Genesis 8:21-22 - "Never again will I curse the ground because of man ... "

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." (Genesis 8:20-22)

Did God really say this?

This verse has been significantly misinterpreted and mistranslated by those not aware of the nature of the situation and not cognizant of the Personality of the Supreme Being. Thus they have misconstrued not only God's purpose but this very event.

This quote from God comes after Noah's offering - but God is supposed to have said it "in His heart":
The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in His heart: (Gen. 8:21)
So we find out that God did not speak these words out loud to Noah. He said them "in His heart"?

How do we know that God said this if He said it "in His heart"? Did the writer know what was in God's "heart"? Could they read God's mind, in other words? And who did this - who read God's mind or "heart"?

And how do we know that God thought the aroma was pleasing? What is this aroma? The aroma of burnt bird bodies? Is that supposed to be a pleasing aroma?

The reality is that they are assuming the aroma was pleasing. Why would God be pleased by burnt birds?

In fact, this text clearly indicates that no one heard God say this. The statement is paraphrasing God's thoughts.

This also means that the author is not quoting the Supreme Being. The Supreme Being did not say this. No one heard Him say this.

Rather, the author is paraphrasing what he thinks God might have thought in response to Noah's offering to Him.

The paraphrasing of what was in God's "heart" is an example of the allegory used by the ancient teachers as they discussed the relationships between God and His loving servants. They utilized parables and expanded events in order to teach us lessons about devotion to the Supreme Being.

Did God really "curse" the ground?

This also brings to question whether the Supreme Being actually cursed the ground, as stated in this verse.

The word "curse" comes from the Hebrew root קלל (qalal), which can mean "curse" but also "to be slight, be abated (water)." It can also mean "to be swift," "trifling," "be insignificant" or "lightly esteemed."

Did He "curse" something He made? This would be preposterous. The meaning of the word קלל (qalal) indicates a larger meaning than this.

And how about "never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done." First this is inaccurate because God did not destroy all living creatures. Many creatures walked off of Noah's boat according to previous texts. In fact, by Noah's building the ark - which he did as instructed by God - he saved the living creatures. They repopulated the region and continued their existence.

And is it right that God would "never again" destroy "all" creatures? This in fact is not true, because "all" the creatures die at some point. Every creature dies. No "creatures," including humans, live for more than about 110 years, and most creatures die within a few years. So every living creature dies.

And is God not responsible for the design of the physical universe, within which all creatures die within a few decades at least?

So this statement is also not true. God not only did not say this as indicated by the text itself, but He did not think it. Because it is untrue.

Is the Book of Genesis a single book?

The book of Genesis was not originally a single book. It is a consolidated collection of manuscripts from different authors - originating from ancient spiritual teachers who orally handed down knowledge to their students. When those students became teachers they passed on the teachings to their students. It was only in the centuries prior to Jesus' appearance that these oral teachings were recorded into writing, and later consolidated into a single book of Genesis within the Torah by ecclesiastic scribes. These are some of the same scribes that Jesus heavily criticized.

The motivation for the early written recordings was to preserve these teachings. However, over the centuries, as dictated by power-hungry rulers and their surrogate institutions - like the ones John the Baptist and Jesus Christ railed against - those texts were corrupted. Kings prior to the Roman occupation, along with Roman emperors after occupation understood the power of these texts over the people. So the manipulation of these texts, through interpretation, combination, and translation became a requisite for gaining and solidifying political control over the population.

Those emperors and the high priests who gained authority over the population utilized scripture to exercise their power. So as their surrogates consolidated and transcribed the various texts, they eliminated parts and patched other parts together in order to produce a text that supported their positions of authority.

This process of consolidation continued over the centuries under the reign of different emperors. After Herod's rule over Judea came a succession of brutal Roman emperors, such as Nero and Constantine, who violently ruled over the Jews and Christians. It was in Constantine's era we find another consolidation of selected manuscripts - again accompanied by the destruction of many others. This effort resulted in the Latin Bible of the early Roman church, which provided the foundation for the interpretation of Christianity and to a large degree Judaism through modern times.

Just as the Torah did, this new "book," called the Holy Bible, is a consolidated rearrangement of various manuscripts - inclusive of most of the Torah. Yet the Holy Bible translations do not support the same interpretations of God as put forth in the Torah. The Bible - put together by those not devoted to the teachings of the prophets, but rather were paid professionals obligated to those institutions that paid for their services - is arranged to present a completely different interpretation of God.

Is God really angry and vengeful?

Despite the teachings and writings of His devoted prophets such as Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Samuel and others, some of the Torah transcriptions created a view of the Supreme Being as a mean, angry God who became vengeful. They depict God as becoming angry if His commandments were not followed. They depict God as becoming jealous when idols were being worshipped. They depict God as being hostile to humanity - such as the quote in Genesis 8:21-22 above contends.

Not only does this conflict with the teachings of so many of God's Prophets who taught that God was loving, caring and forgiving. This also conflicts with the teachings of Jesus, who taught of a merciful and loving God.

The Roman Bible tried to subterfuge the teachings of the Prophets in the Old Testament by painting their teachings as supposedly only having the purpose of predicting Jesus' later appearance. The Roman Bible was thus transcribed and rearranged to indicate that Jesus is the Supreme Being.

This conflicts directly to Jesus' own statements, such as:
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work." (John 4:34)
Why the difference? And why did Jesus, David, Moses, Samuel and other ancient teachers promote a loving, merciful God while many of the texts of the Old Testament promote God as an angry, vengeful God who "curses the ground" and "destroys all living creatures"?

This is where we can see the mistranslation and misinterpretation produced by those transcribers who were not devoted themselves. As paid transcribers, their allegiance is to those who pay them - not to the Supreme Being. Thus they did not understand the words they were transcribing and translating.

Did God really make all these mistakes?

The statement above being referred to as stated by God is merely paraphrasing. Who is God speaking to here? Is he telling Noah all this? Is God bleeding his heart out to Noah or something? Don't be ridiculous.

This paraphrasing creates not only the impression that the Supreme Being got angry and wiped out the earth because He didn't like "the inclination" of man. It also creates the impression that God makes mistakes. It indicates here that God felt that He made a mistake when He created man in the first place. Then it indicates that God made a mistake when He sent the flood and destroyed "all living creatures."

Yet we know He did not destroy "all living creatures" because Noah loaded in pairs of all the species into his giant yacht. So that part of the statement is not true.

In fact, the interpretation and translation of this text are also suspicious for other reasons. Consider this statement, after Noah's boat landed on dry land:
All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds--everything that moves on the earth--came out of the ark, one kind after another. (Genesis 8:9)
Just consider a few problems here. Were "all the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds" really rounded up and put into a boat the size of the ark? First it must be assumed that not "all the animals and all the creatures..." but rather, two of each species came out of the ark.

But this also means the boat must have been gigantic - larger even than one of our huge luxury cruise ships - in order to hold "all" of the species. Furthermore, it would simply be a gargantuan task by Noah to scour all the various lands around the earth and collect all these species. How did Noah do that? Did he have a helicopter? An airplane? How did he get around the entire planet and collect the species?

And how could Noah have collected all the species from all over the world anyway? How about monkeys from Madagascar or Indonesia? How about kangaroos from Australia? How could Noah have traveled all around the world, since he only launched his boat before it started to rain?

Earlier in Genesis, it discusses how fish inhabited the oceans as well. This indicates there were also large oceans that Noah had to have gotten across in order to collect all those species from around the world. And these were wild animals - some very large. How did he move those animals to where he was building the ark?

Or did the species come to him? If so, did some of them swim the Atlantic from the Americas and all the little islands in the various oceans that contain different species? And if they could swim across the oceans, why would they need to be put into a boat to survive the flood?

And if they did somehow get to Noah's Ark, then how did they get back to their continents after the boat landed back in the Middle East?

And isn't it a coincidence that Noah's boat was launched from the Middle East and also landed back in the Middle East too?

Perhaps the "flood" was simply a regional flood. And the animals were those that lived around where Noah lived at the time.

As a result of these and other questions, scholars that have researched this event have considered more practical possibilities. One is the notion that the text is describing a historical flood event that took place around the Black Sea region. And the story of Noah is describing an event where a person built a boat big enough to house species found in that region of Judea.

In other words, the hypothesis that this event describes a regional event in ancient times, later expanded into a planetary flood by ecclesiastical scribes wanting to expand the influence of their sect.

The reality of a regional flood is supported by archeological findings. There is little archeological evidence showing a worldwide flood within the last 5,000 years.

Did the flood occur?

This isn't to say that the flood did not occur, nor that Noah did not exist. It is simply that there is quite a bit of evidence showing that the text has been manipulated and the event expanded outside of its original context.

There is archaeological evidence of deluges that have occurred thousands of years ago. And there is also evidence that the creatures of different regions were nearly wiped out - not only once, but periodically.

In reality, the archaeological evidence presents that the earth has suffered repeated periodic deluges, from floods to asteroids to cataclysmic volcanic eruptions. Each of these has led to a repopulating of life as has been found among the fossil evidence.

And as for Noah's powers, and ability to build the ark and gather up so many creatures, the correct interpretation of these texts is that the event has been subjected to some combination of mischaracterization and mistranslation as it was passed on and then transcribed. Some details are missed while others are pieced together through interpretative speculation.

The reason is that Genesis is not a complete recording of the events portrayed during these ancient times. While this does not necessarily negate that this event happened, it shows what can happen when scripture is mishandled by those who want to use it and abuse it for their own purposes of establishing power and authority for themselves and their institutions.

Let's use an example. Let's say that a teenager sneaks out in the middle of the night to hang out with his friends. He then gets into trouble - say he and his friends break the window of a store and get taken down to the police department. When the police and parents ask the boy what happened, he embellishes. He mischaracterizes some of the facts and embellishes on other lesser-known details, in order to give the impression that the window being broken was all a mistake. He wants to put a "spin" on the story in order to portray himself in the best light.

In the same way, Genesis utilizes some facts but then embellishes on areas that have little or no basis in reality. This leaves many parts of the texts in a nebulous region of part history, part myth.

Which parts are history and which are myth?

It is not that difficult to tell the difference.

The details reveal the difference. Areas that leave many gaping holes or impractical events become evident.

The editing and consolidation of the original manuscript sources are compounded by interpretive statements like the one above that depict God as an angry vengeful God who makes mistakes. They depict God as someone who made a mistake creating humanity and who regretted the flood.

A person who regrets their actions is fallible. The Supreme Being is not fallible. The Supreme Being does not make mistakes or regret His actions.

Aren't there great floods from other ancient texts?

It is interesting that other ancient texts or scriptures - some much older than the books of the Torah - also describe a great flood.

For example, there are multiple references in ancient Greek texts that indicate significant floods. During the rule of Ogyges, a king in Africa, there was a great deluge that occurred, according to Plato, about 10,000 years before his time. Some have interpreted this to be the period where the Atlantis island and Athens were flooded.

Then there is the description of a great flood from the Vedic scriptures of India. This is the story of Manu. Here there are some consistent themes, such as regarding the repopulating of the earth after the great flood of Manu. But there is no depiction of the Supreme Being as being angry, vengeful and regretting past errors.

Like the Greek texts, the texts of the Vedas also tell of a higher race of people who had greater power and authority than humans. This is reminiscent of the Nephilim described in Genesis - as being larger than humans and more devoted to God.

In the Vedic texts, these are described as demigods, and their descriptions of the various demigods match closely to the descriptions of the Roman and Greek gods, as well as many of the Egyptian gods and the gods of other traditions. And despite the mischaracterizations by many, the ancient Vedas also describe a single Supreme Being, and a lineage of devoted persons who also made offerings to Him and taught love for God, just as the Old Testament and the Torah describes with the lineage of prophets.

