The case against Eve

The case against Eve

In this continuing look at the creation and fall of man, today we come to the conversation between the woman and the serpent.

The first thing that we notice about the question that the serpent gives to the woman is that it is an attack on God as the source of supply for both Adam and his wife.  The serpent asks:

“Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?”

What the serpent is saying to the woman is that God has not given them permission to eat at all.  Is it just one tree that he says they are not to eat from?  No. The serpent says that God hasn’t given them permission to eat from any tree.  At this point the woman doesn’t quote from God, but she gives her conclusion.  Remember in Genesis 1:29 God said:

Genesis 1:29  Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

Notice that in Genesis 1:29 God didn’t say to Adam and his wife that they could freely eat.  He said they were given permission to eat from every single tree that passes the test.  The test is that it must have fruit that yields seed.  That is pretty understandable isn’t it?  The woman understood it and she applied it.  So when the serpent questioned her saying that God hadn’t given her permission to eat, she states that she does have permission to eat.  She knows she has permission to eat because she has applied the test that God gave her and because she did what God asked of her, she ended up with the conclusion that she has permission to eat from the fruit of the trees in the garden.

At this point the woman now quotes God.  She says:

Genesis 3:3  but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'”

There are several options regarding why the woman said what she did, but I will only be discussing two diametrically opposed options that leave the woman either faultless or guilty of a crime against God.

The first option that I will look at very carefully is the very common argument from hierarchists that the woman added to God’s words.  The claim is that the words “or touch it” was not recorded in scripture anywhere else saying “God said” therefore we must believe that the woman’s testimony is not true.  She is presumed to have added words and illegally attributed them to God.

Now let’s think this one through.  Does God make adding to his words a prohibition? Absolutely, yes he does.  It is given as a prohibition three times from Deuteronomy and Proverbs and then specifically later on it is given about the words in the book of Revelation:

Deuteronomy 12:32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

Deuteronomy 4:2  “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Proverbs 30:6  Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.

In Proverbs we see that the result of breaking God’s prohibition is a reproof from God and God will prove the person is a liar.  Thus those who add to God’s words are liars and will be disciplined by God himself.

This is an extremely serious sin and not one to be taken lightly.  Is the woman guilty of adding to God’s words?  One thing we know for sure.  We cannot find someone guilty of sin without two or three witnesses:

Deuteronomy 19:15  “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

We can see from God’s standard that the woman cannot be found guilty of any sin unless there is evidence of two or three witnesses.  It is through two or three witnesses that we will find the matter confirmed or without these witnesses the matter is unconfirmed and the accused person goes free.

Is it a serious matter to charge someone to be guilty who is not proven guilty by the required witnesses?

Deuteronomy 19:16  “If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
Deuteronomy 19:17  then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be in office in those days.
Deuteronomy 19:18  “The judges shall investigate thoroughly, and if the witness is a false witness and he has accused his brother falsely,
Deuteronomy 19:19  then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.

Here we can see it is an evil thing to accuse someone of a sin without the matter being established with two or three witnesses.  We cannot just accuse someone of sin without a solid foundation of evidence.

Since this is a serious matter, let’s take God’s method of judging the matter and apply it to the case against Eve.

Okay, let’s list two witnesses since that would be the minimum witnesses that are required for a finding of guilt against the woman.

Who is the first witness?  Who charge the woman with adding to God’s word?

The first person to interact with the woman was the serpent.  Did the serpent charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  Isn’t this odd?  Satan himself speaking through the serpent didn’t even charge the woman.  Let’s move on to the next witness.

Did Adam charge the woman with adding to God’s words?  No he didn’t.  When Adam faced God he did not say “The woman who you gave to be with me is more guilty than I am because she added to your words.”  No Adam was silent about the woman’s guilt.  No witness here either.

Well what about God Himself?  Surely God himself would follow his standard and reprove her of adding to his words and thus prove her to be a liar, right?  (Proverbs 30:6)  Did God reprove Eve?  Did God say that the woman was guilty of adding to his word?  No one, not even God Himself charged the woman with adding to His own words.  Do you know what this means?  It means without a single witness against a person charging them with sin, we are forbidden by God’s word to attribute guilt to them.

The question is, what will you do?  Will you take the position of accuser?  Will you be a malicious witness falsely accusing the woman of sin when there are no witnesses charging her with sin?  I think those of us who love God’s word and hold to the scripture’s authority would not want to be the one to cast the first stone.  There are no witnesses that can be found in scripture that charge the woman with adding to God’s words.

My view is that if there are no witnesses to charge the woman with adding to God’s word (and there are no witnesses) then I accept her word that she told the truth.  Indeed God did speak to both Adam and his wife and even though these words are not recorded elsewhere in scripture, we can accept the record of God’s words by the testimony of the woman.

Now where do you stand?

63 thoughts on “The case against Eve

  1. For sure, if we say that it is a fact, or speak as if it were a fact, that she added to God’s prohibition, then we ourselves would be guity of adding to God’s word/the bible, since nothing proves that she added to God’s word. That’s all I have to share for the moment. And this is one of my favorite topics, so I’m sure there will be alot more later on! 🙂

  2. As I commented in the other post, there is also no witness to Eve having been mistaken or confused. A child today can accurately remember a simple command, and Eve was undoubtedly intelligent, fully adult, and there were not a multitude of God’s commands to remember.

  3. I am also going to reiterate what I wrote on an older comment stream.  Adam and Eve were, in our “books” at least were created “perfect” in our human way of measuring things.  In God’s books they were not perfect, of course, because no one and no thing is perfect except for God.  So both Adam and Eve were innocent, intelligent, without sin at their creation, and had no bodily or mental defects. We could call them “perfect” as they represented “human” perfection, the very highest that we could ever attain to.  We do know that when Jesus comes back we will be much better than that because we will be like him in his resurrected body which goes beyond our standard of human perfection.

    I think it is time that we do not give a foothold to the hierarchists who insist on denigrating Eve with either a childlike inability to get a simple command right or who charge her with sin against God by importing into scripture a charge that Eve added to God’s words without one speck of evidence to support the claim and three witnesses (the serpent, Adam and God) who all were silent on any claim that Eve added to God’s words.

  4. FWIIW, the serpent is asking a question.  We know the serpent is being tricky, but it is not a wrong thing to ask a question.  A question is not a statement.  It is a way to start to rope the woman in, but the question itself is not unfair. 

    We are to ask questions about what God said.  We are not to do so to try to trick someone.

  5. Hey there,

    I’ve recently been studying the topic of women in ministry. Though I’m still not sure which position I take, I’ve found your blog to be an invaluable resource, and most of your articles seem logical, thought-provoking, and well-grounded in Scripture. However, I do have one question about the past couple of posts.

    If I understand you correctly, you argue that Eve couldn’t have added to God’s words in Gen. 3:3 because a) God didn’t confront her with this charge, and b) before eating the forbidden fruit she was a sinless woman. Yet in the previous post, you say or at least imply that Adam sinned against God by not protecting the garden and by staying silent while his wife was being deceived (the sin of omission, James 4:17).

    When God confronts Adam about eating the fruit, He doesn’t mention the failure to guard and speak up, just like He doesn’t mention Eve’s alleged addition to the command. (There is the verse in Hosea about “dealing treacherously,” but that was written long after Adam’s death; I would think God would tell Adam to his face what all his sins were.) In addition, Adam was just as perfect (relatively speaking) in his pre-fallen state as Eve was. It seems to me the same logic that would acquit Eve would also acquit Adam.

