Jason has linked to an article by Dr. Mohler which purports that their is a controversy about the existence of Adam and Eve. There is no controversy, expect when the liberals, i.e., ‘literalists’, deem it necessary to speak about the authority of Scripture and impose upon the ancient authors their own viewpoints.
Giberson then wrote: “The Bible is not a book. It is a library — dozens of very different books bound together. The assumption that identifying one part as fiction undermines the factual character of another part is ludicrous. It would be like going into an actual physical library and saying ‘Well, if all these books about Harry Potter are fictional, then how do I know these other books about Abraham Lincoln are factual? How can Lincoln be real if Potter is not?’ And then ‘Aha! I have got you! So much for your library.’”
That is an amazing and deeply troubling paragraph. Giberson uses the metaphor of the Bible as a library of books — a metaphor popularized by emergent church author Brian McLaren. But Giberson then goes where many others lack the courage and candor to go — he is ready to identify part of the Bible as “fiction.” In his words, “The assumption that identifying one part as fiction undermines the factual character of another part is ludicrous.”
What can his argument mean but that Adam is to be understood as like Harry Potter, a fictional character, while Jesus is like Abraham Lincoln, an historical figure who really existed?
It is a library and no one can expect to find all the books alike. It was written over a millenia or more, but lots of different authors, using different languages and sitting in different situations. Ruth contradicts Ezra. Eccl contradicts all of the Bible. Mohler is heating up an argument that doesn’t need to be. Further, Giberson has a moronic moment in using the word fiction, considering that that concept really don’t come into being until recently, relatively, and cannot be applied to any particular book, passage, or the such of the bible because even in the parables, it was not modern fiction. And as far as McLaren making the term popular, it is only because it would have gotten it from the Thompson-Chain Reference bibles which I grew up with, which included in the middle section notes on how the ‘Bible’ is a library.
Oddly enough, the Greek words which we have corrupted to mean ‘bible’ means ‘the books’ and refers to the plural books, i.e., IT IS NOT A SINGULAR BOOK, of the Scriptures. Paul, when he refers to the writings of the Jews always has it a plural. What do you call a set of books by different authors? Oh, a Library… that’s right… a library. We, who are inept in theology and history, have chosen to call it a ‘bible’, singular, when it doesn’t even refer to itself as that. Ironically, that’s why I try to call the holy writings by the plural form, usually Scriptures, because ‘bible’ is as foreign term to it. So, I reckon, if you are a liberal, you can continue to call it ‘Book.’
Jason is correct, however, in stating that there is a thematic element to the library. I would urge anyone to read The Great Code or N.T. Wright about narrative themes. And his link to his own posts about identifying the themes of the bible. Personally, I find great value in identifying those themes and they are indeed a blessing.
By the way, please don’t take this an attack on Dr. Mohler. Dr. Mohler is a man of God who deeply loves the Church, but I think he is wrong on this issue.
P.S…. there is no physical evidence that Adam and Eve existed, except in an extremely, authority-denying, reading of the Text.