Thursday, August 03, 2006

3: Ancient History According to the Bible

Shortly after creating the world, God either made the animals and plants then the first man; or the other way round, depending on which chapter of the Bible you read - which presents a problem since it's all True. However, what we don't know is how much never made it into the book, so it's possible that God made all the animals, decided they weren't good enough (quite plausible from what we've already deduced), deleted them all, created Man, THEN created a fresh lot of animals for Man to name - a nice neat explanation that not only keeps the Bible perfectly true but explains where all the fossils of other no-longer-here animals came from. Perhaps the first lot were dinosaurs or trilobites or something - which presents the entertaining image of God wiping them out with a huge meteorite in a fit of frustration, perhaps because they weren't very good at building churches. Next, God created Woman, who led Man astray in no time flat (this bit at least rings true). This particular piece of mischief involved the Devil disguised as a snake - for some reason he seems to have thought this would help his credibility.
The Bible has little to say about where the Devil came from, though it has been speculated that the Devil was an angel gone bad; a problem usually attributed only to humans.
The Adam and Eve story involves the Devil persuading them to eat of the 'tree of knowledge', which they'd expressly been told not to do. Having eaten, they suddenly realised they were naked; not a great secret in the first place one would think but then as far as we know they only took one bite. Perhaps if they'd had the whole apple we might have learned something useful and avoided a lot of trouble later on, but they never got the chance to do that, since at this point they were unceremoniously booted out of their nice garden and forced to live in much less hospitable climes. (For some reason I always visualise the Garden of Eden as being a lot like the formal garden at Hampton Court, with a high hedge round it - somewhat at odds with the mental picture of people wandering around naked, come to think of it - after all it would take a lot of use of hedge-clippers to keep it that way, and you don't want to be using those with nothing on.)
Much further down the line God decided that a spring-cleaning was in order and drowned the whole planet, except for a select few that a chap called Noah rescued in a big wooden ship. (The Bible doesn't say what he did with the termites.)
Clearly this would have involved creating a lot more water than we already had, and neatly disposing of it again afterwards - no great problem to the sort of being who can create the whole world in a week in the first place - it just makes you wonder why he doesn't do this sort of thing more often. After all we are now several thousand years down the line and he's had lots of time to learn a few tricks, so one would think it would be no great problem for him to flood Slough and leave, say, Legoland relatively unscathed. (Most of Legoland would float anyway, come to think of it.)

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