Re: A Third Method of Apology

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Aug 10 2004 - 00:26:26 EDT
Paul wrote:

It is the strong consensus of OT scholars that Gen 1-11 is about the entire human race, with Adam being the first head and Noah the second. The strong consensus interpretation is that the Bible is saying the entire known earth (the greater Near East) was covered with water at the time of the Flood and _all mankind_ except those on the ark perished; and after the Flood as Gen 11:1 says, all mankind spoke the same language, the language of Noah. Even if one focuses on the fact that only the peoples of the greater Near East are explicitly named in Gen 1-11; this still includes a lot more people than Semites (Gen 10).

They are all dead wrong.  What can I say?  They should have paid more attention to detail.  But then, how many of them spent twenty years studying eleven chapters?  Also, the generally accepted method of apology had already been established before anything was known about Sumer and Accad.  Theologians don't depart from tradition easily.  In fact, they don't depart at all.

Your interpretation of Genesis 1 as well as of 6-11 is largely not literal.

And your example of that is?

 Sound consistent exegesis and mindful of archaic Hebrew language results in seeing Gen 1-11 as based on an ancient understanding of the universe and concerning all mankind.

All mankind didn't live in the Mesopotamian valley where the entirety of Genesis 2-11 is concentrated.

Where does the Bible say inspiration guarantees inerrant science?

Egregious, factual errors not attributable to errors in transmission, or translation would call into question the very nature of Scripture.

 Where does the Bible say God cannot use the science of the times to communicate lessons of faith and morals?

God can do anything He wants as far as I know.

Why prefer a version based on a more corrupt text than modern versions and translated into archaic English which only makes it less easy to understand?

Okay, you guys have convinced me.  I'll drop the KJV preference altogether (except in my heart).  Although the modern versions make most of the same mistakes the King James translators did.  In short, they offer no improvement.

If we, or at least the Israelites, were to refrain from doing any labor on the 7th day because after creating for 6 days, God blessed the 7th day and hallowed it, how can the seventh day be "God's time" as opposed to man's time (Ex 20:10-11).

The days of creation were the first six.  God rested on the seventh.  Or am I missing something?

 If the 7th day, the day man is to rest, is 24 hours, it is probable that the days of creation were also 24 hours.

Whaaat??  "A thousand years in thy sight are as a day as it passes or a watch in the night" (Psalm 90:4).  God's time and man's time are dissimilar.

What is the Semitic race? Are they not the descendants of Shem?

Historians classify all those of Noah's kin as Semites even though they don't recognize Noah himself, or even Shem.  So Canannites spoke a "west Semitic language" even though they were descendents of Ham according to Genesis.  So historians recognize "Semites" as a culture, but that doesn't mean they think the Bible is particularly relevant.

But Adam's line goes from him to Noah and to Ham and Japheth as well as Shem and hence to more than just Semites.

That's because we are believers and hold the Bible in high regard.

Biblical faith loves light and does not seek to suppress the light that science sheds on scientific issues. It is not faith alone but faith in the Bible alone that has proved insufficient for understanding.

I agree.  Furthermore, scientific experiments can't be guided by faith lest we tilt the evidence obtained toward the result we expected.

Since it is so easy to go off on a tangent of private interpretation, what this means pragmatically is that any interpretation that deviates from a strong consensus of biblical scholars or from a strong consensus of scientists in a relevant area of study should be rejected unless supported by such strong evidence that the professionals are forced to at least take it seriously.

I think the strong evidence is at hand.  At least I can make a compelling case.

The first half is right. But if one is demanding that Genesis 1-11 agree with the scientific facts, modern science poses a very large threat---if Genesis 1-11 is correctly interpreted. Only concordists think there is no threat because they have "fixed" these chapters by clever reinterpretations, but those reinterpretations are contrary to the historic understanding of the Church and to the strong consensus of OT scholars.

If the flood is local, and few on this list believe that it wasn't, it calls for an entirely different explanation.  Noah cannot restart the whole human race if the flood was confined to Mesopotamia around 2900 BC.  And that is something we should have figured out long ago.

Well no one will say you didn't have the nerve to ask. You must have been a daunting fighter pilot. 
Bear in mind, however, that OT scholars also have a wealth of historical data to support their conclusions, and are better trained to employ the data. I think you would do better with your theories if you submitted yourself to correction by the consensus of OT scholars.
God can still use your scheme just as he uses that of Hugh Ross, but perhaps he could use you even more if your sheme stuck closer to the Bible.

I would only ask for a case in point.  I've read almost every Genesis commentary in print. Umberto Cassuto especially struck me because no one knew Hebrew any better that he did.  The flood, of course, brought an end to all mankind except for Noah and crew.  However, since the Numbers 13:33 sons of Anak are of the "nephilim" mentioned in Genesis 6:4, they survived the flood.  What's the problem?  If there is a conflict, then that's your problem.  Cassuto made no claim that the Bible was "true."  He just translated it warts and all.

That's not good enough for me.  If there is a seeming contradiction then we need to see what the problem is and fix it if we can.  That's what I have tried to do.  For the most part I think I have obtained some success.  My problem is convincing anybody.

Dick Fischer  - Genesis Proclaimed Association
Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History Received on Tue Aug 10 00:52:48 2004

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