Am I paranoid or am I right?

(Jay Johnson) #61

I think you meant the historicity of Adam and Eve. In any case, salvation depends on Christ, not Adam.


Yes, you are right. Our faith is in Christ, but it’s pretty clear He believed in Adam.


And Jesus referred to Adam where?


Yes, well said. I hope the point was taken.

In the 20th century, being a 19th Century Liberal sounded a bit out of date, so 19th Century Liberals re-badged themselves as “Modernists”. In the post-Modernist era, being a Modernist sounded out of date so Modernists re-badged themselves as “Progressives”. Being a Fundamentalist tended to conjure images of Muslim extremists, so Fundamentalist Christians re-badged themselves as “Evangelicals”. Something that non-Fundamentalist Evangelicals were not very happy about. Of course, all these labels are trendlines, as it were, through a scattering of viewpoints. There are as many combinations and permutations of viewpoints as there are individuals.

It is hard to rise above one’s own faith community and experience to see the grand vista of Christian belief around the world. The full title of Fundamentalism is “North American Fundamentalism” because of its roots, and in other parts of the world Christians are not so keen to embrace it.

Most schools of thought in Christianity arise as a reaction to compensate for a lack in another, but end up going overboard in the other direction. 19th Century Liberalism almost dispensed with the Bible. North American Fundamentalism almost turned regard for the Bible into idolatry, a phenomenon known as “Bibliolatry”, in which worship of the Bible replaces worship of the God we know in Jesus Christ. The cold intellectual and propositional nature of both led to the reaction of neo-Pentecostalism and an attempt to rediscover the place of the Holy Spirit. And so it goes on … However, none of these groups stand still in their faith positions. I think I read on this website that since the time BioLogos was founded, half the number of Evangelicals who rejected Evolution now accept it.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #65

“Christianity without borders” … is a phrase I think I may have heard somewhere (around here maybe?). Or if it isn’t a phrase yet, it should be. It is no respecter of political or nationalistic borders, philosophical borders, fundamentalist borders, … it tears through the entire landscape of human hearts with nary a pause at all our self-righteous “no trespassing” signs that we think ought to keep the Spirit from touching hearts in this or that group.

And I know I did read somewhere (perhaps in these forums) about somebody proposing that we don’t think of Christian community as being “boundary defined” so much as “orientation defined”. [I may not be using the exact phrases, but they were something like these.] I.e. Our typical participation in the “who is in; who is out” obsession is to think of our list of “essentials” needed to qualify, and then the circle is drawn according to who passes our doctrinal exams. But the “orientation” approach does not ask where a person is at all, but instead asks where are they pointed? - or to whom are they pointed? So the most desperate sinner hanging on a cross after living his whole life in sin and with virtually no understanding about anything doctrinal can, in the end, by looking desperately to Christ for mercy be considered “in” because of his penultimate orientation, and not at all because of where he’s at.

I really like that. If we must be obsessed with evaluating everybody as “in” or “out” (which I do not here defend), then at least this could be a way to see it with “gospel eyes”.

[with edits]

(Robin) #66

Hman…yours was not a long rant. You address a particular problem, and the issue does not seem always to be handled the same way by every writer, speaker, blogger, critic…what have you.

So long as the situation is either-or, there will be conflict. And there are plenty of people who take that approach.

(Robin) #67

Uncle Lester would be proud.

(Robin) #68

Look for yourself, Bill


I have and as far as I can tell He never did. Just thought you might know.

(Randy) #70

@bluebird @HmanTheChicken, @Bill_II

From Jesus Creed–only indirectly, possibly. McKnight says it may or may not indicated He believed it. The Bible says Jesus “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”–I’m not convinced he did choose to know everything.–only what was necessary to communicate spiritual truths at the time to the audience at the time. He was “tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin”–had similar limitations.

(Robin) #71

Randy…/…your quote opens up a whole new kettle of fish. I have seen the other individual’s comment, and when I wake up, I will look into it.

(Randy) #72

It’s just a theory. Don’t take It gospel . thanks for your thoughts

(Robin) #73

OK…Well, I can see — from looking myself — that there does not seem to be an “I believe in Adam and Eve” quote from Jesus in the Gospels.

But when Jesus critiques the teachers in Matthew 23 and says “And so will come upon you all the righteous blood that has been shed upon the earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah…” He is at least naming and presuming the historicity of one of the famous sons of that “first couple” (not to mention Zechariah at the other end!!) It is hard to not infer, from this, a belief in the parents of Abel as well…

And since “righteous Abel” is one bookend of the line of murdered “righteous,” this at least infers a belief that Abel was the first, or one of the first, to deserve the adjective ‘righteous.’

There are less direct references, or inferences – such as, say, Matthew 19 (and in other gospels) to things like Jesus’ comments about “at the beginning the Creator made them male and female…”.

Now, of course, that could be simply a general statement that God — who created us all, in two different flavors–ordained marriage between these two sexes (not one) and did not intend for divorce to be part of the normative experience. This is a statement guaranteed to inflame other political and social sensibilities, of course, and maybe does not indicate belief in the names or the number of these initial individuals.

But there still is the matter of “righteous Abel.” I know this issue is tough for those who wish to make sense of faith within the context of science.

As for Randy’s contemplation of whether Jesus “did choose to know everything” — that is a whole different debate. He did know that Nathaniel was under that fig tree in John!! And God the Father has declared Jesus judge of all things. It’s an interesting discussion, but in the end, I think the ones with limited understanding are us human beings!!

Have a great weekend.


