Having not read the Bible before this it was interesting to see the way it plays out and its similarities and differences to other religions. While some of the stories were new others were old, ones that I had heard as a child (albeit with some differences). The attention to detail and the intricateness of the stories was fascinating and revealing at the same time. Some religions have such similar stories and teachings that it is just a matter of a few details sometimes with which to differ one story from another and this is something that I found interesting when reading Genesis. Genesis is interesting, more than just a holy book it is like a collection of short stories which each have a meaning or main idea and talk about that main idea by giving examples.

Peoples lives play out in such interesting ways and seeing the role of humanity in relation to God and the way humanity is led and helped by God’s actions and ideas. It was interesting to think of Genesis in terms of monster in the mirror and I find it strange to see the stories I heard growing up (albeit differently) and I’m quite excited to hear different interpretations of it.


         Genesis, as mentioned in the opening, means “origin.” I found that “origin” to be the basis of the Genesis as we learn the physical creation of all things to the history of the people. Although I myself am not Christian or have never read the bible, I knew many of the stories in their most summarized form. Before having received the text, I had always assumed that Genesis only included the creation of the world, and all that lives, up until Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge and became banished from the Garden of Eden. So it was a shock at first that the religious stories I was more familiar with, from my Islamic family and school, were included in Genesis. And I came to understand that Genesis stood not only for the literal “origin,” but also the origin of the people and their genealogy. All of which was explained on the first page in the introduction to Genesis.

         Genesis was told in a chronological manner. Creation, Adam and Eve and the Tree of Knowledge, Cain and Abel, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, Sarah, and his sons Ishmael and Issac, etc… I thought this format suited the intent of the text.

         Genesis is a difficult text to talk about, as for myself, I feel it includes the stories I was brought up with, but elaborated on the details. It is pretty self-explanatory as it used a form of action and consequence. Some of what was included confused, rather than aided, my complete understanding of the text, but I feel that what was not understood was minor and did not hinder the meaning of the text or what it was attempting to convey.
         I am interested in how God is seen as a being to be both feared and revered. As well as having both a merciless and kind in nature. Also, what intrigued me in particular were how some of the rules were bent. I’m also not completely sure were these rules were outlined or what they were in particular… Maybe I’ve forgotten or misread something.
         I am looking forward to discussion and how this piece will be looked at through the eyes of our theme.

Thoughts on Genesis

Even though I’m as far from religious as someone could possibly be, it was still quite interesting reading the book of Genesis. I learned about the stories in Genesis during my many years of being forced to attend Hebrew school, as well as seeing many different interpretations of these stories on television in shows like the Simpsons. My parents are fairly religious themselves, and did their best to get my siblings and I to feel the same way. But I don’t necessarily think it’s correct to push religion upon your kids, I think that people should allow their kids to formulate their own thoughts and opinions on faith instead. I enjoy the fact that religion brings family and friends together, and also teaches you how to live morally, but I guess there’s just something about it all that doesn’t sit well with me.

I read and understood Genesis as an interesting and entertaining story, instead of thinking of it as a religious text. Though I can see why people would find religion interesting, I tend to take a more scientific approach towards things like evolution. I have a pretty strong opinion regarding religion, and would not want to offend anyone by being too open about my thoughts. I feel like this was a strange and controversial choice to be added to the reading list for Arts One, and I was initially surprised that a large public university would assign a book from the bible because of the general belief in separation of church and state.

Anyways, I look forward to the lecture on Monday, and also discussing the reading with my small Arts One group. I always find it interesting hearing other people’s differing opinions on controversial topics such as this one.


Thoughts on Genesis

Genesis was an interesting read, though I’ll admit that at times it was difficult to stay focused while reading it. This was largely because of the passages that focus merely on who begat who, at what age they did so and how long they lived. Despite this, there was still an incredible amount that was very intriguing when given the right amount of focus and consideration. Being an atheist, I view the text from a different perspective than those who are religious, so I’m trying to take into account that this is a very important text to many.

One aspect of Genesis that I really enjoyed reading was the beginning, as various creation stories have always been very interesting to me. I found it fascinating the way different elements of Earth were said to be created, and what came before what, and how it all happened in seven days. One interesting thing about the first part of the text that a friend pointed out to me was the slightly different way it was written. The repetition and style of the first section is not seen again in quite the same way. The theory, they said, was that someone different wrote the first bit and then someone else continued it.

I found things happened both very quickly and slowly, depending on the event, and because of this I may have missed a few things while reading. I surprised by the minimal justification God gave to “blot out from the earth the human beings I have created”. There were all of a few lines of observation of wickedness before the plan for the flood was created. This was a very different feel from the gods of The Odyssey and Medea, as one of them would not single handedly be able to wipe so much life from the earth without consequences. On this point, as I read Genesis I found myself continually comparing this god to the Greek gods, and was fairly focused on the role of the divine throughout the text. However, in hindsight there are many more aspects about humanity and the societies of the time that are depicted to focus on. For example, Joseph’s story was particularly interesting to me with its issues of anger, jealousy, revenge, and forgiveness. I wondered, for one thing, how the brothers dealt with the guilt of having sold Joseph as a slave. Many very emotionally charged events were slightly downplayed I felt. If I were Joseph, having been sold and then wrongly accused of sexual assault, I would be far more damaged and faithless. But I suppose that’s where the role of God came in. that’s another thing I found very interesting, was the total faith that is portrayed in Genesis. With the Greek gods, the characters know that the gods are not always dependable or helpful. But with this god, anyone who is favored by Him must display complete faith.

I would like to comment on the portrayal of women in Genesis, but unfortunately there is simply too much to say. This is a topic I feel I could write multiple essays on for each of the books we’ve read so far, but I’d like to simply not comment on it in this blog post as I would likely ramble for far too long.
Over and out,


Oh the bible. The book I, like many, was raised to believe in. today, being an agnostic, I view the bible the same way I view the Odyssey. I don’t treat the bible any differently than other religious texts or points of view. Therefore, reading this document, I found myself very confused towards god’s actions. God, touted to be of complete, unconditional love, shows himself to be malicious. He threatens constantly, and is very vengeful towards anyone who disobeys him. He places a tree in the garden of Eden, knowing fully that the two mortals will consume of it. He then becomes enraged at this action (which he fully knew was to take place). He then punishes Eve by making child birth painful for her. He doesn’t seem to provide a punishment of equal value to the male counterpart in Adam. And finally, in gods flurry of angry vengeance, he punishes the serpent by making it crawl on its belly forever. although evolution may have a different view, it doesn’t provide any real punishment to Satan, who is free to leave the form of a snake at any given time. I find that for a god he makes many many human-like errors, such as his decision to drown the entire planet. This is done when god decides that the creation of the human race was a mistake on his part. to solve this problem, he kills everyone except for Noah and his family. I would expect an all-knowing god to understand the dangers and repercussions of creating humanity. 

I also noticed high levels of immorality. such as the condoning and acceptance of slavery within this book. It is stated countless times of righteous individuals being rewarded with slaves. Such an idea appears to be very contradictory to what righteousness is. It sends the message that by an individual being righteous, it takes away the freedoms and ability of another individual. Lot, from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, also shows an equally awful and disgusting act. Lot appears in town and fearing the wrath of god, offers up his two virgin daughters to be raped by the inhabitants of the two “evil” cities. To me, the idea of sending off your daughters to be raped is never acceptable. 

From a literary standpoint, I somewhat appreciated the straightforwardness of the delivery. It is presented in the book in chronological and straight-forward way. Things are often listed in a basic way as opposed to the circumnavigation i often see in novels and other literary works. This however, can often lead to a dry read lacking any sort of inspiration or abstraction. 

I hope no one is offended, this is my most sincere view of this tale, I do not intend to attack anyone.

