Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR

N.T. Wright on America’s ‘Adam & Eve’


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Brian W.

posted June 29, 2010 at 6:40 am


Genesis 1 and 2 are poetry in Hebrew. Could they be historical narrative? Sure. But there’s beauty in the text, as well. There’s something deeply metaphorical about the relationship between humanity and God. We must not miss the forest for the trees.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:04 am

I had to listen to this twice because I come here with the assumption that any video/photo/poster I see will be wildly ridiculous. But I thought this video was fascinating. I love how he talked about our theology and politics being “umbilically” tied, how we are so afraid to take one stance for fear it will wrongly proclaim or deny another.

I have often felt like a bad Christian for espousing beliefs all across the American political spectrum. This video is a great reminder that there is more to the story and that the story gives us great freedom.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:15 am

I love Bishop Wright. I had the privilege of meeting him and sitting through two nights where he took us through the Book of Acts.
I have found it disturbing that some Christian groups hinge the truth of the Bible or hinge the faith of other Christians on Genesis 1-2 and on one’s view of Revelation. Paul pretty much states our faith hinges on the Resurrection of Christ. The rest of Scripture interpreted in the light of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus comes in a clearer understanding.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:21 am

Oh I’m forwarding this to my husband! We were just talking last night about reading the Bible in a literal fashion, and how we just can’t do that in a lot of cases.

The way we were raised says, if the Bible isn’t literally true in every sense, then we should just throw it out.

Wright’s perspective has my wheels turning!

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:38 am

Thanks be to God.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

I thought what the guy had to say was interesting and I do love challenging thought..But, I still can’t justify how one can interpret Genesis as a figurative/metaphorical/poetic book. I find it difficult to pick and choose which books I think should be interpreted literally. I disagree that we need to “lighten up” and disconnect Genesis. From prophecy to theological concepts to history, the Bible all ties together pointing towards Christ. In the end, I wouldn’t say that Christ is any less effective if Genesis turned out to be a narrative, but I like to believe that I can believe it for what it is..

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Jesse, to say that Wright is “picking and choosing” which books to interpret literally is incredibly reductionistic. There are some very good theological, historical, grammatical and hermeneutical reasons that Wright doesn’t believe that the creation account is meant to be read like a science or history text book.

    You said: “In the end, I wouldn’t say that Christ is any less effective if Genesis turned out to be a narrative, but I like to believe that I can believe it for what it is.”

    The problem is that you’re not taking Genesis for what it is. Rather you’re turning it into a modernistic history book of brute facts. That’s not why it’s there.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 7:57 am

Sorry, but this completely ignores rules of exegesis, language translation and correct biblical, historical rules of interpretation. The church in England is a dead church precisely because they have decided that the Bible is a book of myths that is only relevant in a way a person decides it is relevant for themself. Each man does what is right in his own eyes.

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 8:09 am


    That’s a pretty heavy charge to lay at the feet of one of the best respected biblical scholars in the world. What are the specific exegetical rules he is ignoring?

    The rules of the exegetical game are governed by the genre of the text. It seems that he simply has different assumptions about the genre than you do.

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    Adam Ellis

    posted June 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I’m sorry, but did you just accuse N.T. Wright of ignoring the “rules of exegesis”, language translation and “correct” biblical, historical rules of interpretation? That’s quite an accusation to make, and its really…ummm…interesting when it’s lobbed at someone like Wright. Are you familiar with Wright and his work, or is this video your first encounter with him? I’m also curious (because I’m sure you wouldn’t haphazardly lob out a seemingly authoritative, but baseless accusation), what “rules of exegesis”, language translation and “correct biblical, historical rule of interpretation” are you referring to? Again, it sounds quite authoritative to say such a thing, but I have a Masters of Theological Studies (MTS) degree, and I’m not quite sure what you are referring to.
    Also, to anyone familiar with Wright’s work, the accusation that he is viewing the Bible as “a book of myths that is only relevant in a way a person decides it is relevant for themselves” sounds sort of laughable.

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 8:20 am


    I am an Anglican. I also go to a church plant founded this year. It is not a dead church.

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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted June 29, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Hey Pastor Paul,

    While you might not agree with Wright’s interpretation of Genesis, I think you’d actually love his books. Check out his books on

    Hope you and Miss Marylou are doing well in Nebraska.

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Travis Mamone

posted June 29, 2010 at 8:10 am

I think people have been so much emphasis on whether or not the first three chapters of Genesis are historical fact that they completely missed what the point of those chapters are.

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Dale Best

posted June 29, 2010 at 8:16 am

Brilliant on SO MANY levels! He gives Jesus better PR…

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posted June 29, 2010 at 8:30 am

This was dope. Wright was able to explain quite clearly what I sometimes stumble on when talking to people about this stuff. The bible is a bunch of interesting bits, but even when looked at as one giant book, it is still so much bigger.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

I stand corrected and should not have made such sweeping statements based on a four minute video. I don’t buy Wright’s position on Genesis and I do believe the interpretation of the first three chapters is very important even in relation to the Cross. Nevertheless, I do apologize for jumping in so strongly.

