Posted by Pastoral Musings on June 8th, 2012
Peter Enns said,
It sounds awfully weird to think that the story of Adam and Eve is about Israel. Israel isn’t even mentioned, for goodness sake. Well, that’s why we’re writing this chapter, to explain all this.
Byas, Jared; Enns, Peter (2012-04-09). Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible (Kindle Locations 523-524). Patheos Press. Kindle Edition.
Adam is not mentioned again in the Old Testament except for 1 Chronicles 1: 1, where he is the first name in the long nine-chapter list of names. The Old Testament focuses on Israel itself.
Byas, Jared; Enns, Peter (2012-04-09). Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible (Kindle Locations 682-683). Patheos Press. Kindle Edition.
Is that actually so? Is Adam Israel?
Let’s look at the passage to see.
“Adam, Sheth, Enosh,” (1 Chronicles 1:1)
“And Abraham begat Isaac. The sons of Isaac; Esau and Israel.” (1 Chronicles 1:34)
It’s truly pretty simple, isn’t it? The genealogy begins with Adam and then shows that Israel is descended from Adam through Abraham.
True, Genesis is the story of Israel. That is not the only story, though. Genesis is the story of the world. It is the story of the world which was made by God for His glory, that has fallen into sin, and is going to be redeemed. (See this post for a little more info.)
The promise is the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15) leads us to Eve’s mistaken idea that Cain was the man from the Lord. Then we find that Noah is a representative seed, because he did provide a rest (Genesis 5:28-29). Then we find the promise to Abraham that the world would be blessed through his seed (Genesis 12:1-3). It is Paul who helps us to see that Jesus is this seed (Galatians 3:16).
Adam is not Israel. Neither is Genesis simply the story of Israel. Genesis is the book of beginnings. It is the book that shows us the beginning of the world, the beginning of sin, the beginning of redemption, and the beginning of Israel, the seed of Abraham, through whom Christ came.
One reason Enns fails with his interpretation of Adam as Israel is that, though he thinks he reads Genesis “through ancient eyes”, he fails to read it through Biblical, theological, and Christological eyes.
The Bible is Christo-centric, not Israel-ocentric.