Making Sense Out of Genesis
Is God clairvoyant? Is he truly all-knowing? Well, consider this. He didn’t know how his own creation would turn out. Let’s break it down.
According to the Bible, God created all things and saw that they were good (see Genesis 1:10,12,18,21,and 25); there was so much seeing without actually knowing. Why would God need to “see” that his creation was good? Wouldn’t an all-knowing God know in advance what he was creating? That is, God should have known, in advance, that what he was creating would have been good (or not) and he wouldn’t have had to wait to “see” the result of his creation. God also created the serpent (see Genesis 3:1). Didn’t he know that the serpent was evil? Actually, not. What God said was that everything he created was good (Genesis 1:31) – even the serpent then. Unless, of course, God was wrong.
Further, in Genesis 6:5, we learn that God saw that man had become evil. Obviously, he wasn’t able to anticipate this turn of events. Also, it means that God was mistaken when he created man and said that it was good. Mistaken, you understand.
Aside: That’s not exactly what one should expect from an omniscient god.
Segueway to Genesis 2:2,3 – God has to rest. Creating the world made this all-powerful entity tired.
Aside: That’s not exactly what one should expect from an omnipotent god.
In Genesis 3:11 and 4:9, God has to ask questions (of Adam and Cain, respectively) to find out what had transpired.
Aside: That’s not exactly what one should expect from an omnipresent God.
There’s only two conclusions that one can reasonably draw from Genesis. Either God is not omnipresent, omnipotent or omniscient… or the Genesis story is inaccurate and, therefore, cannot be taken as the unerring Word of God. Actually, there is a third possibility which you probably won’t like much either. It’s that the “god” of Genesis is not really the Prime Creator!
Aside: If one were to read the original source material that the Genesis story was based on, it would be obvious which possibility is correct.
It wouldn’t be fair to leave Genesis without a mention as to why Adam and Eve were created in the first place. It’s probably not what you think (or were taught). Genesis 2:15 says that Adam was created to till the garden (of Eden). According to Genesis 2:18, Eve was created to give Adam a helper. There is no mention of procreation until Genesis 4 with a reference to the birth of Cain (the first child). This only after Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden and could no longer serve the function for which they were created – to take care of the Garden of Eden. Perhaps, what’s more confusing is how Eve was created out of Adam’s rib. If Adam were a man, you couldn’t take part of him and make a woman… unless the species of man (at that time) was androgynous. Actually, Aristophanes, in Plato’s Symposium, said exactly that.
Modern-day Judaism is for the most part based on the Babylonian Talmud which was written after the Israelites’ captivity in Babylon in the 6th century BC. The Talmud originated out of Babylon because Babylon had become the major center of Jewish learning and religious thought after the captivity, as religious leaders did not relocate back to Judea. It was during this same period that the Old Testament (Jewish Bible) was edited and compiled (and in some cases written) by the Babylonian rabbis. Of the many texts at their disposal, one text in particular was the oldest creation story ever written, the Enuma Elish which is sometimes referred to as The Seven Tablets of Creation. The Enuma Elish was written on seven tablets with the seventh tablet devoted to honoring God. Thus, the origins of the Sabbath on the seventh day of the week, from the Hebrew word shabbath (that means day of rest).
Afterthought: So, perhaps, Genesis should have said that “on the seventh tablet God rested.”
“Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (emphasis mine)
– Genesis 5:2