RE: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Fri Apr 10 2009 - 16:02:00 EDT

Kirk said:
"But Gen 11 seems to imply the opposite; early man tended to stay together (even after the Flood) until God forced mankind to spread out."

That could be wrong on two counts.

First, the Babel event may never have happened, like the global flood. Maybe it would be easy to prove scientifically/historically that languages were always different- I don't know. (The Babel account implies all men were of one language prior- easy to believe if you think the Earth is only a few thousand years old.)

Second, it could be a generalization, like is all throughout proverbs (general sayings, not intended to be true in every case for every person). Maybe for the most part people tended to gather and be of the same language, but it may not be trying to indicate that all men everywhere were of one language and living in that one spot.

From: Kirk Bertsche []
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 1:51 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

This is a common assumption, especially by global-flood advocates. But Gen 11 seems to imply the opposite; early man tended to stay together (even after the Flood) until God forced mankind to spread out.


On Apr 9, 2009, at 8:30 AM, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

Given human nature- I think it is impossible humans would stay in one area- they move all around. I don't see how the numbers of any clan can be reduced to eight. Over the years they marry and move on. Look at the distance Abraham covered in his travels- and I don't think that is so unusual for others in their day... as if Abraham is one of just a few people. Hundreds, thousands, or millions may have traveled like Abraham.


From: [] On Behalf Of Dick Fischer
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:42 PM
To: 'D. F. Siemens, Jr.'
Subject: RE: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

Dear Dave:

My last post of the day. Wooden cube-shaped baskets lashed together to make the overall dimensions, or an inflated figure in Genesis, or something else, you pick. The Sumerian king list describes repeated battles between the Sumerians and the Akkadians. The Akkadians (Adamites) were concentrated initially along the Euphrates River with the Sumerians located a little further east. The flood reduced the Akkadian population to eight, but the Sumerians survived in greater numbers as they rebuilt the cities formerly occupied by Akkadians.

If your numbers are reduced to eight, and you are in potentially hostile territory, sneaking your way upriver to a safe location might seem like a good idea to you. Please remember, I didn't write any of Genesis. And please save your incredulous remarks for the author(s) when you meet them. I think I have accumulated enough relevant knowledge to where I can shed a little light on some thorny issues, but there still remain a few items I do puzzle over just as you do.

Dick Fischer, GPA president
Genesis Proclaimed Association
"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"<>

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of D. F. Siemens, Jr.
Sent: Wednesday, April 08, 2009 5:07 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

You're doing great. Now we have a three-story basket, when the scripture says the ark was made of wood. You have 8 people punting up river, or possibly drawn by animals along the bank. But why are they headed for Ararat when they are next to land all the way? Have you thought of what it would be like to try to punt a string of baskets? I find matters more and more bizarre.
Dave (ASA)

On Wed, 08 Apr 2009 16:19:50 -0400 "Dick Fischer" <<>> writes:
Hi David:

The other night I saw part of the movie Hamlet. Although I found it interesting, I must admit I couldn't understand over 20% of the dialogue. I perked up at "Alas, poor Yorick," and "To be or not to be ...", but by and large I couldn't pick up the lingo at all. We don't talk that way anymore. Genesis is typical ANE literature. If you aren't used to ANE literature from reading a boatload of it, you are going to miss some things. Then there is Jewish jargon to deal with, the odd scribal error, and the translation from one language to another. It's a wonder to me any of it makes sense.

What I find typical of ANE literature is that persons, places, and clashes between cities seem to be reliable. The insertion of various gods in the affairs of men is quite common and cannot be considered "true" history. So when the flood comes in Atrahasis we read "Enki made ready to speak, and said to Nintu the birth goddess: "You, birth goddess, creatress of destinies, establish death for all peoples!"


Okay, a fabricated conversation from one god or another in ANE literature is typical. So how about this conversation: And God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). What makes this conversation genuine and the conversation in Atrahasis bogus? Simple. We all know there is only one God and we don't believe in many gods. Plus the Bible is inspired.

But the type of literature is the same. Insertions of conversations from God or gods are the norm in all ANE literature, Genesis included. So you accuse me of waffling? May I suggest that if you want to understand ANE literature, you should read some of it.

Specifically to your questions, you wrote:

>The Bible says that there was no help for him while you posit tens of thousands of people living in the valley, lots of women, with more elsewhere on earth.<

There was no help mate "suitable." There were not "tens of thousands" living in Eridu, more like a hundred or less at the beginning, and none of the other cities had been established at that early date. There is roughly 600 years between the first city, Eridu, and the city Cain built, Enoch, which was the second city. By 7,000 years ago the entire earth was sparsely populated in the millions. Read Jacquetta Hawkes, The Atlas of Early Man.

> How does the notion that Noah simply stayed aboard the ark for two seasons work? I can imagine him stuck on a sand bar where there was at least an area of the ark from which he could drop a bucket to draw water for the creatures aboard. This would not help the food problem unless he could barter with the locals. But Mesopotamia has a distinct lack of wood. Would a mass of wood as big as the ark not be salvaged by the locals?<

I'm not sure the voyage lasted a year. The Bible writer seemed to think so, and we are stuck trying to make sense of it. So I'm trying. The size of the ark is another problem area if we try to envisage the ark as a massive 450 foot long ship. A seriies of smaller baskets lashed together to form the overall dimensions might work, or maybe the writer mismeasured, or maybe the original dimensions have been changed. There are options. Choose.

> Floods flow downstream, with increased speed as there is more water. If the ark were in the current, it would head for the Persian Gulf. If it got into an area where water overflowed the banks, the water would be ponding and going nowhere. So how did the ark head upstream to the area of Ararat? Or is this an inaccuracy that does not disturb the message?<

If you remember the flood of 1993 in the midwest the water stayed for months before receding. The Gilgamesh legend mentions punting holes and punting is still a means of locomotion on the canals of Iraq. Animals on the bank pulling the boat also might work.

There could be inaccuracies. I'm not saying there couldn't possibly be inaccurracies in the inspired text. When Genesis depicts the God who created the entire univerrse taking a stroll through the Garden of Eden enjoying the coolness of the air and sniffing petunias, I, even I, have to put on my wading boots. Still, the flood appears to be a genuine event that actually happened. There are possible answers to the typical questions raised.

Dick Fischer, GPA president
Genesis Proclaimed Association
"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"<>

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Received on Fri Apr 10 16:02:49 2009

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