Re: Four rivers revisieted

Blaine D. McArthur (
Fri, 16 Apr 1999 03:33:28 -0700 wrote:

> . I know of no translation that puts the existence of the
> rivers in the past tense. At the very least the passage is referring
> to
> river beds still clearly discernable in the days of Moses.
> Paul

Genesis 2: 10A river watering the garden flowed from
Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters.
11The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the
entire land of Havilah, where there is gold.
12(The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin [8] and onyx
are also there.)
13The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through
the entire land of Cush. [9]
14The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the
east side of Asshur. And the fourth river is the
Euphrates. (from Bible Gateway at

I can see from this where it might be thought that Moses is referring to
four rivers that can still be seen. That would seem to be the "plain
reading" of these texts. Gordon's point about Moses refering to things
his immediate audience would know about or even be able to potentially
see makes sense.

But, if I take into account the YEC view of creation and flood, I
question whether Moses or a contemporary of Moses would be able to see
all four rivers.

To put it mildly, the flood as described by YEC's had quite an impact on
the geomorphology of the earth. YEC theology and science make a point
about the massiveness of the flood. All the stratigraphy old earth
geologists ascribe to the geologic column are asserted by YEC's as
having been laid down during this global cataclysm. (And think of the
impact on geomorphology that all these alleged meteor (Comet?) impacts
would have on features visible to preflood and later post flood people.)

All the features of the Grand Canyon are the result of the flood,
global tectonic activity has occured on a temporal scale that is almost
unimaginable, and Moses is still able to see the original riverbeds, if
not the actual rivers that flowed out of the Garden of Eden?

This seems to me to be an untenable position, and yet the "plain
meaning" of this passage seems to imply just that. I must have deleted
the beginning of this particular thread, but from what I read here I
begin to see a conundrum.

If I apply YEC standards of reading a biblical text to this passage, I
have to admit that Moses does seem to imply that his readers could
actually observe with their own eyes these rivers. Moses writes "the
first IS...," " it WINDS..." and "there IS gold...." I believe verse
twelve speaks for itself. I am sorrry Roy, but it seems pretty
compelling to me. I see in Roy's comments words like "could also..."
and " likely..." and "may have..." . This is pure conjecture, a
stretch which would get me in a lot of trouble with my YEC friends if I
were to engage in it..

Blaine D. McArthur