As suggested by the title, this is intended to be a journey through Genesis under the assumption that where we often get it wrong is in the beginning, that where we more often misunderstand is by looking from our perspective rather than God’s perspective, and that we may not need tons of knowledge but a spirit tuned in on the right questions.
It is paramount in any reexamination to keep an open mind and ask oneself such questions as: Do we really know all that we think we know? Do we have the right focus or do we have the gnawing feeling like were missing something? Is there a greatest philosophy book of all time or is that like asking what our favorite color is?
The following questions are thought-provoking questions that are not intended to be covered in one sitting. The questions are organized by category but not by any methodical order, and it is possible that order, approach, or relevance may be massaged as needed to match more specifically with the current needs of the group.
Chapters 1 through 4
Creation: The intent of the narrative
Does “in the beginning” mean in God’s beginning or in the universe’s beginning or does it actually mean “in our beginning” that God said or did this or that?
If it means in our beginning, is it claiming to say what happened before our beginning or how that the universe came to be or whether or not the universe existed or some other universes existed before our universe existed?
How does the creative process in Genesis line up with modern scientific findings?
Does science back up the notion of male before female existence?
Is it possible that the main point was to debunk the other legends of creation and rid believers of the natural consequences of believing in warring gods and the accidental or incidental or afterthought creation of man, naturally diluting the significance of man and undermining the sanctity of human life?
Were the six creative cycles accurate reflections of creation according to the latest scientific findings?
Were the six creative cycles numbered and quantified in such a way as to emphasize descriptive accuracy or to emphasize God himself resting on the seventh day and celebrating and becoming the reason for celebrating the Sabbath? In other words, isn’t the Sabbath then a celebration of God’s creation of the earth or the thin blue line and man’s special position of dominion over earth and all that abides in the earth?
Does science back up the need for a Sabbath day and a Sabbath year for the land?
Are there evidences in the text that the one dictating the text or the one authoring the text from a vision is fully aware of where the story is going? (A case in point, e.g., the inclusion of otherwise superfluous information whose relevancy only becomes apparent as the reader discovers what happens latter on.)
Is it possible that a book such as Genesis could be super condensed or extremely abridged versions of a philosophical treatise on man’s origin, purpose, and meaning?
Intelligent design implications
Why is it that Bible-believing persons do not suffer from existential questions such as whether our species has the right to interfere with the otherwise “natural processes of the planet?” Why aren’t Bible believers plagued by whether or not the human species has the superior rights over any other species (species as the animal rights activist like to aver)?
In other words, is there not a vast difference in the way the world looks to people who believe that God created it and left material gods in charge of it, than it does to children of strict chance evolution who wake up one day and realize that they are just another animal species that is way more of the problem for a sustainable biosphere than a solution? And shouldn’t all wild or domestic animals born in America have all the rights of human citizens rather than being treated as second class citizens while suffering inestimable instances of discrimination?
Were we meant to wrestle with such questions of self-determination and the meaning of life, the priorities of our species, or were we designed to be happy and fulfilled only when obeying the command to multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and manage it.
Mind of God
Is it possible to know God like we know our spouse or our best friend… the kind of friend we know well enough to finish each other sentences and anticipate each other’s needs and desires in advance?
Is the mystery supposed to be the mind of God or is the mystery supposed to be our superhuman ability to pierce the mind of God through his spirit?
Does the first chapter appear to say what God was up to or how God came to arrive at the idea of our universe before he created our universe?
Can one deduce that God had man in mind since he designed man to be the caretaker of his apparently most prized planet?
Why did God create creatures capable of going against their own optimum design? Why didn’t he leave them or make them strictly instinctive like the rest of the creatures?
If we wanted to understand the mind of God shouldn’t we look for a motive behind such a colossal experiment as the human species?
What would have happened if God did not put a trip wire mechanism in the Garden? Could the experiment have gone horribly awry and then spread? What would have happened if Adam and Eve were able to sneak back in to garden passed the cherubim guards and ate of the tree of life undeservedly?
Freedom and autonomy versus order and hierarchy
Why are all things described seemingly binary? Why does it always take two in order to make one or something complete?
Why is everything described in opposition to something else such as evening and morning, day and night, water and land, heaven and earth, Greater Sun and Lesser Moon and stars, birds of the air and creatures of the deep, cattle of the field and beast of the earth, abyss of the deep and sprit of God hovering over the waters, mankind and all other things for which mankind is to have dominion and, last but not least, the infamous binary opposites of male and female?
Why was man given dominion over the earth and all the things of the earth but not over the heavens?
Why wasn’t Eve satisfied with dominion over the earth and why did she succumb to the temptation to experiment with exercising dominion over the knowledge and decision reserved to the heavens?
Why is there suddenly no binary opposite when man is made? Is this what Christ was referring to when he said: “know ye not that ye are all gods”? (Let us make man in our own image and in our own likeness; all of the other creatures were created with mates)
Deconstructing the meanings of places and things
Why were there four rivers merging at the Garden of Eden and one river leading on to the sea?
