There’s lots of discussion going on these days about the compatibility of evolution and Scripture. In light of my recent post on Inerrancy and Creation Accounts I thought I would post some related articles on the topic. Here are some of the more recent ones discussing the issue:
Tim Keller, “Sinned in a Literal Adam, Raised in a Literal Christ”
Ted Olsen, “Adam, Where Are You?”
Richard Ostling, “The Search for the Historical Adam”
BioLogos, “Biologos and the June 2011 Christianity Today Cover Story”
Update: Peter Sanlon adds his voice to the discussion by bringing Augustine into the equation. Read about Augustine’s Literal Adam here
Although the story of Adam is in the OT, none of Jewish theology is actually based on it. That is proof enough that the story is virtually meaningless. Plus, the New Testament is all based on the theory that we need a son of Jupiter to die on the cross for us or we can’t be saved. But the OT in various places shows that God does not require blood sacrifice before he will forgive. Psalm 50, for example. The last verse clearly replaces all blood sacrifice with “praise” and “ordering your life aright.” After concerted bashing of sacrifices, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” We don’t need a sacrifice, neither a bull nor a goat, nor a son of Jupiter. If we will praise God with our lips and live right morally, we will be saved. The more you study the Old Testament, the more Christianity is seen for the fraud and imposture of paganism that it is.
By Jewish theology, there, I mean in the Tanach itself, not rabbinic speculative theology.
Thanks for you comments. Good conversations is always welcomed. You’ve made three points and I want to do my best to address them each.
1. Adam is not part of Jewish Theology. If this is true I wonder what you have to do with 1 Chronicles 1 and 2 which begin the genealogy of Israel’s Kings with Adam. Or what do you do with Hosea 6:7 where God condemns both Ephraim and Judah for being “like Adam” and breaking the covenant. It seems that God saw some connection between Adam and the people’s sin against the covenant.
2. The New Testament is based on the Son of Jupiter theory. There has long been an argument that the New Testament is simply a document of Hellenization. But the testimony of the NT does not point to Greek mythology, rather the confession of Jesus is rooted in the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy (see Matthew 26:54-56; Luke 4:21; 22:37; 24:27, 44; John 5:39) the apostles too presented Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish theology (see Acts 18:28; Romans 1:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It seems more honest to take the representation of the Scriptures themselves at face value. Now you can argue that they were wrong, or that they misrepresented Jewish theology, etc., but to suggest that they developed a theology from Roman culture seems strange to me.
3. The Old Testament denies blood sacrifice is required for forgiveness of sins. This too seems a strange argument, for God institutes the whole sacrificial system to expressly deal with sin (see Exodus 29:35-37; 30:10; Leviticus 1:4-17; 4:20; 4:35; much of Leviticus 5; Leviticus 14 and 16; the list could go on and on). You are right to point to Psalm 50, there are indeed other places in Scriptures (in the Psalms and the Prophets) where this same refrain is uttered. The point is not that God doesn’t accept sacrifices, but that sacrifices done without a right heart are not acceptable. See Psalm 51:16-19, where the same phrase is uttered but ends with the recognition that after a “broken and contrite heart” God will “then…delight in right sacrifices.” God set up the system of sacrifices to deal with sin temporarily, but ultimately it is Jesus who deals with our sin in the shedding of his blood. That is what the whole Jewish sacrificial system was pointing to.
Those are my responses, friend. Thanks for the conversation.
1. what do you do with Hosea 6:7 where God condemns both Ephraim and Judah for being “like Adam” and breaking the covenant.?
I think you just made my point. The concept of an inherited original sin is not there in Old Testament theology. Hosea views Adam the same way as Pelagius, as a bad example. One can be like Adam, if like him they violate the covenant in which they stand. But everyone is not born contaminated with some indwelling sin or guilt from Adam. The Old Testament prophets were (for lack of a better word) ‘Pelagians.’
