No one should ever read Heiser. He is a shoddy theologian, and this garbage is exactly why. Just for fun, and because I wrote extensively on this very verse (available on my blog on the papers page), I'll comment on these links:
- Anyone see a problem in the plain text of Romans 5:12? How about “through one MAN…” and “dead spread to all MEN.” The text says absolutely nothing about animals – zero. Whatever happened at the Fall resulted in a transition from (apparent) immortality to mortality for humankind. Animal life has to be read into the text for the purpose of promoting a specific view of the fossil record. Nothing is said of any other life than humankind, so we should not infer anything about it. The verse cannot be used to justify the idea that animal life (and of course plant life) could not and did not die before the Fall. To argue anything in that regard from this verse is to insert it into the verse.
This isn't taking the argument seriously. No one says that animal death didn't occur because the verse says that death spread to all men
. They say that because the verse says death entered into the world
, and the word "world" is kosmos
. Contrary to popular opinion and often argued erroneously by OECs, kosmos
does not mean (lexically) "the world of mankind." When it so refers to mankind, it does so by figure of speech and is clearly flagged as such in the text. For example, John 3:16 so figuratively uses the word and flags it by clarifying whosoever
, which is personal. That's how you know kosmos
there refers to people. All such flags are absent in Rom 5:12 and, in fact, there are very powerful reasons, grammatically and textually, for taking it in its natural sense
--the entire world.
You can say Paul was wrong
. You cannot say he is only referring to the world of men. That is not what Paul said, and Heiser demonstates a failure to take both those with whom he disagrees and, more seriously, the text itself, seriously.
http://drmsh.com/romans-512-what-it-say ... ay-part-2/
- If ALL humans since Adam inherited Adam’s guilt (however that happens), then why does Jesus get off the hook?
The fact that he not only asks this question but begins his assessment
with this question shows, again, how shoddy his scholarship is. This is obvious. Jesus was born of a virgin. He had no human father but was preserved from the guilt/sin-nature that passed on from generation to generation (so whether you are a creationist or traducian, no one thinks Jesus was at fault from birth). But even more, there are those who think that Jesus' flesh did
suffer from the same corrupt desires and yet He overcame them. How did He pull that
off? Because He is God. Specifically, because of the Incarnation.
Before I move on, looko at how Heiser tries to represent the answer I just gave: "Oh, Jesus was God, so he didn’t have original sin.” Wrong. Notice that's not what I, or ANY theologian, says. He's just dishonest here. So then he gets closer to the mark by saying, "He was virgin born, and we all know that sin is transmitted through the male-after all, Jesus is compared to Adam in Romans 5, not Eve." But notice how he misrepresents what we actually say. It's not that sin is transmitted through the male. I never said that. No one does. It is that Jesus had a DIVINE FATHER, and such divinity entails perfection. Yes, Jesus is 100% man, but He is also 100% God. Can God be imperfect? Think about all the diseased people Jesus touched and healed. When Jesus touches, He brings them wholeness because of His own wholeness. How does not not apply first and foremost to His own humanity?!? Heiser either knows this is the standard argument and is too dishonest to admit it or doesn't know it and is, as usual, talking about things he doesn't understand.
Lastly from the same link:
- The problem is straightforward: we either assume the full humanity of Jesus or we don’t. The full humanity of Jesus–laid out so clearly and repeatedly in the New Testament–isn’t what’s causing the original sin problem with him; it’s the way we understand original sin and misuse Romans 5:12.
This illustrates the depth of Heiser's failure to understand basic Christian philosophy. Humanity itself isn't broken. The human nature itself is not broken. MY human nature is broken. YOUR human nature is broken, but that's because you, THE PERSON, are broken. To say that humanity itself is broken, as a nature, is absurd. No one claims that. Other that Heiser, because he's a hack. No, Jesus took on a human nature--a perfect, not-fallen, human nature. Because He is a Person, and He, the Person, is Perfect.
