[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sat Apr 15 16:56:26 EDT 2006

On 15/04/2006 21:12, Karl Randolph wrote:
>> It is a well known logical fallacy to argue that something is 
>> universally true on the basis of a rather small number of examples 
> These are all the examples that we have.
> It is a greater logical fallacy to contradict the 
> examples we have without citing other examples to 
> back up our contradiction.
No, Karl. You don't know anything about logic, it seems. If you have a 
limited number of examples of a phenomenon, in a situation like 
astronomy where you can only observe but cannot carry out experiments, 
and all of them have a certain characteristic, you cannot argue that all 
examples of that phenomenon have that characteristic. If you are talking 
about scientific observations, that is because the counter-example might 
be observed tomorrow. A counter-example cannot turn up in the Hebrew 
Bible, although it could do in an inscription, but we nevertheless know 
that what we have in the Bible is only a small part of the full biblical 
Hebrew language and there may be many idioms etc which were possible in 
the language but are not actually found in the corpus, so in principle 
the position is the same as in observational astronomy.

>> of it being true, taken in this case from a limited corpus - even 
>> supposing it is true of every case in the corpus. Besides, this is 
>> poetic or semi-poetic language in which the meaning of words can 
>> always be stretched beyond their regular dictionary definitions.
> Genesis 1 is prose, not poetic, not even semi-
> poetic. It's as if God anticipated this argument 
> and made sure to write prose.
It seems we have a fundamental disagreement here. What criteria of what 
is poetic are you using when you write the above?

>> ...
> Zechariah 14:7 does not contradict what I claimed 
> before. Remember, a 24 hour day is measured by the 
> fact that there is a night and a day, but here 
> there is no night to bring on the next day.
So, the criterion for a day is not 24 hours, as measured by a clock, but 
a period of daylight and a period of night? That redefinition might have 
some interesting corollaries for Genesis 1. I note that the whole of 
Zechariah 14 describes events "in that day", and that includes in v.16 
things which happen year after year!

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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