Friday, September 20, 2013

Just a Few Questions: Part VII Genesis

Metaphors, Similes, and the God Awful Truth

Please be so kind as to post any answers you may have to these questions in the comment link at the end of the post. Say whatever you like. Be sure to note the number of the question for the particular post that you are responding to. Also, if you choose to utilize Bible verses as references include these in your posted answer so that I may look them up; you do not have to put the translation you are using, but if you can that would be useful as well. Thank you.

What can possibly be so difficult when it comes to considering or accepting that some of what is written in the Bible should NOT be taken as literal truth? In the New Testament and during his ministry Jesus spoke to the multitudes that followed him largely in stories/parables. Why did he do this? 

Consider the following verses:

Matthew 13:34, "All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable.

Mark 4:10-13, 
10 "When He was alone with the Twelve, those who were around Him asked Him about the parables.

11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:

12 so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: 'When they see what I do, they will learn nothing. When they hear what I say, they will not understand. Otherwise, they will turn to me and be forgiven.'"

13 Then he told them, "You don't understand this parable, so how can you understand any of the parables?"

If in the New Testament Jesus spreads the gospel through stories and parables, is it so far fetched to at least consider that much in the Bible is NOT intended to be taken literally, especially when it comes to the Old Testament?

For example, perhaps the story of Jonah being swallowed by a whale for his disobedience to God is just another way to express the consequences of being so deeply stubborn that a person can seriously damage their situation, if not put their own life or the lives of others in extreme danger.

Why would someone choose to believe such a story as literal truth? Is this the only problem story in the Bible? No. There are so many odd, absurd stories in the Bible that it only makes sense to assimilate some of the information as part story/myth/parable, or even fully myth/story/parable for the purpose of trying to convey some kind of lesson or truth that would otherwise be difficult to understand.

Could the Genesis account of Noah's Ark coupled with many beliefs associating water with human emotion be interpreted to mean that it is of the utmost importance for a person to be in control of their emotions during their life, lest they destroy what the goodness in their life could be?

The approach that everything in the Bible is literal truth and the very words of God totally sinks the ship of Christianity before it even gets the chance to pull away from the dock. There is zero prudence in expecting people to take everything in the Bible as literal truth. Christianity would have a helluva lot more to work with if instead of claiming everything in the Bible as literal truth, Christianity and those within Christianity understood the truth within the Bible to be the messages conveyed, the lessons learned, and something akin to the morals of the stories.

Now we continue with the Old Testament book of Genesis. If you desire to answer any of the questions posted please do so. Also, be sure to note the number of the question you are answering. If you include Bible verses as references to your answer please include where I may find such in the Bible.

1. Genesis 15:7
And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.


     1) Soooo...basically God is saying screw the land you are already on and come and take this other land that is currently in the possession of another?

     2) How does this instruction by God NOT count as against thou shalt not steal?

     3) Does it NOT count as stealing since the Ten Commandments are still a bit further down the line?

     4) If God wanted the land for His chosen people why allow a different people to settle there in the first place?

     5) Is the purpose of allowing other people to settle in the land that God wants for His own people to have all of these people dramatically removed by the future Israelites so that everyone can see how powerful the God of the Israelites is?

     6) Is the purpose also to show people how much better and more special God's chosen people are over everyone else?

     7) If God truly is all-knowing didn't He know His chosen people would have to kill, steal, and destroy in order to possess the land promised, and why did God allow such horror and atrocity?

     8) Is the reason/purpose God allows all the terrible bloodshed to occur while the chosen people are in the process of stealing the land and murdering the inhabitants,to have such blood serve as a sort of a sacrifice of thanks for receiving the promised land from God?

     9) Why does it seem like every time God/Jehovah makes a promise to His chosen people He finds a way to delay the promise, or to find any number of people no longer eligible for the promise because of something they have done, or even to sabotage the promise (by allowing the chosen people to fuck up in some form or other) so that He can cruelly punish them?

2. Genesis 15:8-10

But Abram replied, "O Sovereign LORD, how can I be sure that I will actually possess it?"

And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.

10 So Abram presented all these to him and killed them. Then he cut each animal down the middle and laid the halves side by side; he did not, however, cut the birds in half.


   1) God is supposed to be all-powerful and all-truthful, the ultimate in trustworthiness, right? 

    2) Man should never reach a point where he is asking for some kind of proof/validation as to something God has promised him, right?

     3) If man finds himself so compelled as to request proof of a promise made by God, and if part of what God consists of is total truth and man knows this, and if the Bible says, "Thou shalt not test the LORD your God," or even question anything God does lest man risk punishment and swiftly find his ass in a sling, don't you really have to ask yourself what it is that God promised man and did or didn't do that would cause man to, at his own peril, request proof of anything from God?

