Global Studies 2A:Comparative Political and Religious Systems
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Andy Howe
Reflection Paper: How do the covenants with god change throughout the book of Genesis?

Throughout the book of Genesis, god makes numerous covenants and agreements with specific humans. The types of agreements change as time goes on and the development of civilizations becomes greater. God starts out very simplistic and ends up giving instructions saying where a specific person is going to live and what he is going to do.
God works in very mysterious ways; he wants people to fear him and praise him. He created a world and it did not work out exactly how he wanted it to when Adam and Eve disobeyed him when he made the first covenant, that Adam and Eve would not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The ‘Almighty God’ starts makes the first covenant by basically saying that Adam and Eve can eat from any tree in the Garden of Eden except for the Tree of Knowledge, and if they do they will die. Of course Adam and Eve do not talk back to god because he is not asking too much because the garden is very fruitful with that specific tree excluded.
Eventually the devil convinces Eve that God was kidding and that he said that because if Adam and Eve were to eat from that tree they would become equal to him and God would not want that. Of course Eve eats from the tree and brings back some fruit for her husband, Adam. Adam and Eve eat the fruit and acquire knowledge of evil and they immediately cover their nakedness. This is contradictory because if God is almighty powerful then why would he not simply not give human’s a bad consciousness or just get rid of the devil, he is just messing with humans because it probably amuses him.
After Adam and Eve consequently reveal that God lied about Adam and Eve dieing if they had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, God threw them out of the garden of Eden and God told Adam that he will have to work the ground for food all his life until he dies and becomes dust. God punishes humankind yet god makes agreements with specific men who he believes are good honorable, noble, courageous, and cooperative men. At this point, god seems to be a legitimate hypocrite; for goodness sake, he even brakes his own commandment of thou shall not lie, and so does his son Jesus. This aside, god makes numerous covenants with specific individuals throughout the book of Genesis.
Gods next covenant is made with a man named Noah. This new covenant was different than the first one because instead of punishing an individual, he is helping him even though he does kill everyone else.
“The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time… So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth… But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord… Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God… So God said to Noah, ‘I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out… But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive” (Genesis 6:5- 6:6:20)

It is evident that the newest convent at this point in time is not only more specific but it is also significantly more complex. God is again angry with mankind but instead of dooming the entire existence of humankind, he spares Noah and his family because of Noah’s nobility and so that civilization and human beings can prosper once again and hopefully not adapt the same evil customs that god hated so much before. God promised Noah that he would never again flood the earth after all of the water returned to their normal levels.
After god promises to never again destroy life, God makes another covenant with Noah. God tells Noah that he needs to be fruitful and increase in number until the earth is filled again, he also tells Noah that everything in the world is for Noah. Noah is to have all of the animals and plants as food or to do whatever.
“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:6)

After god gives all of the things in the world to Noah and to the rest of humankind, he tells him that cannibalism will be strictly forbidden. So Noah and his descendents were set off to restart humankind and to follow the orders of god with the promise that such a disaster as the recent flood would ever happen again.
Hundreds of years later God tells an individual named Abram (which later changes to Abraham) that Abram is to make a great nation that will be blessed by god. Abram did not argue with god, so he did as he was commanded. Years later Abram God makes a covenant with Abram saying that God is giving Abram land Abram made a great sacrifice to God.
“… Give you this land to take possession of it… Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon” (Genesis 15:7 – 15:9)

God then make the convent official with Abram. Later on in time God comes to Abram with concern about their covenant saying that Abram will become the father of many nations and that he will no longer be called Abram but instead he will be called Abraham. The covenant was made unconditional meaning that all of Abraham’s decedents will all also become fruitful and increase in number, and in return, all of the males of the population will be circumcised as a sign of their participation in the covenant with God.
“‘I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers…’ you must keep my covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner – those who are not your offspring… who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant’” (Genesis 17:2 – 17:14).

This covenant that God makes with Abraham is different from the others because he does not include death and it is complicated. God is guaranteeing a nation for Abraham and that all Abraham and everyone in the nation needs to do in return is undergo circumcision.
Throughout the rest of Genesis God makes other covenants including one with Joseph. His brothers abandoned Joseph and he became the ruler of all Egypt. He translated one the Pharaoh’s dreams into a foretelling of seven years of prosperity followed by seven years of famine. Joseph then helped Egypt acquire a lot of grain and food for seven years to last them for the next seven years to come with some left over to sell to the rest of the world to help them survive the famine.
