Interrogated by Pontius Pilate shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus
explains the overall purpose of his earthly ministry: "...I came to
bring truth to the world. All who love the truth are my followers."
(Jn.18:37, LB). An essential hallmark of the Christian, therefore, is
that he loves truth; he is not prepared to accept half-truths or lies.
A little while ago, I posed the question, "Who was Adam?" Answers were
provided by Kevin and (inadvertently) by Glenn. Clearly, neither accepts
the straight scriptural answer provided in Genesis 2 and 3. Yet the Lord
did! - and so did his apostles! - as is made clear from the Gospels and
Pauline letters. For example:
Mt.19:4 - "Haven't you read, that at the beginning the Creator made them
male and female, and said..." Doesn't this make it clear that our Lord
read the Genesis narrative in a literal fashion? The Pharisees retort
that Moses permitted divorce (Jesus had quoted Genesis 2:24 to show that
divorce is wrong). The Lord replies that Moses' permission of divorce
arose from the 'hardness of heart' of the Jews. "But", he continues, "it
was not this way from the beginning." In other words, long before Moses
things were different.
Lk.3:23-38 - the genealogy recorded by Luke ends with "The son of Enos,
the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." In Luke's mind,
therefore, God was the only 'ancestor' Adam had. This strongly suggests
that Luke read Genesis 2 in a straightforward fashion - i.e. Adam had no
Ro.5:12-21 - Paul clearly regarded Adam and Christ as parallel - not so
much in who they were, but in what they did. The act of Adam that
brought condemnation and the act of Christ that brought justification
stand side by side, and the one cancels out the other. Moreover, the
apostle speaks of Adam and his act of disobedience as facts of history.
Christ was a real historical man whose death was a real event; there can
be no parallel between him and his act of atonement and a mythological
Adam whose Fall is only a symbol. The two sides of the parallel stand or
1Co.15:21,22 - "...for as in Adam all die, so in Christ will all be made
alive." Death entered the world 'through a man' and 'in Adam'. Clearly,
he accepted that the narrative of the Fall (Gn.3) teaches this.
1Co.15:45,47 - "...the first man Adam became a living being; the last
Adam a life-giving spirit...The first man was of the dust of the earth,
the second man from heaven." Reference is made to the manner in which
the first man was created; this factor is injected into the parallel
2Co.11:3 - "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the
serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your
sincere and pure devotion to Christ." In this highly relevant text we
see further evidence of Paul's literal understanding of Gn.2-3.
1Tm. 2:13, 14 - "For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not
the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a
sinner." This statement occurs in Paul's discussion of the place of
women. Referring to the Genesis account, he calls it in evidence to
support his practice of not allowing women teaching authority over men.
This is interesting because it refers to, (i) the order in which Adam
and Eve were created, and (b), the order in which they fell. Paul's
exegesis here gives striking confirmation to the natural reading of the
Genesis narrative; for him, it was something that actually took place.
I suggest that Christians cannot avoid accepting the correctness of
Paul's theology. Both in theory and in practice it is the
foundation-stone of their reflection on the relation of Jesus Christ to
the OT revelation, and, as a result, to God's purposes as a whole. There
can be no other option than to accept the NT witness as authoritative,
since the whole fabric of Christian theology - not some small portion of
the OT interpretation - is under threat.
It is surely a serious matter then that (in the interests of maintaining
a rapprochement with evolution) he who declared himself to be "the way,
the truth and the life..." (Jn.14:6) is questioned as to his
understanding of the Scriptures; again, that the meticulous Dr.Luke is
reckoned to be sadly adrift as a historian; and further, that Paul -
largely responsible for promoting the Gospel - is completely devoid of
real scholarship and understanding.
May I respectfully inquire of TEs: How can you so readily indulge in
textual violence of this magnitude and yet believe you have the Gospel?
Can't you see that evolution is a cruel deception? It is a cancer that
weakens and ultimately destroys the roots of your faith; it is a heavy
and largely self-imposed, yoke.
"When I show a man he is inconsistent, I make him decide whether of the
two he loves better, the portion of truth he already holds, or the
portion of error." (J.H.Newman, Tract 85)
[Musician, Mining Engineer, and Senior Lecturer in Maths and Computing,
the Polytechnic of Wales (now the University of Glamorgan), 1954-87]