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

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

Tying Up Some Loose Enns, part 1

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A few weeks ago Dave and I went to an Evangelical Theological Society meeting in Nyack, NY at the Alliance Theological Seminary. The two main speakers were Peter Enns and John (Jack) Collins, the topic addressed was the historicity of Adam. Dr. Enns’ presentation was thoughtful and articulate. His words were measured as he had clearly wrestled with some problematic questions. I certainly respect his desire to come to sound biblical conclusions, but as with all wrestling, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

For Dr. Enns, Adam is simply a myth. He’s a part of Israel’s origin story, which had as its’ backdrop other Ancient Near Eastern literature (i.e. other origin stories with some parallels, The Enuma Elish, for example) After his presentation there was some Q&A. One person mentioned that Paul believed Adam was a historical figure, as clearly stated in Romans 5. Professor Enns advised that Paul was a 1st century Jew who believed the conventions of his day. Following this, someone else brought up the fact that Jesus himself believed in a historical Adam. To which Dr. Enns advised that Jesus too was a 1st century Jew who believed the conventions of the day. In other words, Paul and Jesus were mistaken.

This presents us with some interesting questions. If Paul was mistaken about this matter, what else was Paul mistaken about? Was he right with regard to doctrinal formulations and propositional truths, but confused about material facts? Was he correct about his interpretation of OT texts, or was he wielding them for his own purposes in seeking to proclaim and exhalt the One whom he thought was the Christ?

But further than this, what if Jesus was mistaken about Adam? Could Jesus himself believe something which was untrue, and then apply that error in making a theological point about God’s original intention in marriage (Mt. 19:4-5)? And if so, where does it stop? How do we discern what is true and false?

Let’s ask an additional question. If Jesus as a man was mistaken about historical facts, how do we know he was correct about any statement he made? What kind of duality does this create? Jesus could be wrong in his humanity, but never wrong in his divinity? He knew heavenly things, but not earthly things? Of course, no one with an orthodox view of Christology suggests that Jesus knew everything in his humanity (like how to speak French or do complicated algorithms), but that when he spoke he knew everything truthfully and accurately pertaining to the things he said.

Dr. Enns’ presentation deflated rather quickly after this. The implication of his position could be re-stated this way:

Jesus was a man of his times and subject to the conventions of his day, therefore with regard to Adam, Jesus was wrong.

Paul was a man of his times and subject to the conventions of his day, therefore with regard to Adam, Paul was wrong.

Peter Enns, in spite of being a man of his times and subject to the conventions of his day, is correct with regard to Adam.

This is one of those situations where to state the position is to refute the position, but I’ll let you be the judge.

C.M. Granger