I decided yesterday that I had better get around to reading the Bible. Except that it is very long, and even the readable English of recent translations does not make it any shorter. Nor do they make the essence of the book easy to grasp. What I felt I needed was a quality precis, and this I believe I found in “The Bible Book”.
It is extremely well organised, providing summaries of the key points of the whole Bible, with many intelligent and balanced analysis. And a lot of humour. So I hope to read it all and therefore be a better informed atheist.
Right at the beginning, at the start of Genesis, Adam is expressly told by God not to eat fruit from the tree of knowledge. Now if God wanted Adam to behave, why did he create, of all strange things, a speaking snake that had a tendency to mislead innocent humans? If God wanted to test his creation, man, and that test failed, then was it not God’s fault in the first place for creating someone who was unable to detect the misleading behaviour of a talking snake?
Maybe God has a point that Adam had a choice – obey God or be prepared for the consequences. But why would God then in effect punish himself in condeming all His subsequent creations – humans – to a flawed life that would forever frustrate Him in turn.
He got so irritated at one point, that he decided that there was only one person – Noah - on the planet who still followed his word, and that all others should die. All these misbehaving people. But he did not even get that right – 7 other people were saved – Noah’s wife, his 3 daughters and their husbands. If Noah was the only person whom God could trust any more to follow His word, then why save these other 7? Surely, of all the thousands or maybe millions of people killed in the floods, some were more worthy of redemption?
This behaviour of God, right at the start of the good book hardly endears me to Him. Can I comfortably worship someone who is so happy to kill huge numbers of His creation simply because they were not at his beck and call. This reminds me of a spoilt child, dismissing her friends in a fit of pique. It is not the behaviour of someone who unconditionally loves us all. It is very much conditional love at best.