The Bible has some wonderful stuff in it but if you are looking for moral or ethical help I would suggest avoiding Genesis like the plague.
The first recorded instance of setting someone up for ethical failure:
15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."
Also note the first instance of a deity telling an outright lie to man up there when he tells them that they will die from eating the fruit. Imagine their surprise when they ate it and didn’t die but rather figured out that they were naked (the horror!) :
she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Followed closely by over-the-top cruelty to Eve (keep in mind that God already lied about the penalty for eating the fruit and apparently has now decided that knowledge of good and evil is just not painful enough) :
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."
Why was God so pissed (and why did he lie about the tree) ? Well obviously it was because he didn’t want them to start eating from the trees that God and his peers (apparently he has peers in the garden) wanted to keep for their own:
And the LORD God said, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (a good point to keep in mind is that this passage with it’s attendant implications is the progenitor of many aspects of modern would-be “hermeticists” - GW)
God follows up his ethical misdirection here by randomly promoting sibling rivalry when Adam’s sons bring him part of the food they have worked so hard to make. Apparently God is a meatetarian:
3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.
At this point it is important to note that the God of Genesis is not an omniscient God in any manner and that there are apparently other men in Nod that God did not create:
Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
Who will kill him then? God’s creations at this point number Adam, Eve, Cain, and the now dead Abel. The Noddites were apparently already there from some other God (perhaps one of God’s buddies who hang out with him in the Garden eating fruits of knowledge and life while knocking back some brewskies?).
This brings us to one of the bigger conflicts in the “early” bible… Who is the Lamech’s family? Note that I don’t just mean there are two people ambiguously named Lamech here but rather that there are two lineages for the exact same Lamech. Was he of the house of Cain (the cursed) or of Adam. We are about 3 pages into the bible and it is a train wreck of consistency:
Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.
So Cain was the head of Lamech’s family? Wait for it:
(ok I am abbreviating here):
Adam – Seth- Enosh- Kenan – Mahalalel – Jared – Enoch – Methuselah – Lamech – Noah
Since the narrative runs that Noah was a nice guy we can assume that Cain’s Lamech didn’t father him since that Lamech is a vengeful ass (then again God in this version is also a vengeful ass so maybe that just makes Lamech ibn Cain “godly”):
23 Lamech said to his wives,
"Adah and Zillah, listen to me;
wives of Lamech, hear my words.
I have killed [y] a man for wounding me,
a young man for injuring me.
I wonder if he ever killed a man for snoring?
Keep in mind that at this point we are only up to Genesis 5! God needs a new proofreader. If I make it through these classes without an aneurism that really will be a miracle.