© 2020 by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Aviner

 

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IDOLATRY-7/Is Genesis a Myth?

 

Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference

 

1: Questioning the validity of Genesis

 

ELoKIM is truthful
In our quest to comprehend IDOLATRY, the First of Noah’s Seven Commandments, we have arrived at the top of the Ten Commandments of Sinai that says

I Am

LORD (YHVH) your GOD (ELKM)

Who took you out of Egypt Land

This Introduction – or Commandment- is written in a Positive way, telling us what TO DO.  It obliges all peoples, Israelites and Noahides, to BELIEVE and KNOW the Speaker by the very Names He has chosen to present Himself.

We’ve started our study with the Holy Name EeLoHiM (ELKM) – the All Mighty JUDGE- which is usually translated as GOD.  The original term ELKM infers, that the world was created to withstand judgment. (we remind this to ourselves each year on the anniversary of Creation- the Rosh Hashannah,  a day dedicated to universal judgement)

The Heavenly Court that executes that Judgment is presented by Genesis Chapter One. it says that “At the Beginning, ELKM created the Heavens and the Earth.”  Implying that later, other Attributes  joined the Court.

Indeed, at the end of the Six Days, the Attribute of Mercy YHVH appears the first time in the text, and as an acronym.  Hence the world was created to withstand a Judgement by the Heavenly Court – first by the harsh JUDGE ELKM, seeking the absolute truth and justice, then by the Attribute of MERCY, YHVH who  ameliorates our verdict.

What about the story of CREATION in Chapter One?  ELKM, we said, stands for the Absolute Justice and Truth.  His Name appears 32 times during the Six Days.  His Signature of truth is stamped 32 times over the story of the Six Days.  The story therefore can’t be false.

The question: Does Genesis concur with our Science? 

The stakes are high.  If we find Genesis to be another ancient myth, incompatible with our science, it would question the truthfulness of ELKM, and with it the entire revelation of Moses!

On the other hand, if we find Genesis to be compatible with our science, then – wow! Who could tell Moses such a credible story 3500 years ago?

Let’s ask, then,  is Moses’ Genesis another bronze-age myth? Is it compatible with our Scientific knowledge of the history of the world? ?  

 

Genesis compared to bronze age myths

 

What the scholars say
To most modern scientists- archaeologists, astronomy experts, geologists and anthropologists – Moses’ Genesis is just another BRONZE-AGE MYTH.  Ms. Karen Armstrong, in her famous book The History of GOD, simply counts Moses’ Story of CREATION among other myths of his time. His story is no different from those told by the Mesopotamian  people, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Canaanites. Since she does elaborate on those ancient myths, we can compare them to Moses’ account.

According to Ms Amstrong, the Egyptian believed that the world was created when a male god named Rah (like in Ra-amssess) impregnated a goddess named Nun (‘water’ or ‘darkness.’) Fearing that her embryo would rebel against him, Rah slashed Nuns’ belly, killed his son and threw his testicles into the Mediterranean sea near the city of Acca.

The lamenting mother goddess Nun cried and cried.  She then dived into the sea, retrieved her sons’ testicles and resurrected him.  From this resurrection the world was created.

We can imagine how emotional the story was in the Egyptian’s eyes. Their priests paraded in the streets chanting it, celebrating the resurrection with much passion. Their philosophers and poets composed hymns in the honor of the heavenly event. Moses, growing in Pharaoh’s home. must have been aware of that story.

We may sympathize with this myth and shed tears along with the lamenting mother for her lost son. Yet one thing we can’t do- say that the story matches our Science.  No way!

 The Greek too told similar myths about CREATION. According to Karen Armstrong, the Greek believed that a ‘male god’ named Uranus impregnated the goddess of Earth, Gaia.  Fearing that her numerous embryos, the Titans. would exit and rebel against him, Uranus pushed the Titans back into their mother Gaia’s womb, causing her much agony.  Whenever the Earth is shaking under your feet, it is Gaia twisting in labor pains.
But the youngest Titans, the brazen Cronus, stood up against his father-god and cut his sexual organ when he penetrated Gaia.  Cronus then threw away his father’s sex organ into the Sea, from where the world was created.

Again, we may sympathize with the Titans and even play football in their glory. Yet one thing we can’t’ do – claim that the Greek story has anything to do with our Science.  Their story is mythical, whereas Science’s story is factual.

 Other ancient myths
Other cultures in Moses time told similar stories about CREATION. The Japanese, Chinese, Indians and Africans – all told stories full of sexual perversions, jealousy, rivalry, murder and chaos. None can be matched with our scientific knowledge of CREATION!

 

  In contrast, Moses’ Genesis is Clean and Factual 

Moses story is clean
Can Moses’ Genesis be counted among the myths of his time? Compared to them, Moses’ Story seems CLEAN, bereaved of any violence, of Jealousy, of sexual perversion or power struggle among  gods. Compared to them, Moses’ Story seems dry and factual.  You wouldn’t parade with it in the streets chanting hymns for its glory. Moses’ story  lacks any emotion, and you can’t cry or lough hearing it.  Instead it counts the Story of CREATION Day by Day, in dry, factual scientific fashion.

Moses sees an order in CREATION
Moreover, unlike all ancient myths of his time, Moses’s story recognizes ORDER in CREATION. The world was created in in Six Days or stages, with some elements of Nature made first and others followed. Fish preceded Birds, Birds preceded Crocodile, and both preceded Cattle which preceded Beasts. Man came on board as the last creature in a long chain.

This ORDER alone set Moses’ Genesis apart from all the myths of his time.   No one else in the Bronze Age knew about such an order in Nature.  For Pharaoh, the animals roamed around for his pleasure and hunting. Some powerful animals were revered as deities.  How can anyone count Moses’ Genesis among those myths?

Having compared Genesis to the myths of his time, let’s compare it with our Scientific knowledge about the history of Earth. Can these two narratives be matched?

  

END OF IDOLATRY- 6