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Thread: Sailhammer's view

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    tWebber
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    Sailhammer's view

    This first quote from Perman's page sets up Sailhammer's assumptions

    "Sailhamer's view, called historical creationism, affirms the inerrancy of the Bible, upholds the historicity of Genesis, and rejects evolution--just like creationism and progressive creationism. As Sailhamer writes, the author of Genesis "does not expect to be understood as writing mythology or poetry. His account, as he understands it, is a historical account of creation" (45).1 The main difference is that historical creationism denies the three central assumptions lying behind the other three views. These three assumptions are, first, "that the chapters' primary purpose is merely to describe how God created the world. Another is that originally the world was a formless mass, which God shaped into the world we know today. A third is 'the land' which God made during the six days is 'the earth' in its entirety, as we know it today" (11). Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land



    He then draws this conclusion. The six days don't apply to the universe but only to the land of Canaan:

    The text just does not say. Genesis 1:2and following, which recount God's acts during the six days, therefore do not refer to the creation of the universe. Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land



    Sailhamer's view starts going off track when he says that Let there be light only applies to the promised land. That it was dark and a wasteland (tohu and wabohu).

    Day one. God's command on the first day, "let there be light," was the decree for the sun to rise. Sailhamer writes that,"The phrase 'let there be light' doesn't have to mean 'let the light come into existence.' Elsewhere in the Bible, this same phrase is used to describe the sunrise (see Exodus 10:23; Nehemiah 8:3; Genesis 44:3)" Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land


    If the universe had been made AND the sun and moon had been made before all this activity on the land of Canaan, and the Sun Revolved around the earth, it is never explained why the promised land was dark? He did claim that waters were on top of it, but that can't be true geologically speaking. The Levant is geologically part of Asia and it was above water since the Miocene times. Geologically having water over it makes no geological sense.

    Then I looked up his claim about the same phrase "Let there be light" to see if that was true. It wasn't. Below I have used Logos software to see the words used, and I copied their Strong's number for each of the 4 verses he says are the 'same phrase' I was incredibly disappointed that he tried to say they were the same.

    Light, owr, comes in two forms, a verb H215, and a noun H216 Genesis 1:3 literally says 'become light' using the verb form. Exodus 10:23 says during the darkness over Egypt God made it light in the Hebrew's dwellings. There he used become light again. But no where does Exodus 10:23 say anything about morning H1242. The guy is just wrong

    Genesis 1:3 H1961 H216 become light--verb a miracle
    Genesis 44: 3 H1242 H215 morning light the men
    Exodus 10:23 H1961 H216 Become light in their dwellings A miracle
    Nehemiah 8:3 H4481 H216 from light to midday

    Sailhamer is the theologian and I am not, but even I can look up words in a Hebrew bible and see that they are not what he claims them to be. I am a scientist and he is not, and his science is atrocious.


    God caused clouds to form out of the deep waters that covered the land, and between the clouds above and the waters below there resulted an open space to keep them distinct-the sky. Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land


    If the land is the promised land, then all this was already done over the rest of the earth, why did this Promised land lag behind other lands? Is Sailhamer trying to say that there was a dark cloud over the Levant for billions of years? The fossil record would say definitely not given the fossils found in rocks from that area.



    Day three. This prepared the way for God's act on the third day of causing dry land to come forth. He did this by saying, "let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear" (1:9). Having removed the obstacle the water made to man's inhabitation of the land, God commanded the land to be filled with plants and fruit trees. Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land


    The Biblical land did not rise out of the ocean separately from Turkey and Egypt. Geologic data clearly shows this. So when Sailhamer tries to limit this rise to just the promised land, it fails geologically


    Day four. On day four, God did not create the sun, moon, and stars (they had been created in the beginning, as we have seen), but declared the purpose for which He had created them. Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land



    This gets ridiculous because we are supposed to believe that all the action from Genesis 1:2 to the end of the chapter was referring to JUST the promised land, and now, since he can't find a way to make the sun moon and stars just apply to the Promised land, he changes the standard and says God gave the sun significance. Good grief. The sun's significance was that it had given life giving rays to the rest of the world for billions of years and we are to believe this statement is the only reason the sun has significance? Bad So this is a superfluous fluff that couldn't be tied to any physical event so it is a declaration of purpose.


    quote from Sailhamer:
    Sailhamer writes that the "Hebrew verbal construction in verse 14 is significantly different from verse 6" even though
    our English translations don't always reflect that difference. In the Hebrew text of verse 14, God does not say, 'Let there be lights in the expanse to separate the day and night...' as if there were no lights before His command and afterward they came into being [which is the way it was with the expanse in verse 6]. Rather according to the Hebrew text, God said, 'Let the lights in the expanse be for separating the day and night...' God's command, in other words, assumes that the lights already exist in the expanse. To be sure, there has been no mention of these 'lights' earlier in Genesis 1, but their existence is assumed in the expression 'heavens and earth' in Gen 1:1
    . (131-132).

