YHWH, the Good and Evil God
The passage of Genesis 17 reveals a dark side of YHWH and demonstrates that He is not all good and caring for His people. This doesn’t mean that YHWH is an all-evil YHWH, but shows that He is not all-good either. He contains the extremes of both within Him. This is demonstrated by His requirement of all males to be prevented from enjoying the most powerful physical aspects of sex by the removal of their foreskins in the covenant He makes with Abraham.
Chapter 17 starts out with YHWH informing Abram that He is going to make a covenant with him. YHWH said he would agree to make Abram “exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you” (GEN 17:6). YHWH also promised a patch of land by saying, “I will give to you all the land of Canaan” (GEN 17:8). The timeline of the covenant is “everlasting,” being renewed with each generation (GEN 17:7).
After laying out the goodies for Abram, YHWH then reveals a large part of His nature, which is that he is not all good or evil, but both good and evil. He has revealed that he is good when he created the universe and all that was in it “and it was good” (GEN 1:10 et al). His evil nature is first shown when YHWH said to Abraham (his name was changed in GEN 17:5) that “every male among you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin” (GEN 17:10-11). To ensure that Abraham’s descendants do not choose of their free will to not follow YHWH, He said, “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations” (GEN 17:12). To make it especially clear what YHWH means in this order and what will happen if anyone chooses to not circumcise himself or his son, He said, “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant” (GEN 17:14).
The reason this act is evil is because it removes from the male most of his erotic senses, which are contained in the frenulum and Taylor’s ridged bands of the foreskin, along with the approximately 20,000 Meissner’s corpuscles (primary erotic nerves) contained within the 15 square inches of skin removed (the size of a 3x5″ card) (http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/, and PROCEEDINGS OF THE STAFF MEETINGS OF THE MAYO CLINIC, Volume 34, Number 2: Pages 39-47, Rochester, Minnesota, January 21, 1959.). What YHWH is saying then, is that in order for Jewish people to multiply exceedingly and to gain the land of Canaan, they must remove their ability to enjoy physical sex. And not only that, they must enforce that their sons also will never enjoy the physical aspects of sex, violating their sons’ free will. Any YHWH who requires a father to act in violation of his sons’ free will has evil in Him, as acting in accordance with one’s own free Will is an act of the most importance and to violate someone else’s free Will is an act of the highest abomination.
YHWH goes on to state that Sarai, now called Sarah, will be blessed by giving birth to a second son, Isaac, and she will be “a mother of nations [and] kings of peoples will come from her” (GEN 17:16).
Abraham doesn’t believe what he heard (that his wife will have a son by him), since he is 100 years old and Sarah is 90 years old. He likens the idea to that of “Ishmael might live before You!” (GEN 17:18), which is ridiculous since YHWH is the supreme demiurge. YHWH reiterates calmly but firmly that Sarah will bear a son and that he is to be called Isaac.
It appears that YHWH is going to treat the 2 sons, Ishmael and Isaac, differently, as Ishmael will be blessed, fruitful, and will become the “father of twelve princes”, and will receive a “great nation” (GEN 17:20). Isaac, on the other hand, is to receive the covenant and all the benefits that go along with it, like everlasting fruitfulness (GEN 17:21).
After YHWH leaves Abraham, Abraham proceeds to circumcise all of his servants and his son Ishmael (GEN 17:23), who won’t even receive the covenant because it is for his unborn brother, Isaac (GEN 17:21).
The story contained in Genesis 17 reveals a lot about the dual nature of YHWH by displaying His dark side. He created the world “and it was good” in Genesis 1 and 2. He created Adam (body) and Eve (spirit) and allowed them to marry and become one (GEN 2:24). Then, when they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, a division is created between humanity’s body and spirit (Adam and Eve), which presumably needs to be reunited.
What’s interesting about this is how the division between body and spirit is enhanced through the act of circumcision because it significantly reduces the physical aspect of sex, in order to force the man to compensate by enhancing the spiritual aspect of sex. This division is decreed by YHWH as a requirement of His religion. The interesting part about this is that the word “religion” comes from “re-” meaning “again” or “anew” and “leig-” meaning “to bind” (http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=religion). The word “religion” then means to re-bind the body and the soul, and as a result, the person with YHWH, as it was in the Garden of Eden. It is to right the Wrong committed by Adam and Eve.