     4) A heifer, a she-goat, a ram, a turtle dove, a young pigeon...what is next? An eye of newt, a sprig of Witch-hazel, a pig's tongue, and a salamander egg? When God gives His chosen people the rules and regulations in regard to witchcraft, magic, spells, invocation ceremonies, and the like, even going so far as to call all of such things an abomination more often than not requiring the death of the offender...well, did God even bother to consider half the crap He instructs His chosen people to do?

     5) It would have taken God two seconds to simply answer the damn question right then and there. So, WHY in the hell send Abram on a demented adventure where he is to acquire and bring back certain animals that are three years old, and that he will chop up and 'give' to the LORD?

3. Genesis 15:13

13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;


     1) Why do God's plans for mankind always seem to include death and destruction and suffering and sorrow on some level or other?

4. Genesis 15:18-21

18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, "To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:

19 the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites,

20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims,

21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.


     1) Does an agreement with a great divine power absolve the actor of what would otherwise be a bad deed of culpability for theft, murder, violence, genocide, slavery, adultery, bigamy...yada-yada, plucka-plucka?

     2) Isn't such behavior be it by man or God indicative of reckless and wanton disregard for human life?

     3) You know what these particular verses made me think of? The push westward in the United States, the disgusting and loathsome doctrine of Manifest Destiny, and the Shoshone, Mohawk, Apache, Chumash, Blackfoot, Crow, Cherokee, Paiute, Sioux, Choctaw....

5. Genesis 16:4-6

And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee.

Abram replied to Sarai, "Here, your slave is in your hands; do whatever you want with her." Then Sarai mistreated her so much that she ran away from her.


     1) What is this wrong that Sarai refers to, the variation of fertility between two women?

     2) What is Sarai's problem but harboring great disdain for a servant who has something that Sarai herself believes she is entitled to?

     3) What in the world is Abram thinking when telling Sarai to do as she will with Hagar?

     4) Did God allow this behavior because from the very beginning of His supposed  'plan' for man God intended to include the subjugation of one people by another?

6. Genesis 16:7-10

Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.

And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”

Then the angel of the LORD said to her, "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority."

10 The angel of the LORD also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”


     1) I still want to know why, if God is omni-present and all-knowing and all-powerful and absolutely everywhere all at once...WHY does He keep sending angels to do His bidding?

     2) If God finds it necessary to send angels to take messages to the folks of earth (particularly God's chosen folk) isn't that a really good indicator that God is NOT everywhere at all times after all?

     3) If God is everywhere He would never have to send anyone in His stead anyplace since He would already be there, right?

7. Genesis 16:11-12

11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man, his hand against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”


     1) Why doesn't God simply do what He says He is going to do instead of making grand promise after grand promise?

     2) Do Hagar and Sarah both know that God has made promises to the other that are suspiciously similar to their own?

8. Genesis 16:13

13 She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."


     1) Sooo...God is actually referred to three different ways in this verse...LORD, God, the One? Why is this and what the freak happened to the traditional Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

9. Genesis 17:1-3

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

"I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."

And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,


     1) Whose version of perfection are we talking about here, humm? The version where God is so perfect in everything that He does that He fucks up with the first set of people on the earth and decides to drown them all? The version where God is so perfect that He scatters man and confuses his language at Babel simply because He does not like the perceived unity of man? Or how about the version where God is so perfect that He allows two young women to seduce their own father so that they may become pregnant?

10. Genesis 17:5

Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.


     1) So...if Abram is the father of many nations can that be interpreted to mean more than just Israel in the Middle East?
     2) If that is the case wouldn't all of these nations be brothers?

     3) If these nations are brothers why are they always at each other's throats?

    4) Does God/Jehovah need fighting and violence in order to exist, to give Him substance?

11. Genesis 17:6

And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.


     1) Do you really think the promise of such things is worth all of the fighting and murder and mayhem and hatred as people bicker over who's who in the Children of God program?

     2) Do you know what this verse reminds me of? That part in the New Testament where Jesus is fasting for forty days and nights in the desert and Satan is supposed to be testing him, in the process promising Jesus pretty much anything he wants so long as Jesus will do whatever Satan says...which actually was to bow down before Satan. The creepy reality is that this really isn't all that different, right?

     3) Could it be argued that the reason that God promises BOTH Ishmael and Isaac countless descendants because God simply wants to keep a good fight going, and in order to do that you need a LOAD of people over thousands of years?

12. Genesis 17:7

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.


     1) Is God aware of His supposed eternal nature?

     2) If He IS aware of such why does He keep using the word 'everlasting' since it is in all reality redundant?

     3) Isn't 'everlasting' supposed to go without saying when it comes to God anyway?

13. Genesis 17:8

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.


     1) If God loves His 'chosen people' so much why is He always putting them in predicaments where inevitably a lot of people die?

