Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Wed Dec 10 2008 - 12:22:11 EST

"Was Josephus an historian? Did he not write about the history of the Jews?" you began. How dare I challenge the authority of Josephus! So I pointed out that Josephus flatly contradicts a basic premise of your whole scenario, that there were other human beings around when Adam & Eve were created. That's not a minor matter like the identification of a river. Your response to this? Some shuckin' and jivin' about the Gishon and Cushites.

In fact I'm paying more attention to Josephus than you are. He is one more example of the long tradition of Jews and Christians reading the early chapters of Genesis as if Adam & Eve were the ancestors of the entire human race and that the flood destroyed all humanity except Noah & his family. (Book I, Chapter 3, paragraph 2.) He - & that tradition in general - show no inkling of the existence of all the other people that you populate the margins of the biblical story with. Of course Josephus - & the tradition - were wrong about the actual history but they knew how to read.

You should know from all to many discussions on this list & what I've written in Perspectives what my views are about the historicity of Gen.1-3 and the flood story.

As far as allowing what we've learned about the ANE to "to influence our archaic theology," I would suggest first that the notion that early Genesis must be accurate historical narrative in order to be true and authoritative is a pretty good example of "archaic theology." In fact, something like Enns' Inspiration and Incarnation shows why familiarity with the literature of the ANE should help us to get beyond that notion.

Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Dick Fischer
  To: 'George Murphy'
  Cc: ASA
  Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 11:24 AM
  Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

  Hi George:

   

  I think we tend to make it more complicated than it needs to be. First of all, did Adam and Noah exist? That's simply yes or no, no middle ground. They either were living human beings or mythological or theological constructs. If you side with the biblical authors and historical references then they were actual air-breathing Homo sapiens. If you choose that route then the next question becomes when and where did they live?

   

  Next, either they lived far enough back in time that they could feasibly have started the human race or their entry was too late for that. Once again, it is either one of the other. If the biblical account in Genesis 2-11 and the history of the ancient Near East has any credibility at all they were Neolithic characters who resided in Mesopotamia no earlier than 7,000 years ago.

   

  You can cloud the issue all you want with loaded terms like "pre-adamites," but that doesn't change the basic picture and the decision making tree I just outlined.

   

  As for me personally, I didn't choose a path and then look for corroborating evidence. I weighed the evidence and then chose the path. Frankly, the evidence I have accumulated over the last 28 years is overwhelming. Of course, if one chooses to remain oblivious to the evidence then he or she could reach counter conclusions such as Adam lived in Africa 60,000 to 100,000 years ago, or that Adam was an invention of some imaginative Akkadian or Semite scribe. Although I will allow those are possibilities I consider them remote and totally absent any evidentiary support.

   

  As for Josephus and his limited scope of reference, he made a few mistakes in my humble estimation. The river Gihon named in Genesis 2 in the region of the Garden of Eden he equated with the Nile influencing the King James translators to equate "Cush" with Ethiopia and setting the stage for a common misunderstanding that the black race (cush means "black" in Hebrew) emanated from Ham. Makes absolutely no sense.

   

  But why did Josephus make that connection? Today we know that the original home of the Kassites, or Cushites, was in the southwest corner of Iran along the Kashkan/Karkheh river basin, an area called Khuzistan today. The name "Gihon" appears to have evolved into the Guyedes over time at that location. This makes good sense as all four rivers would have emptied directly into the Persian Gulf at that time, whereas the Nile is on a different continent.

   

  This initial home turned out to be a perilous location, however, as the Kassi as the Assyrians called them were sandwiched between the warlike nations of Assyria, Babylonia, Urartu and Elam. Whether they migrated en masse or whether only a portion of them migrated, I don't know. But when a new, safer location was found along the river Nile they named the river "Gihon" after the original river in their original homeland. Josephus would not have known this.

   

  Remember, we have accumulated significant archaeological evidence in the Near East over the last 200 years. It is just that we haven't allowed this evidence to influence our archaic theology.

   

  Dick Fischer, GPA president

  Genesis Proclaimed Association

  www.genesisproclaimed.org

   

  -----Original Message-----
  From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of George Murphy
  Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 1:48 PM
  To: Dick Fischer
  Cc: ASA
  Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

   

  It's all very well to appeal to Josephus but then you ought to recognize that he doesn't know of your idea about pre-Adamites or indeed of your whole concordist scheme. Just to note one thing, in Book I, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3 he says (I'm using Whiston's old translation), "But when he saw that Adam had no female companion, no society (for there was no such created) ... " I.e. Adam was the 1st human being simpliciter, & before Eve was made from his side there weren't any others.

   

  Your way of harmonizing early Genesis with history has been worked our very thoroughly & is certainly better than some other concordist approaches. But that doesn't mean that it's true & in fact I don't buy it for a minute. For all its ingenuity it rests on the assumption that if early Genesis is true, it must be accurate history. & it requires far too much special pleading to make that work.

   

  As far as Mizraim is concerned, note that RSV & NRSV just translate "Egypt" in Gen.10:6 & 13. Of course Josephus - & Genesis - don't explicitly say that his descendants were the sole inhabitants of Egypt, but that's the natural way to read it. Why do you think that Jews & Christians read early Genesis for millenia assuming that what was being talked about was the whole world, that the 3 sons of Noah & their wives literally populated the whole earth, etc? It's because there's no hint in the text that that's not the case. The YEC reading of Gen.1-11 is of course wrong in the sense that it doesn't recognize the types of texts that they're dealing with and consequently produces flagrant conflict with real history & science. But when they read those chapters as straight history they read them correctly as straight history.

   

  Shalom
  George
  http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

    ----- Original Message -----

    From: Dick Fischer

    To: 'George Murphy'

    Cc: ASA

    Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 11:50 AM

    Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

     

    Hi George:

     

    Was Josephus an historian? Did he not write about the history of the Jews? Did he not write about Noah and his descendants? How do you know Jewish history better than Josephus? You even question the Bible writers? Moses didn't know anything either?

     

    Of course Egypt was populated for thousands of years before the flood. That was my point. Egypt was also populated after the 2900 BC flood by Mizraim and his sons. In Josephus' words: "Now all the sons of Mizraim, being eight in number, occupied the country from Gaza to Egypt ...." Note that Josephus did not say they were the sole occupants. My grandparents left Europe and occupied Nebraska. Is everybody in Nebraska related to me?

     

    Historically Mizraim was recorded as Msrm in Ugaritic, Misri in the Amarna tablets, Musur in Assyrian inscriptions, and Musri to the Babylonians. An Arabian presence is also possible, even in Northern Syria; Tiglath-Pileser I appointed a governor not far distant in Musri in north Arabia. Further, Sargon called Pir'u Sar Musri a king who was succeeded by Samsieh, queen of Arabia. Mizraim's sons are listed (Gen. 10:13-14) beginning with Ludim, the old tribe Lewatah, referred to as Lubiim by Josephus. The A-na-mi is found in a geographical text from the time of Sargon II which may be linked with Anamim, Mizraim's second son Lehabim and Naphtuhim are recalled in 1 Chron. 1:11, grouped with their brothers, presumably in Egypt The people of Pathros[i] in Upper Egypt are credited to Pathrusim, and Casluhim is known primarily for fathering the Philistines. With the exception of the Philistines, the rest of Mizraim's sons leave only sparse traces in various parts of Egypt.

     

    I've said this all along, the flood was local, recent, and limited in those who died in it. And nearly every one of Noah's descendants can be traced to parts of the Near East, northern Africa, along the Mediterranean Sea and so forth, whereas none can be traced to China, southern Africa, Australia, Americas, etc.

     

    What's to not understand?

     

    Dick Fischer, GPA president

    Genesis Proclaimed Association

    "Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

    www.genesisproclaimed.org

     

    -----Original Message-----
    From: George Murphy [mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 8:59 AM
    To: Dick Fischer
    Cc: ASA
    Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology

     

    IMO this just shows the limits of your particular version of concordism. Of course not all the people of Egypt were descendants of an historical "Ham" - in fact the known history of Egypt predates by millennia any possible "historical Noah." But as far as the biblical writers are concerned Egypt was populated after the flood by the descendants of one of Noah's grandsons.

     

    Shalom
    George
    http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm

      ----- Original Message -----

      From: Dick Fischer

      To: 'George Murphy'

      Cc: ASA

      Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 12:48 AM

      Subject: RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

       

      Hi George, you wrote:

       

>>& later in Genesis Joseph is married to an Egyptian, of the "cursed line of Ham."<<

       

      Well maybe, and maybe not. Although the Hebrew word for Egyptian is "Mizraim" (Noah's grandson) it would not be possible for the entire Egyptian population to have stemmed from him. Narmer was in power in Egypt before Mizraim was born. Pyramids depicted four distinct races living in Egypt and the great races were established long before Noah.

       

      Excavations in Egypt have uncovered the remains of a variant race of peoples who began moving in at the beginning of the dynastic period (ca. 2900 BC).

       

      Quoting The Cambridge Ancient History, "Physically these peoples differed unmistakably from the predynastic Egyptians: whereas the latter were unusually small in stature and possessed long and narrow skulls (about 132 mm. in breadth), the newcomers were more massively built and their skulls (about 139 mm. in width) were appreciably broader than those of their predecessors."

       

      So whether that Egyptian woman was of Semitic (or Hamitic) origin will forever be unknown.

       

      Dick Fischer, GPA president

      Genesis Proclaimed Association

      "Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"

      www.genesisproclaimed.org

       

       

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  [i]. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, 3, 676.

   

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Received on Wed Dec 10 12:22:50 2008

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