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Temptation of Eve

Although I’ve titled this the temptation of Eve, at the time of her temptation she hadn’t been named Eve yet.

I love the Bible. It is filled with the story of the gospel, heroic men and women, and enough adventure to satisfy any appetite. I have read and studied the Bible for 48 years and I think I know a thing or two about it.

There are some passages in the Bible that I have heard pastors try to wiggle around. Sometimes to avoid offending anyone. One such passage is Genesis 3, verses 1 – 6, which covers the temptation of Eve.

Usually when people read verse 6, they insist that Adam was there at the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil with Woman. I will get to that in a moment, but we will first deal with verses 1 and 2.

Please understand this, I am not anti-women. And I don’t blame women for our sin condition; that wholly rests on Adam as I will explain.

But on the other side of this break, I want to clarify what I believe happened when Serpent tempted Woman.

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Now back to the article.

In Genesis 3:1-2 Serpent, who was a created creature but became possessed by Lucifer, challenged Eve by asking, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Let’s give Eve her due. I think Eve loved God and immediately sought to defend His honor. She quickly realized that for some reason Serpent was attacking the goodness of God.

So, she responded with, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”

Her statement was incorrect. God never said, “neither shall ye touch it.” If you doubt that check out Genesis 2:17 which happened before Eve’s creation, and Genesis 3:11 which occurred after Adam sinned.

Now I have heard pastors explain this as Eve must have been told by Adam that God said, “neither shall ye touch it.” But there is no scripture in the Bible that says such a thing. More importantly, God doesn’t rebuke Adam for such a misquote.

Eve said what popped into her mind probably to emphasize God’s command. It certainly wasn’t intentional. That being the case, why make an issue of it and shift the blame to Adam?

‘But that is a minor issue compared to Genesis 3:6: And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto here husband with her; and he did eat.’

Notice the part I highlighted. The common interpretation is that Adam was with her when she ate the fruit. If that argument is correct, then I contend that Adam was a terrible husband and was at least partly responsible for Eve eating the fruit.

You see, according to the Bible, Adam was not deceived (1 Timothy 2:14). So, here is my problem with that interpretation of Genesis 3:6.

That would mean that Adam was with her from verse 1 when Serpent cast doubt about God but didn’t offer any response. Instead, it was Eve who responded.

But when she misquoted God, Adam didn’t correct her. Now if he had told her God had said that then no correction would have been forthcoming. But it gets more interesting.

In verses 4 and 5 Serpent (actually Lucifer speaking through him) attacked God’s honesty and virtue. Yet, if Adam was there, he remained silent!

And then in verse 6, he didn’t warn Eve. Remember, he wasn’t deceived. So, he should have warned her and told Serpent to take a hike! But he didn’t!

If Adam was with her at the tree, then he was a terrible husband. One man, no matter his faith, would allow the woman they loved to stand alone against these lies and temptations. His silence would have been all the justification Eve needed.

But when God asked Eve for her reasoning in verse 13, she did not point a finger at Adam, only at Serpent. Despite the fact that Adam had just pointed a finger at her.

In the Old Testament there are many occasions when a single verse refers to multiple events or time periods. I believe that verse 6 can be broken into at least two parts. Part one relating to Eve’s sin, and part two meaning that Adam was with her in the garden not with her at the tree. When you look at the chapter in context then that understanding makes perfect sense.

Why do I make such an issue of it here? Because pastors make an issue of it in their sermons. As if to exonerate the woman. But I have heard it taught that if Adam had not eaten of the fruit, woman (Eve) would have died, and God would have replaced her. I don’t know if that is correct but given God’s command and the circumstances that took place, it sounds reasonable.

In addition, our sin nature stems from Adam not from Adam and Eve. She shared in the action and the consequences of that action. But it is, “…by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12)

Eve doesn’t need to be exonerated. Adam was not deceived but chose to sin, perhaps because he loved Eve. But, if so, he put Eve above God in his heart. There is no excuse, and Adam’s only attempt at one was to point a finger at Eve, and ultimately at God.

When he ate of the fruit, the consequences of that sin fell upon both him and Eve, and all mankind. The great truth here is that God in His mercy provided a Redeemer Who took our place on the cross and provided forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

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Why It’s Wrong for Colleges to Queer the Bible?

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Monday’s I try to focus on issues. This week I am taking a look at Why it’s wrong for colleges to Queer the Bible?

