Re: Why the Flood can not be in Mesopotamia

Stephen Jones (
Mon, 03 Mar 97 06:55:20 +0800


On Sun, 23 Feb 1997 13:02:20 -0600, Glenn Morton wrote:

>SJ>...I do not ask that he respond to my posts...My only request is
>that when he presents his Mediterranean Flood theory and considers
>alternatives, he not simply ignore my "critiques" as though they
>never existed. This is misleading to newer Reflectorites who may
>gain the impression that the alternatives Glenn considers are the
>only viable ones.


SJ>The "overwhelming silence" is...a sober statement of the truth, in
>Glenn's own words. Glenn routinely ignores cogent arguments against
>his position, and acts as through they didn't exist. Yet he equally
>routinely berates creationists for ignoring views that he agrees
>with. I will stop using those words, "the overwhelming silence"
>when they are no longer true.

GM>These two statements are contradictory. If I follow your advice
>in the first paragraph and don't respond, then you will charge me
>with "overwhelming silence" If I respond, then you tell me not to
>respond. I presume this is because you want to be able to charge me
>with "overwhelming silence." You can't have it both ways. Either
>cease advocating that I not respond to you or cease the snide little
>ridiculing comments about overwheliming silence. The fact that I am
>responding to this post and not ignoring you is evidence that I am
>not engaging in this "silence" you repeately charge.

They are not "contradictory". Glenn should read what I said above.
I do not require that Glenn respond to my *posts*, but I do require
that "when he presents his Mediterranean Flood theory and considers
alternatives, he not simply ignore my "critiques" as though they
never existed."

GM>And in point of fact Steve, I have never charged any single
>individual with failure to respond. I sent one note out last Sept
>after NO ONE responded to what I thought was an important post. You
>have grabbed that one statement, taken it out of context and used it

It's true that Glenn used the words "the overwhelming silence"
only once but the theme of Glenn criticising creationists for their
failure to consider alternatives is common in Glenn's posts.


>SJ>...All OT scholars AFAIK are agreed that the Flood account
reflects a mesopotamian background.

>GM>"All" seems a little strong here. The YEC scholars believe that
>the flodd was not in Mesopotamia because they believe it was
>everywhere. Argumentum ad populum here.

SJ>The point is about "YEC scholars" is that they too would believe
>that "the Flood account reflects a mesopotamian background." They
>would believe that Noah lived in Mesopotamia before and after the
>Flood, and they all recognise the close parallels between
>Mesopotamian and the Biblical Flood stories...

GM>Argument from authority. Everyone in the Roman Empire agreed that
>the earth was the center of the universe. Did the sun become the
>center when Copernicus wrote his book?

This is typical of Glenn's evasive style of argument. When he gets
in a tight corner, instead of admitting he was wrong, and embracing
the truth, he throws in a red-herring, changes the subject and

Because Glenn fails to rebut my argument that "...All OT
scholars...are agreed that the Flood account reflects a mesopotamian
background", I will take it that it is true and that counts against
Glenn's claim that the Ark came aground in Africa.


SJ>Glenn just shrugs off this persuasive evidence of Mesopotamian
>provenance with a casual "Argumentum ad populum" throwaway line.
>But the "populum" here are *All OT scholars*! There are *no* OT
>scholars who believe that the Flood was in the Mediterranean.

GM>Quite true. But then that does not make them correct.

Glenn no longer contests that "...All OT scholars...are agreed that
the Flood account reflects a mesopotamian background", and he
aknowledges it is "Quite true" that "*no* OT scholars who believe
that the Flood was in the Mediterranean. *no* OT scholars...believe
that the Flood was in the Mediterranean." I will expect him to now
include this fact in his consideration of alternatives to this 5.5
mya Mediterranean Flood theory.

I will write the section for him:

"Although *all* OT scholars agree that the Flood reflects a
Mesopotamian background, and in fact *no* OT scholars believe the
Flood was in the Mediterranean, nevertheless they are all wrong and I
alone am right."

GM>A Mesopotamian flood would leave evidence of itself.

Here Glenn contradicts himself. He already has admitted that "it is
at least possible that God has ensured there is no sediment from
Noah's Flood" (see his post of Sun, 12 Nov 1995...To: Subject: Re: The "two-Adam model"

Now he is saying in effect that it is *not* "at least possible that
God has ensured there is no sediment from Noah's Flood".

GM>To believe in something that has absolutely no evidence is the
>same as believing in Faeries or the Golden tablets of Mormonism.

That might be true if there were "absolutely no evidence" for the
Flood, but there is plenty of "evidence" for the Flood in the forms
of 1. the Biblical account of it; 2. Jesus' confirmation of its
historicity (Mt 24:38-39; Lk 17:26-27); and 3. extra-biblical
traditions of the Flood:

"The flood story is found throughout the world. Like the creation
narrative, it is part of our basic cultural heritage. It is truly
astonishing: everywhere on earth we find stories of a great primeval
flood. For a long time, scholars knew of scattered flood narratives
only among the high civilizations of the ancient Near East, above all
the eleventh tablet of the Gilgamesh epic. New research has shown,
however, a whole history of flood traditions to be surveyed
throughout the Near East. Furthermore, a wealth of flood traditions
among primitive civilizations has been discovered; these agree in
their major features, such as the destruction of the human race and
the deliverance of an individual, while exhibiting characteristic
differences...." (Westermann C., "Genesis: A Practical Commentary",
1987, pp51-52)

>SJ>2. The ark came to rest on "the mountains of Ararat" (Gn 8:4);
>lit. the mountains or hills of Urartu (Armenia). This is northern

>GM>This means that the ark floated uphill against the current. Did
>the Ark have an outboard or inboard motor?

