God aka God the Father
I'm weary of arrogant Christians claiming their god is great and good and allloving, allknowing, allpowerful, etc., etc. They don't know of what they speak.
Let's start by calling this god by its stated name, Yahweh. I don't understand why people go around discussing god, with a capital G, instead of calling this god by his name. I have a clue as to why religious people would do this. Saying, "God said," is so much more commanding than saying "Yahweh said." It throws the listener off, makes them forget that this god, as all others, has been created by man.
But why would atheists engage in conversations with religious people about their gods without calling them by their given names. Discussing god with a capital G simply empowers the religious and their delusions. The Abrahamic god is named Yahweh. He is a god among many other gods and he is aware of that fact.
The first commandment Yahweh gave to the Israelites was, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Yahweh, or more correctly whoever it was who wrote the portion of the bible that contains the ten commandments, knew that there were other gods around. The Israelites were commanded to put Yahweh first
on their list of gods. I could say much more about these commandments, but as our focus is on the identity of the Christian god, I shall refrain.
So what do we know about this Yahweh? Yahweh was not the god of thunder, or of the sun, or of the wind, or of any aspect of nature. He was the god of the Israelites. He was not the god of any other nation. According to the writers of the Torah, Yahweh chose the nation of Israel from all other nations on earth. As far as I know, Yahweh never extended that supposed honor to any other people. Paul, in his efforts to establish the Christian religion, made that invitation to people outside the nation of Israel. In preaching Jesus as the son of the Jewish god Yahweh, by default Paul's Christians accepted the Yahweh of the old testament as their god.
And so we ask again, who is this god Yahweh?
The first question in the ancient Israelite mind seems to have been "How did we get here," as they begin their sacred religious book with the story of creation. So Yahweh is a creator and what he created is good and satisfying, according to his own opinion.
Yahweh is quite satisfied with how he appears, as he makes man in his own image. We find this in Genesis 1:27. Yahweh makes them male and female in his own image. And then Yahweh creates a garden and sets man into it. Somehow though, the set of humans, male and female, of verse 27 loses its female component further on in the text. Thus Yahweh kindly notices that his man is alone and needs a helper. Yahweh lets the guy name all the animals first before scheduling the man's surgery. Now instead of being formed out of dust the same time as the male, the woman is formed out of the man's rib. It doesn't really matter which version of events is the one you wish to go with. Christians should have a problem, however, as if both are true, there are two Eves to contend with. The Israelites solved this problem by naming one of the women Lilith in their exegesis of the texts. But I don't see this theory as a solution for Christians who believe the bible is to be understood literally.
My observation here is that so far Yahweh's not such a bad guy. He sets himself a task and completes it. He admires his own work which, according to his own pronouncement, is a good thing. He is a bit on the narcissistic side in making a creature in his very own image. Yahweh does show empathy though, with his man's situation of being a male without a mate. And it seems Yahweh is generous in giving the man a mate and then giving them a beautiful garden to live in. There is a question in my mind though as to how this god could empathize with his creature not having a mate, when he himself was without one. Why did Yahweh not assume that the man would be just fine alone.
What if Yahweh hadn't meddled in the affairs of men?
But Yahweh couldn't leave well enough alone. He's not just the happy go lucky creator of a little universe for his own amusement. He had to throw a spell into the mix. After all, this all was for Yahweh's amusement. He decided to place a tree in the garden that he didn't want his man to eat. And being an allknowing god, Yahweh knew his man would eat the fruit of this tree. After all, it was good fruit. It became ripe, just as the other fruit trees in the garden became ripe. The fruits fell to the ground as they ripened. The only job the fruit had to do was to spread its seeds. Birds came and sat on the branches and ate their fill of the ripe fruit. Primitive monkeys and other fruit eating creatures had their fill of the fruit also. But Yahweh said the man couldn't have it.
We all know the rest of the story, how the serpent tempted the woman and the woman tempted the man. Yahweh had simply put his creations into a situation that they would fail at. I'm not sure what character trait that would be. It seems as if Yahweh had contempt for his creation. All indications that he was happy with his creation are now gone. Yahweh is moody, fickle. I find it impossible to take any of this seriously, but religious people swear by this stuff. I thoroughly doubt they understand the implications of the myth they have chosen to believe.
