Adam–The Man Who Wasn’t There

Adam Continuing to interact with Denis Lamoureux’s contribution to Zondervan’s Four Views on the Historical Adam, Professor Lamoureux informs us that his pastoral concern is that young men and women know there is a Christian view of origins that accepts evolution and recognizes that our faith does not rest on the existence of Adam (pg. 38). He asserts that our faith is based only on Jesus Christ, His sacrifice on the Cross, and His bodily resurrection from the dead.

Firstly, the biblical narrative is organically woven together. You can’t uproot one doctrine and expect that it won’t affect another. This kind of compartmentalization of Scripture separates what God has joined together. It disassembles the connections.

It’s analogous to a novel in which character development, theme, and plot are said to be of little importance. It’s only the climax that really matters. However, it’s the back story that sets up the climax. They’re tied together. Adam is the fountainhead of the human race and his fall into sin necessitates the incarnation, the crucifixion, the atonement, and the resurrection if salvation is to come to a broken world.

Secondly, if Jesus Himself was wrong about there being a historical Adam how do we know He wasn’t wrong about other matters, like His own person, work, and mission? How do we discern when Jesus is fallible and when He’s infallible? What’s the criteria? When modern scientific consensus disagrees with Him? Modern scientific consensus doesn’t take into account the supernatural, nor should it. The creation of man transcends naturalism.

Thirdly, why does Dr. Lamoureux insist upon the historical necessity of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but deny the existence of Adam and original sin? What makes one more of a historical necessity than the other? Of course, as Professor Lamoureux states, “our faith is based only on Jesus”, but Jesus Himself asserts the historicity of Adam. If the author is to be consistent, he should hold the position that Jesus didn’t really exist either. His life, like the account of Adam, was a little story God told ancient man to communicate spiritual truths. Yet, our author insists, Jesus did and said what is recorded in the Gospels. He will have to explain how doing so is not arbitrary.

We’ll look at his work further in our next post.

C.M. Granger

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The Curious Case of the First Man

historical adam You may be familiar with the Counterpoints series published by Zondervan. Some editions are more useful than others, but they’re worth having if just to get a better understanding of various and opposing viewpoints on an array of theological topics.

I wish to interact with Denis Lamoureux’s contribution in “Four Views on the Historical Adam”. He holds to an evolutionary creation view, which is the belief that “the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe and life, including humans, through an ordained, sustained, and intelligent design-reflecting natural process.” This view also denies the existence of a historical Adam. I’m not going to deal with his contribution to the book in its entirety in this post, but hope to in the days (well, in my case, probably weeks) ahead.

One must begin by asking why Dr. Lamoureux, with a Christian worldview, presupposes naturalism when it comes to human origins? Creation itself is not natural, it’s supernatural by definition. Yet the author asserts that, “similar to the way that the Lord used embryological mechanics to create each of us in our mother’s womb, He also employed evolutionary processes to create humanity.” (pg. 37) I would like to ask Dr. Lamoureux why the God who created the heavens and the earth is constrained to create mankind through an evolutionary process? Whatever one thinks about whether God revealed scientific facts in the Bible thousands of years before their discovery by modern science, He did reveal in the text of Scripture that He created man directly, personally, and supernaturally.

So how does Dr. Lamoureux deal with this thorny problem? By concluding that modern science reveals the Old Testament to be a divine accommodation to an ancient and ignorant people. God didn’t really create man directly, personally, or supernaturally. No, since ancient man could not understand modern science, God (as it were) told him a little story he could grasp. Now, I absolutely believe that God accommodates His revelation in such a way as to condescend to our understanding. However, this is not the kind of divine accommodation Lamoureux is talking about. This is, in my view, a wholesale undermining of the text. Was God only communicating with an ancient people when the opening chapters of Genesis were written down? Is it not divine revelation to a modern people as well? We’re just scientifically sophisticated enough to know that God really meant the opposite of what He said? Perhaps, in a later age, we will discover that God really meant what He said in the first place.

II.

In the introduction, Professor Lamoureux asserts that the central conclusion of a previous book he penned on this subject is that Adam never existed, and this fact has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity.” (pg. 38) I find this a curious statement in light of the historical nature of the Christian faith. Why is it necessary for the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ to be historical, but not the life and death of Adam to be so? If God has revealed an intimate historical and theological (not to mention organic) connection between the first man and the Son of Man in Scripture, why is it that Dr. Lamoureux dismisses it so easily?

