Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <>
Date: Mon Mar 31 2008 - 16:39:37 EDT

As usual, Dick, you haven't referred to most of my questions. But here I
come up with more. Did God, Adam, or other men produce the canal that
watered Eden? Why does it seem that God provided rain?What evidence do
you have that the earliest residents at Eridu were partly Adamite? Can
you show that the Ubaidan and "unknown" manifest distinct religions, with
distinctive "Adamite" moral and spiritual manifestations? But most
important, how did more ancient peoples have clearly religious activities
if Adam was the original who had a relationship to deity?
Dave (ASA)

On Mon, 31 Mar 2008 00:45:33 -0400 "Dick Fischer"
<> writes:
Hi Dave:
Let me put a few pieces together. Babylonian tradition puts the Garden
of Eden somewhere near the ancient city of Eridu. Eridu was the sacred
city to the Sumerians who arrived years later as Sumerian pottery is
found at higher levels. Date palms grow there naturally which I believe
equate to the tree of life and are depicted often in Sumerian and
Akkadian cylinder seals. Eridu, modern Abu Sharein, was excavated in
1941-2 and the lowest level was dated by archaeologists to 4800 BC. No
other site in the region dates earlier. Enoch that Cain built, or Erech
(same city), was dated to 4000 BC so the time frames are about what you
would expect. Pottery found at the lowest level at Eridu in the view of
archaeologists came from two different cultures, one Ubaidan and the
other of unknown origin, I think Adamite. The people we call “Akkadians”
are, I believe, Adamites before the flood and Semites after the flood.
This region had to be irrigated from the beginning as there is
insufficient rainfall. A small site was discovered close to Eridu called
Haji Mohammed where the pottery matched that at Eridu. So it is possible
that this was the garden, or maybe not, however, after banishment Adam
may have moved to the city where an altar was built and a small shrine
erected dedicated to the god Ea. Ea is, according to the legend of Adapa
(or Adamu), the creator of mankind.
Now as to Gen. 2:5b-6, just in general, there was insufficient rainfall
and no man (or Adam) was not there to till the ground, so an irrigation
canal (“fountain” in the Septuagint) was constructed by diverting water
off the Euphrates along an old river channel to provide life giving
water. In the words of the author: “for the LORD God had not caused it
to rain upon the earth [land], and there was not a man [Adam] to till the
ground. But there went up a mist [fountain] from the earth [land], and
watered the whole face of the ground.”
There are two maps and a picture of the altar I believe to be Adam’s on
my web page.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. []
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 11:46 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis
What are you trying to say about Genesis 2:5? Are you claiming that in
the area where God placed Adam there was no rain because it was
essentially desert before the garden was planted? Does this include the
claim that God provided water only when Adam and the garden came into
being? How restricted was the area in question? An underlying set of
questions requires one to specify what the first chapters of Genesis
intend. Is is science and history, in the contemporary sense? an
apologetic to counter polytheism? both? other?
I can understand your insistence that Adam was the first to teach
morality and faith to long existing human beings. However, I cannot
understand how any part of the message got to the peoples who populated
the Americas, now dated at 15,000 and 13,000 B.C. Then there is the
further problem with the places Glenn has cited as giving evidence for
religion long before the time you claim Adam lived.
I recognize that the passages can be pressed into your pattern, but I
have no end of difficulties fitting the whole into the broader situation.
Dave (ASA)
On Sun, 30 Mar 2008 21:30:51 -0400 "Dick Fischer"
<> writes:
George, I didn’t have to study the entire Old Testament, just ten
chapters of one book, and I had over twenty-five years to do it with the
aid of the library at Virginia Theological Seminary and the Library of
Congress in Washington, DC where even you do not have access. I
completed a master’s degree in theology and I have read Speiser, Driver,
Poole, Genesius, Von Rad, Cassuto, Young, Kidner, Delitzsch, Westermann,
Waltke and every other Genesis commentary in the library at VTS. Enough
about me. The subject is Genesis 2:5.
Can we all agree that as it reads the verse stands at variance with known
facts about our earthly abode? Therefore, the problem lies either with
the inspired writer or the uninspired translators. You seem to think
it’s the former. I prefer to take the latter. If the verb tense is left
just as it was written in present tense and the Hebrew erets is
translated as “land,” which it often is throughout Scripture, then it
squares with the geological facts. God doesn’t cause it to rain very
often in southern Mesopotamia the setting of Genesis. That’s it. Now
what is your problem?
Of all the erstwhile authors that have tackled Genesis, who besides me
found the phrase “fountains of the deep” in Atrahasis and connected the
biblical phrase with irrigation? Who besides me was able to tie the last
three pre-flood patriarchs with the last three pre-flood kings on the
Sumerian King List? Who besides me correlated Genesis verses where Eve
was taken from Adam’s rib and Eve was the mother of all living with the
Sumerian pun “the lady of the rib is the lady of life”? Who besides me
reported that the city Cain built named Enoch was called unug by the
Sumerians and rebuilt after the flood. I had to find all of these items
and much more on the sheer strength of my own scholarship unaided by any
of those fine gentlemen who you seem to think all know more than me.
On my web page under chapter synopsis is a suggested reading list. How
many of those books and articles did you read, George?
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 2:22 PM
To: Dick Fischer; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis
Dick -
I usually hesitate to challenge the qualifications of people on this list
but since you are deliberately setting your knowledge of the grammar of
biblical Hebrew above that of people with recognized expertise in the
language on various translation projects as well as of OT scholars like
Westermann, von Rad & Speiser in their Genesis commentaries, it's natural
to wonder just how your knowledge of Hebrew compares with theirs.
Second, you completely misrepresent the position of Dave, myself & others
when you suggest that we regard the writer of Genesis 2 as "stupid." You
ignore the facts (a) that he was writing some 3000 years ago in a
cultural context in which even the most brilliant people had an extremely
limited knowledge of the physical world & its history & (b) there is no
reason at all to think that he was trying to write anything like a modern
historical or scientific account.
----- Original Message -----
From: Dick Fischer
Sent: Sunday, March 30, 2008 8:31 AM
Subject: RE: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis
Dear George and Dave:
Your arguments are not just that all these translators used the past or
past perfect tense in agreement with each other, which I agree with as
well, but you leave unspoken the rest of the argument which is that they
stand united counter to the facts. We all know – at least most of us on
this list do – that the earth is some 4.6 billion years old and for any
one writer or translator to say that no rain had fallen since creation
until mankind was brought into existence is patently incorrect. So your
arguments are not that the translators were wrong, it seems to be that
the translators were right and they faithfully translated the stupid
writer of Genesis who had no clue. The writer must have thought the
Tigris, Euphrates, Pishon and Gihon flowed from some mysterious source of
abundant fog I suppose.
This verse was written in the present tense as is all Hebrew which in
this case if translated in the present tense makes sense. Southern
Mesopotamia, the setting of the Garden of Eden, is in a desert area still
today. It doesn’t rain there very often. God still today does not cause
it to rain there. And that’s what the Bible writer could have told us if
the translators knew anything about the climatology of the region. So my
translation may contrast with typical translations but it is consistent
with the Hebrew and with the facts. Your idea that Genesis is one way
and the facts are the other way falls on my deaf ears – much as I respect
you guys.
Dick Fischer. author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

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Received on Mon Mar 31 17:34:13 2008

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