In the past few years, a handful of books from ostensibly conservative Christians have challenged the traditional interpretation that God created man from the dust of the ground. Instead, these authors have argued for some eclectic blend of creation and evolution when it comes to mankind’s origins.
An Old Error Given New Life
The danger of reinterpreting Genesis and the precedent it sets are many. If one desires to reinterpret (reject) certain parts of God’s Word because of man’s fallible opinions about the past that are based on anti-supernatural presuppositions, then at what point do we stop reinterpreting the Bible? If Genesis should be reinterpreted to accommodate billions of years and other evolutionary ideas proposed by the majority of scientists, should we not also reinterpret other sections of Scripture that are at odds with the majority of scientists, such as the virgin birth, Resurrection or ascension of Christ?
“Oh, come on, that will never happen,” some Christians might argue. The door of compromise has now been opened to such an extent that the gospel itself is under attack. In one of his most recent books, intended to provide a rational for rethinking Christianity in light of the claims of current evolutionary theories, Dr. Peter Enns promotes the idea that Adam and Eve were not real, historical people. To bolster this claim, Enns relies on the discredited documentary hypothesis to say that the first five books of the Bible were not written until after the Babylonian exile. According to this theory, Moses did not write them, but instead it was some scribe or group of scribes that compiled oral and written traditions and stuck them together. Despite a wealth of biblical and historical evidence to the contrary, Enns portrays this idea as a given, accepted by any scholar wroth his or her salt. In a footnote in his new book, Dr. Enns addressed one of the objections to this view—namely, that Jesus said that Moses wrote about Him:
“Although treating this issue fully would take us far afield, I should mention at least a common line of defense for Mosaic authorship: Jesus seems to attribute authorship of the Pentateuch to Moses (John 5:46-47). I do not think, however, that this presents a clear counterpoint, mainly because even the most argent defenders of Mosaic authorship today acknowledge that some of the Pentateuch reflects updating, but taken at face value this is not a position that Jesus seems to leave room for. But more important, I do not think that Jesus’s status as the incarnate Son of God requires that statements such as John 5:46-47 be understood as binding historical judgments of authorship. Rather, Jesus here reflects the tradition that he himself inherited as a first-century Jew and that his hearers assumed to be the case.”[i]
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