Questions and Answers

As part of my devotional time, I’ve been reading from 1 Chronicles and a book called The One Year Men of the Bible. Today’s reading was about the Ethiopian Eunuch and Phillip’s willingness and ability to answer the question “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?”

In 1 Peter 3:15, we read, “If someone asks you about your Christian hope, always be prepared to explain it.”

Contrast this instruction with a recent post on Brian McLaren’s blog.  He is asked the following questions:

“First, I have a huge problem with the Creation story. If God was in charge of creation, and created all things then that means he created Adam and Eve to sin and the Devil to make them do it. And the rest of the Old Testament tells the horrible stuff that ensues from that.

In addition, if God created, and he was all alone while doing it, who wrote Genesis? Who was there with God to be able to report on what was going on?”

Rather than answer, he gives cute little responses.  To the first 2 questions (I think, anyway), he responds this way:

“On Genesis, you’re not alone in raising those questions about the Genesis story. But here’s my hunch: the real problem isn’t with the story, but with the assumptions that we bring to the story. For example, what if we’re mistaken in our assumption that the two creation stories (have you noticed that the stories in Gen 1 and 2 are very different?) are meant to be taken as literal, historical, scientific, journalistic fact? What if they have a different intention entirely, because they emerge from a different culture than our own that thought and communicated in different genres and categories than we do? What if we’re mistaken in assuming that to say God inspired a text is exactly equivalent to saying that God wrote it”

Translation:  Our hermeneutic is faulty.  And, he does not even attempt to answer the question.  He doesn’t talk about Genesis 1 being a general overview, while Genesis 2 fills in the details.   He leaves out the oral tradition.  He just asks question upon question, which sows seeds of doubt and misunderstanding.

When people ask questions, we need to answer them.  Sure, there may be some nuance involved, but at the end of the day, the woman came to him with questions, and he simply left them unanswered, beyond his usual, “read my book”. 

I wonder, how might Brian have answered the question of the Ethiopian Eunuch?


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