Monday, April 25, 2011

Story of Creation from The Torah

Mount Sinai from Sarajevo Haggadah

                                 The Torah is the  first of the three books that make up Tanach, the Hebrew Bible, famously known as the "Five Books of Moses". It is also called as Pentateuch by the greeks meaning "five scrolls" and Chumash by the Hebrew meaning "five fold entity". It is believed that Moses wrote these five books on Mount Sinai as God was dictating to him in the form of a burning bush. The Torah is neither a book of science nor a history, it is first and foremost the sacred epic of a covenanted community in the making, one that yet has not fulfilled its destiny.

The Torah says in Genesis that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Earth was all dark and void and the spirit of God was hovering over the water, hence God created light and called it day, and darkness the night. On second day he created the sky and the oceans, dry land and plants the third day. On the fourth day God created stars, the sun, the moon and the seasons. Fish and the birds were created on the fifth day. On the sixth day god created land animals and the man, He made man in his image and made him have the dominion over the rest of the animals. The He created female from the rib cages of man to give him company.

Creation from Souvigny Bible (12th-century)
Jacques-Benigne Bossuet, one of the greatest religious orators of the 17th century, wrote in his 'Discours sur l'histoire universelle' for the dauphin of France, "God must  have said to himself that he had to made happy those beings that he had just created in his image and likeliness." And thus Adam and Eve found themselves given a paradise (paira-daeca in Persian meaning park and garden) to live in. And Genesis tells us God adorned this paradise of Eden with every sort of plant and tree with edible fruits, and two of these were particularly very important, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge which the couple were forbidden to eat the fruit from.

The location of Eden is a widely argued subject. It is described that the paradise of Eden was bathed by a river from which flowed four others, the Tigris, Euphrates, Pison and Gihon. We know the location of the first two, but identification of the others have caused quarrels among commentators since antiquity as it was impossible to recognize in them either the Nile or Indus. It is said that the more probable are the Kura and the Aras which join before flowing in to the caspian sea. This hypothesis is believed to be geographically much more modest but less wildly imaginative. In any case the location of Eden the earthly paradise was somewhere close to the mount Ararat in the Armenian plains.

The Original Sin

Sistine Chapel Fresco - Original Sin and banishment.
 Another much debated question in past centuries was that of the language our two ancestors spoke during their short stay. Jews naturally believed it to be Hebrew, but the Persians believed that the serpent spoke Arabic, while Adam and Eve spoke in Persian, and that the archangel Gabriel chased them out in Turkish, but according to the Bible, Basque is the oldest language on earth. Whatever the language maybe but the serpent in which Satan concealed himself, poisons the minds of the ancestors resulting in eating the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. Their disobedience had disastrous consequences, as they were banished from Eden and chased away. The God curses the snake to crawl on its belly and to loose its speech, and the woman to have pains in labor and the man to toil the earth to make his bread. The first couple soon give birth to Cain and Abel, and so begins the humanity.

1 comment:

  1. This a reknowned one. A few details are interesting though.