Sunday, October 14, 2012

Genesis, Part I

Shabbos Bereishis, The Sabbath of Genesis, when we begin reading the scroll again from Genesis, the creation. We begin anew.

Law emerges from religion and magic, not science. Science deals with questions that can be either true or false. The earth is the center of the universe and man is the culmination of creation is either true or false. But showing that the earth moves around the sun and is a speck of dust at the outer edge of an insignificant galaxy among 400 billion galaxies is also either true or false. One thing only we know with perfect clarity, everything we ever thought we knew has been proven false. That is how we got here. Scientific knowledge is always tentative.

But there are other areas of knowledge which are neither true or false. They just are. That I cannot buy alcohol on Sunday, here in Big Rapids, is a fact. The law forbids it. It just is. We can change the law but the new law is no more accurate a description of reality than the old one was. The law is based on a commandment thought to come from God. The command exists whether it is obeyed or not. The drill sergeant commands because he was commanded to command by the General, who in turn is only following the commands of the decider who in turn is only following the commands of God, or at least that is what he says. Everyone is serving a higher authority.

Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian Greek emperor who was the villain of the Hanukah story, - his name meant Antiochus, the Visible manifestation of God. The Jews called him Antiochus Epimanes – Antiochus, the madman. He could force men to obey his commands, but he could not force them to believe he had the right to command. He wasn’t God. He was a jerk. Thus we learn that all authority to command, rests on the willingness to submit.

Every civilization has its own commands which define behavior and manifest in law and social custom. When the Pilgrims and Wampanoag’s celebrated the first Thanksgiving, the first time these Englishmen and women celebrated the ancient Corn ceremony, the Harvest Thanksgiving that had been celebrated by the Wampanoag and all the tribes about since the beginning of time – when the Indians arrived for the party, and Massasoit brought deer and all sorts of other food as gifts for the party which last all week, the young Indian girls came provocatively without covering their beautiful young breasts. We devoured them with our eyes allowing Satan to enter our garden. And we won and they lost and that is why you can’t go around in the summer, the way the boys all do, with your little titties proudly displayed for the lecherous old men to drool over. If you’re interested, by the way, I would be willing to sponsor Prop 1 for next election to change our law and have it based on Indian magic. The first thing we need to do is disenfranchise all men. Let’s run the Republic on the Iroquois model and let the Elder women rule. It can’t be worse, believe me.

If we understand that law rests on magic and we don’t believe in magic, then we recognize no law. We may obey, but only out of fear. I obey our of a desire to surrender to the commands of God but only the commands of my God and my God commands us to smoke and drink on Sunday.

And thou shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart. Beware lest you serve other Gods who tell you not to smoke, for then you shall surely die.

Once the Ugarites accepted the Gods of Persia they perished and became Persians. What kept Israel alive was the stubborn devotion to the God of their ancestors. And here I am still obedient. Faith is the willingness to obey. Blessed is the servant who obeys out of love.

No comments:

Post a Comment