Peter Enns & The Historical Adam

13 May

His most recent post, as of this writing, deals with supposed 11 myths in the debate over Adam’s historicity and then he gives his point of view in defense of his identifying them as myths. I am going to post his ‘myths’ and then his main point right underneath it so you can see the whole content of his argument. After that I will comment upon his point of view as I do not think those ideas he labels as ‘myths’ are really myths.

This will be long so please be patient.

#1.  It’s all about the authority of the Bible.

It’s always about hermeneutics.

In other words, according to Enns it is all about YOUR interpretation and no one is capable of learning the truth of what scripture is saying. if you do happen to learn the truth then you are wrong, according to Enns’ position because that truth came from your faulty hermeneutical studies. Hermeneutics, especially done Enn’s way is an excuse to avoid the truth and justification for not following Jesus instruction of waiting for the HS and let him lead you to the truth.

There is one HS and one truth, thus if we all wait for him, we have no fear of learning anything else and the whole church will be on the same page. The authority of the Bible is very important and it is all about both the authority and the truth. If you are not sincerely and honestly seeking the truth then you are going to have trouble when science or some other field of research disagrees with the Bible.

The Bible is not just “there.” It has to be interpreted. The issue is which interpretations are more defensible than others. Hence, appealing to biblical authority does not tell us how to interpret the Bible.

You can see that he has no need for or desire to find the truth.  It is not about being defensible for the Bible tells us that no one can argue with the truth. We can argue all day long about interpretation but the truth stands on its own and defends itself. To get the correct meaning of biblical words, the believer needs to obey Christ and follow the HS not the latest hermeneutical strategy.

#2. You’re giving science more authority than the Bible.

To say that science gives us a more accurate understanding of human origins than the Bible is not putting science “over” the Bible—unless we assume that the Bible is prepared to give us scientific information.

He is giving too much authority to science because the Bible does not instruct believers to follow or accept scientific ideas over its words. There is no teaching in the Bible telling us to use science to investigate and learn more about our origins. Why write Genesis 1 & 2 and all the creation related verses throughout the Bible if we were to use secular science to learn about where we came from.

Enns is wrong there for IT IS putting science over the Bible as Genesis 1 does not sound like the evolutionary theory. Then what is this demand that the Bible give us scientific information? This need to appeal to science as if it were an authority is very wrong. Science is not the final arbitrator on anything and has been given no such power from God. It is merely a tool to see what God did, not to over-rule his divine words. That field has no authority whatsoever and no divine instruction has been given to appeal to it.

The Bible tells us:

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (Mt. 4:4 NASB)

Notice Jesus does not say to live by the words of science. The words that come from the mouth of God are found mostly in the Bible not secular science.

#3. But the church has never questioned the historicity of Adam.

On the whole, this statement is correct. It is also irrelevant.

Knowing what the history of the church has thought about Adam is not an argument for Adam’s historicity, as some seem to think, since the history of the church did not have evolution or any scientific discoveries to deal with until recently.

Enns does not know his history very well nor what Solomon said in Ecc. 1 where ‘nothing is new under the sun’. I have a book called Darwin’s Ghost by Rebecca Stott, which details those people who promoted the evolutionary theory long before Darwin. She goes back as far as Aristotle and I know through the book, After the Flood by Bill Cooper, that in the 6th century BC there was a Chinese man who preached the same theory.

As for not knowing science, well Enns is sadly and grossly mistaken as there were great men of science in ancient times (Archimedes is but one such figure- ) thus the church has always had to deal with ‘scientific discoveries’ and ‘evolution’. The statement above that ‘the church has never questioned the historicity of Adam’ is more relevant than Enns admits. The ancient church has had to deal with so many false ideas that they could probably teach us a thing or two and their acceptance  of a historical Adam means that he truly was historical as the Bible documents.

The point made by Enns is truly absurd and insults the intelligence of the ancient church. We can draw strength from the acceptance by the early church of a historical Adam not be embarrassed by it.

#4. Both Paul and the writer of Genesis thought Adam was a real person, the first man. Denying the historicity of Adam means you think you know better than the biblical writers.

All biblical writers were limited by their culture and time in how they viewed the physical world around them. This is hardly a novel notion of inspiration, and premodern theologians from Augustine to Calvin were quite adamant about the point.

What an insult to God on the part of Enns.  He is saying that God is incapable of telling the truth to the very people writing down his words, the very words meant to reveal God himself. Enns’ is point is pure eisegesis and assumes something not even close to being in evidence. We know very little of how the biblical writers viewed the world around them but since they were selected by God to be inspired and write his books, then we know they had God to help them understand the physical world.

