1. How has archaeology verified the historicity of these chapters in Genesis? a.
Nelson Glueck discovered settlement patterns in the Transjordan indicate the events of Genesis 13 occurred between 2000 and 1900 B.C. and a drastic decrease in the density of occupation between the 19th and 13th century which he linked to the destructive campaigns in Genesis 14. In addition, the name of Abram and his immediate family appear in Old Assyrian and Babylonian texts with typographical references in Neo-Assyrian texts correspond with places in the Euphrates-Habur region of Syro-Mesopotamia. This agrees with geographical time and placement of Abram and his family as settled in Ur and Haran. In particular, the city of Haran in upper Mesopotamia was abandoned in 1800 B.C. and remained uninhabited for a thousand years. As Barry Beitzel (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) notes, it is highly unlikely that someone documenting the story would have used Haran as a key location if they did so hundreds of years later. Moreover, the distinctions of names and locations of Genesis 14, while not accounted for in one extra-Biblical account are largely accounted for individually in others. In particular the discovery of the 4,000 year old city of Laish (later buried and the city of Dan built over it, as it is referred to in Genesis 14:14) along with an arched gateway with architectural features not seen again until the Roman Empire. Also I bought a lovely rug from this very reputable merchant at the archaeological dig at Ur. He swears on his mother that it is based on designs found in the Emperial Tombs from 2000 B.C.… it’s made of Egyptian cotton and goat hair.
Check out the pattern:
I guess it says “Abram was here.” Which is interesting, my understanding was that the Sumerians had no concept of zero. 2. What are the three possible locations for Ur?
Well “Ur” is right here:
But I’m sure the question is really asking about “Ur of the Chaldees” which tends to be more questionable. According to Davis one option is Urfa, or Şanlıurfa, an area near Edessa. This is an interesting option as there are numerous Tells in the area identified as Akkadian, but they are from the wrong era. Göbekli Tepe is also in this area but it’s far too old. The second option is Ura, a town northeast of Haran. While there are legitimate scholarly and archaeological arguments for this conclusion, it is actually quite difficult to verify Gordon’s conclusions. And while Gordon should be respected for his passion for linguistic, archaeology, and his service during WWII, his conclusions were often considered “eccentric” or disputed. His involvement with John Philip Cohane, an early proponent of alien astronaut theory did not help his credibility. Nor his affirmation of the legitimacy of the Bat Creek Inscription, the Los Lunas Decalogue Stone, or the Paraiba inscription (three forgeries attempting to legitimize Mormon theology). The third and more likely option is Tell al-Muqayyar (as indicated by the map above). In fact the locals seem to insist Abraham was born here:
As you can see from the picture, this place has great Mexican food, but tiny bathrooms. Of course, according to the LDS church another option for Ur is one of the many cities in the Batman province of Turkey.
Interestingly Christian Bale (who played Batman in the last three Batman films) filmed scenes from Terminator: Salvation in Batman Province. As you see, it all comes full circle. Oh wait, silly me…
NOW it comes full circle. 3. Who is Melchizadek? Be thorough. a. King of Salem and Priest of El Elyon (God Most High). He blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him a 10% tithe. Because of his abrupt and clearly important place in Genesis, a great deal of speculation has led to considerable debate. One view is that he was a Theophany or Christophany, a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. The second is that he was a historical, real human person who typifies Christ in the narrative structure of Genesis. The third view is that he was a Canaanite priest. The fourth view is that he was Shem. 4. Which view from #3 do you hold to? Why? a. I agree with Davis that the second view is most likely. The first makes little sense for Christ to be said to be “a priest of the line of Melchizadek” if He is in fact Melchizadek Himself. Of course, Jesus is part of the Trinity, so the idea of Jesus initiating a Grandfather Paradox… Perhaps Jesus was the father of Melchizadek, though it would have to be a virgin birth, the idea of Jesus having progeny would undoubtedly tear a hole in the space-time continuum. Worse, legitimize a false religion, and encourage Dan Brown to write more books. The third view was the view of Josephus. However Melchizedek and Salem are both Jewish, the first meaning “king of righteousness,” the second being “peace.” That he was the priest of El Elyon has a minor connection to the Canaanites as they also attributed El to deity, but the Elyon derivative is too subjective. By the second view, the historicity of Melchizedek is difficult to establish, but that he blessed Abraham and God as creator of the heavens and Earth (which no Canaanite idea of deity matched) and Abraham recognized Melchizedek as a higher in spiritual rank shows he was certainly of a differently caliber than other kings of the area. Also the reference in Psalm 110 of David taking up the priestly line of Melchizedek shows how David’s conquest of Jerusalem led to Jesus taking up that line.
