Listening to the Bible is exponentially more powerful than reading it. You pick up on fascinating, curious, and alarming things you miss when you read it: The serpent in Eden told the truth; Cain married a wife and built a city with a global population of only three people; women are sexual predators; disabled people desecrated God’s temple; the earth went into a counter revolution; God approved polygamy, and recommended slavery; a runaway slave got converted to Christianity and was promptly sent back to his slave master; the soon and imminent coming of Jesus is 2000 years over due!
As the author listened to his Bible and compared what he heard with what is deemed appropriate, reasonable, and civilized in this modern era, he could not help but conclude that his Bible dose say the darndest things.
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My Bible Says
The Darndest Things
By Pricely Francis
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2016 Pricely Francis
All rights reserved.
A Snake with Legs and a Weird Appetite
My Bible says snakes once had legs and walked upright. Well it kind of suggests it. God placed a curse on the serpent after it had lured Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. "... upon thy belly shalt thou go."
It sounds like, until this curse was pronounced, the serpent had employed some other means of orientation and locomotion. I concluded from the curse that the serpent was once erect in its bearing, but forced, by the divine curse, to slider about as it does now.
The curse also involved the snake's menu. "And you shall eat dust." That suggests to me that before the curse, the snake's palate was more refined. I wondered what kind of creature the snake was, and what might have been its daily fare before it tricked Adam and Eve into disobedience of God. I did a little digging and this is what I found.
Pulpit Commentary. The serpent was "cursed in the sense of being deteriorated in its nature, and, as it were, consigned to a lower position in the scale of being." Upon thy belly - "meaning with, great pain and, difficulty." The Pulpit Commentary then gives the views of stalwart Bible scholars on the pre-curse bearing of the serpent. "Having previously gone erect (Luther), and been possessed of bone (Josephus), and capable of standing upright and twining itself round the trees (Lange), or at least having undergone some transformation as to external form (Delitzsch, Keil);. ..."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible: "As Aben Ezra, and others; Jarchi thinks it had feet before, but were cut off on this account, and so became a reptile, as some serpents now have feet like geese, as Pliny (x) relates; or it might go in a more erect posture on its hinder feet, as the basilisk, which is one kind of serpent, now does; and if it was a flying one, bright and shining in the air, now it should lose all its glory, and grovel in the dust, and with pain, or at least with difficulty, creep along on its breast and belly."
Concerning the serpent's diet, Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible says "When the serpent moved in a more erect posture, it lived on herbs and plants as other creatures; but when it was obliged to go upon its belly or breast, it licked up the dust of the earth, and which it could not well avoid in eating whatsoever food it did; and some serpents are said to live upon it."
Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp, 39,40: Ellen G. White, prophetess of my Church, wrote that the serpent, before man's transgression in Eden, "was a very beautiful creature with wings; and while flying through the air his appearance was very bright, resembling the colour of burnished gold. He did not go upon the ground, but went from place to place through the air, and ate fruit like man."
So you see, when my Bible talks of the serpent crawling on the ground, it is natural to assume that this is as opposed to some other loftier bearing, such as an upright one, which would give it legs, or, according to Aben Ezra, Jarchi "and others," and the "inspired" Ellen White, wings! It also follows that if the snake was cursed to eat dust, its diet was different before the curse. As you can see, Bible commentators and those considered inspired also came to that conclusion.
Well, I had to do some more research. In Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible mention is made of "the basilisk, which is one kind of serpent," that can "go in a more erect posture on its hinder feet." That threw me for a loop; I had never heard of a snake that walked on its hind feet! It turns out the basilisk, according to Wikipedia, was a mythical creature! It was reputed to "leave a wide trail of deadly venom in its wake, and its gaze is likewise lethal."
I also googled diet of snakes and learned that the largest snakes, Pythons and Anacondas eat deer and pigs. Most snakes live off insects, rodents, birds, eggs, fish, frogs, lizards, and small mammals. There are even snakes that eat other snakes but none we know of eat dust. However I found a website, Creation Ministries International that tried to establish that snakes do eat dust. It references an organ (Jacobson's organ) in the roof of a snake's mouth that helps the creature to "smell in addition to its nose." The snake samples bits of dust by using its forked tongue to pick them up and present it to the Jacobson's organ by which it smells them. The article concluded that snakes do really eat dust even though it is obvious from the article that the "sampling" of dust by an organ designed for olfactory purposes, is about smelling not feasting. It's about analyzing and reading the environment, (and I would dare say, looking for a bird, frog, or rat to eat) not nourishing itself on mounds of dust.
I am left to wonder why God didn't just place a curse on the serpent to eat deer, pigs, rodents, birds and other snakes. Snakes eating other snakes would be a real curse, wouldn't it? Then Christians would have no need to invoke mythical creatures and bending the facts to validate the authenticity of the Bible which says the darndest things.CHAPTER 2
The Serpent Told the Truth!
