For the previous three posts in this series:
To conclude this miniseries, I would like to reflect on what Clement, Irenaeus, and other Church Fathers have taught us about the potential of Adam and Eve as immature children. To see the first human beings not as adult Frankenstein monstrosities born perfect, immortal (or mortal for that matter) but as innocent infants who lacked Wisdom is to challenge the notion of Original Sin. Original Sin has historically been taught, at first, as being passed down biologically. The readings of Genesis that argue in OS’s favor do much to not stress the priestly offices of Adam and Eve. Fortunately both narrative and historical readings of Genesis are bringing Christians back to realizing that these little tikes were not (theologically understood) first as primary in terms of numerology, but first, as in place and vocation. Adam and Eve are members of the first family of worshippers who folks like Irenaeus thought to be part of God’s plan to have the Logos dwell with us from the beginning. It is this teaching of Ancestoral Sin, that idea that Adam and Eve introduced the Curse of Death into this world that, IMO, leads to a better understanding of the whole of the biblical narrative, it remains consistent with a Christus Victor view of atonement as well as free will arguments in favor of the Triune God’s existence.
Some of the political implications for seeing the YHWH’s First Family in the Garden of Eden as small children is to make our children, the future of our societies, the centers of our political thought. Rather than being seen as afterthoughts to be taken care of by the educational system, children’s rights, whether we are talking about labor laws (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), protections against domestic violence, even our foreign policy where we murder innocent Yemeni and Pakistani children with our inhumane droning policies would get called into question if children were to take center-stage.
This may be the end of this mini-series for now, as it relates to Clement and Irenaeus, but today I ran across a guy named Theophilus of Antioch, who has some of the similar teachings to Clement and Irenaeus on Adam and Eve. I plan on exploring his interpretation in the months ahead. For more, see Brian LePort: Theophilus of Antioch according to Rick Rogers
Are there any other Church Fathers PRIOR TO CONSTANTINE who had this view of Genesis? I would be very interested. Please let me know in the comments below or on twitter or facebook.
Thanks in advance.