What was the meaning of the names of the four rivers? What else comes in fours ,such as four winds, four angles from the four corners, 4 days, 40 days, 400 days, 4000 days, four horsemen, four days in the grave, etc…
If the tree of life in Revelation has the river running through the middle of it, is it safe to assume that the opposite was true of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was in the middle of the four rivers of the garden so that one would have to cross at least two rivers to get to it?
On the other hand is it possible that the land of Havilah, land of gold and precious stones, was already a corrupting influence and this too has an opposite found in revelation of a new temple and holy city of highly refined gold and precious stones that are incorruptible will descend out of heaven being not made by human hands?
First most important relationship
Who is God making man with and what was the motive for the existence of this one that God was making man with? Does the Apostle John attempt to answer this motive?
Why isn’t the motive spelled out in so many words rather than merely tacitly inferred by the twist and turns of Gods initial relationship to his God like material creatures?
Second most important relationship
When the posit is proffered between God and someone else to make man in their own image, why isn’t there a clarification of what this “man” thing is that is being referred to? Does it sound like the proposition is being put forward as if there is already some creature called “man” that is already in existence but that is not currently in the image and likeness of those having the conversation? Does it appear as though the one making the proposition to make (or modify) man in the image of the conversers is assuming that the hearer already knows what is meant by the expression “man” and so no further explanation is needed, just a simple agreement?
What would have happened if God did not put a tripwire mechanism in the Garden? Could the experiment have gone horribly awry and then spread? What would have happened if Adam and Eve were able to sneak back in to garden passed the cherubim guards and ate of the tree of life undeservedly?
Does the text suggest that man walked with God each day in the Garden?
Third most important relationship
What are the two ways in which siblings leave their parents and cleave to their spouses? (Such as becoming one flesh in child bearing by crossing chromosomes or by reuniting the two separate halves of the original complete man that existed before the woman half was taken from man’s side)
Would the reuniting of the two halves of the original complete and perfect man by the combining of a man and a woman rule out the possibility of legitimizing man and man marriage or woman and woman marriage?
If the two halves needed to make a complete whole, left their parents and got to together and were naked, would they have any reason to be ashamed? Might others under other circumstances have reasons to be ashamed?
At the very least, wouldn’t it suggest that whatever you get from anything other than the cleavage of an man and a woman is not what God would construe as a complete anything but rather a desecration of the holy cleavage arrangement that he originally intended to form a perfect “one flesh” out of two incomplete halves?
Does science back up the one half of the brain theory for males and females? If the Man or the Woman alone is only one half of the whole, than how is it that Eve could imagine making a decision without consulting with the Adam. How is it that Adam could think of making a momentous decision for earth without consulting with other half of the binary — heaven?
Does science back up the notion of male before female existence?
Weren’t Adam and Eve siblings before they were lovers even if for a brief time? Who was Adam’s father? Who was Eve’s father? Who was Adams mother? Who was Eve’s mother?
Why wasn’t Eve satisfied with dominion over the practical day –to-day concerns of the earth and why did she succumb to the temptation to experiment with exercising dominion over the knowledge and decision reserved to the heavens? How did she miss the binary order and hierarchy of the universe and how was she seduced into believing that humans were capable or made to wrestle with divining what was good and what was evil, what is right and what is wrong, moral dilemmas, paradoxes, ironies and meaning itself?
If Adam and Eve were both lovers and siblings, then isn’t it possible that they also developed a sibling rivalry; since Adam walked with God, was the first born, and knew God long before her arrival. She sought out here insider program, her own short cut, and her own form of gratification? Isn’t it possible that she had participated in multiple conversations with the serpent before the fateful one? Is it possible that there had grown two siblings/lovers each with their own outside influences and self esteem boosters? Wouldn’t that be two half brains headed in two separate directions? Where do we see this sibling rivalry narrative repeated several times in the book of Genesis?
How were Adam and Eve like us? When we have the Holy Spirit in us, do we still feel naked, exposed, unforgivable, or worthless? Do we feel that involving the opposite sex in a decision is imperative in order to have a total brain at work? Even as couple, do we not start out as brothers and sisters and pretty much return to brothers and sisters if we live to our 90’s? If we are sibling or a couple do we get jealous of our siblings spirituality and since of well being and try to dismiss it or seek other sources for our gratification rather than determining to seek God just as much no matter whether we get similar or better results? In other words, do we suffer from the “compared to” syndrome that plagued the families portrayed in Genesis?
The fourth most important relationship
Did man forfeit his dominion of the earth to Satan while simultaneously becoming Satan’s slaves?
Why didn’t God snuff out Satan as soon as evil had entered into Satan’s heart?
The fall of humans
Somewhere along the line we lost “God in us,” “God with us,” and “God universal.” Did this happen all at once or over time, in phases? If over time, when did each happen and were they all gone by the time of the Flood?
