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JoeMo

Questions on Genesis

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JoeMo

I just started my Bible from the beginning again, trying to read it like a totally ignorant individual that knows nothing of the God of heaven. (Some people may think I'm already there!).

I have already run into some questions that - even as a long-time believer - I cannot answer.  I bring these issues up not as nit-pics to start trouble; but because I can't answer them.  I was hoping some of you might have some ideas.  For example:

"The Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”

13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” (Gen. 4:10-14)

If Adam, Eve, and Cain were the only people on earth at that time, once Cain was kicked off of the island, who would kill him?  Wouldn't he just be alone in the wilderness?  The mainstream interpretation of the Bible gives no indication that there was anyone else on earth.

"Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch". (Gen.4:17)

Who was Cain's wife?  the Bible gives no indication that he even had a sister yet; much less than that his sister left with him.  Furthermore, who would Cain be building a city for (besides his firstborn son Enoch the Evil)? Even if he were doing this 100 - 200 years after he was kicked off the island, the population of the earth would not be sufficient to build a city (assuming they had the technology to build a city).

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Gregory Matthews

In those early chapters of Genesis, only the important people to the story were named and mentioned.

IOW, certainly Adam and Eve had other children to include both males and females.  They were told to populate the Earth.  We must assume that they know how to do such and that they regularly took part in the activities that would result in the Earth being populated, probably beginning on that 1st Friday evening.  If we believe that Adam lived some 900 + years, we should assume that he had many years of child-making and therefore fathered many sons and daughters.

Yes, that leaves the sons of Adam and Eve marrying their sisters.  So, be it.  That is just as how it probably was.

 

 

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Gregory Matthews

Asura and Awan are named in the extra-biblical books as daughters of Adam and of Eve.  But, that is not supported by the Biblical books.  If one were to do a search on the Internet for those two names, one would come up with mentions of people with those names who are clearly outside of Christianity.

I ran across one Internet website that proclaimed that at the time Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden they had given birth to 63 sons and daughters, with a total  population of people expelled as 1,647.  I was unable to understand how they had come to that figure.

 

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Kevin H

Genesis 5:4 says "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:" Notice that it does not say when he begat the other sons and daughters. The texts talked about the 3 important ones.  Cain, Able and Seth, but mentions that there  were more than these three. What was important was that the law of relative avenging the blood meant that everyone Cain was to meet was his close relative and the blood avenger for Able. That is why God had to give him the sign to protect him.

As for the offerings; In Leviticus the animal offering is the sin offering, and the produce offering was the thank offering. Able's offering said "Lord have mercy upon me a sinner" Cain's offering was "Thank you that I'm not like other men, like my brother over here..."  Jesus updated the story.

Also, have you ever noticed what Cain's punishment was? Cain loved having a permanent home and working the soil. Able loved wandering the world with his animals. Cain's punishment was that he had to live the life of Able. If it was Able who killed Cain the punishment would have been to give up his wandering and live in one place. If God wanted to make an eternal hell he does not have to impose any other punishment but to make the lost live the life of the redeemed in heaven.

The land of Canaan was known as a land flowing with milk and honey. To the ancient world these were geographical terms. Honey was not just what the bees make but any kind of preserved foods. Thus indicated a piece of land used for agriculture. A permanent home, plenty to eat (as honey was made of the left over food). It was a life predictable, fairly easy (as the land owners could hire workers) and with then free time you can create excitement/entertainment.  And this would turn into the great highways for commerce and for the trade caravans. But also where the invading armies will pass through. If you lived in a land of honey the question  is not "Will destruction come" but "When will destruction come and will we be ready?"  Milk came from mostly goats, kept out in the desert. moving around looking for food. Not sure if you will eat from your garden or plough it under and hope for a better garden next year. Sometimes having lot to eat other times going hungry. A life hard, unpredictable and lonely. But you tend to be safe from invading armies, probably have nothing that people would want to steal, and you are focused on you day by day dependence on God. The pagans divided their gods as milk gods and honey gods. You hoped to appease the milk gods to leave you alone and to appease the honey gods so that as they are doing good that you get to enjoy some of their prosperity. But the God of the Bible is the God of the land of milk and honey.