Nearly all of the scriptures of the world have descended from ancient teachers who were originally passing on Truths about the nature of humanity and the nature of the Supreme Being. But unfortunately, many of their teachings were subjected to varying degrees of mistranslation and misinterpretation as they were recorded. These were sometimes done by those who also formed the various political or sectarian institutions set up to dominate populations of people.

This does not mean these texts have lost their potency. Nearly all the scriptures and ancient texts we find today, even though they may have been manipulated, mistranslated and misinterpreted, will still contain the essence of the teachings and the ancient teachers they portray. This essence cannot be lost as details are manipulated; or abandoned as related texts were destroyed.

And what is this essence?

It is the loving relationships that exist between the Supreme Being and His devoted servants. These eternal relationships of love are never lost. Because the Supreme Being will not let those relationships become lost, even if the texts have become mangled and misrepresented.

Consider the relationship between Noah and the Supreme Being. After the flood, the first thing Noah did was build an altar to worship his Beloved Supreme Being:
Then Noah built an altar to the LORD (Genesis 8:20)
Then he made offerings to God:
he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. (Gen. 8:20)
What is an offering? An offering is an act of loving devotion. Any time we make an offering to someone we are giving a gift to that person. We are extending our love and devotion to that person. This is what Noah was doing, because he loved the Supreme Being.

What is clear from the text illustrates elements of His relationship with His loving servants like Noah.

By the text we can understand that God was pleased with Noah. He accepted Noah's humble offering and felt compassion for Noah and his fellow creatures. The Supreme Being felt love and compassion for every living being on the earth. This is God's nature. He is a loving God who cares about His creation.

It is we who have turned from God, and this is why we are here, away from Him. It is not God that makes mistakes. God simply made us with the gift of freedom. That means each of us has the freedom to make mistakes.

The word "evil" is being translated from the Hebrew root רע (ra`) which can mean "evil" but also "malignant," "sad," "hurtful," and "displeasing."

Those of us who have turned our backs on the Supreme Being have become displeasing to God because He knows we will only be happy when we are loving Him and His children. We became self-centered and envious, and because of this, He sent us to this physical world where we took on these physical bodies in order to exercise our desires.

The Supreme Being wants us to return to Him. This is why the physical world is full of challenges and consequences. Because this is a place of learning. We are being taught lessons about love and about caring for others.

What is the meaning behind the story of Noah?

The story of Noah and the flood as passed on through the Old Testament contains numerous allegories, allowing us to relate to the event and learn from it. This type of storytelling is useful for those who want to simplify a complicated situation so it can be digested by someone who cannot grasp the entire situation. The story is being simplified for those who would not be able to understand the technology involved in the actual event.

On top of this, this simplified version was mistranslated and mistranscribed as professional ecclesiastical scribes over the centuries have made efforts to try to fit the story into their speculative concept of what happened.

And as for God's paraphrased "what was in His heart," the ancient tale of Noah and the Supreme Being is telling a larger story about the Supreme Being's relationship with Noah, and Noah's relationship with God.

After Noah's offering, the Supreme Being and Noah shared an intimate exchange of love. This exchange is being expanded upon by presenting that the Supreme Being pledged to Noah that even though the inhabitants of the planet were self-centered at heart, He would always be there for them when they wanted to return to Him.

The Supreme Being was not promising to never destroy the creatures of the earth. He was assuring us that we are eternal and we never die. Our physical bodies are designed to get diseased and die. But this is not us. We are not these physical bodies. We are eternal persons.

The Supreme Being is always there for us, and He is eternally waiting for us to return to Him in the spiritual realm. While He can present us with various lessons in hopes that we learn to love, He never forces us to love Him. That is our choice. We can always make a choice to return to Him, and He will never give up on us.

This is what was trying to be communicated by the ancient teachers within the story of Noah. In this light, a more appropriate translation of this paraphrased thought by God, given the Hebrew usage, would be something to the effect of:
"I will never give up on humanity despite the inclination of their hearts to be self-centered. I will also never give up on any living creature. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, I will remain, waiting patiently, eternally." (Genesis 8:21-22)