Of course, there is the fourth view, that he is Melchizedek the White.
5. Who is the “Angel of the Lord”? a. The Angel of the Lord is typically understood to be the second person of the trinity, Jesus Christ. In the audio production of “Inspired By... The Bible Experience,” the Angel of the Lord is played by Samuel L. Jackson. There is quite simply no better way to hear the Bible than to listen to one narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
6. Explain in detail the patriarchal custom of the birthright. a.
7. How did Esau feel about his birthright (Heb 12:15-17)? a. Esau lacked a certain long-range perspective, seeking out the pleasures of the moment over the blessings of the future. In fact, after selling his birthright to Jacob he came to despise it. I certainly don’t come from a patriarchal family but we used to get together often, my family and parents and grandparents. My grandfather was for a long period of my life my mentor and my motivation… in his later years he started to show signs of Alzheimer’s disease. When we’d get
together he would tell me the same story, and it was always worth hearing because it was pretty funny. Really, it was sort of a parable. There was a young man who loved his father very much, and his mother had died many years before. He was a businessman and didn’t have enough time as he wanted to spend with his father. On his father’s 90th birthday, he would be out of town, but he reserved a room for his dad at a very luxurious hotel, with gambling and a full range of services. After a day of fun his father retired to his room. A few moments later, there was a knock on the door. When the old man answered, he found a beautiful, voluptuous prostitute all dressed up and excited to see him. She said to him “I’m here to give you super sex!” He said, “I’ll take the soup.” My grandfather was the most intelligent simple man that ever lived. But I think he’s in Hell. 8. Give another practical lesson to be learned from the story of Jacob’s deception of Isaac. a. Isaac was old and in poor health and relied solely on his five senses to identify Jacob as Esau, like many people today who believe in pure naturalism and that there is nothing beyond what they can see with the five senses. In Isaac’s defense though, he’s not the only person to be fooled by a man in a goat suit. Besides aren’t we reading a little too much into it, did God really want Esau to be the patriarch of the Israelites? Why would God allow such deceptive behavior from Rebekah (especially after Eve pulled that whole forbidden fruit thing) to pull one over on Isaac if it wasn’t providential to begin with? It’s like saying Sir Isaac Newton was sitting under an apple tree, saw one fall and said “My God… infinitesimally small bosons gave mass to the atomic structure of the matter of that apple causing it to be attracted to the ground!” Then people spent an absurd amount of money on the Large Hadron Collider trying to prove the existence of a particle interaction that could only be observed for a fraction of a fraction of a nanosecond.
