Friday, January 25, 2013

Snack shop Theology

Today's passage:  Genesis 3: 1-3
     How do I begin this post?  I am not a Bible theologian.  I am not even a Bible scholar.  I love reading and studying God's Word.  I did go to Bible college, but I can't say I was most alert in my Bible classes.  Except for basic freshman Bible History and Life of Christ classes, most of them were over my head.  I took notes, but I didn't really absorb much.  This is probably because the rest of my Bible classes were usually geared towards preacher boys or soon-to-be missionary men.  I'm not complaining, that's as it should be.  I never participated in the theological arguments proposed because I guess I just was not interested in debates, or I figured that if God wanted us to know such and such, He would have told us.  Doctrine class was always a catalyst for discussion.  I mostly zoned out and doodled until class notes resumed.  The campus snack shop was usually abuzz about one of the discussions in one of our Bible classes, thus earning those who engaged in such debate the moniker--"snack shop theologians".  Sometimes a professor would drop by and weigh in on these discussions while sipping his coffee or eating his bagel.
     What I wonder sometimes is if I have become one of those?  Because lately, I have had a lot more questions about things I read in the Bible.  Not questioning its validity, inerrancy, or infallibility. Not even questioning a majority of the things I have always been taught and have believed.  Sometimes I just have a nagging question that sits in the back of my mind, because I have always heard something a certain way, and I wonder if I'm the one with the wrong question, or if the ones from whom I've heard something taught had the wrong question.  Chapter 2 tells us about God creating Adam.  Something I think I had forgotten is that when God gave the instructions about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve had not been created yet.  He gave those instructions to Adam.  I think right there God established Adam as the head of the household and the spiritual leader of his family (though he did not yet have one).
16  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:  for in the day that  thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
      When Eve is confronted by the serpent in Chapter 3, she says:
3  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.
     I've heard it preached on many occasions that Eve added to God's instructions.  When God gives the instructions to Adam, He never tells Adam not to touch the tree, only not to eat it.  If Eve really did add to God's instructions, wouldn't that have been sin?  But sin hadn't entered into the world yet.  So am I wrong?  Or are the people who have taught it this way wrong?  Did God have another conversation with the couple after Eve had been created, and at that time added the instructions about not touching the tree?  Or did God leave that spiritual leadership to Adam and allow him to tell her what He had instructed?  Could Adam have possibly just given a stronger admonition to Eve because he loved her and wanted to protect her, not really adding to what God said, just taking the reigns of spiritual leadership that had been handed over to him and knowing that touching the fruit would mean the possibility of partaking of it which would lead to death?  Did Adam tell Eve that God said not to touch it, or did he warn her not to, and she took that to be that God had said it?  Or maybe it is true that she really added to God's words but it was not yet sin.  I don't know.   I have more questions than answers this morning, but I don't think that is a bad thing.  As long as I never question that God's Word (all of it) is true, I don't think God minds that I have questions now and then.  I won't let them consume me, because some day I will have the answers that I seek.  I won't go about insisting that those who have taught it this way are wrong, because I have no way of knowing, and it is obviously not something God chose to let us in on.  Whether or not Eve added to God's Word is not going to any way affect my salvation.  It is not going to affect my Christian growth.  It might make me scratch my head.  It might add to my when-I-see-God-I-want-to-ask-Him-this list, but it won't affect my everyday living.

     Perhaps that is why I never saw the point of all the snack shop theology.  When it boiled down to it, I never saw that any of their arguments ever accomplished anything.  Usually everyone left still holding onto their opinion and none of it changed our salvation or how we should serve the Lord.  I was more interested in my bagel and cup of coffee.  Speaking of which, maybe I would be better off to be more interested in my bagel and cup of coffee this morning as well.

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