RE: [asa] promise trumps biology

From: Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
Date: Thu Dec 11 2008 - 11:08:14 EST

My question would be if St. Paul saw a tribe of pygmies or Australian
aborigines would he think they were as nearly related to him as Arabs
and Greeks are related to Jews. Heck, ask yourself the same question.
 
Dick Fischer, GPA president
Genesis Proclaimed Association
"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"
www.genesisproclaimed.org
 
-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4:17 PM
To: Schwarzwald; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology
 
FWIW Dick & I don't differ on whether or not Adam was the first human.
We both are pretty sure he wasn't. The difference is that Dick thinks
we should read early Genesis as if there were other humans on the
outskirts of the stories (he may wish to put that more precisely), while
I think it's quite clear that the stories are written with the belief
that Adam & Eve were the first humans, that the flood destroyed the
whole world & that its only survivors were Noah & his family. I think
that if you asked the writer of Gen.2-3 or St. Paul if Adam was the
first human, they would have answered "Yes." Exactly what Dick thinks
they would have said I'll leave to him.
 
Shalom
George
http://home.neo.rr.com/scitheologyglm
----- Original Message -----
From: Schwarzwald <mailto:schwarzwald@gmail.com>
To: asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology
 
Whoops, guess the comment wasn't so private after all. :)

Oh well, it's nothing too controversial I'd think!
On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 3:26 PM, Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
wrote:
Heya. Private comment here.

I agree with you that there are a number of curiosities in Genesis that
actually make more sense if we include pre-Adamites and an older world.
Just between you and me, one thing that always surprises me is that so
many people (Christian and non) place tremendous emphasis on the past
beliefs in humanity beginning with Adam and such entirely on 'plain
reading'. To me, what seems more likely to have went on is a combination
between a reading that fills in blanks, and context - particularly a
lack of any alternative view, or even information towards such a view,
at the time.
 
On Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 1:01 PM, Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net>
wrote:
Hi George:
 
Josephus was an authority. He was not an inerrant authority (and we
aren't either), and he did not write what we regard as Scripture -
that's the "God-breathed" variety Paul described. There are numerous
clues the Adamites were not alone in the world: who did Cain marry, who
were the Nephilim or "Giants" (Gen. 6:4), where did the Emims (Deut.
2:10, 11) and Zamzummims (Deut. 2:20, 21) come from, etc., but these
caution flags were ignored.
 
It should not be that difficult to reason out that Moses passed down to
the Israelites the history of where they came from. That he knew, I
don't think he had any credentials as an anthropologist. Genesis
history was to Israel, for Israel, and about Israel. If early
Christians read themselves into Jewish history they can be forgiven due
to their ignorance. That's no excuse for ours.
 
What I would suggest is that you recommend to your local library that
they order my book, Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham, and after
they get it, read it. Then let's talk. Privately, if you would prefer.
 
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: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 12:22 PM
To: Dick Fischer
Cc:
ASA

Subject: Re: [asa] promise trumps biology
 
"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 <mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>
To: 'George <mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com> Murphy'
Cc: ASA <mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
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 <mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>
To: 'George <mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com> Murphy'
Cc: ASA <mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
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 <mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net>
To: 'George <mailto:GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com> Murphy'
Cc: ASA <mailto:asa@calvin.edu>
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 <http://www.genesisproclaimed.org/>
 
 

  _____

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

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Received on Thu Dec 11 11:13:32 2008

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