We’re done with science and Christianity for a while, and I have no plans to return to the science of origins.
I just want to reflect a bit on one of the deeper issues underlying the last few posts before moving on to very different topics.
One of the common ideas expressed in the Churches of Christ and Protestantism in general is the notion that any person can pick up the Bible and interpret it correctly all by himself or herself. This is obviously just not true, and we need to stop saying it. Continue reading
Eden in the Fertile Crescent
Suppose we move Eden back to something like 65,000 BC, when humans were first in Mesopotamia — the traditional site of Eden. Or if we’re willing to move Eden to Africa, we can move Eden back to when man was first preparing to move out of Africa and into Asia. But the location of Eden seems pretty specific –
(Gen 2:14 ESV) 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Flood itself was either a local flood or else God chose to leave no physical evidence of the Flood on the planet. There is no archaeological or geological evidence for a global Flood.
Obviously, God could have caused a global flood and removed all evidence, which one may believe as a matter of faith. But we have no business claiming that science supports the Flood as a global flood. It just doesn’t.
Proposition: Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden are a special creation within the Creation
I believe God created Adam and Eve from scratch, just as is described in Genesis 2. There was a real, literal Garden of Eden, just as is described in Genesis 2. The rest of this is admittedly speculation, but speculation with a purpose — to demonstrate that there is at least one way, perhaps more, to reconcile the archaeology of early man with Genesis 4-9. Continue reading
The curse of
If the fossil record reveals death, disease, weed, thistles, and even cataclysmic destruction of animal life long before 4004 BC, what did the curse on creation that resulted from sin produce in Genesis 3?
It’s a good and fair question — and the fossil records does not reveal a dramatic change in animal disease or the fertility of the soil in about 4004 BC. And yet the curse of Genesis 3 is a major part of Paul’s theology, especially as discussed by him in Romans 8. Continue reading
Take the time to read this brief interview with N. T. Wright on some topics we’ve touched on here. It’ll be well worth your time.
Wright speaks at a fairly elevated level, so be prepared to be challenged.
I’ve just GOT to buy this book (even though I STILL haven’t finished Paul and the Faithfulness of God).
(Rom 5:12-13 ESV) 12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned — 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
“Death” entered the world through Adam. Some say that animals did not die before Adam, which is why God did not allow them to be eaten. But this, of course, means that the Tyrannosaurus Rex ate Brussels sprouts and passed on the roast beef. It’s really hard to imagine. In fact, the fossil record does not reveal any time when there were no carnivores and no death among animals. If there were no deaths, there’d be no fossils! Continue reading
The Biblical Evidence Reconsidered
The account of Cain in Genesis 4 has always been a difficult passage, and the difficulty comes from the text, long before Darwin and dinosaurs. For example,
(Gen 4:10-17 ESV) 10 And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.”
3 Cain said to the LORD, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”
15 Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him. 16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the LORD and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
For the longest time, I refused to read about ancient humans and pre-humans. I preferred not to know because it made it easier to read Genesis 2 – 9 literally. But additional experiments and observations have only strengthened the case that man first appeared in Africa and that man had spread across the globe — to all continents other than Antarctica and nearly all islands — long before 4004 BC.
So what does all this mean for Adam and Eve? And more importantly, what does it mean for Paul’s theology that is often built on the existence of Adam and the fall of man in Genesis 3?
Now we have to be careful not to build our position on just one or two verses. There are quite a few passages that bear on the question. It’s not a simple question, and we should not answer simplistically. A lot of work has been done by Christian apologists and others to deal with the Big Bang. Much less has been done with Eden and the Flood. Continue reading
Just posted Part 18 prematurely by accident. I’ll most likely post it for real tomorrow or Saturday.