Re: YEC Destroying Faith

From: Howard J. Van Till <>
Date: Mon Apr 26 2004 - 08:14:26 EDT

On 4/25/04 3:32 AM, "" <> wrote:

> I agree that the myths are more about the relationships of the gods than about
> physical models of the universe, and I agree that the Babylonians probably did
> not think that the earth was literally made from the body of a sea goddess. In
> fact another Babylonian creation myth has the earth made of dirt piled up on a
> raft. At the same time, these are creation stories, about the creation of the
> physical universe, and therefore refer to that universe and in the process
> reflect what they did think the physical structure of the universe was like.
> In both myths mentioned above the earth is represented as sitting on a body of
> water, a primeval sea. Regardless of the non-literality of the raft or the
> lower half of the body of the sea goddess, the concept of an earth resting
> upon a sea is set forth; and, I think it is quite reasonable to believe that
> this was in fact their concept of the earth---it was flat and resting upon a
> sea. Studies of other pre-scientific peoples indicate that this concept was
> not uncommon; and I think there is a scholarly consensus of Assyriologists
> that this was the Babylonian view of the earth.

Wešre back on the same page again. I just wanted to make explicit the point
that there is a difference between literalizing a myth (which sometimes can
look pretty silly) and seeing a cultural concept or a world picture
(including concepts of the earth-water-sky ) embedded in or conveyed by
mythological literature (which is to be expected).
....Skip a bunch.....

> I realize that at first glance (and especially just seeing a short email
> posting), it looks like I am just literalizing figurative language; but, I
> hope you see that I am working from a broader base and employing the myths
> legitimately.
> The advanced Babylonian astronomy, incidentally, to which you refer is from c.
> the sixth century BC, whereas Enuma elish is from c. the 13th century BC; so
> you cannot argue from it as a counter to what we find in Enuma elish any more
> than one could argue from what is found in Plato (the sphericity of the earth)
> to the understanding of Homer. Also, I don't believe there is any evidence
> that they discovered the sphericity of the earth; and they may have continued
> to think the sky was solid just as the Greeks did.
I donšt know about the solid dome idea, but I agree that the Babylonians
probably did not have a concept of a spherical earth. Point well taken.

Received on Mon Apr 26 08:16:52 2004

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