Sunday, February 7, 2010

Genesis 9

We're back with Noah again this chapter, and the subtitle (The Covenant with Noah) leads me to expect we'll be getting further elaboration on the promise God made to not freak out on the earth again.

God tells Noah and his family to be fruitful and multiply. It's the same thing he told Adam and Eve, and it didn't work out too well for them. They'd have been better off saving some energy and just birthing a direct line to Noah. But God needed to have all that "fruit" to kill, or the Flood just wouldn't have that much of an impact. God also tells them that everything else on earth will have "fear and dread of you." Awesome. I'm wondering if God was including creatures like sharks, tigers, bears? Last I checked they weren't too scared of me.

God says that they should eat all the animals and plants, which is I suppose why fundies look so askance at vegans and vegetarians. They're dirty liberals who are directly flouting Genesis 9:3! Then again, some of the carnivores aren't doing any better. God says that if we eat anything that still has its blood, we will pay in our own blood. So God is against a good rare steak? And sushi? I'm not really sure what he's prohibiting here. I suppose it's a useful injuction for a primitive culture to cook their meat, but it hardly seems holy.

Genesis 9:6 is the predecessor to the later eye for an eye philosophy. It's a pretty cut and dried statement in support of the death penalty. "Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person's blood be shed." Well, color me shocked. It is 100% probably that there are people in history who have shed the blood of others and gone on to die perfectly natural, non-human-caused deaths. So God is proclaiming something demonstrably false here. Again, I must wonder about his omniscience if he doesn't know this isn't going to pan out. Or his omnipotence for not making this pan out!

Apparently feeling guilty, God repeats his promise to Noah and co. to never flood the earth again. Which is a bit of a wimpy promise, really. I mean, if God gets pissed off, there are thousands of ways he could destroy the earth without flooding it. So, congratulations, you've ruled out ONE possibility, God. I'll sure sleep better now! The really ludicrous part of this is that God says as a sign of this promise, he will put a rainbow in the sky so that we can remember. In fact, not only so we will remember, but that so God himself won't forget! That's some BS for an omniscient god!

Surely there were rainbows in the hundreds of years before the flood? Did it never rain? Did the sunlight never strike water at just that particular angle? That's ridiculous. This reminds me of the song in Fantasia where the night comes as a lady's robe and a rainbow is created by another lady's dress. MYTH. It truly hurts my brain to try to take this literally.

To end out the chapter, we get a nice little tale of Noah and his sons. Noah has three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham's son is Canaan (sound familiar?). One night, Noah gets drunk off wine from his vineyard (take that, teetotallers!), and passes out in his tent naked (hmmm, one has to wonder what he was doing in his tent, drunk, alone, and naked...blech). Ham sees Noah is naked, and tells Shem and Japheth who manage to cover up Noah without getting a peep at his peeper. Noah wakes up, probably hungover and with a wine headache, because there is no real reason for him to curse Canaan for this. But he does, and says that Canaan will be slave to Shem and Japheth. Wow. First of all, it was HAM who saw Noah, but Ham's innocent son who gets the curse. I kinda feel like there has to be something missing here. It says that Noah cursed Canaan "When Noah...knew what his youngest son had done to him." That sounds a lot more ominous that Ham just catching a glimpse of his dad passed out naked. Jeez.

That's Genesis for you. Vengeful, irratic, illogical, hypocritical, and mythical. It's quite entertaining until I remember that there are people try to live as if this were true. Gah.

And the Super Bowl approaches, so that's all for now!

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