Yes, very good comments GJDS.
Good Morning gbrooks9,
I believe this was settled by a very early creed. As you would know creeds respond to clarify false or incorrect teaching. eg: Nashville Statement last month. Anyways, the result was Jesus was fully God fully Man - yet one person. At times, the human part of Christ grew in wisdom and knowledge as stated in scripture - eg He did not know who touched his clothes in faith. Other times, we see the deity of Christ on Transfiguration.
If you don’t accept the hypostatic union of Jesus Christ, one person, fully God and fully man, then your questions are reasonable - stories and legends.
Mind you, reading Biologos book recently, one writer postulates that when God in Christ took on human flesh he took on everything that had evolved from the beginning of God-directed evolution. Odd.
What scholars claim that Adam is forced to do hard, menial work within an enclosure?
I emailed OT scholar Denis Lamoureux last night. He says that you are getting your ideas (man created to do drudge work) from Mesopotamian creation accounts.
Yes, creed frequently replaces information lacuna. But, really, there is nothing in the New Testament that says God-in-the-form-of-Mortal is all knowing.
As you yourself point out:
". . . the human part of Christ grew in wisdom and knowledge as stated in scripture - eg He did not know who touched his clothes in faith. "
This essentially accepts the proposal that you would not give your brand new BMW to a teenaged Jesus, because he has not yet learned how to drive a stick shift! Nor should you expect someone who has learned the stories of Genesis to be able to say which of them can now be accepted as parables.
As I said 30+ posts ago …
You focus only on one meaning and ignore the obvious wordplay and allusions to the Levitical priests and their service in the temple, as I noted here …
The “drudgery” for which Adam was created, in your conception, also ignores the ANE context noted by Middleton, which is that the irrigation systems that sustained crops and life were considered the province of the King.
Finally, the idea that Adam was created solely for the purpose of slaving away in the garden makes nonsense of the subsequent curse. In effect, God is saying that the consequences of man’s rebellion is to keep doing what he was sentenced to do in the first place. Huh?
Middleton is a Bible scholar, in your terms. He’s contributed some blogs to BioLogos from time to time. Perhaps @JRM can grace us with his presence and give us his opinion on the matter? (He’s a busy guy, so it’s a longshot …)
Sorry for doubling up, but I forgot to mention this. You complain about the eisegesis of others, but where exactly do you find the ideas of free will or moral autonomy in the text?
Also, everything that you say in this paragraph does not depend on your reading of Adam’s created purpose. If I claimed that Adam was created to sleep and lay about the garden all day, doing no work at all, I could follow that conclusion up with this same paragraph and lose nothing. One does not follow from the other. In fact, your reading tempts me to say that Adam had good reason to rebel against God and try to escape the prison (gan) and servitude that God sentenced him to.
Thanks for the invitation to respond. I actually have a little time as I am in the Toronto airport waiting for my flight (I am on my way to Kingston, Jamaica to preside over a theology conference that I have planned).
Of course, human work in the garden is work. It involves exertion and it includes guarding/protecting the garden, as any good gardener does. The Genesis 1 version of the human calling speaks of subduing the land/earth (thus bringing it into agricultural production). We are not created to laze about.
The issue is, of course, whether this work is intended as drudge work or not. I for one engage in all sorts of work that involves either physical, mental, or emotional stress and exertion. To tell the truth, organizing this conference from a distance was definitely work (not physical, but definitely mental and emotional; it took great energy). For me this is not a curse, but part of the glory of being alive. If the work is meaningful, and if I am treated well by my employer and co-workers, and I can enjoy some of the fruit of my hands, I can put a lot of energy into my work and be fulfilled.
As for the Mesopotamian background, let’s take Genesis 1 and 2 in order:
Genesis 1 speaks of humans as the image of God, which is a term usually reserved for the cult statue in the temple, the king, and sometimes priests. The idea is that the image is the channel for divine power, presence, and blessing from heaven to earth. In Mesopotamia, this is contrasted with the masses (the hoi polloi, to use the Greek) who are indeed created to do drudge work. The glory of being human, according to Genesis 1, is that we are created to do royal/divine work. We are to aid God in the administration and development of earthly life. (But yes, it is work.)
Genesis 2 has a very different flavor, but says essentially the same thing. The divine inbreathing into the inanimate human formed from the dust (Gen 2:7) echoes the Mesopotamian ritual for vivifying a carved statue so that it becomes a living image of a god. In Mesopotamia, the statue was made in a temple workshop, then taken to a sacred garden, by a river (echoes of Eden) where through a series of rituals it was consecrated and thought to come to life. The ritual is called the “mouth opening” or “mouth washing” ritual, since it was thought to result in the statue being able to speak, hear, see, walk, etc. (this is what is denied by Psalm 115). Finally, the image was installed (the causitive of rest is a good parallel) in the temple. In Genesis 2, there is no difference between the temple and the garden. The garden, in which the human image is installed, is sacred space. And the working (avad) and guarding (shamar) that the human is to do, while clearly referring to agriculture, have connotations of sacredness (since avad can mean worship and the Levitical priests were commissioned to guard/shamar the sanctuary).
