Wednesday, 28 December 2011

This is what incoherence looks like

In a Guardian CIF article, Denis Alexander, as part of his hopeless quest to synthesise Darwinism with the Bible, asks the question, why did Jesus die? Good question; but he does not answer it in a coherent way. He gives no more of an answer than he did when he published "Creation or Evolution - Do we have to choose?".

Read it yourself and see if you can figure out the answer. Alexander himself during the article asserts that the Bible nowhere teaches that physical death is the penalty of sin (Alexander holds that death was always man's intended lot, a necessary part of the evolutionary process); yet also on the other hand asserts that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for our sins.

Each time I come across something new from Dr. Alexander, I try to hunt for his explanation of how these two assertions harmonise. I'm not the only reviewer who's raised this issue and tried to get an answer; I'm not aware of anyone who's succeeded yet. Death is not the penalty for sin; Jesus experienced death as the penalty for our sins. I've read this latest one through three times, trying to spot the clue. I don't think there is one.

There's quite a few other give-aways about Dr. Alexander's departure from orthodoxy in the article; I've just chosen to highlight this big one in this blog.


Ned Kelly said...

I agree – Denis Alexander is no more coherent here than in his previous works. If you start with the presumption of evolution, then naturally you are not going to accept that God created Adam uniquely as the Bible states. His opening premise, “the FACT of human evolution”, is without foundation. Alexander’s understanding of history is also skewed. Judaism has always taught that Adam was created, and the Mishnah observes how v. 12 and 24 say that the earth “brought forth”, but in respect of man, God said let us “make”. His statement regarding the definite article in chapters 2 and 4 is misleading – his interpretation is not accepted in traditional Jewish teaching to which I would give greater credence. He also misleads when he refers to Philo as simply a Jewish philosopher. Philo was a Hellenist, and used philosophical allegory in his attempts to infuse Jewish thinking with Greek philosophy. The only place his thinking took root was in the early Hellenist Christian church – he impressed the Jews not at all, and there are many scholarly studies on how Hellenism distorted the Jewish teachings from the time of Jesus. As for such thinking becoming mainstream - I disagree. He gets asinine when he says that Adam and Eve did not drop dead when they sinned, as if their failure to do so proves his point. All in all, another poor effort by Alexander.

Stephen said...

Difficult to know where to start with Alexander's article.

Drawing on a Jewish philosopher and man declared as a heretic is not a good start.

Saying "the Bible suggests" is not a statement designed to fill one with confidence.

Scientists shouldn't pretend to be theologians. He lacks a concept of federal headship.

One could go on...