I have a great fascination with the first few chapters of genesis in the bible. It is so full of errors, I can’t believe anybody believes that it’s literally true. Challenge a believer enough, and they’ll lead you in circles with answers that don’t make any sense whatsoever. Still, in a way, you have to admire the will of a biblical literalist to build their house on a foundation of sand (to put it biblically). The bible is a fascinating piece of text, and I’m glad that it has survived from at least medieval times when it could have all been originally written. If it really was written long before that, then that’s better still. It’s a “testament” to the power of the written word.
What I want to address here, though, is the moderate christians who don’t believe the world was created the way the bible says it was. Their excuse is that they believe it was an allegory, or an extended metaphor, meant to teach a lesson to its readers. I’d love to get a christian perspective on this, but I don’t know if I have any christian readers. Still, I’m going to press on and give my interpretation of the christian creation myth as an allegory from the perspective of someone who threw out the baby with the bathwater nine years ago.
It seems to me that the story, in the context of an allegory, puts its reader in the place of Adam or Woman depending on the reader’s gender. So in that, it makes sense that the story concerns one man and one woman. Completely ignored are people with no gender or transgendered people, not necessarily due to prejudice or bigotry, but in order to streamline the story. Too many characters would clutter it. Yahweh goes through the creation process twice for some reason in order to explain how the man and woman got there to begin with, but it seems unnecessary to do that if the story is just meant to teach a lesson. The details of their creation are only important in a historical narrative, but I digress.
El (the god’s name according to the original jewish version) has given them everything they need to live and be happy, meaning the reader should take from it that he has done that for them. Survival is a matter of trusting and obeying El. The only temptation that exists comes in the form of fruit that bestows knowledge on its eater. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil translates, to me, in the real world as education. A good moderate christian should avoid education and trust only El to provide him or her with what he or she needs. To learn is to disobey in both the allegory and the real world, and disobedience will be punished with self reliance. Knowledge leads to self reliance, and self reliance is rebellion to El.
That’s how I see it anyway.