Moses was called ‘a friend of God’s’ so if Enns was correct in his point then why would God betray his friend like that? That would make God a trickster and not a very good friend. Enns certainly has a low opinion of God.

Acknowledging that we know more than biblical writers about certain things is not to disrespect Scripture.

We may know more on some things than the biblical writers as they did not have to contend with trains,planes and automobiles and other technological advances (though in studying ancient history, there was a lot of technology available in their day) BUT that doe snot mean the biblical writers were wrong about origins or scientific matters when they spoke on those and other subjects.

#5. Genesis as whole, including the Adam story, is a historical narrative and therefore demands to be taken as an historical account.

It is a common, but nevertheless erroneous, assumption that Genesis, as a “historical narrative,” narrates history.

Yet what did Jesus say in John 5?

45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; the one who accuses you is Moses, in whom you have set your hope. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

Notice that Jesus did not alter what Moses had written. Believing Moses as written is vital to our christian faith if we want to believe Jesus and be accepted by him. It is no assumption that Genesis is a historical document discussing real history. It is a fact and part of the solid foundation that Jesus said to build upon:

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and [o]acts on them, [p]may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the [q]floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not [r]act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the [s]floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Enns has built upon the sand and his house of faith has fallen.

#6. Evolution is a different “religion” (i.e., “naturalism” or “Darwinism”) and therefore hostile to Christianity

Certainly for some evolution functions as a different “religion,” hostile to Christianity or any believe in a world beyond the material and random chance.

But that does not mean that all those who hold to evolution as the true explanation of human origins think of evolution as a religion. Nor does it mean that evolutionary theory requires one to adopt an atheistic “naturalistic” or “Darwinistic” worldview.

In the first paragraph of Enns’ argument I can agree in part. Evolution is not a religion and should not be labelled as such. Creationist make a grave error here by their mis-identification.  It is solely a scientific explanation that requires some traits of religious belief to function.

But it is the first line of the second paragraph that not only troubles me but displays Enn’s true colors. If evolution is the ‘true explanation of human origins’ then what does that make God and the Biblical writers? A bunch of liars worse than Satan himself. If Enns was correct then not only could we not trust God or the biblical writers, we would not be able to trust John 3:16-17. We could have no confidence in scriptures whatsoever and find it to be a waste of time to implement its teachings into our lives.

This is but one ramification that comes with doubting God’s word and saying that secular science is better than God. Evolution is hostile to religion because it disagrees with God and creates a fictitious alternative to lure people away from the truth. The last line is also very misleading as one certainly cannot adopt a divine view if they hold to evolution. God is not with evolution nor doe she reveal himself through that theory and call it his revelation. God called Genesis 1 his revelation and Jesus did not adopt the evolutionary theory as the real explanation of our origins, so obviously one cannot call themselves Christian by adopting the evolutionary theory replacing Genesis 1 as their ‘worldview’.

You cannot have your cake and eat it to. You are either on God’s side or man’s and God did not say evolution was real or true. So if you choose evolution then you are not on God’s side for God said

For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Ex. 20:11 NASB)

#7. Since Adam is necessary for the Christian faith, we know evolution can’t be true.

Evolution causes theological problems for Christianity. There is no question of that. We cannot simply graft evolution onto evangelical theology and claim that we have reconciled Christianity and evolution.

Enns again is found to be in error with these words. Evolution does not cause any ‘theological problems’ for Christianity because there is no biblical instruction to take secular science over the words of God. There is biblical instruction to make a choice between –God and his word  and evil and their lies. We cannot ‘graft evolution onto evangelical theology’ for evolution is a lie and not of God.

It is a sinful, secular human construct created by those who did not have the faith to believe God and take him at his word. We also do not ‘reconcile Christianity and evolution’ for the reasons previously stated.

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14 NASB)

Evolution is not of God, not authored by him nor is there any biblical instruction for God’s followers to adopt it over Genesis 1. It is from darkness and the believer cannot have fellowship with evolution nor reconcile it to the Christian faith. The two are incompatible. Believers are not called to ‘be scientific’. They are called to be the light unto the world and that light includes preaching creation as God revealed it.

#8. Science is changing, therefore it’s all up for grabs.

Science is a self-critical entity, and so it should not surprise us to see developments, even paradigm shifts, in the near and distant future.

I am really tired of hearing that old song and dance about science.  The truth NEVER changes thus the changes seen throughout science only tell us that secular science and scientists do not have the truth nor know what it is. Then if they do, they are not promoting the truth because they are too afraid. Yet what did God say about being afraid to speak the truth?

