Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Genesis Overview

today's podcast

Given that I have recently decided to collect all of the important verses from the entirety of the Old Testament in one place, I decided to do something a little different with these overview posts. I'm going to very briefly describe the important parts in each chapter. I've also decided to collect highlights of the Christian commentary arguments here.

God's to do list: Genesis Edition

Chapter 1:

Day 1: God creates a formless earth and light
Day 2: God creates the sky
Day 3: God created dry land and plants
Day 4: God created stars, the sun, and the moon.
Day 5: God created sea creatures and birds
Day 6: God created land animals and humans, and gave humans everything.
  • The commentaries try desperately to explain away the obvious scientific inaccuracies in this chapter
Chapter 2:

God rests on day 7, then he recounts the creation of man and woman. He creates the garden of eden, along with the tree with the forbidden fruit. Also, apparently one verse here is the basis for marriage.

  • The existence of the forbidden fruit is justified by saying God wants us to have a choice.
  • God gave man woman because marriage civilizes men, sociopaths are always single.
  • Adam coming first proves men > women.
Chapter 3:

A serpent tricks Eve to eat the fruit and she shares it with Adam. They got knowledge of good and evil from the fruit and hid from God because they were naked. He punished them by giving women the pain of childbirth and making men work in the field. He then kicked them out of Eden.

  • Don't even talk to people who are "evil"
  • Being deceived is a sin
  • Christianity brought rights to women
Chapter 4:

Adam and Eve have 2 sons, Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel and he then he ran away from God to the east where he found a wife somehow and had a bunch of kids. Adam and Eve had a replacement son.

Chapter 5:

Explains that people used to live a long time and goes through a bunch of pointless genealogies. Very boring, don't waste your time reading this one.
  • We can count the genealogies backward and see that the earth is around 10,000 years old. This doesn't match what science says because God created the universe with age built in.
  • People lived longer before the flood because the effects of the fall hadn't had time to build up in the gene pool yet.
Chapter 6 (part 1part 2)

God sees that humanity is evil and decides to kill everyone. God tells Noah to build an ark and put his family as well as 2 of every animal (and 7 of every clean animal) into it.
  • Angels/demons mated with humans which partly caused the widespread problems.
  • God being sad that man turned out that way doesn't mean he didn't know it would happen or that his creation had gotten away from him.
  • Everyone will die eventually, so it is God's prerogative to kill you when he sees fit. Therefore God killing everyone and everything wasn't overly harsh or cruel.
  • We haven't found the ark because of politics.
Chapter 7:

God follows through and kills everyone in a global flood.
  • Many cultures have a flood story because they are all descendants of Noah.
  • There is enough water if the earth was a perfect sphere.
Chapter 8:

Noah waits out the flood, when it is finally over he lets everyone out of the ark and immediately sacrifices some animals.
  • People are inherently evil.
Chapter 9:

God tells Noah that he and his descendants are allowed to eat any animal, just not blood. God says that eye for an eye is good, then he tells people he will never kill everyone on the planet again with a flood and the rainbow is the sign of this. Later, Ham sees drunken Noah naked and is punished severely along with all of his descendants.
  • Many details are added to make Ham seem like he deserves his fate. The items added include that he was insulting, looked on Noah with delight, and even that he sexually abused his father.
Chapter 10:

Worthless Genealogies

Chapter 11:

The tower of babel. People gather together instead of dispersing as God said and build a tower into the heavens. God says it is only the beginning and they will be able to accomplish anything they want now, so he makes everyone speak different languages to stop it.
  • Waterproof bricks prove they didn't believe God wouldn't flood the earth again
  • Building a tower to heaven is silly, they probably built a tower that looks into heaven
  • It's a blessing not a curse, God is putting a check on fallen man's evil
  • God in the flesh = Jesus
  • Man is no better after the flood than before
  • People spread out and change for their environment, he describes evolution
  • Language must be from God, unless it evolved
Chapter 12:

God tells Abram to go to a new place and he then promises the Canaanites land to his descendants. Later Abram goes to Egypt and tells the Pharaoh his wife is his sister. The Pharaoh, thinking she's single, takes her as his wife and gets punished by God for this act. So he gives her back and sends them on their way
  • God in human form must be Jesus
  • The Canaanites are demonized to explain why God is giving away their land
  • God is praised for creating famine in some place but not everywhere
  • Pharaoh is cast as evil even though he never did anything wrong here
Chapter 13:

Abram and Lot have too much livestock for the land they are occupying and get in each other's way. They decide to separate

Chapter 14:

Lot get's captured and Abram rescues him.

Chapter 15:

God promises Abram that he will have a son and countless descendants who will have control over land which currently belong to other people. But first they would have to be slaves for hundreds of years.

Chapter 16:

After Sarai and Abram have trouble getting pregnant, Sarai suggests that Abram get her servant Hagar pregnant. He does that, but then Sarai gets jealous and scares Hagar away. But an angel gets Hagar to come back, so I guess everything is cool.
  • An angel of the lord appeared to Abram, it must be Jesus!

God Changes Abram and Sarai's names to Abraham and Sarah. Then he promises that they would have a son, but says that Abraham must circumcise all of the men in the house for all time. Also he approves of slavery.
  • God talking to Abraham must be Jesus
  • Circumcising the slaves was doing them a solid

God visits Abraham and promises them again that him and Sarah will have a son. She overhears and laughs, but then lies about having laughed at God because she's afraid of him. Then God tells Abraham that he's going to potentially destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham asks if he will destroy the righteous with the wicked. 
  • Once again, Jesus is inserted here
  • God's apparent lack of knowledge is for Abraham's benefit

Two angels go down to Sodom to check things out, and every man in town other than Lot tries to rape them. Lot offers up his virgin daughters to the crowd instead, but they are not interested. Lot is allowed to get away and the city is destroyed. Then Lot's daughters get him drunk and have sex with him while he's blacked out and they both get pregnant.

Chapter 20:

Abraham uses the same scam as in chapter 12, he says Sarah is his sister, a king takes her as a wife, then God gets pissed at the king so he gives Sarah back to Abraham and gives him a bunch of money to make the problem go away.

Chapter 21:

Isaac is born, Sarah makes Abraham kick Hagar and Ishmael out of the house, but they do fine in the wilderness so it's cool. Then Abraham makes some treaty with Abimelech.
  • Isaac is a lot like Jesus

God tells Abraham to kill Isaac, then stops him right before he does it. Abraham is rewarded for being obedient and for fearing God.
  • When people listen to voices in their heads now they are deranged, but Abraham was not
  • Abraham thought God would resurrect Isaac after he killed him
  • Isaac is like Jesus
  • God wanted to see that Abraham loved him more than he loved Isaac

Sarah dies and Abraham acquired some land in a place where he was a foreigner to bury her.
  • Abraham says he's a foreigner because he belongs in heaven

Abraham asks his best servant to go get Isaac a bride from their homeland and not from Canaan, he complies.

Chapter 25:

After Sarah, Abraham remarried and had a bunch of kids. But he sent them away and spent virtually all of his resources of Isaac. Rebekah had trouble getting pregnant, but eventually had twins. They fought in the womb and God said they would fight forever. Esau was born first, but God said Jacob would be in charge. At some point Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a meal.
  • God works in mysterious ways

God makes the same promise to Isaac that he had made to Abraham a bunch of times and tells him to stay away from Egypt. Isaac complies and stays in Gerar. Isaac told everyone that Rebekah was his sister instead of his wife so they wouldn't kill him. Apparently he is as bad a judge of character as his father. Eventually Esau marries a Hittite woman, which is a huge problem for Isaac
  • no recognition that Isaac was wrong about people killing him over his wife's beauty
  • Defense of racist characters

Isaac wants to give a blessing to Esau, but Rebekah manipulates Jacob so he steals the blessing and then has to flee to her homeland so Esau won't kill him in retaliation.

Chapter 28:

Jacob gets blessed by his father and is told to head to Laban to live with his mother's sister and marry one of his cousins. One the way there he has a dream and God tells him he will inherit the land. Esau adds one of Ismael's daughters to his harem.

Chapter 29:

Jacob agrees to marry Rachel, but her father tricks him into marrying his other daughter Leah as well. When God sees that Rachel is loved but Leah isn't, he makes Rachel barren and gives Leah 4 sons.
  • God was teaching Jacob a lesson
Chapter 30:

Jacob has tons of kids with his wives and their servants as they fight over him. Then he and Laban negotiate the terms of him returning to the Canaanite lands. Jacob skirts these terms by manipulating the breeding of the livestock by controlling what they look at while breeding...seriously...that's in there.

Chapter 31:

Jacob decides to go back to the Canaanite lands that God has promised him. He sneaks away from Laban with his family in tow. Laban catches up to him and they agree to not fight in the future.

Chapter 32:

Jacob returns to the land of his father, and sends word to Esau hoping they can make up. It appears that Esau is still pissed. Jacob tries to appease him with gifts, then makes preparations to save his family even if he winds up dying. Also, he wrestles with God and wins.
  • When the bible says that Jacob wins, it means that God wins
  • God in the flesh must be Jesus
Chapter 33:

Jacob was afraid of meeting Esau, but it turned out Esau was just happy to see him

Chapter 34:

Jacob's daughter gets raped by a prince, so Jacob's sons tell his city that if they all get circumcised they can marry each other's women. When the men are recovering Jacob's sons kill all the men and steal all of their stuff including women and children.

Chapter 35:

Jacob leaves that area, and God keeps the other surrounding cities from attacking them as they leave. Also Jacob's wife Rachel and his father Isaac die.