    Also, and this is more of a general question about theology, but does Deut. 19:15 apply to God’s finding someone guilty of sin? I’ve always thought that verse was talking more about humans finding someone guilty of a crime, as in a civic setting, and that omniscient God doesn’t need another witness since He alone sees our hearts and judges what we do in secret (Romans 2:16).

    Thoughts? And thanks so much for your time!

  6. As time goes on, I am becoming more astonished at what the Bible does not say more so than at what it does say.  Question is, where else do the facts in scripture point to something other than what has been accepted dogma since Constantine, Luther, and Calvin?

  7. In my understanding, truth was begun to be lost with the gentilization of the church by the early 2nd century, with the loss of Jewish context.  But God is restoring truth to his church, in roughly the reverse order it was lost.  One of the early losses was women leaders and this is being restored.

  8. ‘The text does not say the woman added to God’s words and it does not say she did not. This is where I see that the Bible is a mirror and whichever way you go shows something about you. This is why I prefer to just point out that we do not know what we do not know.’

    Don said this above in the other post, ‘Was the man given authority to rule the woman’. I’m bringing it here because I would like to comment on it here.

    There is not a speck of evidence that the woman knew the command that God gave the man, and I’m specificaly meaning exactly what God said word-for-word to him when he was alone, before she was formed, I’m talking about what he explicitly said, not a speck (and I challenge anyone to provide such evidence) therefore there is no place to even begin with saying ‘and it does not say she did not add to it.’ In other words, there’s no room for an argument saying, ‘and it does not say she did not add to it’, since there is no speck of evidence that she even knew it.

    If the woman did not know the explicit command given to the man, then no one can argue that she added to it, or that the bible does not say that she did not add to it. The argument cannot even get off the ground.

    That’s all for now!

  9. ‘This is why I prefer to just point out that we do not know what we do not know.’

    Yup. We do not know  what we do not know (that she even knew explicitly what God commanded the alone man).

  10. After my studying the serpent’s words, I see that he was asking the woman about the command that God gave the alone, though he omitted and twisted what God said in his question, and then after the woman responds he then straight out lies, saying the opposite of what God said, though using the same words God commanded the alone man, continues to lie some more and swap words around, and then tops it all off with a truth at the end.

    In light of what God said to the alone man, what the serpent asked the woman on what God said to the both of them, and what she responds with, she looks entirely oblivous to what the serpent is doing to the command God explicitly gave the man while he was alone. And as I said elsewhere, what the serpent did would have been easy for the man, to untwist. We can see what the serpent did when we look.

    Was it cunning enough for the serpent to manuver in and out of words, while twisting, omitting, and swapping, that the woman had no idea were spoken from God’s mouth to the alone man, while her husband was with her?

  11. Just to clarify, when I said “add to” I was not implying she somehow heard what God told the man.  It was just comparing the text and noting what she said God said was more than what God told the man.

  12. To me it is clear that the man knew the truth (directly from God) and did not guard the garden from the serpent.

  13. I see, Don. You weren’t implying that she somehow knew, either, right?
     
    What I understand though is that when hierarchists say ‘add to’ they imply that she knew what God said explicitly to the alone man therefore she added to that command, and therefore God did not but rather she did.

  14. I am in agreement with you on your post #11. About him, yes, the man did know the truth, directly from God and failed to guard the garden.

  15. My analysis is that we are unsure about the woman, but sure about the man.  And this is enough.  We would like to know more perhaps, but we need to be grateful for what we have.

  16. “As time goes on, I am becoming more astonished at what the Bible does not say more so than at what it does say.  Question is, where else do the facts in scripture point to something other than what has been accepted dogma since Constantine, Luther, and Calvin?”

    I am having the same experience, Greg.  I have become very suspicious lately, too. Too many are quoting Calvin, Luther, Augustine, etc.,…and what THEY say about scripture instead of exegiting scripture in context. And so many of our churchy  traditions are no where to be found in the NT.

  17. Hi guys,
    I haven’t had time to read the comments yet. I am out of the office and will try to bounce back in as much as I can over the weekend.

    Cheryl

  18. ‘My analysis is that we are unsure about the woman, but sure about the man. And this is enough. We would like to know more perhaps, but we need to be grateful for what we have.’

    But what do we know about what she knew? There’s no evidence she knew what God told the alone man, but there is evidence that she knew something that God said, and the evidence IS her own words. That is what we know. We cannot be unsure about what she said because that’s recorded. We know what she said. But what many are unsure about is what she said, God said but that is being unsure about what she knew (said). We cannot say that what she said, God said is NOT what she knew. We can only say that it WAS what she knew.

    The question then is what do we make or what have we made of what she knew (said).

    Make sense?

  19. Hi, Anonymous

    I’m glad you’ve joined and asked such thought provoking questions! I like it! I try to ask many questions myself, but you’ve helped me see more! For now, I have more questions!
    Can one fail to protect the garden, by listening to their wife’s voice (talk about the garden), one of the thing’s God said the man did do after he ate? Does it have anything to do with the serpent specificaly asking about ‘the garden’ with the woman responding about ‘what was in the middle of the garden’? I mean here’s the serpent asking specificaly about the garden, the garden that Adam was suppose to protect.

    (I’ve not been able to determine for myself yet, whether or not when the woman spoke of the tree’s location in the garden, that the words were her own, or God’s, though in a comment of mine, from what I said, in ‘Was the man given authority to rule the woman’ it seems as though they are the woman’s words but before I use to think they were words of God’s that the woman was quoting and now, presently I’m trying to determine who’s they were.)

  20. ‘FWIIW, the serpent is asking a question.  We know the serpent is being tricky, but it is not a wrong thing to ask a question.  A question is not a statement.  It is a way to start to rope the woman in, but the question itself is not unfair. 
    We are to ask questions about what God said.  We are not to do so to try to trick someone.’

    I have to comment here. What you said above, I agree. But we also know that the serpent asked a question trying to trick the woman because we can see from his words that he knew what God said to the alone man.

  21. Cheryl, can I just fill up all your posts on and related to this subject with 100 comments each? 😉

    I think I just may explode eventualy. 🙂  Whonos?

  22. Anon.,

    The man is charged with 2 charges, listening to the voice of his wife and eating from the tree.  Listening to the voice of his wife was not forbidden and is normally a good thing, so one needs to try to discern how this could be 1) a bad thing and 2) violating a previous command.  My solution (and others including Piper and Cheryl I believe) is that this refers to the man JUST listening to the voice when he knew the serpent was wrong (as he was there with her) and this is violating a previous command as he was given the charge to guard the garden.

  23. We know about what she knew. She knew something that God said, and the evidence that she knew something that God said IS her own words. This is what we know. We can be sure about what she said because what she said is recorded. We know what she said. We can only say that what she said was what she knew. We cannot say that what she said, God said is not what she knew.

    But where did she get what she knew from? There is only evidence in the bible that when God says ‘you (pl)’ that he is speaking to the both of them. Gen 1. From scripture alone, from the evidence we do have, we can only say that she got it from God when God spoke to them both, like he did do in Gen 1.
     
     

  24. So what God said (also), is determined by what she knew (said) and where she got it from is also determined by evidence we have. The evidence we have is where ‘you (pl) is used’ by God, in Gen 1, which shows how God uses it that is, he uses plural ‘you’ when he speaks to the both of them

  25. Oops, that should have been, ‘There is only evidence in the accounts of Genesis that when God says ‘you (pl)’… ‘

  26. When I underline words, it does not go through when I submit my comments. Not too big of a deal I guess but I like to emphasis or highlight my words in different ways. (And I wish I could edit sometimes!)

  27. Without evidence to begin with there is nothing to consider to begin with.

    We have to take the evidence that we do have first which is what we have to consider, then we can take what we don’t have, and weigh what we don’t have against what we do have, and them come to conclusions.

    Going backwards:

    1. We have what she said, God said.
    2. We have God saying ‘you (pl)’ to the both of them.
    3. We have what God said to the man and when he said it, and what he said to the man is less than what she said, God said, ‘you (pl).’
    4. We don’t have when God said what she said he did.

    Conclusion: We have what she knew God said, and we also have why God says ‘you’ (pl).

  28. What you have written is a little confusing.

    The basic thing is we have the woman ASSERTION about what God said (to them).  We do not KNOW what God said to them.  It is a gap.

  29. Scratch my last paragraph, in my comment #28. It did NOT come out right. Forgive me!

    Comp: she added to God’s word (the command given to the man)
    Egal: the bible does not say she added to God’s word
    Comp: the bible does not say that she did not add to God’s word

    When the comp responds with that, their argument from silence is only continuing. This is because no comp would say it without considering first that she did add to God’s word. And the egal’s response is not from silence since it is in the defense position.

    Now this is different from ‘what she said, God said is more than what God said to the man’ or ‘what God said to the man is less than what she said, God said.’ The reason is because here in this case no one is saying that she added to God’s word.

    Sorry for all the corrections I have had to make! (I need to slow down when I type it out, I think.)

  30. Yes, Don. The end was very confusing! lol! I don’t know what happened. I think I was too tired and then fell alseep. Does, #30 help some, clear up the end at least?

    I would say that we do know what God said to them (what she said) but that we don’t know when he said it. And because others say that we do not know what God said to them, I said, we know what she knew and what we make of what she knew, is the question. This is the question because we cannot say that what she said, God said, is NOT what she knew. How could we? How can we claim, to know more about what she knew? So it’s about what she knew and NOT what we don’t know. Does that make sense? That being the case, there is no gap to begin with. If we accept what she knew then we know what God said.

    I’m going to get some more coffee!

  31. I said Pinklight says she is confused.

    JUST from the above sentence what can we say?
    Can we say Pinklight is confused?  No we cannot.  She may be or may not be.
    Can we say Pinklight says she is confused?  No we cannot.  She may have said it or not.

    All we can say is that I asserted what I said.

  32. #5 Anonymous,

    I think that your questions deserve to be answered in an article instead in the comment section so that more people are able to read it.  I will use your questions as the basis for my next article.

    I appreciate that you found my articles logical and thought-provoking.  These are the same comments that I have been getting from my DVD series.  The basis of my argument comes from the passages themselves but from things in the passages that others appear to have missed.  It is the gift that God has given me and I am blessed to help others to logically think through these issues from a different angle.

  33. Don,

    The real question is whether we should trust Eve’s testimony.  Eve said “God said…”

    In Jewish tradition, woman was not to be trusted.  The woman was not to be believed in court because women were considered to be unreliable.  Is it possible that we are inputting this same tradition into scripture?

    I am the kind of person who is willing to look at all the evidence, but I need evidence.  Is there evidence in scripture that Eve lied?  There is no evidence per se, but some have put Eve’s testimony into question because they want to reconcile the discrepancies between what Eve said “God said…” and the words that God said to Adam before Eve was created.  I say that we can reconcile the differences without making Eve to be either a liar or childlike.

    If we start with the view that we can believe what is said unless it is contradicted, then we can accept Eve’s testimony as truth.  We already know that God added additional food to what he had given to Adam so it is already logical and truthful that God can and did add to what he said to Adam.  God’s words then to Adam are not the entirety of what God had to say.  When we make God’s words to Adam as the entirety, we are left with a contradiction.  Rather we should realize that Genesis 1:29 is an addition not a contradiction.  In the same way the woman’s testimony regarding what God said is also God’s addition to what he said to Adam.  This is the easiest and simplest way to reconcile scripture.

    Do I give hierarchists the ability to see other things from the text?  Yes, I do as long as there is something that would be considered evidence.  Is there any evidence at all that Eve lied?  Is there any evidence at all that Eve had a lapse of memory or got God’s command wrong?  If someone could show me what the evidence is, I would gladly look at it.  IN the meantime I just take scripture for what it says in context.  Eve gave testimony that I do not have liberty to not believe without any proof that she was wrong.  When we see Eve as being truthful instead of thinking that women should not be trusted in giving testimony, then the foundation of women hearing God’s words and giving out truthful testimony is found in Genesis.

    So the problem I must have proof.  I must have evidence.  I have never had a hierarchist give me evidence that would allow me not to trust Eve’s words.  Until I see evidence, I will believe Eve.

  34. We could also say that Adam was confused about guarding the garden. There is a lot of things we could say, but the question is, what can we prove from the context?

    I don’t think that Adam was confused about the prohibition.  Neither was Eve.  Adam knew the truth and so did Eve.  That is until she was deceived.  Then she no longer believed the truth.  We know this because this is what the bible says.  Adam was not deceived but Eve was.  She was deceived by the serpent, not by her own inability to understand the command.

    There is so much more to consider.  I will work on the next article and if the grandkids give me a break, I will try to get it up by the end of the weekend.

  35. Here’s the re-write for what was post #28:

    Without evidence to begin with there is nothing to consider to begin with. Therefore, we cannot consider that the woman added to God’s word because there is no evidence that she did. Just as we cannot consider that the husband is the leader of the wife because there is no evidence that he is. (There is evidence however that God added to his word.)

    If we begin with the idea that she added to God’s word we will end up with a conclusion that she added to God’s word. I claim that this is what comps do. It is with what they begin and with what they end. They begin with nothing and end with nothing. Those who accept the woman’s testimony on the other hand begin with her testimony (evidence) and end with her testimony (scripture).

    If a comp responds with ‘the bible does not say that she did not add to God’s word’ to an egal that has said, ‘the bible does not say she added to God’s word’ all the comp is doing is continuing their argument/belief from silence while what the egal says refutes the original argument from silence, ‘she added to God’s word’.

    Let’s look at a different example. If a comp responds with ‘the bible does not say that the husband is not the leader of the wife’ to an egal that has said, ‘the bible does not say that the husband is the leader of the wife’ again, the comp is continuing their argument/belief from silence while what the egal says refutes the original argument from silence, ‘the husband is the leader of the wife’. On both accounts, the comps position begins with silence, nothing, a blank from scripture and that is where it stays, and where it ends.

    Beginning with a belief/argument with no evidence, is nothing to consider, because there’s no evidence to consider to begin with. In other words, we don’t consider what the bible does not say FIRST. First we consider what it does say and then we weight what it does not say to what it does.

    So when someone says, ’the bible does not say that she did not add to God’s word’ they are continuing to offer ‘no evidence’. This is so because no one would say, ‘well ghee, the bible does not say that she did not add to God’s word’ without first considering what is not even in the bible, ’she added to God’s word’.

    Is the husband the leader of the wife? The bible does not say so.

    Did the woman add to God’s word? The bible does not say so.

