Re: In the Image

Dave Koerner 818-354-8820 (
Fri, 31 May 1996 16:57:05 -0700 (PDT)

Keith and Jim,

Thanks for your friendly patient replies! I know this is an immensely
significant topic, and I hope you'll not be offended that I still have a very
different view.

It would seem then that the justification for a literal Adam lies wholly
in a theological view and that all these discussions of anthropology are
merely an effort to find support for that view rather than reflect on the
meaning of anthopological findings in their own right.

The Fall -- Original Sin, etc. are obviously really at issue. I think
these concepts should be re-examined in the light of anthropology and
psychology, not defended in one narrow traditional interpretation despite
the wealth of new understanding available.

I have no quarrel with the idea that "Our _positions_ as images of God
[are] corrupted." But I am uncomfortable with the idea that Adam or any
other human was ever _literally_ in the pre-fallen state described
in Genesis. It reminds me of the Mormon doctrine of pre-existence.

Biblical methods are obviously also at issue. To answer Jim, I seriously doubt
that Moses really wrote the Pentateuch since it contains the record of his
death. I also disagree strongly with any implication that the Bible was handed
down word-for-word by God, just as the golden plates were reputed to be
the origin of the Book of Mormon. Clearly, none of the authors of the Bible
thought they were taking dictation. All Biblical Truth is encased in a
_cultural_ context. Jesus would've naturally spoken of the Genesis accounts as
true because this was the view of his day, not because He had a Revelation
about the Origin of early man. Similarly, I don't doubt for a minute that Paul
believed literally in Adam, just as he evidently believed women should never
enter Church without a hat -- both beliefs were inevitable results of his
_cultural_ conditioning. The passage Jim quoted in Romans is no doubt
the closest the Bible comes to affirming a substitutionary theory of atonement.
Certainly it was the one I considered most before I changed my mind.
I think this position is untenable in light of the fact that we now know that
a literal Adam of a few thousand years ago was not the progenitor of the human
race. I'm sure that Paul also believed that Adam WAS the progenitor of the
human race, even though that no longer seems to be an issue.

But Jesus' death and resurrection is the consummate testimony that God
is with us -- in the darkest moment. He is there. God doesn't NEED to
PUNISH Jesus to keep from being mad at us. We may need to believe that
sometimes I guess.

Even though we may have radically different theories of how the atonement
accomplishes its miracle, I believe we are sharing in the same experience
of God's Love.