14. Genesis 17:9

And God said to Abraham, “As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations.


     1) If this covenant here is a lasting covenant why is it taught by many that the New Testament and the message of salvation through Jesus is the 'new' covenant?

     2) What the hell happened to this covenant here?

     3) Is this covenant still good?

     4) If this covenant is no longer good then wouldn't it stand to reason that God's words DO fade after all?

15. Genesis 17:10

10 "This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.


     1) Why does God always include some kind side helping of pain every time He promises people something?

     2) Is the pain supposed to be some kind of demented reminder that God is the only one in full control, and what better way to remind people of that then by injecting a little pain into their lives?

16. Genesis 17:12-14

12 From generation to generation, every male child must be circumcised on the eighth day after his birth. This applies not only to members of your family but also to the servants born in your household and the foreign-born servants whom you have purchased.

13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.

14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.


     1) Sooo...if you want God's blessing and you want to be seen as God's chosen then you must follow through with self-mutilation?

     2) Sooo...if a baby boy is not circumcised he should be cut off from his people because he has broken God's covenant? What kind of horseshit is that?

17. Genesis 17:15-16

15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.

16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.


     1) What good is a royal line that is beset with hatred?

     2) What good is a king whose power is limited not by the compassion of his heart, but by the anger of his God?

18. Genesis 17:19-21

19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.

21 But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year


     1) Are these verses indicative of God purposely putting people in opposing positions, purposely setting people against people, brother against brother?

19. Genesis 17:27

27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.


     1) Why does it always seem like in order for God to render any type of blessing or benefit the people first have to experience great pain or loss of some type?

     2) Why does God seemingly always have a soft heart for 'believe this way or die' or 'do it this way or die' ideologies?

20. Genesis 18:1

Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.


     1) If the LORD is EVERYWHERE then wouldn't that perpetual presence negate the necessity of appearing since He would already be there?

     2) Do you think Abraham was hallucinating or suffering heat stroke? I mean, the verse does say that Abraham was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day

21. Genesis 18:10-13

10 And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing.

12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13 And the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?'


     1) Is this waiting by God until people are really, really old before He gives them children on purpose?

     2) Is this approach intended to make God look so generous and loving and miracle working? 

     3) Does God, knowing full well how desperately people wish to have children, purposely wait until people are old so that by that time they are 'given' a child they will do absolutely anything that God asks them to do...even if it is not such a nice thing to do? 

22. Genesis 18:24-25

24 Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?


     1) But slaying the righteous with the wicked or for what the wicked have done is EXACTLY what God does time and again, isn't that right? I mean, look what He did to Abel.

23. Genesis 18:32

32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.


     1) Why does it seem like that every time God does or says or commands something mean that He is OH so willing to sweep out the righteous with the rest of the trash? There were eight people who passed God's muster and who went aboard the ark before God flooded the earth. Eight. He STILL killed everything. You would think that if God loved His creation so goddamn much He would not be willing to destroy so much as one, and instead would go great lengths to be PATIENT and keep showing people the best, most love-filled way to live. This is a major fail for God, isn't it?

24. Genesis 19:8

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.


     1) Is this the kind of bullshit people who find favor in the eyes of God do? Offer to send their virgin daughters out to the sex-crazed horde?

25. Genesis 19:16

16 But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.


     1) What is it with God purposely bringing people super super close to danger, then suddenly saving them by the skin of their teeth and generously labeling Himself as merciful? You know what it reminds me of? Those twisted mothers with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy who purposely hurt their kids for attention. 

26. Genesis 19:24,29

24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven,

29 And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.


     1) What exactly is going on with the wording of this verse here? The LORD rained down brimstone and fire from the LORD...but God destroyed the cities of the plain?

     2) Why does God say He over-threw the cities when it is clear it was no over-throw but straight up genocide?

27. Genesis 19:33-36

33 So they made their father drink wine that night. And the firstborn went in and lay with her father. He did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.

35 So they made their father drink wine that night also. And the younger arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.

36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.


     1) What is it with God's fabulous plans for man and incest?

28. Genesis 20:2-6

And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, “She is my sister.” And Abimelech king of Gerar sent and took Sarah.

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife.”

Now Abimelech had not come near her; and he said, "Lord, will You slay a nation, even though blameless?

Did he not himself say to me, ‘She is my sister’? And she herself said, ‘He is my brother.’ In the integrity of my heart and the innocence of my hands I have done this.”

Then God said to him in the dream, “Yes, I know that you have done this in the integrity of your heart, and it was I who kept you from sinning against me. Therefore I did not let you touch her.


     1) Well, what do we have here? It appears to be Abraham once again lying about Sarah being his wife and God (in all His gracious glory) punishing someone else for the misdeed.

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