Posts Tagged genesis
Once again, Tom Wright brings wisdom and reason to a hot topic. Toward the end, he addresses the Enlightenment arrogance of those who say, “We know more about homosexuality” or “We have evolved from the ignorance of the ancient world”. While Wright does not come down on one side or the other in this video, he brings up a lot of points that people refuse to consider in this debate (or rather argument). Chief among the issues worth considering is Wright’s point about differentiation in creation.
Peter Enns wrote a blog entry that I thought was worth linking to. A couple of months ago, Peter wrote a book on Genesis and the historical Adam that got the Christian blogosphere really buzzing. I wrote a couple things about it, just because I found the dialogue interesting.
In Genesis 11:1-10, the Genesis author provides an explanation for the profusion of languages in the world. Whether you belong to a tradition that interprets this historically or not, you have to admit it is a pretty good explanation.
- It emphasizes universal humanity. All nations are united in constructing the tower and the city (vv 1-4) which implies that no type of human being is necessarily or genetically better than any other.
- It revolves around universal sin. No one group protests the construction of the tower, which shows us that all mankind is equally sinful.
- It illuminates God’s sovereignty over all of us. When God chooses to act, even the united front of all of mankind is not enough to deter Him.
The faith of the Genesis author is quite unique from even Judaism because of the emphasis on universal humanity. At the time, most religions of the region provided for the distinction between slaves and freemen, between genders, between language groups; but this passage lumps all of humanity together. Even if it isn’t meant to be historical, it is certainly meant to be didactic – to teach us that all mankind is the same, equal before God.
This theme of universal humanity resonates throughout Genesis. Cain is still shown mercy (Genesis 4:15) and all nations are blessed through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 18:18). Only sin creates divisions of jealousy and enslavement – as embodied in the story of Joseph.
Right now, I am teaching through the Gospel of Luke, which emphasizes the universal nature of Jesus’ work on earth – that all mankind is called to redemption through Him. It is easy to think this is something that was unique to Jesus, but it is actually present in Genesis. The original religion of the Genesis narrative (whatever you want to call it) was uniquely universal, embracing all of mankind.
Jesus again fulfills the Law and the Prophets, rather than replacing them.
Out of Ur recently posted this video of Peter Enns asking readers’ questions to N.T. Wright. It is not secret that I find Wright a very thought provoking writer and thinker, so I was intrigued to hear what he had to say.
I’m not completely convinced that Wright gets everything right (sorry, unavoidable pun) but I did find his shifting of the focus from literal vs. metaphorical to concrete vs. abstract to be worthwhile, and I do agree with him that we need to do our reading of the Scriptures on a case by case basis. Particularly, it is more important that we delve into the original intention (I call it the original matrix) rather than oversimplify with blanket interpretational schemes.
What did you think?