    Thus, on the fourth day God was not creating the sun and stars, but stating the purpose for which he had already created them "in the beginning"
    Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land



    You could have fooled me about God creating the 'luminaries' because what v 14 literally says is 'be luminaries'. To be, is to exist, so when God says 'be light' in Genesis 1:3 forgive everyone for thinking he was telling light to exist. And here in v. 14 when God says: 'be luminaries' one could certainly think he was creating the stars.



    But why, Sailhamer asks, did God wait until the fourth day to declare His purpose in making the celestial bodies? There are two reasons. First, Moses "is intent on showing that the whole world depends on the word of God. The world owes not merely its existence to the word of God, but also its order and purpose" (134). The second reason "lies in the overall structure of the creation account" (135). As we saw above, there is a "parallel relationship between the events of the first three days and the last three days" (135). Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land


    How exactly does waiting until the fourth day show that the whole world depends on God? This leaves me speechless. I can't even begin to imagine the chain of mislogic going into that. Maybe if God had waited until the 18th day it would have really shown the world that it depends on God! How about the 100th day? Sheesh

    For Sailhamer's next quote we need to quote Ex 20:11, which says: "For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day"


    Sailhammer p. 106 from
    " ...this passage in Exodus does not use the merism 'heavens and earth' to describe God's work of six days. Rather, it gives us a list of God's distinct works during the six days....That list refers to God's work in Genesis 1:2-2:4, not to His creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1. Exodus 20:11 does not say God created 'the heavens and earth' in six days; it says God made three things in six days-the sky, the land, and the seas-and then filled them during that same period (106). Matt Perman, Science, the Bible, and the Promised Land :An Analysis of John Sailhamer’s Genesis Unbound https://www.desiringgod.org/articles...-promised-land



    Wow, I thought that is exactly what Exodus 20:11 said, that God created the heavens and the earth in six days! funny how words change their meaning as I read them. Sadly, Sailhamer makes me think of a Thomas Huxley quote about theologians and their metaphorical interpretations of Genesis and how stupid they are:

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas H. Huxley, "Lectures on Evolution" in _Agnosticism and Christianity_, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992), p. 14
    "If we are to listen to many expositors of no mean authority, we must believe that what seems so clearly defined in Genesis__as if very great pains had been taken that there should be no possibility of mistake__is not the meaning of the text at all. The account is divided into periods that we may make just as long or as short as convenience requires. We are also to understand that it is consistent with the original text to believe that the most complex plants and animals may have been evolved by natural processes, lasting for millions of years, out of structureless rudiments. A person who is not a Hebrew scholar can only stand aside and admire the marvelous flexibility of a language which admits of such diverse interpretations. "


    .
    Last edited by grmorton; 06-08-2019 at 07:16 PM.

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    Evolution is God's ID rogue06's Avatar
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    I have no dog in this fight but it just seems more appropriate to critique what Sailhamer himself says rather than what Matt Perman thinks he said.

    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" -- starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    Rogue's comment is to the point. But whoever is being cited and argued against, he's saying that the Bible is right because it doesn't mean what it says.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogue06 View Post
    I have no dog in this fight but it just seems more appropriate to critique what Sailhamer himself says rather than what Matt Perman thinks he said.
    Agreed, but some of those are quotes and I was asked to read that link. I don't have time left in my life to waste it reading more metaphorical accounts of this or that; waste my money buying books I have no interest in because I can read a review and if it is only 80% correct, I know pretty much I would be disappointed.

    Every Tom, Dick and Mary has a metaphorical/nonliteral interpretation of genesis. They are a dime a dozen and worth every bit of that. Why? Each author says his metaphor is the correct one. You think it is a non-literal polemic, others have other non-literal views and there is no way to prove your view is correct vs the other claims that their view is correct. They can't all be correct at the same time: ONLY observational data can be used to distinguish between alternatives, and metaphorical/allegorical interpretations have no reality in them so they can't be distinguished. In some sense they are all true and all false.

