FOOD FOR THOUGHT: "Ignorance is the main threat for mankind."
YOU ARE IN DARKNESS.
|old testament page 2|
SOME STORIES FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Here I will summarize some of the stories appearing in the Old Testament. Many others are told elsewhere in this study
The creation(!) story begins before time! As if there was someone who witnessed it. One immediately begins wandering whether the writers or the editors of the Old Testament were present then.If they were not, who told the story to them? One wishes for an immediate answer to this question: Like 'a messenger of course!' If that is your answer, then which messenger could have done it? If it wasn't a messenger then the anthropomorphic (human-like) supreme being must have related the events in the process of creation to someone. It is accepted that the first five books of the Old Testament - Torah - was given directly to Moshe Rabbeinu ('Moses our teacher') by YHVH; and Genesis is the first book of Torah. So YHVH must have been the storyteller(!) in Genesis. But now we know there have been four separate writers of the Torah. Two of these four writers have most probably written their accounts of Genesis and Exodus prior to 800 B.C. All the oral and written material that existed then were collected and rewritten around 500 B.C.
THE 'SPIRIT OF GOD'
The ancient Zarathustran/Zoroastrian belief system was an abstract and subtle religion, and its influence onNehemiah and Ezra must have been greater than the evidence seems to show. There are hints to this effect in the Old Testament. For example the spirit of god that moves on the face of the waters in the opening of Genesis. Here is Genesis 1-2:
"Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the spirit of god [ruach elohim] was hovering over the waters."
The Earth mentioned here must be the one we live on. Who was present then to narrate the events? When was the Universe created? Who could possibly have narrated the creation of both the Universe and Earth? There was no one present? It is simply out of this world! How can one in ones right mind living in the 21st century could accept that?
CREATION OF MANKIND
Creation of mankind is in Genesis 1:26.
"And god said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion ove...upon the Earth."
"So god created man in his own image, in the image of god created he him; male and female created he them."
"And god blessed them, and god said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the Earth…"
At this point the impression is that the humankind was created(!) in god's likeness (exactly like the story in the Sumerian creation myth) and in a pair, male and female. But wait! here is Genesis 2:7:
"And the lord god formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." (Exactly like the story in the Sumerian creation myth).
Genesis 2:18 :
"And the lord god said, it is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."
"And the lord god caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;"
"And the rib, which the lord god had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man."
Genesis 5: 2 :
"Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created."
God calls the first humans 'Adam', and not he, which is another problem. Is Adam the name of man or the name of the mankind? In Amorite language 'Adamu', in Hebrew 'Adam' and 'ha-adam' mean a human-being, and 'red earth.' Hans Martin writes in his book Iconologie der Genesis (München, 1989): "There was reportedly red earth in Hebron. Since this earth was believed to give strength and cure many ailments, people used to eat it. Moslems used to sell this earth to distant lands like Egypt, and India in return for spices." Adam was supposedly created(!) in Hebron. His name means 'red earth' does it not? So Hebron seems to be the right place for his creation(!).
These are the two fairy tales of creation in Genesis: In the first tale god creates man last; and in the second god creates him first, that is before all the creatures. In one of the stories god creates mankind from the beginning as male and female. In the second story only male comes into being from the 'dust of the ground'! while female is formed subsequently from a rib of the male. Second fairy tale contains details not mentioned in the first. The literary forms of these two fairy tales give away the two different authors. First story is like a hymn, has the nature of a litany. The second is a simple narrative.
CREATION(!) OF THE FEMALE
First, god creates male and female together. Secondly Adam is created and the female is created from his rib.Two different authors wrote two different stories at two different times and they were edited together when the book was brought together or there was an original story and in time it turned out to be insufficient, unsuitable etc. and a second revised story was written.
