Thinking Beyond the Box on Adam, the Bible, and Being Tired of the Same Answers: A Podcast Interview

Last week, I was interviewed at “Beyond the Box” on my book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins.

If you’re not familiar with Beyond the Box, over the last year these guys have interviewed the likes of Brian McLaren, Robin Parry (an evangelical universalist), and Sharon Baker (justice, atonement, and hell). Here, from their website, is a brief description of what Beyond the Box is about:

Beyond the Box is the podcast of Raborn Johnson and Steve Sensenig. We have been encouraging each other in the journey outside the bounds of institutional religion for several years now and share many of our candid thoughts and questions in our podcast.

We don’t claim to have a corner on the truth, and there doesn’t seem to be any topic or question that is “out of bounds” in our discussions. As we say in the intro to each podcast, we’re just two guys thinking out loud, exploring the wide open spaces of our freedom in Christ.

To summarize: “The institutional church isn’t asking or answering questions we are asking and want answered, so we’re going to do it ourselves.”

The interview is about 1:20 long, which means I had so many profound things to say, and so loved hearing me say them, that I couldn’t shut up. And I think I might have dozed off for about 10 minutes.

Actually, the interview is long because my interviewer, Raborn, asked me a lot of great questions and we had a great time going back and forth about the Bible: what is it, how do we read it, the box we find ourselves in, and how to get out of it. We talked mainly about The Evolution of Adam, and that triggered some thoughts in other directions, as well.

I hope you have a chance to listen to it and to share your thoughts.

  • http://prodigalthought.net ScottL

    Pete -

    Today, I was re-reminded of the video that Highway Media recently produced, From the Dust. You were interviewed in it. But I was looking at their Vimeo channel today and re-watched the sessions on a) Paul’s Adam and b) the Fall. I thought they were excellent. I especially appreciated Michael Lloyd’s thoughts on ‘the Fall’ and how the text seems to suggest that disorder and disharmony were present even before Genesis 3.

    For those interested, the two videos are:
    1) Paul’s Adam – https://vimeo.com/38209300
    2) The Fall – https://vimeo.com/38233134. (Michael Lloyd’s great thoughts are found at minutes 1:23 to 2:32 in this video)

  • rvs

    I hear you criticizing a kind of naive realism in this interview, which is helpful. And, I appreciate your gentle critique of the correspondence theory of truth (Cartesian metaphysics, the Enlightenment, etc.). A lot of epistemological bullying goes on in Christian evangelical circles via the term “correspondence,” I’ve noticed. I’m working to change. Thanks for posting this. It’s uplifting.

    • http://craigvick.wordpress.com Craig Vick

      I think we make a mistake whenever we commit our understanding of the Scriptures to a philosophical theory. We do this even in something as innocent as talking about propositions. I don’t mean to say the philosophical theories are bad or false, only that we don’t want to be wed to them in such a way that our view of Scripture is vulnerable to problems in philosophy.

      • rvs

        This is rings true. Scripture is a mystical device, sort of like that cosmic cube from the Avengers, only a lot more powerful. –More powerful in a categorical way, not a continuum way. Different category. Unique category, if that makes sense. –One book/thing in category: Bible. Trying to impose “systems” on the Bible is seldom helpful and often funny. I recently heard a good quote from a Jewish rabbi: “Every verse of Scripture has 70 faces and 600,000 meanings.” That remark is going in the right direction.

  • James

    “We have been encouraging each other in the journey outside the bounds of institutional religion.” This seems to be a growing trend and with good reason. No doubt it will lead to different sorts of institutionalism. Here there are at least two who agree. After all, community is a defining trait of the people of God. “May their tribe increase,” even as it journeys outside the box.

  • T’sinadree

    Dr. Enns,
    I hope this is not off topic, but after listening to your interview I was just wondering what your recommendations would be for the best books on the historical Jesus in general, and the resurrection in particular, given your research background.

  • Matteo

    It all comes down then to authority. The Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican are rooted in tradition (even Mormonism) whereas the majority of the Protestant movements have no real centralized authority. Who should I trust then? Is there really such a thing as “sound” theology? I can’t help but feel that Dr. Enns is doing a exemplary job in his writings to communicate how we can experience God through the Bible. I have to also admit that I am more inclined to discard the supernatural theism of one vein of Christian thought and not see Jesus as a God-man. It makes me approach the significance of all we associate with Jesus as not literally true and more about how it reveals our humanity in the face of the unknowable mystery that we personify as God and more about how we live in the here and now as we experience other humans. Scripture for me consists more of a common sense approach the live and less about doctrine, dogma, creeds, and self-hatred toward our human race. There is no original sin, no angels or demons or war in heaven. There is the sheer, direct experience of God as love by its mere existence and our participation in that experience

  • http://www.beyondtheboxpodcast.com Raborn Johnson

    Thanks so much for sharing the link on your website Dr. Enns. I really appreciate your insights and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. Thanks again!

  • JenG
  • Judy Gale

    Thank you for visiting BtB Podcast, Dr. Enns. I thoroughly enjoyed all you had to share (And thanks, Raborn Johnson, for asking such thought-provoking questions)! Here are two responses that epecially caught my attention….
    “I try to link together the idea of Christ’s incarnation with the idea of what it means for God to inspire a text … and the connector between the two is that the inspiration of the text does not yield us a Bible that’s disassociated from its cultural context. Just like the Jesus that we have is not disassociated from his cultural context – they both are there, and so if we accept that, as we gladly do, with Jesus, (then) there are implications of that for how we think of the Bible too.”

    “Resolution is not the point. The point is the dialogue. That’s part of communing with God…by struggling with the text. What is the history of (biblical) Israel, if not a struggle. That’s what Israel means in Hebrew, “struggling with God,” … that’s sort of what they do.”

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