More on Infallibility and the Mythological Adam

Ícone de São Barnabé.
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Begin with this post here. Jason has replied here. I understand that is post is perhaps clarifying his position more than anything and setting a goal for himself. Knowing Jason just a little, this is how he works. He has a goal to know something and he will. So, this is a reply of sorts.

First, I want to push Jason, in regard to the early views of Genesis to look at Justin, Origen and others who struggled with the fact that others were pushing a literal 6-day event. Keep in mind, that this is a struggle which arose after the Apostolic Fathers, not to mention Second Temple Jewish interpreters. What is interesting is that some, like Barnabas, needed the literal 6-day event to prove that God was working eschatologically in 6000 years, which for them, was in their life time. It wasn’t just with Barnabas that this view was taken, but others, even others centuries after him. I would contend that it was a the latter (eschatology) influencing the former (creationism). We see this today, and have seen it since we have began once again to misinterpret the Book of Revelation.

Jason writes:

I am using foundation in the sense that this is the beginning of the story, and all of Scripture builds upon this story until it comes to its completion in the New Heavens and New Earth.  I think Joel and I actually will be more in agreement there than not.

Agreed. He goes on:

Now, if the beginning of the narrative is mythical, and it shows us that it all began with a person who did not exist, how and when are we to see that it becomes literal?

He also writes, “If the beginning story is a fictitious parable…” Two things here. It is impossible to have this conversation if one doesn’t understand what ‘myth’ means in light of Scripture. Let us try to reconcile the fact that myth does not mean fiction (nor is a “figment of one’s imagination”), but instead, using our words to explain an unnatural event, or even an event beyond of our scope. As I said, I do not believe that Paul was speaking about the same Adam which Creationists do. He was speaking about the Scriptural Adam, which I read as an Adam which was not physically identified. Doesn’t mean that Adam didn’t exist or that the story in Genesis 2-3 is fiction. Instead, it means that we are not left with the theory of motivated reasoning, but with allowing the Text to speak for itself. This, of course, is tied in many ways to literalism, which in my opinion is what I am trying to preserved – and Jason in his opinion is as well. Literalism doesn’t always mean that when the text says black, it means black. It may in fact mean evil. Literalism is properly understanding and employing the literary devices found in the text to allow the Text to speak for itself.

In regards to rejecting the ‘literal Adam’ (I reject that statement as it has no reality in the conversation) which leads to rejecting the ‘literal Jesus’, it is equal to saying that those who reject a ‘literal six-day event’ must reject a ‘literal resurrection’ when many of the Creationist group will take great strides to remove the ‘literalist’ reading of ‘this is my body/blood’ and ‘baptism is what saves’ from Scripture. If you reject a ‘literal’ Jesus because Adam may not be a physically identifiable person some 6000 years ago (although for Barnabas, it is now 8000 years and counting) then you never accepted the physically identifiable Jesus and your faith has always been counterfeit. This is the problem with many. Their faith is not built upon Christ, but upon themselves and their own understanding of Scripture. What if the doctrine of original sin, which is not found in Judaism or the Eastern Orthodox (at least not the Reformation-type), is not accurate? Would that undermine an individual’s faith to the extent where they disbelieve Jesus? Hardly. If one allows themselves to reject God because they have discovered that their image of God was not accurate, then they deserve the fiery fundamental a-theism which they receive.

To sum:

  • Myth does not equal fiction
  • The Early Church Writers were all over the map and had different agendas in their interpretation of Genesis 1-3
  • Myth does not equal fiction
  • Literalism is not always a black and white thing
  • Myth does not equal fiction
  • If one rejects Christ because of their own faulty interpretation, they get what they deserve
  • Myth does not equal fiction
  • Jason is still a good guy
  • Myth does not equal fiction
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6 Replies to “More on Infallibility and the Mythological Adam”

  1. Bravo for the dialogue. I was struck by this question: how and when are we to see that it becomes literal?

    Cite Romans 8, if you by the Spirit to put to death the deeds of the body you will live. Paul has to put this in various ways in order to prevent false interpretations that massacre the body in the wrong way – like the mortifications of even early sects. We are working here ‘by the Spirit’, a challenge to dialogue with HaShem for all.

    But the result of such work is not so much that it become ‘literal’ but that it become ‘flesh’ in us, incarnational. When Christ is born in us, then surely we will understand law, consecration, purity, and love differently – though there is continuity with what we dimly perceived when we called out in our death from the belly of the fish.

    1. This is why I’ve come to object ‘literalism’ because it is generally subjective. Further, I connect literalism and literary and urge that literalists pay attention to the literary.

      1. You and I agree more on that than you think, I believe.
        You just said what I have been saying for a long time.
        I am certainly against wooden literalism that declares that God has wings because the Psalms say so.
        Thanks for the dialogue.
        I shall return, Lord willing. It may be a few days, though.

      2. Grammatical-historical is a better term, but I’m not sure that I am comfortable with it. There seems to be a need for a better term.
        Look for a post on this.

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