There’s no telling what happened to cause God to create life. We can’t even say for sure what God is. One thing that I do feel comfortable saying is that God didn’t say “let there be light”. After all, who was actually listening?
So I rinsed through the Genesis story one more time and came away with these thoughts:
Genesis 1:26 – “And God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness’….”
Afterthought: Obviously there was more than one god and they all looked like each other (i.e. their image and their likeness).
Genesis 1:27 – “So god created mankind…male and female he created them.”
Afterthought: Adam and Eve were seemingly created simultaneously. So how was it that Eve was created from Adam’s rib?
Genesis 1:29 – “Then God said, ‘I give you… every tree that has fruit and seed in it. They will be yours for food.’”
Afterthought: Every tree? Even the Tree of Knowledge?
Genesis 2:16,17 – “And the Lord God commanded the man…’you must not eat from the Tree of Knowledge…for when you eat from it you will surely die.’”
Afterthought: Then why did he plant it at all? Of course man did not die when he ate from the tree, so why did God lie?
Genesis 3:4,5 – “’You will not certainly die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’”
Afterthought: So the serpent told the truth, while God lied.
Genesis 3:7 – “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked….”
Afterthought: Obviously, it took the knowledge from the Tree of Knowledge for them to understand their reality (that they were naked). Prior to that, they were not even consciously aware of being naked. But why was this of any importance unless God was clothed and they were, therefore, ashamed of their nakedness because it inferred a station in life as a lowly servant of God.
Genesis 3:9 – “But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”
Afterthought: If God was omnipresent, how could he not know where Adam was hiding?
Genesis 3:16-19 – Afterthought: How could God punish the man and woman for being disobedient? Since they hadn’t eaten yet from the Tree of Knowledge, they wouldn’t have known that disobedience was evil (i.e. they could not differentiate between good and evil). Besides, because of the omniscience of God he would have known what choice Adam and Eve would make before they made it and could even have stopped them if he so chose.
Genesis 3:20 – “Adam named his wife Eve….”
Afterthought: What ever happened to Lilith?
Genesis 3:22 – “And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil.’”
Afterthought: Obviously, God didn’t want man to be as powerful as the gods (i.e. like one of us). So he made sure that man wouldn’t also eat from the Tree of Life.
Genesis is a great story, but it’s only a story. It’s not even an original story at that, having been borrowed from Babylonian/Sumerian writings. Besides, science has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the biblical chronology for the creation of the first man (Adam) is all wrong.
So, I know by now you’re asking yourself: Then what’s the real story? Well, humor me for a minute and I’ll give you my version of what really happened. It goes something like this:
In the beginning, all there was was God. That’s God, with a big G. He created the Big Bang and all that came before it. Billions of years later, along comes god, spelled with a little g. Now the gods needed workers to help make their lives more comfortable, or as Genesis says – man was needed to till the garden. So they took the DNA from existing life forms on this planet and upgraded it with their own DNA (since they were a physical species themselves). In other words, we really were created in the image and likeness of “god”.
At some point, the gods had issues with their creation. They were supposed to be slaves but they had rebelled against authority, which was represented symbolically by the eating of the forbidden fruit. In order to quell the rebellion, the gods manipulated man’s DNA to dumb him down. This corresponds to the Genesis verse where the gods decided to keep man from eating of the Tree of Life, which is symbolic of our double helix DNA. In the future, man was commanded to worship god (little “g”), and only him. As a result, monotheism was born.
As Voltaire once said, “If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” So it was that man, in ancient times, struggled with their finite minds to comprehend the Infinite. Eventually, Genesis would be written to help provide an explanation, at least in human terms, of how man came to be and what his relationship to “god” was. Perhaps, some day, the gods will return and tell us what they know about the real God (big G).
In ancient times, the secrets of man’s relationship with God was strictly reserved for a privileged few who were considered worthy of such knowledge. Beginning with the Greeks, those secrets were passed on through what was referred to as the Mystery Schools. People like Jesus and the Apostle Paul were no strangers in this milieu.
Jesus, as was the custom in the rabbinic teaching method of his day, taught through the use of parables. The use of parables was a style of teaching whereby there was a surface story (for the masses), but which contained a hidden story of inner wisdom. Strangely enough even Jesus’s own disciples, as the Bible clearly illustrates, could not interpret the message of their master and, in fact, the disciples often spoke of the great mysteries surrounding his teachings. When the disciples would ask Jesus for an explanation, he would frequently respond with another parable. The true meaning, as Jesus would say, was for people with eyes to see and ears to hear; in other words, those who were enlightened enough to understand his message.
