Practically every time someone such as I warns about the effects of denying the Genesis Creation Narrative as being a true historical narrative we are told that we are employing a slippery slope argument.
No, it’s not a slippery slope argument to say that the logical results (though one may not carry his theology as far as what would logically follow- people are often inconsistent) are the denial of certain fundamental Christian doctrines which have been held by most Christians throughout the history of Christianity.
Today Peter Enns has proven my point by denying that the Old Testament anywhere speaks of original sin. He gives five reasons why original sin should be reconsidered.
1. Inherited sinfulness is not one of the curses on Adam.
But why should the text spell out what is obvious? Adam and Eve sinned, thus all of humanity sinned. What would Adam’s children then be? Sinners. As a matter of fact, Genesis 5:1 specifically tells us that Adam’s’ son was in Adam’s image; so, though the Imago Dei remained, yet there was that tarnished, sinful, Adamic image in the son of Adam.
Then there’s that statement that David made saying that he was conceived in sin and shaped in iniquity. No, he was by no means implying that the sexual act of procreation was sinful. David was stating that he was by nature a sinner. (Psalm 51:5)
Then, of course, there is the anecdotal evidence that shows that Adam’s offspring were sinful people.
2.True obedience to God is both expected and doable.
Amazing! Pelagius would be so proud of Peter!
If true obedience were doable (This is much different from that which is expected.), then why was there provision made for sin? Why were sacrifices performed immediately after Adam’s fall? Why did men offer blood sacrifices before the law was given? Why was Abel spoken of as being justified by faith- faith which was demonstrated when he offered the blood of an animal, which was a symbol of Jesus Christ crucified for us?
Why, then, does Jeremiah say, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” (Jeremiah 13:23) Jeremiah was telling us that we are by nature sinful, just as a leopard is spotted by nature. Being by nature sinful, it is natural for us to sin; thus consistently doing good is impossible.
Further more, wise Solomon himself said, “there is no man that sinneth not.” (1Kings 8:46)
Why is Peter so
hell-bent on denying determined to deny what is so very obvious?
3. With one exception,Adam disappears after Genesis 5.
4. Adam is not blamed for Cain’s act of murder.
5. Likewise, Adam is not blamed for the flood.
I wonder if Peter realizes that he is arguing from silence. Does he not understand that is virtually no argument at all?
Remember: I am only looking at the Old Testament here. I know people will respond, “But what about Paul!?” Fair enough–but–even if Paul sees Adam as the cause of human misery and alienation from God, we still need to grapple with why the Old Testament doesn’t see it that way.
Hmmm…so Peter would have us believe that there is a controversy between Paul and Moses? Oh, wait! Peter doesn’t accept Moses as either author or compiler of Genesis.
Obviously Peter is denying that the Bible is without error, because he has just pitted one portion of Scripture against another; thus he has denied that Scripture is free from error.
Nothing new here. Feel free to move on to the next point. This is classic Ennsianism.
Others will respond: “But if Adam isn’t the cause of it all, we no longer have a good explanation for why people are so messed up?” Fine, but the fact that questions arise that muddle our theology doesn’t make the Old Testament magically fall into line.
What an interesting sleight of the hand/keyboard. Enns moves from contrasting his view of the OT with Paul’s view of inherent depravity and now simply speaks of it as our theology being muddled.
No, we are not expecting the Old Testament to magically fall into line. We understand that Paul knew the Old Testament far better than we or Enns shall ever know it. We expect Paul to exegete, explain, and apply the Old Testament correctly. In fact, once we’ve honestly looked at the Old Testament without our modernistic blinders, we find that it does more than magically fall into line- it drew the line and Paul walked the line.
Still others will respond: “But without Adam as the cause of human sinfulness, the entire gospel falls apart.” Rather, I think only a version of the gospel that needs this kind of Adam falls apart. Perhaps there are other ways (and there are).
Well, now! What have we warned about? The importance of the gospel being diminished.
Now we see that Enns proposes another gospel. It would be well if Enns takes the time to remember the words of Paul:
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8–9)
Yes, Enns is taking a slide down the slippery slope; except, as far as logic is concerned, it isn’t a slippery slope- it logically follows that a denial of the Genesis Creation Account as an accurate historical narrative could have profound effects upon how we view the gospel.
To close with the wise words of a lady who has taken the time to read Enns’ books:
there is always a domino effect when one begins to “reinterpret” Scripture. Dr. Enns does not believe that God created the world and all things in six days. Therefore, Adam cannot be an historical figure who is literally the first man created by God from the dust of the earth. Therefore, Paul must be mistaken. And, therefore, the doctrine of original sin must be “rethought” as well.
As his understanding of Scripture and doctrine continues to unravel, what will Dr. Enns be left with when he’s finished?