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Eden revisited

04 Sep

Eden

I’m not posting this to get anyone into Christianity. What you believe is up to you.  I’m not posting this to impress anyone.  And I would like to begin with stating this: I am Christian, but not in the traditional way. I don’t have a religion, I have a faith. Also, I am a feminist, meaning I believe that men and women are equally worthy as humans and should be allowed equal opportunities.  Those two don’t bite, contrary to popular belief, and this blog is the explanation.

(PS: If you can’t take a humorous way of explaining things, leave now.  Humour is not intended disrespectfully, it’s just sometimes the best way to explain)

Right. So I’ve been ‘exploring’ the Bible recently, alongside what we ‘know’ about that time-period. Very interesting. I am reading the Bible as a woman, without male explanation interfering with me. In fact, male interpretation has been used to oppress women for thousands of years. If you google ‘what does the Bible say about…’ you’re extremely likely to find an elaborate answer from some gray-haired, finger-pointing, probably Republican voting American vicar with a very traditional and very literal approach to the Bible… usually they’re from a non-Spiritual denomination. Look, if Christianity worked that way, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die because we could just follow the rules and save our own sorry asses. I do find it really funny that these men slap your wrist if you try to look at the context in order to try to understand things yourself… because today I learned that contextual and holistic approaches are more characteristic of women, while men tend to look at simplified versions. In short: men go shopping for black slacks, while women may come home with something else that will serve the same purpose but with the added joy of creativity and originality. On average, that is, I know many women with short-sighted approaches and many men with holistic approaches.

So, let’s ignore the ‘women were made for men, out of men, to ‘help’ them … as in be lower than them… women are weaker and so forth’ message we’ve been hearing too much.

Genesis 1, using the New International Version

1-25 the story of the Creation, ending with ‘And God Saw it was Good’ after creating the animals

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.

See, Mankind, Male And Female, was created. Humans. Not men, and secondary to them women. And THEY were given the task, although this is translated differently in other translations I think. Regardless, poor Adam was never supposed to single-handedly sort out the world. Poor men were never supposed to single handedly sort out the world, regardless of what they think. Women were equally created in the image of God. 

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Side note: ‘rule’ does not mean ‘ruin’. Plenty of text in the rest of the Bible to explain that bit! With great power comes great responsibility! 

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
Wow. All for us feeble little humans? 

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Genesis 2

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he restedfrom all the work of creating that he had done.

Adam and Eve

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, 6 but streams[b] came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

10 – 14 Naming rivers

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Ok, so Adam being alone is NOT GOOD. Usually this is interpreted as ‘poor Adam needs company’, putting Eve in a position where her main reason for existence is to please Adam and make his life easier’. Ah, but see, if ‘not good’ was simply poor Adam needing company, a volleyball with a face drawn on it or another man would have sufficed. ‘Not good’ meant that God wasn’t quite happy with just Adam, as humankind. This humankind thing was not going to work with just Adam, he won’t cut it alone. So He decided to create a ‘helper’ that would match Adam better than a dog or a volleyball with a face or just another man. Now I’m not bothered with the ‘helper’ phrase. I help people for a living. I help them at their most vulnerable, and have saved lives. How is that inferior? Helpers are altruistic and of superior value to our community than ego-centred people who are only interested in their own gain, simply put.  Also, technically, Adam was God’s helper, put in the Garden to work in it and take care of it. Verse 18 also does not state ‘I will make HIM a helper, suitable for him’. Eve is a helper, Adam is a helper. Humans are social creatures, not meant to be alone.  We only come to our full potential in plural form. Wow.

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
Cool. So everything else was made out of dust, but we ladies got the special treatment? We were made out of flesh, God tweaked some things to make us women. I mean, of course God wouldn’t reinvent the wheel, just like the iPhone is never completely reinvented when a new one is launched. Usually newer products intentionally designed out of their former versions turn out better, so I don’t follow the logic that Eve being created from Adam’s rib/part of him means she’s inferior to him. I mean, dude, you’re created from dust. I rest my case. 

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
Got that one right, Adam, she’s the female man. ‘Bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh’ sounds like a pretty interesting way to recognise she’s the same ‘species’ as you are!  The mental image of this scene is pretty interesting. Sort of the same puzzled look a dog has when he sees his own reflection for the first time: ‘Hey,  you’re like me… but not quite!’. Luckily Adam decided to give her a name while he was at it, rather than bark at her. On the other hand, Edenish may have sounded pretty much like barking. I think Adam must have been pretty excited: finally another human! And yes, we’ve noticed before that Eve was created using Adam’s matter, I’m sure there’s a reason why God created Adam first and then Eve, but I see no evidence that inferiority is the reason when reading the Bible and not listening to grey-haired so-called experts. 

24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.
Interestingly, this seems to be quite the opposite of what our Christian influenced culture historically did with marriage, where the woman was given to the man and distanced from her family, and even had to give up her name. 

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
My rat feels no shame about licking his balls in public either. Random.

I’ll continue in another post!

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Posted by on September 4, 2013 in I believe, Random, society

 

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