Genesis 2

GENESIS 2

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By an oversight, the chapter and verse numbering convention which was imposed on the Bible centuries after it was written creates an unnatural break in the creation narrative, which actually continues a few verses into Chapter 2.

When the Jews were taken into captivity in Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem, they were introduced to the concept of “evil days” which occured on the new moon and every seven days thereafter, when the moon was quarter waxing, full, and quarter waning. On those days, the Babylonians curtailed their activity, and this custom was more or less imposed on the captive Jewish population.

But members of the Aaronic priesthood in exile attempted to reconcile this practice with Judaism, claiming ownership of those “evil days” by reversing them and declaring them holy. The Babylonian Shapattu became the Jewish Shabbat, a day of total rest when no work was to be performed at all. The priests read the Sabbath back into their scriptures when they assembled the Torah from the Jawhist, Elohist, and Deuteronomist sources, and Genesis chapter one is the ultimate instance of that, a retrojection of the Babylonian tradition right back onto the time of creation itself. And within a few years the myth that Moses himself had written the entire Torah and Jewish scribes had faithfully copied it in an unbroken series was accepted by all, and not seriously questioned until the 20th Century.

The second half of Genesis 2:4 marks the beginning of the Yahwhist contribution to Genesis, where all the preceding material came from the Priestly source, and was actually a post-Exilic synagogue litany chanted by Jewish congregations to put them in the frame of mind for worship much like the similar group participation rituals at the beginning of the Catholic Mass. But I will proceed as though Genesis was inerrant and had Moses as the sole author to trace out the consequences of that “conservative” position. Genesis chapter 2 begins after Creation Monday, before he caused the Earth to be covered with green growing things. And it says God created the earth and heavens in just one day, not six.

Genesis 2:7 has significance to the pro-life movement. The Bible says man doesn’t have a soul until he actually breathes air.

The text of Chapter 2 also says the first living thing God created was man, and so we are presented with an inescapable dilemma. If we accept Genesis 1 as true that man was created on the first Friday, then the plants of Creation Tuesday and the birds and fish of Creation Thursday could not have been created on the days they were said to have been. If we accept Genesis 2 as true, then man was created on Monday before any other living thing, contrary to what it clearly says in Chapter 1.

The name of the garden was not “Eden”. It was not the “Garden of Eden” as is commonly supposed. Eden is a land, and the garden was planted in the eastern half of Eden. Mormons insist the Garden of Eden is in present-day Jackson County, Missouri, in the greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area.  I once took three weeks of instruction from a manufacturer in Kansas City to learn how program a circuit tester they made, and I can assure you Kansas City is not Eden.

There is a curious digression from the straight narrative of Genesis 2, and we veer into a little geography. The garden is the source of a river which divides into four streams. We never see this occur in real rivers except at their mouths, where they debouch into the sea. Josephus identified this river with the Ganges in India. Others associate it with a river in Iran that flows north into the Caspian sea, based on the description of gold and other resources given in the text.

Josephus identified another river in Genesis as the Nile, and this leads to a serious problem. The source of the Blue Nile is Lake Tana in Ethiopia, nowhere near Mesopotamia. Of course, Bible inerrantists claim the geography of all these lands were greatly distorted by the Great (Noachian) Flood, just like Middle-earth after the fall of Numenor.  The changed-land hypothesis has a problem because the rivers Hiddekel (Tigris), and Euphrates are well-known and extant on a flood plain that would have been the first to be modified by a global flood. In any event, this little geography lesson seems to be a strange insertion of irrelevant material which interrupts the bold flow of the Yahwhist source, which now resumes as originally scheduled.

The first thing God did with the man was give him a job. He was to tend the garden. Presumably this was accompanied with extensive training, or perhaps the required skill set was built right into Adam’s mind from the gitgo.  Along with his training, God gave Adam a Law consisting of a single commandment. He was never to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, because it was immediately lethal. This seems to be a little white lie on God’s part, because Adam did eat the fruit yet lived to be 930 years of age.

