From the Dust is a feature-length documentary film from Highway Media and The BioLogos Foundation tackling some of the most important questions in the science-faith dialogue. You can see the trailer at the end of this post.
The interesting news is that the film has just become available for both rental and purchase via iTunes. Here is a short summary of the 1hour 7minute film:
The question of where we come from is a mystery man has explored throughout human history. As Charles Darwin composed his theory of natural selection, he began defining for the modern generation a suitable, if altogether scientific answer for the origin of man. While this theory has gone largely unchallenged scientifically for the past 150 years, there is one segment of society that has been consistently uncomfortable with its revelations—the community of faith. Does the Bible provide a narrative of mankind’s material origins? What is the real source of the controversy surrounding evolution vs. creation? How do we reconcile scientific discovery with a loving, universal, Creator-God? In From the Dust, renowned theologians, educators, and scientists reexamine this perennial debate, and infuse it with fresh theories, new theological insights, and an open desire for truth and dialogue.
Some of those interviewed in the film are N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath, Peter Enns, John Polkinghorne, David Wenham, Michael Lloyd, Chris Tilling and many more.
Recently, Ryan Petty, the filmmaker of this documentary, gave his own feedback after working on the film:
With From the Dust, we wanted to put something proactive on the table that could help motivate an elevated conversation about the “war” between science and faith. It was our goal to help Christians see (and accept) the complexity of the issues raised by modern science, as well as help them to courageously engage with the theological conversations happening within the sphere of Christian culture today. We wanted the film to address the topic hermeneutically, historically, and socially in order to gain a better perspective on the issues, and, hopefully, address some of the fears (justified or otherwise) concerning what science is telling us about our physical origins.
Personally, this project has been a spiritual shot in the arm and has whole-heartedly reignited my walk with God. I have been truly humbled by my opportunity to speak with so many incredible theologians, scientists, biblical scholars, and authors. As a result of this project, the book of Genesis has become more alive and more dynamic than I had ever allowed it to be. It is my hope that this film will both challenge and inspire people of faith, no matter where they are on their journey, to revere the complexity of God both through his word and his creation.
I, too, actually get excited when I ponder some of the deeper spiritual and theological points flowing out of the early chapters of Genesis.
You can see various snippets of the film here. But check out the trailer below.
Wadda coincidence. Just Wednesday I sent the following email to biologos:
“It is with great sorrow that I must finally write and say that you people are a reprehensible cancer on the body of Christ. I will spend every calorie I can for the rest of my God given life making sure that as far as I am by His grace able, as few people as possible will be corrupted by your idolatrous apostasy. You are children of the spirit of this age and I have no doubt you will continue to grow. That’s what apostasy is. My job is to be faithful. It’s His to provide whatever results He sees fit. I fully expect to be written off as an unloving, judgmental, snicker inducing fundie. That’s fine. Unlike you, I couldn’t care less about the applause or approval of men.
Especially defeated wolrdlings with the precious name of Jesus on their lips. You are one million times more useful to the father of lies than all the Dawkins, Dennets and Nyes combined. That the Lord of glory will crush the campaign of deception being perpetrated upon His church and His world by biologos and all who would dare marry the spotless Lamb of God to their idols, while He salvages every one of His eternal elect from your clutches, is and will continue to be my fervent prayer. I am most grateful that there will be no tears in the resurrection. For if there were, I would weep contemplating what could have been, had such marvelous gifts of almighty God not been wasted on self exalting blasphemy.
Friendship with the world is enmity with God.
Greg – Detroit:”
Greg – Your letter indicates that you do not comprehend Christianity and reject or disregard the words of Christ our savior. I pray that you will come to repent of your views and learn a commitment to Christ’s love and honesty, even when that contradicts your views.
Yes, the earth is flat and anyone who says otherwise is evil. Enjoy life in your dark cave.
Wow, Greg! Love how you defend your faith with gentleness and respect! It’s an example for all of us! /sigh If you have concerns with their position, why not ADDRESS those concerns istead of just lobbing insults and extreme labels? Without that, your rhetoric-filled rant is totally useless. All one, like me, comes away with is that you don’t like them and since you are right (allegedly), they are wrong. Sorry. Insults are not that convincing. In fact, those that resort to them instead of solid points to back up their position lead folks to the conclusion that they CAN’T back it up with logic and reason and that is why they resort to rhetoric.
Tribulus acts like Biologos is proposing something new and radical. He seems to be unaware of the fact that 90% of all Christians belong to denominations whose doctrines accept the findings and theories of modern science. They all have formal social statements that declare this acceptance. And at the same time, they are all creationist in doctrine as they believe that God is the author of all things.
The distinction between that form of creationism and the fundamentalist Biblical creationism is where these denominations consider the natural processes that we come to know through science as much of creation as the rest of it. And that God uses his natural processes as part of his creative activity.
