Monday, May 13, 2013

Reading Revelation

There is no book in the Bible to which I turn more eagerly in hours of depression than to this, with all its mystery, all the details which I do not understand.  I go back to it, to the throne, to the Lamb as it has been slain, and my puzzled mind and my troubled heart feeling the healing virtue; and I hear the song, and I am ready for another day's fighting, for I know that Jesus shall reign.
--G. Campell Morgan

Johnny Cash--"When the Man Comes Around"

We're going over the book of Revelation (not Revelations!) in my Bible class.  One of the students mentioned Johnny Cash's song "When the Man Comes Around" for its use of imagery and language drawn from this book.  Here's the video with lyrics following.  Also I found someone who had put together a nice summary list of the biblical allusions.


"And I heard as it were the noise of thunder
One of the four beasts saying come and see and I saw
And behold a white horse"
(Revelation 6:1-2)

There's a man going around taking names
And he decides who to free and who to blame
Everybody won't be treated quite the same
There will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the man comes around

The hairs on your arm will stand up
At the terror in each sip and each sup
Will you partake of that last offered cup
Or disappear into the potter's ground
When the man comes around?

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to a big kettledrum
Voices calling and voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It's Alpha and Omega's kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn trees
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn trees
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks
Until Armageddon, no shalam, no shalom

Then the father hen will call his chickens home
The wise man will bow down before the thorn
And at his feet they will cast the golden crowns
When the man comes around

Whoever is unjust let him be unjust still
Whoever is righteous let him be righteous still
Whoever is filthy let him be filthy still
Listen to the words long written down
When the man comes around

Hear the trumpets, hear the pipers
One hundred million angels singing
Multitudes are marching to a big kettledrum
Voices calling and voices crying
Some are born and some are dying
It's Alpha and Omega's kingdom come

And the whirlwind is in the thorn trees
The virgins are all trimming their wicks
The whirlwind is in the thorn trees
It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks
In measured hundred weight and penny pound
When the man comes around

"And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts
And I looked and behold, a pale horse
And his name that sat on him was Death
And Hell followed with him."
(Revelations 6:7-8)

Biblical Allusions:

The phrase "There's a man going around taking names" also refers to the song of that name popularized by folk singer Lead Belly.

A spoken portion from Revelation 6:1-2 describes the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, each heralded by one of the "four beasts" first mentioned in Revelation 4:6-9.

The chorus says that these events will be accompanied by trumpets, pipers, and "one hundred million angels singing". The voice of the Lord in Revelation is said to be the sound of a loud trumpet. (Revelation 1:10; 4:1; and 8:13) Revelation 5:11 states that John saw that there are millions of angels in Heaven.

The line "There'll be a golden ladder reaching down." references to Jacob's dream of a ladder or stairwell (Jacob's ladder) from earth to heaven and God's subsequent blessing of Jacob in Genesis 28:12.

"Or disappear into the potter's ground" is a reference to the field that was purchased with the money Judas Iscariot received for betraying Jesus as recorded in Matthew 27:3-10. The field was purchased by the chief priests "as a burial place for strangers" (New American Standard).

"It's Alpha and Omega's kingdom come" is a reference to the book of Revelation. God refers to himself as "the Alpha and the Omega" in Revelation (1:8; 21:6; 22:13). Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, hence God is, "the First and the Last,the Beginning and the End."

The lines "Whoever is unjust, let him be unjust still. Whoever is righteous, let him be righteous still. Whoever is filthy, let him be filthy still." is another reference to the book of Revelation (22:11).

The chorus also repeats the point that "the whirlwind is in the thorn tree". This reference is explained in Cash's 1997 autobiography with Patrick Carr, "Cash" (HarperCollins). He writes that Queen Elizabeth II (whose coronation Cash witnessed while he was serving as a US Airman) appeared to him in a dream and said "Johnny Cash, you're a thorn bush in a whirlwind". Cash later found the same reference in the Book of Job, and was inspired to write thirty-three verses of what would become "The Man Comes Around".

In the line, "Till Armageddon, no Shalam, no Shalom," Armageddon refers to the climactic battle between good and evil in Revelation 16:16. Shalom means "peace" in Hebrew.

"The father hen will call his chickens home" is a reference to a lament Jesus spoke regarding Jerusalem as recorded in Luke 13:34.