An Historical Perspective
With the fairly recent discoveries of heretofore lost scriptures, our knowledge of the original Christian beliefs has changed considerably. In addition, new archaeological finds (e.g. The Library of Nineveh) have produced evidence that the Old Testament, and in particular the Genesis story, was based on older writings and belief systems. Biblical research and scholarship now paints a different picture of the historical Jesus. Following in the tradition of the sages, Jesus was a Jewish mystic who had been steeped in the knowledge of the Mystery Schools. However, his teachings of hope, love and redemption were generally misunderstood, or miscommunicated, and became hopelessly buried under the weight of church dogma.
One of the reasons for the misunderstandings were that many ancient manuscripts, including the biblical scriptures, were written with the use of a code, called a pesher code, or incorporated a cipher based on numerology (e.g. The Bible Code). The original Hebrew/ Aramaic texts have therefore been mistranslated, in some cases because the words are based on sacred numbers which have a meaning different from the words. To complicate matters further, certain words (similar to slang) were used as substitutes for the real words, often to disguise the meaning of the scripture. Finally, as noted above, there was the use of hard-to-understand parables.
The biblical story of the ascension/resurrection is incomplete at best. The ascension is hardly even mentioned in the gospels. As for the resurrection, there are different versions of the story in John, Mark, Matthew and Luke. The rest of the New Testament, including the Book of James and the Book of Jude, does not even assert that the resurrection was a core belief of Christianity.
Interestingly enough, the Gospel of Philip is the only Christian scripture which actually explains the resurrection. It says that, “Those that say that the Lord died first and then rose up are in error, for he rose up first and then died.” The reason for that understanding is that it is the spirit which ascends, not the body – and the spirit can ascend only after it has been resurrected. Paul echoed those sentiments by explaining that it is the spiritual body that is resurrected and that “flesh and blood cannot not inherit the kingdom of God”. So on that basis, it’s understandable why Jesus wasn’t recognized by Mary Magdalene and the disciples when he “appeared” to them after the resurrection. Our physical senses can see the body, but it takes the spiritual self to recognize the Spirit. This, then, is the real message of the resurrection…that is, we are all spiritual beings trapped in the illusion of materiality and that death is also an illusion which the spirit can transcend. Since God is not a physical life form, it is therefore our consciousness that was created in his image.
The concept of Original Sin in Christianity has varied over time but is generally traced back to St. Augustine and was accepted as church doctrine by the Council of Orange in 529 AD. Since there was no separation of church and state, this was a politically useful tool as, in addition to God, the people also had to totally submit to the rule of the king and the Pope. However, for Protestants, the issue of Original Sin wasn’t finally settled until Martin Luther, circa 1500 AD, and today the Christian belief in sin is somewhat dependent on whether one is a Catholic, a Protestant or perhaps a (Protestant) Fundamentalist.
The concept of Original Sin generally is spoken of as originating with man’s disobedience as written about in the biblical story of Genesis. Of course, that story has been interpreted differently by different scholars and theologians. Further, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims (and even the Greek philosophers) do not believe in a similar concept of sin. What sets Christianity (Protestantism) apart from other religions, then, is the belief that Christ died for our sins and because of that man has been saved. For them, faith in Christ is generally considered to be one’s ticket to heaven.
The history of the debate on sin began with one of the early Christian church fathers, a man by the name of Origen. Now, Origen believed in the preexistence of souls (i.e. souls were created out of the essence of God). After hundreds of years of debate on this subject, the church would finally reject Origen’s thinking. That would lead the church to provide another explanation for why bad things happen to good people. As a result, they turned to the idea of Original Sin instead (i.e. all people were bad by nature). This, in turn, led to the idea that souls were not part of God, which doctrine is typically referred to as creatio ex nihilo (creation out of nothing); as if anything could ever be created out of nothing. The twisted logic was all the result of trying to explain how God (who is good) created man (who is sinful).
The concept of Original Sin also allowed the Catholic Church to say that man’s salvation could only happen through the church. The truth, however, was that Jesus taught that salvation could only be found through him. By that, he meant that man had to become Christ-like in order to reach heaven (i.e. return to God). Sin was not so much evil as it was wrong-thinking, a consequence of man’s free will. His message of redemption was that it was within each person’s power to create their own salvation through the resurrection of their soul (before they die). His hope was that man, as a child of God, would connect to the Kingdom of God within. A church and a religion were not required… and never intended.
“The transmigration of life takes place in one’s own mind. For what a man thinks, he becomes. This is the mystery of eternity.”
– The Bhagavad Gita