Re: Apologetics and Genesis

Dick Fischer (
Wed, 11 Nov 1998 15:20:55 -0500

George Murphy wrote:

>I agree that the literal/physical aspect of Gen.1-11 should be ignored. It
>is talking about God's relationship with us & our world.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that Genesis 1-11
does not fit your philosophical position that it purports to describe the
origins of mankind, that it fails on scientific grounds, and thus must
serve some other purpose.

My philosophical position is that Genesis 1-11 was written to tell the Jews
of their origination, including the region, the approximate time frame,
etc., and therefore has an entirely legitimate "literal/physical aspect" to
the Jews that us outsiders are free to observe inasmuch as it has been
incorporated in our Christian Bible.

>I would refer again to the
>"rivers section" of Gen.2 here. The fact that some of the rivers this
refers to are
>ones which we can identify is an indication that the text is talking about
our world >and not some mythical space. But that does not mean that
> a. we should use the text to try to figure out the location of Paradise, or
> b. try to find out what each of the 4 rivers "stands for" in allegorical
> fashion.

If by "our world" you mean "your world," then no, Moses wasn't interested
in your world or your beginnings. If by "our world" you mean "their
world," then it most assuredly describes an identifiable region - Southern

Read the entire text. Genesis 2:13 mentions Cush, though Cush means
"black," and has been rendered "Ethiopia" in some translations. The area
of the descendants of Cush, Noah's grandson, are identified on some maps of
Persia and the region is still called Khusistan to this day.

Genesis 2:14 says the Hidekel (Tigris) "goeth toward the east of Assyria."
Can we locate Assyria on a map? Did the Tigris not go there?

Please permit me to restate something I have said before.

It says in Genesis 2:5 and 2:6 that "the Lord God had not caused it to rain
upon the earth ..." "But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered
the whole face of the ground."

Some have contended that a vapor canopy surrounded the earth and came
crashing down in a flood. Others have maintained that this is when God
created rain. But the Septuagint version of Genesis doesn't use the word
"mist." It uses the word "fountain." There is a whopping difference
between a fountain and mist. What this verse refers to is irrigation.

Now, holding on to that thought, it says in Genesis 2:10, "And a river went
out of Eden to water the garden ..." Ezekiel 1:1 mentions the "river of
Chebar" in Babylon. The only river in Babylon is the Euphrates. The
"river" Chebar is an irrigation canal. They named them in those days. Now
we see that the OT sometimes uses the word "river" when it means "canal."
And the word for "desert" in Sumerian and Accadian is "edin." Now
substituting in Genesis we can see that "a (canal) went out of (the desert)
to water the garden." The garden of Eden was irrigated.

And where were the cities irrigated? In Southern Mesopotamia.

Just this one bit of understanding goes a long way toward Bible-science
resolution. The early cities of Southern Mesopotamia were irrigated. If
the garden of Eden was in this region and in this time frame, around 7,000
years ago, then the Adam of Genesis appears far too late in human history
to start the line of hominids from which human beings descended. Adam, the
one "created in the image of God," was the first of the Jewish race, not
the first of the human race, as we have commonly misunderstood.

Now we come to Genesis 11. The beginning of this thread. Where did they
build mud brick platforms that grew into ziggurats such as the one
described as the tower of Babel? In Southern Mesopotamia.

I don't discount a theological significance to Genesis, George, it is just
that there is no necessity to divorce Genesis from its historical
underpinnings. What is necessary is to reorient your philosophical

Dick Fischer - The Origins Solution,
"The answer we should have known about 150 years ago."