Reggie - - Now we know why Genesis has Birds Created along with the Fish

@Reggie_O_Donoghue

I’m sure you remember the mysterious references to the birds being made on the same day as the fishes, yes?

Genesis 1:19-22
And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly
the moving creature that hath life,
and fowl that may fly above the earth
along the open firmament of heaven.

And God created great whales, and every living creature
that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly,
after their kind, and every winged fowl…

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply,
and fill the waters in the seas,
and let fowl multiply in the land…

The answer to this question is found earlier, in Genesis 1:6-10:

image

As you will recall, we have the Waters of chaos… and then we have
a “firmament in the midst of the waters”, to “divide the waters from
the waters.”

And the waters below Heaven were gathered together to let the
land appear… and they were called the seas.

But when it comes time for the Waters to be fruitful … the Genesis
scribe believes this is true of both the lower and the upper waters!

Fish in the Seas… and Birds from the upper waters!

Of course, not everyone agrees with this position, but nobody has
come up with a better answer either …

So birds live in the upper waters?

The confusion starts in 1:5 where God separates the waters from the waters. What criteria do each of these “waters” have that allow them to be separated and is this really H2O?

It helps to go outside the Bible to gain perspective. The enlightened Greek founders of science and philosophy saw Poseidon as the ruler of the bitter sea.


Decedents of these enlightened Greeks were the first Christian communities listed in the Bible - Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, etc. They understood the symbolism in Genesis. The “bitter sea” are the ‘waters’ below the firmament, and these ‘waters’ are the countless fallen souls that Poseidon (Satan) rules over. The beginning of the Bible is the beginning of the restoration of the fallen, starting with the story of how God separated the ‘bitter waters’ from the ‘divine waters’ and created a place for them to start their reconciliation with Him.

Well I suppose that if He divided the waters above from the waters below there would have been something in between; atmosphere. Then He caused dry land to appear in the waters below. So the fish (including whales) would have been in the sea and the birds (including bats) would have been in the atmosphere.

The Creation account is highly condensed and omits much detail that we 21st Century humans would like to see.

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I don’t quite follow this since It would have been Hades who ruled over the dead. Poseidon was god of the Sea and other waters; of earthquakes; and of horses; nothing to do with fallen souls.

(Why horses?)

The enlightened Greeks described multiple gods referring to the same being, but displaying different aspects of their character. For example, they describe Eros, Logos and Sophia as seemingly distinct personalities, yet they all refer to the King of Heaven, the Love, the Word and the Wisdom of God.

In the case of Satan, he has thousands of names throughout history. The enlightened Greeks various depictions of his character. The Poseidon persona is as describe above. You see they depicted him with a fish at his feet, representing the fish that Jonah spent three days in. Hades is both the place called Hell and the ruler of it. Hercules is another depiction of Satan exposing his duplicity. Hercules is shown disguised in the skin of a lion, the symbol of the first house of Heaven.

The other members of Greek society did not share these enlightened insights, so it is very hard to look back over 2,500 years and say “the Greeks believed xyz.” The Symposium describes this dilemma quite well.

Doesn’t work. The firmament referred to a solid dome above the atmosphere on which the moved the moon, sun, planets, and stars. Thus nobody could make the mistake of thinking that birds fly in waters above the firmament.

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@Reggie_O_Donoghue,

No… the idea is that the creative aspect of waters is what creates birds. Then they come down to Earth.

@mitchellmckain

If you study the Enochian writings, it is pretty clear that the firmament is a barrier that holds back waters… but waters is where birds are created. Since stars are windows in the firmament, we might presume that birds are let down to the Earth below through these windows.

Nice treatment, @aarceng

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Sure they have. It is called science. There is no firmament and no waters above it. And birds did not come from outer space. Pushing this kind of nonsense gives atheists all the ammunition for identifying religion with antiquated inferior obsolete failed science.

@mitchellmckain

Well, of course.

But I’m a Unitarian Universalist … and I have come to expect all sorts of erroneous ideas in ancient writings about gods and humans… haven’t you come to expect it as well?

[1] Philistines cavorting with Abraham 800 years before they even exist on the Levantine coast?