Genesis Response

Like Vincent and Julianna, I too am pretty familiar with the book of Genesis. Having gone to a catholic school for all thirteen years, the Bible and more particularly the book of Genesis is no surprise to me. However, although being very familiar with this book, I have never actually read it fully. I was usually just told about particular stories, or people; never the whole story of Genesis itself. So reading Genesis provided me with a fuller understanding of the book.

I don’t really know how to really convey my thoughts about reading Genesis, so I’ll just talk about what stood out for me and what I noticed.

Because of my background knowledge on biblical stories and the different books in the Bible, I knew many of the basic stories or people in Genesis, like the story of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Judah, Joseph etc. Upon actually taking the time to read Genesis, the temptation story particularly stood out to me, the reason being that it kind of reminds me of The Odyssey in some ways. For one, the serpent used disguise and deception to appeal to Eve and trick her into eating from the tree that God told her not to. This story basically describes the importance of being able to distinguish good from evil, such a simple concept to most people. I found that it’s pretty interesting how some of these things that we now know as common knowledge, or never really thought about, first appeared in the Bible; like Eve’s commission of the first sin, or how because of her misjudgment, her punishment was the pain of giving birth. Basically, those little things that I never exactly paid attention to stuck out to me.

Another instance that definitely reminded me of The Odyssey was when Joseph pretended he didn’t know his own brothers when they came to get food before the famine. Much like Odysseus, Joseph hid the truth of his identity though later revealed himself.

However, although I am familiar with this text, that doesn’t necessarily, mean I found it interesting. Perhaps it’s because I was constantly told of the Bible throughout my years of school, but it isn’t something that I particularly enjoy reading. I would have enjoyed a novel, or an epic more than reading Genesis. I found the read to be tedious and honestly, pretty boring. There were so many names of children, or brothers being constantly listed, and that lost my interest because it just felt like a task to read. Certain aspects of Genesis were somewhat intriguing to me, though the majority of it didn’t quite strike my interest.


I really can’t find some texts interesting. For some reason, I think it’s when I’m unable to immerse myself in a world of literature that a text becomes a tough read. Reading the Genesis was like when I tried to read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” at too early of an age, it just didn’t appeal to me at all (And I haven’t tried to read Huck Finn since). A lot of it can be attributed to the religious factor, which I simply cannot find even remotely interesting. While I do have relatively religious grandparents, religion in my family died off, and my attitude has been one of indifference. While I’ve always had respect for a lot of religions, it’s just something which never truly grasped me, similarly to Genesis.

From the very start, a book which begins with God just flicking his magical hands around, creating everything in sight just seems ridiculous to me. I know this might sound strange but, I want explanations! It’s something which I had to put aside for my reading of this text, I just simply had to accept that God would do whatever he wanted, however he wanted, without having to explain anything to anyone. The way it portrays him, God seems like the ultimate being. Yet he also seems relatively powerless in some ways. Humanity and mankind continuously become corrupt, and even if God tries to wipe his slate clean (with a huge flood or some other magically conjured natural event), mankind still continues to have evil tendencies. To me it just seems like God built an ant farm, and as soon as the ants began exploring a bit, God decided to stick his pudgy finger in between the glass.

Certain aspects bothered me so much, that I just found the Genesis tough to chug through. While following the journey of Abram was relatively a bit more interesting, I still never became attached to any of the characters. I also really disliked the whole general feeling of clutter. The text is filled with events, characters, and actions which often are completely unexplained. This point really goes back to the one I made in the first paragraph, about how God is just an omnipotent being, yet somehow his ant farm experiment goes awry. As you can probably see by now, I really didn’t enjoy Genesis in the slightest. I’m definitely hoping our lecture on Monday can help me see things a bit differently, and maybe appreciate some of the hidden qualities of this old religious text.

Genesis: Creationism

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.





