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

From: Dick Fischer <>
Date: Tue Apr 14 2009 - 11:59:11 EDT

Hi Phil:


What strikes me reading the two lists of descendants, one from the line of
Cain in Gen. 4 and the other from the line of Seth in Gen. 5, is that the
entire narratives are remarkably different. One is rich in detail, the
other tedious and monotonous. Then also these are two separate lines of
descent. If my daughter asked for a list of ancestors from me and one from
her mother for a class project, and we provided her with two separate lists,
one detailed and interesting (from me naturally) and the other simply a
diatribe of "begots," wouldn't her teacher recognize instantly that the
lists came from separate sources, separate authors? Why do we not recognize
the same thing here?


One author alone would be unlikely to present two identical types of
information in two entirely different methods. The similarity in names
could be because the two lines of descendants from Adam lived in the same
proximity - Enoch and Erech. Were the original names changed deliberately
to fit a pattern? Maybe. Or did the names originally given come to have a
subsequent meaning conveyed upon them by the surviving line?


Dick Fischer, GPA president

Genesis Proclaimed Association

"Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 7:59 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical


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 believe20the 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 the text 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

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


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





From: Kirk Bertsche [ <>]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:04 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie; ASA Affiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] Noah's Ark- the debate over floods... and biblical


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=2 0language 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:


Kirk said:
"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???






A Good Credit Score is 700 or Above.
3D62%26bcd%3DAprilfooterNO62> See yours in just 2 easy steps!

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Apr 14 11:59:59 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Apr 14 2009 - 11:59:59 EDT