HIS/THEO-Gen 1:2-2:4a

John Misasi (jmisasi@engc.bu.edu)
Tue, 12 Nov 1996 22:43:21 -0500 (EST)

I apologize for the late reply, but i was in Indiana for the weekend at a
friends wedding.

Dick Fischer wrote:

>To quote Sailhamer on page 32:
> "The work of God recounted in Genesis 1:2-2:4a falls within a time
>period of just one week."

Why does this bother you????? You must explain. He has much better
credentials than most people i see who try to explain Genesis 1:2-2:4a as
long periods of time or something else. Remember he is a professor of
Semetics and Hebrew. Not a scientist and is not looking at the Bible and
fixing it to his world view. He is taking the bible, particularly genesis
and retranslating it with a high pass filter that eliminates modern
world views (e.g. YEC, OEC. etc...) in order to attempt to read it as it was
intentionally meant to be read.

>Later in that paragraph he says:
> "The "land" which the author has in mind is the land promised to
> Israel (Genesis 15:18). It is there that God prepared the garden
> of Eden ..."
>In Israel? Sorry, the Tigris and Euphrates don't flow in the land of

The Tigris and Euphrates don't flow through the land of Canaan, but are
they not to the east of Canaan AND the garden...? you forget the rivers
Pishon and Gihon... Do you know where they flowed??? It has been said
that the river Pishon was, at the time, understood to have been the name
of the Nile. My source for this is the commentary to 'The New American
Bible', which is the Catholic church's modern English translation (But i
have heard it elsewhere). Given this, we can see a border appear:

CANAAN Euphrates Tigris


This appears to me to be within the boundries of Canaan... What do you
think? All we need is the other border. You cannot define a border when
only two portions are known... However, three is better than two and four
better than three. Therefore, i think this hypothesis is not disproved.
Besides i doubt a Hebrew scholar would fall into a geography trap that

>On the next page he says:
> "Clear traces of human beings date back only about thirty thousand
> years ago, appearing without any discernible antecedents, as if
> they came from nowhere."
>He may have made some points later in the book, but I didn't bother to read
>much further after this faux pas.

You miss his point.... He is not espousing a scientific theory, when he
mentions any of them. He is pointing out the different theories views
(as best he understands them) and does not perform a scientific analysis
on them. His view point is a biblical analysis not a scientific one. He
may not be correct on his scientific data, but so what, his book is
analysis of textual data. His data set is limited to the OT and the fact
that it was meant to be understood by people who don't have scientific
backgrounds, but for the ancient Hebrew speaking population. I suggest
you read on or at the very least read the appendix.

General Comment:

The reason this book strikes me so much and i have been harping on it is
that if Sailhamer is correct, we are and have been reading Genesis
1:2-2:4 totally wrong. We as Christians over the milenium have
translated and interpreted it originally from the cosmology of the
greeks, then modified to fit the Copernician cosmology and most recently
we are modifying it to fit the Newtonian/Eistienian/Darwinian cosmologyu
of our society. He says that this all of these are being inappropriately
tied to Genesis 1:2-2:4a. Rather, the only mention of the creation of
the universe is in Genesis 1:1, 'In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth'.

Do people not see how radical this idea is? How if this is true, all the
bickering over Genesis 1:2-2:4a between YEC's and OEC's is for naught!
This theory of his opens up God's creation of the Earth to an infinite
number of possibilities... BUT IMO i would stress that they most likely
we would be able to learn about God's creative process though science,
just as we learn of God's creativeness in physics, chemistry and biology
through scientific inquiry and debate.

I ask that people give this a thought on a biblical level... his argument
is based on scripture not scientific evidence and that is why it is
radical. He has essentially, turned the board game upside-down and
revealed a completely new ( in our eyes ) hypothesis. We must not treat
his ideas in the same way as Copernicus' ideas were rejected b/c they
went against the his societies world view. Because Sailhamers ideas may
be just as true as Copernicus' but we reject them because they are
entirly different from anything we expected.

Well enough rambling and preaching for me (*_-).


Email: jmisasi@engc.bu.edu
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