Thursday, October 22, 2015

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head

Reposting a couple of comments I left here:

steve hays 
You’re deliberately ignoring the fact that as a matter of observation and experience, people in Bible times could tell that rain came from rain clouds. Likewise, it might look as if the sky rests on mountains, but if you scaled the mountain, you wouldn’t bump your head against the sky. By the same token, it might look like a mountain range marked the end of the world, but many people had occasion to travel beyond the local mountain range.

You’re interpreting literary notices without regard to how ancient people actually experienced their environment. Your flat earth/3-story cosmography is simply inconsistent with what people back then were in a position to know.

This is an example of what I call deskbound exegesis. You have modern scholars who are out of touch with nature. But ancient people had to be keen observers of nature to survive.

steve hays 

“There is a difference between the ‘phenomenon’ of rain and the ‘explanation’ for the rain. As you point out, people can certainly observe that the appearance of a certain type of cloud presages rain and plan accordingly. This does not mean that they know where the rain comes from besides that it comes down from the sky through the clouds, just as a child can recognize the danger of fire without knowing the mechanics of combustion.”


Did ancient people never notice that it only rains on cloudy days? Never when the sky is clear? Did they never make the connection?

And it’s more than inference. There are times when you can see rainclouds on the horizon. Above the clouds, the sky is bright and clear. You can actually see rain coming from the clouds. It’s not coming from the sky through the clouds. The clouds are emitting the rain.

The sky above the clouds is clear. The sky below the clouds is dark, due to rain. You can see the sheets of rain at a distance, from an eye-level viewpoint. They obscure the sky behind the clouds and under the clouds, until the clouds dissipate.

There’s no rain between the sky and the clouds. Only rain beneath the clouds.

Likewise, you can be outside as rainclouds approach. At first it’s clear and dry overhead. When, however, the clouds are overhead, it begins to rain.

Do you really think ancient people were so clueless that they never made these elementary connections?

A lot of modern people are simply unobservant because they don’t live in the wild. Even if they go for a nature walk, they are glued to the display on their smartphones.

“Egyptian cosmogony has the body of the goddess Nut as a barrier between the order of our world and the surrounding chaos. The Babylonians had Tiamat, the ancient embodiment of the primordial waters, whose body forms the vault of heaven.”

And when “scientifically naive” people looked up at the sky, did they see the body of a naked woman overhead? Why does it not occur to you that that depiction is intentionally anthropomorphic?

“In Gen. 1:2, the spirit of God moves (or hovers) over the waters. What waters? Apparently it is this same primordial, universe-encompassing ocean that other ancient peoples envisioned. There is no world because God has yet to form it.”

The creation of the world begins in v1, not v2.

“And it was logically consistent within their experience. Ancient peoples were not stupid–they just didn’t have the storehouse of accumulated science which we take for granted and which colors our viewpoints.”

My arguments aren’t based on modern scientific knowledge, but on what any attentive, prescientific observer would be in a position to experience or notice.


  1. I just did a word search in the OT for verses with the words "cloud" and "rain" and the Bible program came up with the following verses. It seems like many OT writers understood that clouds contain the water from rain.

    11:3 If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth; and if a tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there shall it be.

    1 Kings
    18:44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a cloud out of the sea, as small as a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Make ready [thy chariot], and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.
    18:45 And it came to pass in a little while, that the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel:

    16:15 In the light of the king's countenance is life; And his favor is as a cloud of the latter rain.
    25:14 [As] clouds and wind without rain, [So is] he that boasteth himself of his gifts falsely.

    5:6 and I will lay it waste; it shall not be pruned nor hoed; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

    1. The bible also describes mists and understand their connection with moisture and water. ANE cultures were also aware of fogs and morning dew. And how fog can make your skin and clothing moist. They saw evaporation of sweat from their skin and how boiling pots of water would reduce to the degree steam was formed from the pot. In fact, they could take an object (like a knife) and place it in a directed pressurized stream of steam from a covered pot and see the object literally get wet. Not that all culture or individuals understood the connection between water and steam/mist, but it wouldn't have been difficult to figure out.

      The following are two passages that refer to mists and their connection with water. There are also numerous passages dealing with dew, but I'm too lazy to search and post them.

      2:6 but there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

      2 Peter
      2:17 These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved.