Does the Bible Contain Errors?


(system) #1

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/guest/does-the-bible-contain-errors

(George Brooks) #2

I think the heart and soul of this article lies right here:

Intro
“Christians also need to be careful to distinguish between theological traditions, and clear biblical affirmations. A great example is the claim that the Bible teaches humans were created immortal and only became mortal after the Fall. Though many Christians believe this, it is difficult to substantiate it from the Bible itself.”

Did Paul Think “A”?
“In Romans 5:12, Paul indicates that people are subject to death because of sin. But arguably, the existence of a tree of life in the garden, of which Paul is well aware, implies that people were mortal and in need of a remedy.”

Or Did Paul Think “B”?
Alternatively, then, in Romans 5 he may simply be observing that since sin brought the loss of the remedy (tree of life), we are subject to death because of sin."

The Dilemma
“Whether someone agrees with that interpretation of Romans 5:12 or not, the point is that the Bible does not clearly and explicitly claim that people were created immortal. That is a theological tradition.”

How is this Resolved?
“And in cases where the Bible does not clearly teach something, we should not tie the Bible’s authority to the truth of that tradition.”

And as fine a collection of sentences as these texts might be … is this what Romans 5:12 is really about? Others might say that the immortality of humanity is a side-note… and that Romans 5:12 is more about whether Adam represents the “model” for how the wages of sin are earned by each and every human vs.
whether Adam represents the source of corruption for all future generations of humanity.

All the translations (fleshed out in a list below) are surprisingly consistent in their terminologies:

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Translations for Rom 5:12
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PART 1:
[A] WE ARE SINFUL THROUGH ADAM’s TAINT -
All humanity sins because Adam gave his sin to all his offspring.
vs.
[B] ADAM SHOWED THAT HUMANS ARE SINNERS -
Adam was the first to disappoint God with the sinful nature of humanity;

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TEXTS THAT SAY SIN ENTERED THE WORLD THROUGH ADAM
[A-1] NKJV: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin,
[A-2] RSV: Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin,
[A-3] ASV: Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin;
[A-4] NIV: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,
[A-5] ESV: Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin,
[A-6] CSB: Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,
[A-7] NASB: Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin,
[A-8] NET: So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin,
[A-9] YLT: …Because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death;
[A-10] HNV: Therefore, as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin;

- - - - ADAM WAS NOT THE SOURCE OF HUMANITY’s SIN (“Through” is not used) - - - -
[B-1] KJV: Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
[B-2] NLT: When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death,
[B-3] DBY: For this cause, even as by one man sin entered into the world, and by sin death;
[B-4] WEB: Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
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PART 2:
[X] (Implied Method: “So. . .”) Death spread to all.
“…So death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.”
vs.
[Y] (Explicit Method: "In this way . . . ") Death spread to all.
“… Thus/This way, death spread to Everyone, for everyone sinned.”

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TEXTS ENDING WITH ‘SO DEATH PASSED TO ALL’ (WAY IMPLIED)
[X-1] KJV: so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
[X-2] RSV: so death spread to all men because all men sinned–
[X-3] ASV: so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:—
[X-4] NLT: so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned.
[X-5] ESV: so death spread to all men because all sinned—
[X-6] NASB: so death spread to all men, because all sinned -
[X-7] NET: so death spread to all people because all sinned -
[X-8] WEB: so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.
[X-9] HNV: so death passed to all men, because all sinned.

**- - - - TEXT ENDING WITH ‘THE WAY’ DEATH CAME TO ALL
[Y-1] NKJV: thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—
[Y-2] NIV: in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
[Y-3] YLT: thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;
[Y-4] DBY: thus death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
[Y-5] CSB: in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned.
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If we patiently dismantle all the English translations for Romans 5:12, first in half and then contrasting the 2 ways the first half is expressed and the two ways the final half is expressed, you can reach some important conclusions.

The first part of each verse either says [A] “sinfulness is given to all because of Adam” or
[B] “sin was first with Adam” or in other words, Adam is the model for what sin does.

And in the last part of Romans 5:12, virtually all the texts are identical!
The only distinction between them is most use the word “So…” death passes to all men,
implying the method…

vs. “Thus”, or “in this way”, more intentionally stating that this is the “how death passes” to all men.
This distinction is meaningless when it comes to the theological implications of Romans 5:12.

But every last one of these verses provides the ultimate cause for Death: “because all have sinned.”

In conclusion:
We have nine versions of Romans 5:12 where death caused by sin enters the world “through” Adam, and
“all have sinned”.

And we have just four versions of Romans 5:12 where death caused by sin is first demonstrated by Adam,
and all have done the same!

It’s a pretty thin soup, wouldn’t we agree? I can see a “small difference” … but not a distinction so large that everyone would agree!

Is BioLogos really willing to focus on this one thing: Original Sin? Does BioLogos really think it can teach Evangelicals that Augustine was using a poor translation of Romans when he taught Adam’s role in Original Sin?

If so … then how come nowhere in this article there is a single mention of the flawed translation used by Augustine?