  36. One thing we need to be careful about is that Hebraic thinking is NOT the same as Greek thinking.  A Hebrew can truncate a statement and the truncated part remains implied, this is totally forbidden in Greek logic chains.  We see examples of this truncation in Jonah, where he gives no escape clause in his warning, yet they escape; and in Mark 8:12 where Jonah is not mentioned as an exception to the “no sign given” yet Mat 12:39, Mat 16:4, and Luk 11:29 DO mention the sign of Jonah.  Skeptics use such verses to claim the Bible contradicts itself and it DOES if only using Greek logic, but the problem is in the using of Greek logic, not the Bible as understood by a Hebrew thinker.

    I agree there is no evidence that the woman in the garden was a liar or even childlike.  But anyone can be simply mistaken.  Being deceived means one is mistaken about at least one thing, but the sin did not occur until she ate.  And if she was mistaken about at least 1 thing, I do not see why it could not be more than 1 thing.  I am not saying it is, I am saying we do not know.

  37. Don,

    You said:

    “We see examples of this truncation in Jonah, where he gives no escape clause in his warning, yet they escape;”

    While we do not have the words quoted from Jonah, we can know for sure that it wasn’t a false prophecy because God’s prophecies are provisional.  This is shown in Jeremiah 18:8

    Jeremiah 18:8  if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.

    We know that Jonah knew God’s prophecy was provisional because he said as much in Jonah 4:1, 2

    Jon 4:1  But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.
    Jon 4:2  He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity

    Jonah was angry at God because God’s compassion was shown just as he thought it would be.

    The people of Ninevah also knew that God could be compassionate and relent from his anger.

    Jon 3:5  Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
    Jon 3:6  When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
    Jon 3:7  He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
    Jon 3:8  “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.
    Jon 3:9  “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”
    Jon 3:10  When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

    This is why Jonah was angry.  He did not have compassion on the people of Ninevah and he didn’t want God to have compassion on them either.

    So while the missing part of what Jonah should have said is implied here, we can see that Jonah’s prophecy is not a false prophecy as the Jehovah’s Witnesses like to say (thus allowing them to be, in their minds, true prophets too and make “mistakes” in prophecy).  God’s word explicitly says that God may have mercy on a nation that turns from their sin and repents.

    The question we need to ask, is this applicable to Eve?  It cannot be applicable since no one implies in any form that Eve was either lying or made a mistake in what she quoted from God.  Paul himself mentioned Eve twice, once in 1 Timothy 2:13 and another time in 2 Cor. 11:3 where he warned about being led astray from devotion to Christ, never once did Paul mention a deception other than the serpents as far as Eve is concerned and none of the Apostles, including Paul made any application to adding to God’s word.  In this case without any evidence we cannot insert a meaning into the text that is foreign to the context and foreign to the complete scriptures.

    You said:

    “and in Mark 8:12 where Jonah is not mentioned as an exception to the “no sign given” yet Mat 12:39, Mat 16:4, and Luk 11:29 DO mention the sign of Jonah.  Skeptics use such verses to claim the Bible contradicts itself and it DOES if only using Greek logic, but the problem is in the using of Greek logic, not the Bible as understood by a Hebrew thinker.”

    I guess I must be a Hebrew thinker, because these accounts do not contradict one another.  The “sign of Jonah” is not a sign for that wicked and evil generation.  Jesus’ sign of being in the earth for three days and three nights that corresponds to the time for Jonah in the belly of the fish is impossible to be a sign for unbelievers.  No unbeliever ever saw the risen Lord.  The only ones who saw the risen Lord were all believers and were his followers before he died.  The “sign” then becomes a non-sign to unbelievers and only a “sign” if one turns from their sin to Jesus and believes.  It is then that the resurrection becomes a Jonah sign.  Jesus spoke about this “sign” in more than one occasion and one time in particular there is no mention that he mentions the exception.  Was this because he knew that in that group of Pharisees there would be no future believers?  Later Jesus speaks to the crowds in Luke 11:29 and spoke about the “sign” of Jonah.  For Jesus to mention the “sign” would indicate that there would be those who would believe the sign in the future.  No unbeliever ever received a “sign” of the resurrection for to them it was impossible for it to be a “sign”.  No contradiction here at all.

    You said:

    “I agree there is no evidence that the woman in the garden was a liar or even childlike.  But anyone can be simply mistaken.  Being deceived means one is mistaken about at least one thing, but the sin did not occur until she ate. ”

    I do not agree that being deceived equals being mistaken.  A mistake is a misunderstanding or a misconception which brings an error in action or judgment.  One who has been deceived is one who has been deluded to believe something that is not true.  This is not a mistake.  It is deception.  A mistake is something you do on your own with your own false understanding.  Being deceived is something that someone else does to you and being fully deceived causes the truth to be hidden so that you cannot make a “mistake” about the truth, you cannot see the truth to even make a mistake.  One is fully and completely deceived.  No scriptural author ever stated that Eve was mistaken.  Her statement is merely stated as fact and without a hint of a contradictory view being brought forth.

    We simply cannot see Eve as anything else than what scripture leave us with.  She is a woman who was created with the ability to provide what Adam lacked because she is called the same term as God is given when he helps us.  She also defended God in the beginning in the serpent’s attack against the Creator until the point that she was deceived. 

    We can either accept Eve’s word as correct and as something that is never impeached.  Or we can accept Eve as a liar or mistaken over nothing less than one of the simplest commands in scripture.

    My push here has always been to have people see outside the box.  What happens to Genesis if we see the woman as telling the truth?  For me, Genesis came alive when I trusted the word of an unimpeachable witness.  If she was impeached, then God should have told us.

    For the rest of those who are reading this, I ask just one thing.  Read through Genesis 1-3 one more time, this time seeing what you can see if everything in there is as it was written, except for the lie of the serpent.  Take Eve at her word that the forbidden tree was in the centre of the garden.  Take her word that both of them were forbidden from touching the fruit.  Then read the rest of the story about what happened to Eve and see Adam, knowing the truth, yet refusing to love his wife enough to sacrifice himself for her.  One sentence may have been all it took to stop Eve.  Maybe only one word “No”.  It wouldn’t have been a big sacrifice.  He was a man and he knew the truth.  He had the ability to speak and he knew the truth.  Yet he was silent.

    Don,
    Thanks for also pointing out John Piper’s take on the silence of Adam.  While I do not agree with Piper on the women’s issue, I do applaud him for speaking about against the silence of Adam and connecting it to God’s words to Adam when God spoke about Adam listening to the voice of his wife.

    May none of us ever be silent.  If we know the truth, let us speak out boldly and confidently.  I will speak more about this in the next post.

  38. Don # 37,

    We have Constantine to thank (curse?) for laying the axe to our Hebrew roots as Christians.  The patristic theologians who came after him followed suit and did everything they could to rid the church of Hebraic influence.

    It was probably Augustine of Hippo who devised the impeccable linear logic that was to box God up all the way through the reformation of Calvin and Luther.  Black or white, on or off, one or zero, the middle is excluded, paradox is not allowed.

    Make no mistake, Greek thinking has helped make us very rich in science, art, and political institutions.  But no system of thought will ever figure out or contain the LORD of HOSTS.

  39. Greg,

    ” But no system of thought will ever figure out or contain the LORD of HOSTS.”

    After being immersed in the subject of the LORD of hosts for about 9 months now, when I read your comment, my spirit within me leaped for joy!  All I can say is AMEN!!!!  What a mighty God we serve and we get to enjoy him for eternity!!!

  40. I think one thing we forget about these first (repeat FIRST) humans whose name was collectively ‘human” (which infers a closeness we don’t understand), is that they had little knowledge of anything and no knowledge of the difference of good and evil. They had little experience of life and no experience of evil, except in the hard lesson of the woman dialoguing with the serpent.