Among these denominations that make up some 1.8 billion Christians worldwide are the Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Anglican/Episcopalians, UCC Congregationalists, Presbyterians (PCUSA), ELCA Lutherans, and others.
A typical social statement on science from these denominations looks like this:
So if you are conflicted in your recognition of the overwhelming evidence for the deep age of the universe and the evolution of the species as a threat to your faith, then take heart that there the great majority of Christians worldwide, many who are deeply convicted in their faith, find no conflict between their beliefs and the findings of modern science.
I’d include the Orthodox in that list of folks who are open to science and what it discovers. At least that is how I read things like this. http://www.aoiusa.org/blog/dn-kuraev-can-an-orthodox-become-an-evolutionist/
It won’t let me post it here.
OR, maybe it will? Good grief WordPress has had problems lately.
Scott, you have the right to your heresies in your own house. I will try not to make an ongoing habit of imposing biblical standards where they clearly are not wanted. All you have to do is say the word though and I will quietly disappear with a smile and never come back. That way you won’t have to kick me out.
“djeaton3162: Wow, Greg! Love how you defend your faith with gentleness and respect!”
Dan the passages in both 2nd Timothy 2 and Ist Peter 3 are instructions for dealing with rank heathen who make no claim to the name of Jesus. If you wish, I’ll prove that to you at your blog, but you’d have to actually care what the bible says for that to make any difference so I don’t expect to be taken up on that. I am reminded that you ALL will proclaim your love for the scriptures, but you are lying.
Jesus most merciless, condemning and judgmental (I’ll be happy to show you the truth about judging too) words were reserved for the religious apostates of His day. Those who sat in the very seat of Moses and who proclaimed themselves the keepers of the law and the covenants. He denounced them as “sons of hell” who were making twice such those who followed them.
The same Paul (oh wait, that probably wasn’t Paul after all) who tells Timothy to exercise patience and gentleness with those who oppose the gospel, also proclaims the loud unambiguous ANATHEMA, the curse of God, upon those in Galatia who had simply taught that men should be circumcised. He went so far as to cruelly wish that those marrying Christ with circumcision, a at one time true covenant command, would castrate themselves (5:12)
No sir. This limp wristed pantywaist Jesus you serve is a figment of your own sinful imagination and bears no resemblance to the white horse rider of scripture. As well, the preposterous notion that men evolved from apes would not, indeed COULD NOT have ever been found in the holy scriptures if not through the forceful grunts and groans of those with unbelieving intellectual crowbars for whom the word of man defines the Word of God and not the other way around. That’s why it like WASN’T found there for a like thousands of years until the house of Molech figured out a way to hallucinate it into existence. (yeeeeessss, I have heard EVERY single solitary last pathetic argument ever to be spawned from the minds of modernist manipulators trying to see their idols in the Word. Please don’t waste my time)
If you like I can link you to my conversations with vicious, blasphemous, God hating pagans who literally wish a painful gory death upon myself and my family. You will see a man full of the love, mercy and gentleness of the Lamb of God toward those who do not know their right hand and from their left.
However, when I see those claiming His name smearing the face of my beautiful Jesus with their doctrines of demons and moral filth, WE ARE ENEMIES of the most mortal and irreconcilable variety. I know you people. You have invited Satan to tattoo his idols on your hearts. NOTHING anybody, especially God can say, will make any difference. No amount of utterly inescapable biblical principle with centuries of exegetical expositional attestation in the body of Christ will matter. The angel of light has spoken and has given you your disguises as ministers of righteousness.
Dudley Chapman says: Among these denominations that make up some 1.8 billion Christians worldwide are the Roman Catholics, United Methodists, Anglican/Episcopalians, UCC Congregationalists, Presbyterians (PCUSA), ELCA Lutherans, and others.
Those are not Christians Dudley. You have just saved me some work and named for me the big denominational players in the modern plague of perversion. As much as I detest Roman Catholicism as the most successful tool of Satan bar none in the history of the world thus far, she is astonishingly in some ways the conservative of this group. “Christian” has a very specific definition. It’s clearly defined in His word. None of the bible butchering, man worshiping, death before sin, man from monkeys, domestic egalitarian, gay promoting (except the Catholics) perverters of God’s created order you have here set forth will escape the lake of fire if they persist in their perversion.
Just as it has always been since the twelfth of Genesis and the beginning of that covenant with Abraham. The vaaaaast majority of those alleged people of God sit under His ferocious judgement while He ALWAYS has His remnant 7,000 that have not bowed the knee to Baal. Popularity in this world Dudley is THE surest sign of evil. You are no doubt appalled at such a “judgmental” attitude. Even though Jesus Christ, God incarnate, Himself said in Matthew 7: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” You don’t REALLY believe that any more than you REALLY believe any of the rest of the bible you don’t like either though do ya Dudley.
Ohhhh the joyous freedom the Lord of glory bestowed upon my heart the day I finally learned the twin truths that most folks ain’t gonna get saved and the ones who do are UP TO HIM. I can only faithfully plant and water and ONLY He can give the increase. Those 7,000 (not a literal number btw) are His from eternity. It’s not my job to concoct groovy programs and remove barriers or create boulevards or find ways to make the gospel “relevant for our day”. It’s my job to follow Jeremiah with the word of almighty God shut up in my bones and weary of holding it in, even if like the prophet (who I am not) I get NO results after 40 years. Numbers and results are the idols of businessmen. FAITHFULNESS is the currency of the true kingdom.
As I said in my email to biologos. I fully expect their views to grow in the visible “church”. Support for homosexuality and the attacks upon the family in the form of domestic egalitarianism, amnesia about the reformation and Catholic coddling, the indulgence in the godless and perverse entertainment of the world. All should continue to grow. In fact I’m counting on it. BUT. The most tragic of all will be those who know how wrong all those heresies and practices are but will continue to commune with those who hold them. POWERFUL, Spirit filled ministries will be diluted and reduced to the weakest link in the chains they put on themselves in the noble pursuit of unity. UNITY does NOT bring power. TRUTH brings power AND true unity.
So, I will end this diatribe, which probably won’t be here long, but can also be found here: http://tribstantrums.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/my-editor/ where I do some of my editing for blog and forum posts, by declaring this. Regardless of how hateful my words will sound to the soft tender ears of those untutored by holy writ, I tell you people before heaven and earth that it is love for my Master first and for His people next that motivates me to say the things I do. I truly wish only God’s best for each of you, but I will NOT stand before His throne and have to explain why I corrupted and mangled His clearly expressed revelation in an insolent effort to help Him out of jams He was not in.
I don’t mind you commenting on my blog, but please note that your comments mainly consist of a) shouts of heresy and b) ad hominem attacks. I don’t mind people holding varying views in regards to the details of origins, but you’ve got to engage with the details. Nothing you’ve said points to what you see as the truth of Scripture, since you’ve not taken part in actual dialogue. So, for example, you’d need to share details of 1) why Scripture unequivocally communicates the view you hold (which you’ve yet to communicate, I believe) and 2) why Scripture unequivocally condemns perspectives that allow for long biological process to take place over what we as humans identify as millions of ‘years’.
Just for some general food to chew on: 1) You do know that for thousands of years, God’s people have held varying perspectives about the details of the creation account (such as time length and the how’s), 2) evolution is not a code word for unbelieving atheist, since plenty of very solid evangelicals who recognise the authority of Scripture also see the beautiful gift God has given in the sciences.
Be blessed and I hope there is better engagement moving forward.
I have a lot of thoughts on this subject. But at the moment I want to just focus in on one.
I watched the trailer and a couple of the clips from the film. One of those I watched was “The Fall.” I wanted to watch it again and be certain I got it right. But the clip refuses to load again.
Did he really say that people cut themselves off from God and that there is nothing of God’s anger involved in the whole process of spiritual death? If that is the case, what happened to the concepts of God’s anger at sin and His punishment for it that we find throughout the Bible?
@Tirbulus, you seem to have ME confused with someone that doesn’t care what the Bible says….and YOURSELF confused with someone that is omniscient and on some God-appointed campaign to insult and demean those who you don’t agree with. You are wrong on both accounts. And if I truly believed that you had a desire to ACT like the Christ whose name you claim, I’d be more than happy to engage further with you. But, as it is, all I see is a bitter internet troll that wraps his bad behavior in a religious wrapper as justification for acting in the most ungodly ways towards fellow servants of Christ.
Are you out there? I have a hunch you may get back here before Scott does, so I am going to ask you the same question I asked Scott in my last comment. Did you watch that clip, “The Fall” and assuming I heard correctly, how do you answer the questions I asked?
Here’s the audio of the part she’s taking about.
[audio src="http://tiribulus.net/flix/thefall.mp3" /]
I have the DVD on order. I’ll try to find the section you are referring to when it gets here and see the whole section in context. Don’t really want to make definitive comments based solely on edited snippets. I imagine that it *might* be what is referenced here.
I can’t get that video to play though.
Going out on a limb here with a guess though, I think the comments are in line with my own understanding that we have a choice. We can choose God or reject God. And God grants us that choice. But it is done with love and not a sense of retribution or revenge. He does hate sin. But I believe that a lot of the punishments of sin are more on the line of reaping what we sow than it is God throwing lightning bolts at us as punishment.
Here is the full audio of the whole piece AS published by biologos themselves on their site. I presume that being highly intelligent folk, they would not post a “snippet” that would be readily susceptible to contextual distortion. You have missed her point. I promise. And I do not EVER misrepresent ANYbody. I mean like EVER. I posted the audio because I don’t have a way to embed the video right now. That IS what is said there. I’m only helping get the piece heard. She can ask her own questions, but like I say you have totally missed her point. I only know that because we’ve talked a bit here and there and I’ve gotten to know her a little bit and I KNOW what she was referring to.
[audio src="http://tiribulus.net/audio/thefall1.mp3" /]
I have more then one concern about the contents of this clip. But the questions I asked in my comment above were focused on this quote from that clip that is speaking about what happened at the fall of Adam:
“And so, the dawning of self-consciousness is also the gaining of something that wasn’t there before. What the serpent whispers in Eve’s ear is, ‘eat this fruit, and you will be like God. You won’t need God anymore. You can do it yourself.’ That is the fundamental sin, the fundamental mistake in human life is believing that we can do it on our own, doing it my way, and spiritual death is to deliberately and persistently cut yourself off from that. It doesn’t occur as an angry God giving you a punishment for not falling into line. It is simply that you have punished yourself. You know, preachers sometimes say that the gates of hell are locked from the inside not to keep the creatures in, but to keep God out. And that, I think in the end, is what spiritual death is if you persist in it.”
Is it really true to Scripture to state that spiritual death does not occur because an angry God is punishing us? Is it really true that we are only punishing ourselves? If you believe that to be the case, what do you do with the Scriptures that speak of God’s wrath/anger against sin?
I think what Polkinghorne is communicating is not that God is not just, right and has anger for sin. He’s describing, a bit like Daniel comments above, that there is an aspect of ‘punishing ourselves’ from turning from God and thinking we can do it on our own. Much of the consequences of sin come as an outflow of our sinful choices, rather than God’s direct punishment. Now, of course, God is the sovereign oversight of all things. But there is a difference in God overseeing things and God directly taking action. So I don’t think Polkinghorne is trying to communicate anything non-Christian. It’s just not the exact and typical wording of the normative western, evangelical perspective.
I hope that makes sense.
Possibly Scott. But that is not what he really says is it? He doesn’t just say this is an aspect of what is happening. He says that the punishment that comes is what we do to ourselves. No mention of anything else. Remember he had said that God is the only one that can give a hope of a destiny beyond death. But then he goes on to say that we have cut ourselves off from that–and that is spiritual death. And we have “simply punished ourselves.” (My paraphrase.) And it doesn’t happen as an angry God punishings us.
All I can encourage you with is knowing that this is simply one sentence of Polkinghorne’s. One sentence. So to argue – that’s not what he really said – seems off-track. I don’t think it’s problematic as one sentence within a, at the max, 2-minute little video snippet of an interview. It’s like taking one-half of one verse and building a doctrine around it. Polkinghorne could spend much longer laying out various points, but this was a snippet. Again, much of the consequences of sin that we incur come at our own fault, not directly God’s. Again, God is overseeing and has even set up what we might term the ‘laws of nature’. But I know if I put my hand on a burning stove, it’s going to burn. It’s not God punishing me; it’s the consequence of my own faulty action.
Not to mention, which the clip does offer some thoughts on it, that ‘the Fall,’ as seen in a particular Augustinian, reformational framework, is not the only interpretative measure for Gen 3. Michael Lloyd mentions 3 points that hint at an already broken framework within creation – already a serpent with evil motives, the command to subdue (if things are perfect, why needing to subdue?), and there is a garden set off from the rest of creation. You’d have to see a bigger interpretative framework the early chapters of Genesis through books like Peter Bouteneff’s, Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives.
I wonder if you might already be approaching these videos as very suspect – believing it’s a tragedy that any of them would actually see evolutionary biology as giving us some insight into the process of creation of humanity over millions of years. And so every statement that doesn’t sound like western, American evangelical doctrine on creation, sin, humanity, etc, these will sound quite suspect. Remember that this is being approached from a different angle – we just don’t recognise there are other angles when we’ve only been within a particular context for quite some time. There’s not anything unorthodox with regards to theology. Rather there is a respect for social-scientific findings, while also looking to remain faithful in doctrine.
I think that there is a tendency to think that if X is true that the opposite is false. We can’t really apply that to this statement in question though. Lets use the story of the Prodigal Son as an example. This kid ended up being destitute and living with the pigs. That wasn’t really God punishing him though. It was the consequences of his own bad choices and actions. But we can’t really flip that and say that since he basically punished himself that God doesn’t punish. I think reaping what you sow is part of God’s design. So there is a sense of some build-in justice in the system we call life. God hates it when we bad decisions. He hates sin – our decision to rebel against Him. But his anger and wrath is against sin, not us. When we sin, He doesn’t hurt us to pay us back. I might hate *it* when my son starts hanging around bad people or my daughter starts dating the wrong guy (should that happen), but they are grown and have free will to make those choices. I can TELL them that X path leads to destruction. But if they choose that path, I don’t stop loving them and when they reach the end of that road and something in their life is destroyed, it isn’t because I directly caused it as a punishment. The fact that I can hate rebellion and hate mistakes my kids make doesn’t mean that I have to directly act to teach them the error of their ways.
The other thing that comes into play is that our perspective is not God’s. We often see things we don’t like as punishment when the intent was nothing of the sort. There used to be this thought that if a child was born with a disability that it was because of some sin of the mom or dad. Blaming sin or a punishment for something instead of understanding genetics or biology doesn’t really help though.
