Three Objections Enns Makes to Mohler: Apparant Age, Authority, and World-Picture | For His Renown#comment-37186.
I wonder how Enns knew what every Jew thought? Sounds like assumption to me. Beside, Isaiah didn’t think that way, and he was a very well known authority. But that brings up another point, the Jews recorded and looked to history for their theology, irrespective of what the popular opinion might be. It is by the means of history that truth is conveyed, so intimately so, that the Prophets are embedded in it just as their prophecies are and cannot be extracted as independent elements without changing both. There are two things at work in the OT, the Law and the Prophets, as principle means of revelation. The Law is historical, the Prophets its interpretation. Paul is recalling the history of Christ as a prophet, using history as the hermeneutic for his Soteriology, just as the prophets before him, and it makes no sense to exclude a real Adam as history for the sake of a consistent apologetic. History is Paul’s authority. Reducing the hamartiological reference of Adam to an allegorical essence creates more problems than it solves, for as we read allegory in Scripture it is not clear and is open to many diverse interpretations. That would simply not do for an essential doctrine of the faith. If Adam was not truly the first Adam, then neither was Christ the second, historically, or soteriologically, necessarily, but only in an interpretive allegorical sense. Then just as likely, Paul could make his doctrine not truly revelational, and false, for perhaps Jesus wasn’t uniquely incarnated, perhaps he was only one of a series of Christs and in process of becoming. The purpose of history is to anchor the revelation so that it cannot be changed, just as Moses was to make everything exactly a representation of what is in heaven, Paul says that this creation reveals that: His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. And though it is as Law, insufficient without the revelation of the Grace of God in Christ’s incarnation (history), it remains what it is so that the latter stands upon a rock which cannot be moved.
Update: And a non (an anonymous unlinked attack-bot) named Steve showed up to criticize my response above. He said:
Ironically you criticize Enns for claiming to know what every Jew thought and then, in the following sentences, yourself make claims about what “the Jews” did and how they thought. I’d love to know how you move from your understanding of the claims of a handful of Israelite-Jewish sources to making claims about what the 95% or more of illiterate Israelites/Jews did and thought.
Thought it would be fun to draw attention to your self defeating rhetoric here…wherein you engage in the exact kind of claims about the extant evidence and ancient Jews for which you dismissively criticize Enns in your opening sentence. But again, in the world of polemics, boundary policing, and enforcement, who needs nuance and critical self-reflection?
BTW, good job representing “the Jews” in the image of your ideal evangelical: “the Jews recorded and looked to history for their theology, irrespective of what the popular opinion might be.” Got any arguments to show that the sources making up the extant corpus of Israelite/Jewish literature don’t “syncretize” (by Hamilton’s implicit folk-polemical definition of the term) and trade in some of the various cosmological, “scientific,” and the like positions of their times?
Finally, love how you tagged your post about this and Enns on your own blog under “liberalism,” “Deception,” and “apostasy.” I’m sure if I did something comparable about your blog posts I would never be called out for slander, ad hominem attacks, willingness to sling accusations online while being unwilling to handle such serious matters the way the Bible outlines, and so on. I probably also wouldn’t be accused of polemically misrepresenting a brother in Christ.
Steve the Syncretistic Christian
I will respond here.
No, I didn’t. What I intended is Jews as in those who wrote Scripture. We do have that record, we don’t have the record of every Jew. Yes, there were Jewish people who were Cabalists, a host of other paganish Jews and myth believers of all sorts in the community of all of Judaism. We have some of those records, not all, but the topic is not them, it is what the Scripture has to say, and not even of those who wrote the words of it, but what they were told was meant by them is. So, the definition of Jew in my response has to do with what should be the proper subject of inquiry -not what all Jewish people might have thought, but what those writers of the OT did think, and not as those being idiosyncratic, but as prophetic.
I didn’t express my image of what the Jews did in writing history. It is simply the nature of history. The only accurate history we have, for our purposes, is that of Scripture itself. The source of prophecy within the context of Scripture is its history, but that history records the words of the Prophets. It is not the history outside it which records that meaning. You might not like that, you may caricature it as dismissal. I am simply pointing out that Paul used that hermeneutic, and that to use another will necessarily change the meaning of Adam.
In short, our starting point is different, and so the outcome will be. The pointed question is upon what authority does one operate in selecting the hermeneutic. If we use Scripture to establish its own meaning it will say one thing, if we use natural revelation, it will say another.
I don’t hide behind any smoke-screen, I enabled my link. So, the worst that can be said about me is that I am transparent and wrong. You on the other hand are a non-person. What you do is launch random missiles, infer that I am so and so and such and such and have the audacity to criticize my doing the same somewhere else. Great, now enable your link, so that others might be able to find out something about you.
