Monday, May 26, 2008

God's Word: Ultimate Authority For Protection

Reymond’s Systematic Theology has an interesting section on Man As Covenant Breaker. He explains the interaction between Eve and the Serpent from a presuppositional level. When the Serpent comes to Eve, he attempts to make a declaration of God’s commandment, “Even though God has said you shall not eat of any of the trees of the Garden….” By doing this, the Serpent “demands correction”.

Eve then begins to speak about God's actual commandment and to correct the Serpent. We do know that she too adds to the command of God, but something else is more problematic in Reymond’s view. She grants a talking snake authority. Instead of going to the heart of the matter, Eve assumes authority she doesn’t have. She comes out from under her husband’s protection and takes on a role designed for her husband.

The questions that should have been asked of the snake are something along the lines of, “Who are you? What authority do you have to question God? If God is ultimate truth, how are you able to justify your questions?” Now obviously the Serpent should not have even been given the time of day. God may not be questioned, for to do so is to borrow from God as the ultimate source of knowledge for even having the ability to ask questions in order to refute God as God. In other words, it is absurd from the get-go.

This paragraph from page 445 summarizes, I think, what has been written over 5 pages of argumentation:

“What precisely occurred here? Our first parents permitted Satan to challenge God’s Word concerning the tree and to give an alternative interpretation. When the pair remained silent in the face of Satan’s lie and thus demonstrated their willingness to reject God’s authority over them and their unwillingness to take God at His Word merely on the basis of His sovereign authority, they in effect permitted Satan to reduce God’s Word to a mere hypothesis at best and a lie at worst, the invalidity of which could be demonstrated by scientific testing. This means, however, that the center of authority for man had shifted away from God to himself. Adam and Eve came to believe that they were to be their own authority, that they had the right to determine for themselves by experimentation what is true and what is false. Of course, the fact that they ‘experimented’ at all makes it clear that at the moment they ate they already believed the Serpent’s hypothesis concerning the tree to be true, for had they really believed that their experimentation might lead to their deaths they would hardly have tried it. This shows, as Paul says, that men are never truly autonomous, but rather are walking either in obedience to God or according to the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2). But Adam and Eve thought that it was they who were determining the course they would follow, that they were only exercising their autonomous right to determine for themselves the true, the good, and the beautiful. They became, in their understanding, their own authority, and their fallen descendants ever since that time have claimed a similar autonomy from God.”

The application of this to recent posts is simple. If you have been following the exchange on this Blog and the attempted interaction with Bidstrup’s essay, then you know it is here that I challenged Bidstrup. To this moment, the argumentation has been the same in the comments. Both Bidstrup and Nolan are their own ultimate authorities while not realizing they are in fact enslaved to sin and the prince of the power of the air.

Christians are often caught like Eve. They feel they must defend God. They often use unBiblical means. As Reymond points out on page 444, we must "gladly own [our] creaturehood and happily acknowledge [our] delight in living under such authority."

1 comment:

Howard Fisher said...

“Even though God has said you shall not eat of any of the trees of the Garden….”

This quote is found on page 442 and is cited from Ephraim Speiser's work, Genesis.