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More Subtil Than Any Beast

First, a disclaimer: I hesitated about whether to post this because it involved weaving words of my own into the Word proper. The phrases I used intact came exclusively from Genesis 1-3 and Genesis 5:5, and one would do well to return to the words recorded there; I have added on to the verses, and more often I have omitted them, but the text in its entirety is available here and elsewhere. My words are mutable, but the Word is immutable.

Foreword

What follows is my tailored retelling of the Creation and what is known as the Fall of Man. I have divided it into seven segments, with the action unfolding in I, III, V and VII, and a parallel conversation unfolding somewhat less linearly in II, IV and VI. (I acknowledge that you humor me as I speak of lines concerning a narration of Creation, the event in which both time and space came to be.) It was a night’s work, and that is easy enough to justify; the odd segments were almost entirely lifted, and all I did was add on to the original verses and omit those which didn’t bear directly on the image I had in mind, whereas the even (odd-er?) segments were almost entirely reflexive, and also, of course, stylistically precedented.

I have mentioned an image I had in mind, as well as reflexes that I had. As these things are more readily ascribable to me, I shall try to explain and qualify my transcribed script. The image I had in mind was that of the serpent seeking out the Woman in the garden; as far as its words and the act it was performing were deliberate, it was a reaching out to an end. The problem was in the fathoming of those ends, which would have been vain to attempt if I were a mere beast, but which I attempted, and not in the hope of anything but understanding: and that is precisely the danger, for if there is any moral to be drawn, it is that the Knowledge was perilous. The other irony is that the serpent was distinguished from the beasts of the field by its ‘subtil’-ity, and that we were by knowledge, and later the desire of further Knowledge; I have had the odd thought that, perhaps, the desire for knowledge beyond what I already knew, and especially that desire for others beyond what they knew, was an expression of a serpent-like subtility. I find this irony difficult to accept, but I find it even harder to ignore, hence this retelling. As to the matter of the reflexes that gave rise to segments II, IV and VI, the explanation is somewhat simpler; in drawing from the account of the origins of the heavens and the earth and everything in and above it, I had to narrow my lens to the area I was considering, and hence I decided that I would need to place Man in a kind of hierarchy. This hierarchy is  conjecture only, and one would do better to look to the Word directly for authority.

This foreword was written last, in the light of what had been produced and what I had experienced. The process did not involve a conception followed by a bringing-to-fruition. I feel more honest saying that I started with what was evident and worked backwards and around from there.

 

I. Of Temporality

In the beginning, there was God. God created the heaven and the earth.

The earth was without form, was timeless, was void.

And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the water, and there was motion.

As time flowed, God set the work of Creation in it. In time, He received it, and looked upon all that He had done, and saw that it was good.

II. Of Angels

~ When in time did the angels stand, or are they out of it? Were they living souls, knowing good and evil? Were they made from the seed of the tree of life, or were they partakers of its fruit? Were they placed, or do they stand, knowing passion?

~ Well?

≈ I think there is passion, if not the passion of mortality, of life-with-death.

III. Of Soul

These are the generations of the heavens and the earth, every plant of the field, and every herb of the field; and there was not a man to till the ground of the field.

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.

The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

IV. Of Man

≈ We were created, woman and man, in the same breath, and of the same life.

~ But there was man and there was woman, and woman gave the fruit, and man hearkened, and took the fruit, and ate.

≈ After they ate, their eyes were opened that they could rue their fate.

~ And then did they wonder if man would have taken, and woman hearken to his call?

≈ You ask me what I would know of you.

V. Of Knowing

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field, and he said unto the woman, ‘Yea, hath God said – ‘ and also, ‘Hath God said of every tree?’

The serpent also said, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’ and, ‘Ye shall be as gods,’ and waited.

And when the woman saw that it was a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.

And the eyes of them were opened, knowing good and evil, as gods know good and evil.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field, but life was not in knowledge, and the knowledge was bitter to those who had sight.

VI. Of Dust

≈ Of what I am, and from whence I came, that I know.

~ But I, bone of your bones and flesh of your flesh, have conceived in sorrow.

≈ In sorrow I have eaten all the days of my life.

~ We have known sorrow, but will we know sleep?

≈ From whence I came, I shall return; but I do not know death, if it is sleep.

VII. Of Mortality

The LORD God sent the man forth from Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken, and he placed at the east of the garden Cherubims and a flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life.

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

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  1. 11 August 2010 at 4:21 am

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