Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It All Comes Back Around to Origins

Tremper Longman, OT Hebrew professor at Westmont College, articulates a common view that is regrettably taught in many Christian colleges and seminaries:

The Historicity of Adam

Not sure what his view of the historicity of Jesus is. If Adam was just a symbol, what was Paul point in Roman's five of contrasting an historical person, Jesus Christ, with a symbolic picture of "all mankind?" The first symbolic Adam - the second historical Adam? The first commenter left a stellar remark: "Yep, I have a sin nature because of what some guy did in a story."

Could not have stated it better myself.

I do think it is interesting that what drives his appeal to a non-historical Adam is the evolution of man. He mentions it at least twice in the minute and a half video. But I guess if I am going to accept the typical opinion of most people when we talk about what we are to believe about Genesis, it's really just a secondary issue, right? That age of the earth stuff and 24 hour days is just too divisive.

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Blogger Highland Host said...

Tremper Longman also seriously biffs Ecclesiastes. My old Seminary principal, Rev. Philip H. Eveson, now retired, wrote a convincing essay against Longman's view of Ecclesiates. He also spent a long time in the lecture hall warning us that Longman's view of Eccles. was nonsense! He also warned us against the O.T. Instroduction by Dillard and Longman, telling us to get hold of the older work by E.J. YOung instead. Mr. Eveson has not only taught New Testament at the London Theological Seminary for many years, but was himself educated in liberal institutions as a young man (he has just retired). His complaint about Longman is that the man's a quasi-liberal.

Trouble is, too many Evangelicals today want to be accepted in the secular academy. Teaching theology. The academy's liberal, so to be accepted you have to be at least a bit liberal.

10:17 AM, September 22, 2009  
Blogger Bob McCabe said...

I am in total agreement with your assessment. Longman's remarks are disastrous in that Romans 5 must be distorted.

When anyone creates an attitude of tolerance to non-literal interpretations of Genesis 1, as Longman does, should we surprised when other portions of the early chapters of Genesis are also interpreted non-literally.

For a good response to Longman's position, read James Anderson's "Was Adam a Real Historical Individual" at http://proginosko.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/was-adam-a-real-historical-individual.

10:44 AM, September 22, 2009  
Blogger Kim said...

If we follow his reasoning, then I guess we could say, "Yep, I am redeemed from sin's curse by a guy who died on a cross in a story."

1:32 PM, September 22, 2009  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...


If you had to venture an opinion on the following 3 topics as to whether they are theological error or theological heresy or neither, what would they be and why?

(A) Denying the historicity of Adam.

(B) Theistic Evolution.

(C) Historical-Criticism hermeneutic methodology

(D) Egalitarianism and women's ordination to any office in a church.

10:56 PM, September 22, 2009  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Ooops. I meant 4 topics.

10:57 PM, September 22, 2009  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Highland Host,
If you could, email me. I know someone who wants to get in touch with you to ask a question. My email is located on my profile page.


6:17 AM, September 23, 2009  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

(A) Denying the historicity of Adam.

(B) Theistic Evolution.

(C) Historical-Criticism hermeneutic methodology

(D) Egalitarianism and women's ordination to any office in a church.

The first two I would say are certainly heretical because they deny essential elements of the biblical record. (C) and (D) I would say is more along the lines of bad theology, with (C) being a bit badder (if we can say that) than (D).

I'm not sure if that helps.


6:20 AM, September 23, 2009  
Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Thanks Fred. That's helpful. It doesn't look like there's a widely agreed upon standard between delineating and diagnosing the difference between theological error and theological heresy.

There are some people who would say that all 4 of the above are "errors" and then there are some people who would say that all 4 of the above constitute "heresy". I'm trying to explore and research the differences between the two. And it seems, so far anyways, that it's a matter of subjective opinion.

8:36 AM, September 23, 2009  
Blogger MSC said...

Surely in the history of Christianity there have been atempts to draw up criteria by which to determine what constitutes theological error and theological heresy but I have never seen it. It seems to be an issue of great importance since we live in times with such lack of clarity in terms of what constitutes an evangelical and so forth.

Can a person like Longman espouse what you regard as heresy and still make a credible profession of faith? Or is it possible to embrace something heretical and it not affect your status as a believer? as far as I know Longman doesn't deny in any explicit way the gospel. Nevertheless, it seems like denying the historicity of Adam places one in danger of misconstruing the gospel to some extent.

I think these are difficult but important questions that I have yet to see satisfactory answers.

11:34 AM, September 23, 2009  
Blogger Highland Host said...

First define heresy. I think the trouble is that different people have different definitions of what is heresy. If we define heresy as holding to a false teaching that separates the holder from the Church, then none of the above are heresy - the first two are, however, more serious errors than the last two, and are CLOSER to heresy. All four can lead to heresy. However, since we are all inconsistent, then it is possible to teach that Adam was not a real person, and that God created by means of evolution, while still holding to salvation by grace alone. A denial of the historicity of Adam would be the MOST serious of these errors, of course. It has implications for the unity of the human race, and the doctrine of the Fall.

3:38 PM, September 23, 2009  
Blogger donsands said...

There's such a barrage of Evolutionary teaching in the world, that people simply accept it.

There are a lot of facts with the archeological finds, and so the battle ground for truth is intense for sure, ever since the "Scopes Monkey Trial", I would suppose.

I have been reading through Genesis, and it really does flow right along right up to Abraham.

In fact Shem, Noah's son would have been alive when Abraham was living. And yet there was paganism galore.

I truly believe that God made Adam out of the soil. And Eve from his side.
And Satan deceived them, and so we have uncontrollable depravity here on earth. And even in the animal kingdom it is incredibly wicked to see the curse of God in effect.

Thanks for the post. This guy speaks very well, and nice, but I believe he is a deceiver, and doesn't know it.

Here's a quote from Dr. Luke: "The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after he through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the Apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself ALIVE after His suffering by many INFALLIBLE PROOFS, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God." Acts 1:1-3

Slam Dunk. The lord Jesus Christ Himself verified that Adam was the first man.

How does Longman dispute this truth I wonder?

4:33 PM, September 23, 2009  

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