Brandon Crowe - "The Last Adam"
5:38PM Jun 29, 2020
it is wonderful to meet you and see you. And first, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. My hope is that this interview would give you an opportunity to present your book for the first time to people, maybe who haven't read it to present the primary ideas and kind of explain where the big questions that drive the books trajectory come from and to represent the book or represent the book to people who have already read it, maybe explain more fully some of its major issues justify its thesis further. And, two as we go along, I will attempt to take into account and address viewpoints from various potential readers both you know, those school Google studies Extra Jesus and those just kind of interested in the idea of your book because I think it's something that, in general, Christians as Christians we have to wrestle with as we read the Gospels and try to understand Jesus as a man. So anyway, if I can begin with sort of a basic background question,
though this book is new,
your dissertation also
dealt with aspects of Jesus obedience, and the Gospels of Matt, the Gospel of Matthew. So my question is, how far back to the questions that are at the core of this book go for you. Or when did you first start thinking about the questions that ended up producing this book? And what were those primary questions?
Yeah, thanks, Carson. And thanks for having me on. It's great to be here and have a chance to discuss the book. I would say that as I was thinking back to around the time I was in seminary and wrestling with the work of Christ. What does that mean? A related question is how do we read the Gospels? And what is the purpose of the Gospels? And why do so? Why does so much of the Gospels deal with non passion narrative for the life of Christ? And so those are two related questions that kind of came together in interest in the work of Christ and an interest in the Gospels. And so you're right that this is connected, in many ways to my PhD thesis, which was on the notion of obedient sonship in Matthew in particular, as it relates to the covenantal context for sonship foundationally, posited in Deuteronomy. And so what I argue there is from a Israel perspective, what is the background for understanding why Jesus is presented as the obedient son of God, and how does that relate to particular the Gospel of Matthew, and so there's a very strong Israel focus to the Gospel of Matthew in the sonship. And what I argue is this is connected to the influence of Deuteronomy in Matthew and in the ancient Jewish context, whereby sonship and obedience are always related themes. And it goes back to foundationally, that exposition in Deuteronomy, which I see sonship, in the covenantal, call for obedient sonship to be fundamental and central to the teaching of Deuteronomy. And so what you have Jesus doing in Matthew 10 is coming into this, this framework whereby the Son of God was called to be obedient to their Heavenly Father, and Jesus fulfills that, that calling he is his life is one that conforms to what it means to be an obedient son. And so I'm looking at that in the dissertation or the thesis in particular through the lens of Israel, but the notion of sonship is very common. Complex a number of different things come together. So you not only have corporate Israel, you also have David, for example, and messianic connotations along with that. And as I do more in this book, you also have the notion that Adam was canonically speaking foundationally, the son of God. And so having done that on Israel, this volume reaches out a little bit broader and looks at all the Gospels, but begins to ask, what about Adam? if Israel is important, and I think that has been established and scholarship, there's a wide agreement, and I agree with this, that Israel, it provides much of the context for understanding the kingdom of God and understanding what Jesus is doing in the Gospels. I don't dispute that. I embrace that. But I also want to broaden that conversation out and ask well, what about Adam, if Adam the Son of God as well? Are there endemic dimensions to the person and the work of Jesus in the gospels Then maybe have received less attention in recent years. And maybe we do well to look at them, and then to begin to tease out as much as possible, some of the implications for that. And so that's how I see this book fitting with what I have done earlier.
So I'm interested, was it a sneaking suspicion that sort of, you know, crept up on you over time maybe, you know, in a graduate seminar? Or was it a lightbulb moment, when you realize that sort of the Gospels talk so much about, you know, non passion and non infancy narratives? If there's so much about Jesus kind of life in between, it has to be central to our understanding of Jesus, his mission, and whatnot as presenting the gospel. So is it all of a sudden, or was it a long process?
