Re: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Mar 30 2007 - 06:54:50 EDT

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: David Opderbeck
  To: George Murphy
  Cc: Jack ; ASA list
  Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:24 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Does ASA believe in Adam and Eve?

  an exaggerated statement in response to repeated arguments which made the text entirely about judgment

  I never said it was "entirely about judgment." I said the main point is that judgment will come unexpectedly, and that this should affect how we live.

  OK, again I was exaggerating - in response to exaggeration. The main point is not that judgment will come unexpectedly but that Christ will come & the present world will be brought to an end. & judgment will be part of that & it will be like a thief in the night, but the main point of the passage is that even though "the promise of his coming" seems as if it's never going to happen, it will. Where I think you're skewing the sense of the passage is by bringing judgment, which is a subsidiary theme here, to the fore all the time.

  But let me ask this: Is the reason why several of you are arguing that the author of II Peter didn't think the flood was universal just that you don't want to have to say that he was wrong about that? Or is there another reason?

  Speaking for myself, yes, this is the primary reason. And yes, underlying this is a presupposition about scripture. Although I'm not a "Chicago Statement" inerrantist, my presuppositions about scripture still are that if an apostolic writer authoritatively teaches something, what is taught will not err. That presupposition causes me to try to interpret the text in a way that does not assume an error in what the text is teaching. In other words, my presupposition about scripture informs my hermeneutics.

  This is reasonable up to a point. We shouldn't simply assume error & should look for an interpretation that avoids it. But we also have to respect what the text - & context - says.

  & here it's important to note that the mention of the flood in II Pet.3 of course doesn't stand alone. I mentioned this in a response to Dick because I wanted to avopid getting bogged down in discussion about what "all" means in the Genesis accounts. But I think the flood narrative in Genesis itself has in view a destruction of the whole world, or at least the whole inhabited world: All does sometimes mean all.

  Absent the presupposition I mention, I'll grant that its probably simpler just to say Peter was in error about the universal scope of the flood. Perhaps a mediating position is to say that Peter was not in "error" in the sense of writing scripture that would lead the church into error in any matter of faith and practice, although the revelation is accomodated to Peter's mistaken understanding about the flood.

  Yes, I think this is a good way to put it. But it's not just an error of the author of II Peter but a widely held cultural error. While I think (see below) that the Holy Spirit has accomodated inspiration to such limitations, I suspect the Spirit avoided using as human instruments those who held ideas about the physical world or history which even contemporaries in their own culture knew to be mistaken.

  However, for me personally, given my fundamental-evangelical background and presuppositions about scripture, that is very hard to swallow -- not to mention that it is the sort of position that would cause me lots of existential grief about how to continue ministering and relating to people in the evangelical faith communities in which I grew up and in which I believe God has placed me.

  What is your presupposition about scripture that would allow for Peter to be in error here? What theologians (Barth?) articulate that presupposition best?

  Basically, the theology of the cross. I think that kenosis (Phil.2:7), divine self-limitation, is characteristic of God's work in the world. That means, among other things, that the Holy Spirit limits (as much as was consistent with what needed to be communicated) the inspiration of proclamation & scripture to the capacities of those who are inspired. A PSCF article dealing with divine action in that connection . A brief online resource discussing the implications for hermeneutics is "Couldn't God Get It Right?" at )


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Received on Fri Mar 30 05:56:07 2007

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