Monday, February 11, 2019

Continuing the dialogue on Genesis

Genesis 9.  From Noah's sons came the people who would repopulate the Earth and continue God's creation, Man and Woman.  Noah's life span was 950 years.  Noah's descendants developed into various named clans and tribes.  It appears as if the continuity of God's message through Noah was being lost. Their is no indication that God's message is being passed on to guide the lives of these descendants.  Different spoken languages developed, placing another barrier to effective communication between people.

Then in Genesis 11, apparently after some passage of time, the people in the world somehow began to speak one language.  Where was the direction to follow God during this period? It seems strange that after God saved Noah's family, none of the story of God's destruction of all life on Earth, except Noah and his family was passed on to Noah's descendants to guide them to correct behavior in God's eyes?  If they had known about the prior destruction of life by God would misbehavior and people idolizing themselves, not God, have followed?

At this point the need for guidance was critical.  God's response in Genesis 11:7 is to confuse the people so they no longer speak the same language and can't effectively communicate with each other?  People were then scattered all over the world.  My reaction to this passage was how is this method effective in teaching the people the principles  God wanted us to follow?  How was this method effective in bringing the people closer to God?

What follows in Genesis 11 seems to be a period where people seemed to be wandering, with lack of effective guidance.  We were back to our own means, which meant progress into what God wanted us to be was hopeless.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Genesis: The Flood and the Reboot of Earth


Genesis 6:11 states that the Earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence.  What had Adam and Eve and their descendants passed on to people in terms of knowledge about God?  Whatever was passed on was not enough to keep the entire world from becoming corrupted.  Imagine if everyone today were doomed to be destroyed due to widespread corruption and violence.  God had decided to destroy all people and whatever walked on the Earth.  Among all the people was the family of Noah who he decided were worthy of saving and leaving on the destroyed Earth to restart what God had begun with Adam and Eve.  But, God did decide to save the animals that existed on Earth by having Noah collect every kind of animal for storage on the Ark that God directed Noah to have built.  Since the Earth was to be flooded with water there was no need to save the creatures in the seas, oceans and other watered areas on Earth.  Their lives would continue.

The flood waters came and every living thing on Earth except those protected in the Ark perished.  After the flood and when the waters receded Noah, his family and all the animals in the Ark were released back onto the Earth.  It was an Earth which had been purged of all evil, supposedly. In Genesis 8:21 God acknowledged that every inclination of human heart is evil from childhood.  But he promised to never destroy all living creatures by a flood again.  God did not say he would use other forms of destruction at His means.

This was God’s first attempt to correct the deficiency in His creation, Mankind.  But as history has shown that deficiency appears to be permanent.  Nothing can be done to save Man from our ultimate fate.  The repetitions of human acts of violence and the atrocities we create are part of what we are.  Yes, we are capable of performing great acts of kindness.  But nowhere in Genesis prior to the flood is there any mention of the kinder gentler side of Man that impressed our Creator enough to not destroy 99.9% of the people on Earth.

The comparison of the actions of God and those of his son Jesus Christ does show that God evolved over the years.  It seems as though a way for Man to improve and correct his nature was developed.  The old covenants of Genesis and the old testament, were replaced via the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Genesis does not present a sense of hope for mankind.  It creates the view that we as people are hopeless and raises the question why would God want to continue our existence?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A dialogue on Genesis: Genesis 5 and 6. The Reboot of Planet Earth


Genesis 5.  Let’s pause.  Genesis 1 brought on the promise of new life, new beginnings.  The Creator made “creations” on Earth.  Animals, vegetation and someone in His image, man.  Then man is given a helpmate to assist man in taking care of the Garden in which they are to be the caretakers.  What could go wrong?  Adam and Eve were given the perfect living conditions from the Creator.  But somehow Eve and Adam do exactly what they were told not to do.  The repercussions were disastrous.  God did not give them a second chance to stay in the Garden.  Adam and Eve were evicted and they and their descendants sentenced to a life of hardship.  A life opposite from what the Creator wanted for them to have.  Something inherent in man and woman doomed us to the future and present we live in now.  The first murder in human history happens among the first born of Adam and Eve.  We know that three of the first human beings created, Adam, Eve, and Cain are flawed.

