The Historical Adam

54 minutes
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Rick Phillips joins Nick Batzig and Kenneth Kang-Hui to speak about the historical Adam. The teaching that Adam was a historical figure, the federal head of all those who descend from him by ordinary generation, has become a much debated topic. Rev. Phillips and the panel navigate through the issues and underscore why this traditional doctrine is so significant.

Rev. Phillips is pastor of Second Presbyterian Church PCA in Greenville, SC. Nick Batzig is church planter at New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Richmond Hill, GA. Kenneth Kang-Hui has been a long-time friend to Reformed Forum, and he is a member of a PCA church in New York City.

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59 Responses to “The Historical Adam”

  1. Jesse Light says:

    Thank you for this episode! It is incredibly refreshing to hear Reformed voices taking a strong stand against the cultural accommodation going on in our circles regarding the issue of origins. I, for one, would be proud to wear the ‘Ken Ham’ label for holding the line on Genesis. Please keep up the good work!

  2. G. Kyle Essary says:

    This was an excellent discussion. Thanks guys.

  3. RB says:

    The age of the earth has nothing to do with evolution or an historical adam. Folks tend to mix the various issues. There were many “mixes” in this discussion, as there almost always are when well meaning Christians speak on this. At each and every point, there are various views. At each and every point, solid Christians have historically agreed with the history of Adam, God being the maker of heaven and the earth, etc. while being specialists in their scientific field. It is far too simplistic to throw geology, biology, astrology, etc. into a single anti-biblical chain. Though I know you guys did not do that, as it is just a discussion, there is a HUGE tendency to go directly to the slippery-slope, and this discussion followed it slightly.

    • Camden Bucey says:

      I agree. I think it’s important that we talk about the age of the earth and the exegetical bases for our discussion, but it’s a distinct issue. It’s certainly related to evolution, but there are several confessional theologians that accept an old earth, but affirm whole-heartedly creation ex nihilo and the historical account of Adam and the rest of the Genesis account.

      • I agree RB and Camden. The YEC argument is not necessary to preserving a historical Adam!

      • Mike Iliff says:

        This was a really helpful broadcast as I am struggling to find where I am in this debate. Whether OEC or YEC there are a number of truths that must be held to: The Bible is God’s revelation and final word to us, God created the world, the universe and everything outside himself, a historical real Adam created by God, a real historical fall into sin, a real flood and a real Satan. Outside of this how do you see the options. I have scientist Christian friends (that hold to the doctrines I mentioned) that believe for example that the YEC plate tectonic science is a joke. The laws of physics, chemistry, biology etc have also been created by God. So maybe a series of programs exploring where people are that hold to the previous doctrines yet differ in the science – this would be real helpful. I’m drawn to the framework view but find I can’t quite make the leap. The time to address these issues may be upon us. What really saddens me is the rhetoric in the debate so lets try and get beyond calling people compromisers, destroying the Gospel etc

  4. Richard Dolezal says:

    The Westminster Confession says that God created the world and all things therein in six days. As I understand it the writers of the Confession meant six 24 hr.literal days as that was the common understanding of the day. Here is my question. Since all confessions are commentaries on what the writers of the confessions think the Bible is saying how can you promote a view that was not intended by the confessional writers and still be faithful to the confession? You can have a view that is different than the underlying meaning of that confession but you can’t in that portion call yourselves faithful to that confession if you convey a different meaning than was intended. Doesn’t that sound like our modern Supreme Court and our Constitution? If someone can change the original meaning behind the words of the Confession in one area why can’t someone else change word or concept meaning in another area. Many denominations should be called Amended Confessional Denominations.

    • David says:

      But Richard, the Confession does not say “in the space of six literal 24 hour days.” While most or all of the divines may have understood the nature of the days in this way, they did not choose to embody their specific understanding in the Confession or make it a test of orthodoxy.

    • Camden Bucey says:

      Richard,

      I think your sentiment is a significant reason why many Presbyterian denominations deal with this issue at the presbytery level. When candidates are examined, the Presbytery would decide if their view is acceptable but requires an “exception” or whether it’s unacceptable. The OPC study report on the days of creation is a helpful example of a confessional body working through this very issue. http://opc.org/GA/CreationReport.pdf

      • Jonathan Bonomo says:

        Richard,

        Confessional subscription isn’t quite that simple. The Confession itself declares that confessions are fallible and that the only rule of faith is Scripture itself. That’s why, as Camden rightly noted, Presbyteries have liberty to decide which matters of faith it considers essential to confessional theology, and for what matters they will allow exceptions. And there are different levels of exceptions–mere semantics, real but non-essential disagreement, and essential disagreement (which would bar one from ordination). Presbyteries also have the option of allowing an exception, but also requiring the candidate to not teach the particular doctrine one which they take the exception.

        Personally, at my ordination examination I took exceptions for leisure activities on the Sabbath and for the 6/24 creation issue (I believe framework is the most exegetically sound view). For the former, my exception was ruled mere semantics by the presbytery. For the latter, it was ruled a real but non-essential exception.

  5. Paul Bankson says:

    You guys are cranking out some great episodes! Keep up the helpful and edifying work!

  6. RB says:

    Thanks for the great broadcasts Camden. Keep up the good work. A hearty dish of discussion is always good.

    On this current issue, it always comes to my mind (and understandably slips many fellow Christian’s minds) when discussing this…geology came before Darwin. Many of the earliest “modern” geologists were Christians. They simply wanted to know the truth, and that was their motivation. They had no “missional” desire to appease the scientific community and to not be called knuckleheads…as the scientific community saw them as rebels and something close to heretics. The times have changed, however, and modern geology has become the norm on the layman level since plate tectonics.

    It is true that Darwin applied geologic thinking, that of uniformitarianism, to biology, and hence the 5 different major theories he proposed. Though he proposed more, there are 5 of his that vary in impact and in acceptance within the scientific community. Even then, we should not lump Darwin into “Darwinism,” as we would need to point out which theory we mean.

    Having said all this, my point is that we, as intelligent, God-fearing, scripture loving, historical adam affirming, ex-nihilo creation affirming Christians need to be charitable, cautious, and allow for qualifications when discussing these matters. Now, there are some lines that must be drawn. And those lines are thick, deep, and within our confessions. I love those lines and will fight for them.

