Core Ideas of the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Posts tagged ‘Paul’

Straight Talk about Gender

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.”  ~Gloria Steinem

One of Paul’s most in-your-face comments in 1 Timothy 2: 13-14.  The apostle writes, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.”  Utter those words and the Gender Police immediately storm the room to charge you with sexual stereotyping and demand an apology or a retraction.  Nevertheless, it’s apparent to reasonable minds that this “offensive” New Testament has improved the lives of women wherever it has taken root.  And there’s no doubt among people who actually study the Bible that everything it contains has been inserted by God for a specific reason.  So I wonder what Paul is suggesting here, and what God has in mind.

Eve was deceived by the serpent.  Genesis affirms that she believed Satan’s promise that eating the fruit would open her eyes and enable her to be like God.  That’s obviously why she succumbed to temptation.  But Scripture also makes it clear (3:6) that Adam was standing beside her when the serpent baited her with misinformation.  Yes, Eve was deceived, but Adam was simply willful.  He had been given complete instructions about this tree earlier in Genesis 2:16.  Eve was not created until some time later in Genesis 2:22.  We can’t be sure she even knew all the laws of Eden, but her husband did.  Why did Adam fail her?

All these centuries later, we find the principles of Genesis are still true: women tend to sin when they are deceived or seduced, while men more commonly make very deliberate, willful choices to disobey God.  No, women aren’t ignorant.  They are simply more relational while men are more competitive.  Relational people tend to put more stock in the promises other people make.  Women tend to care about needs in other people’s lives, and offering assistance.  Nobody who is paying attention was surprised by the informal survey that made headlines this week with the claim that women are “more moral” than men.  It’s a fact that rape, molestation, and pornography are almost entirely male offenses.  Granted, a lot of rugged guys don’t give in to urges like these,  but women virtually never do.  Our nation will never be embarrassed by headlines about a dozen female Secret Service agents soliciting prostitutes in Colombia.

On the other hand, women still fall victim to lies foisted on them by people who gain a foothold in their lives.  For example, shacking up has numerous advantages for men and virtually no benefits for women.  Guys get free sex, no commitments, a better diet, free laundry, plus throw pillows on the bed; and often times get free room & board, and access to her credit cards as well.  Women just get delayed  and often completely shafted.  Watch two or three TV courtroom shows and count the number of young women who come to court trying to get money, cars, and some degree of satisfaction from men who moved in, ate their food, borrowed their money, maxed out their credit cards and then moved on.  Woman, thy name is Legion!

My point here is not that all women are gullible or that all men are arrogant.  Rather, I find it insightful that God’s Word observed these general trendlines among the sexes just about 2,000 years ago.  I wonder how many other timeless, practical insights we might harvest from the Bible if we dared to take off our blindfolds, read it objectively, and discuss it honestly.  It might actually be liberating to confess that while God made men and women equal in his sight, he did not make us identical or interchangeable.  Think about it.

And lift up the cross!


Remembering Adam

Research suggests that most Americans still believe God created the heavens and the earth, but there’s a trendy new paradigm sweeping the church that reimagines how God might have done his work.  The new spin is called Theistic Evolution.  It a nutshell, it suggests that the Bible is true, but Darwin was correct as well.  The underlying assumption is that God relied on evolution to create the stars, the planets, the animals, as well as human beings over billions and billions of years.  A lot of believers are quite excited about this new possibility.  They assume that they can now identify themselves as Christians without being labeled morons and “flat earthers” by skeptics and unbelievers.

They’re wrong on two counts.  First, no matter what we might opine about evolutionary science, it’s the idea that Jesus Christ is the only way to God that has always brought the brickbats and insults flying in our direction.  Slap a Darwin bumper sticker alongside the  One Way sticker on your car and you’ll still look like a superstitious ignoramus to some people.

Secondly, champions of theistic evolution are also wrong about the Bible.  Science books change every decade or so as new ideas are developed which reverse the old ideas.  In fact, whenever new discoveries make the headlines, one of the most frequently used taglines insists “this rewrites everything we know about this field!”  Meanwhile, the Bible has remained faithful to God’s account of creation for more than three thousand years.  And the biblical concept of the fall of man does not sync with Darwin’s theory about the rise of man.

Progressive church people like to shake their heads and insist, “Don’t take the Old Testament so literally!”  But in fact, theistic evolution has problems with the New Testament as well.  Everyone knows that Genesis 3 attributes our sin problem to Adam and Eve.  But some have apparently forgotten that Paul uses the same explanation when he frames the theology of Christ in the New Testament!

  • In Romans 5:17 after alluding to the story of Adam and Eve, Paul concludes, “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”
  • In 1 Corinthians 15:22, he explains, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
  • In 1 Timothy 2:15 he continues, “For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

Paul traces the universal sin nature of all mankind all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  He identifies Jesus as the remedy for the epidemic that Adam spread to his descendants.  He explains that the reason we need new life in Christ is because of the death brought about by Adam.  And he takes the Genesis account so seriously that he actually bases church policy on the details of who was created first and second.  There is no rational basis for the silly notion that Paul considers the accounts of Genesis to be an inspiring and instructive creation myth- or that we have the freedom to make that assumption.

In contrast to Paul, Darwinism leaves no place for original sin.  There is no possibility for the fall of man because the theory of evolution does not begin with an ideal situation or a perfect world or a righteous creature.  Evolution begins with disorder and chaos.  Change is the random result of natural selection, not willful choices.  There are mistakes, dead-ends and hopeful monsters on every branch of the evolutionary tree.  But there is no place for any sort of fall, just as there is no standard other than survival by which any choice may be measured.  By the time a Cain-figure could emerge from the evolutionary swamp to murder an Abel-figure, it’s would all be a matter of no harm, no foul.  Apes and other predecessors would have been killing and eating each other for millennia.

Liberal Protestant author Rob Bell writes hopefully, “I have long wondered if there is a massive shift coming in what it means to be a Christian.  Something new is in the air.”  In fact, what he’s wondering about is not new at all.  Universalism is not new.  The Church has refuted it and dismissed it for 2,000 years.  Misinterpreting scripture is not new.  That’s why church leaders met at Nicea three hundred years after Christ: to confront and reject false doctrine.  And pretending to respect the Bible while actually distrusting it isn’t new either.  Satan quoted Deuteronomy on three separate occasions during his temptation of Christ.  He cited it.  But he didn’t mean it.

Lift up the cross!

Tag Cloud