RE: Black Sea Flood

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Sat May 04 2002 - 11:26:16 EDT

  • Next message: george murphy: "Genesis & sacramental texts"

    Blake wrote:

    >If you do, the game is over since the whole Bible
    >(according to Glenn) is now a tissue of lies. I, on
    >the other hand, think at worst, the writers used the
    >description of a bowl to describe what they saw (hey
    >even Calvin and Luther before him made it clear that
    >the perspective of those writing is the human
    >perspective, not God's so when the sun rises, this is
    >not a claim to a geocentric universe).

    Just a wee bit over the top, are we? I think you need to actually look at
    what I have written on this particular topic before you misrepresent what I
    have said, Blake. It is one thing to disagree, another entirely to
    misrepresent. Below is an old post(Aug '95) I put out on the evolution
    reflector (don't know where those archives are now. Please before you
    criticize someone understand what they actually believe and don't act like
    the caricature of your own making represents reality!

    Subj: Flat earth terms
    Date: 95-08-19 12:35:07 EDT
    From: evolution@Calvin.EDU
    To: evolution@Calvin.EDU

    Resent-from: evolution@Calvin.EDU
    To: evolution@Calvin.EDU
    Loren Haarsma wrote:

    >>"But this leads immediately to another question:
    "Why didn't God relate a spherical-earth account of creation in
    Genesis 1?" Although a heleocentric view may not have been
    available around the time of the completion of Genesis, a
    spherical-earth view almost certainly was. Yet God allowed his
    revealed truth to be couched in the cosmological imagery of the
    author's culture, without first correcting that imagery. So it
    seems unlikely to me that the passage's essential revealed truth
    has much, if anything, to do with the actual "formative history"
    of creation.<<

    I think everyone would be happier if certain bilbical
    descriptions of nature had not occurred. But I am going to make
    the strongest case I can for what I think may have been going on,
    knowing full well that it is a weak argument.

    After you posted the above, I looked in some of my astronomy
    books. From my freshman astronomy text, Baker and Frederick, _An
    Introduction ot Astronomy_, p. 14, we find this:

    "Fig1-15 Apparent Flattening of the Setting Sun by Refraction"

    and the John R. Percy, _The Observers Handbook, 1978_(Toronto:
    The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, 1978), p.15 has several
    pages taken up by a table with columns entitled "sunrise sunset"
    for various latitudes. Later, this same journal has a table for
    "moon- rise set"
    On page 42 he advises you to "Look up the *sunrise and sunset
    times* in the newspaper,...." The terms sunrise/sunset is used
    many times on page 42 and indeed throughout the book.

    My sophomore astronomy text, George Abell, Exploration of the
    Universe, (Holt,Rinehart and Winston, 1969), p. 13 has a section
    entitled,"Rising and Setting of the Sun". On page 12 he talks
    about stars rising and setting.

    Are these noted astronomers, hopelessly Ptolemaic? Do they really
    believe that the sun revolves around the earth as they obviously
    believe that the moon does (afterall, they use the same term for
    sun rise and moon rise). [Since the Canadian Royal Astronomical
    Society fills their pages with "sunrise/sunset" it is probably
    best that 200 years ago, the Canadian colonies did not join us in
    our revolution against Britain. Wouldn't want to have to drag
    along such a backward people. :-) ]

    With enough time, other examples could be found. The authors of
    these statements are not "believers" in the Ptolemaic system.
    They are scientists who in almost all cases are careful in
    choosing their words to reflect the observations. But the
    language they inherited from an earlier age requires the use of
    such terminology. The term "earth-turn" has not evolved to
    replace the archaic term (nor do I think this particularly
    unpoetic term will). Thus, what I am suggesting is that even
    though there are a few references to a wrong cosmology, it may
    have been more due to the language the writers were forced to use
    than either the appearance or their belief.

      A search through modern literature (I don't read much fiction so
    am unable to do this) would probably find numerous examples of
    the phrase "the four corners of the earth". This phrase which
    might once have conveyed the concept that the earth was flat with
    4 literal corners, now has adapted to modern life, and lives with
    the meaning of "the entire earth".

    Baker and Frederick state, "Vertical circles are great circles of
    the celestial sphere that pass through the zenith and nadir,
    accordingly cross the horizon vertically." p. 10 They believe
    in the celestial sphere?


    "The celestial poles are the two opposite points on the celestial
    sphere toward which the earth's axis is directed, and around
    which the stars circle." p. 26

    If pages 10 and 26 were the only preserved pages out of this book
    in 1000 years, they might think we believed in the old Ptolemaic
    system of a tangible sphere surrounding the earth and poles
    sticking out to hold the sphere up.

    J.M.A. Dansby, in his classic _Fundamentals of Celestial
    Mechanics_ MacMillan, 1962, p. 7 states:
    "The direction of an object is given by two angles that fix its
    position on the celestial sphere. This is a spherical shell of
    arbitrarily large radius on which celestial objects appear

    Does this mean that Dansby believes that way, way out there there
    is an actual shell against which the stars are projected? The
    shell of course marking the end of the universe. Although I
    couldn't find a case, I think I have seen astronomy texts use the
    term dome of the sky.

    Of the galactic disk, they state, "The disk rotates around the
    axis joining the galactic poles." Poles? That too is an
    outdated word which now has acquired a new meaning and is happily
    living on in the late 20th century.

    The astronomical term "conjuction" may be a slight holdover. In
    the old system the planets were considered to be very close to
    each other and were co-juncted. Now we know that Jupiter and
    Mercury can appear to have a conjuction even though they are not
    at their point of closest approach. A better term would be
    "apparent conjuction" but that will never catch on.

    When we talk about the constellation Cassiopia do we believe the
    old story
    about the queen who was put into the sky?

    Terms like zodiac have altered their connotation and now do not
    entail a belief in astrology (necessarily).

    To conclude, the use of a given term may not necessarily indicate
    belief on the part of the writer but be part of the idiomatic
    construction of his language. Terms which once meant one thing
    acquire new meanings at later times and thus need to be
    understood in such a fashion. Whether this can be applied to
    Biblical exegesis, is far beyond my expertise.


      ***end of old post***

    I think you should have the courtesy to withdraw this criticism and admit
    you erroneously represented my position.


    for lots of creation/evolution information
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