Thoughts On Eve

What are we to think about this woman? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When your wife is away from you long-term, as mine is right now being in a facility for excellent mental health treatment, you start thinking about what it means when you want to have her around and what the absence means. Naturally, I go to Scripture first and then beyond that to thoughts from great Christian minds and my own philosophizing. When it comes to women in the Bible, the first one we get is Eve.

Now there are many interpretations held about Eve by Christians. Some are very literalistic with a YEC approach that says the Earth is young and these were the only two humans. Some are OEC and say the Earth is old but Adam and Eve were the first human creations. My view is more akin to the idea that there could have been other humans, but these two were chosen as our representatives. Some even say this is just a story and there was no Adam and Eve.

At this point, while that is a fascinating debate, it is irrelevant. That is not in terms of Biblical interpretation, but it is in terms of what I wish to say about Eve. What does Eve mean for women today?

We live in a world where women are saturated with images of how they should look. Hollywood models are put on display and magazines are full of images of women that are no doubt photoshopped, but this is held as the ideal. Even worse, a number of women watch porn to think about not just how they should look, but how they should be with men.

Leaves me thankful I have avoided porn.

Now sometimes I have speculated what Eve, if she is a real person, looked like. Imagine the woman chosen to represent all women. If we are talking about the YEC or OEC model, the idea that God personally hand-crafted this woman for Adam. I can wonder what she looked like, but the Bible never tells me.

What we are told is how when Adam saw her he said “This is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman for she was taken out of man.” That is some wonderful language that we don’t really understand today. Friends who know Hebrew well have told me a direct translation that would best capture the thought of what Adam is saying would be something like….

“YOWZA!”

But ladies who are thinking about this, please consider at this point some things we don’t know about Eve. Maybe a few we could guess well, but we just don’t know. We can’t say for sure what race she was perhaps, but we could make a good guess based on where the story takes place. We don’t know her hair color or her eye color. We don’t know her height. We don’t know what she weighed if she could have stepped on a scale then. We don’t know how curvy she was or if she had an hourglass figure. We don’t know if her hair flowed down her body or if she was short. We don’t know her bra size. We do not know how her hips moved or how big her butt was or what her legs looked like.

Those are some of the biggest ways we judge women today and I am sure there are others and yet the text says nothing about them. She even made her first appearance in the nude and yet, there is no judgment given on her features. She has no shame. There should be none in a Paradise situation.

What do we know?

Adam loved his wife. One interpretation of why Adam ate of the fruit even is that he knew Eve had royally screwed up and he didn’t want her to face it alone. He chose to take it with her.

If so, that is some devotion on his part.

And to all ladies reading this, you are also meant to represent God on Earth just as much as Eve was. My wife knows I have said several times that I think the way women reflect God best on Earth is by beauty. If I am correct with that, it’s not a shock woman was the last being created since woman is the most beautiful in all of creation. Even perfectly straight women will say that as handsome as a man can be to them, the beauty of a woman stands out still.

You also could look at that list above that I gave. You could be excellent in all those areas or you could think you’re deficient in all of those areas, but whoever you are, as a woman, you are beautiful. If anyone does not see that, it is because they are blind.

There’s a line from The Good Doctor which I will paraphrase, but it is one whose sentiments I have thought before with my own wife. “I do not love your body because it is excellent. I love your body because it is yours.” If you say you love a woman and her body undergoes a change and your love changes, then you did not love her. You loved her body only. You should care about the body because it is hers and love it and treasure it, but your love should not be dependent on it.

So no, the Bible doesn’t tell us what Eve looks like. Looking back now after thinking about this more the past few weeks or so, it’s a good thing it doesn’t. Women would be comparing themselves to Eve and sadly, too many guys would compare the women in their lives to Eve. There is no need for that. All women should be celebrating what they have and should properly in public, live without shame for being a woman and delight in it, and behind closed doors with their husbands, totally live without shame relishing in the love they have.

Women. Remember you are beautiful. And men, remember too that she is and treat her that way.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Four Views on the Historical Adam

What did I think of this counterpoints book? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A friend sent me this wanting to see what I thought of it. He also figured I’d eat it up since I am a major fan of the work of John Walton. In that case, he is entirely correct and it’s not a shock that in my eyes, Walton did indeed deliver.

I will say also that at this point, I do believe the case for a historical Adam is far stronger than the case against. At the same time, I am not ready to make the belief in the existence of Adam a point of salvation. Salvation is based on belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is not based on belief in Adam.

The one essay in the book that argued against a historical Adam, that of Denis Lamoureux’s, also contained a wonderful story about his coming to Christ and it’s apparent throughout the work that he has a great love for Jesus Christ and a high regard for Scripture.

In reviewing this book, I’d like to look at in order the essays that I found most persuasive and why.

