Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Genesis: A love-hate Story

Genesis brings out five aspects for me: God’s power to create; prevailing power of God; God, the garden of Eden, animals and humans; dialogues between humans and God and their outcomes; and the outcomes of different forms of curses and blessings.

The benevolent life and experiences humans and animals go through is the result of the decisions by those who decided to create them. Humans, animals and earth only came into being because God chose it to be so. Form was created from formlessness, void, darkness and surface of the deep. It took God seven days to create: light which was called day; darkness which was called night; heaven; earth; vegetation; seasons;  waters streaming with swarms of living creatures. All plants and animals were then blessed and destined to be fruitful. The earth was able to bring forth living creatures after their kind from cattle to creeping things. Plants and animals were capable of being fruitful, multiplying and filing the earth. There was beauty to behold and even God was saw all this was good (pages 9-10). Humans held a special place in this creation plan. They were made in the image of God with power to rule over fish of the sea, bird of the air. When all creation was done, God chose to sanctify that last day and to rest. But what shows that humans were special?

Humans were provided for in a special way and were given instructions on how to live peacefully in the garden of Eden (pages 10-11). They were shown which foods to eat and the forbidden things to do like not getting anywhere near the tree of life in the middle of the garden.  Eden itself had a river which divided into four other rivers. Eden had minerals such as: gold, bdellium and Onyx. Man was given charge of this garden. He was given a helper suitable for him home he named a woman. This kind of union would turn out to make man and woman to leave their parents to be joined as couples. In Genesis, the garden of Eden is central to it.
It is in the garden of Eden that we see many dialogues between humans, animals and God. This is where Humans were prepared in executing roles of authority over bird, fish and beasts. This is where the fall occurred (pages 12-13). The serpent tempted Eve who in turn tempted Adam to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. This is where humans realized they were naked and did something about this nakedness. This is where God holds court with the serpent and the humans. It is where the serpent is cursed and confines it to being bruised on its head by the seeds of humans. This is where the woman is rebuked and cursed to bear her children amidst pain. This is where she is told that man will be her master. This is where man is told to always work harder for his food and that he would no longer live forever. It is at this point that they were sent out of the garden.

What followed after man and woman were sent out of the garden shows the different experiences they continued to face. By now they had assumed names with the man being called Adam and woman called Eve. They gave birth to Cain and Abel (pages 13-15). These two sons were in different forms of production. Cain was a land tiller and Abel a keeper of animals. During  offerings it is said Abel always brought the firstlings and fat portions. His brother however did not offer the best of his harvest and God was displeased.  This displeasure made Cain angry to such an extent that he killed Abel. And for this , Cain was cursed. He became a vagrant and wanderer. This experience led Cain to plead with God who gave Cain a protective sign so that no one killed him in revenge. He had to go and settle far away from familiar places. He gave birth to offsprings e.g.Enoch. 

Meanwhile, humans continued to multiply in large numbers and sons of God saw daughters of men as beautiful ones to be taken as their own wives. This lifestyle did not find favor in the eyes of God. He cut down on the length of life of humans. God reached the extent of regretting why He created humans. He therefore took aside one righteous person called Noah whom He asked to make a very large ark (pages 17-18). He told Noah of his plan to destroy all creation. He instructed Noah to put animals and his own family which will be saved in the ark. Time came torrential rains fell, fountains opened up and the earth was flooded. No one outside the ark survived. After sometime, Noah devised tests to check whether the floods had abated. When he found out that land was dry he let free all the animals. God made a covenant with him where He promised to never again curse the ground on account of man (pages 19-21). With time the animals were able to repopulate the earth. Noah’s family was able to multiply too. But, things happened which forever changed the course of events. 

Noah planted a vineyard and made wines of which one day took so much of. It was to such an extent that he undressed. Ham, one of his sons saw his father’s nakedness and told his brothers Shem and Japheth who restored their father’s dignity by dressing him up. Ham was cursed for seeing his father’s nakedness but Shem and Japheth were blessed. Ham’s children became slaves to those of Shem and Japheth.  The other event that changed the course of events was when the Lord created different languages. This happened when humans were attempting to build a tower to reach the skies. The place where this scattering occurred was named Babel (pages 22-23).

So, in the story of Genesis these five aspects: God’s power to create; prevailing power of God; God, the garden of Eden, animals and humans; dialogues between humans and God and their outcomes; and the different forms of curses and blessings are highlighted. It also reads like a story trying to explain why there is love side by side with hate. God lovingly created the world. But, in a fit of displeasure God curses or destroys it. In a way Genesis reads like an explanation different races and the predicaments those different races face. In Genesis one reads of explanations which justify what I see now as mere injustices and it allocates blame onto certain people. There are two kinds of people: those who are shown to carry curses into perpetuity and those who are blessed offsprings. The ideas of being a master over slaves  and servitude are celebrated and encouraged.

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