Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 9th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Prop 8 – @ivpacademic’s “Lost World of Adam and Eve”

On facebook, I stated my concern regarding Walton’s stance on the historical Adam and Eve. I am troubled he makes these statements without support, whereas nearly every other statement he makes is supported by well-reasoned logic. There is a fallacious danger in not reading ahead as one does “read throughs,” so I have at least skipped ahead to see if Walton does give his reasons. He does, in Proposition 11. Yet, I am on Proposition 8, with only the point-of-fact statements “Adam was a real person” made in the midst of “don’t take anything else as ‘literal’.”1 He tries to separate when Genesis 2–3 speaks about a historical figure and when it speaks about an archetypal representative; however, the lines are not clear enough in my mind. If Adam is representative of humanity (or Israel as a King would be) in 8 out of 10 cases, then why are the other two revealing he is a real person? Could it be a stylistic choice or an interpolation?

Wo ist Wellhausen!?

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on...

Saint Augustine of Hippo, a seminal thinker on the concept of just war (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indeed, this troubling statement is surrounding by an acutely canonical awareness of “formed” (as well as “rib” and “dust”) and how it plays into the story. While Walton does not mention it, his own parsing of the Hebrew reveals a Platonic caveat of soulmates (i.e., Symposium) I did not realize was there. Yet, through all of this, we are still told by the author of his belief in a historical Adam. Or perhaps, an assumption. If the forming of the two are archetypal and not related to material origins but rather symbolic of human relationships, then why are we still discussing Adam as if he is a historical person? Likewise, the author goes to great lengths to bring in St. Paul and his use of Adam in Romans and 1 Corinthians. This latter issue I find exciting and troubling.

Exciting because of the use of the entire Christian canon to work out theology. But, likewise it is troubling because if I am examining the ancient literature for what it is, I want to examine it devoid of reception during the apocalyptic discontinuity. Admittedly, however, I cannot focus too much on the troubling (to me) aspect because if Walton is doing what he did in Lost World of Genesis One, then he needs to tackle the usual Protestant Christian teaching regarding Original Sin and the Fall (even if one is because St. Augustine did not read Greek all that well).

There is a lot in this singular proposition, some of which I will detail in a follow-up post. As usual, Walton is pushing the boundaries, not of the Text itself, but of our theological facets.

  1. Joel’s paraphrase.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

One Response to “Prop 8 – @ivpacademic’s “Lost World of Adam and Eve””
  1. Know More Than I Should says

    With regards to the photo caption regarding Augustine and the concept of a just war: Christianity has been all over the board when it comes to waging war.

    Tertullian thought Christians should abstain from military service. Then, by the time of Constantine, church leaders reversed their stance on Christians in the military. Later, Augustine dropped any notions of Christian pacifism altogether. Aquinas added capital punishment to the list of permissible violence Christians could commit against others.

    Of course, by the Crusades, subsequent religious wars, and witch-hunts, Christians were killing each other and anyone else who didn’t agree with them theologically!

    In other words, as Christianity gained more political power, the faithful became increasingly violent. Gone was any wish to die like Jesus.

    Even more interesting, most conservative Christian males I know these days are either old draft-dodgers or young cowards. This seems to be particularly true of preachers. As a veteran, among the more odious were the godandcountry right-wing clergy and divinity students playing duck-and-cover behind the 4-D exemption during Nam.

    Today, as the Religious Right throws a tantrum worthy of a two-year-old over gays in the military, the Yellow Elephant Brigade isn’t forming any lines at military recruiting offices. It seems their In God We Trust sloganism stops well short of voluntary participation in combat lottery.

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