16 December, 2018

13. The Dome and Genesis Cosmology, part 1


13. The Dome and Genesis Cosmology, part 1



And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky.
—Genesis 1:6-8

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the sky, the abode of the stars, is described as a “rakia”; that is, a rigid, broad, solid plate possessing a certain thickness.[1] Many scholars believe that cosmology in ancient cultures (including Israel's) is accurately reflected in the picture above: a flat earth with a dome "sky," the underworld located underground (hence, it's name), and water (or ice) above our solar system.

Strangely enough, this is a hotter-than-Gehenna topic.

Why?

My first guessbecause this:
"The Holy Spirit so dominated and guided the minds and pens of those who wrote (the Bible) as to make their writings free from mistakes of any and all kinds, whether it be mistakes of history or chronology or botany or biology or astronomy, or mistakes as to moral and spiritual truth pertaining to God or man, in time or eternity." Wilbur F. Tillett, The Abingdon Bible Commentary.
Wow.

If you haven't read Heremeneutics 1.0 yet, now would be a good time. If you have, what can you discern from the above?

Yup. Eisegesis.

For those not familiar with exegesis, it is basically a presupposition, a belief you already hold to be true. But a supposition is not a fact.

While Tillet was alive, he likely believed 2 Timothy 3:16-17 was his go-to verse to support his supposition (if you read Heremeneutics 5.0, you'll remember that every Protestant believes Scripture supports their supposition, despite the overwhelming number of opposing Protestant doctrines). 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17 
So the million dollar question is: What did Paul, a 2nd Temple Jewish Rabbi, mean when he penned these verses? Did he mean that all Scripture was useful for teaching botany, biology, and astronomy? That the Genesis account of creation conformed to 21st century post-Enlightenment standards?

Let's combine Tillet's supposition and 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (in bold), with additional text to make it flow in parenthesis:

All scripture is God-breathed, (which means that) the Holy Spirit so dominated and guided the minds and pens of those who wrote the Bible as to make their writings free from mistakes of any and all kinds, so that it is useful for teaching history (and) chronology (and) botany (and) biology (and) astronomy, (and for) rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (all) moral and spiritual truth pertaining to God or man, in time or eternity, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.



So...do you think that's what Paul meant?

In the context of 2nd Temple Judaism and the 1st Century culture, is it possible that Paul more likely  meant something like this?

All scripture is God-breathed, so that it is useful for teaching moral and spiritual truth pertaining to God or man, in time or eternity, (and) rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Tillet's presupposition forces a 21st century, post-Enlightenment definition onto a 2000-year-old text that was written with the express purpose of saving your soul, not to teach you scientifically accurate cosmology (like we know what that is anyway, just ask Pluto).

The Holy Spirit didn't give a flip whether Moses believed the earth was flat or the sky was a dome as long as he believed it was created by God, that it didn't pop into existence without a first cause, and that it wasn't birthed by a primordial sea god or goddess.

What is your opinion on Tillet's commentaryTruth or Supposition?
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Photo Credit: Michael Paukner © All Rights Reserved / Emperor's New Groove: Fair Use

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