Admiration and Rejection: In the beginning – Ba Reshit בְּרֵאשִׁית Genesis 1:1-6:8


The first chapter of B'reshit, or Genesis, wri...

The first chapter of B’reshit, or Genesis, written on an egg, in the Jerusalem museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a week when the former Pope Benedikt calls Richard Dawkins a man of science fiction we can only marble by the arrogance that religion has shown across the board towards evolution.

The story B’reshit to me is both testimony to the anti-thesis to religion, as much as it owes the greatest respect for attempting a an admirable explanation of how the world came to be.

What I like most about it is the concept of stages, and the elements being there first, not that far from what we later new about evolution.  Yet this story is 1000s of years old, testimony to the human genius and in this case of Jewish  thought and tradition.

It also stands at the foundation of something one may still wish to call godly, the miraculous and rare accident of the solar system with the very rare blue planet.

But of the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat of it, for on the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.

But for a secular Jewish person, this is where it ends.  In god’s image we are all, because we are all components of biochemistry and atoms, along with all things in the universe.

Neither does God care, but more so, we should.  The accident is rare and so great, that we carry all God like responsibility to keep and maintain the blue planet.

“And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time.”

To put human conflict and lie right at the beginning of the story, first with Adam and Eve, and then with Cain and Able, the Torah puts much of the essence of human existence at the beginning of the book.  Another symbolic great strength.

It is also very interesting to learn that Adam may have been man and woman united and thst the word “rib”is a false translation.. Rather a whole psrt of Adam’s side became the first woman. Also that nowhere the Thora speaks of original sin. Adam and Chava receive their consequences equally, punished is only the snake. Chava does not get “painful pregnancies” but hard work in general and many pregnancies of sorrow ( suggesting all: a painful birth process, still-birth and child mortality before children live)..

Also fascinating are traces of Iraqi mythology (world created by a murder of a Goddess (Hebrew uses the word to translate as wild waters) and Greek mythology (divine beings mate with pretty human women, causing a reduction of human life expectancy in off spring in Greek mythology humans become superhumsn through the same – if only Chava had eaten from the tree of life rather from the tree of knowledge) read mor: Eskenazi & Weiss: The Thora, A Woman’ Commentary)

We also hear about one of Edens rivers coming from Kush, putting possible African locations (Nile) on the map next to the Euphrat, though there are big debates about Edens true locations not made easier by two streams in Israel having biblical names.

Overall we see that in the beginning there was peace and order, and then humans came along….

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