There are between 1.5 million and 1.8 million named species in the world. Adam never finished the task of naming all of them, because the total number of named and unnamed species in the world could range as high as ten million, and there were many more species back in the Day before man really began to dominate the Earth and kill everything.

God didn’t have a problem finding a help meet (a female beast) for every male beast, but when it came to finding a help meet for Adam, it was a real head scratcher. But finally God hit upon the solution! He would make something a lot like Adam, except it would be (wait for it…) female!

When I was growing up, it was “common knowledge” that boys had one less rib than girls, and when we learned different, it was as traumatic as learning that Santa Claus wasn’t real. It was not until 1543 that Andreas Vesalius did what none before had dared to do: He simply counted the ribs. And he found in every instance their number was the same for man as for woman.  But it is a wonder he was not put on the rack.

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1 Nephi

1 NEPHI

The Book of Mormon begins with a man named Nephi writing eleven years before the fall father-lehiof Jerusalem to Babylon. Writing in  Hebrew? No, Nephi writes in Egyptian, which is remarkable because the Jews thought they left all that behind with the Exodus a thousand years prior to the time of Nephi.

Nephi describes a vision that his father Lehi had in the first year of the reign of king Zedekiah, king of Judah, after which his father went around as a prophet declaring that Jerusalem would be destroyed and its inhabitants carried away captive.

Well, that wasn’t too much of a stretch, because just prior to that vision in March 597 B.C.E., Nebuchadnezzar had already captured Jerusalem and took eighteen year-old king Jeconiah into captivity after a reign of only three months and ten days. And Nebbie installed Zedekiah as king over Jerusalem.  

At any rate, Lehi takes his family down to Saudi Arabia, and they camp near the banks of a river that continually runs into the Red Sea. This river is reached after three days of attaining the Gulf of Aqaba. Traveling on foot with a family and livestock, you can make at best 15 miles per day. This river, which was named the River Laman after one of Lehi’s sons, must therefore be within fifty miles of the twin cities of Eilat, Israel and Aqaba, Jordan.

So scarce is water in this hot, arid region that Eilat relies on desalination. Even the valley where Eilat and Aqaba lie, the chief population center of this region, is a wadi, a dry gulch that only carries water on the very rare occasion that it rains, and only for a matter of days, if not hours. A river that continually ran into the Red Sea, so near the ancient trade routes between east and west, would have been a prize, a true gem, and the site of a great city. There’s nothing in history, outside of the book of Mormon, that says such a river ever existed. And a look at Google Earth shows that there’s no valley, certainly nothing with big enough britches to have been carved by a river.

The whole journey is a test by God to see if people would believe that Lehi, his prophet, really could tell the future. Because that’s all a prophet is in the book of Mormon, not a social reformer, not a commentator on the current zeitgeist and one who tries to get people to see the inevitable consequences of their actions, but just somebody who was given a dream by God of the future. And the crux of the test is to believe, beforehand, that a man with no credentials, from the fringe of society, is chosen by God, with no other sign than the very destruction that he’s predicting as punishment for not believing in it.

The people of Jerusalem did not believe the city would be destroyed. They tried to kill Lehi for even saying it would be, so they were cursed. God punished them for rejecting Lehi as a psychic by destroying Jerusalem.

Lehi’s sons Laman and Lemuel also did not believe that Jerusalem would be destroyed, so they were cursed by God, and this curse took the form of dark skin for their descendants.

Sam and Nephi believed that Jerusalem would be destroyed, so they were blessed with white skin and a land flowing with milk and honey was prepared just for them far over the sea.

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Genesis 1

GENESIS 1

The conditions at the beginning of the world were thus: It was dark, there was nothing but water everywhere, and God’s spirit moved around in it. It doesn’t say that God created the water, for all we know it the water is “co-eternal” with God.  Then God spoke and by doing so performed his first act of ex nihilo creation, or something from nothing. Now there was light to see, but water was the only matter which existed, with nothing in the water to see with the light, not even a surface with waves.

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Next God performed his first act of judgment, he separated the light from non-light. All through the Sacred Scriptures God will repeat this same act of screening or filtering, more often with people.  It was Sunday night but there was not yet a sun, only a time when it was light, and a time when it was dark. That tells us God separated the light and darkness by intervals of time.

