The Flood

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Mon Sep 25 16:41:27 EDT 2000

> I make the following rebuttals to your earlier observations:
> WM: [snip]
> > > You have on earlier occasions proclaimed to this list that you are an
> > > inerrantist. I appreciate that declaration, for it helps me to
> understand
> > > "your presuppositions" when you you offer "your" interpretations
> > > about
> the
> > > texts. But as an inerrantist, would you please clarify for me which
> > > text
> is
> > > to be regarded "as inerrant," the Masoretic, The Septuagint (used by
> Early
> > > Christians), the Samaritan, or the Peshitta (Aramaic Christianity) ?
> > > I
> note
> > > disagreements amongst these texts on various data, like different
> > > ages
> for
> > > the 10 pre and post flood individuals. Which text is inerrant for you
> and
> > > why ?
> >
> DW: The autographs, which we no longer have. <snip> Searching out the
> autographs is why I am also
> > active in textual criticism.<snip>
> WM: Thankyou Dave for clarifying your position. If only the autographs
> are inerrant, then the received text is subject to being errant ?

Define "received text."  Of course the manuscripts are subject to 
mistakes in copying etc.  But I would also ask you to define your 
idea of "errant."  Even the Masoretes knew their texts weren't 
perfect, as shown by their frequent use of the ketiv/qere approach.  
I'm not sure what your point is.

> WM: > In the Ancient Near East, where the biblical stories are situated,
> the only
> > > documented Flooding is that of the Nile or the Tigris and Euphrates
> river
> > > valleys. In Lower Mesopotamia microscopic analysis reveals that in
> > > every case the various flood deposits were freshwater silt from the
> > > flooding Euphrates and Tigris rivers, not a world engulfing saltwater
> > > flood as portrayed in Holy Writ that covered the mountain tops to a
> > > depth of 15 cubits (Ge7:20).
> >
> DW:> I like the way you subtly threw in the word "saltwater," something
> > that neither I nor the texts mentioned.  In fact, in Genesis the water
> > comes from the sky and from underground, so it's doubtful it would be
> > saltwater.  Another unfounded assumption.
> WM: So, let me get this straight, copious amounts of freshwater erupted
> from the ground and combined with rainwater, causing a Freshwater flood
> to engulf the land to a height of 15 cubits over the mountain tops ? But,
> Dave, this Freshwater would have had to merge with the Saltwater ocean
> (wouldn't it), such that the debris or flood laid silt would be Saltwater
> laid not Freshwater (I don't comprehend your reasoning here).

Walter, once again you are working from your own assumptions.  I 
don't know.  Were the oceans saltwater in that age?  I don't know.  
If that much water combined with it, how salty do you imagine it 
would be?  Once again you seem to be deliberately asking 
questions that you know can't be answered one way or the other 
with any certainty, then declaring that I must be wrong because 
your non-answer is obviously superior to mine.  I guess we're even, 
because I don't see your reasoning, either.

> > Archaeologists have concluded that these various Floods
> > > occurred at different times, in different locations within the
> > > confines
> of
> > > Lower Mesopotamia, and in no way totally destroyed mankind and his
> world,
> > > even locally (that is, that not all the cities of Lower Mesopotamia
> > > were simultaneously destroyed in one great Flood event).
> >
> > When did these floods occur?
> WM: The 4th through 2nd Milleniums BCE
>  How far back do they go?
> WM: The 4th through 2 nd Milleniums BCE

And as I've said before (remember?), I suspect the biblical flood 
took place long before that.  So this "evidence" would be pretty well
irrelevant, now wouldn't it?

> I already
> > addressed this.  We don't know when this event occurred, because
> > the genealogies are not a reliable criterion of chronology.  So in
> > terms of this archaeology, all I can say is "So what?"
> WM: Thankyou for clarifying your position. In essence then, you are
> saying that "only the autograph is inerrant," thus anything the received
> text suggests is open to errancy and not to be trusted and taken at face
> value, at least as far as the ages of the individuals in the ten
> generations of the pre and post flood world ? As no one knows what the
> autographs were really like, this leaves the door wide open for all kinds
> of speculation about everything in the texts, doesn't it ?

No, that is not what I said.  If you somehow got all that from my 
post, I recommend you go back and read it again.

Dave Washburn
"No study of probabilities inside a given frame can ever
tell us how probable it is that the frame itself can be
violated."  C. S. Lewis

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