Tying Up Some Loose Enns, part 2

March-Fun-198Following up on my previous post, found here…..

I’m not sure why there is such an intellectual struggle for some when it comes to reconciling science and faith.  It’s a false dichotomy to pit the two against each other.  The Scriptures are God’s divine revelation of Himself and of His works in history.  Science is the discovery of how things work and how they relate to one another.  If creation itself was a supernatural event, why insist upon a natural explanation when it comes to human origins?  Professor Enns insists that modern discoveries in evolutionary theory, particularly the human genome project, prove that man evolved from a common ancestor.  But why is he interpreting such information within a secular worldview?  How does Dr. Enns know the scientific evidence points to a common ancestor rather than to a common design?  It seems to me he is quick to put his faith in scientific consensus (a consensus largely produced within a community of unbelieving scientists) rather than in God’s revelation.

The problem with putting faith in scientific consensus is that science is a puzzle with a lot of missing pieces.  As the pieces are discovered, from time to time, the overall picture changes.  Should we not rather put our trust in the One who created it all?  Should we not rest in the fact that science will say no more in the end than that which corroborates what God has already told us?  Isn’t it already scientific consensus that people cannot be raised from the dead, and that miracles do not occur?  Why doesn’t Professor Enns accept consensus in these areas as well?

I don’t think Genesis 1 – 11 is meant to convey scientific facts about the creation of the world, and therefore anyone attempting to exegete physics and geology from these texts is asking more of them than God intended.  However, it is a historical account of what God did and it records the fact that He specially made Adam and Eve.  If this be rejected, what in Scripture cannot be?  Why isn’t Jesus a divine myth as well?  I have yet to receive an explanation of this from Dr. Enns or his proponents.

C.M. Granger

Related Links at No Extra Charge:

The Explanatory Power of False Theories

Adam, Eve, and Chimpanzees

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What Depends Upon An Historical Adam?

I’ll be following up on my previous post, but in the mean time, this post by Steven Wedgeworth from The Calvinist International is a must read.  Just consider a few quotes:

 

“If the first Adam was mythical, then the nature and work of the Second Adam, precisely as Second Adam, would have to be mythical as well. This does not mean that the Judæan man whom Paul identified as the Second Adam was himself a myth, nor that his life did not unfold in real history. Rather it would mean that his redemptive identity, along with the nature of what He said was his work, was merely mythical, not an objective event with objective effects. He would have been seeking to fulfill a myth.

The resurrection sometimes figures in this discussion in an especially complicated way. Its historicity is undeniably a hallmark of orthodoxy, a non-negotiable doctrine whose status as such has been hard-fought in the last century. Some of those who wish to deny the historicity of Adam think they can take a stand on the doctrine of the historical resurrection. We must remember, however, that our belief in the historical resurrection is not merely a product of proof-texting, as if 1 Corinthians 15:12–19 simply commands fideistic assent. No, the historicity of the resurrection is tied in with the historicity of death and the sure reality of the world to come. The resurrection is where Christ completes the re-capitulatory atonement, and so again, if the Adamic backstory is mythical, so too is the recapitulation.”

 

 

 

It would be argued by some that the historicity of Adam is not true simply because a particular theological system requires it to be so in order to stand. Of course, my response is “What about the historicity of the Resurrection? Does your theological system require that to be true?” Apparently, it’s ok with regard to doctrines that are acceptable, not so much with those we wish to explain away.

Update: See also Dr. Enns’ Brief Response

And Steve Hays contribution: Adam in Scripture

C.M.Granger

A Culture of “Peter Pans”

I was reading the latest issue of IMPRIMIS today, and was struck by a brief piece by a young teacher, Jason Barney. He quoted Cicero in Latin, and then translated it…

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. “Not to know what happened before you were born, that is to be always a boy, to be forever a child.”

Jason Barney went on to observe the following about our culture — and I think he hits the bullseye.

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“Too many citizens of our country today are, in Cicero’s terms, forever children. If knowledge of the past matures the soul, it is not something we can afford to marginalize or sideline. Unfortunately, the hard work of gaining knowledge, eloquence, and wisdom is all too often skirted by teacher and student alike. Because we have neglected knowledge of the past and the great tradition of historical understanding, we live in culture of Peter Pans, flying free in Neverland with no past and no future, only the ever-present game, the mock battle against pirates or Indians. Wendy’s stories, with their plot of real challenges to be overcome, only reveal to us our immaturity, the fact that we are forever children who won’t grow up.”
[read the whole Jan. 2013 issue here]

We see this immaturity not only in the culture at large (and it is, sadly, very hard to miss), but we also see it in modern theological inquiry. There are many who are giving their two-cents on the church, or Scripture, or the Trinity, etc., without an awareness of what has been discovered or established (or ruled-out) long before them — both in the content of the doctrine being discussed, as well as in the realm of methodology employed.

This is very sad to see, given the clear charge of Jesus to His disciples — to make disciples (not merely converts) and to teach them everything He commanded. In the church, as in the culture at large, the older generation bears much of the blame for the present deficiencies. Thankfully, there are an increasing number of bright, culturally-engaged scholars and pastors (such as Kevin DeYoung), on the scene who give me hope.

May the Lord have mercy, and help us recover and restore what has been lost.

 

pdb

Theological Docetism and the Postmodern Turn

One of my pastors (that guy listed as an author on this blog, you can guess which one right?) is doing a Sunday School class this year entitled “Foundations of Systematic Theology”. This morning he dealt with the two natures of Christ in one Person. He began with a brief survey of early errors in Christology regarding this subject. One of them, Docetism, stuck with me today as I thought about facts and appearances. What do I mean?

Docetism is the belief that Christ was divine, but only appeared human. We discussed in the class why this view is problematic. If Jesus only appeared human, then he didn’t really suffer on the cross. If he only appeared human, then he couldn’t be our represententative as the second Adam, couldn’t have experienced (and resisted) temptation in our stead, couldn’t have bled and died in our place.

I started thinking of a postmodern form of Docetism. What would that be, you might ask? The belief that the Bible only appears to record historical events and persons (i.e. Adam and Eve, Noah’s Flood, the extermination of the Canaanites, etc.) but in reality contains a boat load of myth and metaphor. Is there a historical narrative in Scripture you can’t stomach? Simple. It’s a myth. Maybe the early chapters of Genesis got you down? Easy. Metaphor.

It’s all in the appearances anyway, isn’t it?

Except that the Christian faith is based on actual historical events that are all tied together and cannot be separated. Consider 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul defends the resurrection on historical grounds, tracing sin all the way back to Adam. Verse 13 and following, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” Vs. 17, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.” Seems like this historical event is important in the apostle’s view, doesn’t it? Vs. 21-22, “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.”

But, wait a minute (says the postmodern mind), Adam is a myth. A figurehead meant to illustrate a theological point. Hmmm. How can I assert a historical Jesus now?

Not sure. I’d like to know that myself.

Have an answer? Chime in…

C.M. Granger

Of Myth and Metaphor: How Do We Know Where It Enns?

I would like a reasoned explanation from someone who agrees with Peter Enns with regard to myth and metaphor in Scripture.  Exactly how do we discern the concrete facts and historical events of the Bible from the ever-expanding list of merely theological points which have no basis in time and space (i.e. reality)?

Jerry Coyne, a militant atheist, appears to be more perceptive than some Christians, sadly.  Consider his insights here and let me know what you think.

C.M. Granger