Well, I would say it's a good question and kind of a funny answer. I would say it was more of a process. And then all of a sudden, it was a light bulb moment. And so it was kind of both I worked on this for years, thinking about it, trying to read the gospel. Well, trying to interact with what's out there and scholarship and understand what is happening in this, as I might call it non passion narrative section of the Gospels. And so I worked at it through the lens of Israel through the lens of the Old Testament canonical context. I looked at it through the lens of, of understanding that Jesus was somehow accomplishing salvation. And that's the question I began to wrestle with is, in what sense? Do we say that, that he was accomplishing salvation through the entire narrative of the Gospels, or narratives of the Gospels? How was he doing that? How do we describe that? How do we articulate that and what categories can we use? And then as I began to try to bring some of these pieces together, is one of those moments where I saw that that the angle forward I thought, that held a lot of promise was Adam. And as I began to think about it, it made a lot more sense because this was this Adam. Christology is something that in the history of interpretation, it's very strong and very consistent. In that Jesus is the new atom, the last item, the second atom, and in contemporary biblical scholarship, everyone agrees on that. And they particularly look at first Corinthians 15, Romans five, and maybe a few other texts, maybe Philippians. Two, maybe mark one. But then the conversation is sometimes becomes stagnant when you come to the Gospels because it said, well, there's really not much in the Gospels. Well, historically speaking, that has not been the view of most scholars of most Christian exegesis and scholars, they have seen that the dynamic Christology is not limited to Paul. But it's there in Paul is there in the gospels, and I believe is there in Revelation I believe is there in Hebrews. And so there are a number of I think avenues to be explored in modern day scholarship that is not just representing older scholarship but takes a takes a cue from the strong emphasis On the two atoms structure in the history of interpretation, and so what I try to do is to say how much of this has valuable? What is right about this? And maybe how can this give us some momentum to begin to re examine some text and begin to tease out from a modern day, exegetical method, methodological stance, how do we pull out some of these dynamic features that may be there, and they have been under discussed. And so that's what that lightbulb moment if there was one was that Adam connection, and that began to give categories, I think, to some of the questions I was asking, which is, how is Jesus accomplishing salvation? And so my answer to this is, yes, he is doing what Israel was called to do. But we have to remember that Israel does not come first. And the canonic context is a redeemed people who in many ways, you see the work of God's grace and the work of the law on these things is focused in Israel and Israel's highly important But that's established. What I want to do is say, let's push it back before Israel, before Abraham and look back to Adam, and see if indeed there are enough dynamic resonances and verbal parallels and cues, textual cues to enable us to see this, in one sense, broader picture because Adam is the head of all humanity. And so if Adam is the head of all humanity, that would include Israel under the headship of Adam, under the the primacy of Adam, but it would also include all people. And so through that dynamic lens, I think there are a number of applications that I've tried to begin to work out but I think that I've only begun to scratch the surface. I think there's much more still to be done.
We're in the Orthodox Christian asked, What's the primary significance of the hort historical life of Jesus as presented in the gospels not as infancy not as passion but just his life? I think the answer would be well, Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. And so it is his death on a cross his burial and resurrection that, that give him you know, significance. And all these other things lead up to that. And in your book you talk about in the history of recent history of interpretation. People kind of follow that and implicitly or explicitly see Jesus life in the gospels is kind of leading up to his passion, which is the core, the center, the
the center of the gospel there.
But you're arguing not that that's wrong, but that that's a very incomplete view of Jesus into saving work. So my question is epistemological. And that's, how do we know that that's So? So? What clues do we find in the gospels elsewhere? How do we know that it's not just Jesus? death, burial resurrection that sort of encapsulates God's work in his embodiment in Jesus, but rather But it's his entire life as presented in the Gospels.