There is a movement going on today that is taking over our colleges, a movement that attacks God’s Word. It is called Queering the Bible. In doing research on this issue I came across the arguments for queering the Bible and a site that comes out in direct opposition to this movement. The site is called True freedom Trust and it is for those people who have homosexual leanings but take a stand against it. I will be taking excerpts from their site and using them in this blog. I will also add comments throughout the excerpts which will be enclosed [ ].

I am a Christian totally opposed to homosexual, lesbian, transgender, and any other tag these people use. Before I get to the gist of the blog I want to, in my own words, answer the often given reason for such behavior, namely “I was born this way”.

Isn’t It True that People are Born Gay?

Normally we answer that with an emphatic NO. But let’s take a Biblical view. Back in the Garden of Eden Adam sinned and ever since we have been born with a sin nature. With that in mind the answer could be YES!

What?

Let me explain. When you and I were born we were born with a sin nature. When we get saved we don’t lose that sin nature, it is with us for life. We are given a new nature which is sinless and wants to please God. But in the beginning we have a sin nature.

That means we have the ability and tendency to commit any sin! That includes murdering, lying, gossiping, homosexuality, stealing, lesbianism, bullying, transgendering, voyeurism, drunkenness, cheating, and the list goes on. It is sin and we are all capable of the vilest sin!

What is Queering the Bible?

Let’s define queer first. The term queer is a word that encompasses homosexuality, lesbianism, and transgender.

Queering the Bible means studying the Bible from the homosexual point of view. The article I referred to earlier is actually Queer Theology.

What is Queer Theology?

Queer theology is a theological method that has developed out of the philosophical approach of queer theory, built upon scholars such as Michel Foucault, Gayle Rubin, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, and Judith Butler. Queer theology begins with an assumption that gender non-conformity and gay and lesbian desire have always been present in human history, including the Bible. It was at one time separated into two separate theologies; gay theology and lesbian theology. Later the two would merge to become the more inclusive term of queer theology. [emphasis is mine.]

  1. Theology done by and for LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) individuals focusing on their specific needs.
  2. Theology that purposefully opposes social and cultural norms regarding gender and sexuality. It seeks to unearth hidden voices or hidden perspectives that allows theology to be seen in a new light.
  3. Theology that challenges and deconstructs boundaries, particularly with respect to sexual and gender identity.

Queer theology is inclusive to individuals’ sexual and gender identity and allows the LGBTQ community to reclaim their space in Christianity.

How Do They Support This?

Well let’s start with Jesus. According to Wikipedia:

In a paper read at the Conference of Modern Churchmen in 1967 titled “Jesus, the Revelation of God”, Hugh William Montefiore offers a controversial interpretation of the early life of Jesus. Jesus was not aware of his vocation as Messiah until approximately age thirty, Montefiore argues, and this vocation can therefore not explain the celibacy of Jesus.

[My reply to this: Such a belief completely ignores, dismisses, or misunderstands Jesus’ visit to the synagogue when twelve years of age! Not only that, it completely discounts Jesus’ statement to his parents: “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? Jesus knew Who He was and why He came! Joseph was his step-father, God was His Father; and please note the capital F in ‘Father’s’.]

Montefiore finds the explanation that Jesus was homosexual consistent with his identification with the poor and oppressed:

All the synoptic gospels show Jesus in close relationship with the ‘outsiders’ and the unloved. Publicans and sinners, prostitutes and criminals are among his acquaintances and companions. If Jesus were homosexual in nature (and this is the true explanation of his celibate state) then this would be further evidence of God’s self-identification with those who are unacceptable to the upholders of ‘The Establishment’ and social conventions.

One proponent of queer theology was Marcella Althaus-Reid, who drew on Latin American liberation theology and interpreted the Bible in a way in which she saw as positive towards women, queer people and sex. She proposed a theology that centered marginalized people, including people in poverty and queer people. For Althaus-Reid, theology ought to be connected to the body and lived experience. She put it this way:

Indecent Sexual Theologies […] may be effective as long as they represent the resurrection of the excessive in our contexts, and a passion for organizing the lusty transgressions of theological and political thought. The excessiveness of our hungry lives: our hunger for food, hunger for the touch of other bodies, for love and for God. […] [O]nly in the longing for a world of economic and sexual justice together, and not subordinated to one another, can the encounter with the divine take place. But this is an encounter to be found at the crossroads of desire, when one dares to leave the ideological order of the heterosexual pervasive normative. This is an encounter with indecency and with the indecency of God and Christianity.

