Am I paranoid or am I right?

(Robin) #81

There is quite a kite-tail of conversation on this site, Bill. As far as I can tell, Hman stopped talking to you after you inquired “And Jesus referred to Adam where?” And this followed his assertion that salvation depends on Christ, not Adam.

I think you are right when you said that you “draw a different interpretation” from – evidently – Jesus mentioning “righteous Abel” and co — than I do. Evidently so. You don’t think He believed in this “righteous Abel” but was catering to the beliefs of His listeners. And then you base your belief in Jonah on the fact that “Jesus said it.” So, it seems that in this instance, you do not think Jesus was pandering to the beliefs of His listeners? Just in the case of the mention of Abel???

I do think your hermeneutics is interesting. But we will leave it at that.


When referring to the past I believe Jesus used references to figures that were known to his audience. Consider the OT doesn’t record the entirety of history. Jesus could use a person that was real but unknown. How would the audience understand Him without a history lesson? So Jesus wasn’t “pandering to the beliefs of His listeners.” He was speaking in a way that the audience could understand. For Jonah we have the book of Jonah and what Jesus said. I take Genesis 1-11 as myth that provides meaning but not history.

(Robin) #83

So then…your initial question — several posts ago to Hman — was unnecessary.

(Jay Johnson) #84

“For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah …” (Lk. 11:49-51).

Jesus used a common idiom that we still use today whenever we say “everything from A to Z.” It is a literary device, not a literal statement. If you want to take it literally, then you create a real problem, because Jesus calls Abel a prophet in Luke 11:51. Unless I have totally misread my Bible, Abel is nowhere identified as a prophet in Scripture. Was Jesus mistaken? Was there a different man named Abel who was a prophet? Or was Jesus merely using the character of Abel in a figure of speech?

(Robin) #85

Well, Jay…the Bible is pretty bare bones when it comes to details. Maybe Abel had a bad childhood and an alcohol addiction and never got along with his mother and his sisters either. Always wanted to be an actor…That sort of thing. We like it, but the Bible does not tell it. So maybe he “was” a prophet in addition to other things. This then depends on the definition of prophet. Maybe prophet was nothing more than “don’t sacrifice fruit to God. He will not accept it”?? Who knows?? No real details of his life exist beyond his birth and the incident that led to his death. That is true of the vast majority of figures mentioned in the biblical text.

But this still would mean that Abel was a real person, just as Zechariah was…and this impacts the whole Genesis 1 - 11 business. I will admit that that section is shrouded in mystery — and concerns things a long time ago. But Bill believes it is all myth – so what does it matter what Abel was called?

What Jesus was “really” saying to His listeners at that moment was that they were just like their ancestors. They thought they would have shown honor to those who spoke God’s words and message – but they were just like all these others. After all, they were not showing honor to Jesus — who was/is greater than a prophet.

But quite a number of the individuals who fell into that category have some historical attestation — it is hard to read what Jesus said and to think He was mixing Goldilocks in with George Washington on His list of past individuals whose deaths they were equally guilty of…

And Bill’s initial question seems to have been unnecessary, given his stance on things.

(Randy) #86

Point well taken. However, if Jesus chose not to know any more than those around him, it would fit with the flood being ancient near Eastern mythology adaptation, Adam and Eve being incorrect, as well as Jonah. Denis Lamoreaux believes that the entire Bible is not concordant scientifically, but theologically correct. Again, this would be possibly consistent with Jesus choosing to grow in wisdom and stature, and favor with God and man. He would also be concordant with his being tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.


No I wanted to know why he believed Jesus mentioned Adam.

I have had YEC tell me a wide range of outlandish beliefs such as Jesus quoted Genesis more than any other book in the OT. I have heard the “Jesus mentioned Adam” argument before but no one can support it when questioned. The question was just meant to gently point out that perhaps he had his facts wrong.

You might want to read up on Jesus’s use of the OT. It can be eye opening.


He never directly says anything about Adam, but in every case we can see, Jesus took the Old Testament as history. I see later in the comments you argued that Jesus might not have meant these things literally, but if that’s the case, what good would showing He spoke of Adam do to the argument?

(Phil) #89

It seems to me he held them as truth, but as I recall, he turned the then current interpretation of scripture on its head more often than not. I cannot recall a time when he quoted scripture as history, but rather used what we might call historical writings as spiritual teaching to make a point.
In any case, I am unaware of where Jesus disputed anything held as common knowledge in the day but later shown false from a physical standpoint either(cosmology, weather, physics etc.) Any examples I may have overlooked?


Agreed. And we have to remember that he “emptied himself,” according to the famous hymn in Philippians. There were things he could not do and things he did not know. When he returned to his home town, the town folks were amazed at his wisdom and wondered how he got it. Nobody thought he was destined for great things when he was a baby; He had to go through a growth process.

Some of the later gospels that were rejected by the church have Jesus speaking even as a baby. (But some of these stories did make it into the Qur’an!)