2. What I mean is that the Old Testament does not teach what the New Testament writer says in Hebrews, namely that “without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness.” If Paul, or whoever wrote that book, had read only Deuteronomy, then maybe he can be excused for this gross misunderstanding. But if we read the Psalms and the prophets, we find that very often God demonstrates that blood sacrifice is by no means necessary, nor even truly desired by him. It was merely allowed to keep the people from going pagan. God himself mocks sacrifice in Psalm 50, “do I drink the blood of bulls and goats? If I was hungry, I would not tell you. All the earth is mine.” And the last verse “Whoever offers PRAISE honors me; to him who orders his life aright I will show the salvation of God.” In other words, sacrifice may be safely replaced by praise and right living. Blood sacrifice is not necessary for forgiveness; the writer of “to the Hebrews” misunderstood the OT. Again in Hosea (14 I think) there is a passage the Jews often use to show that the Christian evangelistic tool “how can you Jews be saved without the temple? what is your sacrifice? you need a blood sacrifice to be forgiven!” is a failure. This verse says “Take with you WORDS and return unto the LORD, saying ‘We will offer the calves of our lips” (KJV ‘calves of our lips’) (or in other words, as most Jewish translations put it) “we will offer prayer instead of sacrifice.” The theory of a need for blood sacrifice before God can forgive is a Gentile misunderstanding of the Old Testament, and this misunderstanding led to the Pagan concept of sacrificed sons of Jupiter being put in place to satisfy a perceived maxim of the Old Testament “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” but this maxim was only perceived and not real, and clearly it arose by some ignorant Gentile reading the Torah without the context of Psalms and the Prophets in his mind.
3. I just dealt with this above. Yes, on reading the Torah it may seem like this supposed ‘maxim’ in “to the Hebrews” upon which the whole Christian theory rests, is true. But on reading through the Prophets and Psalms, the theory evaporates into thin air. Does not Paul himself place great stress on Psalm 32 in Romans 4:5-7? For Paul says “David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputes righteousness without works” and Paul goes on to quote partially from the first two verses of Psalm 32. Now, in reality, this is not what David describes. Read the Psalm and you will see what he describes is the man who is forgiven when he repents and confesses his sin to God in prayer. David never actually uses the phrase ‘without works.’ However, he does clearly intend that this man is forgiven merely by repentance and prayer without any sacrifice or extra ritual. Again, read the Psalm. Plus, the man that David refers to is obviously not just some future man, not just a man in the Christian age, for David refers to himself primarily: Verse 3 “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.” That is, when he did not confess his sin. But then, Verse 5, “I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” So, when David kept silence, his sin ate away at him. When he confessed it to God in prayer, it was forgiven. All without sacrifice. Paul’s interpretation, namely that “David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputes righteousness without works” only makes sense if “without works” means “without sacrifice.” And since this applied under the OT, it shows not sacrifice is necessary. The theory that Jesus had to sacrifice himself before God could forgive (or rather that God had to sacrifice himself to himself) is erroneous.
See Psalm 51:16-19, where the same phrase is uttered but ends with the recognition that after a “broken and contrite heart” God will “then…delight in right sacrifices.”
How can you not see here that forgiveness is granted due to the contrite heart? not the sacrifice! The sacrifice is not even acceptable for sin. The sacrifice can only be made after the sin is forgiven, and then the sacrifice is equal to praise, not to an expiation for sin.
Obviously my interpretation of sacrifice in the OT is basically the Jewish interpretation. The reason why Catholics tend to hate Jews, and why Luther hated them too, and why even Protestant Evangelical Zionists harbor some ill towards them, is that deep down we all know they are right about the New Testament not really having fulfilled the Old. We want to delude ourselves, and I was able to do it for more than 20 years. But there comes a point where, if we will be intellectually honest even with our own selves, we have to admit “The Jews are right. It isn’t that they are just recalcitrant sinners. It isn’t that they are stupid, or that they have been blinded: they are right!” If we take the Borean challenge and check the Old Testament quotations of the New Testament writers, read them in their Old Testament contexts, we will see the Jews are right. Remember “the Boreans were more noble than those in Thessalonica because they searched the Scriptures daily with all readiness to see whether those things Paul said were true.” That is, they checked up on his Old Testament citations. Nobody does that today, because they fear they will find that the Jews are right. Well, I did it anyone, despite the fear. I found that Jeremiah 31 about Rachel weeping is about the Babylonian captivity, not babies being killed. I found that Micah 5 is about not a man born in Bethlehem but “out of” Bethlehem as in a descendant of David, and one on whose shoulder the government would be and who will “defend the land when the Assyrians come into it,” or in other words, Zerubabel, the first governor of Judea after the Babylonian captivity, who also was of the line of David and defended the land against proxy Assyrian attacks. I found that Isaiah 7:15-16 states the virgin-born child will be a sign as to when the two kings who are attacking Ahaz wil be defeated, and the child MUST be born in his own time to show when these two kings will be defeated, and the child is proclaimed as born in Isaiah 8, and was Mahershalalhashbaz. I found that “out of Egypt I have called my Son” is Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was young, I loved him and called my son out of Egypt” referring to when God told Moses to tell Pharaoh “Israel is my firstborn son; let my son go or I will slay your firstborn.” All this did I find. The strongest “Messianic” prophecies that “prove” the New Testament all fall to the Borean challenge and show that those “dirty Christ-killing Jews” have been right all along: Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies.