Saturday, February 20, 2016

Clarification for Reader: More on the Destruction in 3 Nephi – Part II

Continuing with this reader’s comments regarding our earlier posts on answering the ones regarding the destruction listed in 3 Nephi. 
2b. “If I were in Nephi's shoes describing the events that happened, one of the first things I would mention was that the ocean was gone! He didn't say that. He only said that mountains rose up in the place of valleys and didn't say anything about water.”
Some cities were burned, others sunk, some were toppled to the ground and others were buried in the ground
    Response: Again, it was not the Disciple Nephi writing this information. We have it only from Samuel the Lamanite regarding the extent of the devastation. Nephi concentrated on the destruction of cities and people, as did the Lord when He said what He had done (3 Nephi 8 and 9). It was the elimination of the evil Nephites of the time that survived the abridgements, not the geography.
3. “As you pointed out, Moroni is the only city that is named in 3 Nephi that was "sunk in the depths of the sea" (the East Sea). So in 4 Nephi 1:9 when it says that many cities could not be renewed because they had been sunk and water rose up in the stead thereof, we know that Moroni and others were still under water at least 26 years after the destruction (not mud or mountains). He specifically says that they were not rebuilt because they were under water.”
    Response: The actual scriptures are: 1) “And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned” (3 Nephi 8:9, 9:4); and 2) “But there were many cities which had been sunk, and waters came up in the stead thereof; therefore these cities could not be renewed” (4 Nephi 1:9). The city of Moroni is mentioned only twice in 3 Nephi, and not at all in 4 Nephi, in regard to this destruction. Both times it says the same thing, i.e., “And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned” (3 Nephi 8:9; 9:4). In 4 Nephi, it says, “But there were many cities which had been sunk, and waters came up in the stead thereof; therefore these cities could not be renewed” (4 Nephi 1:9). However, it does not specifically name “Moroni” as one of those cities that could not be renewed, but assuming it is included, the scripture does not tell us the city remained sunk, or the reason it could not later be renewed. We can assume it was sunk and being sunk, could not be renewed. Or we can assume it meant the city was sunk, washed away, broken up, buried in the bottom mud or when the waters receded, it was damaged or broken up beyond repair. Or that water remained atop of it, or inundated it, or completely destroyed it so there was no more city to be rebuilt—various possibilities were covered earlier on this. The point is, we cannot say arbitrarily that the city “sunk into the depths of the sea” and remained in the “depths of the sea” beyond that destruction period. We simply do not know.
    In addition, if the mountains came up on the land side of the city of Moroni, which was built along the coast, the city could have been toppled into the depths of the sea and washed away with the sea as it receded across the land.
    Speculating on this matter is fruitless—almost any scenario, certainly several, could be made to fit.
3a. “If a tidal wave or tsunami had hit, the water would not have remained "in the stead thereof." Waves recede or the water would evaporate or absorb into the ground.”
Response: First of all, the reason tidal waves or tsunamis drain back into the sea is because the land upon which the wave strikes is higher than sea level, thus the water, over time, would drain back into the sea—usually fairly quickly. However, if the land beyond the initial strike zone were lower than sea level, a basin, etc., or at least lower than the land between, then that area would not drain back into the sea, but remain trapped “in the stead thereof.”
    Secondly, “in the stead thereof” means, according to Webster 1828, “to fill the place of another.” So, if you remove the city and put water in its place, it does not necessarily mean that the city is still where it was originally. Realistically, to sink a city into the sea would require some type of physical land action, i.e., sinking of the land, displacement of the land, removal in some way of the land, etc., so the city could sink downward. We cannot assume our knowledge of the details is how it happened, since land movement is not that simple—it may look simple and sound simple, but a lot of things are required for matter to be displaced—I am sure that after this earth life and after the resurrection, we will be forever learning how such things are done and can be done.
3b. “Especially on the west of the Andes which is quite dry.”
    Response: The city was likely on the east of the Andes, which is just the opposite.
3c. “It is unlikely that water from a single wave would have remained for 26+ years in such a climate.”
White area within outline of South America is the Andes; Gray area is the basins (very low level plains); and the Black areas are the cratons, an old and stable part of the continental lithosphere (crust, upper mantle, rock), the solid area higher than the basins
    Response: first of all, we are talking about the east side of the Andes, where the Sea East would have been located. The Andean uplift is a physical land-based areas all along the Andean range in the east cordillera that spreads westward to the west cordillera. It is like a tectonic plate, only it is a tectonic uplift, i.e., a tectonic uplift is the portion of the total geologic uplift of the mean Earth surface that is not attributable to an isostatic (equilibrium) response to uploading (raising endogenous land from with Earth’s crustal thickening upward like mountains or general land forms where they are exposed to exogenous processes of weather, erosion and mass wasting, i.e., denudation).
Yellow Arrow: the City of Moroni could have been on the east side of the rise of the Andes, i.e., between the mountain rise and the Sea East. This, as (White Arrow) mountain rose upward, the city would have slid off into the seas
    By the way, there is a limit to vertical mountain growth because of nappe stacking that can continue only for so long. In the case of the Andes, especially the way they were formed in a sudden movement upward where the preserved inverted metamorphic gradient indicates that nappes were actually stacked on top of each other so quickly, that hot rocks did not have time to equilibrate before being thrust on top of cool rocks.
    The point is, no one is saying this was done from a tsunami or single wave. If anything, the concept of the Andes rising so quickly would have displaced a lot of water along the eastern coast of the Land of Promise that sent the water in several directions—that moving toward the city of Moroni could have inundated it; however, the city “sunk” and was not simply covered. Thus, the tectonic plates, and the “Andean Uplift” brought up the Mountains that titled the continent downward to the east and any water east of the new mountains would have moved off in that direction,
3d. “Or it would have drained off to the west coast as you pointed out with all of the rivers.”
    Response: Only waters left on the west side,in the foothills, or high valleys that sought a drainage would have formed the numerous rivers we find today along the west coastal plain of South America. The waters on the east side would have moved back around the eastern cratons into the Atlantic Ocean as it is today.
3e. “But the water was still there according to Nephi.”
    Response: That is an assumption. The language used could imply that, but mostly it states at the time of the destruction the water remained, which again rules out tsunami or a single wave, but not uplift movement of water.
3f. “Moroni was sunk in the East Sea and remained under the East Sea…”
    Response: Another assumption. This is as much a possibility as any other scenario, but not a cast-in-concrete, knolwable fact.
3g. “…where it could not be renewed.”
    Response: Once again, the renewals took place in 4 Nephi in which the city of Moroni is not specifically mentioned.
3h. “Saying that water buried it and then gave way to a mountain in three hours is not part of the scriptural record.”
    Response: Neither is the statement that “Moroni was sunk in the East Sea and remained under the East Sea” a scriptural statement. We have to understand the scriptural record is neither clear nor complete on this specific issue. It was simply not important to the Lord nor to Mormon to state it any further. As he wrote: “And there had many things transpired which, in the eyes of some, would be great and marvelous; nevertheless, they cannot all be written in this book” (3 Nephi 5:8).
(See the next post, “More on the Destruction in 3 Nephi – Part II,” for more of this reader’s questions and our answers regarding the destruction in 3 Nephi)

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