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On The Creation of the Creation of Truth

I tried in this paper to synthesize a conundrum I had been having while reading
Genesis: Why does God lie? I read the chapters over and over and tried to get a sense of how the
characters were used and what these things would represent. I know I havent made complete
sense of it just yet, though Ive tried to find an answer for that question.
The paper starts in a strange place, with the introduction striving to show a core following
of the bible and the values it preaches, then placing the question how does it look at truth. The
background of the separation of creation stories feels clunky at best. I do truly think that
information is necessary for walking into this argument, for reasons explained in the paper. I had
thought of making the argument, the idea of second creation, a footnote, but that would have
been much worse as I was advised by Alison Chapman. Perhaps there are ways to consolidate the
Creation Stories into the introduction, and fill out the literary analysis some more. Also, the
ending might be stretched out more to show the point, that this core text looks down on truth, and
what that means in our western culture.

Creation of Truth
The Bible is a holy text that, for billions of people1, defines the rules to life. As a religious
text, it strives to give morals, duty, and answers to the biggest questions, like: what are we doing
here, what happens when we die, and how do we live a good life. The Bible does provide great
morals like humility, patience, perseverance, and effort2. There are some complexities that rise
even in the first three chapters of the book; complexities that, if this book is to define morality,
would fundamentally shift some of our societys core virtues particularly truth.
Genesis 2:4 marks the start of the Second Creation Story, beginning These are the
generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, then detailing again the
creation of the world, all life, and man. The Second Creation Story is a phenomenon remarked
upon greatly in the scholarly and theology fields (look to Who Wrote the Bible? by Friedman)3.
Its generally agreed that the Second Creation predates the First, which is related to its use of
YHWH as opposed to God. YHWH appears only in parts of the bible, and indicates the
author was this person nicknamed the Jahwist. There are many books and papers about the use
of the two stories, the values they set forth, the importance in the order of what things are
created, and other differences. The key difference to see is as follows: First Creation is
completed when God makes many humans, both male and female, at once in 1:26-8, but Second
Creation begins with YHWH making one man, not at once, but with his4 hands.

1 Pew Research Center, The Global Religious Landscape, 18th December, 2012
2 America, and western cultures, are fundamentally Christian in nature and origin, so it should be
acknowledged that these Christian morals could only be deemed good because of that
3 I owe the knowledge of the separation of the stories to my principal in high school, who led me
through texts like the Bible, and gave me other sources to challenge them.
4 He/him/his pronouns are used in following with the style of The New Oxford Annotated Bible,
Third Edition

This difference shows how The Second Creation is a much more personal story, more
specific and concrete, and that changes the presence, position, and power of God. God is no
longer a force that builds the world and light out of nothing as is done in 1:2-27, that uses verbs
like made, or commanding things to be done. God is instead seen already on a world of dust
(not one he specifically made), able to form man from the dust of the ground, and breathe life
into him in 2:7. With the verb form, and the meticulous nature of shaping every being, God is
represented using his hands and doing work. Its a slower, more personal process. He physically
planted a garden in Eden, and formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, one
by one. God in the Second Story, is seen walking in the garden, and has a direct conversation
with his living creations in 3:8-20. This isnt an omnipresent God, existing everywhere at once.
He moves, casually through a forest he planted. God isnt shown here as omniscient, either. He
doesnt know where Adam or Eve are in 3:9, calling out to man, Where are you? He doesnt
know why Adam or Eve ate the fruit in their conversation. He questions, which is not the trait of
someone who knows. Finally, he isnt omnipotent. He doesnt make all things at once, nor does
he name them. And in 2:6, a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole of the
surface, not as willed by this God but on its own. This personal, physical, and imperfect God
gives a certain power to his actions. Its almost a foreshadowing of Jesus, the physical, human,
mortal manifestation of God. He is meant to give an example on how to live. His example begins
our conundrum.
This personal, physical God becomes the father, in whose path Adam walks, whose commands
Adam follows, to whom Adam owes existence. Being the first human, where would Adam learn
how to live, think, talk? He was taught; endowed by God. A son follows his father. God is the
first being to speak, and in doing so, teaches Adam this art: the art of sharing through noise

things that exist elsewhere. The art of using words to share and give ideas. The only magic
humans can perform5. In this Second Creation, the first thing God says is in 2:16-7, You may
freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall
not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die."
Gods first words to man grant permission, set limits, and threaten punishment. Its a
powerful magic, but look how its used:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the
eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of
both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves
together and made loincloths for themselves. (3:6-7)
Adam and Eve do not die in the day that they eat of the fruit. Adam lives another 960 years. This
means that Gods first words to man held a lie. He threatened death for disobedience, but when
disobedience came, death did not. And when it was that Adam and Eve gained the knowledge of
Good and Evil, they did not notice the lie. What isnt said here is a list of good and evil, nor is
morality defined here. Lies arent defined as evil here. Adam and Eve, now knowing, only notice
they are naked. So the bible has directly said that nakedness is evil, but has implicitly shown that
lying is good.

