2023 / 2 / 22
What renders the Abrahamic -script-ures truly particular is the claim that a supreme being himself had revealed them unto humanity. In Judaism, Christianity, as well as Islam, it is culminated that God had spoken to Mankind and bestowed upon it a cogent and apodictic template that humanity must ascribe to in order to gain salvation here on earth and in the hereafter. To my purposes, I shall tackle in this second part how Abrahamic religions have represented the concept of existence, and how, concomitantly, this perception has affected the moral and ethical edifice of approximately half of humanity today.
In the Torah, the backbone of the three religions, the well-known story of creation, Satan’s deceit of Eve, and the banishment from the garden of Eden, represent the lonesomeness and estrangement that Mankind has to endure upon earth and the longing for a lost latibule and heaven. Man had relinquished a God-giving right and he had been therefore condemned to a sever, yet a temporary, damnation on Earth. As De Beauvoire puts it in her tour-de-force The Second Sex, ‘‘He dreams of restfulness in restlessness and of an opaque plenitude that his consciousness would nevertheless still inhabit’’ (De Beauvoire 194). Salvation and eternal rest come with death. Life is merely a gateway to paradise and everything nature has to offer is dilapidating and decrepit when compared to the everlasting amenities of the hereafter.
In the book of Genesis, it is stated that ‘‘And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth’’ (1:26). In the same sense, it is also stated that ‘‘And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’’ (1:28).
In The New Testament, the ten commandments are given the same significance as in the Torah, here Jesus answers a person who enquired about the key to earthly salvation and eternal life, Jesus responds thus, ‘‘Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 19:16–19). The original Torahic version superadds four additional commandments: Acknowledging that the Lord is God, he is the only God, not to take his name in vain, and finally remembering the Sabbath and keeping it holy (Exodus 20 :2/20:3-6/20:7/20:8-11). The basic commandments that characterize life on earth have to do exclusively with believing in God’s existence and the way human beings ought to treat each another meritoriously. In a relevant passage in which Satan attempts to coax Jesus via offering him all the kingdoms and gardens of the world, Jesus’s response is note-worthy:
Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them-;- And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him (Matthew 4:8-9-10-11).
Life on earth is represented as a test by the Lord, and other than that is Satan’ work. A test in which all temptations and predilections must be quelled in order to gain salvation and spiritual ease. In a word, the -script-ure displays Man’s centeredness and superiority over other living organisms and over life itself, and emphasize how God had made all living things just to serve his provisional needs on Earth. Man is at war. At war with his natural impulsions to yield, also with the irresistible promise of eternal life after death.
In the Quran, nature is invoked in contexts merely to show God’s might and eminence, also to display the triviality and inferiority of life on earth. Here in the book of Al’Ankabut it is opined that ‘‘What is the life of this world but amusement and play? but verily the Home in the Hereafter,-that is life indeed, if they but knew’’ (29:64). Also in the book of Al An’am, mundane life is degraded and overtly linked to divertissement and enjoyment, ‘‘And the life of this world is nothing but play and amusement. But far better is the house in the Hereafter for those who are Al-Muttaqun (the pious - see V. 2:2). Will you not then understand?’’ (6:2). also in the book of Al-A’raf ‘‘And surely, We gave you authority on the earth and appointed for you therein provisions (for your life). Little thanks do you give’’ (7:10). The Quran represents life on Earth as the Other, giving therefore the ideological alibi to rule over it entirely. Additionally, the Quran gloats over the creation of Heavens and Earth, mountains, and sky, mainly as evidence of God’s existence and as sign of our unimportance:
Say: Is it that ye deny Him Who created the earth in two Days? And do ye join equals with Him? He is the Lord of (all) the Worlds. He set on the (earth), mountains standing firm, high above it, and bestowed blessings on the earth, and measure therein all things to give them nourishment in due proportion, in four Days, in accordance with (the needs of) those who seek (Sustenance). Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: "Come ye together, willingly´-or-unwillingly." They said: "We do come (together), in willing obedience. So He completed them as seven firmaments in two Days, and He assigned to each heaven its duty and command. And We adorned the lower heaven with lights, and (provided it) with guard. Such is the Decree of (Him) the Exalted in Might, Full of Knowledge’’ (Fussilat 41:8-9-10-11).
God wonders at Man’s denial and suspicion of his mighty work. His creation indicates the proof of his existence and monotheism. He created heavens and earth just to show us how insignificant and submissive they are, like human beings.
When compared to the ongoing debates in philosophy and humanities, it is found that the -script-ures still retain their recondite and esoteric style that lack any theoretical´-or-academic significance. Instead of the Man-in-the-sky image, God is to be perceived rather as a manifestation of the natural world and natural phenomena, and it s up to human beings to appreciate and admire Creation. This mirrors a critical transformation from a belief in a single God, incarnated in a Man, to a God that exists inside everyone and all around, and is part of the human and nonhuman world.
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