Who Was Adam? Scientific and Theological Perspectives: Preview

A monkey in the zoo was heard asking the question, “Am I my keeper’s brother?” The theory of evolution answers the question with an unambiguous “YES!”Apes and humans share a common descent.

Given below are several evolutionary interpretations of the relationship between humans (hominin) and apes (hominid) based on an unproven assumption – that any similarities found between them is due to a common ancestor. Continue reading “Who Was Adam? Scientific and Theological Perspectives: Preview”

Original Sin (Part 3/3): Romans 5:12 – An Exercise in Exegesis and Theology

It is common for young seminarians to entertain the strange notion that biblical studies is superior to theology because biblical scholars build their interpretation on objective exegesis while theologians spin theories out of thin air. The notion is misguided as sound interpretation of the Bible requires both exegesis based on rigorous linguistics studies and theological analysis that is logically coherent and informed by insights gained from historical theology.

It is arguable that the lack of theological depth is characteristic of much contemporary biblical scholarship, and that this lack is a serious impediment to good exegesis. A similar criticism may be leveled at theological analysis that is not founded on solid exegetical groundwork.

The analysis of Rom. 5:12 given below provides a excellent model of well-rounded and nuanced interpretation based on robust exegesis and coherent theological analysis.

Romans 5:12 – An Exercise in Exegesis and Theology Continue reading “Original Sin (Part 3/3): Romans 5:12 – An Exercise in Exegesis and Theology”

Original Sin (Part 2/3): Death in Adam, Life in Christ (Rom. 5:12-21)

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned

Διὰ τοῦτο ὥσπερ διʼ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου ἡ ἁμαρτία εἰς τὸν κόσμον εἰσῆλθεν καὶ διὰ τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὁ θάνατος, καὶ οὕτως εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὁ θάνατος διῆλθεν, ἐφʼ ᾧ πάντες ἥμαρτον. (Rom. 5:12)

I. The Context of Romans 5:12-21
In verses 12–21 the apostle Paul outlines how Adam as the head of the present human race is analogical to that of Christ as the head of the new humanity. He uses the occasion of sin entering the world to compare the effects of Christ’s obedience which brings righteousness and life, with the effects of Adam’s disobedience which brings sin and death. The basis for the analogy is given in verse 14 where Adam is described as “the type of the one to come.”/1/ Continue reading “Original Sin (Part 2/3): Death in Adam, Life in Christ (Rom. 5:12-21)”

Original Sin (Part 1/3): Introduction

A. Original Sin Defined
Society is in a mess. Evil abounds. It’s manifestation ranges from cases of small time swindlers cheating gullible investors in Ponzi schemes to big corporations exploiting helpless workers. Evil is magnified when terrorists massacre defenseless villagers and the authorities abuse the law to punish innocent citizens. The list goes on.

The Christian doctrine of Original Sin explains that evil entered human society during the Fall when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God’s command at the Garden of Eden. The result is that every descendant of Adam has become morally corrupt and stands guilty before God. We are powerless to rehabilitate ourselves. Only God can rescue us from this moral quagmire.

The scope of the doctrine of Original Sin includes : 1) the guilt of the first sin in Adam, (2) the corruption of human nature resulting from the first sin, and (3) actual transgressions or sinful actions which result from corruption of human nature. Continue reading “Original Sin (Part 1/3): Introduction”

Co-Creator or Priestly Steward

Protagonists in current debates on biotechnology are conscious of the fact that technology has brought mixed blessings. How one should determine the appropriateness and limits of applying technology for human betterment is difficult precisely because the terms of reference used in the debate – like well-being, freedom, dignity and human nature – are essentially contestable. Some clarifications of these terms is necessary before we can determine the limits of applying biotechnology for the perfecting of man.

Co-Creator or Priestly Steward

Theological Perspectives on Biotechnology and the Perfectibility of Man

Ng Kam Weng

Related article: Creation Care and Renewal

This paper attempts to uncover the hidden warrants and moral assumptions utilized by theologians who support the case for biotechnology and genetic engineering. The concept of man as co-creator, which underlies these theologians’ positive reception of biotechnology, will be critiqued in the light of recent philosophical history of human agency and biblical teaching on the stewardship of creation.

* This paper was published in Beyond Determination and Reductionism: Genetic Science and the Person ed. Mark LYChan & Roland Chia. Adelaide: Australian Theological Forum 2003.

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“Then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” Genesis 11:6
Man is neither angel nor beast. When he tries to live like an angel he acts like a beast – Pascal

Protagonists in current debates on biotechnology are conscious of the fact that technology has brought mixed blessings. How one should determine the appropriateness and limits of applying technology for human betterment is difficult precisely because the terms of reference used in the debate – like well-being, freedom, dignity and human nature – are essentially contestable. Some clarifications of these terms is necessary before we can determine the limits of applying biotechnology for the perfecting of man.

This paper attempts to uncover the hidden warrants and moral assumptions utilized by theologians who support the case for biotechnology and genetic engineering. The concept of man as co-creator, which underlies these theologians’ positive reception of biotechnology, will be critiqued in the light of recent philosophical history of human agency and biblical teaching on the stewardship of creation. Continue reading “Co-Creator or Priestly Steward”