RE: [asa] A question on Genesis

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Mon Mar 23 2009 - 18:55:53 EDT

Hi George, you wrote:


Sorry Dick, my beliefs aren't the issue here. A YEC or atheist could pose
the same objections I did. The question is rather whether there is any
justification for your idiosyncratic translations. The fact that you avoid
the question entirely makes it easy to see why you would rather change the


George, I continually state my position. And my position is based solidly
on the written text as it pertains to the situation as I know it existed. I
do not take the position that The Bible says X, but we all know Y is true
(wink, wink), therefore the Bible writer was totally out to lunch or he must
have had something else in mind besides history. Since you won't state your
position let me characterize it for you.


What I believe is that X is true, the Bible writer wrote X in his own quaint
way which in ignorance was interpreted as Y. Therefore the discrepancy is
not in what was written being at odds with known facts, but what is being
interpreted as having been written being at variance with the facts of
history. Keep in mind the facts of history have not been widely known,
partly because of an ignorant interpretation of Genesis. So it's a vicious


 Of course context is important in establishing meaning but you give no
evidence that in the context of the biblical writer (rather than in some
other hypothetical ANE setting) the Hebrew sapheh echath means anything like
what you claim. & it is not just biblical commentaries who disagree with
your speculations (though dismissing von Rad and Westermann is pretty
arrogant). Can you cite a single recognized English translation of Genesis
that renders the text the way you want to have it?


Absolutely the book breaks new ground. Did any of the commentaries see
irrigation in the Genesis text? Of course not, they all presume Adam is
depicted as the first of our species. How could the Garden of Eden have
been irrigated if there was only one person? And that is exactly what the
writer meant when he said a river flowed out of Eden (edin) to water the
garden. We only know that because there are canals all over southern
Mesopotamia. The Atrahasis epic uses the term "fountains of the deep," a
typical Akkadian description of irrigation works. Knowing that is one more
indicator of a local flood not because we know it was local but because the
writer of Genesis also knew it. How many commentaries describe the flood as
being local to southern Mesopotamia? Yet the local Sumerians are on both
sides of the flood. That's a fact of history.


Translating saphah as "lip" fits the situation and "lip" is the primary
translation. It is only because the commentaries and translators thought
the entire world was concentrated at Babel (which we know can't be true)
that they got it in their heads that they all spoke one common language, and
thus the translation. Refer to Daniel: "Therefore I make a decree, That
every people, nation, and language (lish-shawn'), which speak any thing
amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in
pieces ."(Dan. 3:29). Here is where "language" is clearly intended and the
Hebrew word saphah is not used.


And who is dismissing von Rad and Westermann? They made mistakes, that's
all. All Genesis commentaries contain mistakes, just as all Bible
translations have mistakes, heck I'll bet there are mistakes in my own book
I don't know about. But these commentators didn't sit in the Library of
Congress for 25 years reading all this stuff like I did, and they couldn't
devote their entire effort to just ten chapters the way I could.


Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"



To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Mar 23 18:56:29 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Mar 23 2009 - 18:56:29 EDT