Bob Dylan: God’s Original Sin

by Larry Fyffe

As punishment for the devil’s arrogance, God casts Satan from Paradise. Satan, needless to say, is upset at the all-powerful Creator:

So farewell hope, and with hope, farewell fear
Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost
Evil be thou my good
(John Milton: Paradise Lost)

Likewise, as punishment for their arrogance, God arranges  Adam and Eve’s expulsive from Eden; their earthly paradise gets closed to them.

And Dr. Frankenstein’s creation is certainly upset by the way his Creator treats him:

I, the miserable, and the abandoned ... Kicked and trampled on
Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this injustice
Evil thenceforth became my good
(Mary Shelley: Frankenstein)

An obverse biblical motif that’s not lost in the lyrics of a number of songs written by Bob Dylan.

From the get-go:

I'm as weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feeling
Ain't no tongue can tell ...
That if God's on our side
He'll stop the next war
(Bob Dylan: With God On Our Side)

But no. War, the orginal sin that ultimately rests at the foot of the Almighty’s throne; a sin for which brave humans pay the price; ie, even dying in a ditch afterwards because of the depressive mental effects left by fighting in one:

They started up Iwo Jima Hill, 250 men
But only 27 lived to walk back down that hill again
And when the fight was over, and Old Glory raised
One of the men who held it high was the Indian Ira Hayes
(Bob Dylan: The Ballad Of Ira Hayes ~ La Farge)

God’s original sin, He passes on to Satan, and the devil passes it on down to Adam; it sure ain’t the Almighty’s fault:

Temptation's not an easy thing
Adam given the devil reign
Because he sinned, I got no choice
It run in my vein
(Bob Dylan: Pressing On)

A sorrowful fate for human beings; expressed in the following song verse:

Ten thousand men standing on a hill
Ten thousand men on a hill
Some of'em going down
Some of'em gonna get killed
(Bob Dylan: Ten Thousand Men)

Alluding to the satirical nursery rhyme below:

Oh the grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again
(The Grand Old Duke Of York)

Conflicts, big or small, a ‘gift’ given to His human ‘ingrates’ by a vengeful God:

One of these days, you'll be in the ditch
Flies buzzing around your eyes
Blood on your saddle
(Bob Dylan: Idiot Wind)

There’s little doubt  –  it’s better to be the Almighty Creator:

I've been visiting morgues and monasteries
Looking for the necessary body parts
Limbs and livers, and brains and hearts
I'll bring somebody back to life, it's what I wanna do
I wanna create my own version of you
(Bob Dylan: My Own Version Of You)

And a nonvengeful Creator at that (at least one who has a keen sense of humour):

I'm here to create the New Imperial Order
I'm going to do whatever circumstances require
I care so much for you, didn't think I could
I can't tell my heart that you're no good
(Bob Dylan: Honest With Me)

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