5 I say its magic, not as a trick or the supernatural, but the power to influence by using
unapparent sources. In the world where God can make life out of dust and bone, the separation
between God and man is apparent. But with words, God commands Adam, and can therefore
make events occur without physically doing anything. Thats a magic the God in the First
Creation Story already knew. Thats a magic that he gives to Adam. By giving this power to
Adam, now humans have the ability to transmit thoughts and directions through air and time,
even the words of God, thousands of years into the future; through words, humans can make
their offspring, those who follow their word as Adam followed Gods, like the stars.

God is not the only one to lie; Eve follows suit in response to the serpent. God said, 'You shall
not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you
shall die '" (3:3). Eve seemed to try and make Gods command more dangerous in adding that
they cannot touch it. Perhaps this was an attempt to fear God and his wrath more thoroughly, or
maybe it was indignant. This shows the first human lie, and the first time humans act like God.
When Adam first speaks in 3:12, he finds the middle ground between truth and lie. He is
asked by God in 3:11, Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat? and
in response, Adam shifts the blame. He doesnt say directly what he did, instead, The woman
whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate. He tries to paint the
event such that the blame can be shifted from him to the woman who gave it to him. Further, he
tries not to let her be blamed, as he says you gave [her] to me, thus, to Adam it must be Gods
fault that he ate of the fruit. But God ignores this, and focuses on Eve. When asked, she then
points blame to the serpent, and God punishes all three in the reverse order. So the power figure,
who made the first lie, has now made lying creatures that stretch the truth and shift blame.
The serpent says the first truth of the bible, You will not die, the serpent says, and that
by eating the fruit man would become like God, knowing good and evil. The serpent told this
truth to Eve, that the fruit of knowledge would not cause her to die, she would just know good
and evil. Yet the serpent is described in 3:1 as more crafty than any other wild animal, and
ultimately is blamed for man eating the fruit. The speaker of truth is introduced with such a word
as crafty, not in a good sense as the Greeks saw Oedipus, but in the sense that the serpent is
making something different. But the serpent was only letting Eve know truth, not something
crafted. It was Gods lie that was crafted. Thus the serpent and his ethos is poisoned in the text,

and painted as an evil creature. When the text paints the bringer of truth as evil, and the most
powerful and important character lies and punishes the one who was true, truth shifts in value.
The punishment that God brings from 3:14-9 is complicated. God curses the serpent, the
idol of truth, to slithering and putting enmity between its children and its mates. For saying the
truth, serpent, the piece of nature, must be closer to nature, but must be hated by its young. There
will not be obedience. To Eve, God gives pain in birth and power to her husband over her. Now
that she disobeyed God, she must listen to her husband, and have difficulty in making offspring
that might also disobey. And finally to Adam, God says this,
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree about
which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in
toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for
you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat
bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to
dust you shall return.
So Adam must now work for his food, no longer eating freely of the trees in the garden. He will
have difficulty farming, as thorns and thistles it [the ground] shall bring forth for you. But this
final line, You are dust and to dust you shall return, could be seen as God sentencing Adam to
death, or giving him the reality of death, and thus making his earlier statement true.
This cannot be the case. Adam had to be mortal the whole time. God was just referencing
this in the punishment of working the dust for food. Looking back to when God gave Adam
permission to eat, You may eat freely of every tree in the garden; but of the tree of knowledge

of good and evil you shall not eat, This shows that when God made the tree of life, Adam could
have eaten of it. But Adam had not eaten of it, as shown in 3:22, See, the man has become like
one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the
tree of life, and eat, and live forever. Adam from the beginning had not eaten the fruit that
would have made him entirely like a God, knowing good and evil, and being immortal. Thus
from his creation Adam must have been mortal, made of dust. So God still lied, and now Adam
has to work for his food instead of Gods original plan of death.
So the punishments were based on obedience and work. The serpent will have
disobedient children, the woman will struggle with making children, the man will work for their
survival and decide obedience. Gods lie was originally to try and keep them obedient, but it
didnt work when the truth came into their ears. All the serpent, Eve, and Adam were punished
for truth and disobedience. This is at the beginning of the core text of one of the biggest religions
of the world, one that took a fundamental part in the shaping of western culture. Thus Genesis 2
and 3 say that we, western culture in the core virtues held, are to punish the truth that might
cause disobedience to power, we are to remain ignorant, and we are to lie to keep our power.