    How do I determine if this guy below is correct given that the 'message' he derives is different from yours, and none of the sentences in Genesis 1 actually convey the information yall say the chapter has?


    the story’s real messages, which include: * There is only one God, and God is good; * God created the whole universe and everything in it, and saw that it was good; * God is compassionate and not only generous, but extravagant in his blessings (a point that is all too often lost in the Christian world’s preoccupation with sin). * Evil was not created by God, nor by any evil demigod. It came from man. http://www.leavingthepriesthood.com/...2013-03-15.pdf


    As St. Basil said: I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own ends. For me grass is grass; plant, fish, wild beast, domestic animal, I take all in the literal sense. 'For I am not ashamed of the Gospel' [Romans 1:16]
    This guy does exactly what Basil suggests non-literalists do:

    "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters. . .'" (Gen. 1:6) This states the coming forth of the power of affirmation (a-firmament). The affirming power within man is called faith. The firmament represents our affirmative faculty which works in the midst of all the possibilities and potentials within life ("separate the waters from the waters.") https://www.truthunity.net/books/usr...pretation-ot-1

    firmament in midst of waters = power of affirmation. Yep, my grad school logic professor would have loved that one. He would prove from that contradiction that the Pope was protestant--he did in our class several times. lol
    The guy doesn't even look up the Hebrew words

    "'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night. . .'" (Gen. 1:14) This states the coming forth of the faculties of will and understanding. "'Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth. . .'" (Gen. 1:20) This states the bringing forth of the process of thinking in general. Thoughts blend with other thoughts of their own "kind" or character and they tend to reproduce themselves. This is characteristic of the law of mind action, which decrees: LIKE ATTRACTS LIKE, LIKE BEGETS LIKE https://www.truthunity.net/books/usr...pretation-ot-1


    Wow, I thought it was about light, fish and birds, not thoughts. Tell, me Rogue, how would you differentiate what you do compared to what this guy does? Saying it is a Polemic against other religions is fine, but Genesis 1 never talks about other religions. I know, I know, some say the mention of the sun is against the sun bather's, er I mean sun worshippers, but the words say, And God made two great lights.

    Over the past few days I have been reviewing a book pre-submission, and it is on Genesis. This guy says that Genesis 1-11 isn't history but a polemic against Mesopotamian ideas of kingship and the palace economy of economic and cultural domination. Coulda fooled me and a whole lot of other people. lol

    When we come to chapter 2, the allegories flourish like, well, flowers in the Garden of Eden:
    I have categorized a list of interpretations, and named them. the list is taken from:

    John C. Munday, Jr., "Eden's Geography Erodes Flood Geology," Westminster Theological Journal, 58(1996), pp. 123-154,p.128-130

    OK, from an allegorical viewpoint the story has been interpreted in numerous contradictory ways. How can we tell which is correct? I think they are all wrong.

    1 “Tolkeinian” interp. Its a Middle Earth geography: Cassuto: “'The Garden of Eden according to the Torah was not situated in our world.'” This is the

    1a Skinner: “'it is obvious that a real locality answering the description of Eden exists and has existed nowhere on the face of the earth...(T)he whole representation (is) outside the sphere of real geographic knowledge. In (Genesis 2) 10-14, in short, we have...a semi-mythical geography.'”

    1b Ryle, “'The account...is irreconcilable with scientific geography.'”

    1c Radday: “Eden is nowhere because of its deliberately tongue-in-cheek fantastic geography. McKenzie asserted that 'the geography of Eden is altogether unreal; it is a Never-never land.'”

    1d Amit: the garden story to be literary utopianism, that the Garden was 'never-known,' with no real location.

    1e Burns': “the rivers were the entryway into the numinous “world.

    1f Wallace: who held that the inclusion of the Tigris and Euphrates indicated an 'earthly geographic situation,' but saw the Eden narrative as constructed from a garden dwelling-of-God motif (with rivers nourishing the earth) combined with a creation motif, both drawing richly from those motifs as found in Ancient Near East mythological literature.”


    2. Preaching: homiletic exposition built on primeval residue,

    3. sociologic: a late sociological commentary.

    4. utopian: It represents paradisal beatitude,' what an idyllic life is offered by obedience to the Torah and god

    5. archaeologic: It represents the transition from hunter-gatherering to farming.

