"...but try the spirits whether they are of God..." (1 Jno. 4:1)


Volume Five, Number Two Summer 1997


A Wild Leap Of Imagination

Jerry D. McDonald

Is that it? Is that all he has? If you are thinking to yourself: "Man that was the wildest leap of imagination I have ever see" you are right. I thought that Mr. Till was going to prove that the Genesis 6:1-2 made allusion to angels coming down from heaven and having marriages with human beings that produced giants. Alas all I saw was that he proved the writer of Jubilees and the writers of 1 Enoch (as well as other pseudepigraphic works) believed that this happened. Where did he prove that the writer of Genesis was making allusion to this myth? Unless I missed it, he didn't. I did not miss it, because it wasn't there. I read the article very closely from beginning to end; I set it up on the computer. He said that I am going "to pooh-pooh everything [he] said in [his] analysis." What analysis? All he did was to analyze the writings of certain pseudepigrapha authors. Then he leaped over and said: "I have established that Genesis 6:1-2 alludes to an ancient myth that was still believed by some when the Bible was written."

There were several things in my article that he didn't even bother to respond to. He excuses himself from this obligation by writing: "McDonald said many things in his 'rebuttal' that I could comment on, but rather than do that, I am simply going to compare Genesis 6:1-4 to pseudepigraphic texts that contain 'striking parallels.'" This, he thinks, absolves himself of any responsibility to respond to my remarks. However, we will not let him get away with such. Instead we will hold his feet to the fire on those "things" that were in my rebuttal.

Things To Which Till Refused To Respond

1. Mr. Till made an argument on the phrase "beni ha-elohim" by which he attempted to show that the phrase had to refer to "angels." He argued that Job 1:5 and 2:1 had to have reference to "celestial beings" because Job 38:7 had reference to such. Then he argued (or rather assumed) that Genesis 6:1-4 also had to have reference to such. I pointed out that the phrase did mean "celestial beings" in Job 38:7, but that did not necessitate that the phrase in all other places refer to such. I argued that you had to take the phrase in the verse and context in which it was written. The phrase simply means "the sons of God." The context, and only the context, will determine whether the reference is to angels or to humans who are faithful to God. Mr. Till simply ignored all of that which is actually worse than "pooh-poohing" what I said. If he would "pooh-pooh" what I said, he would at least acknowledge that I made such an argument. However, he just ignored my arguments.

2. In defending his arguments on the phrase "beni ha-elohim" he told us that Job 1:2 and 2:7 necessitated the reference to angels because "'Satan went forth from the presence of Yahweh (1:2; 2:7). To the Hebrew mind, 'the presence of Yahweh' would have been a location in heaven where Yahweh sat on his throne" and gave several scriptures to prop up his flimsey assumption. However, I clearly proved that to the Hebrew mind there were many places where God met with his people. He said nothing in response to my rebuttal. One can only wonder why!

3. Mr. Till ridiculed the Bible and called it mythological because it teaches the existence of giants. He gave several scriptures which spoke of giants such as Goliath. Then he wrote: "Many post-KJV translations have attempted to veil these superstitious allusions to giants...". In response, I pointed to the actual existence of giants and quoted the World Book as to the cause of giantism. I pointed to the difference between the giants of the book of 1 Enoch and the giants of the Bible. The giants of 1 Enoch were 450 ft tall, while the Bible giants were anywhere from 9 ft tall to over 13 ft tall. Mr. Till decided that this was too infinitesimal to merit his attention, so he simply skipped over that one too.

4. He argued that Jude 6,7 spoke of angels being chained in darkness to await judgment because of their sexual immorality with humans. I pointed out that neither passage taught any such thing. He used the NRSV which he thought made the passage clearer, but I showed that the KJV actually made it the clearest. The KJV says: "And the Angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities round about them, in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication...". The phrase giving themselves over to fornication has no reference to the angels who were reserved in darkness. They were reserved in darkness like those from Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities round about them, giving themselves over to fornication. Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves over to fornication and the so did the cities around them. However, there is no reference to angels giving themselves over to fornication. They were reserved in darkness to await judgement just like those of those cities who had committed fornication. But Mr. Till just sort of forgot to respond to my remarks on that.

I also showed that 2 Peter 2:4-10 was saying that the angels would be punished for despising God's government, for being self-willed and not being afraid to speak evil of dignities. Mr. Till did not respond to that one either.

