The Bible pt. 1
Along with attending a church or religious activity every week, I am reading the Bible this year.
First, I never have. I have read pieces of it academically, in college I read parts of Job and Genesis. I think even if you don’t buy into the dogma preached by the Bible, it’s an interesting piece of literature. It is The Book, it’s ancient, it’s continually referenced in every corner of American Evangelical culture, and it is probably the most influential book in modern history, for better or for worse.
Second, I think it is just good due diligence for my spiritual journey. I think a lot of my ramblings on this subject would lack credibility if I hadn’t read the Bible. Every church sermon I hear can only be enriched by having that context.
Therefore, this blog will have bi-weekly entries. One to cover whatever church (or religious activity) I have experienced that week as well as an entry about the passages of the bible I have read that week. By the way, I am reading the King James version. If you are curious about why I chose the King James version over any other, I can go into that. I don’t want to ramble about version differences while everyone reading this is thinking “omg shut up I don’t care.”
I also might have a post soon covering some of the questions I have gotten from friends and family about the purpose of this blog and some of the potential pitfalls. I will have some disclaimers in there to provide some context for this blog. SPOILER ALERT: I am not here to bash Christianity or Christians or any Church I visit. Honestly my heart is so open to everyone’s perspective, and even if I don’t agree with something that I read in the Bible or hear in a sermon, I am not going to denounce it as trash. I will definitely discuss it, elaborate on why I do not agree, what I find problematic about it, but I certainly will try to acknowledge perspectives apart from my own and qualify those disagreements.
Now that we have that out of the way, recently I read Genesis 1:1-9:29.
My first thought was wow I thought there was more to it than that.
I thought the creation of the earth and the fall of man had to be more involved than what I already knew about it, but I was familiar with most of it. To recap, God made the earth in 6 days and rested on the 7th, because he earned it. He made man in his own image, and named him Adam. And then Adam got to name all the other living creatures God had made, which I thought was pretty cool. God realized Adam was lonely and so He took one of Adam’s ribs and made woman, Eve. In the garden of Eden where they live, the humans can eat whatever they like except the fruit from the tree of knowledge. Then Satan, disguised as a snake, tempts Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. She does, and becomes aware of good and evil. She becomes conscious of sin, and gives Adam the fruit which he eats as well. Then they try to play it cool with God like “oh, we didn’t eat from the ONE TREE YOU TOLD US NOT TO EAT FROM” but God knows. And so humanity is plunged into sin and woman is punished. I think this verse implies that childbirth is painful because Eve is the one that ate from the tree first, possibly.
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. [Genesis 3:16]
Why put the Tree of Knowledge there, God? Why tempt them? Was it all a big test and they failed? Putting a tree in a garden feels a lot like a Chekov’s Gun move. Why put it there if it isn’t meant to be used?
Also, for this being the first introduction of Satan, I feel like he didn’t get much development. Clearly, he wanted to tempt humans to defy God. A snake has all kinds of its own negative connotations, many perpetuated by this very story (and more modernly by Taylor Swift). But we get no glimpse into Satan’s origin or motivations for trying to defy God. I’m sure there is more of that to come, but it seems like an out-of-left-field intro. Furthermore, we saw God create everything at the beginning. Heaven and earth. When did Satan come in?
Let’s just acknowledge that I, personally, don’t love the characterization of Eve. Several of my female Christian friends weighed in on this with me, and they also struggle with it. They have some beautiful perspectives on it, too, where they note that Eve was the completion of humanity. The qualities that Adam lacked, Eve possessed. That’s a cool concept. Of course, there are other things that I find difficult to overlook. Eve is characterized as subservient to Adam. Which I think for most of history was status quo, certainly during the time the bible was written it was not questioned that women should be subservient to men. In addition, language is tricky and this is text is ancient. I might lack some essential connotation to the original language.
The rise of women’s rights has made the subservient concept repugnant to most modern women and men. So… how do we deal with the characterization of Eve? Does Eve being made to be subservient to Adam imply that God’s will is for all women to be subservient? Does Eve being the one to be tricked by Satan and dooming humanity characterize all women as gullible? Or is she just the vessel to convey how humans started as innocent and evolved into sinful beings, and she just happens to be female?
These are obviously questions I can’t answer, and probably no one can, as a matter of opinion I don’t appreciate how Eve is characterized simply because of how the story is used to shame women even to modern day.
The other day, while mindlessly scrolling through facebook, I saw a meme someone posted that said “women can never decide where they want to eat because last time they did, they plunged humanity into sin” and it featured a picture of Eve holding an apple. Isn’t that funny??? Women can’t decide on anything!!! Because they were dumb enough to doom us all!!! LOL!
I don’t know my full feelings about Adam and Eve yet, they are far too complex to lay out in a few hundred words. I could write about book about the varying perspectives on Adam and Eve. Maybe I will someday.