It is evident that throughout the book of Genesis god makes many covenants with individuals and with all mankind. These covenants change through level of simplicity and content. God has certain demands and specific intentions through these covenants. Sometimes he wants something substantial in return for his favor and sometimes he simply wants to help human beings along and build nations and help humans become successful.
~ God works in very mysterious ways (so it seems).

~~ Sources: The NIV Study Bible, copyright 1995 by The Zondervan Corporation

~~~~~~ THIS IS ANDY HOWE'S PAPER!~~~~~~~ psst my acct was bugging out so i had to use a-dog-masta-funk-g-love-holy-of-holies'-acct (he keeps it real)

Tim Aikey
How does the Contract between God and Humanity change throughout the book?

The first contract that I see in Genesis between God and humanity is the contract of The Garden of Eden. “The Lord God gave man this order: ‘You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die’”(Gn 2, 16-17). God is giving Adam all he needs to survive, any fruit in the garden, except for the ones that he forbids. God forbids two trees, the tree of knowledge and the tree of life. The tree of knowledge is like the sun in the cave of Plato. The tree of knowledge opens your eyes, and allows you to see what is good and what is bad, it makes you nearly godly. Along with this tree is the tree of life, which is in the center of the garden. If you eat from this tree you will live forever, which will also make you nearly godly. One of the creatures that god created was a serpent which was crafty, and smart. This cunning creature told Eve truth of what will happen when you eat the fruits of the trees that are in the center of the garden. “But the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad’”(Gn 3, 4-5). Eve then took the fruit from the tree of knowledge and ate from it, then gave some to Adam and he ate the fruit too. “Then the eyes of both of them opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves”(Gn 3, 7). Apparently Adam and Eve saw that being naked is bad so they clothed themselves. God was mad at them and questioned them, “‘Who told you that you were naked?’”(Gn 3, 11). God is obviously keeping a lot of information from Adam and Eve, weather or not it is important or not he is doing it. Adam and Eve are so ignorant before they ate the fruit that they couldn’t even tell if they were naked, yet God concerns himself about Adam not having a partner.

God’s contract between him and humanity changes but I believe that God changes it. In genesis it says that God creates everything. God created Adam and Eve along with the serpent, God also created the forbidden trees and the rest of the garden. Is God testing himself, to see if his creations would disobey him, or was he seeing if one creature could make Eve do things that he forbid? Why does he create these forbidden trees, God’s only testing himself. God’s making the mistakes; God’s disobeying himself, and then punishing his creations. It would be like me trying to kick a ball into a goal and missing, and then blaming the ball for a mistake that I made, because I didn’t want to take the blame. I believe that God set Adam and Eve up by creating the serpent. I don’t know why God punishes Adam and Eve; they know only what God tells them and what God creates.

I believe that when God encounters a problem that he or she is changing the contract. It seems he is trying to create a utopia but keeps failing through out Genesis.

Nora Hickson
Global Studies 2a
January 5, 2004
How does the contract between God and Humanity change throughout the book of Genesis?
The book of Genesis is a series of stories, some repetitive, that express the relationship between Humanity and God. At the same time the story illustrates the behavior of man in the presence of God and the reactions God had towards particular actions. Though it is believed that God is omniscient, my interpretation so far is that the process of creating the world is a learning experience for God as much as it is for humanity. If God knows all perhaps He would not have changed the contracts between God and humanity as much as He did. The contracts begin simply, but as the relationship between humanity and God progresses the contracts require more of humanity.
The first contract between God and Humanity is between Adam in the Garden of Eden. “He told man, ‘you may eat from every tree in the garden but not from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; for on the day that you eat from it, you will certainly die.’ ” (Genesis: 2: 16) It was a bit foolish of God to create a contract between Adam, when humanity had no knowledge of death or anything else. Because Adam and Eve had no knowledge of what the consequences of their actions might be, there was really no reason, as far as they could see, for the innocent pair not to obey to God’s contract.
Another contract made between humanity is the covenant between God and Noah. God has observed the course that humanity can take, and as a result the contract has changed.
you must not eat the flesh with the life, which is the blood, still in it. And further, for your life-blood I will demand satisfaction; from every animal I will require it, and from a man also I will require satisfaction for the death of his fellow-man. (Genesis: 9: 4)
In return God promised never to destroy all life through flooding. “My Bow I set in the cloud,/ sing of the covenant between myself and earth.” (Genesis: 9: 13) The relationship between God and humanity has shifted. Though this change is mostly due to the change among humanity it also reflects on what God has learned about the behaviors of man.
A third covenant was made between God and Abraham. The covenant requested perfection, living in God’s presence, and circumcision ( a sign of the covenant between God and Abraham) in return for prosperity. “
‘Live always in my presence and be perfect, so that I may set my covenant between myself and you and multiply your descendants.’ … ‘This is how you shall keep my covenant between myself and you and your descendants after you: circumcise yourselves, every male among you.’
Now God is asking perfection from his followers. God begins by forbidding one tree in return for protection and graduates, in the Genesis, to asking for perfection in return for prosperity.
Humanity and God evolve through the story of Genesis. God changes his contract for the evolving humans. Perhaps God observed that humans need to strive for great goals, like perfection, in order to become beings closer to truth and justice. Humanity will become closer to something that is better, if it is understood between humanity and God that perfection is expected of them.

Aaron Voldman
January 5, 2004
The Covenant between Man and God

Since The Constitution was officially put into effect in the year 1789, it has been used as the framework to create the United States. Yet, the constitution has been amended 27 times since March 4, 1789. For instance, prior to the ratification of the 13th Amendment to The Constitution on December 6, 1865, slavery was allowed within the United States ( Before this date the lawmakers believed that slavery was just, after they decided that it wasn’t, they changed the law to adapt to their new ideals of what creates justice. The covenant between God and humans, like the United States Constitution, is altered according to the different circumstances, technology, and time to create an appropriate just contract that produces a mutual happiness between the two parties. While the terms of the covenant change periodically, the end result of the covenant does not change.
While a covenant-like agreement was created between God and Adam in the second chapter of Genesis, the first mention of the word: “covenant” appears in chapter six in Genesis. After God exclaims that he will destroy all flesh on earth, he clarifies to Noah that: “I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark” (Genesis 6:18). God desires to create a more righteous group of individuals, so he tells Noah, who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9) that: “You alone are righteous in this generation” (Genesis 7:1). By creating a more “righteous” humankind, God is also creating a mankind that will respect him to a higher degree, and build altars to God such as Noah did. God’s desire to be the “greatest being” is shown by his action of creating numerous languages amongst the people of Babel which prohibits them to construct the Tower of Babel.
Noah’s life, as well as that of his descendants is also improved. After the creation of the Arc, God blesses humankind with the ability to rule over all living creatures: “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (Genesis 9:3). God continues that he will never again repeat his mass killing: “I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth” (Genesis 9:11). This portion of the covenant secures the prosperity and longevity of Noah’s descendants.
Abraham, a descendant of Noah’s, also establishes a covenant with God. God soothes him: “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous” (Genesis 17:1-2). The Lord merely asks that Abraham remains “blameless,” or a god-loving, good individual. To certify his as well as his descendant’s commitment to pursue justice and remain good, God commands: “Throughout your [Abraham’s] generations every male among you shall be circumcised when he is eight days old” (Genesis 17:12). By creating men who are devoted to God, they are also devoted to his principles. In this way, while the covenant changes and involves different individuals, the covenant secures respect for God, and thus respect for the ideals that create God.
The Lord promises Abraham to protect him if he is righteous: “Do not be afraid Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great” (Genesis 15:1). He also promises to give him a son by Sarah’s womb, as well as protect his descendants. The Lord gives Noah and Abraham the same thing, what they consider happiness: A good life, and the knowledge that their descendants shall have a good life as well.
The covenant created by God with his people as well as The Constitution attempt to create a just relationship and system. Both must be changed accordingly to fit the advancements in technology, the time period and the finite circumstances. But while we make these alterations in The Constitution we must keep in mind that although we are able to change the wording and letters of the document, we must keep the threads of justice woven through the scroll of paper close to our consciences.

List of Work Cited

Monday, January 05, 2004
Tobi Drori
The contract shared betwen G-d and humankind

Knowledge can be thought of as a key to some unknown gateway. It is what drives us to move forward, or in other terms change. Yet, along with knowledge we, humankind, experience pain, a nature of suffering. We cannot avoid that force, which makes us move forward because knowledge provides us with life, and the ability to understand. It is our innate motives that impel us to be curious, and wonder about mysterious matters. Throughout history, humankind has been known for doing things that affect us in ways in which we must change.
A covenant, an agreement between two beings, can be transformed because of our growth in life. In the book of Genesis, God shares a covenant with humankind. That contract changes as humankind evolves, and expands their consciousness. Through this transformation, the image of God changes as well. However, how does this covenant alter? In Genesis 2:4, a creation story is told. In this creation narrative, God formed man before the creation of the earth and heavens. This symbolizes how man is closer to God than any other living thing. For this living being, the Lord God created a Garden of Eden, such as a Utopia.
God formed life for this man in this garden by filling it with trees for food, and a river for water. In the garden, God created the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of the good and evil as well. The Lord God felt as if the man should have a partner, therefore God produced from the land animals on the field and in the sky, and he let the man name each one of them. God as well created a woman from the rib of the man in order for the man not to be alone. The man and the woman are placed in the Garden of Eden for them to live and wander freely in, but the Lord God restricts the beings from one thing. “And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’” (Genesis 2:16-17). Thus, the first covenant between God and humankind is fashioned.
The man and woman live in this garden to only follow one rule, or rather law, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of the good and evil. However, because of human curiosity, the contract was broken. A serpent, often portrayed as a symbol for the devil, is instead depicted as a representation of knowledge for he guides both the woman and man to open their eyes. The serpent asks the woman what she and the man may eat from in the garden, and the woman responds by saying that they may eat from the fruit in the garden, but not the tree of knowledge. “But God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.’” (Genesis 3:3). Then the serpent enlightened the woman by telling her that she will not die if she eats from the tree of knowledge, but rather become open-minded about good and evil. “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5). Temptation towards this tree, and fascination attract the man and woman to eat from it. They both ate from the tree and they gained knowledge and became aware. However, even though the serpent guides the woman towards eating the tree to gain knowledge, the agreement between God and humankind is ruined.
With intelligence, humankind can prosper by expanding their minds. As a result, things must as well expand and change to work with its surroundings. For instance, a structure such as a covenant must be revised so that it can remain as a whole. In other words, because time does not stand still, but instead moves forward in a constant rate, so must its surroundings. In addition, as knowledge of good and evil progresses subsequently our ideas will as well. Therefore the covenant shared between God and humankind is changed.
The story of Noah’s ark is yet another example of the contract shared between God and Humankind. God felt as though evil had spread through out the people of earth, and the world itself was tainted. The Lord God wanted to make an end to all of this corruption by destroying all of humankind, animals, and the earth itself. Nonetheless, because Noah “walked with God,” and was a moral man, his life and his family’s life was saved. God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence because of them; now I am going to destroy them along with the earth.” (Genesis 6:13). He told Noah to build an ark, and bring his family along with two of every living thing, one male and one female.
God made a covenant with Noah realizing that it is human nature to be “evil.” “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth.” (Genesis 8:21). God promised Noah never to again to flood the earth and destroy humankind because the Lord God identified that humankind is not a whole, but rather individuals. Each individual because he or she has knowledge, acts for himself or herself. Therefore God cannot judge the whole of humanity on whether or not it is just, but rather He has to consider each individual on his or her own actions. God says to Noah and his sons, “Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.” (Genesis 9:6). Thus, each individual is divine in God’s eyes, and must therefore be evaluated independently.

January 1, 2004
Global Studies 5A
Reflection Question

Throughout the book of Genesis, there are many contracts made between god and various biblical characters. They are usually agreements involving either sacrifice for blessings or to be put simply, good behavior for prosperity. The first contract between god and man is that god will give Adam and Eve a nice little sheltered existence, and all that they have to do it not eat the apples from one tree. “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made; and he said unto the woman: Hath God indeed said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent: Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman: Ye will surely not die. For God doth know, that, on the day ye eat thereof, your eyes will be opened, and ye will be as God, knowing good and evil. (The Bible, Genesis, III, 1-5).