Now those were four major points that he should have responded to, but didn't. As I previously said, one can only wonder why!

Well, what did he respond to? Not very much I'm afraid, but there were a couple of things I said that he did respond to so now we will look at his article. I am going to do things differently than he did. I am going to respond to his article point-by-point, and hopefully he will see how debating should be done.

[1] He complained because I said that he said that there were "striking similarities between Genesis 6:1-4 and the book of 1Enoch. He said he didn't say that. He said, "I said that 'the similarity of Genesis 6:1 and 1 Enoch 6:1 is so striking that it cannot be lightly dismissed'". Well pardon me Farrell. I was using the phrase "the book of 1 Enoch the same way you were when you wrote: "A striking but enlightening parallel to Genesis 6:1-4 can be found in the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch:" ("If It Walks Like A Duck", Challenge, Summer 1993, p.3). I understand that you were not saying that Genesis 6:1-4 was parallel with the whole book of 1 Enoch, and I thought you would have enough sense to know that too. However, when I assume that you are intelligent enough to read between the lines and figure out what I was saying, you come along and shoot that assumption down the drain. I'm sorry that you were not intelligent enough to figure it out. Next time I will spell it all out for you, or maybe I will draw you a picture. Do you think that you might figure it out then? I was comparing Genesis 6:1-4 with 1 Enoch 6:1-4. Ok? Reader, I am sorry to have to bore you with all of that, but it seems that Mr. Till is not able to understand a simple statement like what I made. Well...that's just the way he is.

He says that he sees no need to argue with a signpost. Well, I believe that I could have a more intelligent argument with a signpost than I could with him.

He quoted Genesis 6:1-2; 1 Enoch 6:1-2 and Jubilees 5:1 and attempted to show that simply because the same phrases were used in these three works that they were "strikingly similar" therefore they must have been talking about the same thing. Well, Mr. Till no one denies that they all have similar words used in them. However, I can provide passages of scriptures which have the same phrases used in them, but that doesn't mean that they all have reference to the same thing. Example: Acts 2:20 says: "The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood." However, Revelation 6:12 says: "the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." Yet, no one with any knowledge of the Bible would say that "they are strikingly similar, therefore they have to be talking about the same thing." Now let me throw another "monkey in the wrench" so to speak. Matthew 24:29 says: "the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light." Now I realize this passage does not say that the moon would be turned into blood, but it simply says that it would not giver he light, but if the moon was turned into blood it would not give its light.

Now, shall we say that all three of these passages are strikingly similar, thus they must be talking about the same thing? NO! If Mr. Till knows half as much about the Bible as he pretends to, he will know that Acts 2:20 is using figurative language to show that the church's coming into its established state was noticed by all. However, Revelation 6:12 shows a vision that John had to show that Christ was going to come in judgement upon the evil-doers who had killed the saints; namely the Roman Empire. And Matthew 24:29 discusses the fall of Jerusalem. Virtually the same phraseology is used in two of them and some of it used in the third, yet none of them were discussing the same thing. So be careful about paralleling things simply because the same phrases are used in both.

Now I pointed out in my rebuttal what kept 1 Enoch from being strikingly similar to Genesis 6:1-4, and had Mr. Till bothered to respond to them, he would have seen why I made the statement that I made. [1] 1 Enoch has 200 angels taking an oath to carry out a proposal to have sex with human females, the Bible records no such thing. [2] These angels teach the human women about incantations, medicines and roots while the Bible mentions nothing of the sort. [3] 1 Enoch speaks of the people of the earth feeding the giants until they were filled, while the Bible teaches no such thing. [4] 1 Enoch talks about the giants eating these people while the Bible mentions nothing about it. [5] The giants in 1 Enoch were 450 ft tall while the giants mentioned in the Bible were only 9 ft to over 13 ft tall. [6] 1 Enoch speaks about angels while the Bible speaks about humans (the sons of God). [7] 1 Enoch states that the giants were the result of angels cohabiting with human women, while the Bible makes no such claim. The Bible speaks of giants, but they were the result of human men marrying human women, and when one considers the reasons for giantism it can be seen that there would be no problem with mortal men siring offspring who would later become giants. That is why I say that the only similarity between them is that giants were mentioned in both, but when one takes into consideration what 1 Enoch calls a giant and what the Bible calls a giant it can be seen that they are not similar either.

