Re: The Flood/ID

gordon brown (gbrown@euclid.Colorado.EDU)
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 16:55:45 -0700 (MST)

On Tue, 31 Mar 1998, Daniel Criswell wrote:

> This is the straw man argument. "Erets" in Hebrew can and does also
> refer to the earth at large as well as a local area. So you gain nothing
> by that. And besides when taken in context with the rest of the Bible
> the only conclusion can be a Global flood. And beyond that the early
> church knew of nothing but a global flood.
> Dan


Some time ago I used a concordance to count the number of times in which
the KJV translated 'erets in each of the various possible ways. My
recollection is that it was translated `land' in 62% of the instances and
`earth' in only 29%. In many cases such as `land of Israel' it is obvious
that it should not be translated as `earth'. There are other cases where
either translation might fit the immediate context, thus posing a problem
for someone attempting to translate a passage into English. We should not
conclude that just because `earth' is a conceivable translation
linguistically, it is therefore the right one.

The phrase `face of the whole earth' occurs both in Gen. 8:9 and Dan. 8:5
in the KJV, and the phrases are also identical in the Hebrew of those
passages. In Dan. 8:5 we have what we understand to be a prophecy
concerning the conquests of Alexander the Great (cf. vs. 21). The passage
could be read to say that Alexander conquered the entire globe (by reading
'erets as earth), but we know from history that he didn't really conquer
the entire globe. Do we conclude that historians are liars or incompetent?
No. This doesn't bother us because we know that 'erets does not usually
mean the entire globe. For the same reason evidence against a global flood
shouldn't bother us either.

Many allegations of contradictions between the Bible and science or
history or between different passages in the Bible are based on English
translations and disappear when we look at the readings in the original

Gordon Brown
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395