  7. Richard Dolezal says:

    The reason the writers of the Westminster Confession did not say six 24 hr. days is because it was not in their minds that it could be taken any another way. I think it would be helpful if someone could produce evidence that any of these men were advocating something other than six 24 hr days and for the purpose of allowing a divergence of opinion within a confessional context they purposely did not state it as six literal 24 hr. days. I ‘m not saying that such evidence does not exist, just show that it exists. Confessions and Councils have not given detailed meanings of some of the words and concepts used in those writings because there was no need to. The absence of those more detailed meanings does not mean any of us can give meanings, that upon close examination, were never intended and in fact would be denied.
    I don’t want to address the issue of who is orthodox and who isn’t, or even who is right and who is wrong on this issue ( although I do hold that the 24 day view is correct ). What I am saying is that those who hold that day( in Genesis 1&2) can mean something other than a 24 day seem to be making the word day mean something other than what the writers of the Westminster Confession intended and thus are not confessing the Confession at this point. This has consequences far beyond the issue of creation timing. You don’t want word meanings of the composers of the Confession to be interpreted in way that was never intended. The safest thing to do would be to say that we know that the writers of the Confession meant 6 literal 24hr days but our reformed group or denomination does not want to limit the meaning of day to 6 literal 24 hr days in order to be confessing the Confession. In this way you show your concern for proper word meanings, concepts and true intent of the writers. When you lose the ability to appeal to original intent of the Confession then you lose the meaning of the Confession. Change the Confession( by agreement within the specific confessional community) but don’t confuse the meaning of the intended words of the Confession, that is much worse.Then when someone else uses words in the Confession in a way never intended and subverts a doctrine you consider vital you will have the scruples of your own actions to back you up.

  8. pat says:

    This is a great point and nicely put, thanks RB.

    Overall I’d have preferred more discussion of the views on offer than merely what’s at stake in the episode.

    Who should have a view on creation, evolution, and Genesis? One might think most Christians who have a view on the debate probably should simply not have a view, should withhold assent.

  9. Austin says:

    In addition to the OPC’s study committee report, two other helpful reads regarding the creation days and the Divines are:

    Robert Letham, “In The Space of Six Days: The Creation Days From Origin to the Westminster Assembly”, WTJ 61 (1999) 149-174

    William Barker, “The Westminster Assembly on the Days of Creation: A Reply to David W. Hall”, WTJ 62 (2000) 113-120

    I would also recommend anything Chad VanDixhoorn has written on the topic.

  10. Karen Cox says:

    Thanks for this discussion. Dr. Phillips noted the desire in reformed circles not to be at odds with “science” – PhDs in biology, geology, etc…, who hold to various views outside of biblical revelation. We can be encouraged that there ARE PhDs in these hard sciences who have cast away pursuit of worldly acclaim in their fields and who are seeking to understand God’s world through the lens of His word. They have done much hard work to measure, interpret, analyze, etc…, findings from the natural world and understand these things in light of God’s word. I recommend an excellent 2-volume set by Andrew Snelling, PhD in geology, director of research for Answers in Genesis and editor of Answers Research Journal, called “Earth’s Catastrophic Past.” We can all benefit from reading this sort of material to improve our own understanding and to be prepared to give answers. I presume that theologians like Keller are aware of such PhDs and their technical writings, but perhaps they are choosing instead to accept the story told by other scientists.

    As a homeschool mother, I believe that teaching my children anything other than the plain meaning of Scripture will hamper their spiritual growth in years ahead. We just finished teaching through Genesis 1-11, and the clear meaning of both the creation account and flood account was plain to them. If I were to tell them, well, you see, this account SEEMS to be teaching creation in 6 days and a universal flood, but, well, we know NOW that this really can’t be what it IS teaching because modern science tells a different story – that would be setting the stage for them to dismiss every future account in Scripture that doesn’t appear to be replicated, proven, etc…, by modern scientific analysis, including the resurrection, the virgin birth, etc… Teaching anything other than 6 days would be spiritually deadly to my children. We appreciate those on the “front line” who are speaking up for this truth in the church.

    • RB says:

      Karen,

      I fully understand your concern, and I am sympathetic to it. I was once very much a fan of Answers in Genesis, ICR, etc., but it became a hamper to my spiritual growth, and added to an improper (in my opinion) and unbalanced hermeneutic that I had that was encouraged by a belief in the culture war. Might I ask you which “front line” you are referring to? And which war is that a line in? I am curious…thanks

      • RB says:

        Once again, I fully understand your passion and your view, as I stated above, I used to agree with you…but, please, and I mean this with nothing but love in my heart towards you as a sister in Christ… the views of Answers in Genesis are not the definition of orthodoxy. Our confessions, if you are a member of a confessing church, are orthodoxy. Be it WCF, or Three Forms, which we hold articulate the interpretation of the bible properly… those are what matter…those are essential. All too often, and this is just my opinion based on studying and interacting with be it ICR or AIG or the Snelling material, there is an inclination to assign certain reactionary cultural views as essential, when historically they never have been defined as essential within the reformed confessions. Defending Snelling’s views, or AIG, is not defending the Bible or the faith. It is simply defending a cultural view, which you, as a parent, have the freedom to do. Thankfully, our confessions have not imposed them on everyone.

  11. RB says:

    Karen, also…

    Once again, I fully understand your passion and your view, as I stated above, I used to agree with you…but, please, and I mean this with nothing but love in my heart towards you as a sister in Christ… the views of Answers in Genesis are not the definition of orthodoxy. Our confessions, if you are a member of a confessing church, are orthodoxy. Be it WCF, or Three Forms, which we hold articulate the interpretation of the bible properly… those are what matter…those are essential. All too often, and this is just my opinion based on studying and interacting with be it ICR or AIG or the Snelling material, there is an inclination to assign certain reactionary cultural views as essential, when historically they never have been defined as essential within the reformed confessions. Defending Snelling’s views, or AIG, is not defending the Bible or the faith. It is simply defending a cultural view, which you, as a parent, have the freedom to do. Thankfully, our confessions have not imposed them on everyone.

