Re: The firmament -- a solid barrier to concordism

From: Jim Eisele (
Date: Sat May 25 2002 - 06:20:34 EDT

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    Paul writes

    >I don't know why you think creating the sun on the fourth day is a correct
    >sequence of events.

    Thanks for the relevant point, Paul. I think this is where the discussion
    on this list was at about a month ago.

    This day I feel extremely comfortable with. I'll throw out a few reasons

    A) Hebrews knew what a day and a night was. We had day and night all the
        way back in day one. Where do you suppose this day and night came
    B) Terminology - Gen 1:4 (NASB) states "God separated the light from the
        darkness." Day 4 uses the exact same terminology. It has now become
        apparent just how God separated the light from the darkness.
    C) Science - concordists point out that the atmosphere cleared after day 3.
        That is what allows the sun and the moon to become functioning bodies.
        A sun and moon that can't be seen is like a Bible that can't be read.
        Or, perhaps, like a formless and void earth. Incomplete. Not ready
        for action. An unprepared soldier. A deliveryman without a truck.
    D) My sense is that Hebrews knew that light came from the sun. Gen 1:17
        states "God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light
        on the earth."
    E) Poetry - I have argued from day one that Gen 1 contains "poetry." I
        like it when people on this list remind me of that. God had to use
        language that was acceptable to folks thousands of years ago. The
        challenge of 2002 modern westerners is to focus on a timeless God.
    F) What does this timeless God want us to get out of Genesis One today?
        Well, hopefully we are asking Him, not telling Him. I maintain that
        this timeless God wants Gen 1 to be real and relevant today. How
        many people have chucked Christianity because Christians have said
        the earth is ~6-20,000 years old? I could say much, much, more on
        this, but I think that I'll stop here.

    >But, to answer your question: The Babylonian account of creation, Enuma
    >Elish, has virtually the same sequence of events as Genesis 1. As Merrill
    >Unger, past professor of archaeology at Dallas Theological Seminary [which
    >was at the time (1954) and still is an ultra-conservative school] wrote in
    >his book Archaeology and the Old Testament (pp. 31, 31):
    >"Both narratives also begin with a watery chaos and end with the gods or
    >Lord at rest. In the sequence of creative acts there is a remarkable
    >similarity between the two narratives, although light is separately created
    >in Genesis and merely emanates from the gods in the Babylonian version. The
    >creation by Marduk of the firmament, the dry land, the celestial luminaries
    >and man follows the identical order of creation by God in Genesis."

    >Enuma Elish also mentions splitting the primordial waters and placing half
    >above and half below the firmament. And very close to the beginning of the
    >account it mentions day and night occurring before the sun is put into

    I have heard that "nothing else is close to Gen 1" besides Enuma Elish.
    So, I think that you have raised a very relevant point. I view it as
    "what does the opposition have to offer?"

    Hugh Ross mentions that the Enuma Elish "departs from fact (or testability)
    at several points, including these:

    1. It places the creation of man before the creation of animals, large and
    2. It tells of a saltwater ocean and a freshwater ocean coexisting (that is,
        in contact with one another) prior to the creation of land"

    pg 60-61, The Genesis Question

    I tend to be an "action" guy, Paul. I find it distasteful when Christians
    point out the similarites between Gen 1 and Enuma elish instead of the
    similarities of Gen 1 and the truth (or at least normal science). This is,
    of course, not in any way a criticism of your post. This is a topic worth
    discussing. But what next?

    Jim Eisele
    Genesis in Question

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