Herein continues a series considering that which TJ Steadman wrote about the flood and Rephaim as Nephilim 2.0.
You can find all of my articles regarding TJ Steadman here.
However, avoidance of these questions and their associated issues will lead to other problems. We have already seen that the avoidance of giants in the pre-Flood world raises the question of how God might justify the destruction of that world and its inhabitants.
Similarly, writing off the post-Flood accounts of giants causes further problems, notably the issue of the apparent genocides committed by the Israelites at the command of God in the conquest of Canaan.
Indeed, avoidance leads to other problems as much as does turning them into theo-sci-fi.
The “giants in the pre-Flood world” were Nephilim and the “post-Flood accounts of giants” are accounts of Rephaim.
We should not chase the English word “giants” around a Hebrew Bible: Nephilim were strictly pre-flood hybrids, the Rephaim were strictly post-flood humans and there is no relation between them.
But what of “the apparent genocides”? Well, I have a whole chapter, titled “Herem: Were Post-Flood Nephilim Dedicated to Destruction?,” just on that issue in my book What Does the Bible Say About Giants and Nephilim?: the bottom line is that God tells us many times why He is commanding such things and never states one single word about Nephilim nor relation to them—never, ever.
TJ Steadman seeks the escape-claus-loophole of asserting that Rephaim are Nephilim 2.0 who were all but manufactured by Nimrod but such is the stuff of which theo-sci-fi is made.
The deeper problem is what will happen when TJ Steadman—and essentially all pop-researchers (see my book Nephilim and Giants As Per Pop-Researchers) tell people that it is okay, since they were just wiping out post-flood Nephilim (because, apparently, the flood did not do that) but anyone can see that such is not the case. Thus, this is a case of creating problems under the semblance of solving them.
He goes on to note:
If we take the responsible approach, we are forced to take the Biblical account in its entirety quite seriously. That implies thinking about by what possible means these difficult passages might be reconciled after we have done the Word of God the simple dignity of seeking the best translation.
Then we must consider any possible explanation of the existence of giants after the Flood, and the relationship they might have to those mentioned prior to the Flood. As ignorance tends to create more problems than it solves, the hope is that by carefully expounding the Scriptures we may arrive at a solution.
The idea of the floodwaters coming from the “fountains of the great deep” is meant to indicate that the Flood was of supernatural origin, and that the power responsible for releasing such destructive force may have been a malevolent entity compelled by God to carry out His will. It does not mean that we should expect to find vast reserves of water deep in the core of a supposedly hollow earth.
Indeed, the responsible approach is that which he noted. I am not aiming this, as it were, at him specifically but be careful since sometimes, “seeking the best translation” is used to mean seeking the ones that already state what one wants to hear—such as one that peppers the word “giant” through the Bible and leaves one to pour preconceived, fairytale spiked, meaning(s) into it.
As for “the existence of giants after the Flood”: the first question is “What do you mean by ‘giants’?”
Nephilim did not exist post-flood and Rephaim did because of well, the birds and the bees.
Again, he thinks that Rephaim are a post-flood name for Nephilim but he actually argues that the one and only verse that refers to Nephilim post-flood—the rebuked evil report—was actually edited by a redactor during the Babylonian captivity (even though there is no manuscript evidence of such a claim)—centuries after the Torah was written—so, apparently, we do not and cannot actually know what the rebuked spies stated.
As for “the relationship they might have to those mentioned prior to the Flood”:
1) there is no relationship between Rephaim and Nephilim (and no, you cannot even get that if you actually believe the rebuked evil report).
2) the relationship is one of reference, the rebuked spies referred to Nephilim and claimed to have seen them (the Israelites did not) so the relation is one in name only like conjuring up a boogey man in order to concoct a “Don’t go in the woods” style fear mongering scare tactic tall tale.
As for “may have been a malevolent entity compelled by God,” what we are told is, “I will destroy…I will destroy…I Myself am bringing floodwaters…I will cause it to rain…He destroyed” (Gen 6:7, 13, 17, 7:4, 23).
Ironic that he refers to creating more problems than one is solving.
The issue of floodwaters is fascinating as it serves as a very telling example of how TJ Steadman appears to cross the line into actually accepting Pagan mythology as is and then using it to interpret or re-interpret or mis-interpret the Bible—I know that he is cautious about not doing any such thing and I am just offering word of caution to a brother.
You see, in the ANE the abyss/absu was the watery chaos. Thus, he is reading the biblical reference to water coming from the fountains of the great deep as maybe coming from a malevolent entity who would dwell in that chaos and brought chaos to Earth.
Now, note the well, what I will call manipulation whereby he refers to “a supposedly hollow earth” which I also noticed when he refers to that “The Greeks described Tartarus as being under the earth, but that is not meant to be understood in terms of literal ‘flat earth’ geography” and “The Abyss is no more a physical place than the earth is flat” so that the trigger is to get us to think that since we do not want to be associated with a hollow or flat Earth then we must reject water coming from the fountains of the great deep and Tartarus being under the Earth (in the Earth, actually)— I would pay cash money to hear a debate between an hollow-Earther and a flat-Earther!!!
So, we should not expect to find vast reserves of water deep in the core of a supposedly hollow earth but why qualify that statement with “core” and “hollow”? Why not tells us to not expect to find vast reserves of water deep beneath the Earth’s surface?
The simple fact, that we now know more that it ever was in the past, is that there are, in very point of fact, many reserves of water deep beneath the Earth’s surface.
Thus, perhaps at sometime in the past someone, maybe even a Bible believers, thought that water coming from the fountains of the great deep must have been symbolic but we know that it is as literal as it gets: the floodwaters were a combination of rain and water coming from the fountains of the great deep.
We will pick it up from here in the next segment.
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