Another interesting thing is that in Cain's line was a man named "Lamach." In Genesis 4:24 there is a very common poetry rhythm that is ruined.
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.
We don't notice this until it's been pointed out as we also have Bible texts that follow this structure, the verse should have read one of two ways either:

"If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy plus one fold." or "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech eight-fold." If the verse read one of these two ways Lamech would have been asking for God to give him the same protection that he promised Cain, God's sevenfold or perfect pretection.

But the poem is ruined in saying "If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold." and the message there is that Lamech was not asking for God's perfect protection, but that he was so full of hate that God's perfect vengeance is not good enough for Lamech. He wanted his enemies to suffer far more than the worst that God could give.

In Matthew 18:21-22 they did not have numbers in mind. Peter asked if he should forgive perfectly, completely. He wanted Jesus to know that he was listening when Jesus said "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors". Should he forgive as he wanted God to forgive him. (maybe he was hoping that Jesus would leave perfect forgiveness to God and allow Peter to hold a little resentment for his pain). But Jesus said to forgive 70 times 7 or seventy and sevenfold.  Jesus was telling Peter that forgiveness was so important that our goal is to try to out forgive God. To be so forgiving that God should be baffled at our forgiveness.

A lot if information in this chapter.

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dgrimm60

JOE MO

in GEN chapter  5 verse  4 says that ADAM begot sons  and daughter after  he  had SETH

dgrimm60

 

 

 

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Kevin H
8 minutes ago, dgrimm60 said:

JOE MO

in GEN chapter  5 verse  4 says that ADAM begot sons  and daughter after  he  had SETH

dgrimm60

 

 

 

Where does it say that? Genesis 5:4 says how many years Adam lived after having Seth, but not when he had the son's and daughters:

KJV And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:

ESV The days of Adam after he fathered Seth were 800 years; and he had other sons and daughters.

NIV After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.

RSV 4 The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters.

NASB Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters.

 

 

 

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dgrimm60

KEVIN H

I was pointing out to JOEMO  that ADAM AND EVE have more sons and daughters

I will agree that the bible does not say when the other sons and daughters were  born

but since in GEN chapter 4 verse  25 it says that ADAM knew his wife and she bare

him a son and call his name SETH

if other sons and daughters were born before SETH  then maybe they were to replace ABEL

but the bible does not say  when the others were born

dgrimm60

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B/W Photodude
1 hour ago, Kevin H said:

Genesis 5:4 says "And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:" Notice that it does not say when he begat the other sons and daughters. The texts talked about the 3 important ones.  Cain, Able and Seth, but mentions that there  were more than these three. What was important was that the law of relative avenging the blood meant that everyone Cain was to meet was his close relative and the blood avenger for Able. That is why God had to give him the sign to protect him.

I read one person's estimate of the population of the earth at the time of the flood to be on the order of 175 million.

Adam/Eve may have had many children, but before or after Seth becomes irrelevant because Seth was the male in the patrilineage of which we are all descended from. The others siblings became of no value to the writer of Scripture (Moses) and/or the oral history that remembered genealogy.

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Kevin H
2 hours ago, dgrimm60 said:

 

if other sons and daughters were born before SETH  then maybe they were to replace ABEL

but the bible does not say  when the others were born

dgrimm60

They probably had their own place, and Seth being born after they lost Abel made them feel a special replacement.

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phkrause
On 3/13/2018 at 3:46 PM, JoeMo said:

Who was Cain's wife?  the Bible gives no indication that he even had a sister yet; much less than that his sister left with him.  Furthermore, who would Cain be building a city for (besides his firstborn son Enoch the Evil)? Even if he were doing this 100 - 200 years after he was kicked off the island, the population of the earth would not be sufficient to build a city (assuming they had the technology to build a city).

This is why it amuses me that people want to throw out EGW with the bath water????? She fills in the blanks when we have such questions where the Bible doesn't seem to tell us the whole story, or give us the complete picture!!!!!

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JoeMo
19 hours ago, phkrause said:

This is why it amuses me that people want to throw out EGW with the bath water????? She fills in the blanks when we have such questions where the Bible doesn't seem to tell us the whole story, or give us the complete picture!!!!!