Yeah. And that's really the key question is that how do we know? And what is? What is the point of the rest of the life of Jesus? How important is it? Now to be clear, we start by affirming at the outset, I believe in the centrality of the cross, the death and the resurrection. And I'm not trying to downplay that, in this book at all, I have a chapter on the death of Christ in the book. And so it's not as though it's either or. And that's maybe at the heart of what I'm arguing is not either the life or the death or not just the death and to the expense of his life. It's both what we have in Christ is a unity of a work. It's not one stage, this is life. And then at the end, this is when it really matters. Now at the end his death, this is all that really matters. But what I'm arguing for it, and this, again, is I think, consistent with what I view to be some of the best in the history of interpretation is that Jesus is a savior who's Work is united. And we do not do well to divide that work into an earlier stage and a later stage. Certainly the New Testament speaks about the cross. And it features the cross prominently. So there's no question that if you read the New Testament, it's easy to see that the cross might be, you could come to the conclusion that the cross might be the definitive moment. And I think it is the climactic moment it is the summation of it. But it's a representative moment that does not exclude the earlier work of Christ. And so let me try to tease that out just a little bit. More, one of the reasons I think that we do well to look beyond the cross, and it's really one of the driving questions behind the book is, if that's the case, why do we have so much else in the gospels that's not about the death of Christ. And so you could view that as maybe just a warm up for the passion narrative, maybe you could view it as a as a way to for his ministry. to garner opposition, at least to the cross, one can say that he is simply manifesting a sinlessness in his life that will finally come to fruition in the death and the resurrection. But I don't think it's either or. And so the best answer, I think, is to say that Jesus is a representative figure, who is accomplishing what is necessary for salvation being fully committed to the will of God. And he suffers not just at the end of his life, but he suffers throughout his life, such that Matthew says, He bore our diseases carried our weaknesses, maybe rephrasing it a little bit there from Isaiah 53. There in Matthew eight, and it's in a reference to the healing ministry of Jesus, not just in his death. So there's a consistency of Christ as we view Christ as the suffering servant. That's not just limited to his death that's also relevant for his life. And another way I would answer that question is the resurrection itself. Jesus is crucified as a righteous one. If you look at Luke 23 for example, Luke likes that language of the righteous one, you see it in Luke and you see it, and acts as well. And he's innocent. And that's it. That's clear. And Matthew is innocent, is clear, and john, that Jesus is the innocent one. And because he is innocent, and because he is righteous, he is raised. And so the resurrection assumes not just one act of righteousness, but a, an entire lifelong righteousness that were there to be sin in his life in any way, there would not have been the resurrection. But where a righteous person is crucified, death has no sting. And so what we see is Jesus is raised as a perfectly righteous one, because he is paying the penalty for the sins of others, and as the perfect man and as the divine Son of God he has raised from the dead and and that also speaks to a more comprehensive righteousness than only one. One moment of righteousness at the cross. Now, let me just add as a coward Got. I don't believe that those who view the work of Christ on the cross to be the climactic moment are thinking that he is sinful in other places. What I'm simply is wanting to is that there is a consistency to the the notion of the resurrection that entails a lifelong course of full obedience, as the Righteous One is vindicated from death, as one who had no sin was there for paying for the sins of others. He calls it a a ransom, Matthew 2028 Mark 1045. He is giving his life as a ransom for many and proverbially in the Old Testament that was not possible, but for Jesus is possible as the completely righteous one.
So as I'm trying to think of kind of helpful questions to move forward, let me move to kind of a more practical one.
So consider this scenario. You're talking to
another Christian. And let's say let's say it's a young Christian, it's sort of like, understands the gospel has come To understand the biblical narrative, the storyline and kind of the gospel seed there in the scarlet thread as it were. And this person says, Well,
I've always understood kind of Jesus,
death, burial and resurrection to constitute the very center of the gospel as it pertains to me. So you know, I've read first Corinthians 15, four or five, or Paul says, I handed to you as a first importance of that which I also received, namely, that Jesus was was crucified across quarter the scriptures was buried, and rose up to three days according to scriptures. That's that's the gospel for me. If that person would have been asked you kind of what am I missing? If I don't understand the salvific importance of Jesus life in the gospels?
How would you answer that question?
