Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

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Philip
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Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#1

Post by Philip » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:53 am

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Here, Dr. Heiser offers a relatively short but very good framing of the textual / Scriptural variables that one must consider if they believe a regional flood to be unBiblical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2r8cfKOXi0 Good stuff!

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#2

Post by DBowling » Sun Aug 04, 2019 4:31 am

Philip wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:53 am
Here, Dr. Heiser offers a relatively short but very good framing of the textual / Scriptural variables that one must consider if they believe a regional flood to be unBiblical: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2r8cfKOXi0 Good stuff!
I think Heiser does a good job of laying out the textual basis for a regional flood.

There is one small (but relevant) disagreement that I have with Heiser's analysis.

I agree with Heiser's analysis that the scope of Noah's Flood was regional in nature.
However, I disagree with Heiser that the geographical locations mentioned Genesis 10 identify the geographical extent of the Flood.

Here's why...
Genesis 10 may describe the geographical extent of the known erets/land/world at the time of Moses (who lived in Egypt around 1500 BC) , but it does not accurately identify the geographical extent of the known erets/land/world at the time of Noah (who lived in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC).

Genesis 2-11 chronologically takes us from the time of Adam to the time of Abraham.
Genesis 2-9 covers around 2,600 years from Adam to the Flood (Genesis 5)
Genesis 10-11 covers around 1,200 years after the time of Noah up to the time of Abraham (Genesis 11)
So I don't think Genesis 10, which describes the expansion of Adam's descendents 1.200 after the time of the Flood, is an accurate geographical description of Noah's erets/land/world at the time of the Flood.

If we want to understand the geographical scope of Noah's erets/land/world (2 Peter 2:5), I think is more accurate to look at the geographical locations mentioned in the chapters leading up to and including the time of Noah (Genesis 2-9).
In Genesis 2 the Garden oF Eden was located somewhere around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Genesis 2:14).
In Genesis 8 Noah's Ark comes to rest somewhere in the mountains of Ararat (Genesis 8:4).
So the geographical scope of the Scriptural narrative from Adam to Noah (Genesis 2-9) is the region of Mesopotamia.

If we want to understand the geographical scope of the erets/land/world at the time of Noah, I think it is more accurate to use the geographical locations in the narrative leading up to and including the time of Noah (Genesis 2-9) than it is to use Genesis 10 which describes the geographical locations inhabited by Noah's descendents 1,200 years after the Flood.

Philip
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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#3

Post by Philip » Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:49 pm

Great point, DB! So now we're talking of a considerably smaller geographical area! Because there was an obvious population explosion AFTER the flood, even given the fact that longevity plummeted. As those living after the flood still lived remarkably long lives (even though Noah himself had lived 950 years). Add in the still, far-larger number of fertile years of fathering children, this would have naturally put extensive pressures for people to seek out more and more territory for expanding their herds and any farming. But something about that post-flood world had really changed, as Noah's son, Shem, lived 350 less years than his father, Noah. And this longevity spiral continued.

Fathered two years after the flood by Noah's son Shem, Noah's grandson, Armpachshad, lived 435 years. And Armpachsad's son, Shela, lived 433 years. And Shelah's son, Eber, lived to be 464 years old. But beginning with Eber's son, Peleg, something shifted in the genetics that greatly diminished the longevity seen even post-flood, as Peleg, Noahs GGG grandson, "only" lived to 239 years old. And by Peleg's G grandson, Nahor, the longevity plunged again - as Nahor "only" lived to 148 years (Nahor was Noah's GGGGGG grandson. So, between Noah's grandson, Armpachshad (the first-born / post-flood child, who died at 435), and Nahor (dying at 148), longevity had dropped 287 more years.

I don't know how long people were fertile, post-flood, but as men are known to be fertile well into their elderly years, and as plural marriages with far younger wives came into play, we can imagine the population explosion and expansion that continued after the flood. It would be interesting to have some idea of world population in that pre-flood world.

Here's an interesting conversation we had on this topic over two years ago: viewtopic.php?t=41832

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#4

Post by DBowling » Sun Aug 04, 2019 6:31 pm

Philip wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 3:49 pm
Great point, DB! So now we're talking of a considerably smaller geographical area! Because there was an obvious population explosion AFTER the flood, even given the fact that longevity plummeted. As those living after the flood still lived remarkably long lives (even though Noah himself had lived 950 years). Add in the still, far-larger number of fertile years of fathering children, this would have naturally put extensive pressures for people to seek out more and more territory for expanding their herds and any farming. But something about that post-flood world had really changed, as Noah's son, Shem, lived 350 less years than his father, Noah. And this longevity spiral continued.

Fathered two years after the flood by Noah's son Shem, Noah's grandson, Armpachshad, lived 435 years. And Armpachsad's son, Shela, lived 433 years. And Shelah's son, Eber, lived to be 464 years old. But beginning with Eber's son, Peleg, something shifted in the genetics that greatly diminished the longevity seen even post-flood, as Peleg, Noahs GGG grandson, "only" lived to 239 years old. And by Peleg's G grandson, Nahor, the longevity plunged again - as Nahor "only" lived to 148 years (Nahor was Noah's GGGGGG grandson. So, between Noah's grandson, Armpachshad (the first-born / post-flood child, who died at 435), and Nahor (dying at 148), longevity had dropped 287 more years.
A couple of quick points which I'm sure I've shared in threads on this board somewhere...
1) Sumerian mythology (Sumerian King Lists, etc) appears to confirm the basic principle of extremely long lived people living in Mesopotamia prior to the great Mesopotamian Flood with life spans gradually dropping after the Flood.
2) From a Scriptural perspective, I think a drop in the average life span of Noah's descendants after the Flood makes sense. When the descendants of Adam (the sons of God), with life spans of around 900 years, procreated with the indigenous human population in and around Mesopotamia (the daughters of men), with average life spans of around 40 years, it makes total sense that the life span of the offspring would be diminished from the life span of the long lived Adamic parent.

This drop in life spans would become even more pronounced with Noah being the only remaining descendent of the long lived Adamic line after the Flood, because Noah's sons and the rest of his descendents would only have short lived humans available to procreate with.

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#5

Post by Philip » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:36 pm

DB: Noah's sons and the rest of his descendents would only have short lived humans available to procreate with.
Noah's three sons and their wives entered the ark. And, of course, cousins could marry.

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#6

Post by DBowling » Mon Aug 05, 2019 2:39 am

Philip wrote:
Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:36 pm
DB: Noah's sons and the rest of his descendents would only have short lived humans available to procreate with.
Noah's three sons and their wives entered the ark. And, of course, cousins could marry.
True... but as Noah's descendents dispersed geographically in Genesis 10-11 then procreation with the indigenous populations of those areas would increase the rate of dilution of the Adamic blood line and bring the life spans of the resulting offspring closer and closer to the normal non-Adamic life spans of the preexisting human population.

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#7

Post by Philip » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:08 am

Apparently, God gave no instructions for Noah's grandchildren to not marry babes outside their lineage! y:-?

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#8

Post by DBowling » Tue Aug 06, 2019 11:33 am

Philip wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:08 am
Apparently, God gave no instructions for Noah's grandchildren to not marry babes outside their lineage! y:-?
Disclaimer... the post below contains some speculation and inferences, but I believe all the inferences are grounded in Scripture and Scriptural principles. :)

It appears that Noah's sons may have been following the example of their father...

I am currently reading The Origins Solution by Richard Fischer, and a chapter I read a couple of days ago points out something that I had never really pondered before.

Scripture doesn't tell us much about Noah's wife, but when you compare Noah's life span with the life spans of his sons. The significant drop that we see in the life spans of Noah's sons seems to imply that Noah's wife was not from the long lived Adamic blood line.

So Noah was apparently one of the "sons of God" who married a "daughter of men" (Gen 6:4).
If this implication is correct, then why did 'Noah find favor in the eyes of the Lord' (Gen 6:8) when the rest of the Adamic line was destroyed by the Flood?

I believe 2 Cor 6:14-18 answers that question.
According to Paul the problem is when believers are "yoked together" with unbelievers.
The issue for God is a person's spiritual lineage not necessarily their physical lineage.

In the OT, the reason God did not want his people marrying members of the ungodly cultures they encountered was because He did not want want his people to become corrupted by those ungodly cultures.

However, God was fine with marrying members of other lineages and cultures as long as they but their faith in the One True God and became part of the spiritual family of God.

An example of this principle is Rahab. Rahab was a citizen of the heathen Caananite city of Jericho who put her faith and trust in Yahweh. Even though Rahab was not a child of Israel by blood, she became a child of God when she put her faith in Yahweh. Rahab then married Salmon and became part of Israel's royal bloodline, the bloodline of Jesus, and became a member of the Hall of Fame of Faith in Hebrews 11.

Noah's wife apparently followed a path similar to Rahab. Even though she was not part of the Adamic bloodline, she apparently was one of those who 'called on the name of the Lord' (Gen 4:26), so when she married Noah she was spiritually a child of God even though she was not physically a child of Adam.

Which is why Noah was considered to be righteous and blameless even though his wife was not of the physical lineage of Adam.

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#9

Post by Philip » Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:11 pm

We can't know that marrying outside of Adam's line dropped longevity. There may well have been physical / environmental factors that impacted them. Look at Shem, Noah's son. Even though he lived to be 500, he lived 450 years less than his father. That's nearly a 50% drop in comparative lifespan.

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Re: Dr. Mike Heiser on Noah's Flood

#10

Post by DBowling » Tue Aug 06, 2019 1:35 pm

Philip wrote:
Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:11 pm
We can't know that marrying outside of Adam's line dropped longevity.
We can't know for sure... that is true...
However it is consistent with hints that are dropped about the results of the intermarriages in Genesis 6, and it is also consistent with the life span drops that we see in Noah and his descendants after the Flood both in Scripture and in Sumerian legend.

This model is the best match for the Scriptural data that I am aware of... however even though Scripture implies that intermarriages affected life spans with one possible interpretation of Genesis 6, it doesn't explicitly and unambiguously state it... so you are right... we can't know for sure.

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