One line says "The virgins are all trimming their wicks." This refers to a parable told by Jesus in Matthew 25:7. The women who were "trimming their wicks" were ready for Jesus' return.

The line "It's hard for thee to kick against the pricks" is from Acts 9:5. The apostle Paul also refers to the time when he was knocked to the ground by a voice from heaven in Acts 26:14. It reads, "And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks." Saul had been hunting and killing Christians and was now being called to reform by Jesus.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Conspiracy Theory Thinking: Connecting the Wrong Dots in the Wrong Ways

I came across this video over at Michael Heiser's blog UFO Religions and thought it was great!

Heiser has some very apt comments as well:
The value of the video should be obvious. Every fact presented in it is indeed a fact from the movie. And every connection drawn is “reasonable” in the context of the narrative created. But the conclusions are absolutely wrong. This is precisely how so much conspiratorial thinking works … and fails horribly. Conspiracy is all about narrative interpretation, not “facts”.  Once one part of the narrative fails, the whole thing crumbles. The beauty of the video is that the viewer already knows the narrative is wrong, but can see how that bogus narrative is created using nothing but factual data.
In short, it’s not about the data dots; it’s about how the dots are connected — and that usually (nearly always) happens in the theater of the imagination when it comes to conspiracy theory.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Historical Adam Bibliography

Last Summer I gave a lecture on the historicity of Adam in light of recent controversies among evangelicals.  Below is the bibliography (as well as more items that I've been adding since that time).  I strongly recommend the articles by Anderson, Caneday (my favorite!), and Moreland.

My lecture notes can be found HERE.

A few other blog posts on the issue of the historicity of Adam:

"The Search for the Historical Adam"

Adam and the Epistemic Status of Scripture

J. P. Moreland on Adam and Eve: What Consequences for Denying Their Historicity?

*Note: Sorry for some of the formatting issues and that the web addresses below are not links from this page.  You can always cut and paste the address.

Historical Adam: Bibliography

Anderson, James N. “I Love Jesus and I Accept Evolution” (a review of Denis Lamoureux’s
book by the same title) Analogical Thoughts (June 7, 2010).

Anderson, James N. “Objections? We’ve Adam!” Analogical Thoughts (September 22, 2009).

Anderson, James N. “Scripture or Science” Analogical Thoughts (October 8, 2009)

Anderson, James N. “Was Adam a Real Historical Individual?” Analogical Thoughts
(September 21, 2009).

Barlow, Jonathan. “Yes, Virginia, God Did Make Fossils (At Least Once)” Barlow Farms blog
(November, 12, 2011).

Belcher, Richard, Jr. “Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: A Review” Reformation21 (Feb.

Belcher, Richard, Jr. “Reply to Collins’ Reply” Reformation21 (Feb. 29, 2012).

Bruggink, Paul. “A Survey of Views on the Historicity of Adam and Eve” Near Emmaus blog
(June 5, 2012).

Byl, John. “Evolution and the Fall” Bylogos (November 20, 2009).

Byl, John. “Science, History, and the Bible” Bylogos (March 16, 2012).

Byl, John. “The Demolition of Adam” Bylogos (July 27, 2011).

Byl, John. “The Evolution of Calvin College” Bylogos (October 11, 2010).

Caneday, Ardel. “The Language of God and Adam’s Genesis & Historicity in Paul’s Gospel”
SBJT 15.1 (2011), pp. 26-59.

Carson, D. A. “Adam in the Epistles of Paul” In the Beginning… A Symposium on the Bible and
Creation edited by N. M. de S. Cameron (The Biblical Creation Society, 1980).

Collins, C. John. “Adam and Eve as Historical People, Why It Matters” Perspectives on Science
 and Christian Faith, vol. 62, no. 3, (September, 2010), pp. 147-165.

Collins, C. John. Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?  Who They Were and Why You Should Care
            (Crossway, 2011).

Collins, C. John. “The Case for Adam and Eve: Our Conversation with C. John Collins” By
Faith (April, 2012).

Collins, C. John. “Replies to Reviews of Did Adam and Ever Really Exist?Journal of Creation
Theology and Science, vol. 2, 2012.

Collins, C. John. “Reply to Richard Belcher, ‘Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?: A Review”
 Reformation21 (Feb. 28, 2012).

Collins, C. John. “Review of Peter Enns The Evolution of AdamThe Gospel Coalition (April,

Cosner, Lita.  “A Response to Timothy Keller’s ‘Creation, Evolution and Christian
Laypeople” Creation Ministries International (September 9, 2010).