Now we move into the descendants of Adam and Eve.  Adam lives 930 years before he dies.  Other male descendants also live more than 800 plus years.  Curiously there is no mention of the lifespan of the women.  How long did Eve live?  I wonder how each generation was taught about God and the fall of man from Grace?  Apparently whatever they taught wasn’t effective as each generation seemed to be testing God’s patience as referenced by God’s comment in Genesis 6.  The reference is to God giving a 120 year lifespan to humans.  Some interpret that to have meant God was giving people in the time of Noah, 120 years to change their sinful ways.  I never have imagined God as being impatient or giving up, so that statement is somewhat shocking if God was truly giving mankind 120 years before it would be time for our Creator to take another action.

Genesis 6:5 indicates that there was widespread wickedness being performed by humans and it was consistently and totally evil.  So evil that God was sorry he had ever made humans and put them on the Earth that he created.  Can you imagine the total disappointment of seeing something you create become a vehicle of evil and wickedness?  Some of us see that in the development of the children we create.  Imagine that feeling multiplied by the hundreds of thousands.  In Genesis 6, God decides to destroy on Earth all that he has created.  God will perform the first reboot.  When an electronic device such as a computer does not work as it should, the last option is to turn it off and then turn it back on.  Earth 1.1 would reappear in the form of Noah and his family in Earth 2.1.  The bible speaks of God destroying all the animals that inhabit the ground.   Does this mean that all the animals in the seas and in the watered areas on Earth were not impacted by the coming flood of the Earth that destroyed everything on land?  If so is there any special significance that should be given today to the seas and oceans and all the life forms that inhabit them?

From reading the first 6 and a half chapters of Genesis, there is a sense of negativity surrounding the creation and development of life for humans on Earth.  Now comes the reboot designed to clean the slate and give mankind another new start.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Dialogue on Genesis 3 and 4


Genesis 3.  One would hope that Adam and Eve spent many years in the Garden of Eden before Eve fell for the temptation to eat the fruit which was on the tree in the middle of the Garden.  Like a good wife she shared the fruit with Adam, damning mankind to the life we have today on Earth.  Whatever this fruit was (maybe some is still on Earth) it appears to have taken away immediately the innocence that Adam and Eve had.  God quickly moved Adam and Eve out of the rent free caretaker role to the role of workers who had to work the land outside the Garden of Eden to sustain them.  The fun times of life were gone.  Banished from the Garden, Adam and Eve also became the first de facto Immigrants.  Genesis 3 references the Garden being guarded by cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth that guards the way to the tree of life.  Are the cherubim and flaming sword still there today awaiting some curious explorer?

It is clear that God did not want His creation to live forever which the tree of life apparently would do for Adam.  It seems that one bite of the fruit wasn’t enough to place man in the “living forever” category.

Genesis 4.  The first parents!  Another role for Adam and Eve.  Again, it is not clear if the fall from Grace gave Adam the desire to procreate with Eve.  If they were not sexually active before the Fall Genesis 4 shows they were now and the result was Eve becoming pregnant.  Adam and Eve as the first parents must have been trial by error.  They were not prepared to become parents.  Outside of God, who was there to instruct them on how to be good parents?  If God left them on their own to figure it out that established the cycle of parents being unprepared for fatherhood and mother hood. 

How did Adam and Eve teach Abel and Cain to be good children and brothers?  What was the relationship between Abel and Cain as they grew up?  How did Adam and Eve create good family dynamics?  The results tend to speak for themselves.  Adam winds up being killed by his brother Cain.  Did God expect people to behave based on the fact that He created them and thus they would be perfect?  The first parents, the first children, and then the first murder.  The creation of human beings was not going well.

Adam and Eve are said to have had other children.  The sequence of all those births is not covered in Genesis.  Those children apparently married one another to help populate the Earth.  Genesis infers that Cain married one of those descendants of Adam and Eve’s other children.  From there other generations of people developed.  Genesis 4 does not address how Adam and Eve’s descendants were taught about God.  After making the biggest mistake in Earthly history one would think that Adam and Eve would have made sure to pass on the tale of how they ruined their lives via one act of disobedience.  If not, why didn’t they share the story with their children?

Genesis 4 closes with the statement that Adam made love to Eve again and she gave birth to a son they named Seth.  It is stated that Seth was granted to Adam in place of the murdered/deceased Abel.  The close of Genesis 4 recounts that Seth had a son named Enosh.  Then all of a sudden people began to call on the name of the Lord?  Why not before then?  What role did the punished Adam and Eve have in people not calling on the Lord before then?  What were Adam and Eve’s descendants taught about God and the creation of mankind?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dialogue on Genesis 2 and 3


Genesis 2 recounts that by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing.  He had not yet created the first man, Adam.  God rested from all the work.  In retrospect, God should have taken an extended vacation before creating Adam!  In looking back at all of man’s actions over thousands of years, to include numerous atrocities, I simply have to ask the question, “What was God thinking when he created man and woman?”  God apparently had a plan and a vision for what man and woman would be.  That plan appears to have gone awry quickly.  God placed the first man, Adam in the Garden of Eden and assigned him to take care of the Garden.  Man was the first caretaker.  Man was given a restriction to not eat from the tree of knowledge but otherwise was free to do as he chose.  After creating a number of animals which he allowed Adam to name, God felt that Adam was still alone.  So he made a helper, Eve.  Genesis describes Eve as someone suitable for Adam.

God created woman to be the companion of man.  This was God’s plan.  Sometime after that some men and women created another option.  They decided that another man could be the sexual companion of a man.  Or another woman could be the sexual companion of another woman.  There is no coverage in Genesis that these same sex relationships are what God wanted.  People from the very beginning have done what they want to do.  Man has often made decisions without asking whether his Creator was okay with the decision.  The decision to have same sex relationships was one of the first decisions of man/woman that ran contrary to God’s original vision.  Did God intend for us to have the right to modify his plans for us?  It is not a matter of are same sex relationships correct?  It is the issue of do we have the right to modify what God intended for us?  Many of us think we have that right.

Genesis 2 and 3 do not initially address whether Adam and Eve were married in the sense of the word we have come to acknowledge.  It also does not address if Adam and Eve were initially sexually active for pleasure or procreation before the fall from Grace.   Only after the fall from grace and the commission of the first sin does Genesis 4 address Adam and Eve being sexually active to the point where Eve becomes pregnant.  Genesis does not address what Adam and Eve must have thought when they observed Eve’s physical appearance changing after she became pregnant.  Did God tell them what was happening?  How did they know what to do during the actual child birth?

No passage of time is illustrated in Genesis 2 or 3.  One can’t tell if the violation of God’s rule against eating from the tree of life was done shortly after Eve was created or years after Eve was created.  Regardless one can come to the conclusion that Adam and Eve were flawed creations.  The events that would follow would only lend support to such a conclusion.  Man didn’t stand a chance for long term survival.  We would never collectively be what God wanted us to be.  We would march off into any direction we chose, not what God intended for us.

God’s concept of man was well intended of course.  Seeing how the plan quickly went awry only leads the reader to ask again, “What was God thinking when he created mankind?”

Sunday, January 20, 2019

A dialogue on Genesis in the Bible


I am a 61 year old man.  From DNA results my ancestors are related to the Eviya and Eshira people of Gabon, Africa.  The truth as I know it is that hundreds of years ago, one or more of my ancestors was kidnapped from a life of freedom in Gabon.  They were enslaved by European Americans who had invaded the North American continent and systematically wiped out a Native American culture that already existed there.  European Americans through a combination of diseases they brought with them and aggressive land grabbing annihilated a culture in North America to the point that today it barely exists.  Before these events, life was created on Earth thousands of years ago.  We tend to not focus on our historical past to find understanding to our present.  I believe that is a major mistake. That is my truth.