    That is not a question of no brains but of inexperience which they both shared. They were in the process of learning via their choices.

  41. While I am still working on my next post, I pose a slight digression for those of you who are as passionate about the Trinity as I am.  Ben Witherington has posted a very liberal view of the Trinity at http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/07/jesus-as-unifier-of-bible.html saying that Jesus is not the YHWH of the Old Testament and did not appear on the earth in a pre-incarnate form.  There is a whole bunch I can say but I did not want to dominate the discussion over there.  I will be responding back to Dr. Witherington, but if anyone else would like to respond other at his blog which is quite popular with others of that like mind, go ahead and jump right in.  The truth of the Trinity is worth fighting for!

  42. Here is my “iron sharpens iron” attempt.

    Jon 3:4  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

    is the verse I was referring to being truncated in some sense, as it does not mention any possibility of escape.  I agree God gave them an escape.  But if you look JUST at what was said, there is no escape potential mentioned, it is just a judgment.

    On the sign of Jonah, no sign
    Mat 12:39  But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
    Mat 12:40  For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Mar 8:11  The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him.
    Mar 8:12  And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

    Luk 11:29  When the crowds were increasing, he began to say, “This generation is an evil generation. It seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
    Luk 11:30  For as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.

    The question is why does Mark not mention Jonah?  My solution when I got from Instone-Brewer is that Mark truncated.  If we JUST HAD MARK, we would know nothing about any sign of Jonah, so I am glad there are 4 gospels.  Truncation is invalid as an operator in Greek logic, as you lose information, but it is fine in Hebrew thinking, you are supposed to know it is possible.
    ——-
    I agree on checking to see if the woman might be telling the truth, this is possible and is even what I want to be true. But just cuz I want something does not make it true, it remains a possibility.  Your argument that she could not simply be mistaken in what she said seems to me to be an “argument from personal incredulity” which is a weak form of argument.  It might convince some, but does not (yet) convince me.
    —–

    I did not say being deceived equals being mistaken, I said if one is deceived then they are mistaken, but one can be mistaken without being deceived.  Being deceived takes a deceiver.  But given that she was deceived it is not such a stretch to consider the possibility that she was also mistaken.

  43. “Ben Witherington has posted a very liberal view of the Trinity at http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/07/jesus-as-unifier-of-bible.html saying that Jesus is not the YHWH of the Old Testament and did not appear on the earth in a pre-incarnate form. . ”

    Oh my word. I just went over and read the comments. I cannot believe that he thinks the OT is not really about Jesus. Isn’t that what it boils down to? Funny, I have been reading some of the writings of some of the early European Ana Baptists who had some of these same debates with some of the Reformers who wanted to live under OT laws. Their whole debate was pointing back to the OT to point to the New Covenant and Jesus Christ.

    Anything to lessen Jesus Christ and Who He really is. We are seeing it from all corners now and unlikely places both liberal and conservative.

    Cheryl, I so look forward to your DVD. My cousin and I tried to do a study on the “Lord of Hosts” one weekend we were away together for study and prayer and were overwhelmed!

  44. Hey Lin,
    I know how you feel.  I have been floored by what I have read on Ben Witherington’s blog.  He and I have had a few go-arounds over the last year or so.  I took exception to his claim that the early Christians “noodled” with the original Greek text of the New Testament.  His comments cause people to question the reliability of scripture.  By the way he has a copy of my DVD but it is far too conservative for his liking.  He doesn’t like that I hold to a fully inspired bible with inspired words and inspired grammar.  He does not hold to such a high view of scripture so I am not in his good books.

    In my own study of the “LORD of hosts” for the Trinity DVD, I was so overwhelmed with the presence of Jesus in the OT that it blew me away.  It did the same thing for my pastor who read my script.  He said that he saw Jesus in the OT in a way that he had never seen him before.  Is Jesus there in the OT?  Absolutely!  And those who would seek to take him out and make the OT live without the imprint of Jesus in all of the divisions of its scriptures are blinded in my opinion.  I do not know what has blinded them, but I believe they need to be witnessed to.


  45. Luk 24:27

     
    And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

    Luk 24:44
     
    Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
     
    Psalms is the largest and first book of the “Writings” or 3rd section of the Tanakh.

    Joh 1:45

    Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

  46. And of course Isaiah 9:6–

    For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
    And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father
    , Prince of Peace.

  47. Don #43,

    Sorry for taking so long in getting back to you.  I have had a full plate here for days 🙂

    You said:

    Jon 3:4  Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

    is the verse I was referring to being truncated in some sense, as it does not mention any possibility of escape.  I agree God gave them an escape.  But if you look JUST at what was said, there is no escape potential mentioned, it is just a judgment.

    I can agree with you that the words were not given with an “escape door” option.  However I see it as a warning.  For example you could go to the coast and warn that a tsunami is coming.  People who heed the warning would go to higher ground.  In a similar fashion when God warns of judgment, it is a warning.  Once judgment truly falls there are no “escape doors”.  When the flood actually came the door was shut and repentance was not an option.

    Would you agree with me that the words given by Jonah are a warning and not a final judgment?  If there were a final judgment they would have had to be fulfilled.  It is only because they are a serious warning that must be heeded, could we conclude that Jonah was not a false prophet.

    You said:

    The question is why does Mark not mention Jonah?  My solution when I got from Instone-Brewer is that Mark truncated.  If we JUST HAD MARK, we would know nothing about any sign of Jonah, so I am glad there are 4 gospels.  Truncation is invalid as an operator in Greek logic, as you lose information, but it is fine in Hebrew thinking, you are supposed to know it is possible.

    I think this is valid thinking.  The question I have is why does the particular author leave it out.  In Jonah’s case it appears it is left out because he really does not want the city to repent.  In Mark’s case, could the reason that it is left off is because no unbeliever accepted the “sign” as a valid sign so to Mark it was unnecessary to mention since no unbeliever ever had the “sign” revealed to him? In essence there was no sign given to that evil generation because unbelief kept them from seeing a sign.

    You said:

    I agree on checking to see if the woman might be telling the truth, this is possible and is even what I want to be true. But just cuz I want something does not make it true, it remains a possibility.  Your argument that she could not simply be mistaken in what she said seems to me to be an “argument from personal incredulity” which is a weak form of argument.  It might convince some, but does not (yet) convince me.

    Okay, Don, do I see some weakening happening here?  Your “yet” gives me hope 🙂

    This is where my being a “confounded skeptic” comes into play.  If something is a possibility, I want evidence of that possibility.   For example in the case of Jonah it is a certain fact not just a possibility that the warning from God had the “escape door” of repentance.  We know this because this was God’s way plus Jonah was a true prophet and not a false prophet.  If there was no escape clause then the JW’s are right and Jonah was a false prophet.

    So I ask, what clue or hint in scripture is there that the woman was mistaken?  I see none and I don’t think anyone has brought any evidence forward.  If I am going to judge the woman of adding to God’s words through making a mistake, I would want to have evidence.  We could make all kinds of possibilities in scripture none of which have evidence either.  We could say that this was the second time that Adam ate the fruit, once being by himself in the garden and so he ate this second time with his wife without saying anything because he was already in trouble.  Is that a possibility?  I guess it could be.  But what is the evidence?  Without evidence we have no foundation at all to consider the possibility.