    6. Mormonic: Man can become Gardner-Kingman is not a slave of the gods but has been made a king himself.

    7. Marxist It’s a political allegory dealing with the battles between the Judahite royalty and the peasant class, Marxist

    8. Hefnerian its a sexual allegory,

    9. fundamentalist: a polemic against Caananite religion,

    10. Gibbonian, power is fleeting: a parable of the deposition and deportation of a king to Mesopotamia (hence the inclusion of 2:10-14)

    11. Story of our Demotion: "Bledstein to perceive the Eden story as intended to reduce men 'from heroic, godlike beings to earthlings.' and to separate females from the extremes of goddess or 'slavish menials of men.' “

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    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    But whoever is being cited and argued against, he's saying that the Bible is right because it doesn't mean what it says.
    I really don't understand statement's like the above. It is illogical in the extreme. The Bible is right because it doesn't mean what it says.
    If I tell a teacher I deserve an A+ because I didn't mean what I wrote on the test paper, would you react that 'Its ok, I now understand. You didn't mean what you wrote so therefore, you get an A+"

    I have come to the conclusion that people who go off into the allegorical/metaphorical world can never be brought back to the place where words mean what they say. Only if words don't mean what they say is your statement even possibly correct.

    I spent years arguing against this kind of epistemological nonsense and what I learned, Tabibito, is that there is nothing I can say that will change your mind. I could buy Sailhamer's book, read it critique it and still you would pay no attention to my critique because we have fundamentally different views on WORDS. I think words mean what they are defined as. Yall don't. And such a disparity in base level assumption means there is no point to me taking any trouble to debate this with you. Words mean precisely what you say they do and nothing more and nothing less. But what you say they mean has nothing to do with the dictionary definition. Thus, I will leave you to your very flexible linguistic meanings.

    A total aside and change of topic. No one needs to respond to this part, cause I am not looking for sympathy--I am one of the least sympathetic people around. But I thought I would update my status. I am in the guinea pig stage of my cancer, bouncing from one drug trial to another. My number have taken off and don't look good, but I hesitate to believe how much time they say I have because I have outlived 3 of their prognostications of my death so far. My youngest son joked that he was going to stand up at my funeral and say, "Its about friggin time he died." I am a 99.99% outlier, so God has been very good to keep me around.


    I do want to say this, as I have had to think about my coming demise over the past 16 years (yea, 16), I have become more and more certain of the Christian faith. No, it isn't because of fear that this has happened to me, but it is really more and more anticipation of what comes after this life (no, I am no suicidal; I want to stick around as long as I can. I like this world too). But looking back at my life and my 12 year crisis of faith in the 1990s, and early 2000's, I now can see how God was taking care of me, even though I couldn't see it at the time. I want those who don't believe to know that I firmly believe that Jesus is the only path to salvation, and I can now see why I walked the path I did, marching to a very different drum than the majority of Christians. I have presented in the Days of Proclamation thread a concordistic account of Genesis one that doesn't violate science or make all the words mean something they don't mean. I don't know how long I have, I am relatively healthy except for 6 tumors and rising bad numbers, but whatever time I have will be spent doing what I want to do, not reading and critiquing books for other people who won't pay attention to it.


    I will disappear from Theologyweb again as I have better things to do with my remaining time than trying to convince the unconvincable. Take care.


    PS:. For Tabibito, the last 3 paragraphs were talking about fishing: that is true because the words don't mean what they say.


    Last edited by grmorton; 06-09-2019 at 12:55 PM.

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    tWebber tabibito's Avatar
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    The position being argued against is not the argument against that position.

    Or - If you are arguing against Sailhammer, you are on solid ground.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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    Quote Originally Posted by tabibito View Post
    The position being argued against is not the argument against that position.

    Or - If you are arguing against Sailhammer, you are on solid ground.
    To be honest, I'm confused about what grmorton is arguing. He just sort of jumps into all of this without any context.

  8. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    I only just now saw this thread, so, sorry for not replying sooner.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    If the universe had been made AND the sun and moon had been made before all this activity on the land of Canaan, and the Sun Revolved around the earth, it is never explained why the promised land was dark? He did claim that waters were on top of it, but that can't be true geologically speaking. The Levant is geologically part of Asia and it was above water since the Miocene times. Geologically having water over it makes no geological sense.
    Dr. Sailhamer suggests that the area of the Promised Land that would be Eden proper was uninhabitable, and covered with a thick atmosphere or fog, and on day one of preparing this area to be habitable, the sun rises and breaks through the fog. Though Dr. Sailhamer identifies Eden with the Promised Land, he doesn't specify if he has in mind the whole of the Promised Land (most of the Levant proper), or just the area where Adam and Eve will dwell.


