Didn’t incest enter under God’s universal moral law from the beginning of creation? A relaxed view on incest had the effect of ultimately attracting bad health and immorality. One thing is obvious. The view on morality of Jewish Christian tradition has changed during history, acting as any other human social phenomenon and not as the expression of God’s universal moral law which is supposed to be constant. Besides incest, another example is adultery.
Before Moses, even the patriarchs didn’t have the notion of adultery and it is also an important aspect of God’s moral law, according to the Bible. Is God’s moral law absolute or relative, depending on different periods of time? If God’s moral law is unchanging it is not clear why adultery is seen as a decisive sin in the N.T. but was accepted by God when practiced by the patriarchs.
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If adultery wasn’t condemned by a law, hence wasn’t a sin before Moses, other people besides the Jewish people couldn’t have been legitimately punished for their adulterous lives because they didn’t receive laws condemning adultery from God. Some people from the Middle East would have been considered by God to be morally unfit and they would have been destroyed by Him for this reason even if the Bible says that without a law the sins are not reckoned.
“7 What then should we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet, if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet’.” (Romans 7; 7 NRSV)
The Bible uses the word “sin” even before Moses’ Law and that is another inconsistency. If sin is reflected in the laws, using the word “sin” before the existence of any law is meaningless. Why were sins turned against many nations from the Middle East by God if they didn’t receive any law to condemn those sins? This is another fundamental contradiction of the Bible.
Incest and adultery were not sins before the Mosaic Law for the Jewish people and were not sins at all for other nations who didn’t receive that Law, but in the eyes of God incest was always considered an abomination.
Was adultery indirectly favoured by the acceptance of incest in the O.T.? In case of Abraham and Sara, incest and adultery were interwoven.
“From there Abraham journeyed towards the region of the Negeb, and settled between Kadesh and Shur. While residing in Gerar as an alien, 2 Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’ And King Abimelech of Gerar sent and took Sarah.” (Genesis 20; 1-2 NRSV)
Abraham had a mistress with the name Hagar beside his wife Sarah. Before Moses, adultery and incest were acceptable in Jewish society but after the Mosaic Law they were prohibited.
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“Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, 2 and Sarai said to Abram, ‘You see that the LORD has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.’ And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai.” (Genesis 16; 1-2 NRSV)
God didn’t reprimand Abraham, nor did He consider him a sinner because he was the man of two women. God blessed him and made a covenant with him. This looks like a kind of moral relativism rather than the expression of a universal moral law. I don’t judge God’s manner in working with humankind but I deem the consistency of biblical narratives, according to which God has adapted to human nature, using it for His purposes rather than always weighing humankind after a universal unchanging moral law. Besides the patriarchs, King David’s life is also an example of God accepting the adultery of one of His faithful man.
The explanation that incest hadn’t been too bad for health until Moses doesn’t address the problem of morality and comes with an element of moral relativism which contradicts the universality and absoluteness of God’s moral law. If one reads what Apostle Paul had to say about sexual immorality one will understand the immense moral gap between the acceptance of incest until Moses and the moral standards brought by Jesus, the Son of God. Is it not about the same God? In Moses’ Laws incest is clearly presented as morally bad.
“The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 2 Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: I am the LORD your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not follow their statutes. 4 My ordinances you shall observe and my statutes you shall keep, following them: I am the LORD your God. 5 You shall keep my statutes and my ordinances; by doing so one shall live: I am the LORD. 6 None of you shall approach anyone near of kin to uncover nakedness: I am the LORD. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is the nakedness of your father. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.
10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness.” (Leviticus 18; 1-10 NRSV)
“You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad.” (Leviticus 18; 9)
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We should notice that according to the book of Genesis all humankind has multiplied in defiance of this rule later contained by the Mosaic Law. The distance and opposition between the manner in which Genesis describes how humankind had multiplied and God’s commandment about incest from Mosaic Law shows clearly that the book of Genesis cannot be authored through divine inspiration. What writer, in narrating the story of creation and describing Moses’ Laws at the same time, wouldn’t have noticed the huge discrepancy between them? The problem is that it wasn’t only a writer but many writers who have written the first five books of the Bible. In Moses’ Laws incest is depravity. At the end of Leviticus chapter 18 we have the moral condemnation.
