by David C. Grabbe
CGG Weekly, February 15, 2019
"Sin doesn't stop where we want it to. It keeps taking us further."
As we saw in Part One, what seems to be modern and progressive now is simply another iteration of something that began long ago. Even before the time of Abraham, the Babylonian priestess Enheduanna taught that individuals, to overcome the constraints of Eden and to mature in their personality, can do anything they want, even to the point of taking on prerogatives of God Himself! Enheduanna also ascribes to her goddess, Inanna, the ability to turn men into women and vice versa, anciently reflecting what the transgender movement advocates today.
Further, despite the myth of Inanna holding that she was married to a god named Dumuzi (Tammuz), she still took lovers whenever she wished—she would not be constrained by the divine order of marriage. The worship of Ashtoreth, one of Inanna's iterations, used Asherah poles or images (Judges 3:7; I Kings 15:13; 18:19; II Kings 21:7; 23:4; II Chronicles 15:16), and these images—abominable in God's sight—were phallic symbols. They mocked what God established in Eden. A still-later version of Inanna is found in the goddess Venus, from whose name we get the term "venereal disease." Inanna/Venus was the goddess of sex without any boundaries.
Another element of the divine order from Eden is that the husband/father is the head of the family, that is, the practice of patriarchy. However, "patriarchal" is among the very worst of epithets today. This visceral reaction to the man being the head of the family occurs because an ancient, anti-God spirit is still motivating humanity to rebel against what He instituted.
Enheduanna's poem of praise to Inanna continues:
"To sneer at an answer, false or true; to say wicked words, are yours, Inanna. To joke, inflame a quarrel, provoke laughter; to defile, to esteem, are yours, Inanna."
Betty De Shong Meador summarizes this quotation in her book, Inanna, Lady of Largest Heart, "Inanna feeds the creative spirit that stretches the imagination beyond social confines. She is a goddess unbound by social order." The same author notes:
God unfolds himself in the world in the form of syzygies (paired opposites), such as heaven/earth, day/night, male/female . . . Unlike the pair An and Ki, (heaven and earth, male and female), Inanna is a single deity in whose being the opposing pairs of creation are gathered. . . . Inanna exhibits both benevolent light and threatening dark. . . . She could reflect not only the best in human nature, but she could also exhibit what is abhorrent, unpleasant, dirty, sinful, terrifying, abnormal, perverse, obsessive, murderous, mad, and violent. . . . She is the element of chaos that hangs over every situation, the reminder that cultures and rules and traditions and order are constructs of humanity.
Within the events of Genesis 3, the essence of the Serpent's words is identical to what Enheduanna praises Inanna for. The Serpent promised that Eve could know—determine—good and evil for herself and experience everything in between through the exercise of her will. All she had to do was reject God and the Tree of Life. Then, she would be free to follow her destiny rather than be constrained by God. Because of the demonic spirit in Eden, humanity has been ensnared by an attitude of self-determination that vehemently resists being dependent on God or subject to Him (Romans 8:7). The motivating spirit behind the Serpent is the same one Enheduanna praised in Inanna, one who is active and stirring people to this day.
This attitude shows up in the very first person born. Jude 11 refers to "the way of Cain," loosely defined as "religion or worship on one's own terms." Both Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, but only Abel's was "by faith" (Hebrews 11:4). Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), so Abel acted according to what he had heard from God. Cain would have heard the same instructions regarding sacrifices, yet he chose to bring an offering according to what he thought would honor God rather than what God specified. As the Serpent predicted, he determined for himself what was good and evil, though God had already given the standard.
This spirit again shows up again in Nimrod, the founder of Babel (Babylon) and the progenitor of many ancient religious traditions that continue to today. His name even means "rebellion" or "let us revolt." A rebel or revolutionary is one who seeks to overthrow the present order in favor of his or her own—a perennial theme of Inanna, as well as the original rebel, Satan. Genesis 10:9 says twice that Nimrod was a "mighty hunter before the LORD," but "before" also has the connotation of "against," that is, against God! In addition, the context does not specify that he hunted animals. He may have been hunting people, determining for himself who lived and died.
When God called Abraham out of ancient Ur of the Chaldees, He directed him to travel some 500 miles to the west. The actual journey would have been twice that distance because the route moves in a great arc. God purposefully moved Abraham far from this environment of self-determination and opposition to God. When we fast-forward to the story of Abraham's descendants at the battle of Jericho, an interesting detail pops up in the sin of Achan:
And Achan answered Joshua and said, "Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it." (Joshua 7:20-21)
Just as language is a function of a culture, so also is clothing. Even at this great distance, Babylonian culture had found its way into Canaan. However, there is more to consider here: Achan had been walking in the wilderness for forty years and probably had not read GQ or Men's Journal in quite some time. Yet, he somehow knew that the garment was Babylonian! The pervasive trappings of Babylonian culture had impressed themselves on at least one—and undoubtedly more—of the wandering Israelites, and the cultural accouterments were enticing enough to persuade Achan to defy God's clear instructions to possess this beautiful garment.
In Part Three, we will see yet more Babylonian influence, which the Bible prophesies will continue to hold sway over the minds of men until the return of Jesus Christ.