According to the Bible, man was created to till the Garden, of Eden that is. It’s part of a recurring thread that runs through the Bible. I’m talking about slavery, servitude or whatever term one may choose to refer to it.
In Exodus, Moses receives the Ten Commandments from God. In addition, he also receives a multitude of other laws and instructions that was referred to as the Book of the Covenant (see Exodus 24:7). One of the more interesting things in the Book of the Covenant is the discussion of slavery. The text goes like this:
“If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing…And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as the menservants do (Exodus 21:2,7).”
The Israelites had so sooner been freed from slavery in Egypt than they enslaved others, including their own kind (Hebrews). A man could even sell his daughter into slavery. So, slavery is actually permitted by God himself; it’s even a part of the Tenth Commandment. Is there a biblical precedent for this?
Well, yes, as a matter of fact there is. In Genesis 9:24-27, it says, “And he (Noah) said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. And God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Apparently, the only righteous person that God could find believed in the concept of slavery, in this case condemning many of his own descendants into servitude.
However, the origins of slavery actually go back further, all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was in the Garden that man was created to till the garden. Yes, to till the ground, to dress it and to keep it, just like it says in Genesis 2:5,18.
Contrary to popular belief, then, man was not created for the express purpose of worshiping God, or to be fruitful and multiply for that matter. With respect to procreation, Eve was an afterthought (see Genesis 2:18-24 and 1 Corinthians 11:9) and Adam and Eve did not have children until after they left the Garden. Besides, prior to eating from the Tree of Knowledge, man was unaware of his sexuality. This is what was meant by the passage in Genesis 2:25 which states that Adam and Eve were naked and they were not ashamed.
God could have condemned slavery at any point in man’s evolution, not unlike his condemnation of taking a human life (in the Ten Commandments) or his admonition not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (in Genesis 2). Of course, free will being what it is, man was going to make less than perfect choices. That was to be expected. In fact, an omniscient God would have known that it would happen (even before he created man he would have known). However, God never took a stand. He never said that it was wrong. There wasn’t even any punishment for it. What’s wrong with this picture?
There are only a couple of possibilities to explain all of this. Stop me if you have heard this from me before. Either God isn’t very godly (in fact, he wasn’t even omniscient), or the god of Genesis is not God. Your choice. Myself, I would simply say that the god of Genesis was the very source of the cultural mores that said that slavery was acceptable. After all, he created man to till the garden, didn’t he?
“Much that the Bible says about him (God) is rarely preached from the pulpit because, examined too closely, it becomes a scandal.”
– Jack Miles, God: A Biography
The origins of the Jewish people are a real mystery. That is, there is little to no evidence of exactly who they were, not even in the Old Testament (which is essentially a history of the Jewish race).
The Jewish people believe that their roots go back to the Old Testament (the Jewish Bible). For example, in the Old Testament, the Jewish people are called Israelites and prior to that Hebrews. However, these designations only appear in the Bible and they have never been placed in the context of ancient history. So, let’s explore who the Jewish people really were.
Biblically speaking, the origins of man, and by definition the Jewish people, goes back to the Garden of Eden. Now, the Garden of Eden is generally considered by biblical scholars to have been in the Middle East. Where, exactly, has been somewhat difficult to pin down, however. The Bible does say, though, that Abraham and his family came from the city of Ur and since Ur was located in the ancient Mesopotamian kingdom of Sumer, Abraham was by definition a Sumerian. Since Abraham was a Sumerian, so too were the Jewish people since they were Abraham’s descendants.
Family trees aside, there is virtually no real history in the Bible prior to Abraham. For a period covering over one thousand years, all that we have is two stories, the Creation Story and the Flood Story. The elephant in the room is this. Why is there no real family history of the Jewish people prior to Abraham? Why?
Since Abraham and his family were Sumerians, let’s start by examining Sumerian history. Now, the Sumerians were perhaps the greatest civilization that ever existed on the planet up until the 20th century, far beyond that of the vaunted Greek civilization that came over 1,000 years later. What’s important to realize is that the origins of Western Civilization go back much farther than Greece. Their origins actually go all the way back to Sumer, as the Sumerians almost single-handedly invented civilization.
Samuel Kramer, in his book History Begins at Sumer, lists 39 “firsts in history” which began in Sumer, including the first written language. The Sumerians wrote the first Great Flood and Creation stories, long before Genesis was penned by Jewish scribes. Not surprisingly, many historians and scholars have concluded that the Bible’s own creation and flood stories are actually of Sumerian origin, drawn from more ancient Sumerian texts. When you think about it, why shouldn’t the Jewish scribes have patterned their creation and flood stories after Sumerian writings. The Jewish people were Sumerians, after all. The Sumerian writings were their legacy.
The Jewish people wandered around the Middle East for the better part of two thousand years – from Sumer to Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) to Egypt to Judea and Samaria (modern-day Israel) and then on to captivity in Babylon in the 6th century B.C. When they wound up in Babylon, their journey had come full circle back to ancient Sumer, as Babylon would have been part of Sumer if it had existed back then. When the Jewish people were in captivity in Babylon, the Persians ruled over most of the Middle East, the Achaemenid Empire it was called with Babylon as its capitol. The Jewish people thus became a very tiny minority within that empire.
Up until that time, no civilization on Earth had a monotheistic religion except one, the Persians. The Persians’ religion is called Zoroastrianism. Their God is named Ahura Mazda and he was considered to be omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Creation was accomplished in six days and began with a single couple. Just like Moses, the Persian prophet Zoroaster received God’s commandments on the top of a holy mountain. Perhaps, you can already see where I am going with this.
Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Up until this point, the Israelites were basically polytheistic. However, their beliefs were about to get a face-lift as Israelite culture would collide head-on with the religion (Zoroastrianism) of the ruling Persians. Furthermore, in Babylon, they came face-to-face with their forgotten past as the ancient Sumerian texts had been preserved and were available for the Jewish scribes to read.
The mixture of these elements was tantamount to cultural dynamite and the result was the Old Testament and a new radical worldview – monotheism. Over time, monotheism would spread around the world through Christianity and then Islam. As for the Sumerians, they have been all but forgotten… although, today, some of them constitute what is commonly referred to as the Jewish people.
A genetic study of Ashkenazi Jews traced the roots of many Jewish people to just four women whose genetic origins come from an unknown source. It appears that their unknown genetic origins may have been confirmed by a DNA study done by the Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. That study found that ancient man had sex with an unknown species. Yes, the Ashkenazi Jews and ancient man both received DNA from an unknown species – unknown to everyone, except for the Sumerians who wrote about it in their ancient texts. They referred to this DNA as the DNA of the gods. This, then, was the legacy of the Sumerians – a bloodline that reached back to the gods, a bloodline which, by virtue of its genetics, gave them and their descendants a divine right to rule.
“With stunning abruptness… there appears in this little Sumerian mud garden… the whole cultural syndrome that has since constituted the germinal unit of all the high civilizations of the world.”
– Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God
According to Genesis 4:26, man first began to call upon the name of the Lord during the days of Seth, a son of Adam. The question is, “What was the Lord’s name?”
The ancient Hebrew text of the Old Testament uses a Tetragrammaton (four Hebrew letters) for the Lord’s name. This Tetragrammaton is commonly transliterated as YHWH as the ancient Hebrew language had only consonants. It is generally spoken as Yahweh (or perhaps Jehovah). However, outside of the Bible, there is no record of Yahweh prior to 1200 B.C. or thereabouts. So, when man first began to call upon the name of the Lord in Genesis (circa 3000 B.C. according to the timeframe given in the Bible) what did they call him?
Further complicating things is the fact that the Hebrew language had not yet come into usage at the time of Genesis. That wouldn’t occur for almost 2,000 years. Obviously, then, the name of the Lord that was first used by the ancient Israelites was not Yahweh. There are only two possibilities, therefore, that I can think of to explain the use of the name Yahweh. Yahweh could be a translation of a name from an older language or older text or, since many historians believe that the origins of the name Yahweh was actually that of a pagan Canaanite god, perhaps the Israelites didn’t even know what their Lord’s original name was. In any event, the name was considered so sacred that they were not allowed to speak it.
One thing that is fairly certain, though, according to the Bible. That is, Yahweh was not the Prime Creator, if in fact he was a god at all. This is clearly explained in Deuteronomy 32:8-9, as follows: “When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For the Lord’s (Yahweh) portion is his people; Jacob (Israel) is the lot of his inheritance.”
So, the Most High god was not Yahweh, or whatever his name might have been at that time. So, perhaps we’ve all been asking the wrong question. The better question would be: “Who was the Most High and what was his name?”
Legends from around the world tell of blue-eyed gods. For example, the god of the Incas was called Viracocha, the Mayas had their Kukulkan and for the Aztecs it was Quetzalcoatl. These gods were all described as having blue eyes. Likewise, the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians thought that blue eyes were a sign of the gods (and royalty), as many of their statues show. Even statues of Buddha show him with blue eyes, as traditionally Buddha was regarded as having the Thirty-two Characteristics of a Great Man (one of which characteristics was blue eyes). It makes one wonder if God could have possibly had blue eyes.
Science says that in the beginning man had dark eyes. Life began in Africa, right? However, a funny thing happened on man’s sojourn out of Africa. A recent genetic study at the University of Copenhagen says that 6,000 to 10,000 years ago a person was suddenly born with blue eyes, for the very first time. Before that, we supposedly all had brown eyes.
Today, the catch phrase in science is that blue eyes were caused by a mutation, which of course means that scientists don’t really know how it first occurred. Supposedly, one person was born with a mutation in the gene that controls eye color which resulted in blue eyes. This was followed by identical second and third mutations, and so on until finally the mutated gene became so prevalent that blue eyes occurred naturally in child births. I said, supposedly.
Certainly, there were changes in the DNA but the real question is where did these changes actually come from? That is, either DNA has the innate ability to change on its own or it can be altered by outside forces, or perhaps even both. However, science seems unsure which it is. All they say is that blue eyes were caused by a mutation. The scientists at the University of Copenhagen who did the genetic research say that this particular mutation was “neutral” in terms of whether it improved the chances of the species survival. Neutral is, I believe, a first for science. That’s because either scientists believe in natural selection (a positive change) or conversely believe that mutations have always been shown to be the result of defects in genes (a negative change). In any case, if a mutation was not due to a defect, it would certainly imply some sort of intelligent design of DNA which allows the DNA to adapt on its own to its environment.
According to the University of Copenhagen study, blue-eyed people migrated from the Black Sea area to various parts of the world – east to China, south and east to India, west to North Africa and Europe (and eventually North America) and south to Egypt and the rest of the Middle East. Linguistics has also traced these very same people through the progression of languages of what’s referred to as the Indo-European family of languages. In essence, it’s one family and one bloodline and it now stretches virtually around the world. By some estimates, there are 300 million people today with blue eyes. Despite historical migration, the highest percentage of people with blue eyes in any one country still live fairly close to the epicenter (the Black Sea). For example, in Estonia, a vast majority of people still have blue eyes.
However, what very few people are talking about is that fair skin and blond hair also mutated in the same timeframe as the mutation associated with blue eyes. A case-in-point is the recent scientific study by an international team of researchers headed by Harvard University which says that Caucasians first arose some 8,000 years ago. In addition, the scientific consensus is that Caucasians also came from the Black Sea area. So, both blue eyes and fair skin arose in the very same timeframe and in the same geographic area, the Black Sea.
What this really amounts to is a “poof” moment. Some people just suddenly (poof) got blue eyes instead of brown, blond hair instead of dark hair and fair skin instead of dark skin. One could even go so far as to say that the very first blue-eyed person also had fair skin and blond hair. Those three physical traits are genetically linked in ways that science does not yet fully understand. After all, almost all people who are blond with blue eyes have fair skin.
After leaving Africa, other unexplainable changes took place in man, especially in Europe. About 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals were replaced in Europe by Cro-Magnon man. Some mutation; we literally got a whole new species, with Cro-Magnon being considerably larger than Neanderthal. Since Cro-Magnon man was also larger than Sub-Saharan Africans, their geographic origins are in doubt. However, the bigger question is how did they evolve, since they were a mutation that was so great and so sudden that they don’t fit in the context of evolutionary theory. Then, Cro-Magnon man disappeared some 12,000 years ago and was replaced by modern man who is smaller than Cro-Magnon (including having a smaller brain size). Somewhere along the way, modern man wound up with three different skull types, only one of which is obviously of African origin. Confusing, right? Try fitting evolutionary theory into that scenario.
Then there is the curious case of Rh negative blood. It’s a real can of worms. Science is stumped as to how man originally came out of Africa with Rh positive blood and then developed Rh negative blood, especially since Rh positive blood is incompatible with Rh negative blood. The mystery only deepens when you realize that almost no Africans or Asians have Rh negative blood. It’s basically a European (Caucasian) thing.
In the final analysis, we have fallen back on the concept of mutation because we don’t have a plausible explanation for how man evolved. Like I said earlier, either DNA can evolve on its own (with all the implications of intelligent design that this would entail) or there were outside influences which would explain the sudden and significant evolutionary changes in man.
The elephant in the room is that blue eyes, blond hair and fair skin may be linked to one ancient gene pool that carried all three of those genetic traits. That is, we all didn’t evolve from just one gene pool. Religiously speaking, we didn’t exclusively evolve genetically from Adam and Eve. For example, in the Bible there were the Sons of God who mated with the daughters of ancient man. You may not buy into that story, however, a new DNA study from the Harvard Medical School in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, found that ancient man had sex with a still unknown species.