One theme in the theology of her The Queer God (Routledge, 2003) is the holiness of the gay club, as she explores the intersection and essential non-contradiction of a strong, vibrant faith life and sexual desire. An example of finding otherness and desire in Biblical texts is her reading of Jeremiah 2:23–25 from the Hebrew:

[…] a young camel deviating from her path: a wild she-ass accustomed to the wilderness, sniffing the wind in her lust. Who can repel her desire? And you said, No! I love strangers, the different, the unknown, the Other, and will follow them.

[My reply to this: This is a very convenient quote particularly when you leave off verse 22. Here’s the KJV version of Jeremiah 2:22 -25.

For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.”

Please note that this entire passage (plus verses preceding it) are directed at one who is clearly not pleasing to God. This passage condemns the gay life not exalts it. The above highlights are mine.]

The remainder of this blog features excerpts from the True freedom Trust (some words may seem odd but that is because it is written from the United Kingdom – I have done some editing.)

Introduction

This article offers a brief critique of the movement known as queer theology, by analyzing two of its main distinctive features. These two distinctive features are firstly the broadness of queer theology and its unity of purpose and secondly, its aim of blurring boundaries in the areas of sex and gender.

Distinctive One – Broadness and Unity

One key distinctive of queer theology is how broad the movement is and yet how an overarching goal unites it. We will define the goal as a ‘…revision of the church’s understanding of the Bible, sexual morality and the meaning of marriage.’

The broadness of queer theology can be seen by contrasting scholars such as Brooten, who acknowledge that the Scriptures condemn same-sex practice but in doing so argue that they should be ‘disregarded,’ with those who are supposedly more ‘evangelical’ in their approach.

An evangelical approach can be seen through the arguments of Vines who seeks to show that the Scriptures do not prohibit all forms of same-sex sexual expression. Instead, Vines asserts that ‘Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.’ The approach of Vines and others is often argued by attempting to show that the explicit references to same-sex practice in the Scriptures should not be taken as applicable to modern, committed same-sex relationships.

Others, like Rudy, would not seek monogamy or commitment as a moral principle for which to strive. Rudy, for example, claims that non-monogamous sex can be viewed as a hospitable, progressive ethic.. .Wilson, on the more liberal wing, talks of ‘bodily hospitality’ where promiscuity is considered a gift, whereas Jeffrey John articulates an approach which talks of same-sex relationships being ‘permanent, faithful and stable.’

 John is seeking what he sees as equal rights for same-sex couples, whereas Wilson is celebrating a more expressive sexuality. One approach wants a seat at the table of societal institutions such as marriage, whereas the other is happy to tip the table over. Both, however, have a minimal aim of encouraging others to see same-sex practice as honorable to God.

Someone who seeks to argue from the Bible for faithful same-sex relationships is James Brownson, who states ‘my… commitment to the centrality of Scripture has not changed’. We can contrast Brownson’s approach with that of Adrian Thatcher. Thatcher makes it plain that his books are ‘always written from a progressive, liberal perspective’ with the aim of helping to make churches ‘more inclusive.’

Thatcher, Brownson, Vines, and Wilson all highlight the broad and varying hermeneutical approaches taken within the sphere of queer theology.

One lamentable strength regarding the broadness of queer theology is that it reaches a wide audience. If for example, queer theology was to exist only in more liberal forms, its blasphemous conclusions would be dismissed out of hand by many Christians and would never pose a challenge to many in our churches. Two examples of this are Boer’s view that God should be understood as a sexual top who engages in sadomasochistic relationships with humans, and Althaus-Reid’s view that the Trinity should be understood as an orgy.

Although still assiduously seeking to twist the scriptures, the more conservative wing of queer theology is much less likely to be dismissed as quickly as scholars like Boer. This wing at least has what it describes as a ‘high view’ of Scripture, and claims to discern the true meaning of the biblical texts. As previously mentioned, however, the common goal of validating same-sex practice within the Church is shared by both ends of this movement.

We have seen that the broadness of queer theology gives it a regrettably broad reach. Both ends of queer theology do, however, have serious flaws, which mitigate against it being considered a useful hermeneutic.

The more conservative wing of queer theology has failed in its attempt to reconcile a high view of Scripture with a consistent hermeneutical approach that highlights how and why the Biblical prohibitions on same-sex practice are no longer applicable. Even if this were achieved, however, it would still be in danger of arguing from silence as there are no positive references to same-sex practice in the Scriptures. It is hard to reconcile arguments from silence with what many deem to be a ‘high view’ of Scripture, although Wilson does argue that biblical narratives such as David and Jonathan affirm an LGBT experience.

[It is rediculous to claim David and Jonathan were gay. These were best friends. Period!]

The work of theologians like Brooten highlights how weak the more evangelical wing of this movement is. Brooten’s work highlights that it is not just exploitative relationships which fall under Paul’s condemnation in Romans 1.

Romans 1… establishes the universal sinfulness of same-sex practice, rather than as merely a culturally limited prohibition.

[This first chapter of Romans displays the weakness of the arguments in behalf of queer theology. Verses 26 and 27 clearly describe female same-sex and male same-sex practices. And it is clearly condemned! Moreover the references to the Creator take us all the way back to Genesis and establishes the universal sinfulness of same-sex practice.]

The information above was on the technical side but it was so good I felt I had to include it with only minor editing.

Conclusion

Queer Theology is simply bankrupt! Try as they might you cannot truly queer the Bible. It is the Word of God and must be taken as a whole. God has consistently condemned the queer life-style. On the other hand He’s never argued against the claim they were born that way. We are all born sinners, capable of the filthiest sins, including same-sex practices. That is why we all must be born again!

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ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship (Book One), Pauline A New Home (Book Two), Task Force Hunter (Book Three), or Black Death (Book Four), I value your reviews.

If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Agape Love

Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Today I am writing about Agape Love.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Before taking a closer look at Agape, let’s look at the four different words in the Bible for love:

  1. Eros: erotic love. This is not found in either the Old Testament or New Testament.
  2. Storge: empathy. This is in the Bible and has to deal with having empathy for someone.
  3. Philia or Phileo: friendship, having tender affection for someone or something. While this can include sexual it is usually in relationship to brotherly love. We get philanthropia, love of people, from it; also philanthropy, love of humanity.
  4. Agape: sacrificial love. Best example is God loves us no matter what!

The problem we have in today’s society is that while love is on the minds of people, even to the point of emphasizing God is love, it usually is speaking of Eros or, at best, Phileo. Simply put the unbelieving world doesn’t know the difference between the different types of love, so they bring God’s love down to what they understand thereby polluting it.
Agape love actually doesn’t have a definitive meaning. Sacrificial love probably comes the closest, but it still doesn’t catch the whole meaning. That is why when describing it we often need examples. The example above (John 3:16) shows sacrificial love and a whole lot more. How do you describe the kind of love it took for God the Son to suffer separation from God the Father for even a second? And He did it for us! Yes, it is Agape love at its best but it is impossible to define it with any more meaning in man’s tongue.
Yet we are commanded to have Agape love. In John 13:34 we are told to love one another, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” That is not talking about sexual love or even friendly love, but rather a sacrificial love for one another. We Christians are to be known by that kind of love with the added “especially of the household of faith.”
What doesn’t Agape love mean?”
As stated above it doesn’t mean sexual love. Nor does it mean brotherly love. Sometimes the world wants us to be more loving toward those who are gross sinners. They use Scripture that contains the Agape love as their basis. That is pure ignorance of the Word of God. God loves everyone but not their sins. And that is what we as Christians need to be: love the sinner but hate the sin. That’s hard to do because many people in the bondage of sin want you to “tolerate” their sin which the Bible condemns.
The fact of the matter is everyone was born a sinner. Each one of us is born with a natural bent toward sin of any type. God understands this, which is why it was necessary for Him to send His Son to pay the penalty for sin. But Christ’s sacrifice of His life and His Divine oneness with the Father isn’t a Get Out of Jail card enabling us to sin and then use the card when necessary. It is a Gift Card paid for by Jesus Christ. It has eternal value but cannot be used as an excuse for illicit activities.
So God wants us to show a sacrificial love toward everyone. We are to judge sin as He judges it, but we are to love the sinner with open arms restoring them as much as is possible. This is particularly true of our love for the brethren (other born again people).
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? I am always looking for book reviews. Whether it is Perished The World That Was (Book One), World of Noah and the Ark (Book Two), World of Shem (Book Three), World of Abraham (Book Four) or Death Ship to the Stars Book One) and now Pauline A New Home (Book Two), I value your reviews.
If you would like to review any of these books contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. An example of an appropriate subject line would be: ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ In the email make sure to indicate your email address, your name, and the choice of copy (PDF or ePub).

– – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.