Yeah, so in First Corinthians 15 is certainly an important text. Paul talks about that the authoritative tradition of the gospel. And it's a summary statement. And I think, of course it is a is an authoritative summary statement. But also as a summary statement, it doesn't say everything. But even still in seed form. I do think it's it hints at what, where I'm heading in the argument of this book. And that is he was crucified dead bear In he appeared to many others as well after his resurrection. And so I would read that and as a summary statement, I would read that in light of the entire New Testament. And so what does that mean for him to appear? And what does it mean for for the message of the gospel, and so I would look as a helpful place. In the book of Acts, Acts, you have these apostolic summary statements, or at least sermons which are epitomized in many ways of sermons that the apostles would have preached, and that's the way I would read those. And so you have in Acts, you have an emphasis on the death, but more So even you have an emphasis on the resurrection. Now scholars talk about does Luke downplay the cross? I don't think that's the case. But he does in the preaching emphasize the resurrection. And you have that there as well, in the summary in First Corinthians 15. But the resurrection assumes a certain manner of life, that is part of the message, and something that's tightly tied to this, and I'm not sure exactly if this is where you're headed, but I'll add it anyway. You do have as part of that gospel message, it's not just the resurrection as a past event. But the ongoing significance of the resurrection for the audience's which is, Jesus has raised he was the righteous one. You can look at maybe x 315 to 21. You have in that context, Jesus is the the leader of salvation. He is the Savior of X 531 as well. He is the one who goes before us. He is the righteous one, and he has been raised and because he has been raised there is the need to repent And there's the offer of the forgiveness of sins. And so what you have then is the resurrected Righteous One who rains from heaven now. And so what you have in this the coming full circle are the, the rounding out of the Gospel accounts where they give you the life of Jesus Luke, for example, mentioned as well these day it is necessary passages that show us these things Jesus was doing, that were necessary for accomplishing salvation, and a large part of those accrues towards the end of his life, his death and his resurrection. And he says, and Luke 24, that not just that the Christ had to suffer and rise again, but that the message had to go out. And part of that message is that Jesus has been resurrected as the righteous one, and that that he reigns from heaven as you see an x there's a continuing reign of Christ. And so you have the need for the preaching of the gospel to encapsulate to include I should say, the resurrection The Righteous One who rains today and therefore as sinners, we are offered salvation but are also called to turn from sin. Now all that to say this has taken us a little beyond the book itself. But as you look at the summary statement of First Corinthians 15, and mentions the resurrection, it mentions the appearance of Jesus to the apostles were eyewitnesses, and they had to be eyewitnesses of the resurrection. But also eyewitnesses of his ministry, which is an interesting feature. If you look at x one, and and you have in an X 10, the, the emphasis that Jesus went around doing good, and so the message is broader than just simply the death of Christ and His resurrection. But it also includes all these things, you see other summary statements as well then include more than just the death and the resurrection, but includes all the things he went around doing includes that the disciples had to be eyewitnesses of his ministry from the days of john the baptist until he was taken up from them. And I take that to be another indication that the things he was doing before his death and his resurrection, We're important enough that the apostles to be apostles, they had to know about that because they had to preach the work of Christ before the cross.
How does your argument connect to application? Yeah. So either from the, you know, the person who's trying to apply it to his or her life, or to the pastor who's trying to say, this is how this applies. What do you see the connection as being between your argument about Jesus life and sort of the Christian spiritual life on the ground every day?
Yeah, that's a great question. And I think it's the right question, because theology ought to be practical. And so I very much this is an academic type of book. But I very much have pastors in mind, as I write this as I read the book, and I hope they'll that many pastors will read it, and I do hope it will help the preaching of the Gospels, for example. And so here's maybe the way I would answer that.
How does a pastor preach from
the binding of the strong man episode for the temptation of Jesus or the baptism of Jesus in a way that is sensitive to what the Gospels themselves are doing. But also doesn't simply try to jump ahead and say Jesus says this, but he will also die for your sins. And so if you're preaching one sermon on the gospel, that's easy. It's easy to make all the connection. If you're preaching a series on the Gospel of Mark, or Matthew or Luke or john, how do you preach the text in front of you. But without leaning so far forward to the death and the resurrection that it becomes maybe a predictable for the congregation. And I think what, what I'm trying to tease out here from this volume is, you don't have to say Jesus is only accomplishing salvation towards the end of the gospel, or wherever you are in the gospels as christological documents, even if it's about john the baptist or something else they are crystal logically define. Jesus is accomplished in salvation as a representative figure. Throughout the Gospels, he is bearing the burden of sin. He is overcoming the trajectory of disobedience. He is leading his people and want to see in the gospels, as Jesus is a representative figures, there is solidarity between him and between his people. That means that what he does benefits his people. That means that we are freed from the burden of having to be good enough to come to Jesus. That means that he is actually living the life that no fallen creature and Adam, fallen person and Adam is able to live that how does that lead to practical application? So let me lean towards the other aspect of your question. Well, that means that we first of all, we rest in the finished work of a Savior who is fully human. Look at maybe the book of Hebrews, chapters 234 or five. And the way that Hebrews teases out and pulls out the implications of some of this. You also have won who won who as our representative As one who is there solidarity of the Messiah and his people, we are in fact called to imitate him. I don't think that we have to be afraid of the Avatar to Christie the imitation of Christ in the Gospels. But we just need to understand this place. It's not primary in the sense of the way that we are made right before a holy God. But it is the way that we follow our Savior, who is fully human and has gone before us, and has shown us how to live in this static filled ungodly world. And so he both saves us and provides the model for us at the same time. And if we understand robustly that he is an anointed representative, a representative figure, the new atom, the leader of his people, then we can have confidence not only that he saved us, but we can say, I understand that Christ is my Savior. I also understand that he provides the model and that we are the follow in his steps, and that when he commands we obey and we We obey not from the burden of having to, to do so perfectly but recognizing that he also offers free forgiveness to those who follow him.