    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    Then I looked up his claim about the same phrase "Let there be light" to see if that was true. It wasn't. Below I have used Logos software to see the words used, and I copied their Strong's number for each of the 4 verses he says are the 'same phrase' I was incredibly disappointed that he tried to say they were the same.

    Light, owr, comes in two forms, a verb H215, and a noun H216 Genesis 1:3 literally says 'become light' using the verb form. Exodus 10:23 says during the darkness over Egypt God made it light in the Hebrew's dwellings. There he used become light again. But no where does Exodus 10:23 say anything about morning H1242. The guy is just wrong

    Genesis 1:3 H1961 H216 become light--verb a miracle
    Genesis 44: 3 H1242 H215 morning light the men
    Exodus 10:23 H1961 H216 Become light in their dwellings A miracle
    Nehemiah 8:3 H4481 H216 from light to midday

    Sailhamer is the theologian and I am not, but even I can look up words in a Hebrew bible and see that they are not what he claims them to be. I am a scientist and he is not, and his science is atrocious.
    Would it be possible to simmer down on the rhetoric a bit? You seem unnecessarily critical, and honestly, I'm a bit taken aback. I thought sharing Dr. Sailhamer's perspective on this was something you'd have appreciated, but instead you almost seem offended. Dr. Sailhamer was a heavily respected Old Testament scholar. I find it hard to believe he'd have missed the semantic range of ’ōr. Anyhow, the references you point out do seem to support Dr. Sailhamer's view.

    Genesis 1:3 is the passage under discussion.

    Genesis 44:3 "As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys." That's certainly a reference to sunlight (and specifically sunrise).

    Exodus 10:23 is a reference to the fact that a heavy supernatural darkness fell on the Egyptians, but where the Israelites dwelled (some scholars suggest Goshen as the dwelling place rather than specifically within the houses that they dwelled), they could still see the sunlight. That sunlight is in mind here is supported by other Old Testament scholars like Douglas Stuart in his work, Exodus: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture,

    "Again Moses mentioned the contrast between the circumstances of the Egyptians and those of the Israelites, as expected in this third 'cycle' of plagues. Israel had day and night; Egypt, neither since the Egyptian darkness was not merely a night, which always contains some light, but a total darkness."

    And Joel D. Ruark in his thesis paper, The Theological Significance of Light (אור‬) in the Old Testament: An Applied Cognitive Linguistic Study,

    "2.2.3a. The Primitive Noun אוֹר. Even from the opening paragraphs of the OT, the immediate reference of the substantive noun אוֹר to the physical phenomenon of celestial light is unmistakable (Gen 1:3-5,18). In some cases the noun is specified as the light of all the heavenly bodies together (Ezek 32:8), the light of the sun and moon (Psa 136:7), moonlight (Isa 13:10, 30:26; Ezek 32:7), or starlight (Psa 148:3; Isa 13:10). However, most often the noun refers specifically to sunlight. This pattern continues throughout the OT, using various permutations of specific wording: as an indefinite noun, for all the people of Israel there was light in their dwellings (Exo 10:23; see also Isa 5:20, 18:4, 45:7, 60:19; Jer 13:16, 31:35, Hos 6:5; Amos 5:18,20; Hab 4:11; Zech 14:6; Psa 139:11; Job 3:9); as part of the construct phrase, the light of the morning (Judg 16:2; 1 Sam 14:36, 25:34-36; 2 Sam 17:22, 23:4; 2 Kin7:9; Mic 2:1); and as indicative of a particular point of time in the day, the light (Judg 19:26; Isa 59:9; Mic 7:8; Hab 3:4; Zeph 3:5; Job 12:22, 24:14; Neh 8:3). There are 44 attestations of the primitive noun that directly refer to the physical phenomenon of sunlight,8 equaling more than twice the number of total lexical attestations (including all three terms) for the next most common physical referent of fire."

    Sailhamer's view is also supported in 2nd Temple writings like the Book of Wisdom which suggests that outside of Egypt the rest of the world has normal natural light (Wisdom 17:20).

    Nehemiah 8:3 "He read it aloud from daybreak till noon...," Again there's really no issue here.

