Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person?

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Apr 10 2008 - 18:23:29 EDT

Don C. said: If the Scripture disagrees with our understanding of science,
then Scripture is wrong - is that correct?

I respond: That isn't my position; I don't think it's what David S. was
getting at either. The problem is that applying the categories of modern
science to the ancient Hebrew narratives of origins is a category mistake.
Scripture isn't "wrong" here because it isn't giving us
"science." Scripture is giving us in the origins narratives a category of
literature David S. appropriately referred to as "myth." Note that "myth"
in this sense doesn't necessarily mean "untrue" or "non-factual," but it
implies a culturally-bound explanation of origins.

Don C. said: After all, we can find myths from this same region that deal
with resurrected saviors before Jesus came on the scene. Using this logic,
we need to discard the accounts of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

I respond: I think we can't deny that this is a problem. There are indeed
many unbelieving Bible scholars who take this view of the resurrection
accounts. But this, I think, is where we need a theologically robust
doctrine of scripture. The primary purpose of scripture is to point us to
Christ; his life, death and resurrection are the cornerstones of our faith;
and the genres of literature we have in the Gospels is very different than
that of origins myths (see here, though his thesis is contested, Richard
Bauckham's "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses").

The logic is not that every Biblical event with a cultural parallel must be
discarded as mythic. The argument is that the genre of the creation
accounts is consistent with and draws on ANE cultural explanations of
origins that by definition are non-scientific. (IMHO, this doesn't mean the
personages mentioned in the Biblical narratives can easily be called
non-historical, but I do think it means whatever historiography we have is
unique, highly selective, and stylized).

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Received on Thu Apr 10 18:24:51 2008

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