1. Sabbatical Splendour in the Grass
The Sabbatical Creation of Genesis 1 is deeply charming, permeated at every stage with the unmitigated good, emanating from the plural Elohim who make humanity male and female in their own likeness, an iconic expression of the Elhoistic worship of Northern Israel, complementing Judea's exclusively Yahwistic Eden, echoing the ancient pantheon of El and Athirat of Canaan, and Asherah and the Heavenly Host worshipped alongside Yahweh-Adonai in the time of the Kings.
However, despite its manifest goodness and charm, the Sabbatical Creation's cosmology is a mythical distortion of nature which, however beautiful and endearing, has, ever since, has been the platform for an attitude of dominion over nature and is touted as a sine qua non - the declared founding creation of God, through which fundamentalists insist the Earth, if not as flat as a pancake, is only 6000 years old, and around which creationists deny the most awesomely fertile aspects of evolution, reducing the command to be fruitful and multiply after their kind, to a clockwork Newtonian shadow of its true cosmological meaning.
The Sabbatical Creation declares that when the Elohim created heaven and earth, the earth was tohu vavohu - without form and void and darkness was on the face of the deep - the abyss of primal chaos. The existence of primal chaos raises a question as to whether Elohim created the universe de novo, or merely shaped and divided the pregnant primeval waters of the deep.
Their spirit, or breath (pranayama), moving on the face of the waters, the Elohim declare "Let there be light" and the first primal division of cosmological reality ensues, as a logos, inciting the creative process by proclamation. The light is good and becomes day to the night's darkness and the evening and morning of the first day is complete. This light is not the light of heavenly bodies - stars or galaxies - but just the knowing light of good - existing in its own essence - white light in the mind-space of conscious existence - for there is yet no heaven and no earth.
We now enter into a series of events in space and time that, however quaint and wonderful, confound consciousness, biology and astronomical cosmology together in a bizarre if beautiful mythical sequence.
On the second day, the waters are divided by a firmament into those above and below heaven in a flat earth division that is forgivable, but begs more questions than it answers. All manner of bizarre explanations have been given, for example, for the waters above heaven.
Augustine neutralizes all intellectual inquiry: "These words of Scripture have more authority than the most exalted human intellect. Hence, whatever these waters are, and whatever their mode of existence, we cannot for a moment doubt that they are there." Origen says that the waters that are above the firmament are "spiritual substances," affirming the creation is as much soul myth as a physical origin.
Let the waters that are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord (Psalm 148:4)
Ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord (Daniel 3:60).
Ye waters that are above the heavens, bless the Lord (Daniel 3:60).
Harold Armstrong, himself a physics professor, although a creationist, suggested: "if Genesis is taken at all seriously, the waters above the firmament are not the clouds, nor are they the water vapor normally present in the atmosphere, nor are they a canopy of water in some state no more than a few hundred miles above the surface of the Earth. They are at a great distance, beyond the stars."
A much more avant-garde interpretation is given by Tony Smith - that the firmament divides space-time timewise and that the three fingers thickness Talmudic authors suggest for the Rekiah, or firmament, corresponds to 10^-5 sec after the big bang - when quark soup became hadrons (protons and neutrons).
On the third day a series of things happen which seriously violate nature, even if in the dearest possible terms. Firstly Elohim gathers together the waters under heaven into seas to expose dry land and calls the land Earth. However immediately they then forthwith invoke the earth to bring forth the plants: And Elohim said Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself after his kind. This is not a clockwork one-off 'creationist' creation by direct formation, but the Elohim inciting the earth to bring forth vegetative life, and life with genetic continuity - seed of its own kind - by no means inconsistent with an evolutionary process. So far, so good.
Almost as a mere oversight, or afterthought, on the fourth day, the Elohim make the Sun and Moon - two great lights; the greater to rule the day, and the lesser to rule the night: and for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: he made the stars also and set them all in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. Clearly astronomy is just a matter of lighting effects in the Cartesian theatre of flat Earth consciousness. This is a reasonable view given how astronomy was conceived at the time, although the Sun, Moon and Venus often represented deities in their own right. The year and the seasons are now also brought into play.
From the time of the ancient Canaanites, worship revolved around the agricultural cycle of the seasons, so creating the plants before both the seasons and the Sun itself, which was also frequently worshipped as divine, is a potentially tragic flaw in the cosmic design, requiring divine intervention of the Elohim to keep them alive until they remember to grant them the life giving rays of the Sun.