Genesis was a tough read, mostly because of the lack of action and the dry writing style, but it’s important to note that this is the first book of many books of the bible. It serves as an exposition and lays the foundation for more interesting and more notable passages of scripture. Though the book isn’t particularly interesting to read, it does outline various morals and viewpoints that have become centrepieces of controversy in the modern day.

God created all humans and all animals. He’s all knowing and all powerful, so when  the devil tempts Eve and Adam also consumes the apple, God knows. At the moment when he asks Adam and Eve why they are hiding, he knows why. God, created the tree and God created the serpent.  He knows that Adam and Eve will consume the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and there eyes will be open to ability they possess to what’s wrong and what’s right. Ultimately, The message that’s trying to be passed along is one of human choice and free will. From the start Adam and Eve have the choice to eat the apple or not to. If they no longer have the option of whether or not they will eat the apple, their actions are meaningless. i.e if the no longer have the option of whether or not they will obey God, the actions are meaningless in the eyes of God.  God gives Adam and Eve the choice to eat the apple and once they eat the apple they no what’s good and what’s evil. From that point on they have the choice to do what’s good or bad with full knowledge of the weight of their actions. In doing so, God adds a certain moralistic value to doing good and a sense of shame for doing evil.

This idea is where I find links between The Odyssey and the Bible. The divine entities, in both books, seem to gain something from human sacrifice and worship. They gain something when humans make the choice to do “good” instead of “evil”, whatever that may be in the circumstances.Though they are exceedingly more powerful than humans, they are somehow lifted higher when humans show their appreciation or their unconditional loyalty.The Odyssey and the Bible are similar in that they are both pretty hollow stories if the humans have no choice in the outcomes of their lives.


Genesis: punishment and blessings

Where do you begin with a piece of literature like The Bible? It’s the touchstone work of one of the worlds biggest religions, and there is so much here; so much to talk about, think about, recoil from, etc.   When a class of young, wide eyed first year students read The Odyssey, we all have just about the same real life context. Unless one of us is a devout worshipper of Zeus, the concept of the divine in the poem can be tossed around fairly easily. Not so with The Bible. I felt excited reading Genesis for the first time… I could almost feel the years of conflict, bias, ancestry, belief, etc. on my shoulders, all stemming from this very, very old book.

I am by no means religious, although I do like the idea that all things are connected in some way. The point is, I read this story like I would any other story. Interested in the characters, plot, dialogue, you know, that stuff. However, I am very interested in how this story in all it’s infamy effects how people live and see the world. I will not deny it, on first read I was fairly amazed. This God fellow came across as sexist, racist, and a little too comfortable with all this power he had. I did one of those indignant atheist things where I found everything I possibly could that went against human morals today, and complained about it to a friend. This friend was far more educated in the ways of Christianity then me, and explained to me the whole Old Testament thing. He told me the New Testament is fairly different, more love, and less fire and brimstone. Not sure what i’ve decided about that yet, but here’s some thoughts on Genesis, and some questions, if anyone can answer them.

The chain of wrongdoing in the Garden of Eden was interesting to me. The first decision made was the decision to gain wisdom and knowledge, and this is seen as a mistake and something that deserves punishment. What does this say about early society and The Bible? Are Adam and Eve being punished simply for disobeying Gods will or for wanting to know some of what he knows? In some sense, the idea of innocence and obliviousness seems kind of nice, but the tree also implies that there is an evil power out there, an ungodly power, which God himself might not have control of… that was interesting to me.

Starting from Eve, women are often seen as a temptation, a means through which one can commit evil, although God also sees them as important for a man to “have” God himself says “your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you”. This explains a lot about the condescending way women used to be treated, and it makes me realise how deep seated all these concepts are, which is rather scary. In fact, the sudden way God decides anything, without needing any explanation, makes me nervous.

I have a whole number of thoughts, (why is some violence condoned and others condemned? Why is there such emphasis on spreading your “blood” around the world? What does this text say about family? When does The Devil come in?) But those can wait. Writing style not included, this is one of the most interesting texts i’ve read in a while.