I distrust the 'extra-biblical" stuff that EGW states in her writings.  I totally accept what she says where I can find scripture to back it up.  IMHO, she foretold many things that have happened; and many things that haven't or won't happen; and ignored or glossed over some critical passages in scripture.  As I'm reading on in Genesis, one question it seems that she completely ignores is who were the Nephilim (or giants) mentioned in Genesis 6?  Given the timing of their appearance in the Bible, they were a BIG part of the reason for the flood and a big reason that God commanded the Israelites to utterly destroy certain ethnic groups in Canaan after the exodus.  My "literal" read of the passage without my Christian preconditioning would be that fallen angels copulated with human women to create a super race that God never intended to exist.  With my Christian preconditioning, I understand that that probably sounds ridiculous.  If someone has an EGW passage that addresses the Nephilim, please let me know.

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Kevin H

The important thing that Mrs. White adds are the issues of the Great Controversy. That was a part of the ancient world and Bible writers and original audience had those issues in mind as they wrote, read, and heard. It is not a part of our world so we miss a lot when reading the Bible. She fills in this missing gap for people who don't become scholars of the ancient world.

As for the  Nephilim , Mrs. White tells us that it is our job to do exegesis, not hers. Thus she would only deal with applying the principle to today. Mrs. White APPLIES it to intermarriage of believers with non-believers, and talks about amalgamation. There is evidence that it is talking about demons having relationships with women, maybe yes, maybe no. For now we find them being too selfish to do anything like that, so whether it is this or not, we still have Mrs. White's warning of intermarriage believers and unbelievers and amalgamation, we can apply this to our situations as well as apply it to the possibility of demon's having  relations with women back then.

 

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Gregory Matthews

Nephilim: 

I do not have a good answer to JoMo's  question. But, the following may be considered to be a partial answer. 

Nephilim occurs in Genesis 6:4  and in Numbers 13:33.  The NKJV follows the LXX which translated this Hebrew word into a Greek word that is then translated into the English word, giant.

It is reasonable to believe that the Hebrew Nephilim is derived from the Hebrew word naphal.  This might indicate that rather than a physical giant, these people were violent ones.

Other suggestions are that the Nephilim were either extraordinary ones (heroes) or fallen ones. 

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Gregory Matthews

JoMo has asked if anyone can provide him with a passage from EGW that mentions the Nephilim  The following is one:

 

Giants in the Land, January 27


Genesis 6:1-8
There were giants in the earth in those days. Genesis 6:4. { CC 33.1}
The first people upon the earth received their instructions from that infinite God who created the world. Those who received their knowledge direct from infinite wisdom were not deficient in knowledge.... { CC 33.2}
There are many inventions and improvements, and labor-saving machines now that the ancients did not have. They did not need them.... { CC 33.3}
Men before the flood lived many hundreds of years, and when one hundred years old were considered but youths. Those long-lived men had sound minds in sound bodies.... They came upon the stage of action from the ages of sixty to one hundred years, about the time those who now live the longest have acted their part in their little short life time, and have passed off the stage.51 { CC 33.4}
There were many giants, men of great stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the most cunning and wonderful works; but their guilt in giving loose rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability. { CC 33.5}
God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness.52 { CC 33.6}
They became corrupt in their imagination, because they left God out of their plans and councils. They were wise to do what God had never told them to do, wise to do evil.... They used the probation so graciously granted them in ridiculing Noah. They caricatured him and criticized him. They laughed at him for his peculiar earnestness and intense feeling in regard to the judgments which he declared God would surely fulfill. They talked of science and of the laws controlling nature. Then they held a carnival over the words of Noah, calling him a crazy fanatic.53 { CC 33.7}

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rudywoofs (Pam)
18 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

There are many inventions and improvements, and labor-saving machines now that the ancients did not have. They did not need them.... { CC 33.3}
Men before the flood lived many hundreds of years, and when one hundred years old were considered but youths. Those long-lived men had sound minds in sound bodies.... They came upon the stage of action from the ages of sixty to one hundred years, about the time those who now live the longest have acted their part in their little short life time, and have passed off the stage.51 { CC 33.4}
There were many giants, men of great stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the most cunning and wonderful works; but their guilt in giving loose rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability. { CC 33.5}
God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts; but they used His bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for themselves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifying their dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only to gratify the desires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in scenes of pleasure and wickedness.52 { CC 33.6}
They became corrupt in their imagination, because they left God out of their plans and councils. They were wise to do what God had never told them to do, wise to do evil.... They used the probation so graciously granted them in ridiculing Noah. They caricatured him and criticized him. They laughed at him for his peculiar earnestness and intense feeling in regard to the judgments which he declared God would surely fulfill. They talked of science and of the laws controlling nature. Then they held a carnival over the words of Noah, calling him a crazy fanatic.53 { CC 33.7}

the above Ellen White quotes regarding the Nephilim seem to me as though the exact same thing could be said of any ungodly group of people down through the ages... there's nothing special, astounding, or explanatory specifically regarding the Nephilim in the quotes (other than their size or lengthy life expectancy — but I've thought that early in creation, everyone was larger and had a longer life-span than nowadays..)

