Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Plagiarized Fables?

This video (“Garden of Eden - In search of The Real Location of The Garden of Eden (Biblical origins of Mankind)”) claims to pinpoint the location of the garden of Eden as being at the base of the Persian Gulf.

Jonathan Kirsch  is interviewed as are a few others. He is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times in California who briefly studied Jewish history and he is a lawyer. At the bottom of the wikipedia link I just provided, note the Amazon books link. Read the comments of those that gave his Bible commentaries one star. There is adequate reason to be concerned about his writings, perceptions and viewpoints.

Bible’s Treatment of Women: Quote from Mr. Kirsch in this video (starting at: 03.:20): “Woman is shown again, and again, and again, in the pages of the Bible and long thereafter as the tempter, the seducer, the corrupter.” First of all, lets get rid of the “and long thereafter.” The misuse and misinterpretation of the Bible is not the fault of the Bible for whatever was written “long thereafter.” Now, consider the generalization “again, and again, and again.” Women, collectively and individually have been depicted in scripture in favorable light, but no mention of that is made. The reality is that men have also been depicted as acting in evil ways. In fact, more often than women, men who were supposed to be setting the example as leaders committed crimes that resulted in either severe punishment from God or in some cases even the death penalty. To this point, Mr. Kirsch has actually written a book about King David that portrays all his failings. So the point about the Bible picking on women as evil (implying that men are elevated above women) is false.

Creation & Contradictions? 26:02. “The Bible is apparently inconsistent and full of contradictions… It says that humans were created twice.” No, it doesn't, but nice try. The creation account gives a panoramic overview of the creative days in chapter one, which actually ends in Chapter 2, verse 3. Starting in verse 7, the writer “zooms in” to details related to mankind’s creation. No dual creation account. (And no, I didn't conveniently ignore verses 4 through 6. I’m just not going to treat those verses here because the point being discussed is the number of accounts of human creation--of which there is only one.) One cited contradiction is at  27:00. There, a Mr. Jason Boyett, author of “The Pocket Guide to the Bible,” states “in the first chapter of Genesis, Adam is created in the ‘image of God.’ In the second chapter he is created from the dust of the ground.” When I heard this, it sounded as if Mr. Boyett felt there is a contradiction between being made in the image of God and being formed from the dust of the ground. However, some feedback from a friend indicated he didn't think Mr. Boyett found that the contradiction as much as Genesis 1 speaking about humans being created as a pair in contrast to chapter 2 which indicates they were created separately.

If the claimed contradiction is as I understood it, that there were first humans “in God’s image” (thus implying they lived in heaven as spirit creatures) and the second was from the dust the ground, please note that first Genesis 1:27 says God created humans in his image and then he directs that they “fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.” Then he says that the vegetation of the earth would serve as food. (vss.27-29). So chapter one definitely points to an earthly existence, not a heavenly one. What then of the phrase “in God’s image”? The word “image” can also be understood to refer to higher character traits not associated with other physical life on earth such as love, wisdom, and our ability to govern. The point, in context, is that humans were considered something different, something better, than animals. Chapter two continues on the thought of physical, earthly human creation by drawing attention to the fact that, like the rest of life on earth, we are carbon-based creatures made from the elements of this earth.

If however, the perceived contradiction is as my friend heard it, that chapter one seems to indicate that mankind was made as a pair whereas chapter two definitely shows Adam and Eve were created at separate times, then we need come back to what I originally stated about the differences between those two chapters--the first is an overview where each creative “day” (period of thousands of years) is addressed individually as major accomplishments; whereas chapter two concentrates its details on the sequence of humankind’s creation. (I can understand that many would be confused with the sequence of Genesis 2:4-6. For me, the key thought to always keep in mind is we should always vindicate God as the truth-teller, not ourselves.)

The Zohar Is Not In the Bible: There also mention (27:24) of “Biblical tradition… Adam’s first wife, Lilith.” But this is not a text even located in the Bible. It is referring to the Zohar, which is nothing more than Jewish fables. The video calls the Zohar “Jewish texts” and tries to link them to scripture. That is like comparing the writings of Doctor Seuss to history books. At 30:38, Mr. Kirsch is back at his shenanigans claiming that modern, liberated Bible-reading women can relate to Lilith. Really? That’s interesting, because the use of the word "Lilith" in the Bible is not directly related to humans, male or female. And there is absolutely no mention of that word in the Genesis account of creation.

The Four Rivers: Starting at 35:00 through 37:30, quoting the video, “the Bible says that they [the four rivers mentioned in Genesis] met at their source, but Juris Zarins believes they met at their base.” Mr. Zarins found two “fossil rivers” that extend from the Persian Gulf and concludes that this marks the location of paradise. Yes, this man is an archaeologist. But no, just discovering two, now non-existent, rivers at the base of the Persian Gulf doesn't prove we have found the location of the garden of Eden. If fact, since the Bible says that all four rivers “issue” (started at) the garden, the discovery of fossil rivers cannot be it. (Now, is it possible that where the Persian Gulf is today, there was once a mountain, therefore being the point of issuance instead of the point of termination? There is old saying, “Speculation yields frustration.” The fact is, knowing the location of the garden of Eden is not at all important to our current relationship with God. Our knowing and obeying Jesus, on the other hand, is absolutely vital for our lives.)

Faith Is Not The Possession Of All People: Before this video was made, I would not doubt that many 19th, 20th, and 21st century youth and adults would have said that the whole Genesis account is complete fiction. Now, science believes they may have found the location of Eden. Science has always shown itself to be adversarial toward the Bible except when they get archaeological finds shoved down their throats proving how wrong their claims against the Bible are. Then they eat humble pie and are amazed how accurate the accounts in the Bible are. Does this move the majority of people to take a second look? No. Did this video encourage or detract from the Bible? It very cleverly detracted, claiming the Bible is nothing more than plagiarized fables. (It really is laughable that this video claims to identify the location of Eden and then still feels the Bible is fable.)

In defense of Genesis.

1 comment:

  1. That guy was a complete hack. Lilith was Biblical tradition? More like medieval fable!