Today, we’re going to be looking at what’s called the Primeval period as we continue going through John Loftus’s book “Why I Rejected Christianity?” This is one of the most questioned parts of the Bible and Ravi Zacharias has said that when dealing with young skeptics, it often boils down to these chapters.
Now some of this has been covered so I’d like to look at the points he raises about scientific problems.
The first is that death is described in science as something natural to plants, animals, and human beings. It was not the result of a particular act.
Actually, I agree. I don’t think physical death was introduced in the fall of man. I think spiritual death was. I believe death was going on in Eden and before Eden.
Next are mythical elements like the serpent talking, the long lives of the patriarchs, and the tree that can give eternal life. Unfortunately, this is all just question-begging. As for the long lives, there is attestation that Sumerian rulers had reigns that supposedly lasted an extremely long time. The others aren’t a problem for people who believe in the supernatural.
Next is the disturbing idea that brothers married sisters to produce children. Yeah. That happened at the beginning because there wasn’t much other choice for a mate. Now that proves what exactly?
The next is that the origin of the races is not explained in Genesis. I simply have one question. Why should it be?
The next two deal with objections to a global flood. As I believe in a local flood, I see no reason to answer such.
Next comes the tower of Babel. The point here is that it depends on when the Tower of Babel is dated to. I date the flood to be extremely late.
The next is the passage about angels cohabiting with angels to produce children is rejected if that is meant. I agree, hence, I do not interpret it that way.
And finally, of course, the age of the Earth being different, but seeing as leading Hebrew exegetes interpret the text in an OEC manner, I have no problem.
After this, there are various views given. I have given mine and it is the one I am standing by so let us move on to other points.
The complaining about Cain is the same as always. “The writer should have said brothers and sisters instead of anyone.” Apparently, the modern worldview thinks the ancient worldview just isn’t smart enough to fill in the blanks. Also, there’s complaining about Cain building a city instead of a house. Well why not? He didn’t want to live in isolation and if men were living a long time, might as well build an extensive project since you’ll be living in exile with your family.
I see nothing in here to make me doubt the historicity of the account.
On to the flood….
Of course, I’ll only be dealing with new stuff. First is the claim that the accounts contradict in having things repeated twice. Actually, this is common in Hebrew writings and the flood account is a chiastic account as well. As for the animals, there were 7 pairs of clean and just one pair of unclean. I don’t see the contradiction Loftus is speaking of.
Lastly though is the comparison to Gilgamesh. Let’s note some things. The ark in the biblical account could actually float. The ark in Gilgamesh could not. In the Genesis account, the period of flooding and receding is quite reasonable. In Gilgamesh, the world is flooded in six days and the water recedes in one. The story of Gilgamesh ends with the hero getting immortality. In Noah, the hero gets drunk and shamed.
Criterion of embarrassment is quite important.
Tomorrow, we start covering the superstitious world of the Bible. This one could require multiple parts.