Design By Humans

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Genesis 1. In the beginning

I have over the course of my life been exposed to the Christian Bible in many guises.
As an adult I find that the text of the Christian Bible becomes more of a nonsense every time I visit it.

As an effort to understand what it may be trying to say, I'm going to blog the KJV with annotations page by page and pose some questions that may have been answered before but that I think will have value to me and possibly to some others who have not thought to question it.


I'll start at the beginning since the Christian Bible quite handily starts there too.

Genesis 1

   1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
                Was God knocking about before the beginning or did he/she/it/they pop into existence at the same time as the creating began? If the former, in what sense is it the beginning?

   2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
                Which deep and which water? was there already water that was not part of the creation? I could probably accept that line one suggests that all was made before line two but this seems to not be chronological as everything after line one seems to be an explanation of how line one occurred

   3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
                Fair enough

  4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
                This is an odd one as I can't see how light can be mixed with darkness, I suppose you can have relative darkness, but in truth that is still light, just not a lot of it.

   5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
                Right you are then.

   6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
                So back to the waters, did God create them? God said let there be a firmament but doesn't seem to have called the waters into existence. is water outside of God's creation?

   7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
                as above, God 'made' the firmament but only divided the waters... no mention of their creation and they seem to have been around since at the least line two.

   8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
                Right, so the firmament is heaven and there is water below heaven and water above heaven?

   9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
                So God moved the water under the heaven aside and land appeared? there's no mention of there being any land in the waters before. Do the waters above heaven also contain unrevealed land? a land beyond heaven?

   10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
                I'm sure he did, seems like he/she/it/they found land he/she/it/they didn't make under the waters that he/she/it/they didn't make. Quite the discovery.

   11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
                OK

   12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
                as it was told to, I'm guessing God was specific about what kinds of plants and so forth so I'll not question that.

   13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
                we've had three of these things now, how are they measured?

   14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
                Oh right, on the fourth day we get a way to measure what a day is, a tad late but lets go with it.

   15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
                good good.

   16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
                Right.

   17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
                I'm supposing that all of these lights are the sun the moon and the planets and the stars, that being the case and that they are placed in the firmament, or heaven as it was renamed some lines back, are there still waters hanging about above all of these celestial bodies?

   18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
                OK

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
                or the first measured day perhaps?

   20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
                God isn't making life here but simply allowing the waters to do it, established above God isn't responsible for creating water either. Something else that isn't established here, is there a separation between heaven and sky or are they the same thing? It might be a translation error but it seems that the heaven set up in previous lines is now populated by birds.

   21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
                Oh so God did create them, the water just brought them forth.

   22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
                I imagine they were incapable of reproduction before this point?

   23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
                good to know.

   24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
                from above with the fishes we can establish that this is a statement of intent.

   25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
                ...and now he makes them.

   26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
                Statement of intent... notable use of 'our' perhaps this is a throwback in translation to the Hebrew 'elohim' which when talking about God makes God plural. Which makes sense really because if God is making all of these statements of intent it follows that he has someone to tell about it. Is this Bible talking about more than one god making the earth? it certainly seems that way.

   27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
                we've reverted to a singular pronoun, but both male and female are in the image of god. The text is confusing but it definitely seems like there are more gods here, maybe one of the others made the waters?

   28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
                which was nice.

   29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
                I'm guessing meat means food here, looks like a translation error. it is interesting that herbs grass and trees were called forth yet animals and man were created, I don't know what the semantic difference is but there is certainly an expressed difference in method.

   30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
                Nice that the animals can eat vegetable meat too.

   31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
                Very well done.

So it seems from Genesis 1 that there are:-
  •  A beginning of something, but of what we are not certain. It certainly doesn't read like it's 'The Beginning' as a number of things including the possible multiple gods and some water are already extant.
  • Some things that God(s) didn't make, Waters appear to have already existed and land appears to have been hiding beneath the waters waiting only for god to move some water aside. 
  • Some things that God(s) Made, People and animals, the firmament and variously sized lights and with them some concept of timing.
  •  Some things that God(s) called forth (from somewhere else I'm guessing).
 We also now know that stuff is stacked thusly:-

  • At the bottom there are the seas and the land (formerly half of the overall amount of waters that were knocking about at the beginning), they are populated by fishes, whales, animals of other kinds, things that creep and man of both sexes, some fowl might live here too
  •  Above that there is heaven, this contains stars, a big light, a smaller light and flying fowl, notably there are no gods in here.
  •  Above that there are the other half of waters, I hope The Bible tells us more about these waters, they may be the most interesting bit.


2 comments:

  1. I like "let fowl multiply in the earth". What, like... in a cave? I guess Bird v0.1 had some design flaws.

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  2. FreeDictionary.com:

    "meat (mt)
    n.
    1. The edible flesh of animals, especially that of mammals as opposed to that of fish or poultry.
    2. The edible part, as of a piece of fruit or a nut."

    "Meat" is still often used to describe the edible parts of plant foods. For example, you can "de-meat" a coconut, which means you're removing the edible part (the coconut meat) for consumption.

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