Monday, 26 November 2007

The Book Of Genesis (annotated)

This is kind of a short story, so if you are in sane majority (if not totality) of the world's population who doesn't want to read a short story by me, you'd best stop reading pretty sharpish. I realise it's vastly pretentious posting a short story on a blog, but seeing as how it's basically a bunch of cheap digs at the Bible I knocked up over the last two evenings, I figured I might as well dispose of it somewhere. The general idea is that I started reading the Bible at a friend's wedding and I thought it was funny how vague it was. Anyway.


BOOK 1 (condensed [it goes on a bit])

Day 1: God creates heaven and earth, followed by light, which kicks off day one. Naturally it’s blasphemous to point out that the first day thus massively overstepped the 24 hour mark.
Day 2: Creates land and sky.
Day 3: Plants.
Day 4: Sun, moon and stars.
Day 5: Fish and birds.
Day 6: Beasts, man and woman. God gives permission for creatures to eat stuff.


BOOK 2 (annotated)

1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

“I’m great,” thought God.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

God would be the first to admit he was light on reference points, seeing as how his completing the heavens and earth in all their vast array was the first thing that anybody had ever done. But he was fairly sure six days was good going. Also he’d just done the first thing ever. That was pretty good too.

He did, however, have the nagging feeling that given his previous workrate, taking a day off might arguably be to the detriment of the world.

“Hmm, better think of a way to justify this, those bastard angels might start grumbling...”

Incidentally, God had created the celestial host by way of flunkies. Despite their vast power, they weren’t the most colourful bunch of individuals, so it didn’t seem especially important to mention them. But they were around; probably a day five or six job.

3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

“Right, it’s holy, so shut up, everyone has to have it off. Those are the rules, okay? Maybe I’ll create another planet in the next six days. Or maybe I’ll concentrate on being holy for a while.”

The fish, birds and beasts pretty much ignored him, but he couldn’t really be bothered to smite them. They were basically all idiots, after all. The angels chilled out with aplomb, but then again, that wasn’t exactly a change in direction.

4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens—

5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground,

“So, like... what have the birds and beasts been, y’know... drinking for the last two days?” drawled Lucifer, one of the seraphim. Or maybe one of the cherubim.

“They’re fine,” God replied, testily.

“But dude, I’m just saying... don’t you think it’s kind of cruel leaving them without water for over 24 hours?”

“They’re fine,” God snapped back, with a wrathful gleam in his eyes.

“Just saying,” muttered Lucifer under his breath. “If it’d been me I’d have created the fresh water before the beasts and birds. (Also where have all the freshwater fish been hanging out for the last two days?)”

“Shut up, that’s where,” replied God, who could hear the muttering on account of his being omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.

6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground—

Incidentally, the freshwater fish certainly didn’t evolve from the saltwater fish or anything like that. Because that would be immoral. In fact they had been suspended in a celestial aquarium. God had had some vague idea of unleashing them to smite those who had angered him at a later date, but in retrospect pike are, at best, the Argos version of sharks, and the rest of them; well, they weren’t exactly ravening danger machines. Also the angels kept forgetting to feed them. So everything panned out pretty well and made complete sense.

7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

“Uh, didn’t you do this on day six?” asked a puzzled Lucifer.

“Don’t you have anything better to do?” growled God.

“Not really, man.”

“Well piss off”.

And he did. But he wasn’t very happy.

8 Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

“Well, this is nice,” commented the as yet unnamed man.

“Nice? Nice!?” sputtered God. “This is paradise. It’s literally the best place on Earth. It took me fifteen minutes to make. Fifteen minutes.

“Very impressive” replied the nameless individual, somewhat weakly. “And of course, it’s got a lot of potential. So you’re in charge around here, then?”

“Potential?” roared the Almighty. “It’s the single most wonderful place ever created. In fact, it’s the single most wonderful place that ever will be created. Because I am not giving up fifteen minutes of my time again if it means I’m going to be spoken to like this.”

“All I meant was it was maybe a little lacking in features Mr, er...” said the unkown man, timidly extending a hand.

“Oh right, fair point,” nodded God, distractedly. “It is basically just a load of grass and rivers and beasts. And those good for nothing freshwater fish. I could have sworn I created trees on day three.”

9 And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground— trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“Oh that’s better,” said the man. “That’s really... quite a lot better. Could you perhaps show me how to do that, um, sir? I have some great ideas.”

“I beg pardon?’ growled God.

“Well, I thought maybe some sort of rockery or something?”

“Listen pal,” rumbled the Most High, “I’m the guy who creates stuff. In fact I’m the guy who created everything. Not them,” he said, gesturing at a clump of angels getting silly on the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, “and certainly not you. Alright?”

“So you’re my dad?”

“Exactly. But no hugging. Worship me from afar. And call me Father. With a capital F. Now go play.”

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.

“Okay, so I’m just going to pop out now,” the man said to no-one in particular. Except also to God, who was omipotent, omnipresent and omnisicient. But not really paying any attention at that time.

11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.

“Now this is more like it,” declared the satisfied man.

12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.)

Oh yes, I really like this place. Eden’s great, well, okay, for a holiday, but this is somewhere I could live. That’s lovely resin.”

13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush.

“Not so hot on Cush. No onyx.”

