Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Genesis 4

I thought at least ONE person besides myself would have seen this by now...but page views would say otherwise! Oh well. I am having fun doing this, it is something I've been wanting to do, so even if my words are just echoing around an empty internet, it's worth it! Also, interesting tidbit, there are 1189 chapters in the bible (according to Google, I don't have the time to count!), which means at my current rate, I'll be working on this blog for another 3 years and 3 months at least! So I guess I don't have to think up any new ideas! Okay, so, on to the 4th chapter, in which is the ever popular story of Cain and Abel...

It just cracks me up that the Bbible cannot bring itself to say that Adam had sex with his wife, although sex is supposed to be holy in a God-sanctioned marriage. But it's not decorous to speak of it, so we just hear that Adam "knew" Eve and she had a kid. Or maybe that's how it really did work back then! Regardless, she has 2 boys somehow. She says that she has "produced a man" which makes me think of nothing so much as this internet pin:

The story is much as you probably remember it, even if you've never picked up a Bible. Cain is a farmer, and he offers God fruit. Abel is a shepherd, and he offers God fat portions of his sheep. God likes Abel's, but doesn't like Cain's. When Cain gets upset about this, God tells him that if he does well, he will be accepted, and if he does not do well, "sin is lurking at the door." Because apparently God doesn't like farmers. I really have never understood this. Cain gave what he had, and isn't that the theme of countless songs and sermons? And yet God tells him his offering is no good. No wonder Cain is miffed.

Of course, no matter how miffed one is, murder is not the answer. Cain taking Abel out to a field and killing him is a terrible thing. It is not Abel's fault that God is capricious and setting a double standard. God asks Cain where Abel is, and while I know I've been harping on God's utter lack of omniscience, this seems more like a rhetorical set-up question, so I'll give it a dubious pass. God is pissed that Cain killed his brother, so he punishes Cain to struggle with farming and to wander about the earth. Cain complains that this sucks, so God says that no one can kill Cain, and that's that. The interesting thing about this, something that has intrigued me since I was young, was that Cain is worried about wandering amongst other people. What other people? Cain seems to be Adam and Eve's firstborn, and Adam and Eve are the only 2 people God created. So even presuming that Cain is 40 or so (he goes on to settle in Nod and raise a family, so he can't be too old), there is no way Eve has pumped out enough kids to populate entire lands of people! This can be somewhat danced around by the claim that apparently people in the ancient Bible lived to hundreds of years old (and then life expectancy took a major turn for the worse once we reach written history, and only in recent years with medical advances has started to extend again, which really gives no credence at all to the idea that human lifespans are established by God...but I digress), but "dancing around" at all indicates that it's probably not a literal account.

The rest of the chapter goes on to describe how Cain populates the earth with his wife. Incidentally, his wife must be his sister, unless it's niece (a niece who results of a brother/sister pairing), and there is no escaping that the Bible has wasted no time in establish incest as a-okay. And yet this slippery slope argument against gay marriage is used today by Christians!

In describing Cain's descendants and the beginnings of civilization, it is stated that Jubal is "the ancestory of all those who play the lyre and pipe" and other such ancestries. I find it highly unlikely that all musicians are musicians solely because they all descended from Jubal. This strikes me as a similar to a polytheistic tradition of establish a "god(dess) of music" but in this case, it is an "ancestor of music." Which leads me, yet again, to the conclusion that someone made this up.

Lamech then tells his wives (yes, plural, that's also totally okay in Biblical marriages, again, how do Christians get away with the slippery slope argument when it comes to marriage?) that he killed a man for hitting him. Apparently murder runs in the family, eh? We don't see God having anything to say about this, though. Lamech just says that if it was bad to kill Cain, it would be even worse to kill Lamech. This makes no sense. Really. None at all. It sounds like he gets off scotfree for this murder.

The chapter ends with the statement "At that time people began to invoke the name of the Lord." Weren't they already doing that? Weren't Adam and Eve chummy with God from the start? Even Cain was having one-on-one conversations with him. So why wouldn't they start to invoke his name until a new generation comes along?

Sense? Where is the sense???

Again, after a logical examination of this story, I must conclude it is nothing more than myth. We're not off to a terribly promising start, seeing as I haven't felt God's presence yet, which is supposed to be a nice side effect of reading this. On the plus side, I'm having loads of fun!



  1. Some Christian apologist I've talked to claim that Adam and Eve were pumping out the kids by the dozens but only Cain and Able were mentioned to save space in their book. And that incense was okay, because god said it was, but now he/she/it says it's not so it's not okay. Which is where all the people come from.

    I've also heard that Cain mated with apes and other non-human primates and that's what confused Darwin. This person also strongly implied non-christians descended from this line.

    The Lamech story is similar to many early myths in that each city/town/village had a speciality, one had lots of dancers, another had blacksmiths etc. His story is about original as a virgin birth.

    Another span is that according to Latter Day Saints (Mormons, LDS) mythology. Lamech killed the unnamed person to seal some deal he made with Satan and joined some secret society, which the LDS knew about, started by Cain. According to them Cain killed Abel so he could start his secret society.

  2. Hi, James!

    Wow. It's astonishing to me that people will go to such lengths to justify this book!

    That also shows such a basic misunderstanding of Darwin along the crocoduck line of thought. Cain mating with an ape would not at all affect Darwin's evolutionary theory. Besides the fact that humans and apes are not genetically compatible to produce offspring. Gah. Is it so hard to get just a passing acquaintaince with science?

    And I won't even touch on insinuating that dirty non-believers are the crossbred offspring of a fratricidal ape lover...