Was Paul Wrong About Adam? So Says Dr. Peter Enns | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

[In] Dr. Peter Enns' controversial book, Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament, Enns asserted the following falsehoods about the Word of God: 1.) the Old Testament contains myths, particularly in its earliest chapters) 2. there is theological diversity, even contradiction, in the Old Testament; and 3.) New Testament writers handled Old Testament passages in inconsistent ways, and offered different and conflicting opinions about Old Testament teachings.

My critique can be summarized thus: The doctrine of Scripture as the univocal, self-attesting Word of God is completely absent from Peter Enns' thinking. He insists that Evangelicals must adjust their thinking about the Bible to conform to the anti-supernaturalism of unbelieving scholars. We must, he says, dialectically synthesize conservative and liberal positions to arrive at a new doctrine of Scripture that embraces the Bible's "messiness" (his term) and its alleged inherent contradictions. In a book that is supposedly about "inspiration", Enns includes an extensive glossary of key terms and concepts that he employs. Three are conspicuous by their absence: inspiration, inerrancy, and infallibility.

Since leaving Westminster Seminary, Peter Enns has gone from bad to worse, in both his public theological pronouncements and his associations. He is now Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies at the BioLogos Foundation, a theistic evolution think-tank. BioLogos is funded principally by the John Templeton Foundation. The Templeton Foundation was established by the late liberal Presbyterian elder and world-renowned financier Sir John Templeton, who asserted that "relatively little is known about the divine through Scripture" and that the solution to mankind's spiritual problems lies not in Scripture but in the realm of science.

Typical of Peter Enns' work for BioLogos is his series of articles denying the historicity of Adam, the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, and by implication much more. The quotations that follow are from his April 2010 essay, "Creating Adam”…For Enns, the Genesis account of Adam is a "story." Elsewhere in his writings, he uses a less disingenuous term to describe his opinion of the historicity of Adam - it is a "myth." Anyone who approaches the Bible with that mindset of spiritual blindness would indeed find "challenges" in understanding what Paul says, in Romans 5:14-20 and 1 Corinthians:15:20-58, about sin and death coming through Adam, and redemption and life coming through Jesus Christ. Enns continues:

"For Paul, Adam and Eve were the parents of the human race. Do all Christians have to accept Paul's interpretation of the Adam story?"

Notice that Enns, following the philosophy and logical outcomes of the postmodern Biblical theology movement: 1.) posits contradictions between "Old Testament views of creation" and "Paul's interpretation of the Adam story"; 2.) views the Bible as a human book that, as Enns proclaims in Inspiration and Incarnation, is divinely "inspired" only in some nebulous sense; 3.) places man in authority over the Bible - he decides whether or not to choose the "option" to "allow" Scripture to settle the question of the origin of man. But the truth is that for Peter Enns, all options are on the table except one - "allowing" Scripture to be the authority..."I speak as a biblical scholar, not a scientist. But ignoring evidence is not a reasonable option. And reconfiguring the evidence to support Paul's assumptions of a 6000 year-old earth and two humans as parents of the entire human race is, quite simply, impossible."

Note carefully what Peter Enns is saying: The Bible is in error. Man is the authority.

“Therefore, each of us must come up with a version of ‘Adam’ that satisfies his own intellect: ...What if we affirm that Paul's view of human origins does not settle the matter for us today? Of course, this leaves us with a pressing question: how do we think about Adam today?

“This is where the conversation begins for those wishing to maintain a biblical faith in a modern world. And whatever way forward is chosen, we must be clear on one thing: we have all left ‘Paul's Adam.’ We are all ‘creating Adam,’ as it were, in an effort to reconcile Scripture and the modern understanding of human origins.”

The response of Bible-believing Christians to the apostate Peter Enns is a resounding, "Speak for yourself!" We have not "all left 'Paul's Adam' " as Enns has. We do not "all" believe that "biblical faith in a modern world" means abandoning the Bible.

The answer to the "problem" of understanding man's origin, says Peter Enns, lies in what the postmodernist Hans Georg Gadamer called a "fusion of horizons" - fallen human beings bringing all of their differing perspectives to a "conversation" on the subject, a "group effort," as Enns calls it, that he is confident will produce a subjective "truth” - "I will not comment here on the viability of these reconciliations. That question is far too large to be answered by any one person. It is a group effort…"

Peter Enns is right when he says that the question of man's origin "is far too large to be answered by any one person" - or even by Enn's proposed "group effort." That is why God has answered the question once and for all in His Word. There He gives man an eyewitness account of what He Himself did. That account is the only one that makes sense of the data we observe in the universe around us. What is "desperately needed" is not a "conversation" to arrive at a consensus view of "truth," but for Peter Enns and his ilk is to stop insisting that they know better than God, and to bow the knee in submission to His Word.