[2] The Simeonites, one of the 10 tribes of the Northern Kingdom … living SOUTH of Judah?

[4] The unwillingness to accept Exodus as occurring around (or after) the consolidation of the Sea People in Canaan (namely, the Pelest) by 1130 BCE - - even though there would have been no place for the fleeing Egyptians to find refuge in all of Canaan if Egypt was still maintaining their northern frontier in the northern latitudes of Syria?

[5] The knowledge of “kanebesem” (prepared and used by Indo-Euro Scythians) revealed in the book of Exodus?

[6] The Book of Esther, the conflicting Jewish version of Herodotus’ “Slaughter of the Magi” (details at bottom).

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
Background on the Slaughter of the Magi & Zoroastrian feast of Frawardīgān:

“Because of the general secular character of the story, there was some hesitation in Jewish and Christian circles about introducing it into the canon of the Holy Scriptures.”

“The feast which the book was written to explain, Purim (still celebrated among Jews on the 14th and 15th of Adar), is based on a presumed slaughter of large numbers of Persians. This has been compared to the feast of magophonia , the killing of the magi, recounted in Herodotus 3.68-79 (cf. Henning). Some scholars have sought to establish a connection between the name of Purim and the Zoroastrian feast of frawardīgān, dedicated to the souls of the departed, but this again is a moot question.”

Bibliography :

E. J. Bickerman, Four Strange Books of the Bible , New York, 1967, pp. 211-18.

J. Duchesne-Guillemin, “Les noms des eunuques d’Assuérus,” Le Muséon 46, 1953, pp. 105-8.

P. de Legarde, Purim: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Religion , Göttingen, 1887.

H. S. Gehman, “Notes on the Persian Words in the Book of Esther,” Journal of Biblical Literature 43, 1924, pp. 321-28.

W. B. Henning, “The Murder of the Magi,” JRAS , 1944, pp. 133-44.

A. Hintze, “The Greek and Hebrew Versions of the Book of Esther and Its Iranian Background,” in S. Shaked and A. Netzer, eds., Irano-Judaica III, Jerusalem, 1994, pp. 34-39.

J. T. Milik, “Les modeles araméens du livre d’Esther dans la grotte 4 de Qumran,” Revue de Qumran 59, 1992, pp. 321-99.

A. R. Millard, “The Persian Names in Esther and the Reliability of the Hebrew Text,” Journal of Biblical Literature 96, 1977, pp. 481-88.

C. A. Moore, Esther: Introduction, Translation and Notes , Garden City, N. Y., 1971.

Idem, “Archaeology and the Book of Esther,” Biblical Archaeologist 38, 1975, pp. 62-79.

T. Nöldeke, “Esther,” in Encyclopaedia Biblica, London, 1899-1900, pp. 1400-1407.

L. B. Paton, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Esther , Edinburgh, 1908, pp. 64-77.

I. Scheftelowitz, Arisches im Alten Testament: Eine sprachwissenschaftiliche und kulturhistorische Untersuchung I-II, Berlin 1901-3.

S. Shaked, “Two Judaeo-Iranian Contributions,” in S. Shaked, ed., Irano-Judaica , Jerusalem, 1982, pp. 292-322.

Idem, “Qumran: Some Iranian Connections,” in Z. Zevit, M. Sokoloff, and S. Gitin, eds., Solving Riddles and Untying Knots: Biblical, Epigraphic, and Semitic Studies in Honor of Jonas C. Greenfield , Winona Lake, Ind., 1995, pp. 265-69.

R. Stiehl, “Das Buch Esther,” Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 53, 1956, pp. 4-22.

R. Zadok, “On Five Iranian Names in the Old Testament,” Vetus Testamentum 26, 1976, pp. 246-47.

Idem, “On the Historical Background of the Book of Esther,” Biblische Notizen 24, 1984, pp. 18-23.

Idem, “Notes on Esther,” Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 98, 1986, pp. 105-10.