But it's a great answer to that question. So in in that in that good answer you keep you keep talking about solidarity, and you're using the word representative. And so it strikes me that, that in the contemporary world representation, the way you're talking about it, I'm wondering if it really exists, or if there's any sort of like cultural idiom that we can use today to help understand that or how we're to understand it, if not, so for example, you know, for us in the United States, we have representatives at the state level, and we have representatives at the national level, both in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Our congressmen, Congress, women represent us
in our republican form of government government,
but what you're talking about seems a little bit deeper. I mean, the dynamic is very different the way that Jesus represents us is not the way that you know, as senator so and so represents us when he says we've got to cut taxes. So can you talk about that difference? And maybe anything you found helpful in understanding representation in the biblical sense as it were?
Yeah, good question. There's a number of ways you could go with that. Maybe the simplest way I would answer is to say Jesus is a covenant representative. And he is the mediator of a new covenant. And so as a covenant representative, he is like, David, so look back to for Samuel, for example, where David is the representative who fights Goliath. So Goliath is representing the Philistines, and he asked for someone to come fight him. And what's interesting about that passage, and we're leaning back towards the Old Testament now, but that passage, David has already been anointed as the King of Israel before he fights Goliath. And so he does so not as as some independent person who just happens to be among the Israelites. He comes as the one who has been chosen, who has been anointed by Samuel and who now faces off as the, the new king of Israel. Though Saul is still around, he faces off against the the champion of gaff. And so you have an a, an anointed representative who is going to fight a battle on behalf of his people. And then from there, of course, the kingdom grows under David. And David becomes the leader of the people. He takes Jerusalem, he establishes a kingdom. And when things go well, for David, things go well for his people, things like this. And so when it comes to the New Testament, David is anticipating the greater David. David is anticipating the one who was not only David's son, but Dave as Lord as Jesus speaks about it in the gospels, quoting from Psalm 110, one and one who identifies himself as son of man. And David speaks about this, at least in the context of book one of the saucer in Psalm eight. And but that's also someone greater than David who is going to be anticipating Daniel And the Son of man who is going to recall the authority that Adam should have realized, but did not. And so David's son is also Davis Lord, and a royal atomic figure as well. And this is the one who is the mediator of the New Covenant. This is who Christ is, as the anointed representative. He is anointed in his baptism is set apart already from his birth, as the one who is who has no earthly father but who is conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. You see this in Luke one. You see it also in Matthew one. And then if you trace out Luke's genealogy, it's interesting. David, is the one who begins Matthew's genealogy. Whereas a Luke's genealogy Jesus is traced back to Adam. And so these the Vedic these identic themes are, they are in many ways, mutually informing. But what you have then is Jesus as the anointed leader of his people, the Davidic King, then you add them, the one who is instituting a new covenant through his own blood, which is remarkable. Then he is going to be the One who is his actions will be able to benefit his people. He can act representative Lee, so what he does, the benefits then and the blessings accrued to his people. And and you see that again anticipated and David for example, in the way that just to take the example of Goliath, he fights Goliath into the blessings accrue to the people that are freed from the power of the Philistines.
I guess I'm just realizing one thing that your argument really, really points to is the centrality of Covenant for understanding the biblical storyline and the way that, you know, today, Christians relate to relate to God, you know, the way we relate to him is through a covenant, a new covenant as a matter of fact, and that representation you're talking about is very central to that. So that's, that's interesting. I wonder if now you'll let me ask you a very, very cynical question, just to sort of
change the pace.