The issue is, we hear Him very often saying “God said” of the Bible, or “it is written,” and it just seems like He did have a high view of Scripture. There’s no evidence that He didn’t have the traditional understanding of things like Mosaic Authorship and such. It seems like there’s every reason to think He thought Adam and Eve were real.


With all due respect, I think this view fundamentally undermines orthodox Christology. Jesus was fully God and fully man, and He had the ability to know all things. He knew He would be crucified, He knew the Temple would be destroyed, etc. If Jesus could be mistaken, we’d have to reject the Nicene Creed and a lot of other things.

(Randy) #93


Thanks for your note. I think that you’re right that the whole “homoousion” (mix of natures) of Jesus and God is a mystery. There have been endless (“Byzantine”–especially during Byzantium’s existence) debates over the form in which one could be fully God and fully man. But, how does Luke 2:52 “52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” work in? The Nicene Creed says “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible.And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God,] Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” but, it’s an interpretation. Why did Jesus ask God to have the cup pass from him?

I grew up on the mission field. My parents were in a 97% Muslim area, and while the people were wonderful, the main concern Muslims had was that Christians committed blasphemy in making a man into God. We didn’t really focus much on the Nicene creed. This is good study.

And if Jesus is the Word of God as in John, similar to the Bible (our Word), which as old earth creationists we know does not specifically teach a very old earth (it wasn’t necessary), then why would He quibble about what we understand from each age to age? My thought was that God (Jesus) could opt not to teach the people these things, just as He would not want to confuse them about the age of the earth.

5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very naturea God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very natureb of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Thanks for your thoughts.


I think he chose not to know some things, but knew other things. He didn’t know the hour of the second coming, but he knew that he was the Christ, the son of God, who came to die.

(Jay Johnson) #95

And there’s your answer. Jesus was making a much larger point than whether Abel was a historical person or not. We focus on the wrong thing when we try to make it about something else. Jesus simply started with the first murder to occur in Scripture and then, to make his point, bookended “A” with “Z” to indicate the extent of their guilt. If we think we can jump inside Jesus’ head and say that he must have believed “this” or “that” about Abel, we are being presumptuous.

Incidentally, there is an issue even with the “Z” in Matthew, where he is identified as “Zechariah son of Berechia,” which fits the prophet Zechariah (1:1), but the reference is certainly to Zechariah son of Jehoiada, who was stoned in the temple court in 2 Chron. 24:20-21. In the Hebrew Bible, 2 Chronicles is the last book, which would make the latter Zechariah the final recorded martyr in the Scriptures that Jesus read. Believers in strict inerrancy have come up with a lot of work-around solutions, but I mention it only to point out that interpreting this passage is trickier than you may realize.

Jesus’ certainly treats Scripture as the authoritative and inspired word of God. That inference is not difficult to make. But the modern term for having a “high view” of Scripture carries a lot of baggage regarding our own disputes over inerrancy and such that really don’t apply to the first century. When you say that Jesus had a “high view of Scripture,” many people hear what they want to hear, which is that Jesus signed the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy. I don’t think that’s the case.

On your last statements, I just caution, once again, that climbing inside Jesus’ head to say what he did or didn’t believe is fraught with problems.


This is a good point. In the end though, as a Catholic, I don’t believe in Sola Scriptura. The Church Fathers and Church Councils were unanimous in thinking that Jesus made an error. Regardless of exegetical issues, I think saying that Jesus could have made mistakes departs from orthodoxy. I don’t want to sound dogmatic in saying that, but I don’t know of any Church Father who didnt believe Jesus was correct in all things He said.


I think the Fathers and Councils were clear in saying that He knew all things, but I’ve seen some who disagree. It seems though that to say He could have erred is to leave Nicene Christianity. I’m not trying to be dogmatic, but that seems to be the case.


Sure, but we agree that A through Z exist, right? :stuck_out_tongue: It seems like His point requires Abel to have existed.

This is a good point. I don’t subscribe to the Chicago Statement, so sure. On the other hand, I think it’s obvious that Jesus’ view of inspiration was much closer to inerrancy than to anything we see in writers like Kenton Sparks or Peter Enns. Jesus thought of the Bible as the word of God, He never said it was wrong on anything, His arguments often started with “it is written.” Sure, Jesus may have had a view different from the Chicago Statement, but He certainly thought of it as God breathed and authoritative. And again, there’s no example of Him ever questioning the historicity of an event in the Old Testament.


He knew all things from eternity, but when he became incarnate he emptied himself. He was still God, but had limited knowledge in some areas. Did he know all things as a newborn? Even his messianic consciousness had to develop.

He even said he didn’t know all things. (Jesus is speaking of the second coming here:)
Matthew 24:36-42 36"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.


I do think Jesus was omniscient as a newborn. It’s true that His human nature was not omniscient, but His divine nature was, and it was fully in Him as a human. I don’t think that when Paul says He emptied Himself it requires that he was ignorant on anything.

As to His not knowing the day or the hour, I think it refers to His not being willing to say. Here’s a pretty good article on the whole issue: