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

From: <>
Date: Mon Apr 13 2009 - 19:58:44 EDT

I don't think I'd take Cain and his descendants as literal people.  Every name in the Cain genealogy is a distorted version of a name in the Seth genealogy, as if the author constructed the list of names to make it purposefully parallel.  It's just too coincidental and too pat to be literal.  I think the author constructed the Cain list for theological purposes, to contrast the line of Seth.  Consider:

Seth's          Cain's
genealogy    genealogy
=======     =========
Seth            (no parallel)

Enosh         Cain (very similar to Kenan in Hebrew)

 Kenan         Enoch  (note how these pairs are criss-crossed)

Mahalalel     Irad
Jared           Mehujael (note how these pairs are criss-crossed, too)

Enoch         (no parallel)

Methuselah  Methushael

Lamech       Lamech

Noah           (no parallel)

3 sons         3 sons

The names are not generally etymologically related in the two lists. Instead, they are related by the way they sound when pronounced.  Therefore, I do not believe the claim of the documentary hypothesis that these two lists came from two sources that hailed back to a common origin.  Instead, I believe the author of the20text purposefully created Cain's list in order to tell the theological story he needed to tell.

Also, consider that the names in Cain's genealogy are indeed crafted to tell a story.  "Cain" is the one who builds the city, and "cain" refers to craftsmen (like metallurgists) who build things.  This relates back to the prior event in the text, where the works of Cain's hands have been cursed by God.  It is a theologial story about man's works, including his "city", his crowing achievement, being cursed and destroyed by God.  Enoch = Unug was indeed the name of the biggest early city in Mesopotamia.  "Irad" might mean "city of a fugitive" (just like Cain was a fugitive from God, so his descendants are still fugitives from God despite their precious city where they now live, instead of literally wandering like Cain).  "Mehujael" means cursed of God (because God's curse is still on the works of Cain's descendants). Methushael might mean "man of sheol" (as one possible etymology), foreshadowing death in the Flood.  Then, God rejects Cain's city by destroying it in the Flood, just as he had earlier rejected Cain's sacrifice of vegetation that Cain had grown by his own efforts, leading up to the curse upon Cain's works after he slew Abel.  It is a very tight theological story, and far too pat to be literal history, IMO.  So the genealogy was probably a literary construction intended to parallel and contrast the godly line of Seth.  I do take the Seth genealogy to
be a literal genealogy, despite their ages being mistranslated and thus seeming impossibly large.



-----Original Message-----
From: Dehler, Bernie <>
To: ASA Affiliation <>
Sent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 2:33 pm
Subject: RE: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical interpretation

I think the Babel story brings up a whole slew of more


Back to people in towns.  Babel comes after the flood, so it says in
those days people lived together, assuming pre-flood people were wiped-out.  So
it is easier to think people were grouped after this re-creation, which we both
reject.  Before the flood, did all live together in cities?  Evidently, at the
very least, Cain moved out of town after he killed Abel, and Cain started a
different clan.  Cain and his clan were obviously not part of the same social
group, since he was kicked-out of town.  And that is near the very start of
creation way before the flood, so with more time comes more separation.




From: Kirk Bertsche

Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:04

To: Dehler, Bernie; ASA

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


I think we're losing the point of this sub-thread.  Bernie had
argued against a historical
local flood on the grounds that man would naturally
have been spread out across the earth, so could not have been wiped out by a
local flood.  I pointed out that Gen 11 implies that man did not spread
out until his language was confused.  Thus, man was likely not spread out
very far in Gen 7-9, either.  A historical, local flood does not seem to
be ruled out on this basis.


A second question has been suggested in this sub-thread: "If the
account of Babel
is non-historical, what is its point?"  Whether the account is
historical or not, it is divine communication intended to TEACH something.
 It tells us something about man's character (desire for a
self-aggrandizing community), which is true irrespective of historicity.





On Apr 13, 2009, at 9:02 AM, Dehler, Bernie wrote:


“The implication of the text is that early man was together until God forced
mankind to spread out.  “


It also implies that
just prior there was a worldwide flood that wiped out all humans except those
who were on the ark- something I think neither of us accept.  So if we
believe that all humans weren’t wiped-out, why believe all men lived in one
city and had one language???





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Received on Mon Apr 13 20:01:35 2009

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