The QuasiChristian

Critical Thinking and Spiritual Reasoning

The Garden Of Good And Evil


Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden

Robert M. Price, Ph.D.

One of the best known stories in the world is the Bible tale of the Garden of Eden (the Book of Genesis, chapter 2, verse 4, through the end of chapter 3). Many people believe two things about this story that I think are not true. The first of these is that Adam and Eve were actual people who lived in a real place called Eden. The second is that the story tells us the human race is sinful and that life is hard because God is punishing us. Let me explain.

The story of Adam and Eve in Eden is not supposed to be history. The name “Adam” means simply “human being.” When people in a story have names like this, we are reading a fable or a myth, not a story of facts. When we read further and meet another character who is a talking snake, we have to wonder how anyone ever thought this story could be historical fact!

So the story of Eden is not fact but fable. Many fables teach important truths. Does this one? Wait and see. But first, here is why I think the Eden myth does not teach that the human race is sinful. God is another major character in the story, but is he the “good guy” or the “bad guy”? We usually hear that the snake is the villain, and that he is somehow the same as the devil. But the story says nothing about any devil. The devil is a character in other Bible stories but not this one. But not only is the snake not the devil; he is not even evil! I say the snake is supposed to be the hero of the story, the friend of the human race. Let’s summarize the action. Continue reading

October 7, 2010 Posted by | Biblical Studies | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Wants You To Know (Message #5)


Jacob's Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder

The ladder or stairway that Jacob sees in his dream (Genesis 28:13-15) is the passageway between heaven and earth. The comparable word in Akkadian is used in Mesopotamian mythology to describe what the messenger of the gods uses when he wants to pass from one realm to another. It is this mythological staircase that the Babylonians sought to represent in the architecture of the ziggurats. These had been built to provide a way for the deity to descend to the temple and the town.

Jacob’s background would have given him familiarity with with this concept, and thus he would conclude that it was a sacred spot where there was a portal opened between worlds. Though he sees the stairway in his dreams, and the messengers (angels) are using it to pass between realms (embarking on and returning from missions, not a procession or parade), the Lord is not portrayed as having used it, but as standing beside it (this is the proper translation of the Hebrew idiom).

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: The Old Testament

October 6, 2010 Posted by | Education, Satan Wants You To Know | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Satan Wants You To Know (Message #3)


Construction of Noah's Ark

The Flood

The most significant ancient Near Eastern flood accounts are found in the Atrahasis Epic and the Gilgamesh Epic. In these accounts the chief god, Enil, becomes angry at mankind (the Atrahasis Epic portrays him as disturbed over the “noise” of mankind) and, after trying unsuccessfully to remedy the situation by reducing the population through things like drought and disease, persuades the divine assembly to approve a flood for the total elimination of mankind.

The god Ea manages to forwarn one loyal worshipper, a king who is instructed to build a boat that will preserve not only him and his family, but representatives skilled in the various arts of civilization. The other people of the city are told that the gods are angry with the king and he must leave them.

The pitch-covered boat has seven stories shaped either as a cube or, more likely, a ziggurat. The storm lasts seven days and nights after which the boat comes to rest on Mt. Nisir. Birds are sent out to determine the time of leaving the ark. Sacrifices are made for which the gods are very thankful since they have been deprived of food (sacrifices) since the flood began.

The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament

October 4, 2010 Posted by | Education, Satan Wants You To Know | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Was The Real Sin Of Sodom?


The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah, a paint...

Rev. Patrick S. Chang, Ph.D.

To many anti-gay Christians, I’m nothing more than a “sodomite” who is damned for all eternity. It doesn’t matter that I’ve spent the last decade immersed in the Bible, ancient biblical languages, and the Christian theological tradition. It doesn’t matter that I’ve dedicated my life to preaching, teaching, and ministering to all people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. The simple fact that I’m an openly gay man makes all of that irrelevant. To anti-gay Christians, God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in chapter 19 of the Book of Genesis is a warning to people like me.

Ironically, I believe that these anti-gay Christians actually have it backwards. The true sin of the Sodomites as described in the Bible has nothing to do with same-sex acts per se. Rather, the ancient Sodomites were punished by God for far greater sins: for attempted gang rape, for mob violence, and for turning their backs on strangers and the needy who were in their midst. In other words, the real sin of Sodom was radical inhospitality. And, ironically, it is often anti-gay Christians who are most guilty of this sin today.

The biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah begins when two angels, disguised as travelers, arrive at the gates of Sodom. They meet Lot, a relative newcomer to the city, who insists that they spend the night in his house. The other men of Sodom learn about the two strangers in their midst. In contrast to Lot’s gracious hospitality, which includes preparing a feast for his guests, the men surround Lot’s house and demand that he turn over his guests so that they may “yada” them (Genesis 19:5). Anti-gay Christians have interpreted this Hebrew word narrowly to mean “to have sex with” and thus have interpreted the sin of Sodom as nothing more than engaging in same-sex acts, as opposed to “rape” or “molestation.”

Link to Article (Continue Reading)

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Biblical Studies | , , , | 1 Comment