Talk about a bummer:
We killed God's wife 3000 years ago, and he hasn't gotten a decent fuck ever since.
OK, I'll explain.
Everybody knows1 that the Jews killed God's son. What's not so well known is that previously they killed his wife. Scholars of religious history will be nodding and grinning at this point, as if in response to a delightful inside joke. But for the benefit of people who do something sensible with their life, here's the background story. I'm not a scholar and (unlike God) I have a date later tonight, so you'll have to make do with the Reader's Digest treatment.
The Elder Gods
Demographically, if you're reading Everything2 chances are you're Christian, Jewish or a Muslim. As chance would have it, those three religions have a common origin that begins with God's covenant with Abraham and gave us Judaism. What many Republicans don't know, though2, is that it's not as if the world was invented at that point3, nor even that God sprang into existence then. Rather, Abe lived in the Bronze Age in a pagan farmer's culture that worshipped a pantheon, a big happy family of gods (and godesses!) One of these gods, named El in ancient texts, made the deal with Abraham and became the patron deity of Abraham and his tribe, the Israelites. It's important to note that El was not the lone big boss guy he is now: He and diverse other gods were sometimes called the "sons of the mighty."
History says that Big El had as his consort4 a female deity named Asherah5. She seems to have been pretty outgoing, because archaeologists keep stumbling over depictions of her. Some show her together or in connection with El. The Israelites apparently approved of the union: They traditionally baked little cakes for her. History does not relate how good of a lay she was, but she and El allegedly had 70 sons, which leads us to believe that (a) it was a "serious" long-time liaison and (b) the sex was at least good enough that El kept coming back for more. Ah, happy times!
Alas, the Middle East was no more peaceful than it is now: The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians. There was some irritation about the killing of all first-born Israelite sons6, after which Moses decided they all needed to pick up and leave before the Egyptians did anything seriously nasty. Unfortunately, the area around Egypt is mostly desert, and like all his male descendants to this day, Moses failed to ask for directions. He ended up leading them in circles for 40 years, living on nothing but water from rocks and manna7 from heaven. The Israelites did what comes naturally to any bunch of simple, poor and disoriented people: They prayed. Upon fleeing Egypt, they'd been told to take only the barest of necessities, but amazingly enough they came up with enough gold between the lot of them to cast the statue of a golden calf, which they proceeded to worship in proxy of El, whom the old Phoenicians had sometimes symbolized as such. Just to be on the safe side, they also worshipped and prayed to a whole bunch of other deities they'd heard about. In an astounding reversal of cause and effect, Moses proclaimed that the Israelites were lost because they were worshipping idols. From a short side trip up Mount Sinai8, he brought back a new, improved deity, complete with what may have been the first User Manual, a pamphlet of ten rules on two (stone) pages.
The New Deal
Essentially, a New Deal had been crafted between God and Moses. The main thing, the First (and sometimes Second) Commandment, was all about going from polytheism to monotheism. Monotheism was a new kind of religion, the spiritual equivalent of one stop shopping. You want to get rich? Pray to God. You want your neighbor to drop dead? Ask God. You want to get it on with the cute chick next door? Burn an offering to God. Not gods, just God. The one and only. This had important advantages: Supplicants no longer needed to carry a Yellow Pages of deities appropriate for different occasions. The number of religious holidays dropped steeply, and this was good for productivity. Lastly, God got to keep all the sacrifices from his people, as there was no one to share with.
This deal was enforced by prophets and bible authors who proclaimed far and wide that worshipping other, false gods was a mortal sin, that idolatry was a no-no and (did we mention this before?) THERE IS JUST ONE GOD!
Somewhere very roughly around this time, God got a name change; sort of how AT&T is the new Ma Bell. God's new brand name was Jehovah, but he doesn't like to be called that, so the Israelites (who mutated, in name, to Jews) called him Yahweh instead.
Now we come to the fly in the ointment, as far as God is concerned. For a while after the, umm, pacification of Canaan9, God's wife is still mentioned, as in a blessing by "Yahweh and his Asherah." She's also occasionally referred to as "the Queen of Heaven." Later it's "Lady Wisdom." But hey, ONE GOD! Eventually the Bible writers dumped Asherah into obscurity and chose to confuse the issue by spouting nonsense like "Yahweh is the husband and Israel is the wife.10" Now as any sensible-thinking man can tell you, spiritual or symbolic unions may be very special, but they're fucking useless when you want to get your rocks off. Given the fact that the redefinition of El's god-hood took place around 1400 BC and considering the alleged magnitude of God, God must have the biggest blue balls in the universe.
I acknowledge that this isn't the end of the story. Jehovah underwent another transformation later on after he got it on with a poor carpenter's wife. The union was successful insofar as God became a daddy and mellowed out considerably from his prior fire and brimstone bellicose self. On the other hand, it couldn't have been very successful from God's point of view, because Mary was still a virgin after the fact11.
There were others, to be sure. Joan of Arc had a thing for him but proved to have a very inflammable temper. Mother Theresa proclaimed loudly that she was his bitch, but looking at her photos I'd say that getting it up for Mother Theresa would have given a whole new meaning to "omnipotence." Countless other women have claimed to have been entered by His spirit. Still, I'm afraid that we're looking at frustrating one-night stands at best. Like a middle-aged man in a Porsche, God is showing off by expanding the universe faster than light12, and the Pope is pimping for all he's worth, but that's not much. We haven't seen any noteworthy miracles in the past 2000 years, and I'll wager we won't until He finds His way back in the saddle.
Looking at recent Jewish history leaves us in no doubt that God is divinely pissed off at the Jews for offing his wife. But what if the Third Reich was just a subtle hint? To the folks in charge of the Bible, I make this urgent appeal: Quick, before he lays the blame on all of us, make it a trilogy! We need a, umm, Newest Testament wherein, finally, His will is done again.
- Everybody that's Christian, anyway.
- A brief but adequate treatment of Judaism's beginnings can be found here.
- Unless you're into Young Earth Creationism.
- OK, so I lied about the "wife" part. Stay tuned for my sequel, It must be hard for God to get married!
- More about Ashera in Wikipedia.
- Some background about Moses in Egypt
- This guy conjectures that manna may have been hallucinogenic mushrooms. That might explain 40 years of running around in circles, anyway.
- Although there is a modern "Mount Sinai", it's not clear if the Bible refers to the same one. Wikipedia tells more.
- Well, it was peaceful once they'd slaughtered every man, woman and child living there. But hey, they were just following orders! More here.
- This site constructs a whole spiritual/symbolic family around Yahweh.
- I had a girlfriend like that once. See my WU about blue balls!
- It's claimed the universe is expanding faster than light!