It just seems like we waste more brainpower in search of very nominally important things (if that even) when really we already know the answer. Our answers never really matter at all however unless we have the “authority” to back it up, whether by academic certification or scientific testing or eyewitness testimony. Even if we do have that the slightest thing can destroy every amount of credibility we may hold. Take me for example… I could continue with my education till Jesus comes but what will I have but a mountain of student loans. I have what my former mentor deems “defective equipment,” a brain with a neurochemical imbalance that unless properly treated (and let’s be real, even then) my moods are happy, sad, or so depressed I don’t see the point of getting out of bed or so manic crazy even I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m a crazy person as far as anyone else is concerned. Sure, there are years of childhood trauma and that other imbalance that floods my spinal fluid with an over-production of pain receptors. So literally, there are like 32 places you could lightly touch me to make me pass out. Only one sick, freakish thing I can do about it… Let’s just say the only way to offset that kind of pain from the body is to intentionally inflict physical pain; bleed yourself enough for the natural endorphins to kick in and not enough to cause any real damage. You can’t help anyone in this condition. You can’t be a pastor, a teacher, a counselor... you can’t give what you don’t have yourself. That’s what they say anyway. The truth is you just can’t give those things because once they know that about you all sense of “authority” you may have is gone. You
have to suffer in silence to do God’s work. I thought I was being such a good little hypocrite… even after I was laid off I put my faith in God, that He’s in control. Lost my insurance, still didn’t lose my faith. Lost my mind, the respect of everyone around me, but didn’t lose my faith. It’s been two years now and it’s just a weird place to be. I don’t blame God for this. I still have faith that somehow, He’ll either pull me through; or give me the strength to pull myself through, I don’t know which. Yet, I am a worthless being. Which doesn’t say much about my faith when I know in my heart God can do all things for those who love Him. There’s just no reason for Him to do them for me. It’s not like there’s a patriarchal promise. The promise of the Cross, I suppose if you want to call it that. Maybe He’s already saved me and taken me off somewhere and all that remains is this rotting meat husk typing on a keyboard. Maybe for some, strange reason the fact that my head is broken is why I feel worthless and disconnected. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve been around long enough to know that it’s too dangerous to live on assumption. However, I will admit, I’ve never been in this place for so long. I feel like the strength to keep going has already run out… all I can do is wait. Hope is an emotion long parted. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Prov. 26:12) “"For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope.” (1 Chron. 29:15) 9. Describe Jacob’s vision and its meaning. a. Jacob saw a ladder ascending from the earth to Heaven and angels ascending and descending. The Lord stood at the top and reiterated the Abrahamic covenant. I agree with Davis that relating the stairway to the ramped stair of a ziggurat is overstating the case. As I mentioned the great Ziggurat of Ur wasn’t built until several hundred years after Abraham’s birth, though even if it were it seems unlikely the description would have passed to Jacob. Of course, step-pyramids exist in various form around the world and share various similarities in design, I think if that is what Jacob saw it was wholly of divine inspiration. It would seem to be more representative of a vision representing the functional ontology of God’s work between Heaven and Earth. This could explain why Jesus said angels are neither married nor given in marriage though. After Lucifer fell, he brought down Adam and Eve, and then creation was corrupted. If the ladder part on the Earth was corrupted and a third of the angels fell perhaps God said, “Ok if you’re going to unionize you’re going to have to do it down there, but I don’t support this.” There is no OSHA in Heaven. 10. Define “teraphim”? a. These were little idols carved in stone, wood, terra cotta; they were the “household gods” people kept around back then. Most of the time they were some kind of fat lady with large breasts or a lot of breasts or something indicating fertility, which is probably one reason Rachel took them. Venus figurines, that was the word(s) I was looking for. Not that this is what they were called, but what they call them now because they’re everywhere. People still use them too. The last time I was at my parents house our neighbor, a prominent artist had gotten a hold of one from one of the Mesopotamian kingdoms and claimed her niece licked it and got pregnant. Out of respect knowing I’m a Christian she asked my permission to offer to let my wife lick it too since she can’t have children. I thanked her for the offer (though I kind of wanted to see it but in that context it seemed inappropriate), I said if we did have a child I’d rather credit God and not some ancient porn stick. That and I’ve seen ever Exorcist movie and we both know how that story ends. Also I had just read about the temple of Artemis in Ephesus so we don’t touch old things anymore. 11. What were Joseph’s two reasons for refusing Potiphar’s wife? a. He wished to be faithful to his master, who was good to him, and more importantly, he wished to be faithful to God. Also she looked like this:
12. How is God’s grace evident in chapter 4? Be thorough. a. It is evident in the assistance Eve acknowledges God gives her in the birth of her children. God also shows His grace in approaching Cain to warn him “sin is crouching at his door” before he kills Abel. Despite cursing Cain for killing his brother, God allowed Cain to live and guaranteed him protection from retribution. He also allowed Lamech to break His intention for marriage by allowing Lamech to marry two women. God allowed rapid technological development due to the long pre-Noahidic peoples. He provided Eve with Seth to make up for the death of Abel. I must admit one of the great tragedies of our generation is that Bill Cosby never finished his commentary on the Bible beyond these verses. After creating Heaven and Earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing He said to them was: "Don't." “Don't what?", Adam replied. "Don't eat the forbidden fruit." "Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?" "It's over there," said God, wondering why He hadn't stopped after making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw the kids having an apple break and He was angry. "Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the First Parent asked. "Uh huh," Adam replied. "Then why did you?" "I dunno," Adam answered. God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed. But there is reassurance in this story. If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give them wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble handling children, what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for you? 13. Offer an explanation or two as to why the patriarchs lived so long. a. Dismissing any arguments of extrapolation and looking at literal interpretations only, a common idea is that the canopy of the firmament blocked harmful solar rays… this is an idea that comes out of Canopy Theory as proposed by Isaac Vail in 1874, that the firmament refers to a water vapor canopy that surrounded the Earth in Antediluvian days. Besides the concept being refuted by 2 Kings 7:2 and Malachi 3:10, one would have to assume that somehow air could hold more than 55 grams of water per cubic meter, since liquid water holds a density of 1 million grams per cubic meter, at a ratio of 1:18,000… (Yeah I did math… former civil drafting engineer, and I really was that bored) Assuming this vapor canopy was somewhere in the mesopause (a roughly 10 kilometer area where water vapor freezes, about 53 miles above the mean surface of the Earth) and accounting for the amount of water it would take to cover the highest mountain (plus a mile, you never know) then the vapor layer required would be over 24,000 miles thick. Now that’s a big problem, besides being 10% the distance from
here to the Moon (how does a dual tidal force work?) I’m also not accounting for whatever water was actually on the planet. Even assuming half, or 75%, it doesn’t matter. Out of the totality of the hydrosphere (all water on the planet), the Earth only has about 1/5th the required amount of water. This could be solved if we assume there is something to, or something similar to Hydroplate theory (we’re not just talking shifting of plate tectonics, we’re actually talking about expansion and contraction of magma pockets and geologic processes so incredible Walt Browne wrote an inch thick book filled with math… lots and lots of math…). I guess one point is that assuming the Earth’s rotation and gravitation hasn’t been altered; a mere 40-foot thick vapor canopy would double atmospheric pressure and increase surface temperature to 220º F. That might explain the long life, if by meaning God made Adam out of dust, he meant, like, granite. That, and when water condenses, it releases heat… Well the overall point is that no science can explain the flood or the firmament, so as both of these operated out of supernatural mechanics I suggest life spans probably can be explained in the same way. That or harmful bacteria created in the fall, or perhaps even as a result of the flood which the human immune system was not prepared for developed. Davis also mentions something about man’s constitution surviving the curse of sin for a time. That works too. Of course, when God says, “his days will be a hundred and twenty years" I recognize a major Genre shift from such words as “Let there be light,” obviously He doesn’t mean things so literally by chapter 6. 14. The “sons of God” are identified by Davis as being whom? a. Davis feels the third option of dynastic rulers is unlikely, but that determining whether it were fallen angels or sons of Seth cannot be known. I once wrote a 22-page paper on all the reasons why the ben Elohim can’t possibly be human… but since I lack any sort of credentials on the subject I’m sure I could expend the same amount of effort trying to show that John the Baptist is actually Bear Grylls. That is in fact what happens when you Google “rough hair eats insects.” Showing that he did in fact drink his own… well that would be hermeneutically impressive. 15. Describe the ark. a. Well it’s big and brown and shaped like a big Tylenol! 16. What do the various flood accounts suggest or point to? a. An actual flood. Or that fear of drowning is pretty common, which is oddly comforting. 17. Describe the covenant God made with Noah. a. God promised never to curse the ground or destroy every living thing in that fashion (a global flood), and He set the times of harvest and the seasons, He blessed Noah and his sons and gave them the same command He gave Adam and Eve. God placed the fear of man into animals and allowed him to eat them so long as the lifeblood was not in them. He demanded accounting for the murder of another. God then took a page out of the creation account of the Enuma Elish, and made the sign of the covenant by filling the skies with a bow made out of dead homosexuals.
