Wednesday, February 21, 2018

10 Ways the Creation Museum Misinterprets the Bible

I've got a new video up:


1] Ken Ham, “What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs,” in The New Answers Book 1: Over 25 Questions on Creation/Evolution and the Bible, ed. Ken Ham (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2006), 159.

2] See Philippe Provençal, “Regarding the Noun שרף in the Hebrew Bible,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 29.3 (2005), 372.

3] David Bernat, “Biblical Wafs Beyond Song of Songs” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 28 (2008), 335.

4] John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), 103; Nili Wazana, “Anzu and Ziz: Great Mythical Birds in the Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Rabbinic Traditions,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 31.1 (2009), 112.

5] B. F. Batto, “Behemoth” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible (DDD) ed. K. van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter Willem van der Horst (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 165.

6] Robert D. Holmstedt, “The Relative Clause in Biblical Hebrew: A Linguistic Analysis,” (PhD diss, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002), 124. These conclusions were later reported in Robert D. Holmstedt, “The Restrictive Syntax of Genesis i 1,” Vetus Testamentum 58 (2008), 56-67.

7] John Hobbins, Trans., “Genesis 1:1-3: How it all Began,” Ancient Hebrew Poetry, Apr, 2008. Accessed May 8, 2017,

8] W. G. Lambert, A. R. Millard, and Miguel Civil, eds., Atra-Hasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1999), 43.

9] For example, see Hermann Gunkel, Genesis, trans. Mark E. Biddle. Mercer Library of Biblical Studies (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1997), 1. Claus Westermann writes, “’When this and this was not yet…then…’, and its formula is found in Gen 2:4bff., it forms the introduction of the Enuma elish epic, and occurs often in Sumerian and Egyptian.” Genesis 1-11: A Commentary, trans. John J. Scullion S.J. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing, 1984), 93. In a more recent doctoral thesis, Vail writes of the relative clause: “Genesis 1:1-2 shows parallels to Enuma elish. The two texts have similar introductory statements…Second, both texts contain uncreated waters.” Eric M. Vail, “Using ‘Chaos’ in Articulating the Relationship of God and Creation in God’s Creative Activity” (PhD diss., Marquette University, 2009), 104. Jack M. Sasson at Vanderbilt Divinity School also cites the similarity of Genesis 1’s syntax with Mesopotamian texts as part of the reason he believed the superiority of the dependent clause translation was “beyond dispute.” Sasson, “Time…to Begin,” 187-88. In regards to the Genesis parallels. Arnold affirms, “The syntax of 2:4b-7 is not unlike that of 1:1-3.” Bill T. Arnold, Genesis, New Cambridge Bible Commentary, ed. Ben Witherington III (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 56.

10] The primary study here is Wayne Horowitz, Mesopotamian Cosmic Geography, Mesopotamian Civilizations 8 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1998).

11] According to Batto, “The temple is not just the earthly building in Sippar but also Shamash’s rests on ‘the heavenly ocean,’ symbolized by the wavy lines underneath (‘Apsu’).” Bernard F. Batto, In the Beginning: Essays on Creation Motifs in the Ancient Near East and the Bible, Siphrut 9 (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 9. Slanski translates the epigraph as Sin, Shamas and Ishtar, “sit upon the face of the apsu.” Kathryn E. Slanski, “Classification, Historiography and Monumental Authority: the Babylonian Entitlement ‘narus (kudurrus)’” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 52 (2000), 110. I have elected to render her transliteration “apsu” as “heavenly ocean” in accordance with the translation given by the British Museum holding the artifact. Registration number 91000, British Museum, 2017. Accessed Jun 5, 2017.

12] The translation “skies” here is supported by the use of the metallurgical and common cosmological verb tar-qia from which the noun raqia derives. See Nissim Amzallag, “Copper Metallurgy: A Hidden Fundament of the Theology of Ancient Israel?” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 27.2 (2013), 162, and John R. Roberts, “Biblical Cosmology: The Implications for Bible Translation” Journal of Translation 9.2 (2013), 41.

13] This interpretation is virtually universal. E.g.: Jeff Morrow, “Creation as Temple-Building and Work as Liturgy in Genesis 1-3” Journal of the Orthodox Center for the Advancement of Biblical Studies 2.1 (2009); L. Michael Morales, The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus (Leuven: Peeters, 2012), 84; Bruce K. Waltke, Genesis: A Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001), 85; Moshe Weinfeld, “Sabbath, Temple and the Enthronement of the Lord - The Problem of the Sitz im Leben of Genesis 1:1-2:3,” in Mélanges bibliques et orientaux en l’honneur de M. Henri Cazelles, ed. Andre Caquot and Mathias Declor (Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker, 1981), 502. Smith likewise affirms this interpretation and refers to seven additional scholars, like Fishbane and Levenson, who have developed upon it. The Priestly Vision, 179. See also John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009), 78-85.

14] Variations of this chart can be found advocated among commentators like Bruce Waltke, Genesis, 57; Smith, The Priestly Vision, 89; Bernard W. Anderson, “A Stylistic Study of the Priestly Creation Story,” in Canon and Authority: Essays in Old Testament Religion and Theology, ed. George W. Coats and Burke Long (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), 157; Clare Amos, The Book of Genesis, Epworth Commentaries (Peterborough: Epworth Press, 2004), 9; William P. Brown, The Seven Pillars of Creation: The Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 38; David Toshio Tsumura, Creation and Destruction: A Reappraisal of the Chaoskampf Theory in the Old Testament (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns), 34, or Gordon J. Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary, 7.

15] Jeff Morrow, “Creation as Temple Building,” 1-13.

16] Kenton Sparks lays out this math in Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither? Three Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters, ed. Charles Halton and Stanley N. Gundry (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015), 120.

17] L. R. Bailey, “Biblical Math as Heilsgeschichte?,” in A Gift of God in Due Season: Essays on Scripture and Community in Honor of James A. Sanders, ed. R. D. Weis and D. M. Carr, JSOTSup 225 (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1996).

18] Joshua John Van Ee, “Death and the Garden: An Examination of Original Immortality, Vegetarianism, and Animal Peace in the Hebrew Bible and Mesopotamia” (PhD diss., University of California, 2013).     
19] Daniel J. Stulac, “Hierarchy and Violence in Genesis 1:26-28: An Agrarian Solution,” Submission for Ecological Hermeneutics Open Section at SBL Annual Meeting 2013, 4, 6,

20] Robert Alter, The Five Books, 19.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Ben! Brilliant! THANK YOU for these fine videos!