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Discussing Incest in the Bible

This is a follow-up on my first post on this issue since other discussions ensued based on the video When atheists slam Genesis without reading it!

A certain Sid Masey commented:

Still doesn’t avoid the issue of inter sibling sex, be they 3 or 1000. It’s still brothers doing their sisters. What am I missing?

I, Ken Ammi, replied:

What of it?

Sid Masey:

Ken Ammi  incest sir, incest. It’s quite problematic. Don’t you think? It’s also unlawful I believe.

Ken Ammi:

Are you an Atheist? If so, I should note that I’m not so you can’t just make vague jumped to conclusion statements and have me approvingly elbow you in the ribs whilst chuckling:

“incest sir, incest”: what of it?

“It’s quite problematic”: why, how so, to whom, etc.?

“Don’t you think?”: Yes.

“It’s also unlawful I believe”: as per whom, when, what does that matter, etc.?

Sid Masey:

I’m not an atheist. Quite the contrary.

Incest causes all sorts of problems on a genetic level for subsequent generations. This is well known and researched, so do not casually imply it is an approved or desirable thing. All civilisations avoid it like the plague (excepting the ancient Persians). I am sure you can find a rule about brothers and sisters laying together being sinful somewhere in Leviticus.

Ken Ammi:

Ah, you hit the genetics nail on the head since you wrote, note your tenses, “problem,a rule about brothers and sisters laying together being sinful somewhere in Leviticus” which is after Genesis. Genesis implies that the originally created people would have had pristine genetics so that such mating would not have been a problem–again, until it became a problem.

Sid Masey:

The logic is correct except that God’s Law is not “created” at the writing up of leviticus, It is actually eternal and unchanging, the natural derivative of God´s very Being. The Jews merely recognized it at some point and wrote down what they understood, appropriate to themselves.

You will also note that in Genesis, while God is creating everything, after every deed it ends “God made X and it was Good” indicating an acceptable comparison to an objective standard is being made, i.e. to the Law, since all things are measured against it in order for them to be categorized good or bad.

So, the issue of brothers and sisters doing one another, remains sinful, which means the design of Adam and Eve cannot carry that intent.

The point about pristine genetics is also not convincing to me, since even if we picture a scenario of the purest genes combining with purest genes, generation after generation, well…..where then, is the genetic pollution coming from that had to be wiped out in the flood?

The only thing that occurs to me is there are at least two genetic streams of mankind created, one Godly (Adam´s) and others which are of unknown and impure origin.

Perhaps the old tales of Lillith are true and could explain much…

Ken Ammi:

The ethos is “eternal and unchanging, the natural derivative of God’s very Being” but it is a non-sequitur to then apply that to individual laws: for example, that sacrifices were only to be made at the Temple was a temporary law (even if based on the eternal ethos).

So when you write, “brothers and sisters doing one another, remains sinful,” “remains” biblical refer to after it was declared sinful and not before.

Are you implying that humanity came about due to sinful physical relations? If so then there’s no indication of that and if not then that’s a defeater for your claim. In other words, with whom did Adam and Eve’s first son and daughter marry?

Genesis 6 tells you “where…is the genetic pollution coming from that had to be wiped out in the flood.” The tales of Lilith may be “old” but not relevant (and I think she’s based on myth-making an owl anyhow).

Sid Masey:

On eternality and individual laws: no High Law that is eternal can be temporary, because God is unchanging, so its not a matter of WHEN a law becomes valid or invalid, but whether a directive IS Divine, or man-made. If it comes from God, it ALWAYS applies, NO exceptions.

So the issue then is whether incest is intrinsically sinful? If it is, then it always has been, and trying to apply a before and after justification, to justify an immoral act, is invalid.

Scripture does explicitly define it as sinful, so technically, it always has been. You never find incest mentioned as a favoured act. What you will find though, are examples of incest being condemned (e.g. Ham and his mother)

As to the claim of human procreation being of an incestuous origin. This is only true if you can prove there were no other humans present beyond the Adam/Eve line. Which you can’t. In fact Genesis 1:27 says

So God created MANKIND in his own image,

in the image of God he created THEM;

male and female he created THEM.

Doesn´t sound like just one couple to me. In fact its only in Genesis 2:7 that God speaks specifically about making ONE unique man. Adam. The special man who originates the Christ bloodline.

So technically we are told there were more people around, so incest is not a necessary condition for the multiplication of humankind. We don´t need it to explain our population boom.

Even science (both genetically and from mating/attraction studies) repudiates incest.

Instinctively do you not repudiate the idea of incest? Its like a priori knowledge, it requires no justification yet we understand the idea of incest as sinful, to be basically true.

There is no basis anywhere for believing that such an act could be anything other than deviation of the holy union men and women were meant to have.

Sorry, not sorry, but I´m thankful for the chat, it seems I managed to answer my original question, so for that I am grateful.


Ken Ammi:

Friend, you’re over complicating: we don’t determine “whether a directive IS Divine, or man-made” based on that it was temporarily applicable or eternal. It’s perfectly in keeping with interacting with a fallen world or entropy that certain laws would be promulgated at certain times. For example, the laws about dealing with leprosy were not bequeathed unto Adam and Eve since there was not yet any such a thing as leprosy, when there was leprosy then laws about it were put in place.