And now… the bonus question.
18. If Noah’s ark were discovered today, would it change the way people view the Bible? Explain your answer. a. That is an amusing question to consider particularly now. With the recent NAMI discovery on Mt. Ararat, legitimate or not I believe they’ve made compelling arguments that make the discovery worth considering. The fact that the arguments are compelling does not prove the historicity of the ark, or that this is in fact that vessel, or that it even is a vessel. Only 166 miles to the South East of Mount Ararat is the Troglodyte city of Kandovan, a city built in stone that dates back to the same age they are claiming to have dated the wood they discovered. Clearly, people lived in the area at the time. That aside, look at the reality of the situation. NAMI has vehemently argued the innocence of their claims, to the point of bringing in Lieutenant governor Murat Güven and Cultural Ministries Director Muhsin Bulut of Agri Province, Turkey to support their claims. On the opposite end, you have Dr. Robert Price of Liberty University, at one point supposedly part of the team claiming it is a hoax… Then they are claiming he is saying that because the ark discovery would affect his “ark search
ministry,” and him challenging them to reveal the coordinates of the find. Them claiming doing so will open the site to scavengers… which really when you think about it is a circular argument, since they claim security (and the harsh trip of the mountain, that point I believe) would make it impossible to bring in timber, but not so impossible for people to pollute the site? Either way I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve seen many specimens of petrified wood, and my basement doesn’t look as preserved as that find.
Of course, that’s not really the question, the question is if we were to find the Ark and with 100% absolute certainty prove that it was in fact the Ark. But let’s up the ante, for whatever reason let’s say that modern geology as we know it concurred with the Biblical Flood account with absolute 100% scientific and geologic proof; no questions asked certainty that a worldwide flood happened at a particular point in the past. Would that make the Bible more trustworthy, would people be more inclined to agree with it? I think the obvious answer is no. Imagine how our confidence in the Bible would have been shattered had Pope Benedict not declared the remains found at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls to actually be that of St. Paul. (What if it were St. Peter… or just some guy…) Moreover, what of the Shroud of Turin? The True Cross, made from the wood of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil? The more than 30 Holy Nails said to have pierced the flesh of Christ in three or four places? The Spear of Destiny? The Holy Sponge of Santa Croce? The Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch? Clearly if we weren’t 100% certain these items existed, we’d have no basis for trusting the Bible. I really enjoy apologetics and have developed a particular argument I’ve been applying to different situations.. I call it “The Richard Dawkins,” or “There’s probably no Leonardo Dicaprio, so don’t worry, just go home and live your life.” Essentially the argument goes like this… just because James Cameron spent millions of dollars making this box office smash hit called “Titanic” and said “It’s based on a true story” does not in fact prove that it was even based on a true story. It’s actually rather difficult to nail down that the Titanic actually sank.