Here is a clue to the story of the creation of the female: In Sumer, to the East there is a pure, clean, shining place called Dilmun where the gods are living. This is a place of 'life' where there is no sickness or death. But there is no potable water either. Goddess of water Ninhursag requests from the Sun god (god of wisdom) Enki to provide water. He does it. From the union of Enki and Ninhursag, god of plants Ninsar or Nimmu, is born. Then Enki impregnates his daughter Ninsar and from this union goddess Ninkurra is born. From the union of Enki and Ninkurra goddess Uttu is born, who is also called the goddess of plants. Ninhursag warns Uttu against Enki and advises her on ways to deal with Enki's approaches. Upon this advice Uttu requests presents. Enki brings the gifts, Uttu receives him with joy and as a result of their union eight plants spring forth. Ninhursag has to give each plant a name and a quality, so no one should eat the plants. But Enki cannot wait and eats them all. Ninhursag is raging mad, curses Enki with a terrible curse and departs. Gods are dismayed and Enki is stricken with sickness in eight different parts of his body. Even Enlil the god of air is helpless. Ninhursag is induced by a fox to come back to treat Enki. She starts this cure by creating in succession eight deities, one for each part of Enki's body in which the sickness is located. Five of these deities are female. One of Enki's sick organs is his rib, and the name of the goddess created to cure the sickness in Enki's rib is Nin-ti… 'Nin' in Sumerian is lady, and 'ti ' is rib. Another meaning of 'ti' is 'life.' So Ninti means 'lady of the rib' or 'lady of life.' While the Sumerian story was about curing a rib, the Old Testament story has become a creation from the rib, and the name 'lady of life' - Ninti - became Havvah ('life') in Hebrew and also in Islam, and Eve in English. The two stories, in Sumer and in the Old Testament, have the same origin (Check the pages on SUMERIAN MYTHS in this Site). This is the origin of the story of what we know today as the 'forbidden fruit.' Don't forget, Enki eats the plants when it is still forbidden. Enki's double-dealer courier, messenger Isimud offers the 'forbidden fruit' to him. This act is committed by a snake in the Old Testament, and by the satan in Kuran. But snake and satan act together according to the Islamic mythology. Adam is pardoned by the intercession of angel Gabriel (Cibril) in Islamic mythology. In Sumer other gods plead with Ninhursag to cure the god of wisdom Enki. In Sumer Enki brings news from gods to man. It is angel Gabriel's duty in Islam. Gabriel's power, and his character of introducing maturity to his surroundings fits the figure of the god of wisdom.
But the collective work of Israel's religious authorities,Talmud, is considered as the most important book next to the Old Testament and tells that god did create a female with Adam. She was called Lil'ith, who has supposedly claimed to be the equal of Adam (a woman on the same level with a man, never! ). But she did not bow down to Adam and became a female jinn. Then god created a woman 'worth only a single rib of man' and saved the happiness of the first family. This must be seen as a futile attempt to remedy the dilemma introduced by the two creation stories in the Old Testament. When we check who this Lil'ith is we find her in Assyria. Lilitu was the satan of storm of the Assyrians. This name is corrupted into Lil'ith. The resemblance between an irritating woman and a storm is worth noting. This name definitely has its origins in the polytheistic days of the Hebrews.
'BEN ADAM'- 'SON OF MAN' - MANKIND IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
I have told you that there was nothing out-of-this-world in the Old Testament and the book was brought together over a period of 800-900 years. In a nutshell, theOld Testament must be the supreme example of a fiction in the history of the world. Now I invite you to a special session where you, a human being, will see for yourself how your kind (humans, the writers of the Old Testament) has thought about you and of course about themselves. Well, first of all you are called 'ben adãm' - 'son of man', son of adãm'. Let us read Ezekiel's vision of the dry bones in Ezekiel 37:7-14:
"And I saw, and behold, there wee upon them sinews, and flesh came up, and skin stretched upon them on the top, but spirit was not in them. And He said to me: Prophesy to the spirit, prophesy Son of Adãm, and say to the spirit: Thus saith the Lord god: From the four winds come, O spirit, and breathe into these slain ones so that they may live! And I prophesied as He commanded me, and the spirit came into them and they live, and they stood upon their feet, an army, very, very great. And he said to me: Son of Adam! These bones are all the House of Israel."
Yes here is the son of adãm. But it has no meaning. We have to fill this hollow statement with a meaning. Let us look at other places in the book to get an idea. In Psalms 8:3-5 the son of man is identified as next to god in the order of creation:
"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the Moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man, that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour.".
