Well, this is familiar. The story I’ve had drilled into me at various (sort of religious) prep schools and via paintings and myths and all the rest of it. It is the “Christian” creation mythology. Garden of Eden, serpents, fruit (not specified as apple), wicked women leading men astray etc. From a plotting point of view, it starts at the beginning (with the Word) and rushes you through sex, disobedience, discovery, punishment, exile, birth, murder and begatting with great efficiency. If only the following 880 so pages were so enthralling…
So, while wanting to write intelligently on the Big Questions of- you know, creation, evolution, theodicy, idiocy, all that guff- my eyes were drawn instead to Ch 1 verse 11
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit trees yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth, and it was so.
Now, if I could get my hands on the vandal who senselessly sawed my wife’s plum tree that she planted on t’allotment, there’d be some distinct lack of forgiveness and heavy-duty smiting going on. I am neither Christian nor pacifist, after all.
Anyway, same chapter, verse 28.
and replenish the earth and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
has gotten us into all sorts of stupidity. But I seem to recall there’s an alternative call to stewardship rather than dominion, further on in Genesis, so I’ll save the ranting for that.
Then God says “it’s all yours, but not that tree.” And would you Adam and Eve it, along comes the serpent, and says, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
And God is irritated, and clearly not omniscient, since he/He has to cherchez la femme: Adam and Eve manage to hide from him/Him and he even has to ask the reason why.
Ooh, here’s a good bit; I’ll get a T-shirt made up for the little lady. Chapter 3 verse 16“and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.”
Yadder yadder yadder, Chapter 4 is about Cain and Abel.
God turns out to be fonder of animal husbandry than agriculture. (Don’t forget who was writing this stuff down, and their self-serving bias).
And Cain is Unhappy about this and there is some smiting. Brothers, eh, what can you do?
(If I were a sci-fi geek (which I sort of was once), I would characterise God at this point as a not particularly competent terra-firming engineer with poor control over the parameters and behaviour of his production schedule. Just saying…)
Cain’s wife (who she?) gives birth to Enoch, and then we get our first little bit of begatting. Lots more of that to come of course, which is partly why we’re doing this whole King James Version project together- either one of us alone would come unstuck on the begatting.
At the tail end of Ch4 the family tree already begins to look like one of those “demographic bushes” that were spoken of when the police were trying to construct lineages of the Shannon Matthews crew. Everyone married or ex of each others’ cousins, step-brothers, aunts younger than their nephews etc. One of my best mates is a quack, and just to toughen up medical students, he has them go and try to get a family history- for genetic purposes- from the punters where he works. It’s always good for a laugh. Bit like the Bible really…