Thursday, May 27, 2010

Genesis Retold: Part One

Based on the New Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible

Chapter One

Before there was earth and sky, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the chaotic waters. A strong wind and lightning swept over these waters and light appeared: sometimes it was light and sometimes it was dark.

A dome began to form around the earth, separating the chaotic waters, forming a sky. The waters on earth began to gather into one place (the seas) and dry land appeared (the ground).

The ground began to bring forth vegetation: plants and fruit trees and trees of every kind containing seeds.

Stars and other lights were in the sky, which were used for seasons, days, and years. The greater light was the sun, which shined during the day. The lesser light was the moon, which shined during the night.

The water brought forth swarms of living creatures, and birds flew above the earth in the sky. There were great sea monsters and every living creature the water swarms with. These sea creatures were fruitful and multiplied and they filled the waters of the sea, while the birds multiplied on the land.

The earth brought forth living creatures: cattle and creeping things and wild animals.

Humans appeared, male and female, and they became thinking creatures, and they had dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, the wild animals, and every creeping thing. They were fruitful and multiplied; they filled the earth and tamed nature.

Every plant and every fruit tree were the food for the humans. Every green plant was food for the beasts, birds, and everything that creeps on the earth.

Chapter Two

In one area of the earth, there were no plants or herbs in the field, because there was no rain, although there were streams that would water the ground. Since the dust of the earth brought forth mankind, man could till the ground and plant gardens, where he would live. One man lived in a garden in a land he called Eden.

A river flowed out of Eden to water his garden. This river divided into four branches: Pishon (which flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold, bdellium, and onyx stone), Gihon (which flows around the whole land of Cush), Tigris (which flows east of Assyria), and the Euphrates.

Men eventually named every living creature: giving names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field. But among these animals, there was no suitable helper or mate for men. Only women were compatible for men. And men would say of their women, "She is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh." This is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, because it seems as if they become one flesh, as if woman had been taken from out of the body of man. And the man and woman who lived in the garden were always naked, and they were not ashamed.

Chapter Three

Now the woman was one who wished to gain knowledge. Sometimes she felt as if her thoughts came from somewhere else, from some crafty creature, because these thoughts opened her eyes. She saw that knowledge was good, delightful, something to be desired to make one wise. She learned about death, and she learned about good and evil. She shared her knowledge with her husband and his eyes were opened too. They realized that they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together to make loin cloths for themselves.

The woman and man's new knowledge made them feel guilty and afraid and they sometimes wanted to hide. The man blamed the woman for sharing her knowledge with him, and the woman blamed the thoughts that seemed to come from somewhere else, from some crafty creature, as if she had been tricked. The woman's least favorite creature in the garden was the serpent, because it would strike at her heel and she would have to strike at his head. So she blamed the serpent, as a symbol of these thoughts, and she imagined that this is why the serpent slid upon its belly and ate dust all the days of its life.

The woman learned of other things, such as the pangs in childbearing. She learned that in pain women brought forth children, yet she knew that she had desire for her husband anyway, because he ruled over her.

The man learned that he would have to toil all of his days, because the ground would not easily yield things to eat; it contained thorns and thistles, and he had to eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of his face he ate his bread, until he returned to the ground, because out of dust he was brought forth and to dust he would return.

The man and woman made garments of skins for clothes. They knew about good and evil, and they knew they would not live forever. They knew that, if there was a secret for living forever, it would be impossible to obtain it. And they left the garden in Eden to till the ground elsewhere.

Read Part Two.

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