This seems like a no brainer. But it goes against the very nature of humans. It is one of the cruelest acts against man. All that Adam and Eve needed was a “Morpheous” type character to open the flood gates of knowledge. The serpent took this role and gave them just enough knowledge to know that they were the first human representation of the allegory of the cave. Then that little voice inside that’s telling you to do the unthinkable comes into play. And haunts you. If, for example, you’re looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon, you know that there shouldn’t be any possible desire to go over the edge. Its just curiosity that is driving this thought of doing it.

This contract with god shows how evil the god of the Old Testament can be. You of course also see the same type of evil inhumane act with Lots wife. God says that Lot can leave Sodom and Gomorrah with his relatives, but for some seemingly ungodly reason, God says that they can’t look back at the destruction of the city; for if they do, they shale be struck down and turned into a pillar of salt. Lots wife of coarse looked back at the cities. “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy eyes, and thou hast magnified thy kindness, which thou hast showed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest the evil overtake me, and I die. Behold now, this city is near to flee thereunto, and it is little, oh, let me, I pray thee, escape thither, (as it is but little that my life may be saved. And he said unto him: See, I have favored thee concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, of which thou hast spoken.” (The Bible, Genesis, XIX, 19-21) “And the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brim stone and fire, from the Lord, out of the heaven; And He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” The Bible, Genesis, XIX, 24-26) This could possibly be a metaphor to say that ignorance is bliss. This of coarse is yet another example of how much I wish that I could go back to Hebrew school and possibly get exiled from the Jewish community for saying something ungodly.

The next big covenant with god we see is with Noah. God tells him to gather a breeding pair of all of the different types of animals and build a big boat to hold them all. In exchange, for Noah being a good person, he will be able to live through the floods. Which kill everyone else. “But I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. And of every living thing, of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee: male and female shall they be. Of the fowls after their kind, and of the cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every sort shal come unto thee, to keep them alive. An thou, take unto thee of all food that is eaten, and gather it to thee; and it shall be unto thee, and unto them for food. Thus did Noah; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (The Bible, Genesis, VII, 18-22) This is kind of the point where you might start to question the motivation of god and his existence. But that’s a whole other question that has caused quite a lot of dispute. But non-the-less, it is obvious that humans have been led astray from this idea of a good, god loving and even unjust person and god is trying to fix it by starting with a clean slate (close to Plato’s get rid of everyone older than ten gets the ax). We will later see how this doesn’t work, so god gives Moses the laws that we should all be following today, because we are also a part of a covenant with god as well.

In conclusion, Gods contracts with man change in the perpous and form of the contracts being made. The real difference is that they either try to teach a lesson, or fix something and teach a lesson at the same time. You see these two types of contracts throughout the book of Genesis and throughout the bible.

Will Meyer

The contracts between god and humanity are constantly changed and made anew throughout the book of genesis. This change is made in a chronological way as god changes and ratifies his plans for humanity. “A covenant is a agreement , or a contract, that obligates one or more parties to fulfill specific promises or duties” (The Bible For Dummies PG25.)

The beginning of Genesis illustrates the first man and the first woman in the first environment in the world. Throughout the book of genesis there are many deals made and broken with god. Throughout the book of genesis god seems to make contracts with humans saying that their lives will get better if they fallow certain guidelines set down by him. “And the lord god commanded the man, you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good or evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die (Genesis 2:16).” This is the first contract made between god and a human being. However it may have been a bad thing to say. Because right when your told not to do something you instantly want to do it.

Another contract that is made is made with Noah. “So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. This is how you are to build it: the ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle, and upper decks (Genesis 5:14).god then goes on to explain to Noah what he is supposed to do with the ark. This is an important covenant or contract to look at because it explains also gods mood at the current moment with civilization and it explains what his plans are to do with the earth and the great flood of the times. It also shows a change in the contracts that god has made to a human. In the first contract god is simply commanding Adam not to eat from a specific tree. Not giving him many details about the tree and what it is used for. When god contacts Noah for the first time he gives him specific details and what exactly to the t the ark is going to be used for. It seems that as time goes on throughout the book of genesis that gods demands get more and more specific, so that he has less of a margin for error.

God is not one of those people/thing/supernatural being that does not learn from his mistakes. And it is shown in great detail throughout the book of Genesis. From gods mistake with the first humans to gods mistake with the first human population god always strives to fix the things that god messed up. He defiantly has the knowledge and the ideas to build a world worth living in.

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