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mark 8:35 NASB)

The gospels did not change Moses’ writings but built upon them. Secular science is self-critical usually only when they have been caught  feeding a line of crap and even then it takes them decades to fix their problems, if they do at all.  I can point to the theory of life coming to earth on crystals as highlighted by the documentary Expelled as that theory has never been shown to be close to the truth yet there are scientists out there who still hold to that idea.

Secular science is not as virtuous as Enns and others make it out to be. Their ‘self-correcting’ systems are as corrupt as secular science and does nothing to clean up science’s act nor clear away the lies. What their supposed ‘self-correcting’ systems do do is censor the truth and keep it from being heard. They also keep scientists from revealing their true beliefs about evolution and other faulty scientific ideas.

#9. There are scientists who question evolution, and this establishes the credibility of the biblical view of human origins.

Individual, creative, innovative thinking often leads to true advances in the human intellectual drama. I would say that without these pioneering voices pushing the boundaries of knowledge, there would be no progress.

However, the presence of minority voices in and of itself does not constitute a counter argument to evolution.

While Enns is right here, we should not stop encouraging those scientists from speaking out. In that way we may be able to loosen the stranglehold secular science has on the science classroom and stop unbelievers from brainwashing their students. The demand for a monopoly on the part of the evolutionist does more to disprove the validity of evolution than a few secular scientists who disagree with the theory. Remember secular science encourages discussion and debate, but only from accepted sources, this is how they develop their theories.

Contradictory voices are welcome in science as long as those voices do not promote God or anything supernatural.

#10. Evidence for and against evolution is open to all and can be assessed by anyone.

Since evolutionary theory is the product of scientific investigation, it follows that those best suited to evaluate the scientific data and arguments are those trained in the relevant sciences—or better those who are practicing scientists and therefore are keeping up with developments.

Now the key words in Enns’ point is found in the first 9 words of that paragraph. Allow me to highlight them again:

Since evolutionary theory is the product of scientific investigation

Notice God is omitted completely and has no invitation to the discussion table.  Enns is admitting that God has nothing to so with evolution or its investigation. Those words tell us that we should have nothing to do with the evolutionary theory for it is not of God nor revealed by God, it is solely a product of secular science.

Then notice how in contrast to the Bible, only the elite get to dispense evolutionary details and no one else can be involved. Genesis 1 and God allows everyone to see for themselves the truthfulness of their words and learn the details. It is not restricted to elite specialists who do not believe nor have God in their lives nor are they following the HS to the truth.

Enns removes the Trinity completely from evolution and from finding the ‘evolutionary truth’ then places it all in the hands of those who reject God and the truth. That is not Christian nor is it a biblical activity. Enns ignores all biblical teaching about unbelievers being deceived,blind and producing false teaching in his promotion of evolution and its ‘truth’. This is not an act by someone who says they follow God. HE is not following God or Jesus but he is following the devil and being deceived.

#11. Believing in evolution means giving up your evangelical identity.

Many arguments I have heard against evolution come down to this: my evangelical ecclesiastical group has never accepted it, and so, to remain in this group, I am bound to reject it too.

It is rarely stated quite this bluntly, but that’s the bottom line.

To tell you the truth, the so-called ‘evangelical identity’ is not biblical nor divinely inspired so holding to both evolution and the id of evangelical does not present a spiritual problem per se. BUT you cannot hold to evolution and your Christian identity or label. The definition of the word ‘Christian’ I was taught was ‘like Christ’ but the dictionaries have different meanings yet here is one that applies and is similar to the one I was taught:

of, relating to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings:(

Jesus never taught evolution or changed Moses documentation of our origins thus to be Christ-like or Christian one must hold to Genesis 1 as written and not adopt secular ideologies like evolution. Since evangelicals and other Christians belief that Jesus was God, that makes Jesus eternal and present at creation thus he would know what really took place in the beginning and since Jesus did NOT correct Moses, did not change Genesis or any other OT creation related passage of scriptures and the HS did not have the NT writers alter Moses or change any creation related passage to an evolutionary thought, then we know that to be Christian, one must believe in and accept Genesis 1 as written as our true origins and our true explanation of our origins.

There is no other alternative. There is no biblical instruction to take secular science and scientists over God’s revelation. Enns does the church and Christ a grave dis-service as he leads people to lies and sin. He is not representing God at all but is aiding evil in their fight against God.

Christians if you are going to adopt the evolutionary ideology then please for the sake of God drop the use of the identity Christian for you are not being Christian by saying that God lied and was incapable of revealing the truth.

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Posted by on May 13, 2015 in academics, Bible, church, controversial issues, creation, faith, history, leadership, science, theology


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