how to imagine the character of yhvh and his relationship with us? not supposed to imagine him before b'reishit, but why not? imagine him forward, extrapolate backwards. he falls in love with noakh, abram, yaakov. out of this love he renews marriage with their people. is he attracted to them or is it an abstract exercise to use them as an example to everyone else to show how he can toy with man and bestow good, or withhold it. come on bar, imagine him. Elohim or yhvh?
the tale begins in creation, no motivation. creates and pronouces good. he likes good. let us create light, fish, animals, birds, adam in our own image. why? he doesnt say. just bids them fruitful. sets ha'adam in gan eden. mysterious warning about world trees, why? doesn't say. inscrutible, just does. punishes adam v'khava. does he give reasons? 'cause they disowbeyed. because you didn't listen.
what's their relationship? what does he say to them? he says eat, don't eat of the tree of knowlege of good and bad, (lest they become as one of us) but later he gives 'am yisroel tora so that they can know good and bad. perhaps he didn't want them NOT to eat of the tree, but wanted to see just HOW bad they wanted that knowlege.. aha! it was a test they PASSED, not FAILED! yhvh wanted to know if they would think beyond him! think for themselves, desire more life than given. hmm.... this gets interesting now. also in the test: immortality but as a fairy, or mortality but a real moral life? does he say IF you eat of the tree you will die, or does he say DON'T eat of the tree, you will die. gotta look carefully.
of course whatever DID happen, humans would interpret it as a bad outcome, even though yhvh thought it was admirable. kids always want to stay in the nest, interpret it as cruel when the parents dump them out. hmmm...
what else is there to the relationship?
says it's not good for adam to be alone, brings him animals! what a dumb god! he doesn't know at first what adam needs. or is it another test for adam? to see what adam wants. hmm... they are exploring each other. adam of course follows like a puppy. NOT khava! she takes charge. she sees that the fruit of knowlege is good for understanding and takes it, and gives it to her man.
what else? then he curses adam, khava, the snake, the soil. and sends them into the world. are those really curses?
they have kids.
does yhvh ASK for offerings? no, they spontaneously offer them to yhvh.
but yhvh does cause more drama by choosing and rejecting the sons. another test? yes he states to cain that it is a test: sin crouches at your door, but you can withstand it. this test we fail at. no? more curses.
b'reishit is heavy in this sibling rivalry thing. is there something deeper going on? duh.... the siblings are not just brothers, sisters, they are peoples. different peoples striving against each other. why does yhvh set THAT up? the test is can we learn to speciate like the rest of life?
does yhvh specifically create species? hell yeah! b'reishit is very emphatic about the plants and animals bearing seed according to their kind. and all through tora distinctions are important, so definitely. at bavel, definitely yhvh creates differing cultures. he sets up the test. he says i don't want you to all be clones, i don't want the borg. he differentiates between cain and hevel because he doesn't want them to be identical. the first thing we learn about them is that they are farmer and pastoralist. already at each other's thoats.
so it's all about tests, yhvh wants to see creativity diversity, can we handle it. wants to see if we desire mortality and drama and conflict and resolution. pits brothers against each other because man is NOT created equal, THAT'S the way it is. now, can we deal with that? sin crouches at our door will we tackle or succumb? our test. up to us. we are the creator now. 6 days yhvh created, now it's our turn.
So what's with the flood? b'nei adam breeds like animals, like it always does. individuality receeds (notice before the flood the names fade, just as in mizraim, the names fade and yisroel turns into a seething breeding mass). and the sex with b'nei elohim. and something else. all flesh is corrupted in yhvh's eyes. but the text is not clear on exactly what that is. no test is given here. humanity just kind of anonymously decays. what went wrong?
maybe humanity failed to live up to the test of morality and creativity? failed to differentiate itself into individuals, became a mass of anonymous flesh. yhvh above all desires individuals and creativity.
another idea is that yhvh becomes horrified by lustingbirthingdyingeating flesh he has created. odd. didn't he know? if you want to say he set up particular tests for his critter than he must know how it is... is it a story about an all knowing god, or a story about OUR perception of things. what do we percieve that becomes horrified by this fleshy life?
whatever it is now yhvh becomes horrified that something is wrong and feels he must wipe it out. however... he finds PLEASURE... in Noakh. Noakh STOOD OUT in his generation. This is what yhvh desires, men and women that can stand out. yhvh is he is very particular about ... he picks certain men. women take command of things, but yhvh falls in love with the men. personifies Israel as a woman. twisty! not only that, but certain men have a calming effect on his savageness. so somehow Noakh calms yhvh and changes his mind about destroying all flesh. it's not that yhvh decides to save critters and commands Noakh to do it. No, Noakh turns his heart to do otherwise. as does Abraham at Sodom. and at Egypt? no, that one is twisted. but at sinai, he wants to wipe out Israel and start from scratch again with Moshe, Moshe talks him out of it. a theme here... but finally no one comes to avert his anger, and he sends Israel into exile.
more at the tower of babel. what was the crime? to reach heaven, to make a name for themselves, to become as god... that's the whole trip the humans want to become as god, and god keeps putting hurdles in their way. he's saying at bavel: you don't become god by ALL working together, got to speciate, you've got find your separate ways. so he scatters them.
then he comes down and focuses on abraham, you guys will become a blessing to all peoples, a people of priests. You be an example of one of the separate ways to become holy.
once we get to Abraham god leaves everyone else alone? that's a puzzler. 'course the story is told from only one perspective... but the nevi'im say no, god keeps working through other peoples on Israels's behalf, with that persian guy to let the jews back to israel, or with the babylonians to teach them a lesson. nevertheless, we preserve a tale of johah, that god does speak to other people's on their behalf.
so what happens now? waiting for the age when all nations come together? or all nations learn to live their blessing of uniqueness creatively with each other?