SJ>Glenn tries a diversionary tactic by bringing up additional
>issues. My point was that the Bible provides a datum point "the
>mountains of Ararat [Urartu]" (Gn 8:4) which locates it in or near
>"northern Mesopotamia":

GM>Please cease attributing motives to what I say.

OK. I will try not to "attribute motives to what" Glenn "says", even
though Glenn has no hesitation in attributing "motives" to me:

On Thu, 09 Jan 1997 00:06:59, Glenn Morton wrote:

>For you to criticise me for what you yourself is hypocritical.

I will instead simply point out the fact that Glenn has here
introduced another question which has the effect of diverting
attention from the simple point I was making, namely that "the Bible
provides a datum point `the mountains of Ararat [Urartu]' (Gn 8:4)
which locates it in or near `northern Mesopotamia'". We need to deal
with that question *first* before we consider any difficulties with

GM>Water flows downhill and would carry an ark into the Persian Gulf
>in about a week. Since boats do not survive repeated groundings
>very well, (it knocks holes in the boat bottom) it seems very
>unreasonable to think that the ark could remain in Mesopotamia and
>floatable for a year.

I repeat: "My point was that the Bible provides a datum point `the
mountains of Ararat [Urartu]' (Gn 8:4) which locates it in or near
`Northern Mesopotamia'. That has to be accepted *first* before
considering *how* it could have happened. Glenn's locating the Flood
elsewhere because of his difficulty in imagining how it could have
happened that way is typical of rationalistic Biblical critics down
through the ages.

SJ>"...the Bible refers to the mountains (plural) of Ararat (Gen.
>8:4) as the resting place of the Ark so that no specific mountain is
>identified. Further, the very name Ararat refers to the ancient
>land of Urartu, which covered a wide area. (Thompson J. A., "The
>Bible and Archaeology", 1982, p16)
>"The text does not speak of a specific mountain
>named Ararat; 8:4 reads, "On the mountains of [the region of]
>Ararat." This region (Akkadian Urartu) is the mountainous area west
>of the Tigris river. (Westermann C., "Genesis", 1987, p60)
>"The Bible account specifies "the Mountains of Ararat" (Gen. 8:4).
>The name is identical with the Assyrian name Urartu, denoting the
>general mountainous territory of Armenia, north of Assyria (Cf. II
>Kings 19:37; Jer. 51:27; Isa. 37:38). (Unger M.F., "Unger's
>Bible Dictionary", 1966, p372)

GM>We do not disagree here.

Well then why does Glenn locate the landing of the Ark in Africa?

>GM>I have always found this to be odd. To make people fear God's
>wrath with a non-existent Flood, is like a parent telling their
>childred that the boogey man would get them. When they grow up,
>they learn that there is no boogey man.

SJ>Jesus told a parable in Luke 16 about a "non-existent" man in

GM>How do you know that this guy was non-existent? The scripture
>certainly doesn't say that.

Agreed, but *no* NT scholar AFAIK says that the parable of the rich
man and Lazarus was historical:

"Although Luke does not expressly state that this is a parable, and
although the Saviour has given the beggar a name, it is by no means
necessary to assume that we have here the story of something that
really happened and not a parable." (Geldenhuys J.N., "Commentary
on the Gospel of Luke", 1961 reprint, p428)

The real point is that Jesus' parables do not have to be historically
true to be theologically true. The same could apply to the Flood
(although I believe the Flood was historically true).


SJ>My view is a bit more complex. I believe that there was an
>original local Flood that the Biblical Flood epic has been based
>upon. It is a local story expanded to global scale. God's judgment
>is depicted as global:

GM>Once again, I must raise the question, at what point does this
>"expanded" story become untrue? How much expansion makes a story
>untrue in a court of law?

If by "untrue" Glenn means "it did not literally happen" then on that
criterion, most of the parables of Jesus would be "untrue". But this
is an inappropriate criterion to judge ancient Eastern literature. I
don't know of any "court of law" that would find the Biblical stories
"untrue" if it was shown that they did not happen historically. I
would presume that "court of law" would be wise enough to recognise
that a story could be theological true without necessarily being
historically true.

SJ>"They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under
>the entire heavens were covered." (Gn 7:19)
>because but for His grace it would be:
>"......unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Lk 13:1-5)

>SJ>Lake Van meets all the Biblical requirements for a local Flood.

GM>Above you criticised me for not acknowledging the mesopotamian
>background of the flood.
>1. All OT scholars AFAIK are agreed that the Flood account
>reflects a mesopotamian background.

>Turkey is not known as Mesopotamia.

I did not say that "Turkey is...known as Mesopotamia". What I do say
is that Lake Van is in *modern* Turkey, and it (Lake Van) lies between
the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Since Mesopotamia
means literally "land between the [Tigris and Euphrates] rivers", by
definiton Lake Van is in *ancient* Mesopotamia:

"Mesopotamia. The District of W. Asia between the Tigris and the
Euphrates. The region extends from the Persian Gulf to the
mountains of Armenia, from the Iranian Plateau to the Syrian desert.
The term "Mesopotamia" was first used by the Greeks in Seleucid
times." (Pfeiffer C.F., "Baker's Bible Atlas", Oliver & Boyd:
Edinburgh, 1962, p310)

My Times Atlas of Archaeology says:

"Mesopotamia: The Settlement of the Plains. The pattern of
settlement in prehistoric Mesopotamia (below) reflects the need of
the early villagers to settle in areas where there was sufficient
rainfall for their crops and pasture for their livestock." (Scarre
C., ed., "Past Worlds: The Times Atlas of Archaeology", Times Books:
London, 1995 reprint, p99)

The map of "Mesoputamia" which it refers to has a circle drawn which
includes the southern shores of Lake Van.

God bless.


| Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\ |
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