Sure. Okay. Is that okay? All right. So let me put it this way.
It's the logical question. But again, this is kind of I'm spitballing here cynical, it seems kind of odd. for, you know, I can imagine someone saying this, it seems kind of odd for God to create human beings. You know, it creates Adam creates Eve, they can't live up to the standard, they can't obey the way they're supposed to. And so God says, Okay, I'll just come and do it for you. And then he comes and does it for humans. And now now humans sort of halfway back, have a relationship with him. It seems it seems weird. A true cynic might almost say, Well, isn't that kind of defeats the purpose of asking to begin with, but you know, is there something in there about God's character about Jesus and particular about us about the world about life? What do we learn from the sort of overall dynamic to which your argument points?
Well, to answer the question, I think in there, it shows us, I hope, in greater relief, just one small snippet into the insights of the grace of God, who has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. And we have earned ourselves destruction and wrath. And the Son of God becomes incarnate lives a difficult life in a difficult place at a difficult time in history. He has the target on his back as the Son of God. And he at every turn is perfectly wise, perfectly, wholly, perfectly loving, perfectly, when he needs to be combative, even at times, and he does this all not for himself, but for us. And so let me bring that back to the beginning then. Well, let's do it this way. If you want to understand what we see in the gospels, I think a great tech Look at a second Corinthians eight, nine, the one who was rich beyond all measure for our sake became poor, that we might become rich in him. And so the Son of God who left the glories of heaven, and were he to come to earth and have all of the amenities that anybody has ever had, he was still be facing difficulty compared to his eternal status. And and so what you have then, is the great humiliation and the way Paul posted the emptying of the sun, to come to earth to redeem the mess that humanity gets themselves in. And so if you go back to Adam and Eve, God creates humanity.
He is the authority over us. We owe him
our allegiance, and our obedience. And not only that, the God and argue this in the book this I don't have time to argue it now, but he enters into a covenant relationship with that Come and give some wonderful blessings freely upon the the contingent obedience of Adam. With no sin in the picture, Adam is able to meet the demands of this requirement, and the prospect before him has everlasting life. But we all know the story he, he seems Niren as makes a big deal about this, he sends on a tree, and it will be redeemed on a tree. But he sends about taking the fruit. And it's not just that, that immediately God sends a savior, but there's a great deal of destruction that enters the picture, and difficulty and pain and death and fratricide and expanding idolatry expanding apostasy from the true God. And it's so terrible in fact that you see already a Noah, you have to have God destroy and renew the world through a flood of judgment, and recreate and recreation. And so the way that the question is posed, I think It's an honest question. And it's one that I've actually heard before. But we don't need to miss the reality and the difficulty of sin. The reality is because of the sin of Adam and Eve, and because of the sins that we choose to commit each person on, in their personal lives, sin has entered our world. And we're not for the grace of God, it would overtake us all. God restrained sin, but the effects of sin are still real. And so there are a lot of dead ends a lot of false starts a lot of cul de sacs, and in the history of redemption, but what we have is God freely, and we should not take this for granted. He does not owe it to us, but it's the free grace of God to intervene to say, I will fix this will redeem you. And so I would say on the one hand, we don't need to downplay the effects of sin. On the other hand, we do not need to take for granted something that is, is by and large taken for granted for those who believe in God that God should be loving. But why should God be loving This, this is the influence of Christianity, I think in world religion, Judeo Christian values at least. And so what you have is in the Christian story is that God has been kind to us in Christ, and he has redeemed us from the sin that he is not obligated to redeem us from. And this is the grace of God, and this is the mercy of God. And it may seem banal to some, but I think that would assume, what is already there scripture that it is it begs the question, that God is already loving, that God is loving, because he has gone and because he has chosen to be loving, and God is God is overcoming the effects of sin that he has no responsibility to redeem us from. That's not a complete answer to the question, but maybe it's a start.
In your argument, as you noted, there are a large number of texts, you know, jubilees, the game of treasures. There are a ton of texts that you mentioned. are extra canonical that a lot of kind of maybe students of biblical literature of exegesis and seminaries in Bible college or come across but won't really get into and maybe, you know, maybe your average Christian will maybe have heard of maybe not. But all those texts in your argument are sort of part of this history of interpretation at pointed that have pointed you to ask important questions from which came your book. So, to your mind, how important is it for, you know, for Christians or for for students in the Bible for exigence to tendo? Why low? Josephus, my own area of research,
you know, or, you know, early patristic literature?