One could call Yahweh a prankster, but that is too tame for what he is. If he'd just said, "hey, don't eat that tree in the middle," and then had a little laugh to himself, knowing it was the best tasting stuff in the garden and that it was harmless. If he'd just stopped at having a good laugh with his man after his man finally got around to eating the fruit. "Ha, scared the shit out of you, didn't I man?" Yahweh could have joked with his man.
But Yahweh turned red with rage. When he said something, he meant it and would tender no mercy. He cursed the serpent; he cursed the woman; he cursed the ground; and he cursed the man. And he put all the blame on the man and woman, excusing his own role in the situation. Yahweh accepted no responsibility for setting up his two people and placing them in a sticky situation.
Fruit trees usually ripen at different times throughout the season. If we imagine the woman hanging around the tree in the middle of the garden, it is possible that this was the only tree bearing ripe fruit at the time. Otherwise, what was the point of venturing so far into this vast area that was their garden. If the woman had come upon other fruit first, she simply would have taken that back to her lodging for herself and her man to eat. When looking for food, who would pass up perfectly good fruit when it was happened upon. The natural thing would be to go ahead and feed yourself as soon as you find good food.
Yahweh is in no way willing to give his creation a break, no second chance. He confronted these two quivering human beings, not with love, but with anger. Christians put their own spin on the activities of their god in these stories. Yahweh was a god of his word. He told his creation that they would die if they ate of the tree. The man and woman ignored his warning and now they had to suffer the consequences.
Christians choose to believe it was the fault of Adam and Eve, as they are left trembling, with their new found nakedness covered in skins of the first animals sacrificed on the earth. And the act of sacrifice, in this case killing to atone for nakedness, was introduced to man by Yahweh. To add insult to injury, Yahweh wasn't willing to punish his man and woman alone. Children, not yet born, and to the end of time, would also have to bear the guilt of Yahweh's creation.
And so the biblical myth makers and recorders of Jewish and Christian tradition have taken Yahweh from a creative fellow who enjoyed his work and was narcissistically pleased with his own image, into a vengeful, unforgiving tyrant. This is a god who can be joyfully creative and vengefully spiteful. Yahweh is a god of multiple, often conflicting, traits. And we have learned all of this about Yahweh in the first three chapters of Genesis.
We've barely made a dent in becoming acquainted with this god.
Yahweh was like other gods of ancient days. He was unable to refrain from meddling in the affairs of humans. As with Adam and Eve, so with their two first born sons. The story of Cain and Abel has so many applications that have nothing to do with its being historical. Like Aesop's Fables, the biblical stories can teach some truths about human beings and their culture. You must look elsewhere for exegeses or morals. We need to look at Yahweh and his part in the story.
Favoritism is well known among human beings. We favor our kin; we favor the strong; we favor the rich; we favor for seemingly no reason at all. If Yahweh had a reason for favoring Abel over Cain, we are not told, though he does make some vague references to sin. Whatever is going on, Cain is extremely angry. This one instance could not have aroused such great anger, an anger capable of murder. Therefore this must have been an ongoing situation.
After the murder, Yahweh feigns ignorance about the event at first and then makes a statement about the brother's blood calling from the soil. It's all so unemotional, so unfeeling. Yahweh favored Abel but doesn't seem that concerned by his death. His only response is to curse Cain. It seems what Yahweh has been best at is
setting up his humans for failure so that he could curse them.
Yahweh resembles many of the ancient gods in nature. He looks human and he has human emotions. He meddles in the affairs of humans. He expects his people to make sacrifices to him. Not much different than the other gods of old, is he? He is petty and unforgiving, cruel beyond comprehension. And yet Christians claim the god they worship is good and all loving. Christians are worshiping some god, but if we are to go by characteristics, the god they worship is not Yahweh, the god of the Israelites. It seems to me Yahweh has evolved as times have changed. That rather blows the idea that the lord god, Yahweh, is unchanging. Oops.