From: Dick Fischer (email@example.com)
Date: Fri May 16 2003 - 22:10:12 EDT
Hi Paul, you wrote:
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.
The traditional interpretation of Genesis disagrees with both science and
history, I agree. It also disagrees with some other parts of the Bible
itself. Which is one good reason to look critically at the traditional
interpretation. Which I do.
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 facts.
Liberals pay lip service only. They are scholarly enough to know the
similarities are there, but lack the guts to go beyond what the
establishment will allow. After all, there is peer pressure, tenure, and
other important considerations.
<<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 purposely misunderstand me. Respecting the truth of the Bible, I take
all the data I can find that is relevant and see what direction it points,
where the weight of evidence lies, what makes sense, and what is internally
consistent. The methodology I promote is so overwhelmingly ahead of any
other possible explanation that it doesn't even make sense to cling to
another method as if some new data bit out of the blue will strengthen its
Take a balance scale. Throw all the evidence for an old earth on one side
and all the evidence you can find for a young earth on the other. Which
end of the scale is lower? Answer: the world most probably is old. Now do
the same thing with Genesis 2-11.
There is no "host of clear data that contradicts my theory." Indeed, there
is no data I know of at all that contradicts the logical explanation that
Adam and Eve, the garden of Eden, Noah and the flood, and the tower of
Babel fits a historical time frame from about 7,000 years ago to 4,000
years ago in southern Mesopotamia.
Do you have a better time frame? Do you have a better location? When? Where?
Okay, I can't prove whether Adam had natural parents or not. But either
way is not injurious to my case. I lean toward Adam's special
creation. Don't like it? Prove otherwise.
<<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.
No. The weight of biblical, scientific and historical evidence is on a
local flood, period. There is a ton of contrary evidence against a global
mankind, animalkind, and insectkind obliterating flood anytime during human
<<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.
There is virtually nothing in theology we can prove. Are you saved? Will
you go to heaven? History can't be proven, the Sumerians and Accadians
frontloaded just enough myth into their legends that irrefutable proof will
never be possible. Which should be a lesson to us all to not lie.
Science rarely proves anything. All we can do is gain greater and greater
confidence that a particular line of reasoning or theory is correct. And
that I have. Had I found a Bible on the beach and interpreted it thus and
presented the case to a world that had not already been influenced by
earlier flawed interpretations, the case would be so air tight no other
explanation would have a chance. Being Johnny-come-lately is a huge
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.
It is possible that Noah punted up the Tigris and washed out into the
foothills of Armenia. The yearlong flood could have stretched out over two
rainy seasons so that the flood had two or more stages. There may be other
possibilities. But you want to override a possible flood by pointing out
difficulties, and weigh in on an impossible flood in its stead. Where is
your common sense?
In addition, all the birds perished (Gen 7:23). Couldn't the birds in
southern Mesopotamia fly?
Here is what I mean about being consistent. You want to take one phrase
and interpret it that every bird in the entire world perished in the
flood. Fine. Now take this phrase: "And all my bones are out of joint" in
Psalm 22:14. Be consistent. Explain how 206 bones can get out of joint.
Bible interpretation is best accomplished by reading the entire Bible and
applying what we learn in one passage to what may be troubling or confusing
in another passage. I would much rather compare Bible passages to Bible
passages rather than to science and history.
Of course, there are lots of phrases in the OT that are questionable. I
don't pretend to know all the answers. I defend the possible and probable,
not what is provable beyond all doubt.
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 account.
Please define what you mean by "the flood of 2900 BC is the basis of the
biblical account," yet you don't believe that all flood accounts concern
the same flood. Please avoid typical, theological double speak in your answer.
<<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.
And the reason the olive tree survived a yearlong submersion was what
again? I missed your explanation for that.
Also you can't ask me a "Pray tell" until you answer my earlier "Pray
Did you get the marsupials to Australia after the flood? And the lemurs,
how did you get them to Madagascar leaving no trace of lemurs anywhere else
in the world?
Eternal life and eternal damnation in the balance, and you tickle my ribs.
Dick Fischer - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
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