Re: The Tower of Babel - Less Confusing

From: Dick Fischer (
Date: Wed May 14 2003 - 01:16:52 EDT

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    Hi Paul, you wrote:

    >Scripture is not of private interpretation. When a person says the vast
    >majority of the best trained biblical scholars are in error in their
    >interpretation, there must either be a better informed and well documented
    >case in opposition, or I think we should conclude that the person is lost
    >in pride or a cult. To imply as you are doing that you are better informed
    >and have a better documented case than men like Westermann, Cassuto,
    >Mathews, and Wenham is, I believe, mistaken.

    And what was the configuration of the universe before Galileo? Did the
    universe change after the telescope, or did we just see it finally as it
    was? The difficulty with Genesis 2-11 is that an errant interpretation had
    already been established long before we discovered anthropological and
    historical evidence to the contrary. Although we now possess the means to
    know better, nevertheless, the established paradigm remains
    entrenched. And unless somebody presents the contrary evidence, the
    theological community remains fixed in an unworkable methodology. Which is
    where it is today.

    But beyond the contrary evidence which unmasks the present paradigm, there
    is positive evidence which supports the biblical text if it is understood
    in the light thereof. The historical texts from Sumer and Accad only
    support Genesis 2-11 if you can appreciate that the traditional
    interpretation is totally inept. The bonanza is that interpreting Genesis
    in the light of historical evidence also corrects biblical passages that
    didn't fit the standard interpretation.

    For example, the paradigm says all men died in the flood. Yet the Genesis
    6:4 "nephilim" or giants are also mentioned in Numbers 13:33. How can the
    nephilim be on both sides of the flood if all men died in it? After a year
    long global flood Noah finds an olive tree with leaves on it? How did he
    do that? The dispersion of the sons of Noah in Genesis 10 precedes Babel
    in Genesis 11. Oh, just an out of order presentation? These passages and
    more have to be swept under the rug simply because they don't fit. Doesn't
    that tell you anything?

    You want to defend the paradigm, even though it is historically and
    anthropologically indefensible. Okay, bundle up all the black Africans and
    truck them up to Babylon so they can get their languages scrambled before
    they journey back to Africa where they speak unrelated languages in
    isolated, individual tribes. Who cares that Westermann, Cassuto, Mathews,
    and Wenham, et. al. would be laughed out of town if they tried to explain
    the mechanics of a massive, global migration after 2900 BC. After all,
    it's just the Bible. Who cares if it doesn't make any sense?

    >>Would you not agree that the same authors cited above also think that a
    >>global flood obliterated all the humans and all the animals in the entire
    >>world? Are you arguing for that also?
    >Yes they would, and yes I am, albeit the entire world of which they knew,
    >ie Gen 10, is the greater Near East; but flooding that to the point that
    >the mountains of Ararat were covered would necessarily flood the globe as
    >we know it.

    Okay, argue for all the animals and all humans being obliterated around
    2900 BC. Let's see your evidence. Don't forget to get all the lemurs to
    the island of Madagascar and marsupials to the island of Australia.

    >We agree that the basis of the biblical account is the Mesopotamian flood
    >of c. 2900 BC, but that flood according to both the Sumerian tradition and
    >archaeology did not extend north of Sippar.

    True. The flood covered enough land to terminate the Adamite populations
    living in southern Mesopotamia, those who were accountable and capable of
    sin. Native Americans, whose remains have been found in Clovis, New Mexico
    and dated to about 11,000 years ago, were unfazed by the 2900 BC
    Mesopotamian flood, and far removed from a mud brick ziggurat in Babylon.

    >It was restricted to southern Mesopotamia, and hence quite low
    >elevations. But, Gen 7:19, which must be interpreted in the context of
    >7:17-20 and 8:3-5, draws a picture of the ark rising higher as the Flood
    >waters rose higher (v. 17) until the mountains even of Ararat were covered
    >to a depth of fifteen cubits (v. 20).

    Are you totally unaware that the Hebrew word for "hills" and "mountains" is
    the same?

    > Then as the waters receded the ark fell until it came to rest upon the
    > mountains of Ararat (8:3, 4). The mountains of Ararat average 8000 feet
    > above sea level and are a good 400 km north of Sippar. Pray tell (a) how
    > the ark in the flood of 2900 BC got up above the Ararat mountains and (b)
    > how the Ararat mountains were covered without covering the rest of the earth.

    Pray tell how do olive trees grow on mountain tops?

    >>Let's review the facts. Both the Sumerians and the Accadians can be
    >>traced to roughly 4000 BC. The flood can be dated at about 2900
    >>BC. Since we know the Accadians and Sumerians spoke unrelated languages,
    >>and both cultures were living at the same time at the same approximate
    >>location after the flood, then there were two different languages spoken
    >>right there in southern Mesopotamia at the time of the tower of
    >>Babel. The entire rest of the world at around 2300 BC notwithstanding.
    >>Is your argument that the writer of Genesis was too stupid to know that?
    >According to the biblical account all mankind was destroyed in the Flood
    >except for the eight people on the ark. Consequently, all people on earth
    >after the Flood spoke the same language, just as Gen 11:1 says. Of course,
    >that is just the consensus interpretation of those same biblical exegetes
    >named above, but I do not believe you understand the Bible better than they do.

    I make no claim to understanding the Bible better than anybody. After
    Abraham left Ur and headed for the land of Canaan, I don't know what he did
    after that. Look at it this way. There is 3,000 years of history in just
    10 chapters of Genesis and the entire rest of the Bible only covers another
    2,000 years. To me, it is far more satisfying fleshing out the first three
    fifths of Bible history, the part most people have no knowledge of, and
    won't if they persist in faulty interpretation that denies its collateral,
    historical background.

    >When the YECs run into scientific data that would falsify their theory,
    >they ignore it, distort it or find some other way to get rid of it. You
    >are doing the same with the biblical data.

    All I am doing, Paul, is calling attention to the historical integrity of
    Genesis 2-11 that has been impugned by ignorant interpretation.

    Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
    Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History

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