You, the mankind, are on the level of an agent exercising control over every living creature. Who have placed you on this level? Human beings, the writers of the Jewish scriptures did it. Read Genesis 1:28:
"God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
In Psalms 8:6-8 mankind is presented again as the ruler over the creation:
"You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas."
But in Job 25:4-6 everything is different:
"How then can a man be righteous before god? How can one born of woman be pure? If even the Moon is not bright and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is but a maggot - a son of man, who is only a worm!"
It is easy to understand from here that the phrase refers to human beings as insignificant, miniscule creatures. Secondly one can easily detect the origin of the idea of 'woman being a low creature.'
Could all these opinions about mankind have been written by a single man? No! There have been a number of writers.
William Harwood writes in Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus: "Ezekiel claimed, in chapter after chapter (2:1, 3:1, 4:1), that Yahweh habitually addressed him as Ben Adam. This salutation, usually translated 'son of man', is more accurately rendered 'descendant of Adam', or simply 'human'. Ezekiel in the original Hebrew has 'son of man' without a definite article - i.e., a human being. Because the title ben Adam carried the implication that the person so styled was the second Adam, it came to be viewed as a title for the messiah, once the concept of a messiah was invented in post-exilic days. Both the book of Daniel (7:13) and the book of Enoch (46) referred to Ben Adam in terms that persons with a messiah-belief were bound to view as messianic." Ever since Ezekiel, son of man has been a designation signifying special nearness to god of the person so called. Human beings have made this designation, there is nothing divine in it.
Let us see how the Qumran Scrolls approach this idea? The Community Rule 1 QS 3:18-21: "The god of knowledge has created man to govern the world, and has appointed for him two spirits in which to walk until the time of his visitation: the spirits of truth and falsehood. Those born of truth spring from a fountain of light, but those born of falsehood spring from a source of darkness. All the children of righteousness are ruled by the prince of light and walk in the ways of light, but all the children of falsehood are ruled by the angel of darkness and walk in the ways of darkness. The angel of darkness leads all the children of righteousness astray and until his end, all their sins, iniquities, wickednesses and all their unlawful deeds are caused by his dominion in accordance with the mysteries of god … But the god of Israel and his angel of truth will succour all the sons of light. For it is he who created the spirits of light and darkness and founded every action upon them and established every deed [upon] their ways. And he loves the one everlastingly and delights in its works for ever; but the counsel of the other he loathes and for ever hates its ways." Here the influence of Zoroastrianism and its main principle of 'dualism' is clearly seen. Zoroastrians attributed the evil in this world to an independent hostile power - Ahura Manah/Ahriman/Ehriman.
But this idea was unacceptable to Israel. They have one god which is the source of everything as we read in Isaiah 45:7: "I make the light and I create the darkness, I make well being and I create disaster."
What do you think about these different statements about the son of man or the descendant of adam or the two spirits that are assigned to each person etc.?I wouldn't care less if I were you.
With the ideas originating from Iran, Jews have taken up concepts like resurrection, judgment day, paradise and hell.Paradise is given the names of Adn, Aden, Eden. According to some scholars all of these words derive from the Babylonian word Edinu, 'garden'. Let us deal with the idea of paradise first. What was it? Where was it?
The idea has begun with the Zoroastrianism. There we find ideas of good and evil, reward and punishment following death, and the day of judgement, and Hebrews got it from the Zoroastrianism during the Babylonian exile. The complete separation of good from evil is prominent in some Christian texts concerningeschatology.
According to An Encyclopedia of Archetypal Symbolism,"..The English word paradise derives from the old Persian pairidaeza, which means ' walled enclosure, pleasure park, garden'. This term entered Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek while still retaining its original meanings."
Samuel Noah Kramer writes, "There is good indication that the Biblical paradise, which is described as a garden planted eastwards of Eden, from whose waters flow the four world rivers including the Tigris and Euphrates, may have been originally identical with Dilmun, the Sumerian paradise-land."
Edward Burman in his work titled The Assassins - Holy Killers of Islamwrite, " The idea of paradise as a place of rest and refreshment in which the righteous live in the presence of god appears in Judaism and thence in both Christianity and Islam…The word itself is said to derive from old Persian 'pairidaeze', meaning an enclosed area, usually a royal park or pleasure garden, although some derive the word more simply from the Persian 'firdaws' (corrupted version of pairidaeza) or garden. Whichever is the case, the origin is undoubtedly Persian."