Whereas Genesis 1 critiques the degradation of humanity assumed in Mesopotamian creation myths by affirming that all humans are royal representatives of God in the world (and need bow to no-one; am I thinking of Aragorn’s words to the hobbits?), Genesis 2 challenges the assumption of the Mesopotamian ritual that a cult statue is how God’s glory and power are represented in the world. Rather (to use the words of Irenaeus) “The glory of God is the living human being” (Gloria Dei est vivens homo).
I hope that helps.
Yes, thanks very much. That flight to Jamaica will have to take a long detour around Irma. Good luck and God bless!
At the moment the flight, which was scheduled to leave in 20 minutes, is supposed to leave in 40 minutes. We’ll see how it goes.
Here is a link my response to Dr. Lamoureux. Needless to say, I’m disappointed because he seems to have missed the whole point of this thread.
All In the perspective. Whereas the pagan gods had man to serve them, God made man in his image, to continue his creative work as his purpose.
Don’t let us old grouches run you off, @mtp1032. For the record, I only disagree with one aspect of your interpretation, and your interpretation has more to recommend it than 1000 other interpretations I’ve seen offered here. Personally, I hope that you stick around to discuss some other topics. We’re not that far off from each other, even on this one.
Blessings to you, brother,
still_learning: Your lengthy post reveals much about the fantastical thinking woven into the bible, and in your case, its fantastical interpretation. Your attempt at explanation of the intricacies of christianity gives an atheist like me ample evidence to condemn christians and launch a tirade meant to embarrass. You mean well, you’ve tried to focus your own needs and questions about life with a biblical presentation. But you missed the mark. I cite your words on the weirdness of sex as evidence.
as others have said, why does Jesus refer to Adam the person then?
I am not sure what this ditch digging theory is attempting to prove, or the point of this.
I agree that I am reading my own presumptions into the story, but aren’t we supposed to do that? We don’t read a detail or a few sentences of the story and stop. We use the entirety of the text and context to understand the text and bring meaning to it.
The fact that God created all of the universe and how complex it, and everything in it is, and to think He couldn’t create His own irrigation naturally, without humans? That is how I can read this and know that He didn’t create humans to drudge and dig ditches for Him, we are not necessary. And then to later claim to have love for us, it just doensn’t work to read a few sentences literal, and ignore the entirety of the rest of the text.
You are putting in your own presumptions here. It doesn’t say sole purpose anywhere in the text, it just doesn’t happen to list any other reasons at that time (but the entire rest of the Bible is filled with reasons for our creation). Just like a genealogy list a bunch of people, it doesn’t list everybody, but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So God list 1 reason here, and decides not to list other reasons here, but that also doesn’t mean they don’t exist either.
It is possible that He was infallible about His thoughts, and He did need to be taught things. Your thoughts don’t make you sin, but your actions or heart. Having incorrect knowledge doesn’t make you imperfect. He lived a blameless life, free of sin, so as to atone for our sins. And in the 1st and greatest commandment, love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. In loving God with all his mind, He learned about Him, and grew in knowledge.
To do work, just means force times distance, meaning something is getting accomplished. It doesn’t say drudge. slave, is a legal term, in which one legally owns the slave. Neither of these mean drudge. Servant means to do duties for another. I guess like a servant owner could mow the grass, but they don’t want to, so they have a servant do it, and they are generally compensated.
It doesn’t say express, that is a presumption. But we all have a choice, where does it say he has no choice? You seem to contradict yourself further into your post.
I do agree with you on that.
That is very interesting insight.
Very cool insight. I agree with this and it has purpose. I am still lost on why you are so insistent on using this single instance to be the literal and sole explanation of why man was created.
My view is based on the entirety of the holy scriptures. I even provided references to that scripture.
You are correct, I would not hand the keys to teenage Jesus are random. But if He requested the keys or if God told me to hand Him the keys I would. Meaning that sure, there were things He needed to learn, but there was also Godly things He knew also. Like how Jesus could read the minds of the Pharisees. A human could not read minds.[quote=“gbrooks9, post:47, topic:36569”]
Nor should you expect someone who has learned the stories of Genesis to be able to say which of them can now be accepted as parables.
I disagree. He clearly had traits of God and/or miraculous powers and knew the purpose of the Bible and His life on earth, to educate others. So whenever Jesus spoke of something, He was well aware of what thte truth of that story was. God would have no reason to inspire Jesus to speak incorrect/unknown things.
basically what I was trying to say.
