Saturday, May 26, 2012

Contradiction and confusion in the latter Heidegger

Due to the place of Heidegger given both Bultmann and Fuchs were indebted to him, and their involvement in The New Hermeneutic, one should ponder carefully what Heidegger was saying.

In his book The New Hermeneutic VanTil relates the position of Heidegger:
Man must seek to understand himself as the loud-speaker for the silent toll of being. When he fulfills this role then he is truly man. This idea of man cannot be expressed directly in words taken from ordinary surface-phenomenal life. Neither science nor metaphysics comes within sight of such a view of man. What is needed is a vision of that which absolutely transcends everything that any man has ever said on the basis of empirical or conceptual thinking. It takes poets to give ordinary men such insights. Fortunately every man is at heart a poet. Deep down in his innermost self every man knows that his true authentic self is the free self as it participates in the noumenal, the noumenous, the wholly other. It is his participation in this truly transcendent being that makes him see that the poets are basically right when they, often with tortured verbiage, point all men to their true home which, in their forgetfulness of being, they have left behind. Seeing the vision that the poets see, men long to return to their original home. Hearing the words the poets speak they hear the words of love and understanding.

The words of man, the words of the phenomenal realm are inadequate, the words of science and metaphysics are inadequate, the only thing that comes close is the words of the poet so people will hear words of love and understanding. Yet the words of Heidegger, his philosophical ruminations are not the words of the poet, they are the conceptual words of ordinary surface phenomenal life. Why then take notice of what he says? His Philosophy hasn't laid bare participating in the noumena, the "wholly other" because his language is not the language of the poet.

Perhaps I have misunderstood his point, but Fuchs pushes this so that the God of the Bible devolves into "love". So that Fuchs can rewrite John 1:1 "in the beginning was the word and the word was with love and the word was love." But this evacuates the person of Jesus to merely one of "his" attributes and the God of Fuchs is not the God of the Bible or orthodoxy. Jesus as the second person of the Trinity is no longer the revelation of God but "love". And the questions remains as to what that love is as I may read into that concept from my own mere experiences of ordinary surface-phenomenal life.

in Christ,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ben Carson, Evolution and Morality - Biology and the missing imperative

I just love the way some people write. They are truly gifted at being eloquent and succinct at putting the issues into perspective, something I fail at frequently to do.
Someone who does this is Richard Weikart over at World magazine. He recently wrote an article called 'Consternation over Ben Carson, evolution and morality.' It's a precise and to the point article that captures what is happening in secular academia and yet some in the christian family go off their rocker when one of their own calls into question evolutionary theory and points out the logical consequences in regard to morality if one adheres to macro evolution.
Have a read and see what is being said today. And don't forget to pray for Ben Carson and understand the issues so you will be equipped to bring these to the attention of your peers and children.
Slime just won't produce a grounding for love and it won't justify it as a moral imperative. If you look to society you won't find it there also.

God Bless,

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some implications of Enns’ The evolution of Adam – moving the discussion a bit further

What are we to make of Peter Enn's book 'The evolution of Adam'
perhaps the following may help people be very wary of it.

Central to Enns’ theory is that "Adam is a prototype of Israel", and more so, that he is not an historical figure. Adam stands as a pattern[1] of Israel. Here is the idea that “his” being made, given a land, responsibilities and exile /death for disobedience are clear parallels between Adam and Israel. Does not this require a speculation by the reader regarding Adams significance since he is only a literary representation. The difficulty is the subjective range of interpretations available.

What are the implications of his theory if he is right?
Well firstly, Genesis tells us that Adam lived 930 years and then died, Genesis 5:5. If the book of Genesis was written post exilic[2] to comfort Israel in exile, ( leaving aside the need for comfort when they had wilfully ignored the prophets such as Ezekiel etc ) then this is not at all comforting, unless of course one restricts the prototype of Adam to just chapters 1-3. If you don’t then the news for Israel is that she dies! What is this death? Is it that there is no national future – something I might point out that flys in the face of all the rest of the Old Testament prophets. If you say that Adams death is just symbolic of Israel’s exile for sin then that opens a plethora of interpretations of the Genesis text.
Secondly if Adam as prototype is restricted to just Genesis 1-3 then one must include Eve as the prototype of Israel as well, otherwise God by mentioning the creation of Eve from Adam and his desire for her and his being enamoured with her etc is just putting “heavenly padding” to the text. That in itself would be contradicting the rest of Scripture which declares the words of God as pure and profitable for teaching rebuke and training in righteousness! Let me stand aside from such a foolish person who says this as God turns out his wrath upon them.

So it’s not padding but exactly what part does she play if Adam himself is a prototype of Israel. I will leave aside the speculation that someone no doubt will make that she is the Church!
Eve as the text says holds a special place as from her seed will come the Messiah. Indeed two lines arise from Eve, but more significant is this seed of Genesis 3:15, ‘spermos’ in the greek Septuagint – hinting at a virginal conception – that speaks of the coming Messiah. Certainly the Messiah comes from Israel and surely this is not something that Enns’ would deny, so one is left to assume that Eve is also a prototype of Israel along with Adam. Now what does that mean for the New Testament passages which speak of Eve? Paul, but of course Enns’ thinks Paul was just plain wrong much of the time, argued that Eve was deceived not Adam. 2 Tim 2:13-14 and that means on Enns’ hermeneutic there is suddenly a ripping apart of the model of Israel since Paul does pit Adam and Eve “against” each other at that point. Perhaps more importantly Paul says Adam was not the one deceived but the woman ( the definite article is used ) indicating she is an historical person and this is all in making an argument in relation to Adam! “The woman being deceived was in transgression”

Lastly and significantly, the speculative nature of Enn’s interpretation of so much of Scripture seems to confront not only that it has been understood and interpreted consistently to arrive at a consensus  of orthodoxy for the last 2000 years, but that it undermines the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture and nullifies Peter’s command in Jude 3 for all Christians “to contend for the faith”, that is the Whole canon of Scripture once delivered which presupposes that such Scripture can be understood and believed! It is these teachings of Scripture itself that negate Enn’s reworking of the faith.

It seems when you read Enn’s that he is more enamoured with having Science as His Authority of what is true and real than the self authenticating Authority of the Word of God endorsed by the Holy Spirit. Of course he would reject such a contrast by saying this only begs the question. But Scripture starts by confronting us with “Has God said?” – our answer is yes indeed.
I hope and pray this is a fair appraisal, I value your comments,
In Christ

[1] Prototype means model of, a pattern of, so Adam is an original model or pattern of Israel, the first example of Israel, but the problem is that not being an historical figure, it is merely a literary representation. Thus it seems we are open to speculate on any connections in the rest of the bible
[2] And this is predicated on source analysis JEDP or some variant of this being true. This I seriously doubt because of its philosophical and theological assumptions. Placing the writing of Genesis in the 7th Century just flies in the face of the bibles affirmation. Eg Moses as author an assertion of Jesus himself, not merely Paul.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A return to the Enlightenment - reinterpreting the Bible

There is a powerful reminder over at The Colossian Forum about man's endeavour to be his own arbiter of Truth. In a critique of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins by Peter Enns. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012.

James K A Smith brings back our attention to what really is at issue in so much of the Theology of Today. Just who is revealing Himself in the Bible. Is it merely man's opinions - in which case they may have some interesting things to say but we would take it with a bar of salt, or is it God himself? The Bible for starters explicitly declares the latter. The history of Christianity declares the latter.
If there is a critique that gets to the heart of so much modern scholarship it is seen in that of James K A Smith. It is a must read to awaken us from our slumber and laziness of thinking about what so many books and articles are saying these days. See what Smith has to say about Enns and Walton. He points
out that Enns’

project is very similar to John Walton’s proposal in The Lost World of Genesis One, situating Genesis as a book that reflects an ancient Near Eastern cosmology.
I for one found Walton's methodology disturbing in that is is a return to Enlightenment days where Christianity was to be studied as just another religion among many and it's character and meaning were decided upon by what was common to all religions. Such was the approach of autonomous mind, where REASON turned from being a tool to a legislative Authority in the hands of mankind.

Consider again Smith's drawing our attention to meaning and ( authorial ) Intention in understanding Scripture, something often remote from our own minds when reading such books as Enns.

While Enns affirms the inspiration and authority of Scripture, this sort of hermeneutical approach functionally naturalizes biblical interpretation. [3]  Because this sort of account of biblical meaning is tethered to the intent of human authors, there is no functional role for divine authorship in determining meaning—which is precisely why Enns treats these books and letters as discrete entities rather than parts of a whole canon (more on this below).

I find Smiths critique a wake up call. Go on Christian read it and be informed and ponder and ask questions and Think! What guys like Enns and Walton are doing is removing the supernatural from the bible. One day it will merely be a religion without Authority where every man does what is right in his own eyes, and it will also be a religion without power. Power to save, power to transform and power to live the life God offers.
This book by Enns, a guy who no doubt is winsome and captivating is being endorsed to some extent by the likes of Scot McKnight and Tremper Longman III. Of course the latter has some reservations, he wouldn't endorse all that Enns is saying, however he doesn't address the problems. At least we have the critique of James K A Smith to help us with the subtle error of the book.

God Bless

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

London, Oxford and Cornwall

Not too long before I get to visit London and Oxford, especially the Bodleian Library and then on down to Cornwall to see where the Wearne's came from.

Great to find out a bit about the Puritans and also the Wesley brothers.

In Christ,