Once again, where was this paradise, thepairidaeza, firdaws, edinu, the garden of eden? If we take the mythical poem of Sumerians about Enki and Ninhursag we see that the theme is paradise, which is a place the gods have established for themselves on the soil of Dilmun. The poet describes the place as follows: " This is a pure and clean land full of light, a land for the living where there is no sickness and death." There is no water in Dilmun. The water god Enki orders the Sun god Utu to extract water from the ground and to water the land with it. Dilmun becomes a garden where there is grass and fruit everywhere. This Paradise has a geographical location. The land of Dilmun where the Sumerians have located their paradise was most probably to the southwest of Iran. The Babylonians who has toppled Sumer also located their 'land of living' in the same region. The Old testament mentions that YHVH had set up a garden in the 'corner of east', in paradise (Genesis 2:8). The Old Testament tells us also that a running water arose from the paradise to water the garden which separated into four branches, and names these branches as Fizon(?), Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates.
These characteristics make us think that theSumerian and Yahvist paradises are from the same root. Watering the land with the water coming out of the ground is identical in the Sumerian and Hebrew texts. Ninhursag cursing Enki with a terrible curse for eating the forbidden eight plants, and the curse (to suffer the pain of delivering a child) on Eve for eating the forbidden fruit sound familiar. Eve is called Havvah ('life' in Hebrew), and the same name appears in Kuran naturally. Enki getting sick and Havvah cursed forever to suffer the pain of delivering a child must have their roots in these Sumerian myths.
THE 'ORIGINAL SIN'
Then comes the story ofAdam and Eve. It was edited in line with the basic needs and understanding of the community of the day. God of the Old Testament is said to have created(!) the world, then Adam, then Eve to keep him company. Then the same god throws Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden - the Paradise. Because they lost themselves in the eternal bliss of the sexual union and forgot their creator who has created them to serve him (god). We read in Genesis 3:22-24 the story of Adam and Eve's banishment from the garden of Eden: "And the lord god said, behold the man has become as one of us, to know good and evil.." This statement, about man becoming one of them (gods), shows us clearly that this part of the Old Testament is a remnant from the polytheistic days of the sons of Israel. Ever since Augustine (Check the pages on the SUPREME BEING in this site) Christians have understood their eating of the forbidden fruit as the 'original sin' which has established the need for Christ's redemptive death. But the text says nothing about sin.
Original sin is the first sexual union between the male and female who were created(!) as a couple of different genders, especially for that purpose - to have progeny. So, how could the meant essence of this act of creation - namely the sexual intercourse - be branded as a sin? Who made this wrong or biased interpretation of an absolutely natural act?
Leaving Eden may mean growing up and leaving home, and the serpent could be taken as Eve's awakening sexuality. Here let me give you another perspective: Adam and Eve should never have forgotten their responsibility to serve their god. I could not keep myself from asking, what was the reason behind the creation(!) of the two sexes? Just to sit facing each other and chat?
The famous tree in the Old Testament, which has caused the mankind all the trouble(!) by introducing us tothe 'sexual act ' comes from the pre-Biblical Mesopotamian work, writes William Bramley (The Gods of Eden): "That Mesopotamian depiction showed a snake wrapped around the trunk of a tree, identical to later portrayals of the snake in Eden. From the tree in the Mesopotamian depiction hang two pieces of fruit. To the right of the tree is the half-Moon symbol of Ea, to the left is the planet symbol of Anu." Here we have all the fundamental symbols of the later stories we read in the codebooks of the Abrahamic-Semitic belief systems: A tree, a snake, and the two fruits of which, one is the symbol of eternity and the other the symbol of knowledge. By mixing these symbols according to our needs we could create different stories like the authors of the stories have done. There is nothing divine here. It is all man made.
