The biblical creation myth and the One Ring to rule them all
As of 2020 CE, about 53 % of the global population adheres to one of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam (1). In other words, more than half of the world’s population is following false religions and believes - in one way or another - in an ancient, barbaric and deeply flawed human-made god-concept. To show how their deity can’t possibly be a/the real god, one only has to refer to these people’s own “holy books”. The three religions share a common origin, following the god concept described in the so-called Old Testament. You could limit yourself to that collection of ancient myths to point out the many contradictions and inconsistencies of the god of the bible. No need to read the New Testament or the Quran. Both are sequels to the older myths, and if the tree is sick, then it will not bring forth healthy fruit. Many of the stories in the OT are definitely worth reading. Exodus, Chronicles, Kings… they all make for fantastic historical fiction and that is why they are such great movie material to this day.
One doesn’t need to read the entire Old Testament to come to the realization that the god of the bible is but an action movie super villain. The nonsense and contradictions already start at the very beginning of the Old Testament: the book of Genesis. The first book of the bible is a fiction story, written by a fictitious character (called Moses, who is attributed with its authorship). Evidently, when a fictitious character writes a fiction story, one could already surmise from the start that the god described in that story is just as imaginary. But let’s grant the devotees to Yahweh for now that Moses existed and gave an “accurate” account of the very beginning of the universe, earth and humankind itself. It is a great story after all and to many it is the explanation of how everything came to be… as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the details that is.
'The Fall of Man', by Peter Paul Rubens, 1627, public domain
1. One or two creations?
Ever noticed that there are not one but two creation stories in the bible? The two accounts, one in Genesis 1, the other in Genesis 2 seem pretty similar, but even a minor contradiction is a contradiction. According to Genesis 1 Yahweh creates on day 6 mankind, male and female together, without naming Adam and Eve. According to Genesis 2 however, Yahweh creates on day 6 first the streams (or mist), then plants, then the garden of Eden and finally one man: Adam. Aside from this apparent contradiction, Genesis 1 in itself contains some 'oddities'. Yahweh creates day and night on day 1. On the fourth day of creation however, god suddenly realized that a day-and-night cycle cannot occur without the sun so he created two light giving bodies in our sky: the sun and the moon. Some time ago we discovered however that the moon is not a star and merely reflects the light of the sun. The creation order of Genesis 1 on day 5 is also quite remarkable: first the water creatures, then the domesticated animals, then crawling animals and lastly the wild animals. Obviously, domesticated animals were not created as species and domestication by definition means that they were domesticated from their already existing counterparts. And who is domestication done by? Of course, we can forgive the all-powerful and all-knowing war god of the bible these minor slip-ups.
Forgive or not, the fact remains that there is a major contradiction between the two creation accounts. And this is quite bizarre since the first five books of the old testament were all written by the same author Moses (and inspired by the same god?). Maybe Moses wasn't too happy with the gender equality one could interpret from the Genesis 1 story and decided to change god's words adding the historical context of Genesis 2 wherein women were merely merchandise. Or perhaps is was the opposite, and the author of Genesis 2 mentioned the creation of Eve last as the epitome of all creation (although the fact that she was some genetic byproduct of Adam seems to contradict that idea). Whatever you’d like it to be, god either created man and woman together, or he didn’t. Both accounts cannot be true at the same time. They can however both be wrong. The plot thickens as we read on.
2. The fall of god and the two Trees
God gives mankind two gifts they cannot have:
the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
the Tree of Life
Genesis 2:15-17: “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
This short passage (2) creates a whole cluster of questions and the answers you may get to them create even more problems.
If god did not want Adam to eat of the fruit of the first tree, then why did he create that tree? Was it to test Adam? But why test something or someone if you already know what will happen? Wasn’t this god all-knowing? Or did god not know whether Adam would eat the fruit or not? If not, the biblical god is not all-knowing. Why forbid something that you know will and must happen?
God told Adam that he would die on the day he ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (according to most bible versions – the fact that there are so many different versions in itself is a counterargument against the veracity of this “word of god”). But the talking snake, also created by god and acting according to god’s plan, told Eve that they would not die. So who was lying and who told the truth? If you change god’s word and replace the “in the day that” with “when” or “if”, depending on how corrupt you are willing to be to explain this away, then you might argue that god didn’t mean that Adam would die right away, but eventually (Adam became 900 years old – quite the punishment). Throughout history there have always been those who know god’s intentions and thoughts better than most, although when it suits them, those very same people tell you that we are not meant to understand god (they are the only ones who do so they can take your money). Those people are generally called priests, preachers or men/women of god. In any case, the argument implies that Adam was created immortal. Reading what the text says, god lied to Adam and thus became the first sinner by his own standards.
Was Adam created mortal? If he was, then his natural death would have occurred regardless of his consumption of the forbidden fruit. Hence, death was no punishment but the normal conclusion of a biological cycle and as foretold punishment completely futile. And if Adam would not have eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, would he have allowed Adam to become immortal by eating from the Tree of Life? After all, god did create that Tree, allowing at least the potential of Adam becoming immortal. But as the story continues, god didn’t particularly like the idea of his corporeal image becoming immortal as he is, for he chases Adam from Eden and puts the Tree under guard. But then why create that Tree of Life and make it available, just as he made the other Tree available? Was Adam created immortal? If so, then what was the point of the Tree of Life to begin with?