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    and THAT, my friend…is admirable with apology accepted. i’ve done the same thing way too many times in my life, only haven’t been man enough to come back and eat crow. you did. i honor that, my brother. ~sT

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Bob Chapman

posted June 29, 2010 at 10:41 am

Myth can mean two different things.

For many (most), the meaning of myth is roughly equivalent to fable.

In some circles, the meaning of myth is a story or narrative that explains a truth.

Wright would be using the myth as a story or narrative that explains a truth.

To talk about the Christian myth is not a denial of scripture. It is a different way of looking at the narratives than some do. It does not mean you deny the Resurrection; it does mean you see something in that narrative beyond a simple fact.

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James Stillwell

posted June 29, 2010 at 10:48 am

I Love N. T. Wright. He says what I’m thinking about biblical interpretation better than anybody out there right now.

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Brannon Hancock

posted June 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

I believe the british-ism would be: “spot on.”

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    brannon h~

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posted June 29, 2010 at 11:28 am

I certainly agree that US politics should stop “bundling” issues. There are plenty of people who are fiscally conservative, yet pro- environment or pro-civil rights. I don’t see any way to do that unless we develop an election system more like Europe’s. As for the religious message, it’s irrelevant until somebody can prove that we have souls.

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posted June 29, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I have great respect for Wright and his work, however I disagree with him on a good number of things. I’m not totally sure how I feel about Genesis 1, 2 and 3…mainly because I’m a scientist. But what piqued my curiousity even more was his brief statement about a “dualistic” point of view and that the suggestion that this world is here to stay. Science simply doesn’t support that and I can’t see that the Bible does either…so I suppose I need to find more writing on his point of view there.

Also I disagree with him somewhat about the need to uncouple politics and scripture…somewhat. It sounds as if he is suggesting we not take on a “Biblical” lens for all of life? While I agree that politics and religion should not be so closely tied as they have been in this country, a Biblical lens is important and commanded in scripture.

Besides, just because England and France do politics differently doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things the was we as Americans feel is best.

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    posted June 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Just to encourage you a bit here, you don’t have to be a scientist to understand Genesis 1-3. What you have to be is a humble student of the literature that is Scripture.

    Second, you may need to watch the video again, because I don’t believe NTW is asking us to “uncouple politics and scripture.” Rather, he’s saying that the way we Americans lump social issues together in making political decision is rather strange. And he’s right.

    Also, you’re technically right that “just because England and France do politics differently doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do things the was we as Americans feel is best.” But let’s face it: America is not very good at learning from others. We’re pretty head-strong and stubborn. Maybe we would do well to be little more humble and learn from other countries.

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Charlie H.

posted June 29, 2010 at 1:05 pm

As usual Wright is dead on, seeing that the grander thrust of the story weighs far more than the details. A very needed video, though I think that Genesis 1-3 make even more sense when coupled with the following stories (Cain & Abel, etc) which forms an even larger tale that has a whole lot to say about the purpose and progression of mankind.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 11:22 am

Articulates my thoughts and understanding better than I can.

Also, I remember a certain other Brit named C.S. Lewis said much the same about the modern (mis)understanding of myth.

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posted June 30, 2010 at 3:38 pm

He is so freakin hot! seriously, where can i meet a man with a mind like that? 😉

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posted June 30, 2010 at 10:03 pm

NT Wright is the antidote for shallow, “contemporvant” churching. I’d love to see him challenge the entire church on what they really believe. I’m so sick of the ignorant, anti-science bias I see in the church, so sick of the Platonist dualism… The church desperately needs to hear all of his lessons and learn the truth about what they think they believe.

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posted July 2, 2010 at 8:20 am

Wow – I loved that. This is one of those things that gets me excited to go back and reread through the Bible with new eyes and ears letting go of the interpretations I was bottle fed for so many years. I am so thankful that everyday God seems bigger and yet closer than the day before.

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Mel Steffor

posted August 17, 2010 at 2:19 pm

In the Book of Genesis, God is telling us two stories with the words of one. From the appearance of being the first two humans in creation Adam and Eve share a commonality with all of us. Adam and Eve are representatives for all of us. God has hidden a prophesy about the future in the story. The following is the interpretation of the story about Adam and Eve in the present. I start at Genesis 2:17

Gen 2 : 17 But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”

Trees don’t grow knowledge so I know God is talking in symbols. Knowledge comes from Books. Books are made from the pulp of trees. So the Tree is a Book. A Tree is a metaphor for a Book. This book has knowledge of good and bad. The Book is the Bible. The Bible contains the knowledge of good and bad. Besides I took this verse right out of the Bible. You can’t eat from a book and gain knowledge, but you can digest a book . As in Readers Digest. You are taking the words in, like food. God says, you will positively die. The Book has poison in it. The poison is the fruit on the tree.

What is the fruit on the tree that we must not eat? Or, What is the fruit in the New Testament? We know that a Cross is also a Tree and Jesus was nailed to the tree. The fruit from the Bible is Jesus. Clues are Adam and Eve are bare naked. Bare sounds like Bear.

The Tree bears Jesus

The Tree of Knowledge is a Book, and the fruit on the tree is Jesus. This is what God is saying.

Gen 2 : 17 But as for the (Book) of the knowledge of good and bad you must not (take in Jesus) from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.”

The Jews are right. Jesus is not the Messiah. God says so right here.

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