CAIN AND ABEL STORY
Genesis 4 has a story whereEve/Havvah gives birth to two sons, Cain and Abel. Abel is the keeper of the sheep, and Cain is the tiller of the ground. They offer their products to god. God chooses Abel's offerings. Cain is angry. He kills his brother, etc. etc. So what? We should not look for a logical meaning behind everything, especially if it is the Old Testament. But at least the writers of this codebook must have had a specific intention in telling us this story. What was their intention? When we look back in history and check the Sumerian myths we find an origin to what these writers have told us. The Cain and Abel story most probably has its roots in the Sumerian myth of Dumuzi and Enkidu. The Dumuzi and Enkidu myth has two versions: The shepherd god Dumuzi and Enkidu fall in love with the goddess of love Inanna. Dumuzi and Enkidu present their products to Inanna, who chooses Dumuzi's products and marries him. Enkidu accepts this choice peacefully and lives on as their friend. In the second version of the myth Emesh (summer) and Enten (winter) present their offerings to god and discuss the quality of the products in front of him. God of air chooses the things that Enten has brought. Emesh accepts this choice. Sumerians had pairs who have taken part in this contest each by presenting their own characteristics. The pairs were, cattle and grain, bird and fish, tree and reed, silver and copper, pickaxe and plough, etc. The story about the twins of Havvah - Cain and Abel - may have arisen from this myth, because it has no relevance at all to the story in progression.
MORE STORIES: SODOM AND GOMORRAH
In Genesis 18-19 there is story ofSodom and Gomorrah. God decides to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah where sodomy was widespread. First god bargains with Abraham over Sodom and Gomorrah. In the end of their bargaining god accepts that if Abraham finds ten righteous men he will spare the towns. God ends the conversation and leaves. Lot is in Sodom. Lot is the son of Abraham's brother Haran, in other words he is the nephew of Abraham (Genesis 11:31; 12:5 and 14:12); but in 14:14-16 he becomes the 'brother' (if 'brethren' is not the intended meaning, Lot becomes the brother of Abraham). So who is this Lot? I am aware of the fact that these personalities are most probably pure inventions, but let's stick to what is written in the codebook. Lot is in Sodom and two angels come to town. Men of Sodom want them.. Two angels speak to Lot and tell him to take everybody in his house with him and flee the town. They warn him: 'Don't look back!' Upon which warning Lot takes his family with him and leaves the town. Lot's wife looks back and turns into a 'pillar of salt'. This is the summary of the Sodom and Gomorrah story in the Old Testament. The version of the story we are told is a fairy tale. No one today could accept without questioning this story. What could possibly be the backbone of this tale?
The Jordan Valley is a part of a huge fracture in the Earth's crust. The subsidence released volcanic forces that had been lying dormant deep down along the whole length of the fracture. In the upper valleys of the Jordan near Bashan there are still the towering craters of extinct volcanoes; there are extensive deposits of lava and deep layers of basalt on the limestone surface. Evidence after evidence indicate that this depression has had many earthquakes. The Old Testament records these earthquakes. The question is, did Sodom and Gomorrah sink when perhaps a part of the base of this huge fracture collapsed with the accompanying earthquakes and volcanic eruptions?
The Dead Sea then may have extended further south. As mentioned in the pages on PROPHET ABRAHAM and elsewhere in this site, stories about Abraham, Ya'kub (Jacob, Yah-kobe) and I'zak look like as inventions with the special purpose of finding an origin for Israel back in history.
Excavations at Tell el-Mardikh south of Aleppo uncovered the town of Ebla (dated to the 3rd millennium B.C.). First discovery was that a high degree of culture with an enormously differentiated social structure had existed there in almost prehistoric times. Second discovery was the rich archive of clay tablets that Ebla had. These tablets could demonstrate that the opinions considered invincible until then may have been built on precarious foundations. Third and the most important of the discoveries was about the names. These texts from Ebla dating from the 3rd millennium B.C. contain names which are familiar to us from the Old Testament. Abraham is there. But we are told that he was alive around 1900-1800 B.C. Who is telling the truth, the Old Testament or the writers of the tablets found in Ebla? These writers could not have known the patriarchs who are claimed to have lived in an era 1000 years later. That is not all! Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim on the Dead Sea which were supposedly destroyed by fire, are there on the tablets found in Ebla. The names of the patriarchs have been found also in other sources. But what Sodom and Gomorrah are doing in the archives dated to 3rd millennium B.C.? Does it mean that traditions concerning them go back to very early times, even earlier than the conventional dates accepted for the beginning of the period of patriarchs?
Old Testament page 4