Saturday, May 8, 2010

Essay: Bible

Here is another essay I wrote for school. This one was written for my Bible as Literature class in the fall term of 2008. I post it here with only a little editing.

Please note, its style is very casual because the professor wanted us to focus more on what we were saying than on things like smooth transitions.

I know I might be stepping on some toes here, talking about the Bible. I hope I don't offend anyone.

On Genesis and Exodus

I would like to start off this paper with the name of the Lord, who a prominent character in the Bible. He reveals his name when he says “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14.) As such, we have his name: Jealous. Because we now have the Lord’s name, I will refer to him by it throughout the rest of this paper. Also in this quote the existence of other Gods is acknowledged. They are not named, and Jealous forbids his followers from worshiping these other Gods, but he as good as says they are out there. This is not the only place where there is mention of other Gods.
I have been familiar with the first few chapters of Genesis for my entire life. However, for the first time, I noticed how much Jealous’ creation of the world is similar to the big bang, if a day is taken to be more than twenty four hours. I was interested by when Jealous said “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (Genesis 1:20.) So, the Bible agrees with science on the subject of life coming from the water.
I am aware of what the usual interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve is. However, when I read it, I can’t help but interpret it as a coming of age story. There is the father (Jealous) who has two children (Adam and Eve). He wishes to protect their innocence and so places them in the most secure place he can – the Garden of Eden. However, it is inevitable that the children will grow up, and Jealous also finds it impossible to remove everything that he deems possibly harmful to his children from Eden. His children grow up when their curiosity (a rather common trait among children) leads them to taste from the tree of knowledge, at the suggestion of the serpent, and so they learn of good and evil. When Jealous discovers this, he sends them away from Eden so they can assume their roles as adults, outside of their protected childhood home. Naturally, they weren’t too happy, and Jealous did not take it too well either. Children growing up and leaving their parent’s home is usually hard on both the parents and the new adults.
Adam and Eve had two sons: Cain and Abel. It was revealed that Cain was married: “And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived” (Genesis 4:17.) No explanation is provided as to where his wife mysteriously appeared from. I would like to point to the quote in the first paragraph, in which mention of other Gods is made. Could it be that his wife was created by one of them? I am curious, but the Bible doesn’t clarify.
Moving on to Exodus - it strikes me as ironic that even thought Jealous wanted the Pharaoh to release the Hebrew people, he continually hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that the Hebrews would not be released immediately. Perhaps he did so in order to prove his power, by bringing forth frogs and turning the water to blood, to name but two things he did. Also, because it was Jealous who caused Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened, it was not the Pharaoh’s fault that the Hebrews remained in bondage that much longer, but Jealous’. Yet, there is also the line “And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more and hardened his heart,” (Exodus 9:34) To sin is to go against Jealous’ wishes, and yet Jealous has stated to Moses that he will cause Pharaoh to harden his heart, and refuse to allow the Hebrews their freedom quickly. As such, it is obviously the will of Jealous that Pharaoh harden his heart. So, how is it that Pharaoh is sinning?
It seems to me that the whole process of continually going to Pharaoh with Jealous’ threats must have been rather tedious fairly quickly. After all, Jealous had already told him that he would harden Pharaoh’s heart, so Moses knew that his people would not be released too soon. I can almost imagine him thinking “Ok, another day of threats, another day of miracles, and another day of watching the Egyptians have trouble. What else is new?”
Several times Moses makes a reference to having uncircumcised lips. The phrase must be symbolic of something, since lips are not circumcised, but I have not yet figured out what it could mean.

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