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In this week’s solo episode, Pete lays out 5 things to keep in mind when reading the Adam story that will challenge your preconceptions, offer fresh points of view, and likely turn our entire political climate around for the better.

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.


  • Jack says:

    Hi Pete,

    I found these points to be coherent in the broader Biblical context.

    What is the most common objection you face when sharing these particular points?

  • Michael Johnston says:

    I love this episode and your take on the beginning of the story. A common sad reality with Christian theology is when it gets the beginning of the story wrong it ends up getting the entire gospel wrong too–thanks Augustine. In that light, have you discovered any “successful” questions to ask, points to make, types of communication that makes evangelical fundamentalist Christians begin to question their assumptions and consider the theology outlined in this episode?

    • Pete E. says:

      Not really, Michael. I’ve found that it isn’t worth the energy to create dissonance with Fundamentalists and Evangelicals that they aren’t aware of. It’s better to hold out an option for when they see the need themselves push the boundaries.

    • Rein Zeilstra says:

      Our responsibility in witness is primarily to the world in cogent metaphors. It is not to persuade those other ‘in faith’ to climb on our wagon. They have enough given to them to grow on their own way. Invariably one becomes less stringent on oneself and others.

      • Michael Johnston says:

        Rein, I appreciate your insight. My question didn’t come from a place of moral responsibility to the religious construct of witness but rather a place of compassion and love for my dear friends who suffer from dogmatic, legalistic religion. My moral responsibility is only to love my neighbor, and trying to provoke a fundamentalist to reconsider some of the dogma they’ve been handed as indisputable truth is something I very much want to be a part of. Not so they can think like me but so they can think for themselves and ask questions and in so doing experience the grace and freedom available to them. Their tradition did away with almost all mystery and doubt which renders Biblical faith useless and impossible really.

  • Lon Hider says:

    I get the retelling of the Jewish story. What is your take on Cain and Abel as part of that retelling? On a larger scale.

  • says:

    I have a burning question about this topic so here it goes: “Following the idea of Adam as metaphor (which I’m a fan of) when do you think scripture stops being figurative and starts getting real in respect to his descendants? Do we carry the metaphor of “Adam as Israel” over to Cain, or Noah and, if yes, does that make them non-literal as well? And how does that mesh with Luke’s genealogy when he traces Christ to Adam?”

  • Randy says:

    Thank you for this. It resonates with George Macdonald’s “Unspoken Sermons,” section on “Justice.” I think there is a role for preaching this, as the picture we get from some fundamentalists is that God is worse than unforgiving–vindictive and frightening. It turns some people away from the faith. The picture of an unforgiving God who punishes children for their fathers’ sin not only doesn’t resonate with the rest of Scripture (eg Ezekiel 8,9), but jars against Jesus, who was the actual picture of Him. Like Macdonald, I “turn with loathing from the god of Jonathan Edwards.”

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