What's your take on that?
Yeah, I think that's a good question. And I may not be as as, as, as extreme as not the right word as as gung ho for some of these as Maybe some of my other fellow scholars in the field might be, I believe they're important. And I believe they're illuminating. They provide the proper context, they can give you some insight. But I believe that all of these extra canonical sources remain secondary. And so I believe the scriptures themselves are primary. They are the self attesting Word of God, and that they are the primary rule of faith and practice, and that they are the only the final means of authority. And so they also believe that they are sufficient. And so what the sufficiency of Scripture means is that we have everything we need for faith and practice and life in the Scripture. It doesn't mean that's all we need to know. But it means that they are sufficient. So I would start there and I would emphasize First of all, the students in particular, know the scriptures well, camp out there, know them well, and as you seek to know them, yes, feel free to pull these other texts alongside of it. Certainly especially as you look at the use of Old Testament passages and some of these things, this can be very helpful to see the reception history of Psalm two or Second Samuel seven, you know, or Genesis 123, or Deuteronomy 32, or whatever the case may be, but they are just as it is with with Christian exigence as well. Irenaeus or john Calvin, or Martin Luther, they are not the final authority. They're helpful, they're illuminated sometimes are more helpful than others. And some activities are more or less faithful, I think, depending on who you're looking at, to the scriptures. But I would say that, that I'm concerned First of all, that students know the scriptures well, that they read the Bible a lot, that they dig down into the original languages for those who are in seminary and those who want to teach and preach the text that they dig down deep into it. Now sometimes, you are going to get a lot of help from looking at these other texts. Josephus, you know if you're reading x, does Josephus help to Josephus provide the context We're understanding more about the fall of Jerusalem, you know, things like this. But to take an example the Dead Sea Scrolls, they're very important as a magnificent fine of 20th century archaeology. And they show us things like what textual prominent, they show us different strands of, of the textual history of the Old Testament. But you also have to remember who these people are. They're most likely a sectarian group who remove themselves from mainstream Judaism who were out in the desert. And so there can only be so far that they represent mainstream Judaism think they're important. I think everyone should read, especially PhD students read through the Dead Sea Scrolls, know them interact with them. But you also have to recognize the limitations that that's all I'm saying. There are limitations to these. And some of them are more important than others, you know, fourth, Ezra and maybe jubilees, maybe Josephus, maybe first Enoch, wisdom ciroc. Some of these they're more important than others, but taken to Samba All women I think are helpful for understanding things. Maybe you mentioned them just a second ago for understanding the notions of Messianic anticipations that were around around the first century. But it can be difficult to date some of these attacks, it can be difficult to know exactly. Are they Jewish? Are they Christian? Is there a mixture in there? Are some of these actually post Christian at least parts of them? So there's some of the questions that you have to wrestle with on these. Now, having said that, as you say, they're in the book, so I do interact with them. I think they're helpful. But you would want to choose your conversation partners wisely, and recognize the provenance of these texts and use them with the appropriate amount of circumspection.
Okay, well, let me throw you maybe a few more questions. First one's short. In the rest of the New Testament, after the Gospels, the life of Jesus really doesn't seem to come up that much. So it all the other New Testament authors Miss Something or why do you think that is?