If you are earnestly seeking the truth, I believe as God says, you will find Him, and I pray for that. But if you are seeking to prove Christianity wrong, that is what you will find, and my words won’t change that. Nor is it my job to convert you or prove Christianity right. My job and mission is to glorify the Father, through obedience, and display/reflect His love to the world, nothing good is of me. If I display God’s love and kindness, that is because of who Jesus was/is. I know there are people who genuinely are hurting, and feel an emptiness, who like the woman by the well are searching for the living water. They are tired of always having to fill their bucket, and it never being full. For searching for a purpose or meaning in life.
Then you have greatly misunderstood what I said about sex. It is hard to fathom what I am saying knowing what we know about sex in our society today. But if you see sex as those 3 things I spoke about, which is completely parallel to marriage and how Paul and Jesus speak of marriage between Jesus and the church, it should be more clear and less weird. Sex being an exclusive, intimate fusion, that is unconditional. And He allows us to experience the smallest of echos of that in the world we live in with marriage and sex. Sex being more of a symbolic thing than a literal physical thing. But that is why it angers God so greatly when we do pervert this physically as it means so much more.
Jesus didn’t go around begging the taxpayers and prostitutes and attempting to convince them through His logic. He loved, and allowed the power of the Father to be revealed to them, and they seeked Him, and found Him, the only living water.
Although I don’t want to threadjack, feel free to open a new thread if you wish to attempt to embarrass me. If that is your intent, I don’t have hopes of you knowing God if that is not something you wish through our ligical back and forth. However, others may or may not read something they never heard of before who are seeking God and they could come to know God through that. Or God would be glorified in me praising Him and sharing His love and truth. Either way, it is win win, for God, so please feel free to invite me to a tirade that will embarrass me. I will also consider it joy to take a verbal bashing and being embarrassed for the glory of God. What man thinks of me is of such little consequence when knowing that the Creator of this world knows, loves, and validates me, and everyone who seeks Him.
And not knowing if Adam was intended as a parable or not would not make someone sin either.
If you are calmly able to consider a Biblical genealogy is not “infallible”, you should certainly be capable of understanding that stories told to children by the Elders may also not be infallible.
still_learning: thank you for the lengthy and thoughtful response. I was too harsh in characterizing a response from me to you as a tirade meant to embarrass. Sorry, I don’t mean to condemn.
What tweeked me is your apparent belief in knowing exactly what your biblical god wants. Your devotion seems a bit pathological to me, like reality is knocking on your door and you send it away claiming that you are seeking reality. Somehow you’ve missed it.
And statements like “If you are earnestly seeking the truth, I believe as God says, you will find Him, and I pray for that”, presuppose that truth and your god are the same thing which you adamantly believe and I do not. Plus you say that “I know there are people who genuinely are hurting, and feel an emptiness” which I take as a jab at my lack of belief in your god. Janet Parshall claims that atheists must have had some past trauma to hate god so much. How can I hate a god that does not exist? It’s all so condescending.
And maybe a bit hypocritical. You say that it is not your “job to convert you or prove Christianity right. My job and mission is to glorify the Father.” What then is the purpose of all the books you’ve written?
The definition of delusional is believing a thing when superior knowledge is available. You will find superior knowledge by employing the scientific method to explain the world and its phenomena. Science trumps faith every time. Every time.
I have heard this objection so many times, and I honestly don’t understand why a reference to a person has to mean the person referred to was a historical figure. People make references to literary characters all the time. You cannot tell by a mere reference whether the person making it thinks the person was a historical or literary figure. If I say, “Just like Frodo Baggins on the road to Mordor, we should all persevere in the face of daunting odds and never lose sight of our mission,” I have said an instructive thing that makes sense and is true whether or not Frodo Baggins ever existed, whether or not I know that Frodo Baggins is a literary not historical figure, and whether or not people listening to me know Frodo Baggins is a literary not a historical figure. All that matters is that we all share familiarity with the LOTR narrative.
That’s not what the Bible says though. After impressing the teachers with his understanding, he continued to grow in wisdom. (Luke 2:52). How would someone who already knows everything continue to grow and learn?
Did he really read minds though? Or did he have special insight into their spiritual condition because he was so sensitive to the Holy Spirit? I have known other humans who had special insight into people’s spiritual condition because of their sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
We are discussing this very idea over on this thread. Was Jesus ever wrong? Come on over.
All fine and dandy, Gunter, but I’m wondering what your purpose here is? There are plenty of atheists who contribute to the conversation by helping to educate Christians about evolution, which is understandable and, to my mind, mostly welcome. But if you want to debate atheism v. Christianity, this isn’t the place. We are Christians trying to help other Christians come to a better understanding of science in a way that strengthens their faith. I understand that you have no interest in the latter, but your approach actually makes the former more difficult, as well. If you truly believe that science trumps faith every time, then your time is better spent educating people about science than arguing against Christianity. My 2c, anyway.