Confronting OT Controversies– Part Ten

Confronting OT Controversies– Part Ten April 15, 2019

Q. At one point in the first chapter you say ‘genre triggers reading strategy’. But how exactly is one to discern when the author is speaking figuratively and when more literally if this is ‘theological history’? I agree there is considerable figurative language in the Gen. 1-3 account, but it also seems clear the author, like Jesus and Paul later, sees Adam and Eve as ancient historical persons.

A. With all due respect, I’m afraid I don’t agree that Jesus and Paul necessarily saw Adam and Eve as ancient historical persons. They are clearly referring back to the stories about Adam and Eve to communicate an important theological message and it is important that there is a historical reality behind the Adam and Eve story (perhaps they are a representative couple or stand for all humans at the time God gave them the status of image bearers), but I don’t think it is true to say that Jesus and Paul see Adam and Eve as ancient historical persons in the sense that they are the sole and original progenitors of homo sapiens. [N.B. nor do I, Ben, think the Genesis story is claiming they are the first human beings in general. The claim is they are the original ancestors of God’s people, who end up intermarrying with other peoples (see Cain and Abel)].

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