Genesis Chapters 9 and 10

Chapter 9

God tells Noah that all animals will now fear humans (and boy do they ever), but you shouldn’t eat and animal that is still alive. There’s also some eye for an eye stuff in the form of,

6Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 9:6, p. 42). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

We get more repetition from Genesis 8 that God will never again destroy the entire earth with a flood. So he’s saying that he may destroy the earth again, but it will be in some other way? He seals the deal with a rainbow. Except, he says that the rainbow is to remind him not to destroy the world a flood again.

Verse 18 makes it sound like we might expect some other sons to leave the ark as we are, once again, reminded of their names. Noah somehow, in some unspecified amount of time, plants a vineyard, grows the grapes, picks them, ferments them, and gets drunk on the wine laying naked in his tent. His son Ham, who we are reminded time and time again is the father of Canaan, walks in on this and goes to tell his brothers who walk backward with a cloak to cover the old man.

When Noah awakens, he somehow knows that Ham saw him nekkid and curses Canaan and asks God to bless his other two sons and make Canaan their slave. This story seems completely unrelated to the rest of the flood narrative. I’m just glad it’s over now.

Chapter 10

This is the Table of Nations which explains how all the nations of the world were descended from Ham, Shem, and Japheth. As it turns out, shockingly, Ham is the father of Canaan <–#END SARCASM–> and Egypt. Here’s another problem for young earth creationists, if the flood happened anytime between 2430 and 2475 BCE (there are at least three different creationist groups that claim a different year for the flood), Egypt’s history goes back to 3100 BCE and there is no mention of global flood. Wouldn’t that be notable? Wouldn’t one of Ham’s relatives have written, “…where were we before all that flooding?”

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, there were plenty of cultures that were well-established before the supposed Beginning which, according to James Ussher, took place in October 4004 BCE. None of them write about a global flood around the same time. Sure, they had floods, but that is the peril of living next to a river as most civilizations did.

One other thing, because I’m me, I have to chuckle at the name Nimrod. That is all.

Saturday Sermon: Heaven and Hell

Last week, I talked about the concept of Original Sin and how if one isn’t baptized, he/she would be sent to a fiery torment for all of eternity. If one was baptized, then an eternity in the most holy and glorious place would be the reward. Of course, after an eternity, my question is, “What’s the difference?”

Heaven and Hell (and the other place, more on that later) are concepts that I learned in Catholic school. In case you forgot, or are new here, I was raised Catholic. Pretty much, the above paragraph is what I was taught. If I was good, I would go to Heaven, but if I was bad, I was going to hell. These concepts didn’t last long with me. The biggest problem is that Heaven and Hell make little, if any sense.


The all-loving, all-merciful, all-forgiving God (at least in one breath of a religion class lesson) loves all of us, but if we are bad and cross him, He will send us all to an eternity of fire and brimstone. Except…why? Being a human being of a limited lifespan, any sin we commit would, by necessity, be a finite sin. The idea of an eternal sentence for a measurable misdeed is unjust by definition. Hell is a fictional construct that gives people a comeuppance when they are wronged. The wrongdoer may not be punished here on earth, but whoa nelly, are they going to get it in Hell.


I have even more of a problem with Heaven, believe it or not. Heaven is where the good people go when they die. The people who atoned for their sins and went to church every Sunday (or Saturday evening) would get into Heaven. There they would live in the presence of God and unending happiness forever and ever. Question: What if a happily married couple die, but the husband didn’t atone for his sins prior to shaking off this mortal coil? How could the wife be happy in Heaven for all of eternity when her husband is going to Hell for the same amount of time? Even a convicted murderer on death row is allowed visitors.

How can Heaven and Hell be considered reasonable by any measure of justice?

Oh, right, that other place

One other concept I learned about in school was the concept of Purgatory. It can be summed up by calling it “Hell light” or “Heaven’s waiting room”. Purgatory was a way to get unbaptized babies and not-too-bad people who may not have atoned in time into Heaven without contradicting that whole bad people go to Hell thing. Basically, someone who was good, but didn’t get baptized prior to their death would be sent to an alternate site where there would be some torture and gnashing of teeth, but to a lesser extent and for a shorter-than-eternal period of time. Frankly, I find it a silly idea. My description above may not be church-accurate, but it’s close enough.


