reation of Adam and deluge

A Blessed Event - A Doomed People. Questioning the Creation of the World: Part II

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The famously disastrous Genesis flood was merely a local flood, argue critics of the literal interpretation of the Bible. Fundamentalists contest that the flood was indeed global. What is the truth of the flood stories? Could ancient sources have been misinterpreted?

If one interprets the word raqiya to mean a terrestrial expanse of land rather than a celestial structure, Genesis 1:7 reads as follows: “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse [of land, namely the Caribbean archipelago raised entirely above sea level] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters [Atlantic Ocean’s waters] from the waters [Caribbean Sea’s waters]” (ESV). Then, in Genesis 1:8, God called the expanse Heaven, and in in Genesis 1:9, God said “Let the waters under the heavens [the expanse of land] be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”This passage in Genesis parallels how the Caribbean Sea would have evaporated away were it to have become isolated and landlocked - the seawater under the expanse would have indeed gathered into the lowest reaches of the Caribbean Basin, and dry land would have appeared in its place, just as the Bible says.

[Read Part I here]

A Whole New World

Later on, God calls the dry land Earth, and says, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” This passage has hitherto been interpreted as the ex nihilo creation of seeds, fruits, and vegetation for the first time, but seen from the new perspective of a seabed of a landlocked sea transforming into a dry and habitable land as the sea evaporates away, it can be reinterpreted as the colonization of a newly formed land by already existing flora. The same argument applies to the “creation” of animals, birds, fish, and humans. The Genesis creation story isn’t referring to their creation in a literal sense from inanimate matter, but rather their mass migration to this newly formed land that was initially lifeless, having a short time ago been seafloor.

Landscape with Noah's Thank Offering (painting circa 1803 by Joseph Anton Koch)

Landscape with Noah's Thank Offering (painting circa 1803 by Joseph Anton Koch) ( Public Domain )

Darkness is Met with Light

The very beginning of Genesis is also consistent with the notion that the creation story refers to the transformation of a sea into a dry and habitable basin. In the beginning, there was no day and night, but perpetual darkness, as described by Genesis 1:2: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep” (ESV). Indeed, before the sea had become landlocked and evaporated away, the land that would later become dry and habitable would have still been at the bottom of a sea under perpetual darkness.

And once the sea had evaporated away, a land previously subject to continuous darkness would have “seen light” for the first time, and Genesis 1:3 says as much: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. And God saw that light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” Seen in this light, the “creation” of light is not referring to the creation of light as an entity in and of itself for the first time, as has been the traditional interpretation, but rather to the beginning of the day-night cycle for that specific part of the earth that transformed from a seabed to a dry and habitable land.

Local Creation

The advantages of interpreting the creation myth as being “local” in nature, and concerned solely with the transformation of a specific part of the Earth’s surface from seafloor to dry land below sea level are many. First, the Flood no longer requires a deus ex machina , or the intervention of a Supreme Deity. A dry, below-sea-level basin is inherently an unstable geological structure and can be only maintained by the continued existence of the “firmament”; that is, the lands above sea level surrounding the basin that prevent the waters from pouring into the basin.

Thomas Cole – The Subsiding of the Waters of the Deluge – 1829

Thomas Cole – The Subsiding of the Waters of the Deluge – 1829 ( Public Domain )



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