As I noted in other articles, covering what TJ Steadman has to say about Nephilim and Rephaim and Anakim and “giants” is challenging partly through no fault of his own yet, partly though a fault of his.
No fault of his own since these issues are generally considered as a packaged deal which leads to a lot of material to handle from his book Answers to Giant Questions.
Fault of his own because he employs the undefined, subjective, generic, and vague English term “giants” to mean many things and so, sometimes means something about unusual height, sometimes meaning Nephilim, sometimes meaning Rephaim, sometimes meaning Anakim, etc.
Thus, in this case I thought to attempt to focus on his definition, description and usage of “giants.”
Before we reach the conclusion of this epic history of the giants, it is time for a reminder or perhaps a cautionary word regarding interpretation. The texts we have been reading are full of all kinds of symbols and imagery, letting us know plainly that we are not meant to take every word at literal face value. Certainly, to do so produces a simply incomprehensible account that is of little, if any value to us.
Knowing that so much of the text is symbolic, we must then guard ourselves against the error of explaining away the events that inspired the original symbols as being merely symbolic in and of themselves. As an example, we cannot use the man Adam as only a symbolic representation of the idea of humanity. Without the real Adam, there is no symbol. The use of Adam as a symbol has to be based on the existence of Adam as a fact.
It is interesting that TJ Steadman tends to offer cautions even whilst failing to be cautious regarding certain issues.
For example, indeed, some texts are “full of all kinds of symbols and imagery” but he will end up claiming that “giants” have something to do with unusual height and even seeks to specify what that height is, or those heights are.
But before you get lost in pondering giants in the Bible just keep in mind that there really is no biblical term for what most people, and especially most pop-researchers, are referring to by “giants”—which is along the lines of the stuff of which tall tales are made, which I contextually term theo-sci-fi. The Bible refers to some people who are “tall” or of “great stature” and tall” and of “great stature” are subjective—in this case, subjective to the average Israelite male who in those days was 5.0-5.3 ft (which means women were short than that, on average).
The issue with the common sense concept of not “explaining away the events that inspired the original symbols as being merely symbolic in and of themselves” is that along the way people do, in fact, just make up stuff out of whole cloth—or rather, out of moth-eaten cloth.
For example, if an explorer travels to a distant land and returns to present a report to the sovereigns who funded the exploration the explorer must sell the exploits or risk not being granted further funding.
Thus, if defeated, might as well claim defeat at the hand of “giants.” And if victorious, might as well claim victory against “giants.”
This is exactly the situation of the contextually relevant portion of Num 13 wherein 12 spies are sent to explore the land, 10 return with a tall tale about what they saw: a tall tale that is termed an “evil report” for which they were rebuked, by the way, you can hear my step by step consideration of this as the opening statement of my debate with TJ Steadman.
Furthermore, he wrote:
The Most High had laid out a plan for the purification of the world from the abomination of the giants. At the time of the dispersion of the nations from Babel, that plan began to unfold, and the dispersion itself was the first stage of a process that would slowly but surely result in God’s people being placed in a position to begin to draw the nations back to Yahweh.
Genesis 11 :8-9 “So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”
Deuteronomy 4: 19-20 “And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven. But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.”
Deuteronomy 32:8-9 (NETS) “When the Most High was apportioning nations, as he scattered Adam’s sons, he fixed the boundaries of nations according to the number of divine sons, and his people Iakob [Jacob] became the LORD’s portion, Israel a measured part of his inheritance.”
It is rather oddly anachronistic to claim that “the purification of the world from the abomination of the giants” took place “At the time of the dispersion of the nations from Babel” which is when “that plan” first “began to unfold” since that was post-flood and since Nephilim lived pre-flood and eight people and some animals survived the flood then that was when “a plan for the purification of the world from the abomination of the giants” was enacted.
Yet, note that the problem is that I am forced to guess that by “giants” he is referring to Nephilim—since even on TJ Steadman’s own particular, and peculiar, theory the only “giants” pre-Babel were Nephilim.
Now, he quotes three texts but did you notice that none of them make even one single statement about “a plan for the purification of the world from the abomination of the giants. At the time of the dispersion of the nations from Babel”?
Now, he goes on to help us define to what he was referring in a latter portion of his book wherein he writes, “Since the original giants after the Flood (Nimrod being the first of this kind) were normal living humans prior to their transformation at Babel, they already had their own body and spirit just like any normal person.”
We will pick it up from here in the next segment.
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