Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Book and Quotes

I just finished reading “The Evolution of Adam: What The Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins”, by Peter Enns. I was expecting to learn how a Christian can genuinely hold to evolution and still believe in Christ (His Person and Work) as expressed in the Bible. Not, of course, because I am entertaining Darwinian Evolution as an alternative to the question of origins—I believe in the historical Adam as asserted in the Hebrew and Christian Scripture. Not, of course, that my confession means anything—the very fact that I even read such a “heretical” book is proof enough for some people that I’ve denied the faith altogether along with Dr. Enns (but that’s a soapbox I will refrain from thumping at this time). My purpose in reading the book was to discover how a true believer in Christ and His Gospel, which I believe Enns is, can accept evolutionary theory since, as Enns plainly states, “The biblical authors tell a very different story of human origins than does science” (Introduction, ix).

The question of whether or not evolution and Christianity is compatible is an important one that I think can (and should) be discussed in love and with grace by proponents and opponents. In this age of rapid scientific discovery, this discussion must take place for the intellectual credibility (and defendability) of Christianity—and it must take place in the spirit of love and grace with the goal of exalting our (and the creation’s) Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. For his part, I believe, Enns seeks to do just this and he enters this conversation with a commendable irenic spirit that I find sorely lacking from most fundamentalists that I know whose theology and doctrine are challenged.

So, what do I think of the book? Meh.

I will attempt to expand on this “review” in the coming weeks (months?) as I gather my thoughts. However, I will say this: In my mind Enns did not adequately challenge the prevailing understanding of Adam as the first man and progenitor of the whole human race (though to be fair, I don’t believe this book was intended to provide a specific apologetic for evolution), but neither did he write anything that gave me cause to seek to burn the book (though to be fair, since it is a library book I would have no inclination to burn it anyway). In the meantime, here are some random quotes to chew on.

Random Quotes

“…our prayers are frustrated whenever we compromise between our praying and our living. Prayer should determine the spirit in which we live our lives. Too often we turn this upside down, turning the agenda of our everyday needs into shopping lists for prayer.”

“Being in Christ is not only the fundamental fact of the individual Christian’s existence, it is a new reality within life itself. It is not a phrase that captures an incidental, side issue of Christian life, alongside of which man’s real life is lived. It exposes the very root of life, the new life as it is created by and experienced in Jesus Christ.”

“Believers are first joined to Christ by His Spirit: and this is what the church is. And then that reality manifests itself in the way this community of people thus joined to Christ by His Spirit, thus taken up in the life of God in Christ by the Spirit, all of whom are partaking in that reality now, live out that union with one another.”

“There is nothing Christian that is not at the same time Trinitarian.”

“To dwell in shalom is to enjoy living before God, to enjoy living in one’s physical surroundings, to enjoy living with one’s fellows, to enjoy life with one’s self.”

“Love is the only soil in which faith can put down roots and thrive.”

“The body of Christ is the community of Christ in which His new creation has begun to take effect.”

“The entirety of God’s original creation, from the highest human to the lowest larva, enjoyed Shalom—the universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight that only comes when every creature is playing its part in the interconnectedness of creation. When sin spoiled this shalom, Jesus Christ, the creator of this once-perfect world, responded by returning to the world he had made in order to remove the curse of sin and save the planet. His kingdom brings the recovery of Shalom. People animals and the earth, formerly at odds with one another, find that once again they are connected by fruitful bonds that enable them and every corner of creation to thrive and prosper.”

“The webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight is what the Hebrew prophets call shalom. We call it peace, but it means far more than mere peace of mind or a cease-fire between enemies. In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight—a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed, a state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Savior opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom he delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”

“This pretentious ponderous collection of religious rock psalms is enough to prompt the question, ‘What day did the Lord create Spinal Tap, and couldn’t He have rested on that day too?’” (just checking to see if you’re paying attention!)

“In Christ who is true man and true God we have the mediator and reconciler in whom God and man are not simply brought near each other but in whom God and man become one for all eternity. It is in him the Lord Jesus, born of the virgin Mary and risen from the dead, that we are born again through the Holy Spirit, given to share as members of his body, and we frail human beings are thus enfolded with him in the life of God.”

“If you can think about your own faith, your own life as a Christian without seeing yourself as inseparable from and organically woven into this thing that is the dwelling of God, the church of God, then you don’t have a right view of Christianity or the Christian faith or your own life.”

“God hates sin not just because it violates his law but, more substantively, because it violates shalom, because it breaks the peace, because it interferes with the way things are supposed to be.
God is for shalom and therefore against sin. In fact, we may safely describe evil as any spoiling of shalom, whether physically (e.g., by disease), morally, spiritually, or otherwise…in short, sin is culpable shalom-breaking.”

“In Jesus God takes the sin, the hatred and violence of the world into God’s own being and extinguishes them there.”

“What happens in the incarnation is the union of God and man. At last in the midst of our fallen humanity, within and in spite of our estrangement from him, God comes in his love and binds us to himself forever. God and man meet in Jesus Christ and a new covenant is eternally established and fulfilled.”

“Christian worship is…our participation through the Spirit in the Son’s communion with the Father, in his vicarious life of worship and intercession.”

“The triune God is in the business of creating community, in such a way that we are never more truly human, never more truly persons, than when we find our true being-in-communion.”

“The body on which we feed is the body which He assumed for our sakes, that in our worship we might be sanctified by the once and for all self-offering of Christ. In the communion of the Spirit, in virtue of this exchange, we know that His humanity is our humanity so graciously assumed, his death our death which we show forth, His life our life till He comes, His self-offering our offering, His communion with the Father our communion into which He lifts us up by His Spirit. The Lord’s Supper, as an evangelical ordinance, enshrines very vividly the inner meaning of the Gospel.”
“This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons.”