A firmament is a solid dome or vault, as shown in the image here. This dome was God’s second act of ex nihilo creation, created on Monday morning. The purpose of the solid dome was to divide the water that was, at that point, everything, into two separate reservoirs, upper and lower. Only on Monday did God call the firmament or dome “heaven”. That is why verse one is not when God created the heavens and earth but only a chapter heading. Since heaven is identified as the solid dome, it also meant there was water “above” heaven.

Tuesday was a busy day. After heaven was created, God proceeded to create the Earth, by producing land and dividing the sea from the land. Only then did facts on the ground catch up to the first verse in the Bible. And God performed his first quality self-check.  Then for the rest of Tuesday God occupied himself by covering the land with the first living things, in the form of vegetation. But this was before the creation of the sun, which now provides the energy for all life on Earth. On this first day, plants drew their life-giving power from the whole sky, which was brilliant with undifferentiated light. And God performed his second quality self-check.

On Wednesday God started to decorate the firmament with lights. The lights were placed in the solid dome that covers the earth. Comets were provided to give “signs” (such as the passing of great kings). The stars with their familiar patterns revolved to mark the seasons.  The sun and moon and stars were placed in the firmament, where they could move independently. This presumes the firmament is transparent, at least on the inside surface. And a curious thing has happened. Where before the light of creation was diffused over the whole sky only in daytime, now the light was confined to the sun during the day, to the moon at all times, and to the stars at night. And God performed his third quality self-check.

Thursday was when God populated the Earth with all the creatures which were not confined to the land. This included every creature swimming in the rivers and seas, as well as all the birds and bats and winged insects. God performed his fourth quality self-check, it is has become evident that God is working to an orderly and precise plan, with creation ordered by categories of habitat.

On Friday God made all the creatures which were confined to the land and performed his fifth quality self-check. Wingless insects such as mites were created at the same time as the higher-order mammals such as apes and horses. This claim is in direct contravention of the progression of species asserted by Darwinism. And yet, God said, “Let the earth bring forth” the living animals, which is precisely the claim of abiogenesis, that non-living chemical evolution preceded the beginning of life.

Now God proposed to make human beings, and for the first time he used the plural, when he says “let us make man…after our likeness”. Some Christians take this to prefigure the Holy Trinity, yet even the doctrine of the Trinity asserts there is but one God. And God doesn’t begin to use the plural until the beasts of the earth are created. Obviously this means God proposed to make a hybrid creature which is like an animal, but also made to resemble God in some way. He said man was to be made after “our” likeness; that is, combining attributes of the animal kingdom with divinity. If the days are not taken to mean literal 24 hour periods of time, this interpretation allows for evolution to co-exist with creation.

Both male and female humanity reflects the image of God. As a spirit, God is not a “he” but an “it” with no physical gender. And since humans resemble animals in body, the image of God is reflected in mankind’s interior life. Man’s mind was made in the image of God’s mind. Our body may be either male or female after the fashion of animals, but our interior temperament, male or female, also reflects the image of the temperament of God, which has elements of both.

God authorized sex and the colonization of the planet, and he put man in absolute control of all the fish and birds and beasts of the earth, to do with as he wished, as long as he didn’t eat them.  In the beginning, God did not authorize a meat diet for human beings. We were only permitted to eat fruits and herbs. And God said he gave man the fruit of “every tree”, but later amended this permission to mean every tree except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which he strictly forbade man to eat, and the Tree of Life, which he guarded with cherubim to prevent man from eating.

In the beginning, all the animals were only allowed to eat vegetables, not each other. All the birds of prey with their sharp talons and all the lions with their fangs, only ate green leaves. No blood was shed anywhere on the whole earth. The lion lay down with the lamb.

In the beginning, everything that God created, including human beings, was “very good”. This stands in stark contrast to the Gnostic view (which has bled into the Puritan view) that matter is intrinsically evil, and only the abstract things of the spirit are pure. No, God created matter and found it to be very good.

In the next chapter, God rests on Saturday, and then we flash back to the important events of Creation Friday when, during a single twenty-four hour day, Adam is created, then the animals, which are named by Adam, and finally a female human companion is created for him.

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Hell

HELL

Say a little Mesopotamian girl who never accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior died 6,000 years ago, and went to the eternal lake of fire Christians always tell us about. Then she will be always 6,000 years ahead of a little Saudi Arabian ba-woman-in-helloy who dies today before he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. Don’t you think 6,000 years of extra torture is unfair of God? Actually, it is not.

After another six thousand years, the little girl will have 12,000 years of torture, and the little boy will have 6,000 years of torture. That means the little girl will have twice as much torture as the little boy.

Another six thousand years after that, the little girl will have 18,000 years of torture, and the little boy will have 12,000 years of torture. That means the little girl will have (18,000/12,000)= 1.5 times as much torture as the little boy.

Say a million years have gone by. The little girl will have 1,006,000 years of torture for not accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior, divided by the million years of torture of the little boy for failing to do the same thing, for a ratio of 1.006.

You see that as elapsed time in hell increases without limit, the amount of torture the little boy suffers approaches the same amount of torture the little girl suffers. So hell is entirely fair of God after all!

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Windows in Linux

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Friends on Twitter tell me they don’t run Linux because they use Microsoft Access, and that only runs under Windows, and the Windows emulator WINE isn’t ready for prime time.  Well, VirtualBox to the rescue. Shown here is Debian Linux running XP in a window, along with other DOSbox windows running Windows 3.1 and Wordstar for good measure.   With VirtualBox you can even take a snapshot of the machine state and return to exactly where you left off, as though you could freeze time.  After booting once you need never boot again.   You can even clone a snapshot, grow new branches, and take snapshots down those side trails as well.

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Peppermint Linux

PEPPERMINT LINUX

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Peppermint Linux – An extremely lightweight ‘stro that leaves most of the heavy lifting for the Cloud. I set it up with 1 GB of RAM and it reports 667 MB available while running, and it uses less than 4 GB of disk space installed. This is a groovy candidate for old machines.

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The Age of the Earth

THE AGE OF THE EARTH

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If you believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God, there is no way around the fact that the bible teaches the Earth was created in 4163 BCE and that the flood was in 2507 BCE. The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE is known from secular history and archaeology.

The reigns of the kings of Judah from the fall of Jerusalem back to King Joash:

In 597 BCE Zedekiah began a reign of 11 years (2 Kings 24:18)

Also in 597 BCE Jehoiachin began a reign of three months (2 Kings 24:8)

In 608 BCE Jehoiakim began a reign of 11 years (2 Kings 23:36)

In 608 BCE Jehoahaz began a reign of three months (2 Kings 23:31)

In 639 BCE Josiah began a reign of 31 years (2 Kings 22:1)

In 641 BCE Amon began a reign of 2 years (2 Kings 21:19)

In 696 BCE Manasseh began a reign of 55 years (2 Kings 21:1)

In 725 BCE Hezekiah began a reign of 29 years (2 Kings 18:2)

In 741 BCE Ahaz began a reign of 16 years (2 Kings 16:2)

In 757 BCE Jotham began a reign of 16 years (2 Kings 15:33)

In 809 BCE Azariah began a reign of 16 years (2 Kings 15:2)

In 838 BCE Amaziah began a reign of 29 years (2 Kings 14:2)

In 878 BCE Joash began a reign of 40 years (2 Kings 12:2)

In 885 BCE Athaliah began a reign of 7 years (2 Kings 11:3)

In 886 BCE Ahaziah began a reign of one year (2 Kings 8:25)

In 894 BCE Jehoram began a reign of 8 years (2 Kings 8:16)

Jehoram became King of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Joram of Israel.

I will now cross over to the northern kingdom and list the reigns of the kings of Israel (Samaria) from Joram to Solomon.

