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What I Read Online – 05/14/2013 (p.m.)

15 May
    • Top 60 Online Resources for Battling Porn
    • The regular use of our minds — thinking, reading, studying, analyzing — is a necessary means to loving God in this world.
    • Youth is a particularly strategic time to develop healthy study habits. The early years are a season of developing our God-given talents into competencies by which we can meaningfully serve others and live with impact in a broken world.
    • The brain focuses on concepts sequentially, not on two things at once. In fact, the brain must disengage from one activity in order to engage in another
    • The reason: “They’re suckers for irrelevancy,”
    • Our best work simply can’t be done in five minute increments between text messages
    • Try turning off all media (with the possible exception of instrumental music) when reading or doing any kind of class assignment.
    • To the extent that the summer months provide increased free time, consider an aggressive reading program
    • Traditionally a commitment to Biblical inerrancy was the one sure thing that all evangelicals could agree upon, but even that, in light of contemporary challenges, is proving inadequate. The question of hermeneutics must (again) be dealt with, as more and more professing evangelicals are re-reading the opening chapters of Genesis as myth.
    • At the turn of the 20th century, Herman Bavinck believed that the academic community was losing confidence in evolution. 2
    • Indeed, what we are seeing in theological circles is a new refusal to exegete at all. Instead of demonstrating the ways in which the rest of the Bible supports a figurative or mythical reading of Genesis, we are told that it doesn’t matter if even the Old and New Testament writers were mistaken
    • This is possible because “the story” is not really dependent upon history, at least not until we get to the crucifixion and resurrection. We can “retell the narrative” and “reimagine the story” just so long as we retain the Christological center.
    • The dispute is not an exegetical one. It is barely a hermeneutical one. Rather, the current debate is a metaphysical one. The answers will be dependent upon prolegomena. Must the Biblical story be grounded in real history, or will it suffice if only “the Christ event” is so?
    • What is never openly discussed, however, is the way in which separating “the Christ event” from its backstory changes the story itself. In fact, the story can no longer enjoy a definite article in the world-scope. Apart from its foundation in creation, it must rather become a story.
    • The Scriptures, and our religion, no longer tell a story about the structure of reality, but rather only of a particular subset of experience within it. In short, this retelling and reimaging also accomplishes a significant privatization of religious truth.
    • In Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII outlines the parameters of acceptable views on this topic, and while open to certain contributions from evolutionary theory, Darwinism as a whole is clearly condemned. The document as a whole is quite guarded with some very clear boundaries.
    • It should now be obvious that the Roman Catholic Church does not give carte blanche affirmation of Darwinian evolution. Nor does it allow the opening chapters to be deemed mythical or non-historical
    • If Adam was a historical individual, then the Bible makes authoritative claims about all of humanity and indeed all of the cosmos. It can, at least in theory, be falsified, and it is thus a legitimate topic of dialectical discourse. It is rational and not a retreat to commitment. If Adam was not a historical individual, and if instead the Genesis account is a sort of mythical story which was employed in order to make a uniquely religious point, then Christianity is necessarily rendered merely metaphorical, expressing truths of the human condition through symbols. The Bible in this case is no longer an authoritative account of human origins, history, and final destiny. It no longer addresses all men in all places and times, but rather expresses one faith-narrative that seeks to convey a meaningful but wholly internal truth.
    • if Adam is mythical, then so is redemption. While it does not follow that if Adam is mythical, then the historicity of Jesus must also be denied, it does follow that if Adam is mythical, then the historicity of Jesus as Second Adam must be denied. And Christianity is founded on Jesus as Second Adam.
    • We are concerned only with the historicity of Adam, whether he was a real and singular person from whom all human beings descend and whose actions are the cause of all sin, suffering, and death.
    • In two different places the Apostle Paul appeals to the details of Genesis 2 and 3, including their chronological order, to support his views of sexual identity and the complementary relationship between the sexes
    • In both of the above passages, the Apostle’s argument depends upon his assumptions and premises. If they are false, then so too are his conclusions. And those assumptions and premises are themselves wholly dependent upon a historical Adam and a historical reading of Genesis 2 and 3
    • For the Apostle, as even many of our current progressive evangelicals admit, the work of the messiah is predicated upon a belief in the historical Adam. All that the historical Adam brought into the world, Jesus is understood to have reversed.
    • If the first Adam was mythical, then the nature and work of the Second Adam, precisely as Second Adam, would have to be mythical as well. This does not mean that the Judæan man whom Paul identified as the Second Adam was himself a myth, nor that his life did not unfold in real history. Rather it would mean that his redemptive identity, along with the nature of what He said was his work, was merely mythical, not an objective event with objective effects. He would have been seeking to fulfill a myth.
    • Death is, according to the Bible, a judgment based upon Adam’s sin. If that original sin was not itself real, an event occurring in this world, then the judgment is arbitrary and unjust. We should also say that if death is simply a natural part of the created order, the normal process of decay inherent in the evolutionary model, then it is not actually a “problem” at all. It is just a feature of the universe. This then must attribute death to God’s original design, a species of Gnosticism.
    • Sin is not only an internal and personal problem for the Apostle Paul. It is an ontological issue, affecting the very creation itself, the entire cosmos
    • What is important to note is that in each instance where the Apostle Paul connects the work of redemption to the world beyond the human soul, he relates it as a direct parallel to the work of Adam. All of those outdated assumptions that the progressive evangelicals claim as periphery to the central point are precisely the ones that make Paul’s gospel relevant to this world. Indeed, we might say that they are the incarnational assumptions! What use is an incarnation without first a historical caro (“flesh”)?
    • The progressive evangelicals certainly believe in the historical Jesus. But apart from an earlier historical Adam, they have no coherent need to do so.
    • If Adam was not historical, then Christ need not be either. He might be historical, of course (and to be sure, no evangelicals currently doubt his historicity), but nevertheless the claims that he and the early Christian Church made about that history beyond his bare physical existence are no longer essential.
    • As we said earlier, without creation there can be no creation ordinances. We might state it another way and say that if the Bible doesn’t speak to nature, then it also doesn’t speak to natural law. And so again, religion becomes a thing removed from creation and from nature
    • We have seen that this is a matter neither of merely theologoumenal significance nor an intramural evangelical debate. In the face of scientific and cultural pressure, our progressive evangelicals are actually redefining the nature of our religion.
    • To mythologize the first Adam is to mythologize the work of the second, and this affects our future destiny, as the Apostle teaches in 1 Corinthians 15. If the New Testament is mistaken in its understanding of who Adam was and how he brought about the fall into sin, then it is mistaken about its understanding of the nature of the sin problem in general. And this means that it must also be mistaken in its understanding of the nature of the solution. A Jesus that fulfills community-narratives might well bring comfort to a weary soul in this life. But he cannot bring ultimate comfort to both body and soul unless he also means to recreate the heavens and the earth. Apart from a historical Adam you can still cast a meaningful story that seeks make sense out of the troubled modern condition. What you cannot do is reasonably claim that Jesus Christ is actually setting the world to rights.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 15/05/2013 in Current Issues

 

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