    Sailhamer's point is simply to rebut the common YEC claim that the light in Genesis 1:3 must have been some supernatural light, or the light of God's presence, rather than a celestial phenomenon (since in their view the sun and moon aren't created until the fourth day).


    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    If the land is the promised land, then all this was already done over the rest of the earth, why did this Promised land lag behind other lands? Is Sailhamer trying to say that there was a dark cloud over the Levant for billions of years? The fossil record would say definitely not given the fossils found in rocks from that area.
    I think you may be overthinking this. All that Dr. Sailhamer is attempting to show is that the Genesis narrative sees God personally preparing the Promised Land to be inhabited by his imagers, and why that's theologically significant. Dr. Sailhamer doesn't suggest any specific time frame that this occurs after the creation of the cosmos (although he suggest that the days in question are literal 24 hour cycles), nor does he specifically suggest that the entire Levant is in mind (it may be, I simply can't find that in his writings, though Sailhamer does parallel Eden with the Promised Land). He also doesn't say anything about a dark cloud floating over the Levant for billions of years. His point in Genesis Unbound is simply that God stepped in, at some point in the history of the earth, and on the second day of this point, he prepared in the sky the clouds. I think Dr. Sailhamer's main point in this part is to rebuff the claim that the raqia is a solid dome fixture (which is what some scholars suggest).


    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    The Biblical land did not rise out of the ocean separately from Turkey and Egypt. Geologic data clearly shows this. So when Sailhamer tries to limit this rise to just the promised land, it fails geologically
    Dr. Sailhamer goes into this a bit more thoroughly in Genesis Unbound,

    Source: Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer

    The narrative of the separation of the waters and the preparation of the land is to be read in light of the subsequent accounts of the flood (Genesis 6–9) and the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 14–15). In all three accounts, the waters are cast as an obstacle to man’s inhabiting and enjoying “the good land.” In each case, the water must be removed before God’s people can enjoy His gift of the land. But as we learn in the account of the flood and of the Red Sea, the waters were also God’s instrument of judgment upon those who did not walk in His way.

    The author of Genesis 1 was thus not merely recounting past events, he was also building a case for the importance of obeying God’s will. In his account of creation, the author begins with a simple picture of God’s mighty power at work, harnessing the great sea on behalf of man’s “good.” The later flood account is a bitter reminder of the other side of God’s power as the waters become an instrument of judgment.

    To appropriately understand this narrative from the author’s point of view, we should not think of the “oceans” when we read that God named the “pools of water” the “seas” in Genesis 1:10. In Hebrew, any “pool” of water—regardless of the size—is called a “sea.”1

    The passage itself makes it clear that we shouldn’t have oceans in mind when it describes the waters being gathered together “into one place.” The waters didn’t gather into “many places,” but only “one place.” The text is very precise here. It clearly views the “pools of water” as those “seas” which cover the promised land even today, namely the “sea” of Galilee, the dead “sea,” and the great “sea” to the west, the Mediterranean Sea. In Hebrew, each of these “pools of water” is called a “sea.” In the biblical writer’s understanding of the waters which fill those “seas,” they were all gathered together in “one place”—that is, in (and alongside of ) the promised land.

    © Copyright Original Source



    I'm not sure if that's helpful to you or not, or if just muddies the waters more, but (and this is just me personally, Dr. Sailhamer doesn't suggest this) it's not inconceivable to me that the waters at this point in this narrative are flood waters that have receded back into the sea.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    This gets ridiculous because we are supposed to believe that all the action from Genesis 1:2 to the end of the chapter was referring to JUST the promised land, and now, since he can't find a way to make the sun moon and stars just apply to the Promised land, he changes the standard and says God gave the sun significance. Good grief. The sun's significance was that it had given life giving rays to the rest of the world for billions of years and we are to believe this statement is the only reason the sun has significance? Bad So this is a superfluous fluff that couldn't be tied to any physical event so it is a declaration of purpose.
    I don't think it's really that ridiculous. Dr. Sailhamer explains his rationale here,

    Source: Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer

    ...On the fourth day God speaks, but He does not “make” anything. On this day God “makes a proclamation” about that which He has already created (the sun, moon, and stars). Certainly it is true that the sun, moon, and stars were already marking the day and night. Potentially, at least, they were fit to mark the seasons, days, and years. But just as the significance of the rainbow was given long after it had been created (Genesis 9:13), so also God announced His purpose for creating the sun, moon, and stars, on the fourth day—long after they had been created.