    The biggest reason why I do not consider this possibility is because God did not mention her error and no prophet or apostle mentioned it either.  How could such an error not rate a small comment?  Would her error teach us something?  The fact that no biblical writer comments on the possibility of her error makes an error seem impossible.

    In Mark’s case we do not have Jesus’ words about the “sign” of Jonah because he apparently didn’t see it as important because no unbeliever accepted it, but we do have the others who do mention it.  It is interesting that even the Jewish leaders believed that Jesus prophesied his resurrection but they didn’t believe him, instead calling him a deceiver.

    Mat 27:63  and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’
    Mat 27:64  “Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

    But how could every single biblical writer have missed the first woman’s “error”?  Would it not be an important detail to point out to us?  I would think it would because it would seem to cause me at least to think that God created the woman as defective.  If the first prototype was so incompetent to even get a simple command right without being “mistaken”, then how incompetent would I be as a woman?  I am pretty far down the line from Eve.  My ability is not even close to hers and so maybe I shouldn’t even try to teach the bible even to children because surely I couldn’t get even one thing right if Eve couldn’t.  Do you see what I mean?  It breeds hopelessness and distrust in God’s ability to use women.  It makes all the bad things that hierarchists say about women’s usefulness limited to the home a reality.  Of course if that is the way that God made us, then so be it.  But is it really true?  Should I be agreeing that God made me defective?  Should I distrust my gifts and calling?  Or should I take the most honorable way to treat another human being and believe Eve until there is something that will discount her testimony?  I choose to believe the very first witness on God’s behalf.  She spoke out and was not silent.  She became deceived, but her first words as a testimony to God’s goodness and his careful warning to her should be believed.  There is no solid reason not to believe.

    I hope that one day you too will believe Eve’s testimony without a nagging doubt.  I would like that.

    I don’t know if I have influenced you in any way at all in anything.  You are a hard cookie to crumble.  But I like you a lot and you have been a gracious and respectful challenger.  If everyone was like you, I would have so much joy in debating and refuting and pressing for excellence in apologetics.  I still do have joy, but there are some days that the attacks of the enemy through brothers in Christ have wounded me terribly.

  48. I used to think there was ONE RIGHT WAY to interpret each verse in the Bible, but more and more I see there are “clouds” of various ways to understand various verses and a believer is to give grace to another with both are in the cloud but not the same.  The other way to address this would be via a quasi-Magisterium and I do not want to go there, that cure seems worse than the disease.

    Everyone SHOULD have a current understanding and should be teachable, but if something does not convince them, then it would be bad faith to pretend it did.  We can try to show the non-egals how to understand the Bible in a egal way, but in the final analysis, it is their choice how they understand the Bible, we cannot FORCE them to see it our way or vice versa.  We are left with trying to convince others and they the same.

    I am convinced there are believers that do not believe the same as I do about the milk things of the faith in Hebrews 5; BUT I am still to treat them as believers.  How MUCH MORE for the things that are beyond the milk stage.

    One way to see my point is that God COULD have spelled things out step by step.  Instead of ONLY having the woman’s quote God could have written words showing how God DID say what the woman said he did and then have her say them and it all fits together, as we might wish.  But for whatever reason God did not do that.  In my words, there are gaps in the account about things we might wish to know; and how one fills in the gaps tells others about oneself, not necessarily about God or what the Bible says or does not say.

    We ARE supposed to use our mind to understand the Bible and make connections and use logic, etc.  And if my words do not convince you, nor your words mine, we each go in peace, I see this as a very small piece of the puzzle, there are much bigger fish to fry. 

    I remember when a Christian counselor told me that everyone has a right to be wrong.  One of my temptations is to try to get everyone to agree with me-me-me since I am right-right-right and I end up being unloving.  And God rebuked me, informing me that love was more important than being right.  (That is, getting the other to agree with me or at least coming to a common understanding.)

    On Jonah, obviously until God acts, such statements as Jonah’s are warnings.  We know this from the nature of God.  Yes, Jonah did not want Ninevah to repent, so he went minimalist with his prophecy.

    On Mark, it is important to see truncation as a possibility in Hebrew thinking as Mark and Luke have no exception clause for divorce, while Matthew does; this means some try to suppress the exception clause to reconcile the verses, which is exactly the wrong way to do it, but they are trying to be faithful to the text.  Another way to look at the possibility of truncation is that Hebrews have a worldview that fills in the “gaps” in a teaching based on the Bible.  When a verse might appear to show an unmerciful God, they know they are not to see it that way.  Skeptics have a field day with the gaps, pronouncing it all nonsense and worse.

    On the woman, the term “tree in the middle of the garden” is ambiguous, as there were 2 trees there.  So while it is not exactly wrong, it is also unclear.

  49. Good points, Don. But I’d like to add a few more.

    It is one thing to have separate fellowships based upon personal convictions, but quite another to hound, harass, condemn, slander, and even physically abuse those who disagree with those convictions. That is what many followers of comp. teachings do to egals.

    While human pride and sin account for this, it cannot be denied that the theology itself, male supremacism, is the justification used for it. So it is more than a personal conviction, but an aggressive attack upon half the Body of Christ. It is this theology, this teaching, that we must strongly oppose and not “dialog” with. It is to be strongly opposed as per the example of Paul against legalism.

    I too have no delusions about winning over people who subscribe to these supremacist teachings. That is why I try to focus my efforts on simply making my personal convictions known (which in itself is seen as a crime by many).

    There are many issues in Christianity based upon those “gaps”, and you’re absolutely right, what we put into those gaps is very telling, as is how we treat those who disagree with us. And sometimes how we treat them is out of self-defense, to be fair. But as long as we only attack the teachings and not get dragged into a personality war, we have nothing to be ashamed of.

    (Disclaimer: I’m not talking about Cheryl meeting Slick. She’s sticking to scripture and making it all about attitude and faithfulness. At the same time, however, most Christians should not attempt what she’s doing, myself included. I’d fight. And that’s why I don’t debate them anymore, I just write in my blog.)

  50. Yes, of course.  The non-egal holders are radicalizing, it is not just enough to teach what they teach, other teachings are to be excluded.  This is in line with what the ESV and HCSB do in their word choices, by their word translation choices, they make it easy to be non-egal, as the translators are.  And then the many in the ESV group knock the TNIV, saying it is an untrustworthy translation.

    When I have been attacked in the past, God gave me a word, “Daniel” which means “God is my judge” and I hold onto that word sometimes when I need to do so.

    I think we will see continued radicalizing of the non-egals, as the egal message is going forth and many churches are responding by becoming more egal.

  51. Don,

    You said:

    I used to think there was ONE RIGHT WAY to interpret each verse in the Bible, but more and more I see there are “clouds” of various ways to understand various verses and a believer is to give grace to another with both are in the cloud but not the same.

    I believe each verse has been inspired to have the intention of the original author (the Holy Spirit).  I also believe that we may understand that meaning through the help of the Holy Spirit and a lot of work on our part to rightly divide the word of truth.  I also believe that we should have patience with each other as we are all on that journey to understand God’s word exactly as he inspired it.

    What I don’t believe is that we have an option for a private interpretation.  I believe that the scripture was meant to be understood within its inspired context, within the boundaries of the inspired words and the inspired grammar and then within the complete context of the entire bible.  Any interpretation that contradicts in any way these parameters needs to be rethought in my opinion.

