“Both read the Bible day and night, but thou read black where I read white.”
Genesis on a Tangent
Lets look at the First Lesson in the Bible. If it is the very first lesson in this huge tome, it must be important.
The Bible opens with the speak things into being stuff. Then we jump right into the Garden of Eden story, one of the most famous stories in history.
Here is the set up (KJV, of course):
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
So, the rule is don’t eat it.
Here is the First Lesson we are to learn.
The Serpent has asked Eve a question to which she replies:
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Eve added “neither shall ye touch it”. Her first big mistake was adding to the rules. This is a very big first lesson and it sits there like a diamond. It is important to us, from God, to know the failure that comes from adding to the rules.
She could have played baseball with the fruit or learned to juggle. There was nothing wrong with touching it, nothing at all.
Eve could have thought many things, we don’t know:
- Maybe claiming that God said it would make it stronger.
- Maybe she wanted to make it more important.
- Maybe she thought that she’d please God.
- Maybe it made her feel more spiritual.
- Maybe she was trying to impress by layering more stuff.
It is this lesson that we fail at every day. It is human nature to keep adding things on top of good rules. We think that we can make something more weighty or important by adding pomp and pageantry and ritual.
God teaches us not to do that in this first lesson.
Why do we celebrate Lent? It is not in the bible. Why do we take communion in the church with solemn ritual? That is not in the bible. Why do we dress up for church or confess to a pastor or say Hail Mary or have pot lucks? We were warned to not do all of the additional stuff, it was the fall of Eve, yet no one can stop or question that non-stop train.
“It makes me feel more spiritual to pray on my knees.” God told us not to add to the rules. You can pray standing up, God is okay with it.
The marriage vows are required by law, till death do you part, in California! I say let the license do the legal stuff, if you want vows do it with God and your wife. But, it can not be separated.
God’s first lesson is not about church. It is in our everyday lives. It is in the rules and mores of society. Dare we question why we throw salt over our shoulder for good luck? Risky stuff, if you ask me.
Our society has good rules. Most of them start with the ten commandments. Some things are very good, like dressing well for work; they make sense. A lot of what we do makes the world flow smoother like saying hello and smiling. I am all for human decency.
Still, I think that knowing God’s first lesson prompts us to ask why we do things a certain way. Why is voting the way it is, it got complicated. Why do we celebrate birthdays or graduations or anniversaries? Why do they play Hail to the Chief? Golly, everything in your life should be questioned until you get down the very real good rule underneath it all.
This isn’t me telling you this, it is God’s first lesson. Don’t add to the rules.