The Old Testament: Still In The Beginning But A Bit Further On

Posted: July 19, 2012 by Scott K. in All The Things
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After the fall of Adam and Eve, their offspring went on to take wives and multiply fruitfully.  This was, of course, a grand gesture since Adam and Eve were the first humans and the book never says where the wives came from.  I will not spend time on this topic since it’s been covered and creationists already have excuses for this.

After a time, God saw that the world was a wicked place and warranted mass extermination of every living thing on the planet save a handful of humans and two of every animal.  Not long ago, I engaged a friend in conversation about the Old Testament because he has a far better understanding of it than I do.  Midway through, I realized as he was describing the various goings on in Genesis, that he believed it to be literal truth.  This is an intelligent man vast knowledge, but I couldn’t help but to think less of him for accepting a story with less plausibility than a Jason Statham film.  Apart from the Ark being smaller than the Titanic and the glaring geographical issues, we’re still left wondering what the Chinese – a well established civilization(or several) – were doing at this time.  I will not go further in depth with Noah either since so many have covered it far better than I could.  To be honest, I have no illusions that anything I say will be ground breaking at this point, but I’m also lazy and have other things I want to get to.

The one concept that seems to pop into my head in reading the Old Testament is that of free will.  Ask why God allows evil to happen in the world if He is capable of stopping it, and you will invariably get an answer pertaining to God granting us free will.  In my readings, I have yet to come across such a passage.  One might say humankind got free will from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but if that’s the case, we weren’t granted free will, we took it.  Indeed, without such knowledge, free will is impossible.  The stories of the Old Testament do make more sense if we establish that God did not in fact want us to have free will and the entire collection is His attempt to deprive His creation of it.

In Genesis, the Lord begins a subtle manipulation of events – beginning with Abraham and the appalling demand for a human sacrifice – in order to circumvent free will.  As events unfold, more and more care is taken to deprive His people of the right to choose their own destiny.  Sure, he rescues His people from slavery at the hands of Egypt(an event that has yet to produce the slightest shred of archaeological evidence), but He then proceeds to lay out so many rules that no civilization is capable of following to the letter, and punishes them with more slavery and death.  The Old Testament, from the end of Exodus and well beyond consists of a series of unreasonable demands from God followed by the eventual failure on the part of Israel.  In the meantime, all other peoples of the region are exterminated outright(with the exception of virgins) on orders from God.  Again, any hesitation of the part of the Israelites is cause for extreme punishment.  We must continue to ask, in what way are we granted free will if the options are slavery or death?

As children we are given consequences by our parents directly that we might learn that certain causes lead to undesirable effects.  If we’re fortunate enough to have parents that aren’t psychotic bastards, these consequences will be executed in a reasonable fashion with no permanent damage(parents will understand how difficult this is).  Eventually, our folks let us go into the world to fuck up on our own.  At no point do we expect Dad to slice our heads off or send us to labor camps for getting drunk at college and nailing the new sorority pledge across the way.  No, we make our own choice and get the hangover, venereal disease, black eye from the boyfriend, or possible a new child to deal with on our own.  The worst we can expect from Dad is that dreaded “I’m disappointed in you, son” look; unless Dad happens to be God.  Now imagine that as an adult, your dad orders you to kick down the door of your neighbor Bill, kill him, his wife, and his son, and take his daughter as your wife(provided she hasn’t been dry humped by the football captain).  But you must do so hopping on one foot and using your empty hand to punch yourself in the crotch to the exact rhythm of The Beautiful People.  As you’re about to lay down the killing blow upon Bill, you skip a beat and suddenly pop shows up to tell you that because you didn’t follow his orders, you are now going to be Bill’s slave for a time.  After enough begging you will be released from Bill’s service whereupon you are to continue with the original plan.  Now imagine having to repeat this with every house on your block and you no longer need to read Judges or Joshua.  You’re welcome.

One might ask me why I spend so much time bashing God if I don’t actually believe in Him.  I didn’t actually intend to attack God when I started writing an analysis of the Old Testament that I’ve read so far, it’s just where my fingers lead me.  Idle hands perhaps.  He is the main character in the story, and He is loved by so many despite His many sins.  For a very long time I have wondered how anyone could accept the Bible as literal truth, and reading it now begs the question of why anyone would want it to be true.  I will gladly accept the concept of selfish, greedy and sadistic humans over a God whose word is absolute law for all of time with no room for dissension.  What sort of Heaven would that be for so many of us?  And why, if we have “free will” do we only have the two choices?  Wouldn’t a third choice of non-existence be more reasonable?  Who would actually want their eternity to consist of constant subservience?  What if in Heaven, we had to wipe back to front?  Sure, it’s Heaven so poop is actually made of sunshine and kittens.  But what if I don’t want sunshine and kittens on my balls?  I want my pouch to be dark and feline neutral.  Have I just committed blasphemy of the t’aint?  My scenario is, admittedly, stupid, but no less arbitrary than cutting off my foreskin.

Ultimately, if you choose to believe in the God of the Bible, you should take time to at least consider His atrocities and even ask if He should atone for them.  Perhaps the Son died not only for our sins, but for the sins of the father as well.

-Scott

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