    • Karen Cox says:

      Thanks, RB, for your comments. I know we disagree, but because I believe that the clear teaching of Scripture is 6 literal 24 hour days, not simply a cultural teaching, I believe that maintaining this teaching within the church is important, and I look at those who study and speak on this issue, not as cultural warriors, but as men and women speaking to defend the truth of Scripture sometimes in the face of mocking – certainly not a physical battle with that sort of front line, more of a symbolic front line. I don’t think of myself as defending Snelling’s views, any more than, I presume, Keller or various others who would hold to other views, would see themselves as defending a particular person’s views, rather I believe that Snelling is defending Scripture through the application of study and analysis of the created world, and I appreciate that and I have been helped in my own efforts to understand various aspects of science and the created world in light of biblical teaching.

      It is my understanding that individual churches within the PCA (of which I am a member) are allowed to determine whether they wish to teach within their church a particular view of Genesis, while not making it a test of orthodoxy or requirement to join the church. Our church was recently blessed to have Gordon Reed as our interim pastor, who addressed issues pertaining to origins and the flood as he preached from II Peter. His son, John Reed, also in the PCA and a geologist, has written on these issues as well.

      So I understand that these issues are not tests of orthodoxy, but I think nonetheless they rise to an important level and are worth much study and consideration and at some point, some conclusions as to what we believe and why. And certainly as a parent I am extremely responsible to have an answer for my children, teach them what I believe the Bible is teaching and why I believe that – whether on Adam, the creation week, justification, sanctification, the sacraments. There is so much for me to learn and I am grateful for others who study and teach that I may benefit from their learning. I don’t mean to cite these others for the purpose of giving them glory or as though they I am following them and not the Bible, but to be specific about resources which have been helpful in equipping me on this issue discussed on the forum this week.

  12. THEOparadox says:

    Spectacular show! Thanks for addressing this topic with the right balance: no compromise but also no harshness. Rick Phillips did a great job answering some of the arguments presented by those who have given in to culture at the expense of Biblical authority/inerrancy. This episode brought joy to my heart.

    Blessings,
    Derek Ashton

  13. RB says:

    Karen,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I hope I did not imply that 6/24 is a cultural teaching. It is not, as there are many solid biblical theologians and many early church fathers, etc. that have held and hold today a 6/24 interpretation. I meant to state that those within AIG, or shall we call them: young earth proponents…tend to be involved in the culture war over and against say, secular education. Moreover, they tend to do a very poor job at this in my opinion (having been on both sides)… This is a generalization on my part.

    There are many young earth proponents that absolutely desire to defend scripture, and according to their consciences do. There needs to be a distinction here though: A 6/24 view can hold to an old earth, for example, and even old earth proponents are technically “Creationists.” Framework proponents or those of different views that do not hold to a 6/24 view desire to defend scripture equally. They honor the historical reality of Adam, the fall, etc., and have been some of the greatest defenders of biblical inerrancy and orthodox theology (justification, sacraments, etc.) in the past 200 years. I intended to highlight that those in our Christian past, those bright lights in theology that do not hold to a 6/24 are solidly within orthodoxy, just as 6/24 are. And I agree with your statement:

    “I think nonetheless they rise to an important level and are worth much study and consideration and at some point, some conclusions as to what we believe and why.”

    100% yes. But -and this is a qualification- to make 6/24 a cutoff, as if a non 6/24 view is a direct downward spiral into rejection of our confessions, is to cut off generations of solid biblical faithfulness, and separate the body of Christ over a matter that should not cause division. The best solution is for both sides to truly read and study the other, without fear of losing one’s faith or position, as there is rampant misrepresentation in even defining what the various views actually are.

    Nevertheless, I am glad both you and I can hold the same faith, once delivered to the saints, as expressed in our confessions, and yet disagree on the non-essential matters. The moment this becomes essential, however, then there sadly is a problem. Young Earth proponents tend (opinion on my part) to make this essential, and that is the problem I intended to highlight.

    With you, my sister, in Him…

  14. RB says:

    I will also add:
    Must one affirm the true history of Adam? Yes. 100%. This does, in fact, lead to a dangerous slippery-slope that negates the confessions -even negates salvation.

    But, and this is the qualification: Must one affirm a young earth 6/24? No. The problem is that often YE 6/24 proponents tend to lump all non YE 6/24 views into one, long, anti-scriptural spiral that negates the historical Adam. Qualifications, qualifications…

  15. Jeff Downs says:

    Regarding the OPC and PCA reports on creation, Dr. Pipa addressed these this past summer during our Summer institute on Creation (1 1/2 lectures, each). If you are interested, I could get the audio ready for purchase. The DVDs are already available.

    Camden, I think this would be a good issues to address, exegetically and theologically, on your program. Dr. Pipa would be a great guest for this.

    Blessings,
    Jeff Downs

    • Camden Bucey says:

      In the past, we’ve considered a series treating different views on this subject. Perhaps now is the time to do it.

      • RB says:

        Camden,
        I think a series on this would be most helpful! The various views are not well known by every day folks. Many are still stuck in the old fundamentalist vs. secularist mindset of 100 years ago, and I do not think the theological and exegetical discussions that have taken place since then, say over the 6 days interpretations, or YE vs OE (not scientific debate but exegesis,) has filtered down to layman well. Instead, many stay in their own bubble, and use “scientists” to back up their own opinions without investigating it themselves. Dr. Pipa, for instance, who I respect greatly, nonetheless makes the same error most make: I picture it like this–a hallway, and behind one door is the science and art of geology and the age of the earth, and the effect that can have or not have on one’s interpretation of Genesis…he does not even open that door but assumes the geologists he agrees with are correct, giving his views support without serious investigation. Most laypeople make that same mistake, and as a result, we have those misrepresenting what is actually going on. I desire conversation on this in order to avoid some future problem.

  16. Mark G says:

    Another thing that is rarely recognized in discussions regarding creation and “Darwinism” is that modern evolutionary biology has developed since the 1860s. Darwin had to speculate about the nature of inheritance. He was not even aware of Mendel’s experiments with sweet peas. He did recognize however that heritability was basis for selection. Molecular genetics has come a ways since the days of Darwin and Mendel.

