[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:2 - And the earth was without form, and void
kwrandolph at email.com
Sat Apr 15 19:51:44 EDT 2006
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Peter Kirk" <peter at qaya.org>
> >> ...
> > Peter, that characterization of creationists is not like the normal you.
> Well, I don't want to get into mud slinging, but this is factually
> true, at least if I replace "incompetent" by "unqualified". For
> example, the recently deceased "Dr. Henry Morris, founder and
> president emeritus of the Institute for Creation Research and the
> “father” of the modern creationist movement" (see
> http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2006/0225morris.asp), was a
> hydraulic engineer, with no qualifications in theology - although
> according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_M._Morris he did
> have a "minor" in geology, so he was not completely scientifically
Peter: Dr. Morris jump started the creationist
movement with his book "The Genesis Flood" with a
co-author who was a theologian. In other words, he
didn't presume theological expertise when he didn't
have it. Further, Dr. Morris' textbook on hydrology
was a standard text used at secular universities
for their hydrology classes for many years. And to
get a PhD, a "minor" is the equivalent of a
master's degree in a second field, at least that
was the case at the universities where I studied. I
doubt your scientific qualifications come anywhere
close to Dr. Morris'. The same is true of a
majority of other scientists.
Peter, in the past I respected you because it was
not your wont to make personal slights against
other people, even when you disagree with them.
Thus this is out of character.
> I don't want to defend evolution as an explanatory framework
> either, although (as someone qualified in both science and
> theology) I accept that the general scientific picture of the
> history of the universe and the earth is generally true, although
> no doubt in need of refinement of some details.
My main area of study at the university was logic
and philosophy, the latter with an emphasis on
comparative religions. Thus I am in no position to
argue outside of my field.
However, when I looked at evolution, I found
something within my field, namely logic. Evolution
cannot be a scientific study because of the
definition of science given in the same textbooks,
never was and never will be. There is a logical
contradiction at the heart of the claim that
evolution can be a scientific study. When I ask
scientists, evolutionists, if the definition for
science has changed since I learned the definition
from Dr. George Gaylord Simpson, they assure me
that it has not.
I found that same logical contradiction at the
heart of "creation science".
This is not in need of refinement of some details,
the whole structure is flawed at its foundation.
"Intelligent Design" is different from both
evolution and "creation science" as it has been
explained to me in that it stays within the realm
> > I will not think the less of you if you reject Genesis 1 and are
> > honest about it. It is part of life to disagree with others. But
> > I find this reinterpretation of the text not supported by
> > linguistic principles to be intellectual dishonesty and it is
> > that intellectual dishonesty that I despise. ...
> The intellectual dishonesty which I despise is of those who think
> they know better than the experts in a field when they haven't even
> looked properly at the evidence on which the experts base their
Those people I don't consider worthy to despise.
> > ... You claim that "day", when acted on by a number can mean
> > something other than the equivalent of a 24 hour day? The onus in
> > on you to demonstrate other examples where that occurs, ...
> I don't accept that onus. But, quite apart from the verses I
> mentioned and concerning which you have not yet answered me, I can
> validly appeal to historical facts. There are many places where we
> allow our interpretation of the biblical text to be informed by
> what we know to be true from external history. And by that same
> principle, there is ample historical evidence that the world was
> not created in 6 days 6000 years ago and so we need to interpret
> the biblical records in the light of that apparent fact.
What historical evidence?
Do you reject the historical evidence that
genealogical records were kept by a number of
peoples tracing their ancestry back to a certain
Noah of big boat fame? Do you reject the historical
records that dinosaurs (then called dragons), even
large terrestrial ones, were still found in many
parts of the world as little as a couple of
thousands of years ago or much later?
If by "historical evidence" you mean evolution,
that is not historical, rather extrapolations based
on modern religious beliefs.
> -- Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
In another message you write:
>>No, Karl. You don't know anything about logic, it seems.<<
Now you lecture me on logic???
As for your limited observations argument, all we
can say is that from all the observations we have,
we have a certain result. Only after and not before
a counter example has been found can one work from
the supposition that a counter example exists. One
can note a pattern after a few observations, then
10k observations later if no counter examples are
found, a scientist who assumed a counter example
will look somewhat foolish.
Your reading assumes a counter example before the
counter example is found.
>>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!<<
Here you conflate different contexts and claim that
they are the same. Only one place in the passage is
the word "day" modified by a number, and that is
for the city of Jerusalem where there will be no
darkness to usher in a new day. It is possible, and
I have done it myself, to use a word in radically
different meanings, e.g. once literally and once as
part of an idiomatic phrase, close together, rarely
even within the same sentence. (No examples come to
mind at this moment.) Your conflation is not right.
As for a redefinition of "day", it has always been
defined as a cycle of darkness and light. Our 24
hour clock has been calibrated to that cycle, not
the other way around. Should something cause the
world to speed up or slow down, our 24 hour clock
would either have to be recalibrated to the new
dark/light cycle, or we get a new clock.
I have always allowed for an idiomatic use of the
word "day", as I have repeatedly said in this
discussion. The idiomatic use always occurs apart
from a numeric modifier in the observed examples
that we have.
>>It seems we have a fundamental disagreement here. What criteria of
what is poetic are you using when you write the above?<<
Genesis 1:1 - 2:4 are written in a terse prose with
few extraneous words, not unlike other prose
sections in Tanakh. Having read the whole Tanakh
numerous times in Hebrew, I have learned to equate
poetry with meter (almost totally lacking in
Genesis 1), repetition (again almost totally
lacking here) and parallelism (almost totally
lacking here). Where God is directly quoted, as
when he blessed the animals and people, there is a
semi-poetic element though not consistent through
the whole statements but not the full blown poetry
as found in Psalms. Poetic meter and parallelism
are found in only two verses: 1:27 and 2:4.
An example of semi-poetic speech are the statements
of the treaty quoted in Exodus 20 where poetic
elements are inserted into strict prose.
In closing, the text and linguistics of Genesis 1
give a record of creation within six dark and light
periods of the earth. Those dark and light periods
are commonly called "days". Where the light came
from for the first two and a half days is not
explained and I found it is dangerous to speculate.
But it is clear that darkness preceded the light.
Now I am not asking you to accept this record as
being a true history, rather all I ask is that you
back up your claim that it is not by providing good
linguistic reasons why this prose document should
be read other than as it is written. So far you
have not provided that evidence.
Karl W. Randolph.
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