Is man intrinsically evil due to original sin or for other reasons? When did God give them over to their lust?
Commentary on the rivers of Eden
Meaning of Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, and Euphrates
Gihon: Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the Biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers (along with the Tigris, Euphrates, and Pishon) (see Karun) issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name (Hebrew Giħôn) may be interpreted as “Bursting Forth, Gushing”. As such, it can easily be identified with the Karkheh, that along with the Karun, share their deltaic marshlands with the Tigris and Euphrates in the Sumerian edin/Eden to the present day.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gihon)
Tigris: The original Sumerian name was Idigna or Idigina, probably from *id (i)gina “running water”, which can be interpreted as “the swift river”, contrasted to its neighbor, the Euphrates, whose leisurely pace caused it to deposit more silt and build up a higher bed than the Tigris. This form was borrowed and gave rise to Akkadian Idiqlat. From Old Persian Tigrā, the word was adopted into Greek as Tigris (“Τίγρις” which is also Greek for “tiger”). Pahlavi tigr means “arrow”, in the same family as Old Persian tigra- “pointed” (compare tigra-xauda), Modern Persian têz, tiz “sharp”. However, it does not appear that this was the original name of the river, but that it (like the Semitic forms of the name) was coined as an imitation of the indigenous Sumerian name. This is similar to the Persian name of the Euphrates, Ufratu, which does have a meaning in Persian, but is still modeled after the Akkadian name Purattu.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigris#Etymology)
The earliest references to the Euphrates come from cuneiform texts found in Shuruppak and pre-Sargonic Nippur and date to the mid-third millennium BCE. In these texts, written in Sumerian, the Euphrates appears as Buranuna (logographic: UD.KIB.NUN). The name could also be written KIB.NUN.(NA) or dKIB.NUN, with the prefix “d” indicating that the river was deified. In Sumerian, the name of the city of Sippar in modern-day Iraq was also written UD.KIB.NUN, indicating a historically strong relationship between the city and the river. In Akkadian, the Euphrates was called Purattu. The modern spelling of the Euphrates derives from the Old Persian Ufrātu via Middle Persian Frat into Turkish Fırat. The Persian Ufrātu (meaning the good) is also the source of the Greek spelling Εὐφράτες (Euphrates). (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphrates)
The Greek name Euphrates consists of two elements. The first part is the adverb eu, meaning good, well, noble. The second part is a transliteration of the Hebrew name for this river: Parat, Parat, meaning fruitful. See the name Parat for etymology.()http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Euphrates.html
Pishon: The Pishon is the first of four rivers in Eden (the others are Gihon, Haddakel and Parat). Of the river Pishon it is said that it ‘flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold.’
The name Pishon comes from push (push 1751, 1752) meaning spring about (1751), be scattered (1752). Klein’s Etymological dictionary of the Hebrew Language gives besides a reference to the somewhat abstract `to spring about’ the meaning to be strong, increase, spread. Another verb (Klein’s Etymological dictionary of the Hebrew Language) spelled the same is to rest.
The name Pishon probably refers to a river that originates from a spring and forms into a delta. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Great Diffusion. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Freely Flowing.(http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Pishon.html)
Gihon means Bursting Forth or Gushing.
Tigris means Running Water, Swift River, or Sharp, Pointed, Arrow.
Euphrates means The Good.
Pishon means To Spring About, to Be Scattered, or Great Diffusion.
If my theory about these being the four dimensions of physical existence, flowing from the six dimensions of God and Heaven (which existed first), than here is a re-interpretation of their meanings…
Gihon refers to Current, or Electron Motive force,
Tigris refers to Time,
Euphrates refers to Magnetic Dipoles (the fruit of physical existence -the most basic building block of all things),
Pishon refers to Motion in general, or motion of 3D intities like particles which appear to be most random. The incompatibility of Spherical forms with straight-line forces (attraction and repulsion) gives us these never-ending dividends. That is why Pi is a never ending number with no pattern. Also, the spherical nature of physical existence is the cause of destructive forces like radiation, chemical corrosion, explosions, etc.
Obviously, this is VERY theoretical, and an incomplete theory at that. It is however a derivation from a more complete theory of everything named: “How We Exist” at freeornottobe.org.
Harley Davidson Borgais
Author- based Commentary about biological confirmation of woman from man
In the proverbial “which came first question” of the chicken or the egg, Genesis accurately solves this paradox at least for the male or the female. A male could have mutated into a female but a female could not have mutated into a male. This is because a male has both an X and a Y chromosome and so a simple mutation is all that would be needed to arrive at two X chromosomes and no Y chromosome. This simple mutation would of course produce a female. A female, on the other hand, could not mutate into a male because mutations would be limited to combinations of X chromosomes, as the Y chromosome would not exist. This means you could have “super females” with three X chromosomes or you could have Turner-Syndrome females with one X chromosome. None of which would equate with a male. A 60’s song says: “a woman draws her life from man and gives it back again, there is love”; the song couldn’t be more accurate.