As I listened to my Bible it dawned on me that when the serpent "tempted" Eve, he was really telling her the truth! This realization blew my mind as it will yours (unless, of course, you figured out this long before I did). Think about it; the serpent said, "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." It was also a tree "to make one wise." Now, that was the living, raw, bare, naked truth. However, God had prohibited Adam and Eve from eating of this tree.
Why would God deny his created beings growth in consciousness, wisdom, understanding, perception, and spirituality? Why wouldn't God want his children to become like him? Who were better qualified to have their eyes open, to become wise, to know good and evil, and become like their God than two perfect, sinless beings? And yet this same God, having hidden the secret formula of how to become like God from two perfect people, makes a demand on "fallen, sinful" humans with their propensity to sin and do evil, ("I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.") to become like God, or else suffer eternal punishment in hell!
It seems also that Adam and Eve were good without even knowing they were good. They could not intellectually and emotionally process and appreciate the perfection all around them for according the book Conversations With God by Neale Donald Walsch, "In the absence of that which is not, that which is, is not." Put plainly, a state of absolute perfection cannot be enjoyed, perceived and appreciated as such, without a knowledge of its opposite – imperfection. Without imperfection, who can know that perfection exists? The naivety of Adam and his wife is evident by the following two assertions from Genesis: "Your eyes will be opened ... knowing good and evil." "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked."
So you see, although Adam and Eve lived in a perfect environment they did not know it. They were naked but that was not an issue to them. For our so called "first parents," it was just like a person reading all evening, on into dusk without realizing the strain he is placing on his eyes by reading in the diming light, until someone, a spouse or child, comes in and flicks the light switch on. Then the contrast the light provides makes the reader sees, for the first time, how dull his former reading environment was. Adam and Eve were like new born babies running about naked but without any cause to blush or feel embarrassment, which comes only after growth and maturity and the loss of innocence. Adam and Eve just did not know that what they had was "good." Neither did they know that evil was possible; They were that naïve. If Adam and Eve could not understand and conceptualize perfection why should they be charged with disobedience? And why provide a source of temptation as a gateway to everlasting woe and calamity to two innocent, naïve, baby-like humans?
But back to my original assertion that the serpent told Eve the truth (a truth which God withheld from her and Adam). Eve's "eyes were opened" as soon as she ate the fruit. In deed the tree was to be desired to "make one wise." Even God acknowledged that the serpent told the truth, for he said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. ..." It seems to me that the Bible is claiming that while God withheld the knowledge of the path to this noble status from man, the serpent tipped him off to the possibilities. Which of the two had man's best interest at heart? And for becoming like God, Adam and Eve were punished, expelled from their garden home of bliss, denied access to the tree of life, subjugated to pain, hurt, sorrow, and every imaginable evil, and the serpent cursed!
This makes no sense at all. What is so evil about becoming like God? Why is becoming like God a sin? There seems to be a concerted effort on the path of Jehovah to keep mankind disempowered. In Genesis 11, humans expressed a desire to remain united and strong, to build a tower and make a name for themselves.
Let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
But God would have none of this. He showed concern over the resolve and unity that existed in the fledgling human race. "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language." And then God made a very telling statement, "and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do." God's very own creations, made in his image and likeness, were demonstrating skill, creativity, initiative, collaboration, inventiveness, ambition, drive, determination in an effort to preserve themselves and posterity, but somehow, God felt threatened by that!
So what did God do? "Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. ... And from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
What crime did humans commit by wanting to build a tower and making a name for themselves? Why was this deserving of a "divide and conquer" strategy?
As I listened to my Bible, these are the questions that sprang to mind. I see no logic behind God's dealing with Adam and Eve or with the people of Shinar, so I just shrugged my shoulders and say, "My Bible does say the darndest things!"CHAPTER 3
My Bible says that darkness and light were intertwined, locked and mingled together. Genesis tells us God "divided the light from the darkness." Ok, darkness is the absence of light, and in the presence of light, darkness disappears. According to the book of Genesis, in the beginning there was only darkness. Then God spoke light into existence. Since light dispels darkness, then there can be no darkness anywhere. There is no need to "divide light from darkness."
So at this point in the creative process, by simple logic, there is only light. There can be no evening and morning since the "lights in the firmament" are what "divide the day from the night," and we know, according to the creative account, that these lights – the "greater" and the "lesser" and "the stars also" – were not created until the fourth day. Yet my Bible says there were evening and morning on days one, two and three. In reality there could only be light – twenty-four/seven. This is the light of the first day. There can be no darkness since it was dissolved by the light of the first day. Literally, the fourth day is really the first day, the only time there could have been an evening and morning, night and day! "And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; ... Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night."
One could argue that creation took three days, the fourth, fifth and sixth. Remember that night and day are created by the rotation of the earth on its axis with the sun shining on the day part, and the night portion hidden from the sun. However, on the first three days there was only perpetual light. There were no sun and moon to rule over night and day.
There is also commotion on the sequence of creation. In the first chapter of Genesis, the order of created things is as follows.
First day: Light
Second day: Firmament or heaven
Third day: Dry land, seas, grass, herbs and fruit trees.
