been careful to record them exactly. I am well aware of the fact that some generations have been omitted in genealogies before (Matthew 1 being a prime example) but given the fact that Luke is recording Jesus' descent all the way back to Adam, I think he would have been as accurate as possible.

    Given the fact that this second Cainan is not listed in Genesis 10 or 11, I believe that when Luke originally wrote his Gospel, the names ran from Eber, to Shelah, to Arphaxad, to Shem, as in Genesis, and that the second Cainan was later added erroneously by a scribe or copyist who was transcribing Luke's Gospel.
  14. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne FF manager Celebrations star 8 Manager

    Nov 4, 1998
    I just want to add that this story is very well known in Sweden, in fact I would say that except for Jesus then Noa is probably the most known biblical person, due to this little incident. There was simply a song written about it in the 1760's by Sweden foremost singer/songwriter/entertainer and it's still sung quite a lot. In the song it's made clear that we can thank Noa for the gift of wine, and Mrs. Noa for allowing him to drink as much as he liked. The reason why Noa is so well known is also because this song has become a children's song that I would say almost any kid in kindergarten learns. The kiddie versions, the are several, don't mention the drunkeness though, then it's more about him falling from the Ark or planting potatoes.

    This is the traditional choral version of the song
  15. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    So, I've read that theory exactly once, and it was in Ishmael which is arguably the worst book I have ever read in my entire life. Meandering preachy claptrap designed to make you question a bunch of suppositions that other, better philosophers have made you question in better and more meaningful ways. Not to mention they theory doesn't appear to make a lick of sense when you take into consideration the fact that Genesis is maybe 2700 years old and potentially based on older Greek and Mesopotamian works if you're generous.

    Now, I'm not saying that's not a potentially more widely posited theory than the extent to which I've been exposed to it, but I am curious as to how they accommodate the whole 5000 year gap thing between the apex of the Neolithic Revolution and the actual writing. To that end I think it'd be safer to wager it's just an attempt to explain why people kill each other, which, y'know, if I was a religious type living in 700 BC, I'd want one.

    Do I consider it tremendously important which version is "correct"? Not really, I just wanted an excuse to point out that I really hate Ishmael.

    Because holy hell, do I hate Ishmael.
  16. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    I never read Ishmael :p

    But the Neolithic Revolution (aka: agriculture and animal husbandry) didn't happen all at once, it took thousands of years to spread, and we're still feeling the effects of it today. Shifting to agriculture is still even an issue today, in some less-developed countries. (And a big question in modern anthropology is whether agriculture was worth it or not).

    Back when the Old Testament was written, there were a lot more nomadic people, or nations that were a mix between nomads/hunter-gatherers and farmers/settlers... the Jewish people being one of them.

    The Germanic tribes were still largely nomadic when they invaded the Roman Empire. The Arabs around the time of Mohammed were also largely nomadic. Sohere the Mongols in the time of Genghis Khan. As were the Turks before they founded the Ottoman Empire. So were most Native American, African, and Australian tribes when the Europeans began colonization... as well as most people in what is now the Asian part of Russia when the Czars originally began to expand eastward.
    My point... the city/farm-based lifestyle that comes from agriculture was still not universal when the Bible was being written, and not all the hunter-gatherers who knew about it wanted it.
  17. Ramza

    Ramza Administrator Emeritus star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP

    Jul 13, 2008
    That's demonstrably false, Canaanite society - from which Israelite and consequently modern Jewish society evolved - is well known to have been agrarian for at least 2000 years before even the earliest estimates of when Genesis was written, and probably longer. Short of everyone passing the story down for two millennia in the form of a needlessly convoluted metaphor for precisely the opposite of what the writers of Genesis would favor (Admittedly not an infeasible hypothesis, although a bit funny from a meta perspective), I don't see much reason for the hunter/gatherer vs. agrarians interpretation to hold much water.

    That said, I'm very glad to see you haven't read Ishmael. :p
  18. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    There were many peoples in the region at the time, and from what the Bible tells us, most Jews were shepherds and herders (and the Old Testament does seem to glorify this kind of life over farm life or city life). Even though there was some simple agriculture, it was not as widespread then, and there was likely conflict between land-owners and nomads. All that I said was that the Abel versus Cain story could be a metaphor about this basic conflict, which still continues in some countries today. A society can't just flip a switch and go from 100% hunter-gatherer to 100% agricultural, it's much more gradual and more like a spectrum.
  19. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 16, 2000

    It wouldn't surprise me if one of the morals originally intended to be imparted by the story as told was that laws and rules imposed by the elders on their community were designed as a metaphorical "Ark" for the people against the chaos and uncertainty of the world around them. The ark strikes me as a powerful symbol of refuge, of certainty, of straight line and beam, which rides out the greatest storm and calamities while still preserving its occupants. And note in particular that compliance with God's instruction in building the ark does not stop the flood/God's wrath; it only saves those who take shelter within it.

