After reading a few blogs it’s nice to see that a lot of our group has found appreciation for such an old text. Unfortunately I lack this groups enthusiasm.
Being raised Catholic for fourteen years really makes it difficult to reread Genesis, especially when it’s plot and ideals have embedded into my brain from as long as I can recall. The thing that makes me cringe at reading the text the most is realizing how much my perspective on it has changed over the years. I read Genesis today with obvious skepticism. My religious views have changed, and I have a much different view of the world that conflicts with my naive childhood beliefs.
I was raised to read Genesis literally. I believed that there once was paradise called Eden, that the world had been purified in a great flood, and a single man rounded up every animal on Earth to preserve them for the next generation. It was like reading a fairy tale, the whole thing was really enchanting as a child. Now the magic is loss, the dream is gone. Like Adam and Eve, I see the world today for what it is.
But one thing I remember most as a child was thinking, “If only Adam and Eve had never disobeyed God. Imagine how beautiful the world would be, and how perfect it was to live in.”
But today I look at the text and realize that it is the complete opposite. Eve’s betrayal gave man true life. We gained our consciousness, our true perceptions and emotions. Without the Fruit of Knowledge we would be nothing but animals. Worse, man would be no better than an organic robot.
In reality, God had us created as maintenance droids. Man was made only to sustain the Earth’s creatures, there were no individual ambitions.
Today I read the story of Genesis as an allegory rather than pure scripture. Man’s rebellion infuriated God, it was a travesty. But the moral of the story is simple. It is man’s temptation that drives us away from paradise. It is man who corrupts all utopian theory.
The Bible (especially the new Testament) is truly a beautiful piece of literature. The teachings of Christ are ideals that all people should abide; whether they believe in a God or not.
“Do to others as you’d do to yourself.”
“He who is without sin cast the first stone.”
“Forgive those who trespass against you.”
These are morals that should be universal. They give us an enlightened insight and guidance. But it’s when the scripture is thrown in the hands of imperfect Man does it become tainted. The Vatican teaches of a man who was the poor son of a carpenter, who denied any value to materialistic possession. Yet St. Peters church is embellished with marble floors, and filled with fathoms of wealth and priceless artifacts. The same applies to Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. It’s pretty on paper, but as soon as man shapes it into a reality the concepts are violated and it’s values are tarnished. Just look at Stalin and “5 Year” Plan.
Man is jealous and corrupt. We are imperfect creations who lack the mentality and virtue to resist mortal desire. It’s something that is within us that cannot be vanquished. It’s the Human Condition.