Re: The Tower of Babel - Less Confusing

Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 01:47:25 EDT

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    In a message dated 05/13/2003 10:19:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time, writes:

    > 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 interpret
    > ation 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.

    This sounds good on paper and is theoretically possible, but modern OT
    scholars do not deny that what the writer of Gen 2-11 is saying does not work
    out in agreement with science. Conservatives more or less ignore the
    conflict. Liberals often mention it. Most of them are quite familiar with the
    Sumerian and Accadian texts, some of them even more than you and I, but they
    don't see anything in them which they believe necessitates reinterpreting the
    Bible in so radical a way as you do. Nor can you say they are not open to

    <<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?>>

    These objections follow the methodology of creation science: take a subject
    of which we do not have enough information to draw a firm conclusion,
    interpret the data to fit your theory, claim you have solved the mystery, and
    then ignore the host of clear data that contradicts your theory.

    <<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?

    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.>>

    These paragraphs display your strong commitment to the assumption that
    Scripture could not describe a universal (global) flood because it would be
    contrary to a lot of scientific evidence. This kind of apriori insistence
    upon an unproven assumption is contrary to sound scientific method, not to
    mention that it would force biblical scholars to give up the
    historical-grammatical interpretation of the Bible, landing us right back in
    the Middle Ages.

    <<The flood covered enough land to terminate the Adamite populations living
    in southern Mesopotamia, those who were accountable and capable of sin.>>

    In a past discussion of your Adamite vs Ishite idea, Gordon listed passages
    where an Adamite is referred to as an Ish. You had lots of reasons why this
    did not make any difference. Gordon concluded, and I agree,
    "With all the exceptions you have listed you can make their meanings agree
    with the commonly accepted meanings whenever you have to, and so your
    thesis is probably almost impossible to falsify. It appears to me that
    with all the multiple meanings you allow for these words you have left the
    Hebrew writers no way to clearly indicate non-Adamites." And this also means
    that your narrow definition of Adamites is also impossible to prove.

    I said of the Flood of 2900: "> 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)."

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

      So what? The ark landed in the "hills" of Ararat, that's 400 km from the
    Flood of 2900 and considerably higher in elevation, so the Flood of 2900 does
    not fit the biblical context. In addition, all the birds perished (Gen 7:23).
    Couldn't the birds in southern Mesopotamia fly? You can have the biblical
    description of the Flood or you can have the flood of 2900 BC, but they are
    not interchangeable. The flood of 2900 is the _basis_ of the biblical
    account. It does not agree with the description of the Flood in the biblical

    <<Pray tell how do olive trees grow on mountain tops?>>

    In the first place, the tree was not on a mountain top. it was not found
    until the waters had receded for quite some time. Also you can't ask me a
    "Pray tell" until you answer my earlier "Pray tell's" :-)




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