Cosner, Lita.  “Christ as the Last Adam: Paul’s Use of the Creation Narrative in 1
Corinthians” Journal of Creation 23 (3) 2009, pp. 70-75.

Crowe, Donald. “Review: ‘The Evolution of Adam’ by Peter Enns” The Aquila Report blog
(May 18, 2012).

Day, Allan J., “Adam, Anthropology and the Genesis Record: Taking Genesis Seriously”
 Science and Christian Belief 10 (1998), pp. 115-143.

Doran, N. A. and S. S. McRoberts.  “Adam’s Paradise Lost” (review of C. John Collins’ Did
Adam and Eve Really Exist?) Journal of Creation Theology and Science, vol. 2, 2012.

Enns, Peter. The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human
Origins (Brazos Press, 2012).

Enns, Peter. “Spinning Our Wheels: A Response to a Review of ‘The Evolution of Adam’
(with apologies to those with a 500 word, 1.6 minute internet attention span)” (August 4, 2012).  *Response to Hans Madueme’s review.

Enns, Peter. “Still In the Weeds on Human Origins: A Review of C. John Collins Did Adam
 and Eve Really Exist?Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought (December,

Estelle, Bryan. “Preachers in Lab Coats and Scientists in Geneva Gowns” Ordained Servant
Online (no date).

Estelle, Bryan D. “Should We Still Believe in a Historical Adam?” New Horizons (March,
2012): pp. 9, 20.

Gaffin, Richard B. “’All Mankind, Descending From Him…’?” New Horizons (March, 2012):
pp. 3-5.

Hagerty, Barbara Bradley. “Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve” NPR blog
(August 9, 2011).

Ham, Ken. “The Enns Justifies the Means? A Review of the New Book by Dr. Peter Enns, The
 Evolution of Adam  (January 19, 2012).

Harlow, Daniel C.  “After Adam: Reading Genesis in an Age of Evolutionary Science”
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 62, no. 3, (September, 2010), pp.

Heiser, Michael. “Genesis 1-3 At Face Value—Is It Compatible With Recent Genome
Research?” Naked Bible blog (July 26, 2012).

Heiser, Michael. “The Evolution of Adam: Additional Thoughts” Naked Bible Blog (June 2,

Hoekema, Anthony A. Created in God’s Image (Eerdmans/Paternoster, 1986)—especially
pages 112-117 (“Was Adam a Historical Person?”)

Kaiser, Walter. “The First Three Chapters of Genesis and Their Relationship to Science”
             EFCA Mid-Winter Pastor‘s Conference; Jan 19-21, 2011.

Kidner, Derek. Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary (IVP, 1967), pp. 26-31.

Keister, Adrian. “A Critique of ‘Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople’ by Tim Keller”
Green Baggins blog (Jan. 17, 2012).

Keller, Tim. “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople”

LifeWay Research, “Poll: Pastors Oppose Evolution, Split on Earth’s Age” LifeWay (Jan. 9,

Lloyd, S. J. “Asking the Right Questions” (a review of C. John Collins’ Did Adam and Eve
 Really Exist?) Journal of Creation Theology and Science, vol. 2, 2012.

Lubenow, Marvin, L. Bones of Contention: A Creationist Assessment of Human Fossils (Baker,
1992), chapter 20 “Adam and the Evangelical”.  Note: the second edition of this work (2004) does not contain this discussion.

Lubenow, Marvin L. “Pre-Adamites, Sin, Death and the Human Fossils” CEN Tech. J., vol. 12,
 no. 2, 1998, pp. 222-232.

Luskin, Carey. “Human Origins and Intelligent Design” (2004).

Madueme, Hans. “Some Reflections on Enns and The Evolution of Adam: A Review Essay”
Themelios  vol. 37, no. 2 (July 2012).

McGrath, Gavin Basil. “Soteriology: Adam and the Fall” Perspectives on Science and Christian
 Faith, vol. 49, no. 4 (1997), pp. 252-263.

McKetterick, A. J. “C. John Collins’ Did Adam and Eve Really Exist?Journal of Creation
Theology and Science, vol. 2, 2012.

Millard, A. R. “A New Babylonian ‘Genesis Story’” Tyndale Bulletin 18 (1967), pp. 3-18.

