NTiR: Paul really, really doesn’t like Adam (Romans 5-9)

Bible and magnifying glassAww, crap, you mean Romans isn’t over yet? I have to endure another week of this? Where’s Luke when we need him?

Chapter 5

Paul throws Adam under the bus. Completely, repeatedly, unapologetically. Take the phrase “just as XXXXX entered the world through one man” and then replace the XXXXX with sin, death, condemnation. What you get is the various ways that Paul describes Adam. Paul blames Adam for the death of everyone who has ever died, which seems really harsh to me. Paul says that Jesus was given to a world to fix everything that Adam broke, and to give everlasting life in place of the death brought by Adam.Sheesh, what would Paul had said if he were trying to be mean to Adam?

Chapter 6

Paul’s redundancy in each chapter of this letter is a bit overwhelming. He is a big on the idea of reptetition = absorption I think. Paul presents two ideas in this chapter:. The first regards the meaning of baptism. The Baptism unites us with Christ’s death; it is the death of our sins. The second is choosing slavery: a person must choose to be a slave to sin, or a slave to righteousness. I don’t find either idea very interesting, though.

Chapter 7

“I don’t understand what I am doing.” That just about sums up this chapter.

Chapter 8

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Oh, and “Who can separate us from Christ’s love?” This letter is getting really, really dull for non-believers.

Chapter 9

The scholar in Paul comes out, and it instantly makes this chapter far more interesting than the previous six. Or maybe I should say that it is less dull than the previous chapters. Paul re-tells a few Old Testament stories and gives his remarks on what those stories meant. Which is very appropriate for this blog series, now that I think about it! Paul uses two stories –  Jacob and Esau, and Pharaoh & Moses – to show that God can choose who to have mercy on and who to condemn on a whim, with no apparent reasoning, and without any explanation. Paul appears to think that it is GOOD that god does this. I see it as proof that the Old Testament god was not the most mentally balanced deity. Pick or choose, I guess.

Paul also tries to address a question that apparently came up multiple times: why does God find fault with anyone if we can’t resist his will? Paul’s answer is less than comforting: “who are you—mere man that you are—to talk back to God? Can an object that was molded say to the one who molded it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ A potter has the right to do what he wants to with his clay, doesn’t he?”

Seriously, I think that is either a major cop-out, or a horrible piece of dogma. Your choice. Either Paul doesn’t have an answer for that question, or he is saying that God makes a person sin, and then punishes them for sinning. Given the choice between the two, I think I’d walk away from the crazy man.

Up next: Whadda you know, there is something decent in here after all…

New installments of The New Testament In Review will be posted each Monday and Thursday. The new posts will always be on my blog, http://biffster.org. The entire series is accessible via http://biffster.org/ntir. If you are one of my Facebook friends, you can get an advance preview on my Facebook page. You can also follow me (@biffster) on Twitter to be alerted to new posts.