In the beginning, YAHWEH created the Heavens and the Earth. It only took him six days with no hired help. He also found the time to include incontrovertible evidence of a Big Bang, presumably to annoy future cosmologists.
On the seventh day he rested. On the eighth day he went back to work as there was trouble in Paradise.
Having created Mankind in his own image, YAHWEH soon discovered that this was no guarantee of quality. ADAM had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge and infected his descendents with a virulent strain of independence — a plague worse than Ebola. Humans were rampantly disobeying orders and running amok.
There had obviously been a cock-up in the morality department. So YAHWEH decided in his wisdom to drown everyone on the planet. ‘Humans are far too corrupt. Let’s wash them all away and start again!’ The Earth was consumed by floods and all life was wiped out. Only the righteous NOAH and his family survived to repopulate the world.
But having made a clean sweep of humanity, YAHWEH was disappointed to find that the remaining few were as naughty as ever. Even NOAH liked to get drunk and get naked now and again (Genesis 9:20-21). YAHWEH was most displeased. In fact he seems to have taken it personally. He was now a God with a grudge. His jealous wrath knew no bounds. Whenever those naughty humans began to reap the rewards of a hard-won civilization, POW!, they’d be zapped to oblivion.
Meanwhile he clung to the few God-fearing folk he could find. Most of these were the descendents of Jacob aka Israel, and had unfortunately been sold into Egyptian slavery. Enter MOSES, who was somewhat unwillingly cast as Ringleader and Godly Go-between. YAHWEH grabbed his attention with a burning bush, divulged his sacred name YHWH, and then proceeded to issue an entire Pentateuch of instructions. This time God was going to get a little respect.
A series of spectacular miracles terrified everyone into submission, and a triumphant MOSES led the Israelites out of bondage and into the desert for forty years of subsistence freedom.
Although he’d promised them a land of their own, YAHWEH was now God of a wandering people who spent much of their time arguing, grumbling, moaning, complaining and bitching. To keep the peace, MOSES was issued with the Ten Thousand Commandments, although decrees such as: "Thou shalt not clip off the edges of your beard" never made it into the Top Ten.
But still the people squabbled; they didn’t want some aloof invisible God bossing them around, they wanted a tangible deity they could look at and brush the flies off. In desperation, some of them started worshipping sheep and lumps of rock. MOSES was livid, but YAHWEH in his wisdom knew that the only way to appease his people was to give them what they wanted.
So he set their best craftsmen to work constructing a highly complicated and fiddly structure made of wood, gold, and precious gems. This was the Tabernacle — the world’s first portable temple. When it was finished, YAHWEH descended in the form of a fiery cloud and set up shop inside the Holy of Holies. Of course no-one was allowed to peek inside, but once a year the High Priest was permitted to enter and sprinkle a little sheep’s blood around.
By now the people had their hands full negotiating a bewildering range of Burnt Offerings, Sin Offerings, Atonement Offerings, Grain Offerings, Fellowship Offerings and Guilt Offerings. These required the ritual slaughter and burning of various animals as there was nothing the Lord liked better than the aroma of barbecued goat.
After forty years of wandering the desert and lugging God around inside his Tabernacle, the Israelites arrived at Canaan, the Promised Land. As advertised, it was overflowing with milk and honey — and also existing tenants. The history of how YAHWEH and the Israelites fared in this new land is long and full of exciting adventures. David versus Goliath. Job versus SATAN. Jonah versus the Whale. Ezekial versus the Flying Saucers. But this entry is far too long already. Go read the Old Testament for yourself.
Suffice to say that as the God of Abraham, Moses and Job unto the nth generation, YAHWEH spent endless centuries testing his people’s obedience, and they in turn tested his patience to the limit. Rules and regulations expanded in all directions, the High Priests evolved into a stilted bureaucracy of ritual, and what with one invasion or another, the Jewish people ended up pretty much how they’d started: under foreign rule and hoping for a Chosen One to lead them out of the darkness.
And then along came JESUS...