    Today what is popular is people sitting around asking what a verse means to them and everyone shares something different.  My focus is first on working hard to understand why the verse was inspired in the place it was and within the context it belongs.  Once all the evidence is in and I can rule out what the verse cannot mean, it becomes much clearer what the passage actually was written to mean.  Then I can take the next step and apply it to myself and ask what it means to me.  If we start with the personal without first building the foundation of the meaning within the context, we may go way off base.

    When I look at giving leeway for other options I always ask for evidence within the passage.  Someone could say that Eve was open to believe the serpent because she had a previous relationship with him and he was a trusted friend.  They could also say that the serpent had been right in the past about things that Adam had been wrong about so Adam did not feel free to contradict the serpent because he was sure his wife would believe the serpent over him.

    These are all speculations and we could say that they are “possible”.  However true possibility must come with some kind of evidence.  What is the evidence in the passage that would seek to prove the speculation as a valid option?  If there is no evidence, then I would move on.

    It isn’t that I am such a hard nut to crack but I want evidence so that I can verify the theory.  When I say that I believe the passage shows that God spoke to Eve about the prohibition, I provide as evidence:

    1.  God spoke to Eve about what she could eat.  Genesis 1:29
    2.  In the permission to eat, there is a blanket permission given that must make the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to have no seed bearing fruit.  This implies a prohibition of that tree.
    3.  Eve said “God said…”

    Now I think these three strains of reasoning and this evidence is more than enough to make my “theory” a viable one that is based on the text itself instead of mere speculation.

    I am happy to admit that there are other options if I can see evidence from the passage.  I have yet to see any evidence that Eve was mistaken.  If there is evidence that I have missed, I am always open to reviewing the evidence.  I just am not very open to mere speculation. 

    An example of my openness is regarding “a woman” in 1 Timothy 2:12.  Here I can see that “a woman” can mean all women in general.  I do not believe this is what it means in the passage because of the specific wording and grammar of 1 Timothy 2:14, 15, however I can see why people can believe it is a prohibition regarding all women.  While I may push them to consider things that they have never thought of before that would disallow “a woman” to be all women in general, I cannot say that their interpretation has no evidence at all.

    I will speak more about this in my next post as this will be the theme of my post.

  52. Don,

    You said:

    Everyone SHOULD have a current understanding and should be teachable, but if something does not convince them, then it would be bad faith to pretend it did.

    I agree completely.  We all should be teachable and we should have an understanding of what we believe.  I also think we should be able to explain why we believe as we do.  What specifically in the passage convinced us that this is what the Holy Spirit meant in that passage?  If we go by feelings alone, we probably should work a little harder to find a textual reason for what we believe.

    Also most of the stuff that we are discussing is important but is not essential to Christianity or to our salvation.  One can be a Christian without believing that Eve was deceived.  Therefore while we can passionately defend our position from scripture, we are not to divide over it nor to treat others with disrespect or name-calling because they do not agree.  If we cannot find a way to convince the other that our view fits perfectly with the context, the grammar, the inspired words and the entire scope of the passage and the whole of scripture, then we can leave it and move on.

    You said:

    I am convinced there are believers that do not believe the same as I do about the milk things of the faith in Hebrews 5; BUT I am still to treat them as believers.  How MUCH MORE for the things that are beyond the milk stage.

    Amen!  This is also where we can grow in patience because we get to love and respect those who may be opposite us in the secondary issues of faith.

    You said:

    One way to see my point is that God COULD have spelled things out step by step.  Instead of ONLY having the woman’s quote God could have written words showing how God DID say what the woman said he did and then have her say them and it all fits together, as we might wish.

    Yes, that is true.  However if God would have done that, then we would not have given the woman as much credit in being a true witness.  This way we have only her testimony and so we must concentrate on what her testimony is instead of just moving on because we can see that it fits with what was actually said.  We have to work through the issues.  Did she add to God’s word or did she not?  Was she truthful?  Was she mistaken?  The answers to these questions, I believe are there within the text most in plain view.  We just have not given the evidence much weight because the world culture has historically been distrustful of women.  It is so easy to think that Eve lied.  We don’t trust her.  We are like Adam in that we can put the blame squarely on her shoulders.  But without a direct quote we are forced to face our prejudices and work through the issue of whether she can be believed or not.  I for one am grateful that God left it out.  God allowed the first woman to be a witness regarding the truth of his word and Jesus deliberately chose women to be the first witnesses to the resurrection.  God sees an importance in women as true witnesses and this started in the book of Genesis.

    You said:

    In my words, there are gaps in the account about things we might wish to know; and how one fills in the gaps tells others about oneself, not necessarily about God or what the Bible says or does not say.

    I agree.  This is why I always want evidence of a person’s view.  If a view has solid evidence from the context, the grammar and the inspired words, I respect that view even if I don’t agree.  But if there is no evidence for the view, and a person is filling in the gaps by their own presupposition, I can get a feel for what the person’s own values and mindset are from listening to that view.

    Sometimes I sit on a view for a long time before I accept it.  I like evidence and if the evidence isn’t solid or supported I tend to file it away until I find what is solid or I find a scripture that solidly supports the view from another portion of the bible.  Hosea 6:7 was one such scripture that filled in the gaps for me as I saw God’s personal view of Adam’s sin.

    You said:

    And if my words do not convince you, nor your words mine, we each go in peace, I see this as a very small piece of the puzzle, there are much bigger fish to fry.

    I agree to a large extent.  I do not give up so easy and my background in working with the cults has me look at the problem from every direction.  I will look through the back door and open a window and peer around from that angle.  I will explore the problem from underneath and from the top view.  Once I have hit every angle that I possibly can, I admit that is all I have and leave it at that.  I am not responsible to convince everyone.  If another person has information for me that I can test and check out, I welcome that.  If there is no evidence but only speculation, I tend to stay back in the background.  I am a big “fact” person and I end all my testing with a “so what?” test.  Why is this important to God and why did he place this in the scriptures?  What meaning is there in the passage for us and how can I learn to be more of a faithful person because of the lessons I have learned?

    My personal presupposition is that for every spiritual problem, God has the answer in scripture.  I may not know what the answer is right now but if I work hard and trust the Lord eventually I will be able to find it.  I have found many answers that others have not seen before in the areas of working with the cults because I have been persistent and wouldn’t give up.  I believed the answer was there because that is the kind of God we have.  He cares and he is also a detail person. When I am done my research, my work is thorough and persuasive because I have been diligent in my homework.  I have turned over every stone and checked out every corner.  I want all the facts and I want to know that I know the mind of God.  Personally I won’t let a matter go that is important to me until I have worked it through.  When I am confident in my understanding I will work to help others understand too, yet always keeping in mind that I am not infallible.  I can learn from others.  In fact I have learned from many here on this blog including yourself.  You have been an “iron sharpens iron” person for me personally.

    One of my temptations is to try to get everyone to agree with me-me-me since I am right-right-right and I end up being unloving.

    Personally I see you coming across as even keel, loving and kind.

    I too value a loving approach.  While I passionately contend for my view, I realize that my goal is not to make everyone like me but to put a “stone” in their shoe that will cause a person to be uncomfortable with the contradictions with their view.  Getting someone to think for themselves outside of their box is about the best I can do with many people.

    Yes, Jonah did not want Ninevah to repent, so he went minimalist with his prophecy.

    You hit the nail on the head.  While Jonah was quick to run away from his assignment at Ninevah and he quickly headed off in the opposite direction, he did not run away from Ninevah after he gave his prophetic warning from God.  He wanted to see what would happen and it appears that Jonah was actually hoping that Ninevah would not repent so that they could be destroyed.  But God had a plan to teach Jonah a lesson about compassion and he provide an industrious worm to reveal Jonah’s own hardened heart.