    IMO it is also essential to make a distinction between biological evolution as a theory which generates hypotheses and research from evolution held as a philosophical view held by many (most) of the same researchers doing evolutionary biology. The philosophy is much easier to deal with than the biology. It is very rare that you find someone equipped to discuss both the theology and science of biological evolution.

  17. Frank Aderholdt says:

    I agree (reluctantly, I must admit) with Nick when he wrote, “The YEC argument is not necessary to preserving a historical Adam.”

    I’m still waiting, however, to hear of one advocate of young-earth, literal 24-hour days who is open to theistic evolution. In my view, YEC, since it is uncompromisingly Biblical, is a bulwark against “evolution creep.”

    • Jamal says:

      Reed. Agree with your cmonemt on Rick’s post #1 is the central element and out of this everything else flows. The scriptures have value because they are the most ancient and authoritative reference to Jesus. Sacraments count because Jesus instituted them. Prayer is critical because Jesus commanded it and practiced it. The Missio Dei is the believer’s vocation because it was Jesus vocation etc etc.

  18. Jeff Downs says:

    RB says,

    “Instead, many stay in their own bubble, and use “scientists” to back up their own opinions without investigating it themselves. Dr. Pipa, for instance, who I respect greatly, nonetheless makes the same error most make.”

    RB, what exactly do you mean by this? Since many of our are not scientists, not many of us can do the digs, examine bones, etc. etc. etc., we do rely upon others…hopefully those who are trustworthy. I would assume you would not have a problem with this…although your words above seem to indicate this is the case.

    With that said, Dr. Pipa is a theologian and an exegete, therefore his view(s) of creation are grounded in the Word of God.

    • RB says:

      Jeff,

      I agree that everyone, at one time or another, appeals to someone with more knowledge on a subject -that is the nature of learning from others- and that our trust of the knowledge they give is based on our trust of the individual. Or, as Pipa says in his lecture you pointed to on Genesis 1, we trust witnesses we trust. I would, for instance, listen to and read various specialists on astronomy if I desired to learn about it, since I am not an expert on astronomy (I am so much of a non-expert on astronomy that I referred to it in earlier posts as astrology…yikes.) Nonetheless, if I truly wanted to learn astronomy, would I selectively learn from or interact with Christian astronomers that agree only with my particular biblical interpretations? Mr. Pipa, in that lecture, points out that there are diverging theories on how to interpret scientific facts while being faithful to scripture, and I agree. Yet he does not mention the faithfulness of those with diverging interpretations from his on Genesis 1. He finds them unfaithful, or inconsistent creationists. I see this as a bubble.

      I see a bubble when he speaks on how we need to start from scripture and then go to science (which I would not disagree with,) and then quickly he uses science he believes in (I presume that of Sarfati) as a foundation for his following scriptural talk, to give it more weight.

      Take geology, for example. It is not a complicated subject to study. One can take a single college course on the matter, or read various books and get a decent handle on it. Then one can investigate where they live, (an excuse to go hiking or take some walks at least,) and see for themselves how these theories add up. Or, one can close ranks, shut doors, and only listen to who they want to listen to in order to back up what they already are presupposing. The same process happens, as we all know, with what news one receives today and through which format it is delivered. It is easy to reinforce a belief with selective “facts” if one so chooses.

      I agree with those that think Pipa is using a fundamentalist (I would say biblicist) hermeneutic. I think Pipa, though I do truly value his theological insights, is being selective and inconsistent. Hence, the bubble. The error I implied is his using selected “science” to then go to scripture, and then using his hermeneutic to then go back to that scientific viewpoint, etc., and everything becomes self-sustaining. I find that troublesome.

      In Christ,
      RB

      • Hermonta says:

        RB,
        If we have to go and learn geology etc before we exegete Scripture, then is that not an attack on the sufficiency of scripture? Or put another way, Scripture could not have been properly interpreted in various places until recent centuries? The vastly overwhelming position of the church on the age of the world has been that Genesis was saying that it was very young. To say that we needed Science to advance so that we could see what Scripture is properly saying is a very dangerous position.

      • RB says:

        …Hermonta…

        “The vastly overwhelming position of the church on the age of the world has been that Genesis was saying that it was very young. To say that we needed Science to advance so that we could see what Scripture is properly saying is a very dangerous position.”

        In truth, I agree with you that one does not need geology to interpret scripture, and I agree that taking current science as a basis for interpreting scripture is very dangerous.

        The problem here is that scripture is silent on the matter. Utterly silent. How old the earth is is not in scripture, nor does it even truly matter, when it compares with what scripture is speaking on and is concerned with. Many of those in ages past have made the mistake of stating what the scripture does not (this includes some of the best theologians in history.) This is the fundamental problem, the fundamental issue…what, exactly, does scripture say on the matter? When we read back-into scripture our scientific mindset, be it YE or OE, we are making a mistake. Genesis is not exhaustive. It is not a scientific textbook. It does not lay out the myriad complexity of the human body, nor the myriad complexity of nature…it is not even concerned with these things as we think of them today. To read our current mindset back into the time of Moses (when Genesis was written) is deeply flawed. This is the heart of the problem. Is it history? Yes. Is it historical? Yes. Is it a scientific textbook? No. There is a large difference between a historical book and an exhaustive scientific one. We should not mix the two.

        As a result, there is no conflict between an old earth and the historical Genesis account. There is, however, a conflict with an old earth (what is evidenced) and with how many YE individuals interpret Genesis. This does not mean Genesis is wrong, it means those interpreting it might be. I am not implying 6/24 is wrong, though I am implying YE is. There is a difference between the two.

        In my estimation, here is what we have: Genesis says nothing about the age of the earth. To read into it as such is to read the Bible wrong on that point.

        So, does one need to study geology in order to interpret Genesis? No. Not at all, in fact. But, is it okay for an individual to investigate for themselves those areas that scripture does not speak on? Yes. 100% yes. That would be to enjoy and learn from His creation. The result is nothing that contradicts Genesis…but there is a contradiction if someone reads more into Genesis than what is there.