14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

“Nope, I think I’ll be settling down in Havilah. Definitely. Definitely definitely.”

15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

“Look, young man,” said a testy God, “I don’t know which bit of ‘paradise on earth’ you don’t understand, but the Garden of Eden is the best place ever created, it’s a lovely place, and moreover it’s a place created specifically for you, by me. So if you could kindly stay there then I won’t have to smite you and we won’t need to hear any more about this.”

“I completely undertstand where you’re coming from fath-’ began the man.

“That’s Father. And you don’t undertstand where I’m coming from because my mind is infinite.”

“ Yes. But it’s just that there’s not really very much to do.”

“Oh, alright. I’ll put you in charge, how’s that?”

“But Father, in charge of what? Everything runs in complete harmony, it’s really nice, but I honestly think I’d be much happier living in Havilah. I mean you created that too, so surel-"

The man was cut off by a divine pronunciation.

16 And the LORD God commanded the man, You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;

17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.

“Father, with the best will in the world, if Eden has a lethal tree in it, maybe I should just go back to Havilah? I mean, I completely accept it’s not as good as Eden, but they’ve got grapes the size of your thumb there that, well, they’re good. I think it’s the volcanic soils.”

“One: shut up about Havilah, or I’ll smite it, so help me. Two: there’s loads to do in Eden. The angels are enjoying it.”

“They’re eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“Well, yes, but they’re divine beings, they’re hardly going to eat satsumas, are they? Anyway, the birds and the beasts, they’re having fun.”

“They’re also eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

“Hmm, yes, yes, that’s really not really ideal, but they’re basically idiots. The knowledge of good and evil is pretty much useless to their tiny brains.”

“I just feel a bit excluded.”

18 The LORD God said, It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.

“Well that would be nice,” said the man, brightening up. “Maybe you could make another one of me.”

“Oh right, and maybe I’ll just do whatever you say, shall I?” replied God. “Now I come to think about it, what about the beasts? There’s loads of them, I’m sure some of them must be fun. No need to discriminate against them because they’re idiots.”

“Oh,” said the man, a little crestfallen. “Well what type of beast would you recommend?”

“I dunno, they’re all such dreary company I haven’t really bothered to subdivide them. Hairy fools. Hmm, actually, there is something you could do for me; I’m sure you’ll enjoy it very much.”

19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.

The Bible does not record exactly how long this took the man, but given there are currently 1.5 million named animals on the planet, and for the sake of argument (and because there’s definitely no such thing as evolution) let’s add a mere half million extinct animals, then assuming Adam worked an eight hour shift six days a week with a one hour lunch break and an average two minutes required to name each animal, that works out at about 30 years and six months. While he wasn’t especially happy with the length of the task and the fact it didn’t really seem to be helping him close in on life companionship, his general lack of perspective on the flow of time meant that at the very least he didn’t really know any better. He also had some fun about 25 years in calling loads of birds ‘tits’. Having not eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was spared resenting God for not doing it himself in, like, one second, but fortunately he hadn’t, and was in an optimistc frame of mind when the Heavenly Father turned up at the end of the task.

“Took your time, but well done,” said God, heartily. “I might give them all proper names if I get round to it, but for now, that’ll do. And as a special treat, I thought I’d let you choose yourself a name. Pretty benevolent, eh?”

“Yes, quite,” agreed the man. “Well I’ve had a long time to think about this... and after much consideration I’ve decided that I would like to be called Optimus Prime.”

“Riiiiight. No, the thing is, what may have sounded like ‘choose’ to you was actually ‘your name’s Adam.’”

20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found.

“You’re right Father, they are all idiots.”

“Of course I’m right. Now shut up, I have a plan.”

21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh.

While this was vastly more time-consuming than the methods by which he’d created every other living thing on the planet, God was keen on correcting Adam’s shoddy posture.

22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

“Right, check this out. Not bad, eh?”

“Oh God, my ribcage really hurts!”

“Unbelievable,” tutted God, “unbelievable.”

“Could you, please maybe do something about the pain? I think I’m going to pass out.”

“I think that’s for the best. It’ll teach you a lesson.”

And so Adam passed out. On one level God was quite bored waiting for him to wake up, but on another he was omnipresent and thus joined the angels and the beasts at a divine feast at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and had a jolly good time. Eventually Adam came to and contemplated the woman.

“Th-thank you, oh Lord,” said Adam, doing his best to ignore the black flecks darting in front of his swimming vision.

“That’s better,” noted God, approvingly. “Now have some fun with her, eh?”

23 The man said,
This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called 'woman',
for she was taken out of man.

“So how does that work? Etymologically speaking?” asked the woman.

“Ooh, don’t know,” replied Adam. “Maybe a compaction of ‘womb’ and ‘man’? or maybe it makes sense in the original Hebrew.”

“Psst,” growled God to Adam with a whisper like thunder, “stop treating woman like an equal, she’s a flunkie, enjoy it. I created you in my image, and if there’s one thing my image has, it’s flunkies. Do some ordering before you embarrass me.”

24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

“Are we married?” asked the woman.

“Er, I don’t know,” replied Adam.

God glared at him balefully.

“I mean, that is to say, shut up. Um. Woman. Let’s have joyous procreational sex. But, er, only if we’re married.”

God nodded, approvingly.

25 The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

This was very fortunate, as there was no such thing as clothes.