Had Mr. Till bothered to respond to my article, he would have seen why I said what I said. Instead, he ridicules me and says: "Surely, he didn't look very hard if the mentioning of giants (later referred to in both texts) was the only similarity he could see." He says that I don't want to see the striking parallels, but I say that he doesn't want to see that there are no parallels. Why? Simple, he doesn't want to see anything that will in any way damage his cherished belief that the Bible is not the verbally inspired, inerrant word of this omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent deity that I believe in.

[2] He rightly states that I do not believe that Jude didn't quote 1 Enoch. While I don't doubt that Enoch spoke what is attributed to him, I do not believe that Jude got his quotation from the book we know as 1 Enoch. However, for Mr. Till to say that the only reason I take this position is because I know that if I say that Jude quoted the book of 1 Enoch here I would put myself "in the embarrassing position of having to defend the inspiration of the whole book of 1 Enoch" is totally absurd. I showed in my article: "It's Not Necessarily A Duck" that Biblical writers did sometimes quote secular works and gave two examples of such: Acts 17:28 and Tit. 1:12. I do not believe that I would have to defend everything that those writers wrote, so why would I have to defend everything in the book of 1st Enoch, especially since Mr. Till will admit that it is a foregone conclusion that Enoch did not write the book of 1 Enoch nor did he say or write everything in it.

Let's, just for the sake of argument, say that Jude did quote 1 Enoch 1:9. Would it have been impossible for Enoch to have made this statement, then it be handed down from one generation to another (maybe in written form), then the Holy Spirit have Jude to use this quotation? Will Mr. Till contend that Paul's quotations in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12 mean that Paul did not receive the authority to write these things from the Holy Spirit? Does that mean that the Holy Spirit did not tell Paul to quote those works? No! Does that mean that I have to defend the inspiration of everything else those people wrote or said? No! I think that the same goes for this. If (and I said IF) Jude did quote 1 Enoch 1:9 then it would be no different than Paul's quotations in Acts 17:28 and Titus 1:12. I just don't see the evidence for the idea that Jude quoted the book of 1 Enoch. All that I see is what some liberal or atheist writes in their efforts to destroy the credibility of the Bible. They say that 1 Enoch was written before the New Testament was, but where is the evidence?

Till said that Charlesworth (a liberal who does not believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures and who, from what I can see, is only steps away from outright atheism) said that some sections of the book were as old as the pre-Maccabean age and that he dated as "'pre-Christian' the introductory chapters from which Jude took the disputed quotation" by which he (Till) infers that 1 Enoch 1:9 was as old as the rest of those chapters. Isn't it at least possible that sections which later became the contents of 1 Enoch were written before the New Testament and that the book was not complete until sometime between the 1st and 3rd century A.D. and that the writer(s) and/or compiler(s) of this book copied Jude 14 and added it to the Book of 1 Enoch before it was compiled?

Till once stated that when one asserted something to be true and if the rebutter brought up another possible explanation that it would remain a possiblility until the affirmant destroyed the possibility. Till has asserted that Jude quoted 1 Enoch 1:9 because they both say the same thing. I offer the possibility that the compiler(s) of 1 Enoch quoted Jude 14 while compiling and writing the book which we know as 1 Enoch. The earliest copy of the book we have is dated between the 1st and 3rd centuries A.D.

I don't know of a single early church father who said that the whole book of 1 Enoch was written (or completed) before the New Testament was. I went through the works that I have and the ISBE stated that Tertullian (who lived in the 3rd century A.D.) was familiar with 1 Enoch but nothing was said about him holding it in high regard or high esteem. I realize that Issac and Charlesworth both said he did, but where is their proof? Both were liberals who did not believe in the inerrancy of the scriptures. Show me someone who believes in the inerrancy of the Bible who contends for such. I am not going to listen to liberals (who were just steps away from atheism) any more than I will listen to an atheist.