Daniel, I am no way denying that we reap what we sow. There is no doubt about that. What I am having a very hard time with is an unqualified statement by Polknghorne that it is NOT God’s anger against sin that causes spiritual death. Such a stand alone statement can certainly lead a listener or a reader to a false conclusion about God and His dealings with man.
Just do a very quick concordance search of the term “wrath” and see how many times the Bible speaks of God’s wrath against sin and the consequences of that wrath.
Here is a very well known verse that states that principle very strongly. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
“Michael Lloyd mentions 3 points that hint at an already broken framework within creature”
So “broken” and “very good” are the same thing to God? How many pillars of the faith before Darwin denied a literal Adam and Eve created from the dust of the earth and a literal fall into sin AS reported? Do YOU Scott, with Peter Enns, believe that the New Testament cannot be credibly construed any other way than actually advancing a literal Adam and Eve? That’s a simple question even for people with Sesame Street education. Let your yes be yea or your nay be nay for anything more than this cometh of typical emergent equivocation.
God pronounces over the body of Christ – very good – because of the faithfulness of Christ. Yet, we are still broken. God pronounces over Noah, Abraham and their descendants – blameless & righteous. Yet, they were still broken. So, God’s pronouncement is definitely true, though at the same time recognising the reality of living this side of resurrection.
Are you aware that there are multiple views about the ‘literalness’ of the Genesis origins’ accounts before the middle of the 19th century when Darwin was doing his research? Again, check out Bouteneff’s, Beginnings: Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives. If we only ever read things through a modern, western, evangelical lens, then we can imagine nothing else.
Scripture is not mainly given as a straightforward, historical document. Meaning, God and the community of God’s people never sat down and said: We are going to form the holy Scriptures which lead us and teach us and help us to know the one true God, and it must be 100% direct history. We can see the wide breadth of Scriptural genres from Genesis to Revelation. It’s not to say it’s not based within history. But there is a difference between being an exact, straightforward, historical document and something coming out of actual history. Thus, Scripture also must be engaged on a literary level. It’s easy to see that the poetry of the Psalms and the parables of the prophets & Jesus are not literal, for they fall within a non-literal literary framework. The same must be considered within various portions of Genesis or Judges or the Gospels. This is why, when we look closely at the early chapters of Genesis, we don’t see a full-on poem, but we see poetic, literary aspects: parallelism, 3 days of forming, 3 days of filling, use of Hebrew words to play off of words from other ancient near eastern languages, etc, etc. I think those within a modernistic framework fail to recognise that truth and fact can be distinguished. Something can be true, but not fact. For example, poetry and parables.
As to the New Testament’s presentation of Adam: There is discussion on whether the figure of Adam is, again, a straightforward factual man. Just as their is discussion on, say, whether Job was an historical account and person or a poetic-storied account given to teach. So in a couple of other places, Scripture can refer to Job as is, without discussing whether he was historical or literary. We talk about Job as is, as presented in Scripture. But it doesn’t conclude directly that the account of Job describes the exact situation of a man, his family and friends. But the God-breathed truth of Job still cuts like a two-edged sword whether he is historical or not. Job is absolutely amazing! So, I’m happy if Adam is factually historical or mainly literary to teach the God-breathed truth. You might be interested in this shorter essay by Daniel Kirk, NT professor at Fuller Seminary.
BTW, I’m not saying YOU have Sesame Street education. I was making a point.
I didn’t ask about forming and filling and 100% direct history, differing historical views of the age of the earth, various ancient near eastern literary genres or who’s discussing what or ANY of that.
Here’s what I actually DID ask?
“How many pillars of the faith before Darwin denied a literal Adam and Eve created from the dust of the earth and a literal fall into sin AS reported? Do YOU Scott, with Peter Enns, believe that the New Testament cannot be credibly construed any other way than actually advancing a literal Adam and Eve?”
Notice that I did NOT ask whether there was a literal Adam and Eve or not. I asked if like Enns, YOU believe that the New Testament teaches that there was. There’s more, but let’s stick with those for now. The answer to the first should include at the bare minimum some names and the second can be answered yes or no. These are easy ones man, don’t lemme down.
Origen: And who is found so ignorant as to suppose that God, as if He had been a husbandman, planted trees in paradise, in Eden towards the east, and a tree of life in it, i.e., a visible and palpable tree of wood, so that anyone eating of it with bodily teeth should obtain life, and, eating again of another tree, should come to the knowledge of good and evil? No one, I think, can doubt that the statement that God walked in the afternoon in paradise, and that Adam lay hid under a tree, is related figuratively in Scripture, that some mystical meaning may be indicated by it. (De Principiis, Book IV, Ch1, 16)
In the end, while many will reject such a principle today, there were a good amount of early church fathers who regularly explained much of Scripture allegorically. They weren’t ‘denying’ anything – but they saw something bigger here than a straightforward, literalist account. Hence, they were very willing to approach Scripture outside a literalist perspective.
I am not convinced that the NT (or the OT) has to be communicating a literal Adam and Eve. This is why I pointed you to something like Daniel Kirk’s short, scholarly essay on an historical Adam. Here’s one thing to consider: The ancients believed that the cosmos were created something like this picture. They believed that the earth rested upon actual pillars, that there were literal waters in the sky (hence, why it was blue) and various other aspects. And so, for them to communicate about the cosmos in such a way, though we know they were not formed like that, I have no problem in recognising this off-based view in regards to scientific study, since something bigger and better was being communicated. I’m not opening Scripture to teach me science. So, while I know you will greatly disagree with me, if the ancients believed in a literal first guy named Adam, yet there were actual multiple first human beings, I don’t believe this cuts at the authority and God-breathed nature of Scripture. I believe this because Scripture is not given as a particularly scientifically-driven text.
The unfortunate thing many evangelicals argue is this: If we can’t trust Scripture to be factually accurate in Genesis, how can we trust anything else, like the resurrection of Jesus? But this is a fallacious argument. I call it the ‘all-in’ fallacy. If A is not the way we thought it should be, then that means B, C, D, E, F, G, H and everything else can’t be trusted. It’s more known as the slippery slope. It’s not an effective argument.
But, alas, I don’t imagine agreement between us.
So, may I ask a question: If Adam is not a literal, factual figure as argued in various creationist views, does this negate the gospel?
I knew you wouldn’t lemme down here. Origen. The most controversial of all the Patristics and who was anathematized at the 5th Ecumenical Council in 553. Fairly or not is not the point. It was very far from settled very close to his lifetime whether he was a plain heretic or not. With his mystical trichotomous three levels of meaning in every statement of scripture and generous helpings of pagan Greek philosophy (yes I’m well aware of Augustine’s platonism) stuffed into his theology at every point. Anybody else?
Can I respectfully ask that you please save me the effort of posting a 4 foot list in 8 point font of virtually EVERY giant and champion of the Christian faith before the 19th century who taught a literal first man Adam and his female wife Eve from the man’s side? Men who certainly would have spent every appropriate effort seeing that as few of their charges as possible were led into perdition by such foul treatment of the Word of God had they seen what you are promoting? Can you do that please? Just concede now that the view/sssssss being advanced by modernist liberals like yourself and the crew at biologos were NEVER heard of IN THE VISIBLE CHURCH before the mighty prophet Charles Darwin came along thundering “THUS SAITH ME!!!”. (Yes, I know Darwin wasn’t actually the first) Not that you necessarily should care, but I’ll respect you more if you just do that.
Now. You say this:
“I am not convinced that the NT (or the OT) has to be communicating a literal Adam and Eve.
So then you disagree with Enns? Who I actually have a sort of begrudging respect for at least as an exegete. After his studies are complete and he has pushed the books away, he winds up with his head in his hands lamenting “alright already 😦 with these genealogies marching step by step back to “Adam, the son of God”, with Jesus Himself referring to them in ways that the folks standing around would certainly have understood as real individual people. With Paul expressing thoughts in Romans 5 and 1st Corinthians 11 and 1st Cor 15 and 2nd Cor. 11 and 1st Tim. 2 (off the top of my head) that inescapably portray the belief in a literal understanding of the Genesis account of the special creation of man, to be honest I MUST say that the New Testament teaches what Greg’s 4 foot list has always believed”
You disagree and say that the New Testament has NEVER taught what Greg’s 4 foot list saw there? They ALLLLLL had the origin, creation and fall of man wrong. Some rather significant areas of of doctrine, at least to them. UNTIL unbelieving “science” took us out of the darkness God left them in for 1900 years. Take a stand now Scott. Fritter about as you may, THAT IS the position you must defend.
we’ll get to your articles. AND bilogos outrageous abuse of Calvin as well.
I must admit that I still long for respectful conversation to take place. There’s only so much insulting comments one can take. It is very obvious to me that you are passionate for Christ and Scripture. I would say that I am just as much – I’ve given my life to ministry, pastoring, mission, study of Scripture and will continue. But I feel that asking for respectful conversation might fall on deaf ears.
Yes, I’m aware of the problems with Origen by later Christians. The interesting thing is that a very strong approach of much of the early church fathers was that of allegory with many difficult portions of Scripture. So you do find various fathers not bound to a literal interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis. Of course, you’ll find many that are. If you’re not aware of the wide variety of engaging that portion of Scripture, even when their were not scientific findings as we have today, then I think it will do us all well to engage a bit outside our normative context. It really enriches our study of Scripture.