The foundational belief he has in view is the fallen nature of mankind. He posits that this spiritual truth can be separated from any historical context. All we need to know, in the end, is that we are fallen, sinful human beings in need of redemption. There is no “original sin”, accept perhaps incidentally. This, in fact, illustrates something Lamoureux likes to assert frequently—that the Bible is a book which communicates spiritual truths divorced from historical or scientific truths. How does he know this? The spiritual truth squares nicely with his Christian worldview, the rest doesn’t square with his naturalism.

We’ll explore this further in our next installment.

BONUS: Happened to come across this review of Professor Lamoureux’s full length book I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution by Dr. James Anderson. Enjoy!

C.M. Granger

Can You Sing the Song of King David & Our Forefathers?

David’s song would probably not be played on a contemporary Christian radio station, or played in our churches, but maybe it should.

In Psalm 16, he prayed, “Preserve me, O God.”  The Hebrew word for “preserve” means “to keep or guard.”  We can see this word in action when we look at how guards surround a king, and when a shepherd guards his sheep. David took refuge in the only person who can perfectly shepherd and protect him.

In verse 2, there is a second singular ending on the end of the Hebrew verb, “Say.”  It is a strange thing because it is in the feminine form.  I believe the KJV and the NKJV captures the gist of the why it might be there when they translated verse 2, “O my soul, thou hast said unto the Lord.”  David confessed to himself and the Lord, “You are my Lord.”  At the end of verse 2, David declares that his goodness “Extendeth not to thee…”David recognized his radical corruption.  This recognition is crucial for a true understanding of our condition before God.  We won’t feel a need to run to Jesus without this knowledge.

We stand undone and condemned before a holy God.  Without the foreign righteousness of Christ we are men most miserable – we are without hope. The realization of knowing ones sins was huge for pillars in church history.  Bernard of Clairvaux, a 12th century mystic said, “The knowledge of God and knowledge of self belong together and that in their mutual dependence they are necessary for salvation.”  Question # 1 of The Heidelberg Catechism provides a biblical summary of our only comfort in life and in death.  But question #2 asks, “What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?  The answer – “Three things:  First, how great my sin and misery are…” This was the first on the list.  This was the song. The apostles knew how great their sin and misery were; the believer in the 12th Century knew this; the elders and church leaders in Germany in the 16th Century knew this; and David declared this in Psalm 16.  When you look squarely “into the eyes” of a Holy God, can you see “How Great, How Great is our sin!  Sing with me how great is our sin. Then all will see how Great, how Great is our GOD”

Can you sing the song of King David and our forefathers?  Well then, there is hope for you… You can now RUN to Jesus for safety.

Brian Spivey — D.O.C.

Legalism, a paint-by-number spirituality

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“The attraction of legalism is that, despite all its complexity, it’s mindless. It requires little or no personal engagement. It’s sheer mechanics, simple arithmetic, no more difficult than cranking a hoist or measuring a length of board. You just follow orders. You match the parts to the diagram and apply pressure. It need draw nothing from your heart, your mind, your strength, your soul. Its like paint-by-numbers: it requires no artistry, no imagination, no discipline, just dumb, methodical obedience.”

from Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God; Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (W. Publishing Group, 2006), page 108; emphasis added.

pbd

Truth Revealed in Questions

It’s easy to pass over rhetorical questions in Scripture.  I do it frequently, but have been trying to take note of such questions when they come up.     BibleAlthough a rhetorical question is not asked to illicit a reply, it is helpful to reflect on the question and its intended effect.  For instance, Isaiah 40:14 asks, “Whom did he [God] consult, and who made him understand?  Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?”  The implied answer?  Absolutely no one.  No one teaches God anything, for he has all knowledge and wisdom.  The question reveals a significant truth about the Lord.

1 Corinthians, in particular, contains a lot of rhetorical questions.  Don’t pass over them.  When one is asked, pause and meditate upon the implied answer. In chapter 4 Paul admonishes the Corinthians for causing division in the church by favoring and following one teacher over another.  He advises them that they should consider the apostles simply as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  In verses 6 and following he says, “I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.  {Rhetorical Question Alert} For who sees anything different in you? {No one}   What do you have that you did not receive? {Nothing}  If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” {Hmm.  Great question.  I shouldn’t, I have no reason to}.  What do these questions tell us about ourselves?  That there is nothing inherent in us which makes us different from any other sinner, we have received everything from God, and we cannot take credit for any aspect of our salvation.

Here we have questions that give us answers with regard to the doctrine of God (Is. 40:14) and the doctrine of man  (1 Cor. 4:6-7).  In Scripture, there is truth to be discovered even in the questions!  Give them due consideration…

C.M. Granger