Now we have the animals emerging, but in a sequence related to the myth-maker's precedence of primal divisions of waters and heaven first and only a day later earth, violating any natural ordering of the biota and the natural complementation between plants and animals.
On the fifth day, the waters are incited to bring forth both the swimming and flying creatures: And Elohim said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven and great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and saw that it was good and blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
The great whales and birds who fly in the firmament are made out of the waters first and only a day later the land animals out of the earth. Of course the fish did precede the land animals, but not the great whales, nor the birds - and where are the locusts and butterflies, and fungi and sponges? This is a replay of the founding events just foretold, so the biota are helplessly destined to repeat the cycle of creation - waters and air first, earth second, regardless of their own natural complementarity or their evolutionary relationships, or the fact that the fowl lay eggs on earth not the ocean, and emerge from the land, not the sea, or firmament of heaven, which has now become so intimate and airy that even the dove, let alone the great eagle can transcend it.
It is only on day six that the earth is then called upon to bring forth the land animals: And Elohim said, Let the earth bring the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind, and made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind.
And in the same breath, confirming we are after all one of the land animals - naked apes indeed - humanity is generated - but auspiciously in the image of the Elohim: Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. In the image of Elohim created he him; male and female created he them.
Naturally this male is assumed to be Adam, however it is said in Jewish folklore, that this female was Lilith because she was Adam's first wife, who, like Adam, was made out of the earth, and regarded herself as every bit the equal of the man, just as the Sabbatical Creation indicates.
And Elohim blessed them, and said 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. Saying to humanity and all the animals Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
And on the seventh day, Elohim ended their work rested, and sanctified it.
Although the creation is disarmingly charming, and so wholly good that it is almost an act of violence to criticize it in any way, it does violate nature in significant ways.
It is from this charming introduction that the whole concept of man's dominion over nature, and hence his self-proclaimed right to tragically exploit it, arises in the religious tradition leading to the rape of the Earth.
There is a clear decree that the plants are meat (food) for the animals and humanity - setting in motion a wholly unrealistic ecology, in violation of natural principles, in which all animals are expected to be herbivores in an artificial paradise where there are no carnivores and hence no killing (except of plants). Just as the metazoa, or higher organisms, are divided between autotrophic plants living off light and heterotrophic animals consuming plants, so the animals naturally divide into herbivores and carnivores.
However, unlike the Edenic creation to follow, it does offer some recognition of natural processes of generation.
Although woman and man are said to have been 'made' in their likeness, the Elohim do not explicitly fashion, or form, the biota, but utter a call for the earth and waters to bring them forth, effectively as a natural process, consistent with an evolutionary paradigm. The genetic process - seed according to their kind - is acknowledged, and with the seed of sexuality comes the endless variation, resembling both the mother and the father in each generation in ways that parents could easily appreciate together and witness in their animal husbandry and agriculture, affirming that life is self-generating, and not merely a set of clonal carbon copies of the creator's original intelligent design.
2. Wisdom Crieth from Everlasting
The sexually dyadic plurality of the Elohim is confirmed by the coeval pre-existence of Hochmah or Wisdom - from everlasting as one brought up with him - in the account of creation in the Proverbs:
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men (8).
3. Evil Creepeth out of Eden
When we turn to the Judean Yawistic account in the Garden of Eden, the menace and biological inconsistency really begins to bite.
Although at the outset it is declared that these are the generations of the heavens and of the earth which were created when Yahweh made them, all that we see is a nascent earth, up from which wells a mist which waters the ground. Heaven is nowhere in sight and if Yahweh made the earth it is not part of the actual cosmology.
The Lord God, Yahweh-Adonai, then forms man out of the dust and breathes the breath of life (pranayama) into his nostrils, becoming a living soul: And Yhwh-Adonai formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Only after creating man, He plants a garden in Eden with good food to eat and the two trees of life (unity) and good and evil (division): And Yhwh-Adonai planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made Yahweh to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, which Yahweh tells Adam not to eat.
Again, once the plants are made in their entirety, only then are the animals made, and now much more like the intelligent designer, they are 'formed': And out of the ground Yahweh formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
And only then because Adam has no domestic help meet, Yahweh makes Eve out of Adam's rib while he is anesthetized, setting up a patriarchal chauvinistic sexual paradigm, although some female commentators claim that it gives women an elevated status - made of flesh rather than dust.
Of course there is also the hidden tale of Lilith, but that is too off left field for the Tanakh account . As both had been created from dust, Lilith considered herself equal to Adam. Lilith objected to having to lie beneath Adam during sexual intercourse, but Adam would have it no other way. Lilith upped and left him, flying up in the air, and winding up in rabbinic tradition as a baby-killing demoness who seduces sleeping men. In itself this shows how a transition to male dominance has occurred between the Elhoistic and Yahwistic accounts.
"The wild-cat shall meet with the jackals And the satyr shall cry to his fellow,
Yea, Lilith shall repose there And find her a place of rest" (Isaiah 34:14).
Yea, Lilith shall repose there And find her a place of rest" (Isaiah 34:14).
Adam now names and claims the new woman as HIS flesh: And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Adam then acknowledges the primacy of the sexual relationship and coitus itself over genealogy: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Now the serpent, who is no mere snake, but an astute talking head, persuades the woman to eat the fruit of divisive knowledge thinking it to be a pleasant to behold and sweet fruited tree of wisdom. Even though she wasn't around when Yahweh forbade Adam to eat it, and she only had the general notion not to eat the tree in the midst of the garden, sexual mayhem now ensues.
Adam and the woman did not commit any particular debauchery, or act of violence, but merely adopted a modicum of sexual privacy - the fig leaf. Neither is it stated whether or not they originally made love in their innocence. A lone Yahweh now calls them out and they fear for their nakedness. He then curses them and the snake and the ground, condemning the serpent to crawl, the woman to pain of childbirth in subjugation to her husband, the man to labour by the sweat of his brow and the ground to become thorns and thistles, all condemned to mortality, dust to dust.
It is here that it is assumed that natural evil throughout the entire biosphere enters in too. Durer etches the temptation of Adam with the cat bristling, ready to pounce on the mouse the very instant the flesh of the fruit is eaten intimating that as the first fruit is tasted, a kind of black lightning rages through paradise turning all the carnivores into killers and corrupting every animal with carnal desire and a lust for and fear of death.
At this point, Adam calls the woman Eve - the mother of all living - confirming that, not only death, but birth, have resulted from the sexual Fall as Yahweh also declared, in the pain of childbirth.
Yahweh now stoops to simple gatherer hunter skills, making coats for them both out of skins. He then confesses the root problem is his own jealousy in his essential plurality - that humanity would by the fruit of both trees which Yahweh had himself provided, become not just in the likeness of the Elohim but possess both knowledge and immortal life the deities' own essential natures: Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore Yahweh sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken, and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
So it is, that sexuality, birth and death have become inextricably entwined with a false idea of paradise in which we have immortal humans and animals benignly eating plants for all eternity and the huge contradiction that merely by becoming aware of their intrinsic sexuality, without which woman and man would not exist, that evil enters into the world and condemns, not just man and woman, but all of nature to live by tooth and claw, dust to dust and ashes to ashes, giving added justification to the absoluteness of dominion of man over woman, and humanity over nature.
Moreover, the Edenic construction of history is fundamentally in contradiction to the Sabbatical Creation, which, throughout, and from the very beginning, acknowledges the genetic principles of sexuality - each plant has fruit after its kind, whose seed is in itself and all the animals after their kind to be fruitful and multiply and in every generation evidentially in the image of both the father and the mother. How can the fruit of the tree be fertile and man be cleaving unto woman without sexuality?
Neither can it be merely desire, or concupiscence that caused the assumed 'betrayal' of lonely unattached Yahweh, as Augustine suggests, because this has no direct effect on mortality or reproduction, but only reproductive choice. If they were innocent naked lovers, sex and childbirth would have still ensued, along with all the difficulties of giving birth to offspring with such a large intelligent head.
4. Floods of Contradiction
Shortly after this there is a big problem between earth and heaven because the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. So God resolves to destroy not only man but both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them, but paradoxically calls on Noah to save the animals to make a new start.