(Shaul Shaked)

Originally Published: December 15, 1998

Last Updated: January 19, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. VIII, Fasc. 6, pp. 655-657

Cite this entry:

Shaul Shaked, “ESTHER, BOOK OF,” Encyclopaedia Iranica , VIII/6, pp. 655-657, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/esther-book-of
(accessed on 30 December 2012).

If you study the Pratchett writings, it is pretty clear that the water simply flows off the edge of the world for the elephants and turtle to drink and bathe.

I guess John Dee was an interesting character and the people of the time were pretty desperate for entertainment of any kind.

@mitchellmckain

We do understand each other, yes?

I am not saying that any of this is literally true. I am saying this was as close an approximation that the Genesis scribe could come up with.

And in Genesis 32, the scribe takes a story about the Solar God… and turns it into a story that makes the Solar God a manifestation of Yahweh…

Jacob Wrestles With God
Genesis 32:22-31
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok.
After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.
When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.

[Verse 26: God announces the impending sunrise!]
Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.
Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God …and have overcome.”
Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.” But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

[Verse 30: Jacob, now Israel, acknowledges God]
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

[Verse 31: God rises over Israel]
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip.

I wouldn’t presume quite so much. That is always an ongoing process.

I am a Trinitarian Non-universalist… and science is part of the way I see the world and thus part of the filter through which I read the Bible. I certainly see the Bible as filled with lots of metaphor and written before the modern specialization in to the activities of history, law, philosophy, science, and entertainment, so it does all of these combined at times. And I certainly think it is foolish to think the Bible is the source of all truth about anything.

No I don’t think snakes and mules actually talked except perhaps in people’s heads. No I don’t believe in golems of dust and bone or magical fruit. No I don’t think the sun actually stopped in the sky. No I don’t think there was a world wide flood. And I very much doubt that anybody was swallowed by a whale or big fish for any great deal of time and lived to tell about it. But no I don’t see any of that as reason to dismiss the entirety of the Bible as nothing but nonsense.

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I think he means the Book of Enoch. BTW, he doesn’t believe it literally.

Ah, I see, this is an answer to the point I made about the parallelism proving birds fly in the upper waters. I still think my original argument has value, since many scholars point out that days 4-6 are filling the realms created on days 1-3. Based on this parallelism, birds either dwell in the waters above or the expanse itself.

There is also the issue that the expanse fits the role of air in Ancient Near Eastern cosmogonies, as that which separates the heavens from the earth. The splitting of the Tehom is clearly the Hebrew modification of the Babylonian splitting of Tiamat, where one half became the heavens, the other half the earth.

Finally, here is what one Egyptologist (Joyce Tydesley) says regarding Egyptian cosmology:

Nut, Geb’s sister-wife, is both a woman and the celestial cow or sow who arches herself above the earth with her feet and hands, so forming the firmament that separates the world from the waters of chaos and the darkness of the undefined place. She is a boundary or edge rather than a solid barrier , so that the sun is able to sail along her watery body during the daylight hours. She may even be the milky way.

The splitting of Tiamat is the actual splitting of earth when the moon was formed. This happened in the Flood. There is no “history” of human life before the Flood. The seperation of water cannot be found in the Enuma Elish. The only reference is that the gods came out of the abyss of “galactic” water. These gods were destroyed when Tiamet was split. This lone “god” replenished life on earth both human and non-human. He was then ruler of all the earth. The Enuma Elish is a worship song to this “god” who changed the earth and helped humanity in the new earth.

Genesis does not record the Flood as satan and the planet he and his fellow beings were on, which crashed into the earth causing the (waters above) to Flood out humanity. Would that be a better scientific explanation? God says that Noah obeyed and saved the genetic seed of Adam and the sons of god, along with a majority of animal life to repopulate the earth. The fall of Satan was a solar event of two planets crashing into each other and Satan was given the spiritual control over the earth.

I am not sure how anyone can say before this event there was a solid dome around the earth. Nor would any after the event know what it would have looked like, because the original form of the earth was totally changed after this event.

Now we say the event had to have happened over 3 billion years ago, and it will be 3 billion years till the next event like that.

Do we not think that Satan could have come up with stories from before the Flood as well?

@mitchellmckain,

There are lots of the Bible that I find admirable and true. But not because the Bible writes it.

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