Seeking some understanding to life in the United States and the events of today and the past, I have turned to the Bible.  A religious historical document that stands at the foundation of many of our lives and beliefs.  This series of blogs takes into account my understanding, questions, and reactions to the words in the Bible.  Let us first start with Genesis, the beginning.

I recall as a teenager writing to the company that published a dictionary.  I was questioning the accuracy of the definition of the word “beginning”.  I had spent 8 years in a Catholic school environment.  I recall reading catechisms and being taught in a classroom setting the beliefs of the Catholic church.  As a teenager it occurred to me that based on what I had been taught, somehow a God, Gods or some form of life always existed.  There was no beginning.  There just was life that existed beyond the understanding of human thought.  I’ve always remembered that moment.  Although there was no answer, it was a moment of clarity for me.

In the bible, Moses is stated to be the author of Genesis.  Somehow he passed on the content of Genesis to future generations.  The story/events were finally put into writing in biblical form.  Genesis 1, starts off with “The Beginning”.  I always assumed that Genesis was talking about the beginning of life on the planet Earth.  We as people seemed focused on believing that all life began with the creation of human beings on Earth.  I see no reason to not believe that our Creator, God, or whatever you want to call “Him” has created other life forms beyond human beings.  So why do we think the beginning of life revolves around us here on Earth?  It seems somewhat of a self centered approach to life.  Human beings self promoting ourselves into the number one spot on the life cycle!
Are there other inhabited planets and life forms out there?   I really don’t believe that human beings are the best life form that God, our Creator, could have made.  How and to what extent do such other life forms worship our Creator?

The “beginning” referenced in Genesis, may be the story applicable to life on Earth only.  It is possible there are other stories of “beginnings” for life forms different from ours on other planets and other solar systems.  As I read Genesis 1, it covers the creations of God, such as water, living creatures and the natural resources of the Earth.  The thought struck me, “if God created all these things and humans in the role of caretakers, don’t we have an obligation to protect the environment that He created?”  Why should we destroy what God created?  Genesis does appear to give people the role of ruling over animals.  We were given every seed bearing plant to use as food to include every tree with fruit.  As Genesis 1 ends, it is apparent that what God was doing was “working” at creating human kind and the supporting systems for human kind.  It would not be a smooth creation.  Drama and humanistic problems were coming quickly.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

We Truly Can Be Our Worst Enemy

I've heard that there is a new movie coming out in a few months.  The theme revolves around how the problems a family is having is basically their own fault.  I recently realized that we as people do not realized that help and advice to our personal problems is often within a family or through an organization we belong to. 

Maybe it's because we don't want to share problems or questions with others?  But the same problem you may be going through may have been handled by someone you refuse to seek advice from.  Even when that person has offered help.  It may be a question of us not trusting someone enough to seek advice or open up about an issue?  Regardless, the non questions results in us losing an answer or option that could resolve our current dilemma.

I am 61 years old and have been through a myriad of experiences in my life.  I consider my status as a retiree going on 6 years now with a comfortable annuity as a sign that my life has been a success.  I live a comfortable life with a few luxuries and am able to travel to see some of the world. My health is good and I live a mostly stress free life.  I have offered my advice on how to get to the place I am at now, but have very few takers who seek my advice.  So what I do is just continue on with my life of enjoyment until someone realizes, "Hey, maybe I should ask him how to handle a situation? or "Let me ask him how he got to the point he is at now!"

When I was younger I also failed to follow the advice I'm giving above.  We need to be taught to seek advice, especially within a family.  Lessons learned by others can help us avoid pitfalls in our own lives.

So next time you reach a point where you need help, seek the advice of several people.  Don't be your worst enemy!