- Augustine saw this problem very clearly. In response, he came up with a different view, which theologians call “seminal headship.” This was the idea that all humans were actually present in Adam “in Adam’s loins” so to speak, and so we all “sinned in Adam” when he sinned. We participated in his sin in a real sense (an act of our will) and became guilty before we were born. This view has three enemies: (1) logic (it makes little sense), (2) it requires that persons pre-exist before they are born – an idea that is not reincarnation but which is a component of a reincarnation worldview, and (3) science (it is simply not true that PERSONS are resident in one’s ancestors). Persons are not genetic traits. On this I would recommend a terrific little book that argues for personhood (and hence pro-life) purely on the basis of science and philosophical logic: Embryo. The authors lay out the science of what happens from the moment of fertilization (and even before). The idea that all of humanity as persons were present in Adam is absolutely false, and so Augustine’s view gets us nowhere, though he astutely saw the problem with the federal view.
Now, let it be said that I am not an Augustinian by any account, but we must be fair. And Heiser is not. Heiser is simply misrepresenting Augustine in a way that is embarrassing. For Augustine nowhere claims that all persons are in Adam. That's just not Augustine. Allow me to qutoe from Aquinas who explains Augustine as follows:
- An individual can be considered either as an individual or as part of a whole, a member of a society . . . . Considered in the second way an act can be his although he has not done it himself, nor has it been done by his free will but by the rest of the society or by its head, the nation being considered as doing what the prince does. For a society is considered as a single man of whom the individuals are the different members (St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 12). Thus the multitude of men who receive their human nature from Adam is to be considered as a single community or rather as a single body . . . . If the man, whose privation of original justice is due to Adam, is considered as a private person, this privation is not his 'fault', for a fault is essentially voluntary. If, however, we consider him as a member of the family of Adam, as if all men were only one man, then his privation partakes of the nature of sin on account of its voluntary origin, which is the actual sin of Adam" (De Malo, iv, 1).
In other words, Heiser thinks that Augustine means that all persons were in Adam individually, whereas Aquinas is pointing out that all persons were in Adam considered "as a part of a whole, a member of a society." Jesus was simply not
a member of Adam's family. He was human, yes. But human by Incarnation, not by generation from two parents. To say that all humans are Adam's family on the shear basis that all are humans is self-evidently absurd. They are only Adam's chilren if they descend from him, and the point is that Jesus did NOT. He was incarnated by the Holy Spirit, not by Mary and Joseph's marital relations.
Moving on . . .
- I believe that humanity’s need for grace stems from Adam’s fall.
That's not the basis of humanity's need for grace. We would need God's grace whether we were fallen or not. What, does Heiser think that in the next life we won't continue to need God's grace? That's just silly. We need God's grace because we are finite creatures who want to be in communion with the infinite. Our sinfulness only adds to that problem and only requires a special kind of grace.
- What happened at the Fall did indeed effect every human being, rendering every human in need of a Savior, who is Christ
And here he contradicts himself. In previous posts he argues against the traditional views by saying that if Jesus was really human, then we must apply the fall to Him. But here he argues that the Fall effected EVERY human so that EVERY human needs a Savior. Uhm, what about Jesus then? Heiser falls to his own argument. And why? Because his scholarship is sloppy.
Okay, I'm going to stop there. At this point, it looks like he's just commenting on comments. I'm not really interested in that.
Just, please, for the love of God, don't waste your time with Heiser. He's just not a good scholar. He's too busy trying to be different, unique, trying to make a name by saying stuff no one has ever thought of. And in the process, he misrepresents what people have said before him. And as someone who thinks Augustine was wrong, that frustrates me to no end, because Heiser ends up being exactly the post-child for what happens when people tell Augustine he's wrong. In short, he's making all of us look bad. Even if his own interpretation of the verse is right, it doesn't matter, because he gets there the wrong way and in the process burns down straw men all the way. He needs to stop.