Thus no, incest has not always been sinful, it became sinful when it became a problem.

Thus, even if “trying to apply a before and after justification, to justify an immoral act, is invalid” but such is not the case in this case.

Indeed, “Scripture does explicitly define it as sinful” when it explicitly defined it as sinful—you are just retrograding it. Will you also argue that the laws pertaining to leprosy are eternal?

Indeed, God created all of mankind in His image, “mankind” is a category of being, just like before that reference is made to other categories of being such as birds, land animals, etc. You’re just inserting a meaning in to “mankind” that is not consistent with the context.

Science does not repudiate incest: you must be saying that based on an anachronism and not taking the biblical worldview into consideration, you’re strictly thinking in terms of centuries if not millennia after the fall in this case.

Yes, I instinctively repudiate the idea of incest but my (fallen) instincts are not the standard. Yet, “we understand the idea of incest as sinful, to be basically true” ever since it was declared sinful.

Thus, you are sullying “the holy union men and women” by referring to those who were doing nothing sinful as if they were.

In short, you read a commandment against incest and then artificially demand an application of it to before you read a commandment against incest which, in part, leads to you to invent that “there were more people around.”


Sid Masey:

Ken Ammi  a law may still BE, as in “exist” and be valid even if there is nothing to apply it ON. just because incest isn’t explicitly forbidden in genesis 1:1, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t already part of the legal repertoire, just not revealed yet.

you cannot add or subtract from God, neither from His law. Neither is it changeable to suit the times.The law IS and is Immutable. Whatever is sinful once, is sinful always, before and after its proclamation to humanity.

on a different topic, do you differentiate between God’s higher law and Mosaic Law or do you consider them to be the same thing?

Ken Ammi:

Friend, you are merely arguing from silence—as you admit, “just because incest isn’t explicitly” or even implicitly “forbidden in genesis…” and are becoming incoherent since you admit that and then tell me “you cannot add or subtract from God…” even when I am not adding or subtracting. Actually, you are virtually projecting since you are virtually adding that “it doesn’t mean it wasn’t already part of the legal repertoire.”

Do you believe that there is an “Old Testament” and the also a “New Testament”? If so then you agree that there are certain laws that only apply in certain times. I can’t even imagine how this is an issue for you.

But one problem with your statement “Whatever is sinful once, is sinful always, before and after its proclamation to humanity” is that you can’t show that it was declared sinful before it was declared sinful.

See, you invented that something was sinful before it was declared sinful and that faulty premise forces you to manipulate the Bible in order to read into it what you demand to see within it rather than reading what it’s telling you.

The spirit of the law is the parchment upon which the letter of the law is written.

Sid Masey:

I can see were going round in circles now.

You believe God’s law to be malleable  and that it can be start/stopped whenever it is convenient. So, if God tomorrow decided rape to be 👍,  then according to your logic, we would be evil if we did not rape.

I contend Gods law to be immutable, because God is immutable, and since He is timeless, whatever His stance on any issue, remains set for all eternity. So if you discover a Law at any point in time, it is not being created at that point in time, it always has been, yet is at that point, revealed.

We wont agree because we have different views on the nature of God.

You also seem to confuse God’s law with mosaic law. one is truth, the spirit of the law which Christ didn’t break, the other is a letter of law, a permission granted by God to Moses to write a codex.

this is why when Christ resurrects Lazarus and is accused of necromancy, he is technically breaking mosaic law, but not God’s, since he was resurrected himself, after the crucifiction, his perfect righteousness before God earns him life eternal.

So if Christ can break mosaic law, it is natural that THAT set of laws is impermanent. but God’s Ultimate Law cannot. As said by Christ himself.

There are two laws my friend, but only one is the real one, and it isn’t written down on parchment. it is written on our hearts, as we are told in both old and new testaments.

Ken Ammi:

Friend, we seem to be going round in circles because I’m pointing out the chronologically verifiable facts and you are denying them based on your imagination.

Let us try it this way: God’s law commanded the sacrifice of animals, when was the last time you sacrificed an animal?

You are either sacrificing animals for you had to admit that God’s law is malleable—I mean, that’s the very reason there’s an “Old” Testament and “New” one.

But no, not “start/stopped whenever it is convenient” but based on changing needs—which has been the point all along.

One reason that there is no way that God tomorrow could decided rape to be 👍, because rape violates God’s nature—which is what His laws are based on.

So now, combining our two views, perhaps we could say “Gods law to be immutable, because God is immutable, and since He is timeless, whatever His stance on any issue, remains set for all eternity. So if you discover a Law at any point in time, it is not being created at that point in time, it always has been, yet is at that point, revealed” so that God forever knew that there would come a point in time that He would forbid incest and that He would reveal that law when incest became a problem.

Are you denying that Mosaic law is God’s law?

I am not aware of Jesus being accused of necromancy.

Well, that ended the discussion.

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