I am, unlike you, accountable. I have a church with Elders, who have access to what I write and say. If there were such sinful behavior on my part, they would intervene. Not only that but I have invited such. I am wondering, since you post essentially anonymously, just how do your Eldlers hold you accountable for the robot attack? By the way, making whips and turning over tables is often the most gentle thing that can be done. And by the way, I don’t know Enns as a brother. I do know him as promoting false teaching, and all false teaching does divide and that word is heresis. I have been known to be guilty of it myself. But, just so you can get it together, I think Calvin in promoting infant baptism, was a false teacher. I also reject certain convenantal teachings. I would be out of the Standards, but well within my right to descent, because those things are not essential nor do they necessarily undermine any fundamental. I think that my fellow members of the PCA I attend are just as false in holding to what Scripture doesn’t teach. If they thought those disputable matters the only truth, the whole truth, and there was no other truth, they would not allow exceptions. Now, that doesn’t make them enemies of the faith, heretics of that sort. It is not as if they promote justification by works, or deny inerrancy which by its nature would undermine salvation by faith alone. So, I wouldn’t deny Enns membership based upon his false teaching on evolution unless it undermined inerrancy, but since he denies inerrancy, we have already crossed that bridge. I wouldn’t let him teach as an Elder if I could stop it, if he taught evolution, or denied the six-day creation (see the PCA position paper citation below) just as my Elders would not allow me to teach as an Elder, or at all, if I began to contradict the fundamentals from the “pulpit.” As far as I understand, Enns was ruled within the WCF by the Presbytery, but outside of it by the Board at WTS. I would agree with the Board that Enns rejects the historical orthodoxy of the Christian church which they would say is the position of the WCF. Now, what their Presbytery ruled is what it ruled. And so he wasn’t defrocked. But I am not of that Presbytery, and obviously the Board of WTS thought better. Though they couldn’t defrock him, they did the next best thing. Enns would have to be accepted within our Presbytery, on the other hand. It is not likely that he would pass muster. But then again, the PCA has its liberal components, vis-a-vis the NT Wright controversy. Others, D. A. Carson, Paul Helm, and G. K. Beale, have said no less than I. He has overthrown the necessary doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture. In not soft terms, he has embraced soul killing heresy.
So you are free to disagree with me, but do not take my tags, or categories as the whole story. Those are drawing points not definitional of the posts. They are cheese bites on the mouse-trap and you’ve been caught.
Next time take time to read my response. You might just understand it better. Rather than jumping to the defense of your allegiances, try, really hard, to set aside the prejudice. As you should have seen, I didn’t neglect the difference between some Jews and other, as Enns does. I in fact infer the stipulation that there is a distinction to be made. To universalize the perspectives of the Jews into a monolithic whole simply neglected the reality that all do not use the same hermeneutic, ergo Isaiah. It should be obvious that a perspective from being caught up into that heaven from which he describes the Lord’s habitat is quite different from the Jew in the market describing it. Again, that isn’t the problem really. The problem is by what authority does one apply any hermeneutic. If that authority doesn’t come from Scripture, it is no authority at all.
“We know where to put some biological theories of origins. We know this because they take as their starting point a metaphysic that is irreconcilable with Scripture. Precisely the question, then, is where do we put cosmological and geological theories regarding the age of the cosmos and the earth? We have at least two options: (1) to say that our exegesis of Scripture demands that the earth and universe are “young,” so any theories that contradict that must be wrong; (2) to say that our exegesis of Scripture allows a latitude of belief on the age question, so long as the core metaphysics of our faith (such as the idea that the universe has a beginning; God is free to perform miracles according to his purposes; and that the first humans were specially created, and all other humans descend from them) are respected. Those who take the second option should be careful not to identify their exegesis too closely with specific scientific theories such as the Big Bang.”
The thrust of this is as I said above. Where and when theories of origins overthrow the supernatural revelation in any way is the precise point at which it is the antithesis of Christianity. It is, then, not what might be, but what must be for this to be held in its own integrity. The supernaturalism of the revelation speaks of its own supernatural origin, and that origin, as the position paper remarks, must allow for God’s supernatural creation of that revelation. The natural reading is of creation, not process. Not only that, but the whole is one of supernatural intervention and preservation of revelation, and creation, from a supernatural beginning, to the supernatural recreation of the whole of the cosmos. So, it is not just my evangelical perspective, but one that originates without me within Scripture. (The PCA is not an evangelical association.) Making Adam only allegorically the type of another in reality only obscures, it does not further the meaning, as I also said. Is it polemic? Only in some sense, but that sense is drawn from the available science and the available texts of Scripture. The first has yet to discover anything which remotely can explain the origin of man. It can only speculate. The later explicitly states what were the facts. The natural reading is one of history. The unnatural reading is to make it mean something else for which there is no counter part in Scripture, nor is there anything definitive in science.