I will agree that Jesus named Abel. The problem comes when you assume this means Abel is a historical person. I believe he was just using an allusion that His audience knew to make a point and not teach a historical fact. It is the same as referring to the mustard seed as “the smallest seed” when the truth is it isn’t. His audience believed the seed was the smallest based on their experience and so Jesus just used it to make a point and not teach a point in botany.

(Robin) #75

Well…when Jesus named mustard seeds, we assume that He referred to an actual seed. It is my understanding that there are more than 700 seeds to a gram — that is, before you sneeze and blow some of them off the scale!!

If He referred to an actual seed when He was essentially telling a story (to make a larger point about faith) ,can we assume then that He was NOT talking about an actual person when He was essentially delivering a message of judgment to a group of national authorities??

It seems that the goal of the two remarks – and the audience – were enormously different.

At any rate…Jesus also referred to Jonah being in the “great fish” for three nights – see also the gospels such as Matthew 12 (I think). This is a challenging subject for us secularized Westerners, for sure.


Read all of Matthew 23. Is every thing there necessarily real?

Devouring a widow’s house
Swallowing a camel
Cups full of robbery

Then He refers to the guilt of righteous blood that had been spilt. It is the guilt that is important. Did the Teachers of the law spill Abel’s blood or did they just participate in the spilling of righteous blood?

That is not a problem when you realize that Jonah was dead in the fish for 3 days just as Jesus was dead in the tomb for 3 days.

(Robin) #77

Hi Bill…Thanks for the response. In Matthew 23:31, Jesus quotes (or maybe paraphrases something actually said) His audience as claiming they would not have killed the prophets if they had lived in those days. And then He says, verse 32, that they are just as bad as their ancestors in that way. in verse 35 He follows up on that and gives them a range — “from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.”

Zechariah son of Berekiah dates to about the mid-6th century B.C.-- at least according to one source I found. Some equate this event with the murder of Zerechiah son of Jehoida in 2 Chronicles 24.

Unless you want to presume that Jesus just flipped out and could as easily have said — for same effect — "…from the blood of righteous Goldilocks to the murder of Balder the Younger “” – it seems reasonable to presume that He was asserting to His listeners that they were guilty of what their ancestors were guilty of — because, after all, they were. And they did to Him what their ancestors (professionally and/or genetically) did to those in the past. This is/was because they failed to recognize Him and to receive Him and His words – in the same way that these past generations failed to recognize and receive the words of God’s messengers.

The general layout of the passage in Matthew 23 follows a familiar Talmudic style, per Flusser. And so the language – even if “edited” for the written format — would have been recognizable, including many of the issues, such as mistreatment of the needy (widows), hypocrisy (care to observe one sort of law but not others — the gnat/camel comparison), and looking good on the outside, but inwardly being corrupt (unclean cups, whitewashed tombs, etc)

Well, we have gone from one thing to the other here. The mention of “righteous Abel” is one that I have seen and, for myself, pondered the likelihood that if Jesus accepted the existence of Abel — even describing him as righteous – then did He also acknowledge the historicity of Abel’s parents? If He also accepted without reservations the reality of Jonah, then it is difficult to defend too much mythologizing of allegorizing in the matter of Adam — and I am not talking from a YEC perspective here. It just seems difficult to me to think that He had some other view, all things considered.

Plus my earlier question where you seem to accept the reality of a mustard seed (and query the accuracy of the assertion regarding its size compared to other seeds), but you question immediately the notion of a “righteous Abel.” The audiences for the two speeches were entirely different…and in literary analysis, that usually makes a difference. The first was part of a long teaching sermon told to large crowds gathered by the shores of a lake. The latter discussion was rather more intense and probably had fewer listeners.

And that is about all that is to be said.


No, in terms of history it had to be something that was known to his audience. Otherwise it wouldn’t make sense. My position is just because something was known by the audience doesn’t prove it was a historical fact.

And once you decide this is how you want to interpret Scripture where do you stop? How do you justify that this is the stopping place?

Abel was a historical figure
Adam was a historical figure
Adam’s position in the genealogy of Jesus is real
The earth is 6,000 years old, ± a few thousand.

It’s the reverse of Ken Ham’s slippery slope argument.

The mustard seed and righteous Abel are both the same thing. Common beliefs that the audience believed to be true. I don’t think that in itself makes them historical reality.

(Robin) #79

Why even ask if Jesus ever said He believed in Adam and Eve? Why did you even ask that question? You are asking it of a source that you are pre-disposed to doubt. And to doubt entirely… Therefore, what Jesus did or did not say is unknown entirely. We therefore do not know what He said or believed. About anything. Or if He really meant it if He said it.

But you at least believe that He spent three days in a tomb as Jonah did in the belly of a great fish. What do you base that on???

As for Ken Ham and his slippery slope argument – you seem to be in agreement with him on that???

Bishop Ussher was wrong about the age of the earth.


My involvement started with

when I asked HmanTheChicken were Jesus said He believed in Adam. He said it was obvious, not the result of conjecture.

I don’t doubt that Jesus said it. I draw a different interpretation from it than you do. And given interpretation is a non-inspired, fallible, and human effort there is no way to know for sure the interpretation is correct. To each his own so to speak.

Jesus said it.

The slope I presented is the reverse of Ham’s. And I was just pointing out where your hermeneutic could lead.

How is it wrong when it is based on the historic Adam and the genealogies that are recorded in the OT and NT? For Ussher’s hermeneutic it is correct. For mine it isn’t. This is why hermeneutics are more important than the facts in the Bible.