  19. The Westminster Conference on Faith and Science would be a good follow-up to this conversation. Maybe RF can be represented there and conduct interview with folks like Dr. Collins.

    http://goo.gl/xp7IW

  20. Julian of York says:

    I am hoping to join a spiritual Reformed and Puritan forum for exchange of info and personal sanctification. Can anyone give me direction?

    Julian of York

  21. Mike Lawry says:

    I found this thread edifying. I get the idea from reading the comments that people do not want to talk about this or fear to do so. Why?

  22. pduggie says:

    Nobody engages the scientific problems in sermons. This is all relegated to blogs and books and articles. But there is almost ZERO preaching that deals with why Christians should reject the scientific claims about the origin of man in favor of the biblical picture.

    Lay it out: why the science is wrong.

  23. Bob McDowell says:

    The Evangelical Free Church Ministerial Association had their recent Theological Conference at TEDS. A pre-conference hot-topic seminar was about Adam&Eve. http://bit.ly/A9Cjp5

  24. art says:

    I think the discussion could have been improved if there was some pushback. At various points I kept thinking that Richard Phillips was contradicting himself when he speaks about hermeneutics. It would have been interesting if someone pointed that out so that he could have clarified what he meant.

    Also, the idea that if we read Gen 1 as myth the next move would be to read Gen 2 as myth, then Gen 3 as myth, then Gen 4 (and so on and so on) is a very poor caricature of the position. Again, it would have greatly improved the discussion if there had been some pushback.

    A series of podcasts that have alternate views on the subject would be fantastic.

  25. Hermonta says:

    RB,
    If Scripture is silent then why did the Church find such info in Scripture until recent centuries? We are reading the same Bible that they were reading, no new texts have been found. The only option is that the way we read Scripture has changed. So the next question is why did this happen? No matter how one answers, one would have to attack the sufficiency of Scripture because one would have to say that those closer to Biblical ages were unable to interpret Scripture properly until some great hermeneutical breakthrough (for whatever reason) happened centuries down the line.

    One cannot say that there was no one with deep understanding of Greek and Hebrew until recent centuries. That is just be false on its face. I think the easiest understanding is to think that various scientific results have caused many to alter their hermeneutic.

    Next, saying that Scripture is not an exhaustive scientific textbook does not bring clarity to the discussion. All sides agree to this but that does not answer the question as to what Scripture says on issue X. It really makes no sense to say Scripture just can’t be talking about any particular subject apriori.

    I think the big question is why should I have less confidence in how the Church has read Scripture over the ages than in whatever the overwhelming scientific consensus is at any particular point?

    >>So, does one need to study geology in order to interpret Genesis? No. Not at all, in fact. But, is it okay for an individual to investigate for themselves those areas that scripture does not speak on? Yes. 100% yes. That would be to enjoy and learn from His creation. The result is nothing that contradicts Genesis…but there is a contradiction if someone reads more into Genesis than what is there.<<

    On what basis would you challenge me if I said, "but there is a contradiction if someone reads more into the dominant scientific paradigm than what is there?"

    • RB says:

      …Hermonta…

      “If Scripture is silent then why did the Church find such info in Scripture until recent centuries?”
      —-The church as a whole has never been unified on this particular subject.

      “One cannot say that there was no one with deep understanding of Greek and Hebrew until recent centuries.”
      —-I never did. But does an expert understanding of Greek in NT times or Hebrew in OT times make one an expert in astronomy or in geology? This assumes that the Bible has revealed said things. It hasn’t.

      “…saying that Scripture is not an exhaustive scientific textbook does not bring clarity to the discussion. All sides agree to this but that does not answer the question as to what Scripture says on issue X.”
      —-I slightly agree. There are those who believe Genesis is, in fact, God’s Exhaustive Account of Everything. If all sides agree this is not the case, then I am happy. What the Scripture does and does not say, I agree, this is the issue.

      “I think the big question is why should I have less confidence in how the Church has read Scripture over the ages…”
      —-How has the church read scripture on these issues? Is there a consensus you know of that I am not aware of? Since there has always been difference on this, it has never been a test for orthodoxy. I am thankful those great lights even up to our day have recognized this crucial historical difference.

      —-The current debates on Adam are different than OE vs YE. There has never been a consensus on OE vs YE. There are those in history on both sides. (Refer to previous posts as other folks have linked to the evidence of the various orthodox views.) The historical reason is why most reformed confessions do not make a big deal out of it today (i.e. 6/24 vs framework, or differently-OE vs YE.) The fact is, there is no consensus on this particular subject. It is historically inaccurate to state that the church was uniform on the matter.

      When you say the “church found such info” in scripture, who are you thinking of? There were individuals who, I agree, viewed Genesis this way. There were individuals who did not. The fact that there were differences does not prove anything, of course, but the fact that those with various views on Genesis (as long as they held it to be historical) were orthodox, and that this is still reflected in the confessions of reformed churches today says a lot.

      I hate using this moment in history, as it is abused by many, but in this case it is appropriate. We all know the story of how those (mainly in the Roman side, but there were those of the protestant side that were not any better…) held to the earth being the center of the universe. They read into the Bible things that were not there. They were wrong. You also find them wrong, as I believe you believe this to be a fact- that the earth goes around the sun. Was the Bible wrong in this case? Or were there those who were pushing the Bible to say more than it actually did? Luther, for example, who we should all love and appreciate, held to some very strange views about planets. A lot of people did back then. Much of what we believe today may seem silly in the future (nature wise.) Is there a difference when it comes to orthodox theology though? Has that changed? No, thankfully, which is why we love the creeds and confessions. OE vs YE is not a big issue, unless it is forced to be one, in which case individuals will be throwing out much of our history on the matter.

      I love and worship with many who hold to a 6/24 view, as well as those who do not. I love and worship with those who prefer the YE view, as well as those who do not. We all conform to our confessions. There is solid orthodox backing for both historically.

    • RB says:

      …Hermonta…

      You wrote: “On what basis would you challenge me if I said, “but there is a contradiction if someone reads more into the dominant scientific paradigm than what is there?”

      The problem is, before any current scientific paradigm was in place, orthodox and reformed Christians viewed Genesis in diverging ways. Their reasons were not scientific, but exegetical and biblical. Some of those views were brought back into the mainstream in the 1900s, possibly due to modern challenges in science for some, possibly due to a rediscovering of older forms of interpretations of Genesis for others…either way, historically, they are much older. There was no modern scientific paradigm comparable to today in place back then, and so they had no dominant paradigm to appease, only the scriptures.