No doubt, this relates to the results of a genetic study of Ashkenazi Jews which traced the Ashkenazi origins back to just four women carrying distinctive mtDNAs that showed that they were not related to each other and that their genetic origins are unknown. The same could be said for man in general. His true origins are simply unknown. God may have had blue eyes, after all.
Interestingly enough, this might lead to what some would consider to be a politically incorrect worldview. That is, the difference in races is caused by man’s evolution from more than one gene pool. In other words, not all of our genes came “out of Africa.” Now, you may be wondering why you haven’t heard about this before. Like I said, it’s politically incorrect – a dirty little secret that has been intentionally suppressed from the history books…but, of course, now you know.
“The falsification of history has done more to mislead humans than any single thing known to mankind.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Here’s the three things that you need to know about the Bible, at least from one person’s perspective:
What’s the most important part of the Bible?
That’s easy. It’s Genesis. Why? Because, above all, man needs to understand his place in the universe. That is, why do I exist?
What’s the most interesting part of the Bible?
It’s Genesis, again. Why? Because we get to eavesdrop on God during the creation process.
What is the importance of the Bible to religion?
This one is trickier. It’s moral authority. That is, man needs to be able to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong and arguably this can only come from God.
With respect to Christianity, Genesis is central to their faith. So, there are three things that one ought to know about Genesis, as follows:
The God of Genesis is the God of the Hebrews
The God of Genesis is Yahweh who is the Hebrew God. In fact, Christianity does not have a God that is unique to its own religion.
Genesis is not an original Christian story
That is, like Yahweh, Genesis was borrowed from Judaism.
The author of Genesis is unknown
Genesis was written by Jewish scribes shortly after the Babylonian exile (6th century BC), however, the exact author(s) is unknown. Contrary to popular belief, though, it was not written by Moses.
All of which leads to three things that one ought to know about Christianity.
Who were the very first Christians?
Obviously, the disciples, themselves, were the very first Christians (i.e. followers of Christ).
What did the disciples believe in?
The disciples’ beliefs were based on their first-hand experiences from being around Jesus. What Jesus taught them, they taught others. The disciples were Jewish and they lived their lives strictly in accordance with the Jewish Written Law, the Torah (the first five books of the Bible). The scriptures that they studied were from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament); as for the New Testament scriptures, they had not yet been written as of that time.
Who decided the official church doctrine?
There was a lot of diversity in early Christian thinking. After much debate, the core tenets of Christianity were officially decided by a series of church councils beginning with the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, which was convened under the auspices of the Roman Emperor, Constantine I.
All of which takes us back to the literal beginning…to Genesis. That is, what makes Genesis so important to Christianity? Does it answer the age-old questions of how and why were we created?
How were we created?
Well, for starters, Genesis has an explanation of how life was created. The Bible’s concept of God creating the heavens and earth is sometimes referred to as Creation Out of Nothing. Interestingly enough, that concept is actually supported somewhat by science whose own Big Bang Theory is also, essentially, creation out of nothing.
Why were we created?
Almost everyone I know has, at one time or another, wanted to know the reason for their existence. That is, what is the meaning of life? Genesis has a reason, but it isn’t exactly what you might think or have been taught to believe. Genesis actually says that man was created to care for the Garden of Eden. As for the woman, she apparently was an afterthought as she was created later (to be a companion for man).
In search of God
Man has been forever in search of his origins, in search of his creator; in other words, in search of God. God, of course, is the main character of the Genesis story. However, there are some age-old questions that Genesis doesn’t answer about him. For example, although much has been said about God, we still don’t know what God looks like. How could that information have possibly been left out of the Genesis story…unless the author didn’t know.
Further, did Adam really have a fireside chat with God and did Eve really have a conversation with a talking snake? The answer to those questions is that Genesis should not be read literally (rather it’s allegorical in nature). Luminaries such as Paul, St Augustine, Philo of Alexandria and Origen all agreed that certain parts of Genesis should not be read literally. Accordingly, down through the years, there have been a myriad of interpretations concerning the Creation. Even people who still read Genesis literally have different interpretations from each other.
As a result, everyone has an opinion and they say that they’re the only one that knows the truth. Perhaps, in the final analysis, that’s the only thing that you really need to know about the Bible.
The Hebrew scribes that penned Genesis no doubt relied on older sources for their story. Among other reasons, I can say that with full confidence because Genesis was written some 3,000 years after-the-fact. Yes, 3,000 years if you can even imagine that. Besides, as the Talmud says, some Genesis passages were taken from tradition (in other words older belief systems) or older writings. So, Genesis, while it may be an interesting read, is not even an original rendering of the creation story.
“For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? And that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, towards the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting of the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? And again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally.”
– Origen, Christian theologian