I know that some would say the NT writers unequivocally believed in a literal, factual, historical Adam. Yet, what they argue is that a) they assumed something within their own cultural context and that God worked within their framework and b) to assume that Adam was literally historical, though he wasn’t, has no bearing on what the God-breathed Scriptures are actually looking to communicate, since they aren’t given with detailed scientific findings. I’m not so bothered by a perspective, though I’m still not clear myself whether Scripture unequivocally states Adam was literal, factual and historical. The reality of, say, Gen 1-3 or Rom 5 does not fall for me on whether Adam was historical. Nor does the gospel. And I think to claim that it does would fall under this all-or-nothing (slippery slope) fallacy: If we cannot trust Gen 1, then how can we trust the Gospels, etc. But the better statement is: If we cannot trust our perspective on Gen 1, then how can we trust the Gospels, etc.
Again, may I ask a question: If Adam is not a literal, factual figure as argued in various creationist views, does this negate the gospel?
Scott asks: Again, may I ask a question: If Adam is not a literal, factual figure as argued in various creationist views, does this negate the gospel?
And you continue to avoid my point. The church WAS equivocally clear for almost 2 millenia that Adam was literal, factual and historical. ESPECIALLY when God rescued the gospel from the jaws of Rome in the reformation. You keep drawing “allegory” like a gun and keep failing to show me where anybody believed that Adam wasn’t a literal historical and singular human person specially created by God. For the true invisible church, the eternally elect of God in Christ, Adam still IS what God has revealed to her that he is and being an utterly foundational truth it is one that God has preserved throughout all of history among HIS people. Still is..
If Jesus, Luke, Paul and Jude all believed what Greg’s 4 foot list believed, and still believe, but it is not true? Then there is no gospel. I can get that kind of deception from Joseph Smith Jr, Charles Taze Russel, Jim Jones and Sun Myung Moon. Or Muhammad. Or a politician. Or the crackhead in east Detroit. I will believe whatever the ancient Christian scriptures actually teach. They teach what the God who is faithful to all generations had Greg’s 4 foot list ALWAYS see them as teaching. Enns admits that. So does Polkinhorne btw. That Paul believed, as the church always has, in a literal historical Adam. THEY just don’t believe it. I do not serve a God who moves upon men to record His mind in a body of writing from which he allows his people for thousands of years to conclude falsehoods that are only shown to be such by those who are NOT his people, thousands of years later,
To ascribe such slack, scheming or deceit to the holy one of Israel? The ancient of days? The one whose dominion is from everlasting? The one who IS truth itself and by whose mere fiat command all the vast cosmos were called into existence from nothing? To proclaim that He COULD lead (notice I said lead) His covenant bride AND His own incarnate Son to believe a single particle of falsehood for one second, to say nothing of the practical whole of history IS blasphemy of the most horrific and grotesque order.
Scott says: I must admit that I still long for respectful conversation to take place. There’s only so much insulting comments one can take.
This is your big concern? This is what you lead off with? I couldn’t care less who insults me. I am told by the same scriptures that teach a literal historical and singular first man Adam to EXPECT to be hated and killed for His truth. Some guy on a computer screen saying something to me is a chuckle inducing non issue.
Ya know what I long for Scott? I long to gaze into that beautiful face. The face of the one who while I was yet dead in trespasses and sins, an enemy and by nature a child of wrath because of my being born the son of a covenant breaking father Adam. The one who loved me while I too lived in denial of His truth and was deserving of one thousand lakes of fire. The one who nailed my sin to His cross and left my death in His grave. I long to see His smile, feel His kiss on my cheek and here Him say to me “well done my good and FAITHFUL servant”. I LOVE science. You’d be shocked actually. LOVE IT. Can’t get enough. But with Calvin, I unshakably hold the scriptures to be the “eyeglass though which only, God’s revelation in nature can be rightly interpreted” (paraphrase) NOT the other way around.
I am NOT a hateful man Scott, but yes. I agree with Marv. This IS a gospel issue and I dare call no man brother who would insolently submit the inscripurated Word of the living God to the sinful wisdom of corrupt men who before my very eyes are suppressing God’s truth in their alleged scientific unrighteousness. If THIS is not the most quintessential example of “hath God said?” then I am an atheist. (which could never happen).
Since it appears you are just not going to address my point, when I get time later I’ll deal with some other stuff you have said and quoted here. I will make a concerted effort to be nicer.
Let’s say that most (not unequivocally, but most) of the church believed in a literal, factual, historical individual existed named Adam. And, oddly enough, I’m actually ok with that – however, my perspective is willing to consider some things in light of the scientific study of God’s good creation.
But let’s think through this: Most of the church for centuries held to the necessity of indulgences, that charismatic gifts were no longer needed, and the killer is that they believed in a geocentric universe – this being the reason Copernicus and Galileo were initially labelled as heretics. However, the testimony of church history, the church history you keep quoting, is that, at times, our beliefs have had to go through adjustments. And the same will be true of my children, grandchildren and further along.
So, in many ways, I would expect the church without some of the scientific, historical and archaeological study that is available today to not really ponder some of the things we do today – the creative process of God (yes, of God) unfolding over billions of years, that Adam & Eve were not given as literal figures (like many have pondered about ones like Job), that the Genesis 1 account is actually an account of the building of the temple of Yahweh with his image going into the temple on the final day, etc, etc.
I still don’t think you will agree with my more open (though not concrete) perspective. But the church has always had to re-examine things in light of more study in various disciplines. Hence our good friends Copernicus and Galileo. And this will continue on and on. Hey, we’ll still be learning, even about creation, when all things are consummated, as God is quite the vast and infinite one.
Scott says: …and the killer is that they believed in a geocentric universe
This topic is not in any way addressed in the bible Scott and no doctrine of any significance whatsoever rises or falls with the belief in a geocentric universe. The detailed account of man being directly formed by God so that one minute he was dirt and the next he was alive, IS quite plainly addressed and carried a very plain understanding for the church until recently.
Ptolemy (spelling?) was not a believer and is another instance of what happens when the wisdom of men is exalted over the word of God. The scriptures never taught a geocentric universe any more than they allow for macro bio-evolution, but in both cases man has been allowed to dictate the terms under which God is allowed to speak. The belief that He EVER speaks outside the scriptures in such a way as to be interpretive OF the scriptures is THE genesis (no pun intended) and foundation of every single cultic christian heresy there is. Take it from one who knows. But then again I bet you’re not so sure they’re lost anyway. Are you?
I celebrate true science. Even science advanced by pagans. That’s not just a statement of pacification for this conversation. Science does NOT scare me. I jump in with both feet. WHOOPEEEEE!!!! Splash it all over me in the knowledge that even the scorn of sinners is made by Him to praise His glorious name. Oh how much of His majesty indeed has been discovered and published by those who despise Him. How could it possibly be otherwise? EVERYone and EVERYthing reveals Him whether they like it or not.
However, nowhere else except the scriptures do we have from the creator and king of the universe His own VERBAL communication by which we are commanded to interpret all the rest. Let me ask you this. Suppose some “scientific” discovery were made that to you more strongly suggested that the Genesis account of Adam and Eve WAS literally true than the present “evidence” that suggests not?
We do agree on one thing: The Bible does not address the topic [whether we live in a geocentric or heliocentric universe].
That’s just it. It’s not given to teach us the sciences, cosmology, and such. It was given for something bigger and more beautiful. Within the actual purpose of it being given, the authors speak within their own framework. So what we call phenomenological language was, in many ways, their actual perspective in that time. But if they believed in a geocentric universe (and it seems Gen 1 even speaks very geocentrically with the earth being very central), a flat land surface, that this land rests on actual pillars, that there was a vaulted dome in the sky, etc, this has no bearings on the purpose and intent of Scripture. It does not negate the authority and God-breathed nature of Scripture.
Of course God speaks outside Scripture, at times, to help us understand Scripture. God even allowed Scripture to be formed relying on other writings in the ancient times. The Proverbs actually draw upon old Egyptian proverbs in many ways. Paul quotes pagan poets to Athenian scholars to help them understand the purposes of God (since they would not have known the Hebrew Scriptures). I, personally, did not come to know God in Christ from reading the Bible. I came to know Christ as an evangelist shared his story of his family being Iranian refugees to America. It doesn’t mean we set such testimonies or such study in varying disciplines above Scripture. However, they accompany us in understanding the purpose of Scripture – that we might know the purpose of God in the story of Israel, as summed up in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. I appreciate something like the Wesleyan quadrilateral in knowing our good God. I still believe in the primary role of Scripture. But I don’t believe that’s the only thing God ever gave us – since we didn’t have a finalised, ‘leather-bound’ canon until a few centuries after Christ. And most people didn’t have a copy and could not read a copy of Scripture for the longest time. Yet their faith remained with the assistance of creeds, hymns and teachings to explain the truths of the gospel. This is the holistic way of knowing God in Christ for 2000 years.
This is the whole thing – I’m happy for a young earth and for a historical Adam & Eve. I have no problem with it. On the former, there is quite some evidence within the fossil record that we don’t live on a 6,000-10,000 year old planet. And I think there is some studies offered that show the traditional understanding of Adam & Eve might not be correct. However, there are theologians like John Collins, in his book Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?, who, even within an evolutionary framework, believe in a literal Adam & Eve. But if there was conclusive evidence that Adam & Eve were literally historical, I’m very happy with that. But, noting some things that are being offered these days within the sciences and noting that the early accounts of Genesis were not always seen as unequivocally literal, I think there is quite some space within the glory and goodness of God to consider that Adam & Eve might not be literal.
Very Good. Be back later. No time now.
What if you became inescapably convinced that Jesus, Luke, Paul and Jude actually believed and recorded in scripture what the church has always understood them to be saying? I mean like Enns (and others) you just can’t deny that they believed in a literal singular first man, his wife from his side, a serpent and so on? What then?
You will have no problem noticing all the things I did NOT ask. Please forget about the and answer what I actually did.