    On Mark, it is important to see truncation as a possibility in Hebrew thinking as Mark and Luke have no exception clause for divorce, while Matthew does.

    I can see your point here.  I also bless God for Matthew.  I really relate to Matthew.  He is all over the map telling one story and then finishing with another story that happened years later so his “timeline” is mixed up and all over the map.  Yet Matthew is also a detail person and he relates details about events that others did not pay attention to.  The book of Matthew has been extremely helpful for me in unraveling some of the doctrine of the cults.  I really love Matthew.

  53. Yes, I really appreciate Matthew.  Each gospel has its perspective and they are all useful.

    I totally disagree with the idea of going around the room and seeing what a verse means to each person.  And then taking a vote ala the Jesus seminar.

    But it IS possible for people of faith to make different choices for the meaning of some words and phrases and each has a different understanding in good faith.  Many of the meaning choices made by non-egals are possible, it is just that they are not required.   And it IS possible to come up with different understandings of the book of Rev. in good faith, for example.

    On context of verses, I agree with pericope context and Biblical subject context, but another is the cultural context of the time the book was written.  This is one that is missing for many discussions on meaning but can be absolutely critical.  The Bible gets to define and refine the words it uses and when it does we are to use that, but it does not contain a complete dictionary of all the words it uses.  The only way to know what those words meant is the way they were used in the culture of the time.

  54. Don,

    You said:

    But it IS possible for people of faith to make different choices for the meaning of some words and phrases and each has a different understanding in good faith.  Many of the meaning choices made by non-egals are possible, it is just that they are not required.

    While I agree that Christians may see a different meaning for some words and phrases, the question is not what a word could possibly mean but what it means in the passage.  I think too often we take a verse out of its context and try to determine the meaning of the words from a limited view.  This is where we run into trouble.  I really appreciate the apologist and author Greg Koukl who says “Never read a bible verse.”  What he means is that we should never try to figure out what the verse means without reading it in its complete context.  If we followed this advise, I think Christians would find themselves in much more agreement.

    I did this experiment with a JW elder recently and it worked very well.  I never let him read a proof text without looking at the passage.  I got him to read the chapter before, the chapter the “proof verse” was in and the chapter after and the context disproved his point.  It really frustrated him because even he could see that his text lost all of its weight by looking at the context.  Once we read the context he had to move on to another point.  I would say something like, “Well this verse doesn’t say what you said it means in its context.  We can mark that one off.  Do you actually have a passage that says your point?”  He had already agreed with me that there must be two or three witnesses to prove a point.  An isolated “witness” (pulled out of its context) is not enough to prove any point.

    I would also like to add that while scripture has one intended meaning that is put there by the author, scripture also is special in that it is like an onion.  You can peel the layers back to see more and more revelation.  In some respects this is where our differences come in between denominations.  One Christian sees the outer layer of truth and another peels the “onion” back to see further insight inbedded within the text and the inspired words of the text.

    On context of verses, I agree with pericope context and Biblical subject context, but another is the cultural context of the time the book was written.  This is one that is missing for many discussions on meaning but can be absolutely critical.

    I whole heartedly agree with you!  While understanding the cultural context is very important with each verse, at times it is so absolutely critical that one cannot understand the verse without it.  I think the perfect example of this is 1 Cor. 14:34 where no “law” can be identified in scripture that Paul is referring to.  It isn’t until one knows the tradition of the Jews and the culture of that day that the complete understanding of the passage is unveiled.  This makes the passage a very hard passage.  Paul is one author that has written some very hard to understand passages that require much digging and an understanding of the culture.  These passages are for the mature and they are true meat and not milk passages.

    The Bible gets to define and refine the words it uses and when it does we are to use that, but it does not contain a complete dictionary of all the words it uses.  The only way to know what those words meant is the way they were used in the culture of the time.

    Yes, this is true.  The most outstanding example of this is Paul’s writing where in several instances he uses a word that is completely unique to the New Testament and at times the word is very rare even in the usage of that day.  We must be extremely careful not to set up our doctrine using one verse in isolation that has one word with limited verification of its meaning.  Without a second or third witness we are treading on dangerous territory.

  55. I should add that the fact that scripture is multi-layered is the reason why we need each other and can learn from each other.  Each person is able to unpeel part of the onion.  When I read your take on a verse it is like “iron sharpening iron”.  I am able to see a perspective to the verse that I may not have seen before.  This isn’t a conflicting view of scripture but an unlayering of the text that allows me to sharpen my own focus.  I also believe this is why Paul said that we are all allowed to prophesy.  Each of us has a perspective that allows us to see the verse from a different angle.  When we put it all together we can see the meaning of the text from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration.  Nothing should conflict.  It all fits together like a giant puzzle piece.  We really do need each other so that we can see outside our own individual “box” that at times causes us to be blinded by a perspective that we may have missed.  In the end it is not a bunch of people sitting around and giving conflicting meanings but Christians giving additional depth to the passage by uncovering the layers.

  56. There is SOME Scripture that have multiple meanings.  Some prophecies have multiple fulfillments.  Some words or phrases are word plays or puns with 2 meanings.  I also think some words Paul uses in Eph 5-6 (for example) are deliberately ambiguous.

  57. Yes, there are some scriptures that have two meanings and some prophecies that have double fulfillment.  If by “deliberately ambiguous” you mean difficult to understand, I definitely agree with that especially with Paul’s writing and Peter also said this.  If you mean lacking clearness or an indistinct word, Jesus did have some words for the general public that he said were not meant for them to understand.  Although seeing they did not see and hearing they did not hear.  But for born again Christians, I think the word was meant for us to understand at least on some level. 

    So I do agree with you that there are hard passages.  Absolutely.

  58. On Paul, for example, in Eph 6 paternes is plural, but it does not need to be, it could have been written as singular.  If singular it almost certainly would mean father, when plural it might mean either fathers or parents, as the male plural form is used for a group that contains at least 1 man all the way up to all men.

    Recall the letters were read in the church meeting, most could not read. My take is the Roman spies sent to suspicious meetings were looking for confirmation that the paterfamilias was in charge, so they would hear paternes and think fathers.  But the Ephesian believers would catch it and know the OT says for kids to honor BOTH their father and mother, etc. so they would understand it as parents, perhaps with the help of an elder to explain.

  59. In Ephesians 6 we have the Greek term for “parents” in Ephesians 6:1 and “fathers” in Ephesians 6:4.  I think that verse 4 is both plural because children is plural but also is fathers in particular because it is the fathers in particular that tend to provoke the children to anger not the mothers.  Verse 1 the parents are to be obeyed and in verse 2 the father and the mother are to be honored.  Verse 2 the “father” is singular.

    Maybe I am missing something but it appears pretty clear to me that the passage shows both parents are to be honored but the fathers are the specific ones who are told not to provoke their children.  I don’t think this means that mothers have license to provoke their children.

  60. Of course not.

    <!– @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } PRE { font-family: “Arial” } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } –>
    Eph 6:4 And fathers, do not provoke your children, but nurture them
     in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.

    This is the verse I am commenting on. In the Greco-Roman world the
    paterfamilias had the power over kids. But in the believing word, both
    parents have the power over kids, it is mutual. So substitute parents
    for fathers in the above, it applies to both, but Paul used paternes,
    so that the Roman spies at church meetings looking for subversion
    would not find it EXPLICITLY in his letter.

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