There isn’t much to report this week. The blog rolls on as I work my way through Genesis.

I welcome comments and criticisms provided that they’re civil.

If you have any ideas or would like to know what I think about various topics, ask me @AlienBiblical on Twitter

Genesis Chapters 6, 7, & 8

Chapter 6

The population is growing and the text speaks of the growing wickedness of man, but there are no examples given. I can posit my own hypothesis that involves not really punishing the first murderer, Cain, who was simply told to go wandering and that anyone that kills him would be punished sevenfold. There is some curious language about limiting their days to 120 years and also of the Nephilim, which are apparently giants. The Oxford Bible Commentary isn’t much help here either. It only posits hypotheses about Mesopotamian origin stories.

God decides that he is going to get rid of all of the humans, along with all of the animals, birds, and creeping things. No mention of fish. I suppose the authors here thought that fish could survive in whatever water they were tossed into (they can’t).

Why does God find it necessary to destroy all life with a flood? He can apparently sneeze out a whole universe and create all of the animals therein, but he can’t simply disappear the ones that displease him? Hell, Thanos did that at the end of Avengers: Infinity War (I know it’s a spoiler, but if you haven’t seen it already, that’s not my fault). Apparently God does not own, nor can he create his own Infinity Gauntlet, so he decides to use a great flood to destroy everything.

God appears to be quite human and fallible compared to contemporary belief. He has regrets and expresses sorrow, although that sorrow will result in the destruction of everyone and everything for no stated reason. Likely these stories are based around other flood myths and simply play a game of one-upmanship. “Oh, this story destroyed a city, and this other one destroyed a country? Well, we’re going to destroy THE WHOLE WORLD!!!”

Going back to God’s abilities from a couple paragraphs ago, again, he can fart out the entire universe, but he can’t supply a boat for Noah and his family. He also can’t bring the animals to Noah, but Noah and his sons have to gather two of every animal, male and female. This is an impossible task if it is to be taken literally since they would have to travel to Australia, North and South America, and all the Pacific Islands to find each and every animal. But then, it gets a bit more confusing.

Chapter 7

OK, now things get confusing. After being told to gather a pair of each animal, now Noah is told to gather SEVEN PAIRS of all clean animals and. Pair of the unclean animals. Oh, and he has seven days in which to do this before God sends the flood.

There is plenty of repetition in this chapter as we are told twice that Noah is six-hundred years old when he boards the ark with his sons, and Noah’s wife and his sons’ wives (this is one of those repeated lines) and the animals (and creeping things).

A few comments on the whole ark thing with a bunch of animals. Lions and tigers eat a lot of raw meat in the form of other animals. How did zebra’s, gazelles, deer, etc. survive not only being prey in close proximity, but also what did they eat? Did Noah bring enough plants and grasses aboard for all of the herbivorous animals? What about koalas? Did they have plenty of eucalyptus to eat? These are questions that have to be answered if one is going to take this story literally and see it through to any logical conclusion. Science can easily debunk the whole story. Saying God provided the food for the animals raises the question of why didn’t he just provide the ark and the animals in the first place?

We get two entrances onto the ark. This points to different sources being cobbled together with no regard for continuity. In both, Noah is in his six hundredth year, but the second expands it to the second month and seventeenth day. Then the flood started after God shut them and the animals in and it rained for forty days and forty nights.

There is no geologic evidence for a global flood. Geologic column lays this bare since the sign of a global flood would be one giant layer with graded bedding, which would be largest grain at the bottom, finest grain at the top and a mixture of all fossilized animals (including humans) throughout.

So God makes it rain for forty days and nights, with the waters swelling for one hundred fifty days and makes good on his promise to “blot out everything on the face of the earth,” in order to eliminate the wickedness (except Noah and his family). However, we see plenty of wickedness after this story, so how’d that work out?

Chapter 8

1 BUT God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen. 8:1, p. 40). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

I love this line. Does he remember all the other people on the ark? So after one hundred fifty days, God figured that was enough to  kill everything and decided to stop the flooding.

Amazingly, after the rushing torrents of water from both above and below, the ark landed safely only about seven hundred miles from where it was built. All of this with a floating zoo built out of wood and pitch and no mention of nails because the hardest metal that they knew of at that time was bronze.

Finally, after forty-seven more days, the waters abated to where the dove didn’t return. Finally, God commanded that Noah and family and all of the animals come out of the ark and start the task of repopulation, despite the fact that the ground would be salted, unable to grow any food. Also, how did the animals from the other continents get back home?

Taking this story literally requires a tremendous leap of faith and an even greater leap of logic, along with a flimsy grasp of reality. All while this supposed global flood is happening, several cultures  around the world are thriving with no mention of a flood. Many of these cultures kept records that survived to today. To say that the flood did happen, would be akin to the house burning down of a man who keeps a daily diary and destroying everything, but the house being rebuilt on the same property exactly as-is, and another diary-writing person moving in and making no mention of the fire or rebuilding.

Oh, and those seven pairs of clean animals from the week before the flood? Those are used for a burnt offering to God…because he commanded it. I’ve heard it said, and I agree with the statement, “Any god who demands to be worshipped isn’t worthy of it. Any god worthy of worship wouldn’t demand it.” I’m sure after a few weeks on the ark, those clean animals were starting to look mighty tasty.

Genesis Chapters 4 and 5

Chapter 4

The man and his wife, Eve, had sex and she bore Cain and then Abel. There is no time for discussing growing up, because they’re already men and working in the fields. Abel is tending to the livestock and Cain is tilling the ground and growing fresh veggies. They both make offerings to God, but God didn’t recognize Cain’s offering. Cain get mad at Abel and lures him out to the field to kill him. Eventually, God finds out and curses Cain by making leave and go wandering (Nod is “wandering”), but nobody can kill him or else they will receive a sevenfold punishment.

There is no explanation as to why God did not accept Cain’s offering. Is he not a vegetable fan? I can see why God chose Abel’s offering. I mean, some fresh young animals are perfect for a barbecue. But why does Cain get mad at Abel and kill him? He should be mad at God for not giving a reason for his decision. As an aside, from AJ Jacobs’ book, The Year of Living Biblically, there is a hierarchy of sacrifices and animals are number one on that list.

I will bring this story up again in a couple posts because I see it as telling that Cain gets off pretty easy for murder. OK, I mean, he hasn’t been given any commandments or anything, so maybe he didn’t realize that murder was wrong. Oh, right, except that humans know the difference between good and evil thanks to mom and dad eating from that tree in the last chapter.

Chapter 5

It’s a tree…

“Cain knew his wife…” Huh? This would only make sense if the first chapter creation narrative is included and God created humankind and not just one human and a rib woman. Anyway, I’m not going to get hung up on this. We get genealogy of Cain, then we return to Adam and Eve knowing one another and producing Seth because Cain killed Abel. Seth had a son Enosh.

We get yet another genealogy, this time of Adam which is actually a genealogy of Seth. This one has some common names to Cain’s lineage, including Lamech and Enoch. The latter of which is interesting in that, despite having only a few lines written about him in this book, spawned an entire volume known as the Book of Enoch. It is only found today in the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible and as a separate book. There is a great video on this book on the YouTube channel, Religion For Breakfast.

Ages in the bible are interesting. Methuselah lived until he was nine hundred sixty-nine years old. The idea of ages in the Bible is one that has confused me for a long time, and it still does because of the counting system used. There is an excellent primer on the BioLogos blog that breaks down how to calculate the ages in years of the patriarchs in the Bible ( Quick and dirty explanation: It’s most likely based on a base-60 counting system and “years” are most likely months, which would make sense since the moon cycle would be a better measure of time back in those days since the full phases could be observed. Also, the Jewish calendar is based on months, and the Christian holiday of Easter moves based on when Passover falls.

And to think, I didn’t think I would say anything about the genealogy chapters.

Saturday Sermon: Original Sin

Since this is my first Saturday writing this blog, I thought that on the weekend I would take some time to discuss other topics related to the bible, religion, or even myself. Sometimes there will be a connection to the parts of the Bible I posted about in the past week, but it’s going to be whatever enters my heathenistic head. Since I used to go to church on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning, I will be calling this feature, Saturday Sermons.

Since I just posted my take on Chapter 3, I thought I would take this Saturday Sermon to talk about the concept of Original Sin. That is, the stain put upon all of mankind’s souls because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to the story, everyone born after them will be born with their sin and would have to be baptized to rid themselves of it or they will be cast into hell.

As an addendum to the previous post (chapter 3), I would like to ask a question. Was it even possible for Adam and Eve to knowingly disobey God when they ate the fruit? The fruit is what would give them the knowledge of good and evil, that is I would assume, knowing right from wrong. If they didn’t already know right from wrong, how would they know that disobeying God is wrong?

As will be a common mantra throughout this blog, I was raised Catholic and learned all about Original Sin and heard the justifications from priests, nuns, and lay pastors for this concept. The idea that my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., could have done something before my birth that I would have to pay for makes absolutely no sense. Even if one of my relatives committed a murder doesn’t mean that I’ve committed a murder, which means that I should not have to be punished for it. I might certainly feel some burden of guilt and would want to reach out to the family of the victim, but that would be more in line with saying, “I am not my relative.”

The crime that we’re talking about here is not even akin to murder. It’s nothing more than being caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to have anymore cookies for a week, but to be damned to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire? That’s a bit excessive.


I am going to start posting larger sections of my Bible commentary to the blog. I will try to keep the reading at a reasonable length, but I also don’t want to pile too many topics on top of one another.

As always, I welcome discussion and disagreement. I only ask that you keep the discussion civil. Address the message and not the messenger.

Genesis Chapter 3

Any five year old who went to any type of Christian school or was carted off to Vacation Bible School to get out of their parents’ hair for a few hours (I did both) will know the story. Eve gets tempted by the snake, eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, gives it to Adam, yadda yadda yadda, they’re booted out of the garden and Azeraphael has to stand guard with a flaming sword.

The snake is just a snake. Snakes have always been considered wily and sneaky in the animal kingdom. This story is nothing more than an allegory to explain why humans are flawed and why the world is the way it is. This story is a ham-handed attempt to explain the world. Remember in the last chapter, God started off his relationship with man by lying to him when he told him that if he ate from the Tree of Knowledge he would surely die. The snake told Eve that the fruit would make them like the gods. That was the truth as confirmed by God in verse 22.

Then the LORD God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (Gen 3:22, p. 34). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Another question that I have is, who is God talking to and who is “us”? Likely this story was written while polytheism was still a thing.

Genesis Chapter 1 (and 2)

I find it hard to separate the first two chapters. The first chapter is simply the creation narrative through day six. My only issue with chapter one is everything in it. God created light on the first day, then on the third day created plants and vegetation, but didn’t create the sun and moon until day four. Obviously, day five was spent planting new vegetation because the stuff that was there froze to death. He created the birds, fish, animals, and creeping things on the fifth day and humankind on the sixth.

The NRSV uses the word humankind, and man instead of adam or Adam. That’s because the word “adam” from Hebrew means humankind. The first chapter seems to be more egalitarian than the rest of this book as it states, “God created humankind, male and female,” which says to me that this author is not sexist.

The second chapter starts off with God resting, but then goes into another creation narrative. This one is abbreviated, in a different order (man is created before the animals), and it also includes the creation of the garden of Eden, with the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (henceforth, The Tree of Knowledge) and the Tree of Eternal Life. He told the man that if he should eat the fruit from the Tree Knowledge he would die. More on that in the next chapter.

God decides to make the man a helper as a partner, so he creates a multitude of animals for the man to name and hopefully find a helper and partner. When that fails, God gives the man a general anesthetic and proceeds to remove a rib and form it into a woman. This basically states that women are subservient to men in this chapter, and it seems that this is how it goes for the rest of the book. The author of chapter one must have been fired.