furuli at online.no
Tue Jul 23 03:12:45 EDT 2002
I would rather have stopped participating in this thread, but I feel
I cannot let your last paragraph stand without comment.
As to paradigms, I would say that creationism on one hand and
mythologism (or whetever you call it) on the other are the extremes
that may lead astray. What I find to be a middle road, is simply to
ask: Do these particular words conform with scientific data or do
they contradict them? I cannot see I single expression in Genesis 1
that is contradicted by scientific knowledge. That does not prove
that the words represent actual facts, but it shows that mythology is
not necessarily present. Acts of God are of course inplied, and God
is a metaphysical factor that is outside of science. Humans could of
course not figure out the information of Genesis 1, it must rest on
revelation from God. But I am not discussing God or his reveleations
in this context, just whether the words of the chapter conforms with
data and viewpoints of the natural sciences.
First, all of you who believe the world view of the Bible writers was
an earth on pillars in a cosmic ocean with a solid vault above, to
which the sun, moon and stars were fixed, could you refer to one
Semitic source from the first half of the 1st millennium B.C.E. or
earlier, and include its words? If such a source is lacking, what is
the earliest source where we find this whole picture? Could you
supply its words as well?
Genesis 1 shows how the earth gradually was made fit for herbal and animal life
and at last for man. My angle of approach is simply: Does this
account, which is written in the language of the day, conform with
scientific data and scientific views.
1:1 The universe (earth and planets) has a beginning and is created
by God. This information is given either if we thranslate "When God"
or "In the beginning God". God is outside of science, but that the
universe has e beginning, definitely conforms with science
(radioactivity and temperature differences). Nothing is said
regarding the way God created, but that his power/energy, not already
existing matter, was the source, can be gathered from Isaiah 40:26.
1:2 No life on the earth, and it was covered with water. Either if we
translate "the earth was" or "the earth became", at one point "the
earth was" without life and covered with water. The view of
geologists is that the early earth was covered with water, and that
life was not on the earth from the beginning.
1:3-5 The sun was evidently included in "the heaven" which was
created in "the beginning". Light shone now on that which sorrounded
the earth. We know very little about the formation of planets; it is
only in the last few years that clear evidence of planets outside our
solar system has appeared. However, there is no scientific data to
reject the suggestion that light may be prevented from shining on
particular spots by cosmic dust or similar matter. The account
implies that there was no atmosphere similar to our own at this
point, but matter sorrounded the earth; the aggregate form not being
1:6-8. The atmosphere (RAQIA() was formed. A part of the water, the
aggreagate form not stated, existed now above the atmosphere. Science
believs that our atmosphere has been gradually formed, first there
was a reducing atmosphere (which is of course speculation), the
oxegen came to be as a by product of photo synthesis. A formation of
the atmosphere in steps, as the verses indicate, conforms well with
1:9-10 Dry ground appeared above the water. The oldest sediments are
marine. In Oslo, for example, we have Cambro-Silurian sediments
standing vertically, indicating great forces inside the crust raising
them from horizontal to vertical position. No geologist would deny
that great movements occured in the crust of the earth in earlier
times; even in recent times we se evidence for a thrusting up of
mountains. That land masses arose as the verses say is no problem.
1:11-12 Plants and green matter came before the animals on the earth.
this conforms with "the Geologic Column", which of course is
hypothetical, but still tell something about the order of fossils in
1:14-18 The sun, moon and stars became visible in the RAQIA(. Note
that the verb (SH is used here and not BRH as in verse 1. Different
verbs signal different concepts. Some verbs may cover much of the
same meaning, and because informants are lacking, it is difficult to
insist on this or that difference between the two verbs in question.
However, the use of two verbs shows that the conclusion you draw is
not necessary. the verb BRH in verse 1 could refer to the creation of
the heavenly bodies from God's power/energy, and )SH could refer to
something being made/done with the bodies that already were created,
for instance, the atmosphere now became thinner, and that they bacame
visible on the sky.
As to your comments regarding the word YWM, please consider the
following: The word refers to three different time periods in Genesis
1 and 2. It refers to the light part of a day in 1:5, to the creation
of "heaven and earth" in 2:5 and to the creation days in chapter 1.
This shows that the word "day" does not necessarily refer to a period
of 24 hours. I see no reason to construe the writer to mean that each
creation day was 24 hours long, The universe was created "in the
beginning", which may be 4.5 billion years ago; the text simply does
not say, and the length of each creation day is not stated.
Please note that I do not say that the events regarding the earth
happend the way I outline above. I simply ask the humble question: Is
there anything in the chapter that is contradicted by scientific data
(allowing for a reasonable application of the words)? And I have
found nothing. My outline simply show in modern words how the events
could have happened
That matter was created out of water is nowhere stated!
If we now turn our attention to Enuma elish, the account is clearly
mythological. Tablet 1: The gods were created when salt and sweet
water mingled. Tablets 4 and 5 The goddess Tiamat was killed, and
heaven was made from a part of her dead body and the earth from
another part, the mountains were made from her breasts and Eufrat and
Tigris from the tears in her eyes.
When on high the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
When primordial Apsu, their begetter,
And Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all,
Their waters mingled as a single body,
No reed hut had sprung forth, no marshland had appeared,
None of the gods had been brought into being,
And none bore a name, and no destinies determined--
Then it was that the gods were formed in the midst of heaven.
And turned back to Tiamat whom he had bound.
The lord trod on the legs of Tiamat,
With his unsparing mace he crushed her skull. (130)
When the arteries of her blood he had severed,
The North Wind bore it to places undisclosed.
On seeing this, his fathers were joyful and jubilant,
They brought gifts of homage to him.
Then the lord paused to view her dead body,
That he might divide the form and do artful works.
He split her like a shellfish into two parts:
Half of her he set up as a covering for heaven,
Pulled down the bar and posted guards.
He bade them to allow not her waters to escape. (140)
After he had appointed the days to Shamash, (45)
And had established the precincts of night and day,
Taking the spittle of Tiamat
Marduk created . . .
He formed the clouds and filled them with water.
The raising of winds, the bringing of rain and cold, (50)
Making the mist smoke, piling up . . .
These he planned himself, took into his own hand.
Putting her head into position he formed thereon the mountains,
Opening the deep which was in flood,
He caused to flow from her eyes the Euphrates and Tigris,
Stopping her nostrils he left . . . ,
He formed from her breasts the lofty mountains,
Therein he drilled springs for the wells to carry off the water.
Twisting her tail he bound it to Durmah,
. . . Apsu at his foot, (60)
. . . her crotch, she was fastened to the heavens,
Thus he covered the heavens and established the earth.
. . . in the midst of Tiamat he made flow,
. . . his net he completely let out,
So he created heaven and earth . . . ,
. . . their bounds . . . established.
>Do you mean that you find the notion that the
>cosmos was created out of water realistic?
>That the earth was a collection of dry from
>wet? That daylight was created before the sun?
>And that it all happened in six days?
>Which paradigm sees this material as simply
>"everyday language" expressing natural things?
Universwity of Oslo
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