  26. Hermonta says:

    RB,
    >>“If Scripture is silent then why did the Church find such info in Scripture until recent centuries?”
    —-The church as a whole has never been unified on this particular subject.<>“One cannot say that there was no one with deep understanding of Greek and Hebrew until recent centuries.”
    —-I never did. But does an expert understanding of Greek in NT times or Hebrew in OT times make one an expert in astronomy or in geology? This assumes that the Bible has revealed said things. It hasn’t.<>“…saying that Scripture is not an exhaustive scientific textbook does not bring clarity to the discussion. All sides agree to this but that does not answer the question as to what Scripture says on issue X.”
    —-I slightly agree. There are those who believe Genesis is, in fact, God’s Exhaustive Account of Everything. If all sides agree this is not the case, then I am happy. What the Scripture does and does not say, I agree, this is the issue.<>“I think the big question is why should I have less confidence in how the Church has read Scripture over the ages…”
    —-How has the church read scripture on these issues? Is there a consensus you know of that I am not aware of? Since there has always been difference on this, it has never been a test for orthodoxy. I am thankful those great lights even up to our day have recognized this crucial historical difference. <
    >—-The current debates on Adam are different than OE vs YE. There has never been a consensus on OE vs YE. There are those in history on both sides. (Refer to previous posts as other folks have linked to the evidence of the various orthodox views.) The historical reason is why most reformed confessions do not make a big deal out of it today (i.e. 6/24 vs framework, or differently-OE vs YE.) The fact is, there is no consensus on this particular subject. It is historically inaccurate to state that the church was uniform on the matter.<>When you say the “church found such info” in scripture, who are you thinking of? There were individuals who, I agree, viewed Genesis this way. There were individuals who did not. The fact that there were differences does not prove anything, of course, but the fact that those with various views on Genesis (as long as they held it to be historical) were orthodox, and that this is still reflected in the confessions of reformed churches today says a lot. <>I hate using this moment in history, as it is abused by many, but in this case it is appropriate. We all know the story of how those (mainly in the Roman side, but there were those of the protestant side that were not any better…) held to the earth being the center of the universe. They read into the Bible things that were not there. They were wrong. You also find them wrong, as I believe you believe this to be a fact- that the earth goes around the sun. Was the Bible wrong in this case? Or were there those who were pushing the Bible to say more than it actually did? Luther, for example, who we should all love and appreciate, held to some very strange views about planets. A lot of people did back then. Much of what we believe today may seem silly in the future (nature wise.) Is there a difference when it comes to orthodox theology though? Has that changed? No, thankfully, which is why we love the creeds and confessions. OE vs YE is not a big issue, unless it is forced to be one, in which case individuals will be throwing out much of our history on the matter.<>I love and worship with many who hold to a 6/24 view, as well as those who do not. I love and worship with those who prefer the YE view, as well as those who do not. We all conform to our confessions. There is solid orthodox backing for both historically.<<

    I think your wrong about the history but I would also have no problem worshipping with and OEC.

  27. Hermonta says:

    RB,
    >>“If Scripture is silent then why did the Church find such info in Scripture until recent centuries?”
    —-The church as a whole has never been unified on this particular subject.<>
    “One cannot say that there was no one with deep understanding of Greek and Hebrew until recent centuries.”
    —-I never did. But does an expert understanding of Greek in NT times or Hebrew in OT times make one an expert in astronomy or in geology? This assumes that the Bible has revealed said things. It hasn’t.“<>
    …saying that Scripture is not an exhaustive scientific textbook does not bring clarity to the discussion. All sides agree to this but that does not answer the question as to what Scripture says on issue X.”
    —-I slightly agree. There are those who believe Genesis is, in fact, God’s Exhaustive Account of Everything. If all sides agree this is not the case, then I am happy. What the Scripture does and does not say, I agree, this is the issue.
    <>
    “I think the big question is why should I have less confidence in how the Church has read Scripture over the ages…”
    —-How has the church read scripture on these issues? Is there a consensus you know of that I am not aware of? Since there has always been difference on this, it has never been a test for orthodoxy. I am thankful those great lights even up to our day have recognized this crucial historical difference.
    <
    >
    —-The current debates on Adam are different than OE vs YE. There has never been a consensus on OE vs YE. There are those in history on both sides. (Refer to previous posts as other folks have linked to the evidence of the various orthodox views.) The historical reason is why most reformed confessions do not make a big deal out of it today (i.e. 6/24 vs framework, or differently-OE vs YE.) The fact is, there is no consensus on this particular subject. It is historically inaccurate to state that the church was uniform on the matter.
    <>
    When you say the “church found such info” in scripture, who are you thinking of? There were individuals who, I agree, viewed Genesis this way. There were individuals who did not. The fact that there were differences does not prove anything, of course, but the fact that those with various views on Genesis (as long as they held it to be historical) were orthodox, and that this is still reflected in the confessions of reformed churches today says a lot. <
    >
    I hate using this moment in history, as it is abused by many, but in this case it is appropriate. We all know the story of how those (mainly in the Roman side, but there were those of the protestant side that were not any better…) held to the earth being the center of the universe. They read into the Bible things that were not there. They were wrong. You also find them wrong, as I believe you believe this to be a fact- that the earth goes around the sun. Was the Bible wrong in this case? Or were there those who were pushing the Bible to say more than it actually did? Luther, for example, who we should all love and appreciate, held to some very strange views about planets. A lot of people did back then. Much of what we believe today may seem silly in the future (nature wise.) Is there a difference when it comes to orthodox theology though? Has that changed? No, thankfully, which is why we love the creeds and confessions. OE vs YE is not a big issue, unless it is forced to be one, in which case individuals will be throwing out much of our history on the matter.
    <>
    I love and worship with many who hold to a 6/24 view, as well as those who do not. I love and worship with those who prefer the YE view, as well as those who do not. We all conform to our confessions. There is solid orthodox backing for both historically.<<

    I also love and worship with those who have beliefs different than mine, on this and other issues.