It is not a shock that I found Walton’s to be the most persuasive. Since reading The Lost World of Genesis One, I have been amazed by Walton and that book has forever shaped the way I read Genesis. Naturally, I have a great admiration as well for the book he co-wrote with Brent Sandy called The Lost World of Scripture.

Walton argues that Adam is the archetype of humanity. The text does not say anything about if Adam was the first human or if he was the only one at the time before Eve was created, but it does argue that he is the one who is the representative of us all. Walton also argues that the text says nothing about the material origins of man but rather a statement such as being dust refers to our mortality. He also argues that God did not really perform divine surgery but that the text is written in a way to show that Adam realized Eve was of the same nature as he was and was meant to be his helpmate.

The argument is impressive, but I would like to have seen some other points. For instance, I would have liked to have seen more about his view of the Garden of Eden itself, though I realize that that was not the scope of the book, it would have helped explain the relation between Adam and Eve more in their historical context. Also, the biggest pushback in the counter essays to Walton was on his view of the firmament in day two and this wasn’t really addressed. I know his view has become more nuanced since The Lost World of Genesis One was published and I would have liked to have seen more on that.

The second essay I found most persuasive was that of C. John Collins. Collins comes from an old-earth perspective more along to the lines of what one might see from Reasons To Believe. I found Walton did make a case for how his view would fit consistently.

Yet at the same time, I wondered about some aspects of his essay. Did he really make a case for reading Genesis as he suggested to refute the young-earth position, especially since one scholar in the book is a young-earth creationist? I did not see that presented enough. I also did find his essay contained more concordism than I would have liked.

The next on the list is Denis O. Lamoureux who argued that Adam did not exist. I found it amazing to see that Lamoureux did hold to a high view of Scripture in fact proclaiming his belief that it was inerrant. His case was a fascinating one for no Adam and he did seek to bring into play the NT evidence as well.

Yet I found myself wondering if this was really necessary. The genealogies and other such arguments do lead me to the position of a historical Adam. I do not see how Lamoureux’s position does in fact explain the origin of sin in the world and the problem of evil. Still, it is worth seeing what that side has to say.

The least convincing to me was that of William D. Barrick who argued for a young-earth and a historical Adam. It is not because I hold a disdain for YECs. My ministry partner is a YEC. My wife is a YEC. I do have a problem with dogmatic YECs however, and that includes someone dogmatic in most any secondary position. I would have just as much a problem with a dogmatic OEC.

Barrick too often was pointing to Inerrancy and seeing Scripture as the Word of God as support of His position and agreeing with what God has said. Now naturally, every Christian should want to agree with what God has said, but your interpretation might not be what God has said. This is built on the idea sadly that the Bible was written for the context of a modern American audience. I do not see this.

I have also seen firsthand the damage that is done by assuming that if you believe in Inerrancy, then you must believe in a certain interpretation of Scripture. I would not argue against a Jehovah’s Witness, for instance, that he denies Inerrancy, even though he denies essential tenets of the Christian faith. I would argue against his interpretation. Inerrancy says nothing about what the content of Scripture specifically is. It only says that whatever the content is, that when Scripture affirms something, it affirms it truly.

Also, Barrick did not make any arguments for a young Earth that I saw from a scientific perspective. Now he might discount this as man’s reason and such, but I would have liked to have seen something. I do not think these arguments work since I am not YEC, but I still would have liked to have seen them.

After all, if we are going to just simply say “We don’t need man’s reason” then my reply to that is “Then I do not need to read Barrick.” I do not need to go to his seminary and sit in his class and learn from him. I do not need to go to a church service and hear a pastor speak. I have everything I need with just myself.

Yet I will not be the one who thinks that the Holy Spirit has only guided me into truth and everyone else is just ignorant.

Sadly in many ways, it comes across as just a self-righteous and holier than thou approach to argumentation. I do not think that that is at all conducive to good debate and discussion and while of course the case of Scripture is supreme, there is no harm in looking at extra-Biblical sources. The Bible was not written in a vacuum and we dare not proclaim there is a cleft between the book of Scripture and the book of nature.

The book ends with essays by Greg Boyd and Philip Ryken with Boyd arguing that Adam is not an essential to the faith and Ryken saying that if we don’t have a historical Adam, then Christianity is seriously undermined.

Frankly, I see Ryken’s argument as a kind of paranoia in Christians that if you take this one step, then everything goes down from there. I do not see the argument that if there is no Adam, there is no original sin and thus no need of a savior. If I need to see original sin, I just need to turn on the evening news and see that there is a need for a savior. If I want to see if Christianity is true, I look and see if Jesus is risen. I find it bizarre to think that we could say “Yeah. Jesus came and died and rose from the dead, but Adam didn’t exist so Christianity is false.” I can’t help but think of what G.K. Chesterton said in Orthodoxy:

“If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.”

I highly recommend this volume as an important work on an important question. While I do not think this is a salvation question, I do think this is an important one and one worth discussing.

In Christ,
Nick Peters