[Just to be clear:  The above quote is a listing of statements made by Ellen White, as found in the White Estate.  I provided it--GM.]

On ‎3‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 3:14 PM, JoeMo said:

My "literal" read of the passage without my Christian preconditioning would be that fallen angels copulated with human women to create a super race that God never intended to exist.  With my Christian preconditioning, I understand that that probably sounds ridiculous

doesn't sound ridiculous to me at all ... 

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CoAspen

The questions that JoeMo asks, I believe, point out our often inaccurate representation of Biblical history that we have been taught, because of the lack of taking time, place and understanding of what peoples Biblical writers were speaking too. We are really only beginning to take context into consideration, it seems to me, rather recently. Context, at times, can change ones understanding of events and is threatening to many people. 

I appreciate Kevins and GM knowledge of the context, in many areas.

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JoeMo
11 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

JoMo has asked if anyone can provide him with a passage from EGW that mentions the Nephilim  The following is one:

Thanks, Greg.  Although it doesn't directly address my question, it's nice to know that she addresses the issue.

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Gregory Matthews

Correct, JoMo.

As a point of interest, for any who do not know.  The White Estate maintains an extensive, comprehensive on-line presence related to what EGW wrote and/or has been written about what she wrote.  Some of these include SDA history and White Estate comments on various issues related to EGW.

I entered "nephililm" into the search engine on that website and it came up with no examples of her using that exact word.  Next In entered "Genesis 6:4" into the search engine and that gave me the listing that I posted.

It should be stated that there are other methods of searching her writings on the EGW Estate website.

Also, two (that I am aware of) editions of a CD that allows one to search her writings without access to the Web.  However, it must be understood that the actual website itself always contains the latest version and it contains more material that can be searched than is contained  by the CDs.  Those CDs were issued before all of  here writings were digitized.  As I understand it, no such CD has been issued that is as comprehensive as it the website.

My reason for posting this is simply to inform people who are interested various aspects what EGW wrote can find this website to be helpful in their research.

The following takes you to the main part of the EGW website:

http://whiteestate.org/

The following website takes you to a place where you can order digital products on a CD:

http://www.whiteestate.org/cdrom/cdrom.asp#research

 

 

 

 

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phkrause

Here again is the verse and Rashi's Commentary on this verse:

Genesis 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of the nobles would come to the daughters of man, and they would bear for them; they are the mighty men, who were of old, the men of renown.   דהַנְּפִלִ֞ים הָי֣וּ בָאָ֘רֶץ֘ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵם֒ וְגַ֣ם אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר יָבֹ֜אוּ בְּנֵ֤י הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙ אֶל־בְּנ֣וֹת הָֽאָדָ֔ם וְיָֽלְד֖וּ לָהֶ֑ם הֵ֧מָּה הַגִּבֹּרִ֛ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מֵֽעוֹלָ֖ם אַנְשֵׁ֥י הַשֵּֽׁם:
The Nephilim: [They were called נְפִילִים because they fell (נָפְלוּ) and caused the world to fall (הִפִּילוּ) (Gen. Rabbah 26:7), and in the Hebrew language it means giants (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 22 and Targum Jonathan).   הנפלים: על שם שנפלו והפילו את העולם, ובלשון עברית לשון ענקים הוא:
in those days: in the days of the generation of Enosh and the children of Cain.   בימים ההם: בימי דור אנוש ובני קין:
and also afterward: Although they had seen the destruction of the generation of Enosh, when the ocean rose up and inundated a third of the world, the generation of the Flood did not humble themselves to learn from them. — [from Mechilta Yithro, Massechta Bachodesh 6; Sifrei Ekev 743]   וגם אחרי כן: אף על פי שראו באבדן של דור אנוש שעלה אוקיינוס והציף שליש העולם, לא נכנע דור המבול ללמוד מהם:
when…would come: They [the mothers] would bear giants like them [the fathers]. — [from Gen. Rabbah 26:7]   אשר יבאו: היו יולדות ענקים כמותם:
mighty men: to rebel against the Omnipresent. — [Yelammednu, Batei Midrashoth, p. 148]   הגבורים: למרוד במקום:
the men of renown: Heb. אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם Those who were called by name: Irad, Mechujael, Methushael, who were so named because of their destruction, for they were wiped out (מְחוּיָאֵל from נִמּוֹחוּ) and uprooted; (מְתוּשָׁאֵל from הֻתָּשׁוּ). Another explanation: men of desolation (שִׁמָּמוֹן), who made the world desolate. — [from Gen. Rabbah 26:7]   אנשי השם: אותן שנקבו בשמות עירד, מחויאל, מתושאל, שנקראו על שם אבדן שנמוחו והותשו. דבר אחר אנשי שממון, ששממו את העולם:

 

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8thdaypriest

Just a thought.   The priesthood anciently (before the Mount Sinai rebellion) went to "the firstborn".  The priest of each family or clan would present the sacrifices to the LORD for himself and his family (example would be Job offering sacrifices for his children).   If Cain and Able were presenting sacrifices (offerings) that suggests to me, they were each head of a family at that time.  

The "avenger of blood" against Cain would be one from the family/clan of Able. 

I agree - the writer left out all but the most important individuals - the bloodline to Messiah, and enemies of these individuals (or their clan/tribe/nation).

As for a son of Cain building a "city", we don't know how "city" was defined at that time.  300 people?  30,000 people? 

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JoeMo

Please remember - I am trying to approach this read of the Bible trying to imagine myself as a literate heathen who has never seen or read a Bible before and has never been exposed to the Christian God - even remotely.

23 hours ago, 8thdaypriest said:

The "avenger of blood" against Cain would be one from the family/clan of Able. 

I'm only up to Genesis 10 in my read.  There is no indication that and "avenger of blood" existed that early in civilization.  To my knowledge, the concept was never even introduced until the time of the patriarchs.

23 hours ago, 8thdaypriest said:

As for a son of Cain building a "city", we don't know how "city" was defined at that time.  300 people?  30,000 people? 

True; but Moses wrote Genesis under the inspiration of God.  I have no doubt that Moses knew what I city was when God told Moses about this.

"Cain made love to his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch. Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch. 18 To Enoch was born Irad, and Irad was the father of Mehujael, and Mehujael was the father of Methushael, and Methushael was the father of Lamech.

19 Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock.21 His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play stringed instruments and pipes. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain’s sister was Naamah. (Gen. 4:17 - 22)

I find it interesting that much of the ancient art and technology that we perceive to be the "beginning of civilization" comes from Cain's side of the family.

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JoeMo

Continuing on my journey thru Genesis:

"Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; that is why it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Uruk, Akkad and Kalneh, in Shinar.11 From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir,[f] Calah 12 and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah—which is the great city." (Gen. 10:8-12)

If Nimrod was the grandson of Ham, He was likely doing this stuff within 150 - 200 years after the flood.  The earth had to be in pretty bad shape after the flood; so survival had to be a struggle.  With only 8 people getting off the ark, how were there enough people to build these great cities, much less inhabit them?

In Genesis 12 - 19, we see the story of Abraham and his journeys through several kingdoms.  This likely occurred about 400 - 500 years after the flood.  Humanity seems to have spread considerably over this period of time; and Egypt was the prominent Kingdom.  It is probable that the great pyramids and the Sphinx had already been built.

Again, where did all these people come from?  Using the crude construction methods they had, how could they have built these kingdoms and monuments?

Could it be that the Bible chronicles the history of the genealogy of Christ and their interactions with the nations around them, rather than chronicling the history of the universe or world?  Maybe once a family, clan, or nation left the lineage of Christ and/or never interacted with Christ's ancestors again, their documentation of their history dropped from scripture.

Just speculation to inspire discussion...

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JoeMo
On 3/20/2018 at 8:43 AM, phkrause said:

the ocean rose up and inundated a third of the world

Interesting! So the rabbis did not think the flood covered the entire earth? 

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The Wanderer
On 3/17/2018 at 4:14 PM, JoeMo said:

one question it seems that she completely ignores is who were the Nephilim (or giants) mentioned in Genesis 6? 

I am inclined to think that EGW wrote about what she considered essential and important, AT THAT TIME that she wrote about it. She did not write about everything that we would inquire about today. IMHO :)

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