  28. Hermonta says:

    RB,
    <>

    Who do you think dissented from the young world line?

    <>

    But why does one need to be an expert in astronomy etc. in order to properly exegete Scripture. Such ideas would attack the sufficiency of Scripture. Next, until recent centuries, advanced knowledge in astronomy or geology would not have yielded info against the young world view. So unless you want to say that there was no way to know/be confident in the one’s understanding of Scripture until various things were revealed scientifically down the line, I am not sure how productive this line of reasoning is.

    <>

    I havent met anyone who thinking that Genesis is God’s exhaustive account of everything. Now there are many who differ in what they see Genesis is saying but that is a whole different situation.

    <>

    I am familiar with any major figures who different from the young world view.

    <>

    Remember what I have said, I did not say that there was a consensus on 6/24 hour days, I have stated that there is a consensus on a young world. For example, Augustine did not believe in 6/24 hour days (I think for bad reasons but that is another issue) but Augustine did believe in a young world.

    <>

    I would be happy to be presented with evidence of this broad consensus.

    <>

    This point is normally brought up at some point, and I see no need to run from it.

    According to Relativity, any evidence that can be produced for the earth revolving around something can be just as easily used to defend the something revolving around the earth. If you go deep into the issue.

    <>

    I also love and worship with those who have beliefs different than mine, on this and other issues.

  29. Hermonta says:

    RB,
    [quote]“If Scripture is silent then why did the Church find such info in Scripture until recent centuries?”
    —-The church as a whole has never been unified on this particular subject.[/quote]

    Who do you think dissented from the young world line?

    [quote]
    “One cannot say that there was no one with deep understanding of Greek and Hebrew until recent centuries.”
    —-I never did. But does an expert understanding of Greek in NT times or Hebrew in OT times make one an expert in astronomy or in geology? This assumes that the Bible has revealed said things. It hasn’t.“[/quote]

    But why does one need to be an expert in astronomy etc. in order to properly exegete Scripture. Such ideas would attack the sufficiency of Scripture. Next, until recent centuries, advanced knowledge in astronomy or geology would not have yielded info against the young world view. So unless you want to say that there was no way to know/be confident in the one’s understanding of Scripture until various things were revealed scientifically down the line, I am not sure how productive this line of reasoning is.

    [quote]
    …saying that Scripture is not an exhaustive scientific textbook does not bring clarity to the discussion. All sides agree to this but that does not answer the question as to what Scripture says on issue X.”
    —-I slightly agree. There are those who believe Genesis is, in fact, God’s Exhaustive Account of Everything. If all sides agree this is not the case, then I am happy. What the Scripture does and does not say, I agree, this is the issue.
    [/quote]

    I havent met anyone who thinking that Genesis is God’s exhaustive account of everything. Now there are many who differ in what they see Genesis is saying but that is a whole different situation.

    [quote]
    “I think the big question is why should I have less confidence in how the Church has read Scripture over the ages…”
    —-How has the church read scripture on these issues? Is there a consensus you know of that I am not aware of? Since there has always been difference on this, it has never been a test for orthodoxy. I am thankful those great lights even up to our day have recognized this crucial historical difference.
    [/quote]

    I am familiar with any major figures who different from the young world view.

    [quote]
    —-The current debates on Adam are different than OE vs YE. There has never been a consensus on OE vs YE. There are those in history on both sides. (Refer to previous posts as other folks have linked to the evidence of the various orthodox views.) The historical reason is why most reformed confessions do not make a big deal out of it today (i.e. 6/24 vs framework, or differently-OE vs YE.) The fact is, there is no consensus on this particular subject. It is historically inaccurate to state that the church was uniform on the matter.
    [/quote]

    Remember what I have said, I did not say that there was a consensus on 6/24 hour days, I have stated that there is a consensus on a young world. For example, Augustine did not believe in 6/24 hour days (I think for bad reasons but that is another issue) but Augustine did believe in a young world.

    [quote]
    When you say the “church found such info” in scripture, who are you thinking of? There were individuals who, I agree, viewed Genesis this way. There were individuals who did not. The fact that there were differences does not prove anything, of course, but the fact that those with various views on Genesis (as long as they held it to be historical) were orthodox, and that this is still reflected in the confessions of reformed churches today says a lot. [/quote]

    I would be happy to be presented with evidence of this broad consensus.

    [quote]
    I hate using this moment in history, as it is abused by many, but in this case it is appropriate. We all know the story of how those (mainly in the Roman side, but there were those of the protestant side that were not any better…) held to the earth being the center of the universe. They read into the Bible things that were not there. They were wrong. You also find them wrong, as I believe you believe this to be a fact- that the earth goes around the sun. Was the Bible wrong in this case? Or were there those who were pushing the Bible to say more than it actually did? Luther, for example, who we should all love and appreciate, held to some very strange views about planets. A lot of people did back then. Much of what we believe today may seem silly in the future (nature wise.) Is there a difference when it comes to orthodox theology though? Has that changed? No, thankfully, which is why we love the creeds and confessions. OE vs YE is not a big issue, unless it is forced to be one, in which case individuals will be throwing out much of our history on the matter.
    [/quote]

    This point is normally brought up at some point, and I see no need to run from it.

    According to Relativity, any evidence that can be produced for the earth revolving around something can be just as easily used to defend the something revolving around the earth. If you go deep into the issue.

    [quote]
    I love and worship with many who hold to a 6/24 view, as well as those who do not. I love and worship with those who prefer the YE view, as well as those who do not. We all conform to our confessions. There is solid orthodox backing for both historically.[/quote]

    I also love and worship with those who have beliefs different than mine, on this and other issues.

  30. RB says:

    @Hermonta…

    I am heading out of town and so this will be my last post for a while.

    It is true that the majority of the early church theologians held to a young earth. They also held to some strange views that neither you nor I would likely accept…and they backed up those opinions based on scripture as well. One example, that the days of creation stand for the sum total numbers of days everything will encompass -i.e. everything ends within 6-7 thousand years, since a day is as a thousand years to the Lord, as they interpreted it. There are other examples. A very helpful resource I think you might find beneficial, or at least “challenging,” is “The Bible, Rocks and Time,” by Young. In particular,if you truly are interested in investigating this subject, chapter 6 speaks directly to many of your justified concerns…be them historical or exegetical. The text engages with many of the justified concerns brought up by Hall, Duncan, and Pipa as well. If one is to be charitable, this is a great text to read and to hear what the other side of Hall, Duncan, and Pipa is actually saying.