In 890 BCE Joram began a reign of 12 years (2 Kings 3:1)

In 892 BCE Ahaziah began a reign of 2 years (1 Kings 22:52)

In 914 BCE Ahab began a reign of 22 years (1 Kings 16:29)

In 926 BCE Omri began a reign of 12 years (1 Kings 16:23)

In 930 BCE Tibni began a reign of 4 years (1 Kings 16:22)

In 932 BCE Elah began a reign of 2 years (1 Kings 16:8)

In 956 BCE Baasha began a reign of 24 years (1 Kings 15:33)

In 958 BCE Nadab began a reign of 2 years (1 Kings 15:25)

In 980 BCE Jeroboam began a reign of 22 years (1 Kings 14:20).

His rule commenced upon the division of the united kingdom into the House of Israel, ruled by King Jeroboam, and the House of Judah, ruled by King Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:20)

In 1020 BCE Solomon began a reign of 40 years (1 Kings 11:42)

In 1017 BCE construction of the temple began, in Solomon’s fourth year of power, 480 years after the Exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt in 1497 BCE (1 Kings 6:1)

In 1927 BCE, 430 years before the Exodus, Jacob (Israel) led a migration of his large clan to Egypt to mitigate a famine in the Levant. (Exo. 12:40)

In 2057 BCE Jacob was born, known from his age of 130 years when he arrived in Egypt (Gen. 47:9)

In 2117 BCE Isaac was born, since he begat Jacob when he was 60 years of age (Gen. 25:26)

In 2217 BCE Abraham was born, since he begat Isaac when he was 100 years of age (Gen. 21:5)

In 2287 BCE Terah was born, since he begat Abraham when he was 70 years of age (Gen. 11:26)

In 2316 BCE Nahor was born, since he begat Terah when he was 29 years of age (Gen. 11:24)

In 2346 BCE Serug was born, since he begat Nahor when he was 30 years of age (Gen. 11:22)

In 2378 BCE Reu was born, since he begat Serug when he was 32 years of age (Gen. 11:20)

In 2408 BCE Peleg was born, since he begat Reu when he was 30 years of age (Gen. 11:18)

In 2442 BCE Eber was born, since he begat Peleg when he was 34 years of age (Gen. 11:16)

In 2472 BCE Shelah was born, since he begat Eber when he was 30 years of age (Gen. 11:14)

At this point we hit a serious snag because in Genesis 11:12 Arpaschad is said to be 35 years of age when he begets Shelah (or Sala, or Salah), taking us to 2507. Gen. 11:10 says Arpaschad was born two years after the flood. But Gen. 7:11 has the flood hit when Noah was 600. Genesis 5:32 says Noah was 500 years of age when he begat Ham, Shem, and Japheth, all at once, as triplets apparently. And Genesis 11:10 says Shem was 100 when he begat Arphaxad (or Arpashchad, which means Genesis is telling us Aphaschad was born on ark, and also two years later.

Into the homestretch.

In 3289 BCE Lamech was born, since he begat Noah at 182 years of age (Gen. 5:28)

In 3476 BCE Methuselah was born, since he begat Lamech at 187 years of age (Gen. 5:25)

In 3541 BCE Enoch was born, since he begat Methuselah at 65 years of age (Gen. 5:21)

In 3703 BCE Jared was born, since he begat Enoch at 162 years of age (Gen. 5:18)

In 3768 BCE Mahalalel was born, since he begat Jared at 65 years of age (Gen. 5:15)

In 3838 BCE Kenan was born, since he begat Mahalalel at 70 years of age (Gen. 5:12)

In 3928 BCE Enosh was born, since he begat Kenan when he was 90 years of age (Gen. 5:9)

In 4033 BCE Seth was born, since he begat Enosh when he was 105 years of age (Gen. 5:6)

In 4163 BCE Adam was made from a mudpie, since he begat Seth when he was 130 years of age (Gen. 5:3)

God gave mouth-to-mouth to the mudpie on the sixth day of creation week, so the Earth dates back to 4163 BCE as well. Note that this differs somewhat from Archbishop Ussher’s date of 4,004 BCE. He didn’t show his work. In his favor, he pinned it down to the month, day, and hour.

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