    Noah is told by God to build an Ark according to particular and very certain measurements, and then to bring a particular and certain number of animals onto the Ark; Noah follows those instructions to the letter, and the blessing given to him is that he's then preserved against the great disaster that follows. Those who ignore the Ark, or question its value, are similarly consumed by the disaster. As you point out, Noah is not a perfect or sinless man, but it's explicitly demonstrated that because he follows God's particular instructions, he prospers nonetheless. The giving of a certain degree of rules by God after the event is not unintentional: I think it's put in there specifically because the storyteller who came up with the idea wanted to emphasise the rules/laws given by God after the Ark comes to rest were meant as a metaphorical ark for the people living under them.

    It's the first principle of halal. The dietary restriction was at least partially intended as a primitive hygienic measure: blood-borne diseases from slaughtered animals could kill, so it was important to cook the meat thoroughly to remove the blood. The religious angle skewed it because these rules were as much rules of civic behaviour as devotions to the divine.
  20. timmoishere

    timmoishere Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 2, 2007
    I'm curious about something. God asks Cain where Abel is. But since God is all-seeing, all-knowing, this means he already knew where Abel was. Asking a question to which you already know the answer is something only lawyers typically do.

    So does this mean God is a lawyer? As if we needed anymore evidence that God is evil...
  21. Lugija

    Lugija Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 3, 2009
    It is also something parents and big brothers and sisters ask little kids. "What happened to the package of cookies?" You get to see how they try to come up with an answer. But it feels evil as well.
  22. Jabba-wocky

    Jabba-wocky Chosen One star 9

    May 4, 2003
    Ghost, I must interject that this is a pretty terrible reading of things. While it's true the Israelites were largely pastoralists, they were not "nomads." Nor were they averse to farming. The Temple required regular sacrifices involving both grain and wine, neither of which could have been sustained without significant effort in farming. The entire "jubilee" concept that takes up several chapters of the law is built around a fallow field concept. Given that's a major part of crop rotation, it speaks of pretty deep experience in farming, and is pointedly more advanced than the "slash and burn" techniques most cultures adopt in their initial experiences. One of the three major festivals--the only three that required all of Israel to report to Jerusalem--was a "feast of harvest." The idea that the Israelites were not serious agriculturists is just plainly wrong.

    Even were this not the case, though, the your reading completely distorts the story. The focus, by length, is all about God's appeals to Cain. Fully 9 of the 14 relevant verses is just those two talking to each other. Their occupation is mentioned almost in passing, while they carry on a grand, powerful discourse about proclivity of man to do evil, and his ability to choose good in spite of it. This is arguably the second most fundamental and important point (after monotheism) for either Christianity, Judaism, or Islam. Yet you choose instead to propose that maybe they were writing a weird an oblique fable about how farmers and hunter-gatherers don't like each other (even though a shepherd isn't anything like a hunter-gatherer?)?
  23. Jedi Merkurian

    Jedi Merkurian New Films Thread Reaper and Rumor Naysayer star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 25, 2000
    I always figured that Noah was either still drunk, or extremely hung-over when he made that curse. [face_mischief]

    Though just wait until you get to the aftermath of the whole Sodom and Gamorrah mess...
  24. Ghost

    Ghost Chosen One star 7

    Oct 13, 2003
    Pastoralists is the word I was looking for, not Nomads, it's been a couple years since I took anthropology classes.

    And like I said, I never said they were 100% free from agriculture, just that their culture and values revolved more around the shepherding-kind-of-life. That lifestyle is broadly painted as better than the farm/city lifestyle, at least from my own interpretation of the Bible.

    And I wasn't commenting on the specifics of the story about God/Cain/Abel, I wasn't distorting anything at all, Rogue already had the summary... it just reminded me of this broader point so I brought it up.

    So I don't know what you're complaining about, am I required to talk about the main and obvious and self-explanatory point of the story? If people, especially on a Star Wars board, especially in a thread about the Bible, haven't gotten the importance of choosing good over evil by now...
  25. Saintheart

    Saintheart Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Dec 16, 2000
    No, it means God is portrayed as a parent. Lugija already touched on it, but the reason you ask children questions to which you already know the answer is to bring home to the kid exactly what they've done. When you need to tell harsh truths to someone, this is one of the techniques by which it's done. You can shout at a kid "You ate the cookies!" but that's you putting a label on it which the kid may or may not agree with. By asking the kid what they've done, they have to admit to themselves they have done something. Openly admitting a shortcoming, rather than rationalising it away or pretending it doesn't exist, is a pretty important step in overcoming that issue: consider the stereotypical AA meeting opening which begins with "Hi everyone, I'm X, and I'm an alcoholic."

    The technique of a lawyer asking a question to which they already know the answer is to do with theatricality, which is a part of all court-based trials. The process of obtaining evidence via questioning on the witness stand has little to do with establishing facts and more to do with marshalling an argument based upon responses made to questions. Lawyers therefore don't tend to ask questions to which they don't know the answers, because they are seeking answers which support the argument they make. That's the adversarial system of justice for you -- not that the inquisitorial system of justice, which doesn't take that line, is terribly better at it.
    Sarge likes this.