In one of my doctoral courses, we were assigned to read the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is considered the world's oldest recorded "novel." It describes the life of a human blessed by the gods and his adventures with his man/beast friend Enkidu. Assignment 2 was to read a few chapters from the Bible, including Genesis.
Not having paid attention to the Bible in general and Genesis
specifically since my days in Sunday school (I was probably about 10
then), I was intrigued to revisit these stories. The first impression
after all these years is I'm not sure where the whole omnipotent God
myth came from. It seems to me that God had some major flaws in his plan
from day one. These are just the observations of an uninformed agnostic who is less
familiar with the text and all the collateral assumptions that go along
First, there's the whole idea of putting the tree of knowledge in reach of Adam
and Eve. Shouldn't God have known that "human nature" would make tasting
the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil inevitable? He designed
Adam and Eve, didn't he? It's kind of like the mind reader who has to
ask you your name. Shouldn't she just know?
Then, flash forward to the Noah story in chapter 6 when God decides to
"reboot" the whole thing. In golf terms, he's taking a mulligan— a
do-over. He made a mistake. But I thought God didn't make mistakes.
Blame it on the "giants?" If he is the one God, then aren't they part of
his creation, too?
Then in chapter 11. Man gets too "uppity" so God makes different tribes
speak different languages. He couldn't see that one coming? Part of God's plan? He is making it up as he goes
And what's this about Abram pimping his wife off to the Egyptians in
chapter 12. Why would God look favorably on someone who exhibits that
sort of behavior? When Abram/ham pimped his wife in Gerad, (is this the same
story as in chapter 12 with different names, or was this a scheme Abe used whenever he needed to add to his
wealth?) God punished the guy who thought he was dating Abe's sister, and rewarded Abraham.
Again, I question his reasoning.
Then in chapter 19, when the citizenry from Sodom
decide they want a chance to meet the three newcomers (angels), Lot offers them
his virgin daughters instead. And God doesn't raze the city with him in
it? Seems to me that God had a serious lapse in judgement when he let
Lot leave with his family. The daughters? Sure. The wife? I didn't hear
her defending her daughters. She gets hers when she turns to see what happens to Sodom, but Lot not only gets a pass, his daughters get him drunk later on and sleep with him. Apparently they didn't know he was going to entrust the preservation of their virginity to the good people of Sodom. Had they known, perhaps they would have had other plans for him once he passed out.
I suppose my observations could be taken as offensive to some. But think of me as the
proverbial alien dropped down among you trying to make sense of it all. After reading Gilgamesh first, it puts the
Bible in a different perspective. I guess maybe it is just a random
sequence of events that made it so that when you open the nightstand drawer in a
hotel room, there is a copy of the Bible and not a copy of the Epic of