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

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sun Apr 23 21:54:44 EDT 2006

On Sunday 23 April 2006 15:15, Yigal Levin wrote:
> Yigal Levin:
> >> The idea that the laws of nature were somehow different before the Flood
> >> is
> >> a well-known way of dealing with the "discrepancies" between a literal
> >> reading of Genesis and "natural history". In fact, such claims are made
> >> in
> >> the Talmud. They are not, however, based upon the biblical text. Gen. 8
> >> does NOT claim that there were no seasons before the Flood, only that
> >> the seasons would continue henceforth uninterrupted.
> Dave Washburn:
> > But if that's the case, why mention them at all?  It seems extraneous.
> > The
> > only reason I can see for bringing it up is because these people didn't
> > really know what they were and God was telling them to be prepared for
> > seasonal changes.
> Because the Flood itself was an interuption of the natural seasons. The
> rain began on the 17th of the second month (Iyyar - April-May), a time of
> year at which any rain would have been unusual. To Noah and co., the world
> had been turned on its head. God promissed them that this would never
> happen again.

First, we don't know what kind of calendar was used at that time.  Second, 
where was he?  We assume somewhere in Mesopotamia, but that's hardly certain, 
so we really don't know when rain would have been normal.  Third, it's easy 
to say it was a disruption of the natural seasons, but was it also a 
disruption of the natural diurnal rotation of the earth or of temperatures?  
8:22 says "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, 
summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."  In any case, it's clear 
you're making an assumption here about the "natural seasons" that isn't in 
the text.  I'm okay with that as long as we both understand that it's an 
assumption, not an actual analysis of the text.

> Yigal:
> >> Gen. 9 does NOT claim that
> >> there were no rainbows before the Flood, only that from that point, we
> >> should consider the rainbow to be a sign of the covenant between God and
> >> humanity.
> Dave:
> > Granted, though the language of "setting" it in the sky does kind of hint
> > that
> > there hadn't been one before.
> Yigal:
> >> The "mist" (if that is indeed what "ed" means) mentioned in Gen.
> >> 2 reffers to the primeveal state of the Garden of Eden, NOT to the whole
> >> period up to the Flood.
> Dave:
> > Actually, it does say there was no rain but rather the mist (or whatever
> > it
> > was), and nothing between then and chapter 6 says otherwise, so unless
> > you have some textual evidence of a change from that to rain, it's
> > reasonable to
> > conclude that it did in fact continue that way until the Flood.  I see no
> > basis in the text for your conclusion about this.
> I think that the Garden is certainly "special", so that nothing that was
> true there can be used as a preccedent for the rest of the book.

Yet another assumption, because there's nothing there that says it can't and 
there's nothing that even hints that things changed between chapter 2 and 
chapter 9, at least wrt eating meat.  Once again, I'm okay with you making an 
assumption (provided I'm equally free to disagree with it) as long as we 
agree it's an assumption, not something in the text itself.

Dave Washburn
Fame is fleeing, as good old Whatsisname used to say.

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