“24 Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for by all these practices the nations I am casting out before you have defiled themselves. 25 Thus the land became defiled; and I punished it for its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my ordinances and commit none of these abominations, either the citizen or the alien who resides among you 27 (for the inhabitants of the land, who were before you, committed all of these abominations, and the land became defiled); 28 otherwise the land will vomit you out for defiling it, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations shall be cut off from their people. 30 So keep my charge not to commit any of these abominations that were done before you, and not to defile yourselves by them: I am the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 18; 24-30 NRSV)
By all these practices the nations would have defiled themselves. This is the declaration of the Bible and this assertion raises an important question. What practices? Incest and adultery would have been the most abominable practices. Who prepared the nations for incest if not, the way in which God had created humankind? According to the Bible, God would have accused entire nations for practicing the way of multiplication approved by Him.
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The reason for which the nations have been driven away by God to make place for the Jewish people in the Promised Land was that those nations practiced great abominations such as incest. This is a huge contradiction of the Bible. On one side the human species would have multiplied through incest as the only possible way for their multiplication. On the other side, all nations cast out by God before Jewish people would have been accused of their multiplication which was asked by God from humankind at the beginning of its creation.
Those nations cast out by God would have been assured that incest isn’t a problem as far as all humankind had multiplied in this manner. Consequently, the motivation contained by Leviticus 18; 24-25 for driving out other nations before Jewish people is inconsistent with the book of Genesis. This doesn’t mean that God would have acted in that manner, being unrighteous toward some nations, but this is evidence that those biblical texts weren’t inspired by Him because they contradict His moral nature expressed in the Mosaic laws. If the Mosaic laws don’t express God’s moral nature that means that they also haven’t been inspired by Him.
An abomination is something greatly disliked or abhorred which produces intense aversion or loathing towards a vile action. An abomination can be also a shameful or detestable action, condition, habit, etc. This is the definition of the dictionary. All these strong terms are implicitly contained by God’s characterisation of incest. It is a harsh moral judgement, it is not only a measure taken for the protection of human health as for example a vaccine against a disease. It is more than that; it is a moral condemnation of humankind for practicing incest.
In Deuteronomy chapter 27, the action of incest with a sister is under a curse. All human races are under a curse because humankind multiplied through incest between brothers and sisters, but this curse isn’t due to human fault. God had created human beings and blessed them to multiply and to fill the earth but at the same time He cursed the way in which they multiplied. There are two extreme attitudes towards incest in the Bible, first that it was necessary for multiplication and second, the total intolerance about it through Moses’ laws.
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Such a contraction is so important that it brings a thick darkness on the entire moral value of the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
Looking back on human history through the lenses of Mosaic laws, the entirety of humankind looks morally condemned from the beginning of its creation.
“22 ‘Cursed be anyone who lies with his sister, whether the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother.’ All the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27; 22 NRSV)
God’s laws are unchanged and universal; it doesn’t matter if the curse was pronounced after a long process of multiplication through brothers and sisters of the human races. The curse was there from the beginning even if it wasn’t manifestly affirmed and very importantly it was there before the alleged human Fall. Wasn’t Abraham under this curse even before Moses’ laws if God’s moral law is timeless, being the foundation of His Kingdom? If Moses’ Moral Law is still valid for humankind, being universal, why wasn’t it valid for the past and also from the beginning of creation at least in its general principles? Apostle Paul makes the difference between faith and law. Before Moses’ laws Abraham was evaluated through his faith and not through the laws which wouldn’t have been known by humankind. Nevertheless, God’s Moral Law is everlasting if He is eternal and this Law cannot change its principles even if it changes its form.
In Leviticus chapter 20, verse 17, incest of brother and sister is viewed by God as a disgrace and susceptible to punishment. That incest has become more dangerous in time is fully understandable. That before Moses’ Moral Law incest was the only way for the multiplication of humankind which was blessed by God and after Moses it became a disgrace, cannot be grasped in a reasonable way.
