Sometimes reading blogs is a game of hit or miss. Sometimes you subscribe to a blog because the author has written a truly fascinating post, and you hope that there will be more posts of similar quality in the future. One’s blog reader can quickly become cluttered with new and potentially interesting blogs that ultimately consume more of your time than they are worth. For that reason, let me point you to three recent posts that I believe will truly be worth your time.
The first is J. R. Daniel Kirk’s post, What is the Bible and What are We Supposed to Do With It? Those who know me well know my issue with -isms. Ultimately, all -isms fail, particularly when they attempt to do justice to the theology of the Bible. Insofar as systematic theology believes that it is possible to systematize the entirety of the biblical faith (and not all systematicians approach the subject in this way), I am outright opposed to systematic theology. For that reason, I was particularly pleased to read Kirk’s proposal:
The true end of Biblical theology should be to articulate a theology that corresponds to the historical and narratival dynamics that make theology biblical. In Biblical theology, God must always be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father who raised Jesus from the dead. God need be neither of those things in systematic theology, where timeless truths are the order of the day.
The second is Phil Sumpter’s post on Parallelism and redemption. Sumpter reflects on how an otherwise “mundane literary tool”–parallelism–can provide a way of reading the Bible and doing theology, one that recognizes and makes use of the dialectical tension we find throughout Scripture. Parallelism is not merely a literary category, but a theological/hermeneutical one as well.
I would say that parallelism, whether in a poetic couplets like the above or within the juxtaposition of entire chapters like Gen 1 and 2, functions like a “stereoscope.” The true referent is neither line a or line b, but rather some other abstraction beyond both, an abstraction that can only be perceived via “the dialectic tension of both. . . .”
Perhaps if Biblical scholars trained their vision to be able to see what emerges from between the seams of the Bible, their exegesis would bring us and the world closer to the reality that evoked the whole of Scripture in the first place.
The third and final post is Peter Enns’ on Paul’s Adam (Part 3). Among other things, Enns is attempting to address how Christians can approach the issue of the historicity of the biblical character Adam in such a way that honors both what we know of biological evolution and the text of Scripture. In other words, is a Christian obligated to believe in a literal historical Adam, the progenerator of the entire human race. Recognizing the most sticky aspect of this being the perspective of New Testament writers, Enns takes on with full force the complexity involved in Paul’s Adam:
Synthesizing evolution and Christianity is not a matter of starting with what Paul is “obviously” saying. Paul’s Adam is challenging, and was so long before evolution ever entered the mix. . . .
Paul is not simply “reading Genesis” or his Old Testament. He focuses on one aspect of the Adam story—disobedience leads to death. Death is the problem that grabs Paul’s attention. This is only one of several issues that arise out of Genesis. And it is a theme that the Old Testament itself does not develop.
But Paul does. That is because the resurrection of Jesus is the impetus for what aspect of the Adam story he picks up and how he uses it. It is the resurrection of Jesus that drives Paul’s reading of the Adam story.
The quotations are meant to tease you, to give you a taste of what each post has to offer. Do give each of these a read.