If god knows the future and knew that Adam would eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then that inevitably had to happen, leaving Adam no free will to either eat or not eat. Since Adam had no free will in the matter, Adam did not sin. Since Adam did what was preordained by god, there was no need to punish him. But god did, and he did not only punish Adam: he also punished Eve and the talking serpent. Although not mentioned in the text as part of the snake’s punishment: up until that time snakes were able to talk. Evidently they lost that ability from then on. But why punish the snake for 1) telling the truth and 2) acting according to the will of god as nothing can happen contrary to gods will? Why punish Eve? God told Adam to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, but that prohibition could not have extended to Eve. Careful reading of the Genesis 2 will tell you that Eve was not yet created when god showed Adam the infamous tree.
Why punish anyone? You cannot blame Adam and Eve for their actions, as they were completely incapable of making any moral judgment. Don’t forget, they were completely innocent and had no sense of guilt or shame…because they had not yet eaten from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Only by eating the fruit of said Tree could they have known that it would have been wrong to eat from the Tree. As the serpent told them, it was from that point on only that their eyes would be opened and they could become self-aware and accountable. Their “fall” would have simultaneously opened their eyes to the fact that god lied to them and could not be trusted. That probably is the real reason for god’s unjustified anger, more than their disobedience itself. After all, should you obey a liar?
Although the Old Testament clearly states that the son will not be held accountable for the sins of the father or vice versa (Ezekiel 18:20), god does precisely that and hereditary sin is born from the “original sin”. We contest here that Adam did in fact sin, but religions, and Christian cults in particular maintain that we need to be saved from the sinful state that is passed down through every generation. This “Need for Salvation” is the problem created by religions so they can bind people’s thoughts, actions (and money) to the solution they claim to have. Note that “religare” means to bind…and it is what religion does: one Need for Salvation to bind them, one Need for Salvation to find them, one Need for Salvation to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
The verses of Genesis 3:9-13 showcase the biblical deity’s ignorance before we are told about the first killing ever. Although Adam and Eve already fashioned themselves aprons from plants to cover their nakedness, this bloodless technology was not to the liking of the war god. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Unless in his omnipotence god was able to strip some animals of their skin without killing them … in the book of magic anything goes.
3. To be(-come) or not be(-come)?
A third discrepancy – and we will limit it to these three for now, there are of course many more – is a difference between what religious teachers and preachers tell us to do, and what the biblical deity says in his holy autobiography.
Christian preachers in particular like to burden humanity with an impossible task. They instruct us all to become like god. This instruction is usually followed by the statement that you will never reach that goal; no matter how hard you set your mind to it…but that you should continue trying none the less. Talking ‘bout an exercise in futility… There are countless examples, I cite from just this one article (3) by Stephen Sizer, a priest of the Anglican sect of Christianity (bold text added):
“From the very beginning (of time), God’s plan has been to make you like his Son, Jesus. This is your destiny. God announced this intention at creation: ‘Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness'” (Genesis 1:26). Like God, our spirits are immortal and will outlast our earthly bodies; Like God we can think, reason and solve problems; Like God we can give and receive real love; Like God we know right from wrong. But the image of God has been marred and distorted by sin and separation from God. That is why Jesus came. So that through him we might become children of God. Let me be absolutely clear: [We] … will never become God, or even a god.”
To use an analogy: “I want you to win a triathlon. But you’re not allowed to use your hands and feet”. Let me explain:
As is clear from the “original sin- fairy tale”, god did NOT want humans to become like him and his colleagues. Do check out god’s own words in Genesis 2 and 3. He specifically forbids humans to obtain knowledge of good and evil. So he curses the serpent, Adam and Eve and all the generations to come when they do (because contemporary humans now are just as guilty of the innocence of two people 6,000 years ago). But he wants us to know right from wrong, so that must be why he allowed Adam and Eve to sin… so that we could become more like him…as he wants to. But then he punishes us for trying to become like him. And what of Stephen’s remark that our spirits are immortal? So we are immortal now? But isn’t that what the gods explicitly did NOT want for us? On the other hand…sigh…once again… what was that tree doing there? And won’t our bodies be restored at some point and become immortal? Or did the sect of Anglicans change its absolute truth on this matter?
As applies to many passages in the “bible”, trying to make sense out of a nonsensical story only leads to more nonsense. It may very well be that humans needs saving. There are a lot of people that need to be saved from the abuse of other humans. Some people might need to be saved from themselves. But in every instance or whatever the case, it is only humans that can do the saving. Maybe we can make this world a better place. One step might be to rid ourselves of some delusions and the evil humans do in the name of a barbaric, malevolent, dangerously jealous and psychopathic god of the bible. To save ourselves from that god we should simply send him back to the realm where he belongs: the land of fiction.
Richard Dalet PHD, 25 September 2020
(2) For the bible quotes the following versions were consulted: King James Version (English), New International Version (English), New American Standard Bible (English), Basisbijbel (Dutch), Louis Segond (French), Luther Bible 1545 (German), Vulgata Clementina (Latin), Septuagint (Koinè Greek), Hebrew-English bible (quoted from mechon-mamre.org ), Ang Salita ng Dios (Tagalog).
(3) Stephen Sizer, “You were created to become like Jesus”, Vimeo, June 21, 2010 https://stephensizer.com/2010/06/you-were-created-to-become-like-jesus-christ/