One would expect that in God’s eyes what was seen as a disgrace in Moses’ times would have been seen also as an abomination immediately after the creation of humankind. Why should one have this expectation? We were led to believe that God doesn’t change His mind as easily as humans do. Apostle James in chapter 1 verse 17 of his epistle says that with God there is no variation or shadow due to change.
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This assertion has become a very important pillar of the Christian faith but which isn’t confirmed by the stories of creation from the book of Genesis.
“17 If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people; he has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, he shall be subject to punishment.” (Leviticus 20; 17 NRSV)
It looks all right if we forget that Cain’s wife was his sister, or Abram and Sara were half brother and sister. Seth also had no marital choice other than one of his close relatives. Beside Cain and Seth all other human beings at the beginning of human history had to marry a sister or a brother, a niece or a nephew.
The most fundamental structure of the creation stories through which the origins of humankind are explained is flawed with very important moral problems which render the entire conception of how humankind was created morally unacceptable and in contradiction with other biblical standards. The story of Adam and Eve is a legend with no connection to reality which doesn’t fit with a rational understanding of the world or with the way in which the N.T. understands God’s moral law.
It is important to see how knowledge about God was lost after Noah in such a manner that He had to reconstruct the relationship with humankind anew with Abraham. Between Noah and Abraham was only about 400 years.
From Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations. In the period of 400 years from Noah to Abraham the knowledge of God was generally lost, according to the Bible. That was until God had spoken to Abraham. It is inexplicable that all families coming from Noah in only 400 years, a short historical period of time, lost the knowledge of God.
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The Flood story would have been transmitted generation after generation but not the knowledge of God who generated the Flood and that is strange. Many religions were created in that period of time but the faith in YEHOWAH was lost in spite of the vivid memory of the Flood.
After Adam and until Noah there were still people remembering God – one of them was Noah. After the Flood, no people kept the memory or faith in God and He had to intervene directly with Abraham in order to reconstruct people’s faith. This is strange if we consider that Noah was a very faithful man and for this reason he was chosen to save a part of the creation. Did Noah not convey his faith to his offspring? Why didn’t Noah’s family keep their memory of God? Allegedly Noah would have lived another 350 years after the Flood which would have given him enough time to transmit the faith in God to numerous generations, but it didn’t happen. If it had happened Abraham would have come with the right religion transmitted to him through his ancestors.
Noah’s sons knew about God who saved them from the Flood. Did they transmit this knowledge to their sons and after that to all their offspring? In the Bible, the knowledge of God starts again as if for the first time with Abraham, but this is an inexplicable interruption.
“2 And Joshua said to all the people, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Long ago your ancestors—Terah and his sons Abraham and Nahor—lived beyond the Euphrates and served other gods.” (Joshua 24; 2 NRSV)
This interruption of the faith in the real God is another inconsistency of the book of Genesis. God wouldn’t have been in relation with humankind for 400 years after the Flood in spite that He wanted to generate a better world after the Deluge. If not for regeneration of the world what was the purpose of the Flood? It is hard to admit that God would have brought the Flood on humankind motivated only by the desire of destruction.
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From my point of view, the conclusion that the narratives from the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis are only mythology and not the expression of reality prompts me to reject the theist creationist view on God. The world hasn’t been created in six physical days and not even in six longer periods of time, and we can know that for certain because the stories from the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis aren’t real. It isn’t only that the period of time proposed by the book of Genesis for creation is in total disharmony with the discoveries of the sciences, but very importantly the order of creation proposed by the Bible is contradictory and absurd therefore it cannot be upheld.
In what concerns the theistic evolution view, I fully agree that nature became what it is through a process of evolution, starting with the less sophisticated forms of life and reaching a high level of development in human consciousness.
