Tunnel vision regarding Genesis


That’s approaching the Marcionite position, isn’t it? St. Paul writes in 2Timothy 3 that all Scripture is God breathed. He’s referencing the Old Testament specifically, of course.

I agree with you here…though I suppose we might be talking past each other a bit due to definitions of words. However, I agree. The bible is God’s Words in human words. He accommodated to use our language, and particularly in the context of the ANE. I do not have fundamentalist hermeneutics. So, I suspect we’re actually pretty close on this, particularly if we both agree that it is Jesus who is the centre of the Scriptures. I trust the Scriptures because I trust Jesus…I don’t trust Jesus because I trust the Scriptures.

(Mitchell W McKain) #63

That is like saying yours is approaching the Jehovah Witness position and that of the circumcizers Paul disputed with. 2000 years of the Christian church has agreed that the NT is a new covenant with God and thus Paul was entirely correct in saying that the Jewish law of the OT is not applicable to Gentile Christians.


With this I have no argument. Well, except for the association with Arian/Jehovah’s Witnesses theology. :slight_smile: St. Paul in Galatians makes it clear that we have been set free from the Law. We Lutherans tend to like Galatians very much.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #65


It appears that you are misusing the term Marcionism. Marcion rejected the OT God, not the OT. It appears that he did this because the Greeks were Idealists. They rejected the physical and concentrated on the rational. Marcion said that the Father was an evil demiurge, while the Son was the forgiving true God.

It might be noted that many non-believers share the Marcionite position that nature is evil and God should be all loving and banish all sin and death. The fact that Christianity rejected Greek Marcionite thinking and affirmed the Jewish Creator God, which made modern science possible, makes the claim that Christianity is the enemy of modern ridiculous.


True. I was being somewhat loose…as I said “approaching.”

I think it best to view the New Testament as an inspired commentary on the Old Testament.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #67

one might say the N.T. is the pointer to the fulfillment of the O.T. even?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #68

I hate to be picky, but this issue is too important to overlook.

Let me go back to basics at the risk of being overly simple. The English word Testament means Covenant, so we have the Old Mosaic Covenant and the New Covenant in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

In this was the Bible makes it clear that there are two separate and different covenants in the Bible. The NT covenant is not just an extension of the OT covenant although I have found some people who should know better think so. Nor is the NT a commentary on the OT, because the NT is the God’s message to humanity.

See the Letter to the Hebrews. This letter was written (by Barnabas) to converted Jews who were4 being persecuted by the Romans for being Christians and by their relatives for leaving Judaism. They also felt separated from Gentile Christians because of their ethnicity. They were tempted to go back to Judaism in order to escape Roman persecution and be reconciled back with their relatives. If Christianity were an upgraded version of Judaism that would be find, but it is not.

Hebrews 1:1-4 (NIV2011)
1 In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
2 but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, Whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through Whom also He made the universe.
3 The Son is the Radiance of God’s Glory and the exact Representation of His Being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
4 So He became as much superior to the angels as the Name He has inherited is superior to theirs.

(Tom Larkin) #69

A good topic may be:

Can miraculous events be consistent with a scientific viewpoint? Do we need to explain occurrences in the Bible where it is states that God intervened? We could even limit the topic to miracles outside of Genesis.

For one, the online Old Testament class at Yale suggested that Jericho had been conquered many years before and the Israelites just waltzed into a power vacuum at the time. (This class was excellent, it was just presenting the archeological data available at the time of the class, I learned a great deal. I would recommend it to anyone in this forum).

(George Brooks) #70


If you stay in the Old Testament… you aren’t going to resolve anything. Interpreting the Old Testament is probably as divisive as it can get.

How about this for a question:

Can the miraculous birth of Jesus, or his resurrection, be accepted by men and women who are professional scientists?

I would say, yes they can.


Perhaps, to help me understand, could you tell me how the two separate covenants are diiferent?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #72

The OT Covenant is based on the Law, the Torah. The NT covenant is based on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

(Tom Larkin) #73

I have heard many deny the Virgin Birth, I have heard Bart Ehrman deny that Jesus Christ was God because of perceived inconsistencies in the four Gospels, but I have never heard anyone deny the Resurrection on a scientific basis, which I think is an interesting point. His death and resurrection are the most important physical acts in our faith and these have not come into question.

The importance of this forum is to remove the hedges that prevent people from accepting the most important components of our faith. When I started my detailed Bible study, I was advised not to let what you don’t understand get in the way of what you do, which I found to be helpful advise.


I’m not sure I agree with this assessment. However, to help clarify…were the people in the OT relate to God by grace through faith or by observance of the Law?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #75

When we look back in hindsight, we do see an element of grace through faith, but the basic element was following the Torah, which is not limited to the Ten Commandments.

Luke 18:18-30 (NIV2011)
18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’”
21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

The Rich Young Ruler: Good Master, What must I do to inherit Eternal Life?

Jesus: Do not call me Good unless you mean it. Have you followed the Law?

RYR: I have from my youth.

Jesus: One thing do you lack. Sell all that you have, give the money to the needy, AND Follow Me.

The Rich Young Ruler was very sad because he was very rich. He could not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven because he failed to follow Jesus.

(Randy) #76

That’s really interesting and a good example. If you get a chance, I’d be interested in what you think of the new perspective on Paul and Scot McKnight’s discussion here, especially in this light?


This is where we will disagree. The relationship between God and His people has always been by grace through faith. That’s essentially St. Paul’s argument in Galatians (and why he speaks of Abraham in Gen 15, etc) to show that righteousness was reckoned to Abraham because he believed God’s promise.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #78

That is what I said. Through revelation though Jesus Christ and hindsight Paul the Christian and we are able to see this. Paul the Jew practicing the Mosaic covenant did not see this.

@Randy, Scott said that the “new Perspective” had more to do about the Jewish belief and practice at the time of Jesus and Paul than Christian theology. He said that they were not looking for salvation as we know it, because they believed that they were the Chased People. Since they were already chosen by God, they did not need a Messiah, God’s Chosen One to save them.

I expect that there was more then one Jewish soteriology at that time. He is probably talking about the Essenes or even the Sadduces. Jesus and Paul were relating to the Pharisees.

(Shawn T Murphy) #79

The Grace doctrine is one of the most destructive beliefs in my opinion. God’s Grace is nothing that we can acquire by any means, by definition. Grace is something He gives that we do not deserve and cannot earn with any currency. His Grace is exemplified in the parable of the Prodigal Son. The first born of Heaven, who became the adversary by forsaking the Father and squandering his inheritance has been forgiven through His Grace.

Jesus did not come to save the righteous, but to save the poor of spirit and the sinners - this is God’s Grace. None of them earned or deserved redemption, but we all receive it.


Forgive me - im confused. To what do you refer as being destructive? The doctrine of grace?

(Shawn T Murphy) #81

I have written a blog positing last year that talks about the dangers of this doctrine. I hope it is helpful to answer your question.