Chapter 36:

We learn that Jacob and Esau combined have so much stuff that they can't live near each other.

Chapter 37:

Joseph is Jacob's favorite son. He is unfortunately completely unaware of how much his brothers hate him until his pisses them off to the point that they almost kill him. At the last minute they decide to sell him into slavery instead.
  • Guzik assumes that since this story and one about Jesus both use astronomical objects, they must be related
  • Guzik compares the trials of Joseph with modern day Christians
Chapter 38:

Judah had 3 sons, the oldest got married but God killed him before he had children. The second son was supposed to impregnate his wife and the kid would count as the older's, so the middle son didn't want to do it and God killed him as well. Judah was scared of losing his last son so he doomed her to being an eternal widow, but then she tricked him into impregnating her. She then had twins and there was some shenanigans about which was born first.
  • Being around and marrying Canaanites is the source of the problem
  • This message isn't about masturbation, although some say it is
  • It was god's plan that she trick Judah into impregnating her

Joseph is a slave in Egypt and gets put in charge of his master's house. The master's wife wants to sleep with him, and when she gets forceful he runs. She accuses him of attempted rape and he gets thrown in jail, then he gets put in charge of the jail.

Chapter 40:

Joseph has a few high ranking guys thrown in jail with him. He interprets their dreams and tells one he will be restored to his former position, and tells the other he will be killed. Both are correct predictions.

Chapter 41:

Joseph interprets a dream for Pharaoh and then becomes his right hand man. He is put in charge of taking extra grain from people during times of surplus and selling it back to them during a famine.
  • The holy spirit supposedly makes a showing

Due to the famine, Jacob sends all of his sons except for Benjamin to Egypt to get food. Joseph sees them and imprisons one (Simeon) and sends the rest home to bring back the last brother. He also sets them up to call them thieves later. Jacob refuses to send Benjamin back and abandons Simeon for dead.
  • God uses famine to accomplish his goals

The brothers return to Egypt with Benjamin. They are brought in to Joseph's house to eat.
  • Satan is blamed for Judah's previous poor actions

Joseph let's his brothers go, but puts their money back in their grain bags and puts his chalise in Benjamin's. Then he sends his guys to catch them stealing and brings them back. He insists that Benjamin stay with him as his slave, and Judah begs to take his place

Chapter 45:

Joseph finally tells his brothers who he is and sends for his family to live nearby and be taken care of. Pharaoh approves.

Chapter 46:

Joseph's family moves closer to Egypt and the Pharaoh approves. Also, genealogies.

Chapter 47:

The Pharaoh meets Joseph's family and once again, says they can settle in Goshen. Jacob blesses Pharaoh a few times. Then Joseph takes all of the starving people's resources in exchange for giving them their own food back and makes the slaves of the Pharaoh from now on.
  • Jacob saying his life was a pilgrimage means he knew about heaven

Jacob gives his Joseph's sons a blessing, but gives the younger one a better blessing. Also, we see the narrator here alternate between Jacob and Israel. What's up with that?

Genesis 49:

We get a summary of Jacob's sons, what they have done and what they will do. They are pretty much all terrible. Also Jacob dies.

Genesis 50:

Jacob is buried, Josephs brothers lie to him saying their father wanted him to forgive them, he says God used their evil for good ends. Then Joseph dies.
  • They totally ignore the lie the brothers told.
  • Also, God will use bad things in your life for eventual good.


  1. Great summary Hausdorff. It's a lot of work, I know. You did a fine job.

    I got some giggles out of seeing the collective silliness of the Christian commentaries. The way they'll stick Jesus into anything is just hilarious.

  2. Nice work especially the comments. Some.... ok all make no sense.

    BTW was just thinking about Lot and his daughters. This is absurd he made them pregnant when he was drunk. He either knew it was his daughters or he was to drunk to get it up. So what does that say about Lot god chosen one to escape the burning Sodom.

  3. Thanks guys. I think one of the best moves I've made was adding the commentaries. It's one thing for me to vaguely remember something from decades ago when I was a Christian, or to try to guess how I would have reacted back then. It's another to see what a Christian whose dedicated enough to write one of these commentaries says about it. And of course, distilling down the most ridiculous stuff down will give us concentrated crazy :)

    Christian, that's an interesting thought about Lot and his daughters. Is it possible that he could be blackout drunk and still be able to perform? It would certainly be difficult, but is it impossible? I honestly don't know the answer to that question.

  4. When you're done with all this I'd look into publishing most of it as an atheist's Cliff Notes to the Bible or something. I know there are annotated bibles from a secular perspective, but I think your summaries fill a different need.

    My favorite re-cap was "Worthless Genealogies" :-)

    1. That's a damn good idea. I'll have to keep it in mind :)

    2. As long as I get my cut. ;-)


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