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Because he is convinced that it is time for Christians to admit that “the writers of the Bible tell a much different story about the origin of man than science” (ix). Enns also says that the modern way of criticizing the beginning of the books of the Bible supports a scientific conclusion that justifies Christians to abandon any idea of Adam of the Bible as a real person.
What Does The Bible Say About Adam And Eve
In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I wrote my book on Adam and Eve with very different conclusions than Enns’s about their history, and that Enns reviewed it often disapprovingly. By the grace of God, this review focuses on the current issues and controversies and avoids them all
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Useless. Instead, I will summarize Enns’s book and then address some key aspects of what I believe are fatal flaws in his argument.
Enns organized the book into an introduction, Genesis: An Ancient Story of Israel’s Self-Definition (chapters 1-4), Paul’s Understanding of Adam (chapters 5-7), and a summary of nine teachings for thinking about Adam today.
The introduction (pp. ix–xx) makes clear and clearly the point that Enn brings to the work and thus deserves careful consideration. Two comments stand out: “A faithful, Christian reading of Holy Scripture sees Scripture as a product of the time it was written and/or happened—not only, but unchanging” (xi); and: “If evolution is correct, the word ‘history’ in any proper sense can no longer accommodate the temporary and essential creation of the human race described in Genesis 1:26-31 and 2:7, 22. xiv). Enns rejects all human attempts to reconcile Genesis with “evolution” such as the creation of Adam “a mixture” that is “unrecognizable to the biblical picture” (xiv-xv, xvii).
Enns’ responsibility in his first part (chapter 1-4) is to explain that the scientific study of the origin and purpose of Genesis should prevent us from describing too much “story” to its creation stories. As he says: “
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The Pentateuch was not written entirely by Moses in the second millennium, but is the end product of a complex literary process—written, spoken, or both—that was not completed until the post-exilic period.
. This short statement, with rare exceptions, is the scientific consensus after a century and a half of debate” (23, italics). Furthermore, the parallels noted between the first chapters of Genesis and the legends of other peoples of the ancient Near East show that the purpose of Genesis is to stop Israel and their God from confronting these issues. And since some of these stories are “legendary” (37) and therefore not historical, why do we treat Genesis differently?
Enns’ historical preservation is not limited to Genesis 1-11: from the update that “it is known that the Exodus and the accounts of the victory in Joshua and Judges do not give us the history of the journalists of the freed slaves and the beginning of an independent nation. ).
Does Christianity and evolution exist? Traditional Christian teachings present Jesus as the one who takes away the consequences of Adam’s sin. But the theory of evolution does not allow Adam of history, so evolution seems to contradict what Genesis and the apostle Paul say about him. For Christians who accept evolution and want to take the Bible seriously, this creates a conflict that shakes the faith. Biblical scholar Peter Enns offers a way forward, explaining how these disputes are caused not by scientific findings, but by false expectations of the biblical text.
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He thinks that, “Some aspects of the story of [Genesis] show that it is not the beginning of all people but that of Israel” (65), giving a picture that shows how “the story of Adam shows the story of Israel from the exile. “(66). In such a reading, Adam as a real person is not understood, since he is actually “proto-Israel”.
In the second part (chapter 5-7), Enns talks about the obvious problem, that the apostle Paul presented Adam as the real person of history, the first person. An important part of Enns’ argument will be familiar to those who have read his other writings about the use of the New Testament writers of the past—the idea that Paul’s Adam cannot be derived from the “correct interpretation” of Genesis (81). He tells us that, “in the Old Testament there is no indication that Adam’s disobedience caused sin, death, and the judgment of all mankind, as Paul says” (82). it says that this is true both in Genesis and how the rest of the Old Testament does not mention Adam.
Enns says that when we talk about Paul, we must remember that “he was a Jew of the first century, and his way of interpreting the Bible reflects the assumptions and assumptions made by other Jewish interpreters at that time” (95). Second Temple Judaism offers a different understanding of Adam, often due to people filling in gaps in the biblical story. Although “we” can no longer accept Paul’s view of Adam as the first man (due to both science and historical criticism), Enns says that “death and sin are still universal realities that characterize the nature of man” (124).
This is an important book in many ways, but it is difficult to review with a short compass. Another reason is that Enns covers a lot of topics, his topics are controversial, and I often disagree with his judgments. But even more difficult is how difficult it is to find extended arguments for Enns’s views. He tells us that the end-exilic date of the last version of the Pentateuch (and indeed most of the Old Testament) is the consensus of scholars, and he offers a list of things that inspire critical historians. this way. But apart from a nod to the traditionalists (p. 25, note 22, citing Umberto Cassuto [died 1951] and William H. Green [died 1900]), he never touches on traditional debates. Indeed at this time we must acknowledge the work, for example, of the British Tyndale study and those who are influenced by them (some of them are experts in ancient Eastern languages and history and therefore do not know the relevant facts). The same is true of text-language books (say, Longacre’s History of the Flood) and literary studies, which make it difficult to justify the distribution of biblical passages. For that matter, doesn’t a literary analysis of the victory story show that imagination (and some would suggest some exaggeration) is a better way to describe Joshua than “excellent”? After all, few today believe that even journalists do what Enns calls “storytelling,” so it’s a wonder if its absence is used as evidence of historical preservation.
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People’s opinion about the origin of the books of the Bible is a historical judgment, and the concept we use is called “understanding the best explanation.” This concept often requires dealing with other methods and measuring a certain level of trust that we should have. Since this serious place at the beginning of the Pentateuch plays a very important role in Enn’s own sermon, and since it is clear that the stake is high, and since he was writing seriously for a Christian audience, the lack of such a discussion is. it is disappointing. .
So I’m left thinking that Enns finds the story of the late Pentateuch very persuasive because of the list of things he presents. However, it is not clear to me why I – or any other reader – should be convinced of this. Is it the presence of consent that is often spoken of? But this is not a strong argument. Assuming that consensus exists (has anyone been interviewed?), one must know exactly how it came about and what combination of persuasion, education, training and coercion is used to enforce it. Moreover, the consensus is changing: For Enns, what he calls the modern consensus has replaced the old one, and may be replacing it. (No faithful reader of the early Christian writers will be dismayed by our current situation of traditionalists being criticized in the scientific world.) In fact, I wonder if accepting certain historical-critical conclusions leads to historical skepticism about Adam and Eve; Enns certainly did not dispute this issue.
In addition, some recognition of worldview factors in the development of scientific consensus in research universities would be appropriate. Is there a relationship between concept, method and conclusion? Enns seems to think that this agreement is important to neutrality – maybe it is (as I disagree), but he has to prove it. After all, some critical historians come out and declare their values