So the flood ensues to wipe out all life and we have God providing a unique attempt to save biodiversity from mass extinction. Once again there are huge contradictions in the account. Initially God says to save seven pairs of each kosher species and one pair of the rest, (7:2) but apparently Noah only saves one pair of each (7:15, 24). The account is full of quaint contradictions. The arc is 300 cubits long, 50 wide and 30 high. The eventual flood is merely 15 cubits high (7:20) nowhere nearly high enough to cover the mountain peaks. Nevertheless the story is often taken literally and attempts made to find the relic of the arc on Mt. Ararat.
The flood is variously said to last 40 days or 150 days (7:24) which is far too long for vegetative life to survive and Noah was not asked to take on board any plant, or fungal species, just food for the land animals: And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them (6:21).
It is also made clear that every living thing on the ground was killed although the fates of the whales and fishes remains uncertain: And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark (7:23).
God in the tale has all the idiosyncrasies of a fallible human personality. First he uses crude methods causing huge collateral damage to achieve annihilation, secondly he does it because he regrets his own actions in creating humanity, thirdly he forgets Noah for 150 days and only then remembers him (as one would with a forgetful human brain). Finally we see the cosmology is full of architectural features such as windows: And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged; The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained; And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated (8:1).
Nevertheless when they emerge after the raven is released and the dove comes back with an olive branch and then disappears, Noah immediately goes about burning up the precious biodiversity: And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar (8:20).
Now God succumbs himself to the carnivorous corruption of the smell of burning flesh and finds it so good, like any fallible mortal human, he has an emotional change of heart for the better: And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
This induces an even more severe carnivorous turn of the screw of dominion of man over nature as frank predator and legitimate consumer of every living thing, coming ever closer to the threat of mass extinction of diversity we are witnessing today: "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" (Gen 9:1).
Betsalel Tiles. Boris Schatz the founder what is now known as the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem,
created the Bezalel style. Some of these tiles can be seen on houses in Tel Aviv.
created the Bezalel style. Some of these tiles can be seen on houses in Tel Aviv.
5. The Pastoral Apocalypse of Isaiah
The Jewish Tanakh apocalypse of the end of days in the coming of the mashiach, revolves around diverse passages strewn among the prophetic literature, particularly Isaiah.
This is a pastoral apocalypse full of paradise and concord. The mashiach is an endowed human bearing knowledge and wisdom: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (11:2 ).
The epoch ushered in is one of paradisaical reunion in which killing will cease, but again in conflict with natural diversity of the herbivores and carnivores: The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' (adder's) den (11:6).
And it will result in the regeneration of the Edenic condition of paradise: For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody (51:3 ).
It is the full knowledge of the Torah which will bring about this beneficence: They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea (11:9).
The polluted wastes will be restored and the priests of the Lord will be blessed among the nations of the Earth: And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves (61:4).
More apocalyptically, the classic features of death ceasing altogether are invoked: He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it (25:8 ).
And, like the apocalypse of the Christian, and Muslim, Day of Resurrection, the dead shall come to life, overruling the natural order of the passage of the generations: Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead (26:19 ).
By comparison with Revelation to follow, this apocalypse is pastoral and concordant, rather than violent and divisive, however it violates nature in precisely the way the assumed innocence of paradise violates it. Human evil and redemptive good associated with morality and the covenant with God is subsumed to be identical with the supposed natural evil of predation and the non-biological state of grace in which the carnivores eat grass and lie down with the herbivores. Such a situation can never be if the tree of living diversity is to maintain its ecological completeness, for it is the carnivores which keep the herbivores in check from eating the grass to extinction and this inner relationship behind tooth and claw needs to be understood in its natural sacredness for the blessed state of ongoing life to prevail on earth.
The moral idea that killing is wrong and is a form of evil exploitation (which clearly was not extended by the Hebrews to the Canaanites of Hazor and Jericho) continues to be confused with ecological diversity and the complementation of plants, animals and other natural strategies of sustainable existence in the living biosphere.
Furthermore, expectations are coming about in the prophetic tradition that lead to a frank overthrow of the natural order, in the dead simultaneously all coming to life and organismic death ceasing under the good kingdom of the branch - the Torah or law - leading ultimately to the scorched earth visions of the Day of Resurrection or Day of Judgment in Christian, and Islamic, scripture and eschatology.
6. The Scorched Earth Triage Apocalypse of Revelation
With the apocalypse of Revelation we move from the pastoral and organic view of a whole earthly paradise, if a little contrived to end killing and death to a full blown cosmic catastrophe of the end of days defying physical reality altogether in a return to the mythical dream time of conscious revelation, in which political, natural, cosmological and religious realities are all blended into a single allegorical account which can have reality only in the realm of nightmare and our wildest dreams. Admittedly this is purely a visionary journey of the prophetic imagination and no one in their right mind should consider this to be a literal prophecy, yet many people do even today in the ostensible age of scientific enlightenment, consider these to be literal transcendental revealed truths which will come to pass - a road map if you will of the Day of Judgment.
Revelation applies triage and biodiversity holocaust in seven stages of destruction where Genesis 1 instead leads to fruitful creation.
As seven seals are opened, tumultuous events begin to occur. When he had opened the sixth seal, here was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The angels of destruction are warned not to hurt the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads.
Once this is done however the seventh seal is opened and after an uncanny silence the seven angels in turn sound each of their their trumpets.
Firstly we have triage of the trees and annihilation of the grasses: The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up (8:7).
Second we have triage of all sea creatures and a few ships passing in the night: And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed (8:8).
Third the bitter waters of Wormwood reeking of nuclear pollution and Chernobyl: And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter (8:10).
Fourth, as in the Sabbatical Creation, we have a sudden afterthought and commit a triage of the astronomical bodies. How a third of the Sun can go is anyone's bet and why it would destroy only a third of the day and what would happen if we lost both a third of the day and the night seems to simply mean the Earth spins a third faster: And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise (8:12).
Fifth we have some interminable torments by giant insects, which never feed themselves as they aren't allowed to eat grass contradicting the first angels destruction of the grasses but just to harry humanity: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads (9:1).
Sixthly we finally get a good genuine triage of humanity: And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men (9:13).
And like the Sabbatical Creation, the seventh the Lord rests: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets (10:7). And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever (11:15).
One might think this is the signal for the blessed kingdom, but far from it. A war now breaks out which rages between heaven and earth, through the satanic dragon flaming red, with seven heads and ten horns, seven diadems, tail sweeping a third of the stars from the sky and hurling them down on the earth, along with his attendant great beasts and the followers of the false faiths. There is now even greater tumult, plague and bloodshed amid the flight of the pregnant woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and on her head a crown of seven stars, the great whore of Babylon, and finally the Lord on a white horse, out of whose mouth is a sharp sword.
Everyone isnow judged and those not found in the book of life are cast into the lake of fire, the sea gives up the dead in it and death and hell deliver up the dead and they are judged and death and hell and whosoever is not found written in the book of life are cast into a lake of fire.
Finally everything is destroyed - both heaven and earth - to be replaced anew: And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (21:1).
We now find we have finally come full circle to the tree of life: And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (22:1).
As we shall discuss in the next chapter, this admitted visionary fantasy is dangerous in the extreme, because it leads us all to the brink of annihilation of life, the universe, and everything, without heed or caution, recklessly believing that the entire diversity of life, and any sense of good stewardship of its preservation for the future generations, can be discarded, in racing towards an unveiling of the supremacy of the believers in the Lord, who become the only ones who can be saved, in a rapture as illusory as that of Paul:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words (Thessalonians 4:13-18).
This simply leads to double jeopardy, where the followers of major apocalyptic monotheistic religions, from Christian fundamentalists, through Muslim believers in the Day of Judgment, Shia and Sunni alike, to Jewish apocalyptists, each of whom believe in their own ultimate supremacy and are prepared to stop short at nothing, including nuclear warfare in the name of God, drive the world to the very brink of extinction these scorched earth scriptures prophesy.
Islamic eschatology leads to as dangerous an outcome as the Christian one. A fundamental tenet of Islam is belief in the day of resurrection, Qiyamah. Muslims believe that God will hold every human, Muslim and non-Muslim, accountable for his or her deeds at a preordained time unknown to man. According to Islamic eschatology, after death, one will reside in the grave until the appointed resurrection. The sequence of events according to Muslim belief are the annihilation of all creatures (effectively a cosmic-genocide), resurrection of bodies, and the judgment of all creatures, including the jinn.
We need to apply the Gaia shibboleth to this entire apocalyptic paradigm, passing judgment on every aspect in which the sanctity of life is casually and recklessly disregarded, so that a tradition as strong is established to protect the diversity of the tree of life and the living diversity of its future generations.