    Yours, in Christ,
    RB

  31. Mark G says:

    The comment made near the end about biological evolution being inherently atheistic could have been made near the beginning and shortened the entire discussion to about 1 minute. All that is then left to do is excommunicate all the folks who believe in a-”theistic” evolution.

    • THEOparadox says:

      Great idea. :)

      If one is confessional, one ought to be held to the clear standards of the confession, right?

      Taking it back a step from there, if someone says he believes in the Bible, can he knowingly take a stance that contradicts Scripture? Folks nowadays want to make the prevailing views of atheists somehow comport with the Word of God.

      On the other hand, one can take a theistic approach to evolution. But there’s no way to make such a view Biblical. So one might be a theistic evolutionist, but it’s impossible to consistently stand as a Bible believer while affirming evolution.

      On the other hand (again), we’ve got to deal with B.B. Warfield, who was uncompromising on inerrancy, yet willing to compromise with evolution. This was a strange contradiction in a great man. His view ought to be the rare exception, not the rule, among those who hold the Bible as the Word of God.

  32. Mark G says:

    The framework interpretation of Genesis 1 is inconsistant with biological evolution. For example, the framework has birds and fish created on one day, land animals created on another, and then finally man. This would require a polyphyletic evolutionary theory which is inconsistant with modern biological evolution which is monophyletic; all living organisms have one common ancestry. I don’t believe Kline was trying to accomodate modern evolutionary theory by proposing the framework interpretation. Regardless, it does not really help in terms of concordance theories. Where it really helps is in drawing out the theology of Genesis, which I think was probably Kline’s objective.

  33. RubeRad says:

    I have been troubled by recent “discoveries” that challenge the possibility of a literal, historical Adam, Eve (and thus Fall, and thus…), so I was eager to learn from this episode. Sadly, I found it unhelpful, as I was looking for constructive ways to understand and address these issues, and all I heard was that I should just dismiss them.

    I didn’t have time to read this whole comment trail, but I agree with the comment fairly early by “Pat”, who also asked a great question — to which I did not see any response, so I’d like to reiterate:

    Overall I’d have preferred more discussion of the views on offer than merely what’s at stake in the episode.

    Who should have a view on creation, evolution, and Genesis? One might think most Christians who have a view on the debate probably should simply not have a view, should withhold assent.

  34. Laura Lee says:

    The historical Adam was the father of all mankind. He was the “federal head” — but it was not merely legalistic that all mankind was in Adam according to the flesh. The scripture states in Hebrews that Levi was literally in the loins of Abraham when Abraham gave tithes to Melchizadec. Therefore, the scripture records that Levi gave tithes to Melchizadek while in the loins of Abraham when Abraham gave tithes to Melchisadek. Applying the same principle, all mankind sinned in Adam when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden. Because we were in the loins of Adam according to his flesh — our flesh was united in his sin which was in his flesh. We are born of the flesh of Adam.

    I would like to make the point that God breathed into Adam and Adam became a living soul — the son of God. Luke 3:38. Thus, all the elect were in Adam according to God’s breath in Adam before Adam sinned. Had Adam nor his posterity sinned, only the elect would have been born of Adam. The elect would have been born in a transfigured state of entire sanctification in the body made of earth. No reprobate would have been born of Adam. Only the elect would have been born of Adam.

    Thus, when Adam sinned and was fallen in the flesh, this “opened the door” for the reprobate to be born of Adam. Who are the reprobate according to scripture?? Jude tells us that they are before of old ordained to condemnation. Foreknowledge and predestination is therefore speaking of a pre-existence before of old. Jude tells us they are wandering stars. The scripture states that devils were born of women as reprobates in the days of Noah manifesting as giants. Jesus said that Judas was a devil. Jude tells us that these reprobate ungodly men who deny our Lord Jesus Christ are wandering stars. Wandering stars refer to fallen angels. Jesus commands all the reprobate on His left on Judgment Day into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. God, in His Sovereignty, did not “fail to plan” for mankind in preparing that lake of fire for the devil and his angels then ordering the reprobate on His left into that lake of fire. It is not as the arminiasts say that God never intended for men to be cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Rather, God fully planned for these men to be cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Knowing that God is Sovereign and so states compels us to review Jude and the whole of scripture to see that the reprobate are indeed the devil and his angels incarnate born as men in human flesh through Adam’s fall. We are compelled by scripture to review the scriptural case that the fall of Adam and Eve opened the door for the devil and his angels to be born of their fallen flesh — whereas if they had not fallen, the reprobate could not have been born of them.

    Jesus knows His sheep. Jesus knows those who are not His sheep. The scripture tells us that the children of the devil are seed sown of the devil — tares among the wheat sown by Satan as his children. I am not speaking of copulation between Satan and women. Rather, the scripture states that Cain who was of the wicked one was conceived through Adam and Eve — due to their fall and the corruption of their flesh.

    In summation, the federal headship of Adam must be separated in relation to the elect and the reprobate. The elect and the reprobate do not have the same spiritual origination. The election of the elect is not without cause in relation to the reprobate — for the reprobate are indeed the devil and his angels incarnate as men appearing which became functionally manifest through the fall of Adam and Eve and the spiritual fatherhood of Satan in relation to the flesh.

  35. Dan says:

    Hi folks,

    Months later I just listened to this podcast following the interview of Rick Phillips in regard to the PCA General Assembly.

    One of the hosts mentioned a paper by Francis Collins that was a synopsis of his book. Does anyone know if that’s available anywhere online?

    Excellent podcast, thank you.

  36. Dan says:

    FYI, a July 1 newsletter I received from the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals contained some info about the 2013 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology:

    “The conference, ‘In the Beginning: God, Adam, and You’, will focus on the doctrine of creation. And we will have a pre-conference on gender and sex.”

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I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naïve. (Romans 16:17-18)

 

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