Till brings up men like Charlesworth and Issac, who obviously are respected in the liberal, skeptical and atheistic camps, and expects us to swoon when their names are mentioned. Well, let me rain on his parade: "They are not respected among Bible believers!" We know of them, but we do not hold them in high esteem. Maybe that is how Tertullian felt about 1 Enoch; he knew of it, but did not hold it in high esteem. Just because Charlesworth says something, does not mean that I am going to accept it. That is as ridiculous as saying: "Carl Sagan said it, that settles it." Carl Sagan saying something means absolutely nothing to me. It means nothing to other Bible believers either. Mr. Till says that we preachers preach to gullible pulpit audiences who will accept almost anything. Well, the only problem with that is that they won't accept what he teaches. He used to think that the members at Sullivan would just accept anything. He thought that he was going to be able to go down there (in 1991) and show them a few places in the Bible (that he was sure they had never seen before) and just sweep them off of their feet. However, before that debate was over with he began to realize that Christians may be gullible, but they are not gullible enough to accept the garbage that he was preaching. Most of them wouldn't even step out their back door to hear him preach again. So they are not so gullible after all, are they? In my circles we have people we respect and hold in high esteem; but in Till's circles they are not so held. In his circles he has people that he (and others like him) hold in high esteem, but in my circles, they are nothing but jokes. So his bringing up Charlesworth and Issac has no impact upon believers at all. The only people they influence are the weak, the liberal, the skeptic and the atheist. A strong Christian looks at what they say and checks it out against the evidence to see if what they say is true. The weak, the liberal, the skeptic and the atheist takes it for granted (because he is well-known) that he is right and never checks it out. We are like those of Berea who "were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). Till doesn't really like it because we do question them, but we are not so gullible as to accept every thing that comes along.

[3] Till brings up Jude's mentioning the dispute between Michael the Archangel and Satan over the body of Moses and states that Jude copied this from the pseudepicraphic work known as the Assumption of Moses. Again, where is his proof that this was done in this way? Why isn't it possible that the writer(s) of the Assumption of Moses copied this from Jude's work?

[4] He goes back to talking about the so-called similarity between Genesis 6:1-2 and 1 Enoch 6:1-2 and Jubilees 5:1. He says that we have been able to circumvent this so-called problem by giving an interpretation that excluded angels. We didn't circumvent anything at all. I have already shown that the phrase "beni ha-elohim" did not necessarily have reference to angels. He tried to show that because it did in Job 38:7 that it had to in every other place where it is used. I simply showed this to be false. I also showed that the giants of Genesis 6:4 were simply the result of human reproduction. I showed what caused giantism and that the giants of the Bible were not any where near 450 ft. tall. I showed that the Bible does mention giants, but they were between 9 and 13 feet tall. Such is not an impossibility, but Farrell did not even bother responding to such. The only reason that these people have for teaching that Genesis 6:1-4 has reference to the same thing as 1 Enoch 6:1ff and Jubilees 5:1 is because they have an agenda. They have formed a conclusion: "The Bible is not the inspired word of God." Now they must formulate a premise to fit the conclusion. So they bring up anything that they can. They find pseudepigrapha works which have similar words as Genesis 6:1ff and they say: "Ah ha, we have found where the Bible has mythology in it." When one looks at the contexts of these three works, it can be seen that they are not of the same source and they do not refer to the same thing. One must remember what I brought up earlier. Is Mr. Till willing to say that Acts 2:20 and Rev. 6:12 are both referring to the same thing? They both have the same words used in them, but they are referring to different events.

Mr. Till can juxtapose and integrate all these passages he wants to, but that does not mean that they all are of the same origin and all have reference to the same thing. I believe that the pseudepigraphic writers (whoever they were) were referring to a distortion of the truth which turned into a myth. I believe that Genesis 6:1ff records what really happened and all these others were referring to a myth about angels marrying women and producing a race of giants which grew to somewhere around 450 ft. tall. These works are obviously mythological. They refer to angels marrying women. Where else (other than Genesis 6:1-4) is it mentioned in the Bible that angels came down and had sex with human women? He tried to argue that Jude 6 and 7 spoke of this, but I showed that these were saying that the cities around Sodom and Gomorrah gave themselves over to fornication like Sodom and Gomorrah did, and that the angels were punished as they were. I also showed that 2 Pet. 2:4-10 had nothing to say about angels committing fornication, but rather were punished for despising God's government, being self-willed, etc. He did not respond to either. So where else does the Bible speak of this myth? It doesn't. The Bible simply states that the sons of God (humans who followed God) were led astray by marrying to the daughters of men. Isn't this exactly what happened to Solomon? Didn't he marry the daughters of men and was thereby led astray from God?

He wanted to put his position to the test of Occam's razor, so let's do it. Which is more likely, that Genesis 6:1ff, 1 Enoch 6:1ff and Jubilees 5:1 and all other pseudephigraphic writers were all referring to a myth? Or is it more likely, that Genesis 6:1ff was referring to a time in man's history when man fell away from God which over a period of time was distorted and a myth was born about angels having sex with human women and producing a race of giants, then these pseudepigraphal writers all wrote of the myth which was circulated among them? I believe that the second is more likely. I believe that Occam's razor shows this to be true. Where did the myth get started? It had to start some where. Myths usually got started to explain something that the ancients could not explain. Myths about giants being the result of relations between angels and human women were formulated because at least some of these people could not explain the existence of giants. Giants did exist in the land, they were there, they were real. Some could not explain their existence so they formulated a myth about this, mixed some truth with it (the time of the event) and passed it down to succeeding generations. All these pseudepigraphal writers wrote of this myth. However, God gave to us the true account of what happened. The Bible nowhere states that these giants were the result of angels marrying human women or of the sons of God being disobedient in marrying the daughters of men. The Bible simply says: "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare [children] to them, the same [became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4). This does not teach that these giants were the result of these relationships, but it is simply a statement of fact. There were giants in the earth in those days. In what days? In the days that the sons of God saw the daughters of men and took to themselves wives of all that they chose. The giants were already there. They were not the result of those unions. They were there at the time that the unions took place. This is what the Bible teaches. Jubilee 5:1 says: "...the angels of the LORD saw in a certain year of the jubilee that they (the daughters of men) were good to look at. And they took wives for themselves from all those whom they chose. And they bore children unto them; and they were giants." There is a vast difference between that and what the Bible says. The Bible says that at the time of the unions between the sons of God and the daughters of men that the giants were already there. It also says that the babies that were born to these unions (between the sons of God and the daughters of men) "[became] mighty men which [were] of old, men of renown" (Genesis 6:4). Tell me, what would be so impossible about mere human beings becoming mighty men? Didn't David have his mighty men? Were they giants? What would be so impossible about these men being men of renown (or men who were known far and wide)? Would they have to be giants?

Only one who has an agenda or those who are weak and have not studied the issue would even think about making Genesis 6:1-4 mythology. Occam's razor defeats Till as it does on everything else that Till uses it on.

He finally closes with this parting shot: "True biblical scholars abandoned the myth of verbal inspiration long ago." Verbal inspiration is no myth and true Biblical scholars still hold to it. As I pointed out in my last article, intimidation is a big thing with atheists. If they can intimidate you then they can win you over to their side and can and will tell you what to believe for the rest of your life. They don't want someone who will think for himself or who will question the status quo. They want people to be impressed with their so-called scholarship and will blindly follow them where ever they lead. People, I want you to examine the truth. Truth has no reason to fear examination. As Thomas Campbell once said that truth is like a lamp, the more you rub it the brighter it shines. Farrell wants people to think that he can't get anyone to debate him, but the truth is he is getting people to debate him. He has had debates with church of Christ preachers like Bill Jackson, Mac Deaver, myself, Jerry Moffitt, Buster Dobbs, Bill Lockwood and others. He has met men such as Norman Geisler from other religious organizations. However, with all that he still complains about not being able to get anyone to debate him. He does this because he knows that most will not check it out to see if what he is telling is the truth. He wants you to follow him blindly. I say, check it out! You will certainly find that over the last 7 years or so, preachers from the church of Christ have kept him hopping with debates, both in the written and oral platform. I have debated him in both platforms as have others in the brotherhood. We are not afraid of him. He and I have had discussions on both his internet discussion list as well as mine. So for him to claim that we won't debate him is, at best, stretching the truth, or maybe it is another one of his great leaps of imagination. He can say pretty much anything he wants to in The Skeptical Review because it is his paper. However, he knows that his claim just isn't true.

He says: "I believe that I have established that Genesis 6:1-2 alludes to an ancient myth that was still believed by some when the Bible was written." Well, he didn't prove it by the arguments he made in his article in this issue. All that was, was a wild leap of Mr. Till's overactive imagination. All I ask is that the reader go back and read the previous exchange and this exchange and I believe that you will too come to the conclusion that his arguments are nothing more than "a wild leap of imagination."


CHALLENGE is published quarterly by Challenge Publications.
Jerry D. McDonald, Editor; Michael P. Hughes, Associate Editor.


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