You see the newspapers on April 15th actually reported the Titanic was being towed back to port by the S.S. Virginian. (By the way, these are actual historically accurate facts, I’m not going to cite their sources for this excercise because you’ll just have to buy my book when it’s finished) When word of the accident reached the US Senator William Alden Smith, who had fought railroad tycoon J.P. Morgan (owner of the White Star Line and the Titanic) his entire political career, he immediately convened a Senate inquiry. He interviewed numerous sailors and passengers coming off the Carpathia. All testimony reporting a sinking unanimously concluded that the Titanic went down at the head in one piece, which means the wreckage found by Dr. Ballard in 1985 cannot possibly be the Titanic. In truth today, you cannot locate the name “Titanic” anywhere on the wreck. It is far more likely that Ballard discovered the H.M.S. Crusader, which sank in the North Atlantic after being torpedoed by a German U-Boat. Furthermore, based on the coincidental detail, it is far more likely that Cameron borrowed heavily from the 1898 novella Futility by Morgan Robertson. In fact, there are simply too many coincidental details between this book and a supposed sinking that happened 14 years later for it to be true, it must be classified as a myth. Yet, I doubt I’ve actually convinced you that the sinking of the Titanic is a myth. How would you prove me wrong, the last “survivor” Millvina Dean died in 2009. There are literally no absolute evidences left to prove it ever happened! You think I’m joking! I am totally not joking! Yeah ok, I’m kind of joking. Everything I said was in fact truth, but presented under “The Psychology of Atheism,” or as I sometimes like to call it, the Chewbacca argument.
This is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookie from the planet Kashyyyk. He is a gentle, hairy, intelligent, 7'3" being who speaks in a series of growls that are a mix of walrus, lion, camel, bear, rabbit, tiger, and badger that other people can understand.
This is Kashyyyk, Chewbacca’s home planet. As you can see, Wookies live in trees. Wookies however have an intelligent civilization.
This is Endor. It is a small moon that has in its orbit a space station the size of a small moon. Endor is the home of the Ewoks.
This is an Ewok. Ewoks are the indigenous species of Endor that live in redwood forests, are roughly one-meter tall hunter-gatherers with marginal intelligence. They speak a form of Mongolian called Kalmyk, which no one can understand until a TV special in the 80’s (which is only remembered as not being nearly as horrible as the Star Wars Christmas Special) happened where a little girl taught one to speak English. Now some have suggested that Chewbacca is in fact from the planet Endor. However, this is clearly absurd. As you can see, this simply does not make sense. Chewbacca is tall, has hair, and is intelligent. And grew up in a tree. So that should mean that he should come from a planet of walking teddy bears that speak Russian? So they can all operate an AT-ST together. This makes them distant cousins or something? No! Chewbacca living on Endor does not make sense.
This is an Afghani woman. She only has a 10% chance of being even remotely literate. Everything I just said has a very high probability of not making any sense whatsoever to this woman. Chewbacca living on Endor does not make sense. The sinking of the Titanic does not make sense. Why the inside of a 5,000-year-old boat looks cleaner than my basement does not make sense. None of these things makes sense. And if it doesn’t make sense, then that means reasonable doubt. Moreover, if there’s reasonable doubt, you must acquit. Finding Noah’s Ark having any impact what so ever on the impression people have on the Bible makes no sense. And that is very comforting. The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding. – Albert Camus If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Søren Kierkegaard All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite is not satisfied. For what advantage does the wise man have over the fool? What advantage does the poor man have, knowing how to walk before the living? What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind. Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with him who is stronger than he is. For there are many words which increase futility. What then is the advantage to a man? For who knows what is good for a man during his lifetime, during the few years of his futile life? He will spend them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will be after him under the sun? . . . For oppression makes a wise man mad, And a bribe corrupts the heart. The end of a matter is better than its beginning; Patience of spirit is better than haughtiness of spirit. . . Consider the work of God, For who is able to straighten what He has bent? In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him. . . I tested all this with wisdom, and I said, "I will be wise," but it was far from me. What has been is remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it? I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation, and to know the evil of folly and the foolishness of madness. And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her. "Behold, I have discovered this," says the Preacher, "adding one thing to another to find an explanation, which I am still seeking but have not found. I have found one man among a thousand, but I have not found a woman among all these. "Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices."
- Ecclesiastes 6:7-12; 7:7-8; 13-14; 23-29