Exploring Our Matrix
The Blog of Dr. James F. McGrath, Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, Indianapolis
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I’ll be participating in the upcoming blog tour about Pete Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins. As a foretaste, here is the author saying a little about the book and why he wrote it.
‘Paul’ misinterpreted the first few chapters of Genesis as badly as he interpreted the last few of Deuteronomy. That’s all.
I just bought this book to blog through as well. I look forward to reading your summaries as well.
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Is the following a useful parallel? Paul struggled for unity. N. T. Wright’s understanding of Justification by Faith is as the original ecumenical doctrine. But in order to achieve that larger, more universal unity implicit in Jesus’ Messiahship he had immediatly to fight against a more local, limited unity, namely, Jewish ethnocentrism. The passage to a wider and larger unity took him through that valley of contention and disunity with some. Paul creatively employed the well-known Adam myth in his fight for that Gospel unity. Today we are all becoming more and more tuned into the kingdom dimension of the Gospel. Jesus is ruler of the whole world. As we put down our bibles and begin to study the terrain of Christ’s future kingdom and start to imagine what it would look like if Jesus was in charge and ask ourselves what’s our next move to build for the kingdom were going to find that one of our greatest stumbling blocks will be His church’s normal attachment to the ancient, YEC reading of Genesis and the implied rejection of modern science. Announcing the theocracy of Christ is going to be hard enough without the extra burden of this anti-science attitude. (“If they are that wrong about creation, why should we listen to anything esle they say?!”) Now, I think that the modern creation narrative will eventually be our vehicle for that larger, more universal unity in our own day. But there’s the irony: the very narrative with which Paul fought for a larger unity in his day is the same narrative that must today be rejected for the sake of that larger unity of Christ’s world-wide kingdom. Paul employed the Adam and Eve narrative in the service of his global vision; I think Paul would today gladly drop that older narrative in favor of evolution in the service of the same global, universal vision. A literal reading of Genesis functions today similarly to the way Jewish ethnocentrism functioned in Paul’s day: they both would have made the spead of The Gospel of Christ’s Kingdom to the whole world impossible.
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