Tag Archives: rewriting the bible

Genesis 3

27 Feb

One day there came a serpent, little brother of the agrarian goddess–more intelligent than any animal that Eve and Adam knew. “Is it true that the war god forbade you to eat from the fruit trees?” the serpent asked curiously. “What a waste!”

 

“Well,” Eve replied, “there’s one tree we can’t harvest from; even the bark is poisonous, and if I were to touch it, I would die. The war god told me so. But there are many other trees here, a whole orchard where I can eat my fill, and isn’t that enough?”

 

The serpent laughed, for as the little brother of the agrarian goddess, he was well-acquainted with the unique properties of the taboo tree. By its fruit had his own people learned to farm and plan cities; they had accumulated knowledge, and were respected for their brainpower the world over. “It won’t kill you, I can assure you,” said he. “What it will do is open your mind and empower you to make informed decisions. The war god’s afraid of how strong and smart you’ll be if you eat this fruit–think of it! The great big war god, afraid of little you!”

 

Eve spent a great deal of time mulling this over. It was true that the war god had warned he was jealous and egotistical; was it possible that he would go so far as to lie in order to maintain the upper hand? She thought all day and night, but could not decide which course of action was best. First she sat in the shade of the tree, and did not feel wicked; then she ran her fingers along its trunk, and did not fall ill.

 

When morning came and still nothing had happened, Eve made up her mind to pick the best fruit from the tree, and she ate it. “Adam,” she called, and she offered some to him. The fruit was delicious and satisfying, and they were amazed to find that the world seemed to expand with every bite.

 

When both Eve and Adam had eaten their fill, they found themselves in possession of a new self-awareness. “Look at our beautiful bodies,” said Eve, “look how capable we are!” With a fresh admiration for their frames, the prototypes sewed wonderfully creative decorations for themselves from flowers and leaves, and donned them proudly, like parade marchers.

 

Then Eve and her companion heard the war god’s heavy footfall–he was storming through the garden as the crow flies, heading straight for the clearing where they stood. “Where are you?” he bellowed. “Where are you hiding?”

 

“Here we are!” called Eve and Adam, and they looked up to see the war god staring down with an angry expression, teeth bared.

 

“Why are you wearing those ridiculous garments?” the war god cried. “You must have disobeyed me and eaten that poisonous fruit!”

 

Frightened, Adam took a step back–both his feet and his mind. “Eve has done evil,” he said. “Eve is to blame. None of this would have happened if she hadn’t wanted to discover new things.”

 

Before the war god could get another word in, Eve confessed. “I did eat the fruit, and you were wrong: it doesn’t kill. The serpent told me the truth, and now I see everything differently.”

 

So the war god summoned the serpent, little brother of the agrarian goddess, and said, “Thanks to your interference, I’m cursing you low! I will send drought and fires to destroy your crops, and there will be nothing left for you to eat but dust. You and your people will be smashed underfoot, and I’m glad.” And he sent the serpent away and turned to Adam.

 

“You listened to a woman and look where it got you,” the war god snarled. “The whole planet is doomed, and it’s all your fault. I have no choice but to destroy you and every living thing; you’ve driven me to it. I hope you’re happy.”

 

And then the war god looked to Eve. “You’ll be punished with pain of all kinds. You’ll be sorry you rejected my protection. You both have long, hard lives ahead of you, and when you’re in trouble don’t come crying to me. You’re going to die, and you deserve it, fuckers.”

 

And the war god, in a fit of anger, slew some animals–particular friends of Eve and Adam they had been. He skinned them and from their pelts fashioned bloody wardrobes for the prototypes, grumbling all the while. “You think you’re as smart as me, but you can’t possibly be as powerful,” he said. “My strength is violent; no one voluntarily consents to my plans. Now get out of here, and don’t forget how merciful I was to let you escape.”

 

And so Eve and Adam were banished–they were the first ever kicked out of home by a self-righteous parent. As they passed through the gate, they were singed by the flaming sword of the man from the underworld, hired to kill trespassers and keep the garden empty. This was the first pain the prototypes had ever felt, and it would not be the last, but Eve was not sorry.

 

When she glanced behind, Eve was startled to see for the first time that the garden was encircled by a reinforced wall, so high as to be impossible to scale. She had been in prison without knowing it, and had escaped its confines by choosing something for herself. Now the whole world lay before her, open and green, and she went out to meet it.

Genesis 11:1-9

27 Feb

Now the whole world was one community, one big family. There was only one language, and that was enough. Ideas flowed freely, everyone had a chance to be heard, and no one was left out. The people began to migrate East, but their shifting circumstances could not sever ties between them. Some found a good place to settle in the Shinar plains and began to build a new home base there. 

Someone knew how to make bricks, and some others were architects and designers; they pooled their resources, and each person shared whatever specialized knowledge they had cultivated. “Work with us!” said the skilled laborers to the rest. “We’ll build a city for ourselves; its strength and beauty will remind us of how hard we worked to get here and how much potential we have. We’ll build a tower taller than any before and our future will be bright.” The people gladly pitched in together, sharing responsibilities and growing their skill sets. Brick and tar foundations set firmly and promising.

But the war god came down to examine their work, and he found it offensive. And the war god said, “No. These people cooperating and investing in each other are building more than just a city. When people work together this honestly, they are surprisingly powerful! With this much faith in each other, they have no lasting discord and they have no need of me. Let me destroy their togetherness, and then they’ll welcome me. Let me clip the cords of their throats–when they lose all ability to communicate with understanding, we’ll see how fast they turn on each other.”

So the war god punished the people for binding together. Some suddenly found themselves speaking new tongues, the very sounds of which were unfamiliar to their own ears. Some became deaf, and were made to rely on the inventive use of their hands and body language. Some could no longer form words at all, as though their tongues had been severed, and perhaps they had–who can say?

It was just as the war god had hoped: once they felt the bewildering pangs of verbal disconnection, the people could no longer keep a grasp on the close-knit community they had invested so much in. Suddenly split, the newly-formed factions clung tight together for fear of losing even the few they had left, and they began to view the others with suspicion and hard eyes.

The people, now identifying as self-interested tribes rather than a universal family, scattered in all directions–staking private claims for themselves and marking their territories. The dreaming was over, and the city remained unfinished and uninhabited. And the magnificent tower, half-built, came to be known as Babel, because it marked the place where Us-vs.-Them thinking was born.

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More to come.