    So if one asks, “Did God do anything on the fourth day?” the answer from the text itself is yes. Just as He did on every other day, God “spoke” on the fourth day. The writer is intent on showing that the whole world depends on the word of God. The world owes not merely its existence to the word of God, but also its order and purpose. It is thus no small matter when the biblical writer shows us that on the fourth day God proclaimed His plan and purpose for creating the celestial bodies. He created them to serve humanity in the day when they began to dwell in God’s land.

    The structure of verses 15 and 16 also suggests the writer’s emphasis on the word of God. At the end of verse 15, the author places one of his concluding statements—“and it was so.” As was true in verses 6 and 7, this expression marks the end of the author’s narrative of past events and the beginning of his “comment” on those events. Thus, verse 16 is not an account of God’s actions on the fourth day. Rather, it is a comment on what God said on that day. The remark is directed to the reader, drawing out the significance of what was previously reported.

    The author’s comment in Genesis 1:16 explains, first, that God alone created the sun, moon, and stars. This verse looks back to God’s creating “the universe” in Genesis 1:1. Verse 16 could be translated, “So God (and not anyone else) made the lights and put them in the sky.” This does not say when God created “the lights,” but given the overall meaning of Genesis 1:1, it is naturally assumed that they were created “in the beginning.” Behind this narrative there is a deep concern to emphasize that God alone created the lights of the heavens and no one else is to be given the glory and honor due to Him. The author’s comment in Genesis 1:16 also states why God created the lights in the heavens. The purpose was to divide day and night and to mark the “seasons, days, and years.” Both of these concerns form the central focus of chapter 1: God alone is the Creator of all things and worthy of the worship of His people.

    The fact that God announced the purpose for the lights on the fourth day does not mean they had not already been performing that purpose since “the beginning.” The point of the narrative is to show that God waited until the fourth day to explain His purpose for creating the sun, moon, and stars in “the beginning.”

    Why did God wait until the fourth day to announce the purpose of the sun, moon, and stars? The answer lies in the overall structure of the creation account. The parallel relationship between the events of the first three days and the last three days has long been recognized. On the first three days, God’s activity focused consecutively on the sky, the seas, and the land. On the last three days, God’s activities again focused on those three realms. On the fourth day, God commanded the sun, moon, and stars to distinguish day and night and all the signs and seasons (1:14–15). On the fifth day, God commanded the seas to swarm with fish and sea creatures, and on the sixth day, He commanded the land to bring forth animal life.

    Having prepared, in consecutive order, the skies, the seas, and the land on the first three days, God, on the last three days, proclaimed the purpose for those things which were to fill the skies, the seas, and the land. God waited, therefore, until the fourth day to make known His plan for the signs that were to fill the skies.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    You could have fooled me about God creating the 'luminaries' because what v 14 literally says is 'be luminaries'. To be, is to exist, so when God says 'be light' in Genesis 1:3 forgive everyone for thinking he was telling light to exist. And here in v. 14 when God says: 'be luminaries' one could certainly think he was creating the stars.
    I don't know what to tell you here. It sounds like you're attempting to read into the Hebrew the plain English meaning, but there's nothing directly in the passage that presupposes that a creative act is being done. The Hebrew word bara "to create" is simply not used in these passages.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    How exactly does waiting until the fourth day show that the whole world depends on God? This leaves me speechless. I can't even begin to imagine the chain of mislogic going into that. Maybe if God had waited until the 18th day it would have really shown the world that it depends on God! How about the 100th day? Sheesh
    Again, I'm not really sure I get the exasperation here, but hopefully the above citation helped a bit. It makes sense to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    Wow, I thought that is exactly what Exodus 20:11 said, that God created the heavens and the earth in six days! funny how words change their meaning as I read them. Sadly, Sailhamer makes me think of a Thomas Huxley quote about theologians and their metaphorical interpretations of Genesis and how stupid they are:
    Again, I'm really quite confused by your approach to all of this. Had I any idea this was going to ruffle your feathers so much, I wouldn't have bothered sharing. I sincerely thought that this would help you in your quest in finding ways to synthesize scripture with scientific findings, and again, I'm taken aback that you seem so offended, and, well, angry about all of this. Very bizarre. Totally not the reaction I was expecting. Maybe I just hadn't read enough of your posts to know what to expect.

    At this point it appears I'm only spinning my wheels, but again from Genesis Unbound,

    Source: Genesis Unbound by John Sailhamer

    The mention of God’s “making” (asah) the “heavens and earth” in six days (Exodus 20:11) may suggest to some readers that the Exodus passage understands Genesis 1 to say that God “created the universe” in six days. If so, wouldn’t that contradict what I have said about the meaning of Genesis 1:2–2:4?

    The answer to that question lies in the distinction between what Exodus 20:11 appears to say and what it actually says. Exodus 20:11 does not say God “made the heavens and earth” in six days. It says, rather, that God “made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” in six days.

    In other words, this passage in Exodus does not use the merism “heavens and earth” to describe God’s work of six days. Rather, it gives us a list of God’s distinct works during the six days. According to that list, God made “the heavens, and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” in six days. That list refers to God’s work in Genesis 1:2–2:4, not to His creation of the universe in Genesis 1:1. Exodus 20:11 does not say God created “the heavens and earth” in six days; it says God made three things in six days—the sky, the land, and the seas—and then filled them during that same period.

    It is important to note that in Genesis 1:2–2:4 we are told specifically that God made just these three things. First God “made” the “expanse” and called it the “sky” (Genesis 1:6–8). He then caused the dry land to appear and called it the “land” (Genesis 1:9–10). At that time also He made the “pools of water” in the land and called them “seas.” That was during the first three days. In the remainder of the six days of that week, God filled the sky, land, and seas with life.

    Exodus 20:11 is thus not speaking of Genesis 1:1, where God “created” the universe, but Genesis 1:2–2:4, where God “made” the sky, land, and seas, and then filled them. By the same token, later references to these events in the Pentateuch (for example, Exodus 31:17) are most likely to be understood as abbreviated forms of this same expression. Hence, like Exodus 20:11, they are not speaking of Genesis 1:1, but of Genesis 1:2–2:4b.

    This brings up another question. Why does God have to “make” the sky, land, and seas during the following week if He has already created them “in the beginning”?

    We must be careful to observe how the biblical writer uses such terms as “to make” and “to create.” In Genesis 1:1, the writer tells us God “created” the universe. In Exodus 20:11, the same writer tells us that God “made” the sky, land, and seas. Surely when God “created” the universe, it included the sky, land, and seas. Certainly there was a physical sky over the land. On the second day when God separated the waters which covered the land, He did not “create” the sky and land. They were already there.

    When the text says that on the second day God “made” the sky and the land, it means the same as the English expression “to make” a bed. Elsewhere in the Bible the same Hebrew word is used to describe cutting one’s fingernails (Deuteronomy 21:12), washing one’s feet (2 Samuel 19:25), and trimming one’s beard (2 Samuel 19:24). The same word also means “to appoint” and “to acquire.” The word means to put something in good order, to make it right. When the land was covered with water, it was not yet right (or fit) for human beings. God commanded the waters to recede from the land so that it would be a dry place for human habitation. It was in that sense that God “made” the land and the sky on the second day.

    A parallel to this idea appears at the conclusion of the flood account in Genesis 9. There we are told that God put a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of His covenant promise to Noah (Genesis 9:13, 16). That does not imply there had never been a rainbow before that time; the rainbow, a result of the nature of light created “in the beginning,” had always been in the clouds. The writer tells us in Genesis 9:13 that, from that point on, rainbows were to be God’s reminder of His promise.

    In the same way, ever since “the beginning,” there had been a sky and a land. When God “fixed” the sky and land on the second and third day of the week in Genesis 1:2–2:2a, He did so in behalf of the man and woman He was about to create on the sixth day.

    © Copyright Original Source



    I don't know if I'll bother replying to your other post. It doesn't sound like you're much interested in Sailhamer's take. I'm sorry I mentioned it. :s
    Last edited by Adrift; 06-10-2019 at 12:57 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grmorton View Post
    I don't have time left in my life to waste it reading more metaphorical accounts of this or that; waste my money buying books I have no interest in because I can read a review and if it is only 80% correct, I know pretty much I would be disappointed.
    I'm sorry I wasted your precious time. That wasn't my intention. I thought since you were posting on this forum you were interested in sharing ideas. I see that you're not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraceth View Post
    To be honest, I'm confused about what grmorton is arguing. He just sort of jumps into all of this without any context.
    I must admit to some confusion myself.
    και εκζητησατε με και ευρησετε με οτι ζητησετε με εν ολη καρδία υμων

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