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God is not the Creator in the sense in which He is presented by the Bible. We don’t know how God is involved in the generation of our universe and of humankind. The Bible doesn’t give us any revelation about the degree in which God is involved with the world. We can know how God is not connected with the origins of the universe and humankind and that is the way in which the Bible says that He created the universe. Any other way of creation can be possible until is proven impossible or improbable. The manner of creation described by the book of Genesis is highly improbable.
At the same time, there is a huge problem when one tries to separate metaphysically in any way God and the world. The creationist view maintains that God is a necessary Reality while the world is only a contingent reality. God is also seen in the creationist view as transcendental to His creation and that allows for a degree of separation between God and the world which finally doesn’t leave any place for Him in the entire existence.
In order to understand God, we necessarily need to operate with a larger concept than that of the universe. This concept is the concept of existence per se which includes all existing entities from all existing worlds or all existing universes. The cosmos contains a visible part and an invisible one but we know that the invisible part exists from its effects. Our world isn’t all that is because before the Big Bang it was another reality which made possible the existence of the singularity which caused our universe. In my view, the existence per se is infinite because absolute nonexistence, no space, no energy, no particles, no laws, cannot be said to exist.
Absolute nonexistence cannot exist because from absolute nonexistence nothing can emerge hence the so-called “reality” which doesn’t produce anything at all is nothing. The existence of all realities can be perceived from the effects that they produce. Where there aren’t any effects of any kind, there we are confronted with nothingness. The existence of our universe is the undeniable proof that there never “was” a state of absolute nonexistence. If it “was” our universe couldn’t exist at all because absolute nothingness means absolute nothing, no space and no laws, no matter, no energy, no anything and that cannot produce anything.
Absolute nothingness means a state in which nothing at all can be generated, hence we can know that such a situation didn’t exist from the existence of our universe. At the same time, theoretically we also know that absolute nonexistence cannot exist because it doesn’t have any attributes which qualify it for existence. If we define what existence means, we can also know what existence isn’t.
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Our universe comes from a state of existence which necessarily comes from another kind of existence and so on. The existence per se is an extraordinary and unexplained reality. We don’t know the origins of existence per se and the possibility of an infinite reality opens the mind toward God’s existence. If existence per se is infinite, God also can be an infinite Reality and that Reality can be also of infinite complexity. The argument for complexity is an argument for the existence of God. An infinite Reality can also be infinite in complexity, not only in spatial extension. This infinite Reality cannot be other than God because this infinite complexity necessarily entails consciousness.
Existence in the sense of the continuation of the presence of space is infinite. There aren’t any reasons to believe that space was generated from absolute nothingness, hence either space was generated from something else or it is eternal. Time and space form a unity which depends on the presence of matter in the ways described by Einstein. At the same time, space cannot be other than eternal if it wasn’t generated by anything else, something which can be demonstrated that exists in no space. A thing can exist only if it either directly occupies space or if it depends on something which is in space, for example, an idea depends on a brain.
God cannot be seen as a reality beyond or anterior to existence per se because there isn’t such a thing as infinity before infinity or after infinity, there is only one infinity and this is the unifying principle of all reality.
There never was and never will be a state of infinite nonexistence in the sense of infinite non-spatiality because non-spatiality doesn’t have any extension, hence cannot be infinite. Existence per se contains all that exists and God is included in it if He exists. If God is seen as the cause of the entire existence He necessarily must be understood as beyond existence because He couldn’t have created existence per se from inside of it. Nevertheless, God beyond existence doesn’t exist because everything beyond existence is out of existence. The existence of God “out of existence”, who would have created existence per se, is an absurd thesis. If God exists and if He is infinite the existence per se also must be infinite.
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Every form of existence enters the general concept of existence per se. God either belongs to existence per se or He doesn’t exist, there isn’t any other option. It is logically impossible for something to be out of existence and existent at the same time. There isn’t any intermediary phase between existence per se and absolute nonexistence, and a potential for existence is in existence.
God “beyond” existence is a concept used by some philosophers who try to make sense of how He could have created all that is without being a part of it, but it doesn’t make any sense.
Our universe isn’t the only reality in an infinite cosmos and many speak of multiverses which can be formed by countless universes. For this reason, it is not enough to speak about our universe when we want to establish a relationship between God and the world. The relationship has to be established between God and the existence per se. If we affirm that God had created existence per se from “above” it, we also necessarily say that God doesn’t possess existence but existence is His most fundamental attribute.
All the metaphysical speculations cannot prove that God exists but they can open the minds to the possibility of His existence. Neither philosophy nor science can prove God’s existence, the only possible proof is given by a personal relationship with Him. Nevertheless, both philosophy and science are necessary to understand the framework in which God’s existence can be approached, because both of them make sense of the reality. In my opinion, metaphysics and scientific discoveries indicate toward the probability of God’s existence.
God is not the Creator of the cosmos in the way described by the book of Genesis but He could have influenced the apparition of our universe in another way, for example, through fine tuning, and that could have caused the emergence of humankind through evolution.
In my view, God is the Consciousness of the entire existence or of the infinite multiverse. He is able to cause important movements from top to bottom therefore He had the means to influence our universe and the way in which life evolved on our planet, and also in other places but we don’t have any proof that He did it or that He needed to do it.
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God can leave nature to follow its course and realise its potential. He can use nature as a tool or a working medium in order to attain His aims. God didn’t directly create humankind or Satan and He isn’t responsible for the evil in the world. God didn’t commit genocide in killing 99.99% of the human beings through the Flood. Many are happy to defend such an alleged action but the extermination of so many people indiscriminately is indefensible. God would never have done what the O.T. claims that He did in killing entire populations in order to make a place for the Jewish people in the Promised Land. At the same time, we should take into consideration that Satan is the ruler of our world, as Jesus said, and he is confined in our universe which he wants to dominate.
In opposition to the mind-body dualism I believe in a multipolar way of understanding reality in which all entities include physical and intelligent aspects. From the smallest elementary particle to the complexity of the cosmos, every aspect of reality entails intelligence. The presence of intelligence in the cosmos opens the door for the understanding of the possibility that an incomparable high level of intelligence guides the entire existence per se.
Beside the rejection of theist creationism and the dualism which sees God as different and opposed to the world, I also have to distance myself from deism. Unlike deism, I believe in miracles and God’s revelation which don’t have anything to do with absurd statements. Rationality is the only tool given to humankind in order to make sense of every miracle and revelation.
I don’t consider the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis to have been inspired by God therefore they aren’t divine revelation but only mythology. Nevertheless, God has revealed Himself to humankind in the Person of Jesus Christ and continues to give to believers countless personal revelations. Jesus is alive today, being with the Father, and He guides the faithful directly from his or her consciousness.
My views are close to the pane theistic view about God but with some qualifications. God didn’t create existence per se because He is consubstantial with the entire existence, being the Consciousness of it. He isn’t only the God of our universe because He couldn’t have influenced the beginning of our universe from inside of it. God is eternal and existence per se is infinite.
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God hadn’t been created by anything or anyone and He didn’t create existence per se meaning He didn’t create the space, the energy, or the matter which are the basic elements for existence. There isn’t any place for the dualism between God and the world because there is only one reality and existence per se contains space, matter, and energy but also “mind” or intelligence.
God didn’t create our universe ex nihilo. Matter and energy are eternal but they transform continuously from one form of existence to another. As the Consciousness of the entire existence God can both directly influence the apparition of a certain world or He can leave the nature work, alone following its laws and producing the results. Where all necessary conditions are gathered the apparition of life can be generated by the natural dynamic of reality without any supernatural intervention.
At the same time, God being the Consciousness of all existence controls everything which happens in the existence per se and also He establishes the level of this control. He can allow nature to develop to its full potential or He can guide closely a certain development in order to reach a specific purpose.
God didn’t create humankind as the book of Genesis says, in His likeness or in His image because human beings evolved from much less developed beings. Only when the universal Consciousness dwells in the human beings and becomes one with their consciousness can those human beings be like Him in His image, completing their evolution in the spiritual realm. God invested a special attention in humankind and He sent His Son Christ to be embodied in a human being.
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