Miller, Rachel.  “The Evolution of Adam: Moses, Paul, and Enns—Just Men of Their Time” A
 Daughter of the Reformation blog, (Feb. 12, 2012).

Miller, Rachel. “Supernatural Creation of Man: Dr. Belcher addresses the historicity of Adam
and critiques Dr. Jack Collins’ “mere-Adam-and-Eve-ism” Daughter of the Reformation Blog, (March 21, 2012).

Moreland, J. P. “Conceptual Problems and the Scientific Status of Creation Science”
Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith vol. 46, no. 1 (March 1994), pp. 2-13.

Moreland, J. P. “The Rationality of Belief in Inerrancy” Trinity Journal NS (1986), pp. 75-86.

Murphy, George L. “Roads to Paradise and Perdition: Christ, Evolution, and Original Sin”
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 58, no. 2 (June 2006), pp. 109-118.

Murray, David P. “Quest for Historical Adam” The Reformed Baptist Trumpet 2.1 (Jan-Mar
2011): pp. 3-12.

Niehaus, Jeffrey, J. Ancient Near Eastern Themes in Biblical Theology (Kregel, 2008).

Ostling, Richard N. “The Search for the Historical Adam” Christianity Today (June, 2011):
pp. 23-27.

Oswalt, John N. The Bible Among the Myths: Unique Revelation or Just Ancient Literature
(Zondervan, 2009).

Presbyterian Church in America. Creation Study Committee Report to the 28th General
Assembly, June 21, 2000.

Poythress, Vern S. “Adam Versus Claims From Genetics” Westminster Theological Journal 75
(2013), pp. 65-82.

Poythress, Vern S. “Evaluating the Claims of Scientists” New Horizons (March, 2012): pp.

Reeves, Mike. “Adam and Eve” Should Christians Embrace Evolution?  Edited by Norman C.
 Nevin (InterVarsity Press, 2009).

Schaeffer, Francis. Genesis in Space and Time (1972) in The Complete Works of Francis A.
Schaeffer: volume 2 (Crossway Books, 1982).

Schaeffer, Francis. No Final Conflict (1975) in The Complete Works of Francis A.
Schaeffer: volume 2 (Crossway Books, 1982).

Schneider, John R. “Recent Genetic Science and Christian Theology on Human Origins: An
 ‘Aesthetic Supralapsarianism’” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 62,
no. 3, (September, 2010), pp. 196-212.

Smith, Henry B. Jr.  “Cosmic and Universal Death From Adam’s Fall: An Exegesis of Romans
8:19-23a” Journal of Creation 21 (1) 2007, pp. 75-85.

Smith, James K. A. “What Galileo’s Telescope Can’t See” Christianity Today (on-line) posted
September 28, 2012.

Smith, James K. A. “Whose Bible? Which Adam? A review of Peter Enns The Evolution of
AdamThe Colossian Forum (April 24, 2012).

Strimple, Robert B. “Was Adam An Historical Person?  And What Difference Does It Make?”

Thompson, Mark D. “The Missionary Apostle and Modern Systematic Affirmation” in The
Gospel to the Nations: Perspectives on Paul’s Mission edited by Peter Bolt and Mark D. Thompson (IVP, 2000).

Trueman, Carl. “Doctrinal Atomism and Theological Adamism” Reformation21 (January 18,

Weeks, Noel. “Problems in Interpreting Genesis: Part 1” Creation 2 (3), (June 1979), pp. 27-

Wood, Todd. “Collin’s Adam and Eve as Historical People” Todd’s Blog (Nov. 16, 2010).

Wood, Todd. “Harlow’s After Adam” Todd’s Blog (Nov. 18, 2010).

Wood, Todd. “Schneider’s Aesthetic Supralapsarianism” Todd’s Blog (Nov. 19, 2010).

Wood, Todd. “Venema’s Genesis and the Genome” Todd’s Blog (Nov. 17, 2010).

Wood, Todd. “Who Were Adam and Eve?  Scientific Reflections on Collins’ Did Adam and
 Eve Really Exist?Journal of Creation Theology and Science vol. 2, 2012.

Yeo, John J. “Recent Challenges to the Doctrine of Inerrancy: Peter Enns and ‘Myth’ in
Genesis 1” (January 23, 2012).

Young, Davis A. “The Antiquity and the Unity of the Human Race Revisited” Christian
Scholar's Review XXIV:4, 380-396 (May, 1995).