Re: Hyers' Dinosaur Religion (was: HYAR'S...; Hyers' Article - Cods Wallop)

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Date: Mon Feb 23 2004 - 05:12:39 EST

Peter wrote,

> The use of Ezekiel's "raqia^" to prove a solid firmament is a red herring.
> Why should God's throne require a solid support - and that in a _vision_?
In your article and response to me you give two reasons for saying that
raqia' is not something solid. One is that the cognate verb is used to speak of
something that is thin and spread out. You cite Isa 42:5 which says the earth and
its products (perhaps vegetation) is spread out (raqa'). But, the earth and
its vegetation are both SOLID. So this is evidence against your view, not
supporting it. There is some evidence that some Jews thought of the raqia' as thin
but also as solid. There is no evidence that they thought of it as not solid
Your second reason is that cognate words in Hebrew and some other related
languages also mean "thin" or "spread out." Two of your illustrations include
metal sheets. So again, this is not evidence that a raqia' is not something
solid. Further, cognate words change meanings, so cannot be relied upon to give a
reliable definition. anyway
In short you do not have a single piece of evidence which shows that a raqia'
is not something solid.

On the other hand, I showed in my Westminster Journal papers that
1. There is considerable evidence that all peoples everywhere on earth until
touched by modern science have believed the sky was literally solid.
2. The peoples of the ancient Near East, in particular the dominant cultures
of Egypt and Mesopotamia, believed the sky was solid.
. This gives a historical probability that the Hebrews also thought the sky,
the raqia', was solid.

The passage in Ezekiel 1:22-26, there fore, has a a very important part to
play because it is the only passage in Scripture which uses the word raqia' in a
context which indicates the nature of a raqia' And in addition, the raqia'
in this passage has been seen by a number of biblical scholars, including
conservatives, as being directly related to the sky. So, is the raqia' in Ezekiel
solid or not solid? I checked 33 commentaries on Ezekiel. About 1/3 of them
comment on the nature of the raqia', and every single of one of them say it is
solid. Both standard Hebrew lexicons, incidentrally, also define raqia' as

To call this passage a "red herring" shows your indifference to the evidence
even when it comes from the Bible. Ironically, this resistance you show to
follow even the biblical evidence reveals that it is not the Word of God you are
protecting, but _your_ doctrine of inspiration to which you make the Word of
God bow down.

Genesis 1 is accommodated by God to ancient science, and the solid firmament
in that chapter is just one piece of the evidence. The _biblical_ doctrine of
inspiration allows for such accommodation.

Notes: Paul H. Seely, "The firmament and the water above, Part I: The Meaning
of raqia' in Gen 1:6-8," Westminster Theological Journal 53 (1991) 227-240
and "The firmament and the water above, Part II: The Meaning of 'The Water above
the Firmament" in Gen 1:6-8," Westminster Theological Journal 54 (1992) 31-46

Paul S.
Received on Mon Feb 23 05:13:27 2004

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