Fourth day: Sun and moon and starts
Fifth day: Creatures in the sea and birds.
Sixth day: Living creatures, cattle, beasts and creeping things on land. Also, two humans are created, male and female.
Seventh day: God rests.
This coherence in the sequence of creation is however, abruptly disrupted by verse seven of the second chapter so as to throw the reader into confusion. Suddenly the male is created with no female as was previously asserted, and the land animals are created after the man, not before as earlier indicated!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Then we find a departure from the above statement.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
In addition to flipping the created order of humans and animals, it appears that animals of the sea, land and air were spoken into existence as light was. "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life. ..." "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing.." However, in chapter 2, God formed these creatures out of the ground. "And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air. ..."
In addition to confusing the order of creation as it relates to animals and humans, and casting doubt on the means God used to create animals, the Genesis account suggests that God hoped Adam would find a suitable partner among the animals! God, after, observing that it was not good for the man to be alone, formed all the beasts and birds and took them to Adam to see what he would name them. After the naming exercise, there was a sigh of disappointment, because "for Adam there was not found an help meet for him." It was after that, that God had the idea to put Adam to sleep, take one of his ribs from which he made a woman, whom Adam found suitable.
Here is one other thing that never occurred to me over the years I've been reading my Bible. In all of creation life springs forth from the female, but in the creation story, it is the male that gave "birth" to the female! Wouldn't it have made more sense to make a woman and take man from her rib? But like I say, my Bible says the darndest things.CHAPTER 4
My grandmother would wax righteously indignant whenever she caught me reading fairy tale books. My grandmother's religious point of view was that fairy tales were untrue and therefore not worthy to be read. My fairy tale books were about fairies, trolls, witches, maidens, castles and knights in shining armor, battling dragons, monsters and giants. They were about talking wolves, pigs, goats and rabbits, with a little magic thrown in for great reading pleasure.
My Grandmother would have none of it. She believed time, one of God's many gifts to me, was squandered reading such books; I was expected to be a faithful steward and not waste God's gifts, for which I would be called to give an account on the day of judgement. Granny wanted me to stick to the daily reading of my Bible and my Sabbath school quarterly and all relevant and related religious material.
In spite of my grandmother's insistence I never got over my fairy tales books until I came of age, but even so, my grandmother's religious influence was so strong during my early, impressionable years that I struggled with guilt way into my adult years when I read harmless comic books, watched movies, or even listened to secular music on the radio for extended periods of time. As a child I had a comedic inclination, but by dear, devoted granny nipped that in the bud by her constant warning that "every idle word shall be brought into judgement."
As I listened to my Bible, though, I realized that so much of it paralleled by fairy tale stories. For example: There is a knight in shining armour (Jesus Christ) who battles the dragon (the devil) and his trolls (fallen angels). This knight comes resplendent in all his glory with his fairy army (angels; human-like beings with wings and immense power) to rescue the maiden (the church) and take her to his castle (the New Jerusalem) where they live for ever and ever and a day (eternal life).
Excerpted from My Bible Says by Pricely Francis. Copyright © 2016 Pricely Francis. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsIntroduction I Was Surprised at What I Heard When I Listened to My Bible, ix,
Chapter 1 A Snake with Legs and a Weird Appetite, 1,
Chapter 2 The Serpent Told the Truth!, 4,
Chapter 3 Creation Commotion, 7,
Chapter 4 Talking Animals, 10,
Chapter 5 What Is God Made Of?, 13,
Chapter 6 Adam and Eve Were Not the First Humans On Earth. ..., 15,
Chapter 7 Kill Them Dead, 18,
Chapter 8 God Is a Polygamist!, 20,
Chapter 9 Stars in the Sky; Sand on The Seashore, 26,
Chapter 10 God Does Not Condemn Slavery!, 29,
Chapter 11 Man! It's Hard Being a Woman!, 39,
Chapter 12 Indestructible Apparel and Foot Wear, 51,
Chapter 13 Don't Mess with Holy People, 54,
Chapter 14 Discrimination in The Camp, 81,
Chapter 15 The Day Earth Stop Spinning, 83,
Chapter 16 How The "West" Was Won, 87,
Chapter 17 Goat Skin for Hair, 96,
Chapter 18 Jehovah Accepts Human Sacrifice, 99,
Chapter 19 Consciousness After Death or Not, 102,
Chapter 20 The Forty Year Diet, 117,
Chapter 21 New Visions of My God, 121,
Chapter 22 The Star of Bethlehem, 156,
Chapter 23 Where Is the Promise of His Coming?, 160,
Chapter 24 Signs of His Coming, 180,
Chapter 25 A One Belief World, 191,
Chapter 26 No Religious Liberty, 199,
Chapter 27 The Unpardonable Sin, 205,
Chapter 28 Bird Barns and Working Critters, 212,
Chapter 29 The Conversion Myth, 214,
Chapter 30 Nooo! Not One Nation Under God! Please!, 225,
Chapter 31 Did The Bible Raise The Bar?, 259,
Chapter 32 God Needs to Change, 299,