Re: classic arguments

George Murphy (
Fri, 12 Dec 1997 07:49:48 -0500

Arthur V. Chadwick wrote:

> >> At 05:43 PM 12/8/97 -0500, George wrote:
> >> > Of course Genesis was authoritative for Jesus, but again -
> >> >establishing authority & truth do not settle questions of genre &
> >> >interpretation. Jesus was also (because he was who he was) free to add
> >> >to Genesis - note Mk.10:9, even though Genesis 2 had not previously been
> >> >understood to oppose divorce.
> >>
> >> That's an assumption I would like to see support for.
> >
> > No assumption - read the earlier verses. The law (Dt.24:1-4)
> >allowed a man to divorce his wife (but not vice versa). If Gen.1 & 2
> >had been generally understood to forbid divorce, the Pharisees would
> >have said this in replying to Jesus' question in v.3.

> I am going to have to challenge your understanding of the meaning of
> assumption. You have indicated above that you know ("No assumption") what
> the Pharisees would have said. I believe this generally defines the word
> assumption (at least my wife would never let that one pass!).

Doesn't seem like much of a jump! Jesus asks, "What did Moses
command you?" & they reply with reference to Dt.24 but _not_ Gen.1&2.
Here, as as in any argument, one has to make some basic assumptions
(e.g., that words have their ordinary meanings), but calling attention
to them instead of the substance of the argument seems to me quibbling

> It is Christ
> >who is humanity as humanity is supposed to be. & in fact, if you try to
> >take Adam as a model of genuine humanity you don't have much to go on,
> >because interpret as literally as you will, the Bible tells us virtually
> >nothing about Adam.
> The Bible tells us some very important details about Adam that set the
> stage for the whole drama of the Scriptures and for Christ's atonement in
> particular. I don't think I follow your reasoning for minimizing Adam.
> His perfect creation, his volitional fall, the necessary details are there
> in Genesis. Paul refers repeatedly to Adam in Romans 5 as the basis for the
> efficacy of the atonement, answering the eternal question as only Paul
> could: "How can the death of One atone for all?" without a literal Adam,
> that won't work. We don't know lots of the details of his life, of course,
> but this is also true for Christ: one sentence covers 90% of His life.
> > IMO it's not a matter of "rejecting an historical Adam". My
> >point, as above, is that the first human or humans tell us essentially
> >nothing about God's will for humanity. Christ does.
> How about that they were to live in perfect happiness and obedience, and to
> procreate. That is at least a start.

Yes, & they were naked - & a few other things. But look at the
contrast. It makes sense to point to the picture of Christ in the New
Testament & say "this is what human beings are supposed to be like".
We can't do that with Adam & Eve. The biblical picture of Adam shows us
what we're _not_ supposed to be - good creatures of God endowed who are
able to know & do God's will but who choose not to.
To say that an historical Adam is the basis for the
atonement seems to me a strange twist of language. The basis for the
atonement is Christ.

> > Perhaps the reason for your puzzlement is that you haven't
> >realized that some Christians like myself who accept human evolution
> >have not done so _only_ because they feel forced to because of
> >scientific evidence, but also because they feel that it provides a
> >better theological understanding.
> Of what?

Salvation. (Because of our evolutionary relationship with other
species, "all things" [Col.1:20] can be reconciled to God through the
cross of the One who assumed human nature.)
Creation. (Development of life through natural processes, &
especially natural selection, suggests the identity of the Creator & the
Crucified, as well as being an important example of the functional
integrity of creation.)
Eschatology. (The reconciliation of all things is through the
Body of Christ [Eph. & Col.] as the next stage in evolution.)
Pretty much covers the waterfront.
George Murphy

George L. Murphy