The Genesis Gap Theory and dinosaurs

And tails. It does make you wonder what people whose home was desert thought about hippos and whales. They probably had heard of them from travelers, but no doubt their impressions were distorted and exaggerated. Much like giant squids are imagined as sinking submarines and such. Release the Kraken!

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Especially hippos taller than the largest horses (the extinct giant hippo).

I keep trying to picture a hippo as large as an elephant (though with its regular short legs) and the comparison that keeps popping into my mind is a diesel locomotive.

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These Youtube videos by Ben Stanhope were interesting and sounded credible. They made me buy his book ‘(Mis)interpreting Genesis …’. I am waiting to see what else is revealed in the book.

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I saw an ancient Persian depiction of a dolphin. It looked like a dolphin, but it had scales.

Things aren’t always depicted correctly by those far away in time or distance.

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Greg, since Genesis has two creation stories that differ in the order and method of creation, it is easy to see that the scriptures don’t give us a blow-by-blow account,

The creation stories cannot be actual history, since the two stories are incompatible as actual history.

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I thought his reference to the book of Enoch, with respect to the nephelim was enjoyable as well. It really paints the conquests of the old testament in a different light. And his video on the solid sky dome of Biblical cosmology is exceptional. Right up there with Paul Seely’s article, The Firmament and the Waters Above.

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This is not actually true. There have been people who treat them as history with a very obvious explanation: the first account is the creation of the entire world, the second is about the creation of a specific pair for a specific place with its own purpose. One motivation for this has been to explain where Cain’s wife came from – she was a descendant of humans created in the first account.

Of course that ignores the fact that neither account was written as history, but they can be treated as history without conflict so long as they are considered different stories about different sets of events.

We disagree, as that attempt at reconciliation is incompatible with the text.

Those people who adhere to that view have Adam and Eve created on Day 6 or later, yet the second creation story says man was formed before any plants had sprung up (which happened on Day 3 in the first creation story).

Definitely! It’s worth linking:

The incompatibility only arises if the assumption is that they are the same story. If they aren’t the same story, then “the land/ground” in the second one is not necessarily the same as in the first one, but is a smaller area where God was putting a Garden. If the assumption is made that Adam and Eve are the only humans, the ones mentioned in day six, of course there’s a conflict; or if the days are assumed to be literal 24-hour periods.

We still disagree, as the text of the second creation story says:

“…when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground;
but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground—
then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being.”

Man was formed when no vegetation was yet in the earth. This does not say there was a garden devoid of plants, rather that no plants had sprung up.

And the text says man was alone, so God formed the animals.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.”
So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.”

Every animal and every bird was formed after man in the second creation story, not just that these creatures were missing from a garden but extant elsewhere.

So the attempt at reconciliation requires a denial of the text.

The book is interesting and contains much that I had not read elsewhere. Probably much of the info is familiar for the experts but I have not read recent academic literature about ANE cultures and languages. As a book, it is more like a collection of connected short articles about a topic than a literary masterpiece but the interesting content keeps the readers attention well. Claims are supported with references and the bibliography is long, almost 26 pages (in the Kindle version). Impressive knowledge.

The topics include

  • proposed claims of extinct animals in the Bible (Leviathan, Behemot, King James’ unicorns, Isaiah’s flying serpents)
  • reading Genesis like an ancient Israelite:
    - how to read Genesis 1:1-3 (the key novelty for me in this chapter was that verses 1:1-3 seem to form a single sentence, a complex one but the structure is very much like that in the other creation stories from ANE. It seems that there is a relatively wide agreement about this among the academic experts. This way of reading undermines the Genesis gap theory - no gap at all in the text).
    - ancient cosmology
    - ancient conception of Earth
    - Eden
    - the meaning of the seven days of creation
    - the numerological lifespan of the patriarchs
    - animal death before the fall
  • a path forward (notes and advices for interpretation - I have not read these yet)

I can recommend the book if the topics are interesting enough.

1:1-2 at least is one sentence, so there’s really no room for a gap anyway. I can see how 1:3 could be part of the same sentence; then the first verse becomes a temporal introduction (“when”) and the second presents conditions pertaining to that “when”, with the third being the actual statement. We westerners like to chop clauses apart when they can seemingly stand on their own, but that’s a manifestation of a mindset that Hebrew lacks.
In this context then עַל־פְּנֵ֣י (al-p’nay), “the face (of)” isn’t referring to a physical surface but is relational, very much like the πρὸς (pross) of John 1; it gets translated “with” but is really “towards” and indicates relation such that some have rendered it “face to face with”. Thus the Spirit of God is presented as being related to the chaos waters/darkness by contemplating it (and when the Spirit gazes into the deep, does the deep gaze back?), a contemplation that leads to a command to light to come into existence.
So as I pointed out to someone here recently the first place there is any ‘room’ for a gap is between verses 5 and 6 since the days are presented as sequential but not necessarily consecutive.

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