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As I’m reading through the Bible, I’m taking notes. Well, mostly, I’m making a list of questions about things I just don’t understand.
I’ve found that it’s a lot easier to just admit to God that I don’t have a stinking clue what’s going on than pretend that I understand it all.
So here are just a few of the questions I’ve had:
1) Everyone makes such a huge deal about homosexuality and Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, when we read Genesis 19, it’s pretty clear that the reference to sexuality is limited to ” Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally” – amidst the general evilness of the city. Evilness and homosexuality are not necessarily equal. Evilness takes all kinds of forms, and I think actual evil is what God’s talking about here.
Uh, right. So we get ourselves in a furor over one possible reference to homosexuality – and we’re not irate about a man offering his virgin daughters to a frenzied, evil crowd to do with what they wish? Anyone else think that’s warped?
2) Another question I have is about multiple wives. Polygamy is everywhere! And God blesses it; in the reading yesterday we see that 4 of the 12 tribes of Israel came from sons of his concubines. And we know that even Solomon and David has lots and lots of wives. So I don’t understand that.
3) And isn’t it creepy that Reuben has sex with what essentially is his stepmother, Biliah? The mother of his brothers Dan and Naphtali?
4) I don’t understand how Jacob didn’t know his father-in-law Laban had pulled a fast one on him on his wedding day and sent in Leah instead. I mean, we read in Genesis 29:17: 17 “Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance.” So they weren’t twins, right? I mean, he’d been waiting for Rachel for seven years. I’m guessing he’d looked at her enough to recognize her.
Anyway, those are just a few things I don’t understand.
Someone asked me this week if those kinds of questions make me doubt my faith. Not at all. I’m not God – thank God! – and I don’t need to know everything. I also don’t know squat about the culture of the day when the Bible was written, Judaism, or even the history of the Middle East. I’m sure Abraham would have been totally confused with our obsession with celebrities, so let’s try and keep things in perspective.
One last thing: I was flipping channels and caught the tail end of an “Oh, God” movie, where George Burns, as God, says, “There is no unknown, There’s Me. And everything that is unknown, I know.”
Amen to that!
And if you’ve missed some readings, here is the list for January 2010.
Are you joining me in the challenge to read the Bible in a year? Let me know how you’re doing!
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