Part one. God
Without God there would be no religion just Scientology which is more of a testimony to human stupidity than anything else. L Ron Hubbard – the L is for Lafayette – did exist but was not exactly brim stone and fire, more deluded and self obsessed…..Ahh yes I see, Godlike in some ways then. Nope, for any religion to take hold and really fuck people up it needs a creator, a powerful protagonist like the Christian God known by many as God Almighty, Lord God, Our father, Yahweh, Jehovah, the big guy in the sky, the dude, the dudeanator and the big fella. I’m going to talk about the Christian God for the sake of this article, don’t get me wrong I’d love a Fatwa but I have no where to put it.
If we for a moment, for argument sake and as an intellectual exercise, assume that God is a fictional character in a fictitious story called ‘The Bible’ it may well serve us better to analyse his character faults, strengths and plausibility.
In the beginning of the book we meet God busy throwing the universe together, we know nothing of his back story, what he’d been up to before creating everything, had he tinkered in some celestial potting shed, had a difficult childhood, wrote sonnets or preached verily to himself. No one knows the answer to these questions, perhaps JK Rowling could write the prequel for us ‘ God the early years’.
We start with six days of frenzied activity, light, earth, planets, heavens, bacon, coffee and paracetamol then a bit of a lie down before the action begins. So as an introduction to the main character we know very little, other than the fact that he’s obviously quite awesome, in a make something out of nothing sort of way.
Then he created Adam and Eve whom he blessed 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.” So he’s saying ‘here you go, have unprotected sex out of wedlock and multiply with each other incestuously’’ not very Catholic then is he? He also points out that there are obligations to the care of the planet and its many inhabitants.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. Oh and I almost forgot, whatever you do don’t for heaven’s sake eat from the tree of knowledge” And it was so, which is nice.
A benevolent God then, a caring creator, a giver not a taker and a kind fatherly figure who spoils his children with gifts that he nonetheless expects them to look after. Or so we are led to believe.
Next we have the original sin – if you’d Adam and Eve it- the disobedience of the children in the Garden of Eden, the forbidden fruit, the covering up of their genitals with fig leaves, the serpent banished to crawl on its belly for eternity and ……hang on what’s with the serpent? So before having his legs removed, he had legs did he? How many, how long were these legs of his and did he have arms too? What a curious creature he must have been, skinny slimy body lolloping about on ruddy great legs like a kangaroo, no he’s better off without.
So What about God? He’s disappointed in his children, condemns her to child bearing pain –like it didn’t smite before- and him to a life of laboring the fields. He didn’t destroy his creations, he banished them, clothed them and packed a healthy lunch box to see them on their way, not such a petulant God; he wants to do the right thing and will, if truth be told miss their company. He can no longer pop down to Eden for a natter, for companionship, for a bit of a laugh but has to draw a line between God and man.
Allow me to back track a bit at this juncture, let’s get this clear, God says, look guys eat whatever you want from the Garden of Eden, fill your boots, but whatever happens don’t touch that tree over there, yes the one in the middle of the Garden, yes the one that sticks out like a sore thumb, yep, you can’t miss it’. He then tells his children a lie – or a metaphorical truth – by adding, ‘eat from the fruit of that bad boy and you will surely die’. Right all clear, because we all know that when you tell a child ‘no’ he – or she in this instance – does as she is told?
Enter the lolloping Serpent on his bandy legs, ‘who is more crafty than any beast of the field’, which you know is meant to be a bad thing. Knowledge is bad, and whereas all the other animals are as dumb as dumb can be, old serpent has barrel loads of crafty. So how come serpent had crafty and no one else – including silly old Adam and Eve – did? Had perhaps poor old serpent accidently stumbled upon a fallen fruit from the tree and thought, ‘fuck it, what harm could it do?’ Not really his fault then is it? There he is all of a sudden armed with all this knowledge and doesn’t know what to do with it, he needs to tell someone, and who better than the caretaker’s wife? He has also picked up the ability to speak without a larynx – or to use the vernacular of the time ‘Adam’s apple’; Author smiles smugly at his own joke.
Then Eve armed with the knowledge that the fruit from the tree would make her wise saw it as desirable. So once you have eaten the fruit you will be wise, your eyes will be open to good and evil, like God, who at the moment wants to guard his children from sin and, well fun. So if you have wisdom after the event then that means you are witless beforehand; right? Then tell me this, how on earth is one able to make an informed decision without wit? She doesn’t know her arse from her elbow, one minute she’s a rib and the next wallop a fully grown woman.
Which leads me on to another thing, which is this, before Eve there was Adam, all alone but for his fishes and birds and beasts, It was Adam’s failure to find a suitable ‘helper’ amongst his flock that led to Eve being made. Sooo Adam looked for a mate did he? Tried out a few beasts of burden before going to God and saying, and I’m paraphrasing ‘look Big fella, I appreciate the effort, I really do but, ehh, how to put this delicately? I’m done with shagging sheep!’
God doesn’t come across as being that competent when it comes to the small details, I mean he’s fine with the big brush strokes but misses the nuances, like a mate for Adam! Typical man, and let’s face it, the Christian God of yore is a bloke, no doubt about it. Why does he put the tree of knowledge plop in the middle of the garden anyway, what’s it for? It’s not for God is it, after all he knows everything, so it’s a test is it? A test for whom, the witless Nimbys, new on the block; like mice in a lab, God watching with his white coat and clipboard, or the leaky lipped serpent sly and leggy, deceitful or just eager to please? I’m not sure that God, new at the job after all, had thought everything through, far be it for me to nick pick, but really!!!
In later episodes I’ll explore the other side of God, the warlord and destroyer; also his relationship with Noah and his descendants. We’ll piece together a complex, sometimes uncertain caricature who acts on advice from his subjects and at other times is belligerent and single minded. The conclusion to which is simple, we are not dealing with one God at all, we are dealing with several Gods, and to be specific we’re looking at an amalgamation of much older Gods from way back when. Characters from forgotten mythology and folklore merged into one new God to fit all sizes. Like all good fictional characters before him, God was inspired by what came before.