Re: Genesis Flood Sum Up

Dick Fischer (
Thu, 16 May 1996 20:26:09 -0500

At 02:48 PM 5/16/96 -0400, Bill Hamilton wrote:

>Thanks for the nice summary of your position, Dick.
>We've discussed the creation, the origin of Adam and the flood. An
>additional event in Gen 1-11 which might be studied and correlations sought
>with science is the confusion of languages at Babel.
>I believe linguists who study how languages change with time would say that
>insuffient time has passed since Babel for the languages extant today to
>have evolved. I suspect your answer might allude to your claim (which I
>find persuasive) that not all men are descendants of Adam, so that there
>might be nonAdamic languages which had been developing for many years and
>which survived the flood. Thus the confusion of languages at Babel _might_
>be seen to be a judgment on covenant people -- who at the time spoke one
>language -- for concentrating on building towers instead of spreading
>knowledge of God throughout the world.
>If that's your answer, then it's fair to ask: are there any features of
>extant languages and their known histories that might be consistent with
>such a scenario?

What has been absolutely the hardest thing for me to understand is how
Bible apologists ever made such a mistake in the first place as to think
that all the world's languages commenced at Babel. No knowledge of
linguistics required. All that's necessary is to read Genesis from
chapters 1 to 11 and make a note as to whether 11 follows 10 or the
other way around.

Genesis 10 describes the dispersion of the sons, grandsons, and a few
selected families as they began to spread out. If the dispersion is in
chapter 10, even all of Noah's offspring couldn't have been in the land
of Shinar in Genesis 11. It really is as simple as that.

Here again, erets in Hebrew means either "land" or "earth," and the
translators made a bad call. The whole planet was not of one language.
Those involved in the incident at Babel are named in that same chapter, the
sons of Arphaxad (Noah's grandson), in the line of promise leading to
Abraham, David and Christ.

Even the Accadians and Sumerians, who predate the flood, spoke unrelated

What looks to have been going on (from reading scores of translated ziggurat
inscriptions) is that each cult center was building towers of immense
proportions dedicated to whatever deity reigned over that particular city.
The flood, it seems, was the original impetus for building mud brick platforms
that would serve as a means of survival in the case of flash floods which were
a way of life in the flat alluvial plain. Andre Parrot counted 33 towers in 27
different cities.

Up until about 2300 BC, these platforms were rather modest, but suddenly each
city started building like crazy, adding temple structures of marble and semi-
precious stones. The inscriptions were testimonies of admiration for the
"god" of their city. During the heyday of what looks like a ziggurat building
contest, God's chosen people got involved in doing the same thing. You can
imagine how happy God would be having a mud brick tower dedicated to Him at
Babylon that was 10 feet higher than the temple of Ishtar at Erech. Not
edifying in the least.

What's worse is that His chosen people were told that such a flood would not
happen again (Gen. 9:15). The fact that they were building an immense survival
platform was another kind of insult. So God caused them confusion. Exactly
what that was, or how it was manifested, is anybody's guess. When the Canaanite
city of Ebla was excavated, clay tablets were recovered written in the Canaanite
language. It was very similar to ancient Hebrew. The same is true at Ugarit.
So, I believe it is unlikely that the hapless Babylonians scattered in all
directions muttering Apache, Swahili, Mandarin and the like.

Dick Fischer
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