Monday, February 17, 2014

2 Esdras, Chapter 7: Life is pain

Esdras pauses for breath and an angel appears and tells him to stand up so he can tell him something that's gonna blow him away: the sea is set in a wide place, that it might be wide and deep (v. 3). Is you mind blown? Thought so. The angel also points out that if the entrance to the sea were narrow like a river, no one would be able to stand on the beach or rule it. The logic does not follow, but then it's god-logic.

He gives us a new scene to prove his awesomeness: imagine a city in a fertile field. The entrance to the field is a narrow bridge that only allows people to cross single file. One one side is fire, on the other is deep water. Now imagine a man inherits the whole city, but can't ever get to it. How could that guy receive his inheritance?

Esdras admits that all of this is true, and the angel says the sea and the city are Israel. God made the world for them, but then Adam fucked it all up, so now the world sucks, but the entrance to heaven is wide, as long as you want to go there.

Now the angel has some questions for Esdras, namely why is he freaking out about all of this? And why is he worrying about earthly matters when he should be focused on the afterlife? Then he reminds us that god is the judge and people are awful and eventually this is all going to end anyway when Jesus arrives in 400 years, even though this book was written sometime between 70 and 218AD, according to most scholars. Yup, this one actually promises Jesus by name, and it still isn't in the bible proper.

When Jesus arrives, god will kill everything for 7 days, then restore all the dead people, then there will be a new, wonderful earth with no suffering, just truth and faith. Of course, Esdras wants to know why it can't be like that now, and of course the angel says it just can't, but the end is on its way. Esdras points out that god shouldn't have made Adam, or just not tempted him, because how fun is it to live in the first century? Also, what's the point of a paradise, whose fruit endureth for ever, wherein is security and medicine, since we shall not enter into it? (v. 53) The angel tells him that men have been put on earth to do battle, and if we lose, we'll suffer, but if we win we'll get our reward. Esdras gives up for the moment and thanks god for his existence.

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