Well, I think part of it, it could be a genre issue. The gospels are more like biography than anything else in the New Testament. And so it would be in the gospels where we would expect to see perhaps most of this and, and I think, largely that can answer the question. Now I would say that Hebrews look at Hebrews to Hebrews four, Hebrews five, I do think he's into this as Jesus again in chapter 11. And 12. He is that same term that that Luke uses an axe rk gosta, the Pioneer or the author of the leader, there's a solidarity there. And so I think it's there in Hebrews. And then you come to the question about are there Jesus traditions and Paul, which I think the answer is yes. And you have passing references. I think Galatians may have a lot more under the law to redeem those under the law. I would, I would be willing to argue that that's not just a reference to the death but you could tease out the Incarnation there. Second Corinthians eight nine I mentioned it earlier. I think that's a reference to the end. incarnation and the work of Christ, I think you can argue it from Philippians to obedient, McCreath Tanakh, to obedience unto death to the point of death. I think that, that McCree there is best taken inclusive to refer not just to the death, but to the life as it's used elsewhere that way. And in Philippians, for example, that is also used that way in First Timothy, I believe. And so I think it is there. I think you also see, I at least alluded to maybe, and in some places, let me first Peter, I think you could argue that there are allusions to the path of Christ, the suffering that he faced. That is the pattern for the life of Christians who are facing suffering, not just at one moment, yes, maybe it is focused towards the end of his life more, but I think you can work that out throughout his life. So that's my first answer is a genre issue. My second answer is to say, think that there are allusions to it some places more than others. Hebrews would be a good example. Oh, by the act, I think you can tease it out an accent. Well, but I think also you can see a lot of summary statements that are assuming more preaching and more instruction on this from other contexts. And in liturgical context, for example, if the gospels were being read on a consistent basis, which we have every reason to believe they would have been read, I think, at least by the end of the first century or so in liturgical context Justin Martyr mentioned to, so I think that we could say that they are getting both gospel and epistle. And so maybe the epistles say less about the life of Christ, but the gospel is also a steady part of the diet of the early Christians.
My last question, I was thinking more methodologically. So in terms of the way that you've the way that you argue in your study, and sort of the hermeneutical implications of your method. So you don't find in the gospels a lot of for example, verbal cues, linking explicitly Well, I guess they're not everywhere linking and of Jesus to Adam. You don't have for example, the Gospel of Matthew quoting you know, Genesis all over the place and saying, Adam was like this when Christ was like this, you know, people with the quotes Isaiah, quite often, um, but it seems to me that you have to, you've been a bit a bit more creative in creating your argument in terms of, you're looking for things like
shared tropes between
the Nick and Jess, one through three in the Gospels and whatnot. Do you have any thoughts or kind of insight from this study in terms of the way that we read the New Testament and the Old Testament together in terms of allusions especially in terms of topology, in terms of kind of exige eating our Christology our understanding of Jesus what
I don't know if you could say something
from from your side that relates to that, what would you say?
So there's a tension here between wanting to demonstrate one's point with all of this, this explicit detail. And on the other hand, what so often has been done in the history of interpretation, which is, which is making connections between texts that might not hold up in a, you know, at a PhD advisor or something, because they listen, but it's it's a, but nevertheless, this is the Atomy example is one example. There was a, a generally accepted way of reading, particularly if you look back to the early church and the rule of faith and readings, by and large that fit the fit the rule of faith, were valid readings. And, and we may have questions about that today. But that as a general summary, I think that's a fair way to put it. And so what you have to do today to make your point, and I think it's a valid way to execute As a way to be responsible, is to look for evidence that supports your points. And you have of course, Richard Hayes is well known analogy of the iceberg analogy how he came up with it or just popularized it. But if you see a quotation from something, that's the tip of the iceberg sticking out from an old testament passage, and we can assume that 90% or something like that would be underneath the surface. And so if you see clear indications of something, you have warrant than to go looking for all these other, these other allusions to it. Now, what makes the atom cases it's a fair question and one that's that maybe I won't convince everybody on this. So it's a fair question in this sense. Adam is not mentioned explicitly all that much in the Old Testament. You have it in Genesis 12315. You have Adam in Hosea six, seven, I believe. I've argued that in the book, you have Genesis, sorry, Psalm eight. I think Daniel seven has clear identic references and you have some other references as well. But there are there not a ton of verbal parallels. The Senate Akin is actually one to genocide, the sin of Genesis, you know, three, for example in the Old Testament. But Adam, this is where to go back to the last question on the non canonical literature. There was no question that Adam was an important figure. There's speculation about Adam all over the place, even though there's not a, you know, a massive list of explicit references to Adam, in the Old Testament. And so when you come to the New Testament, I think that's instructive for us to say that isn't, I don't think there's a question about whether or not people were talking and thinking about Adam. He is the first father of humanity. You have Luke mentions, Adam, you have Jude mentions, Adam, you have Paul mentions Adam.
But beyond that, you don't have a ton of explicit references to Adam as a figure. But what you do have are a number of indications that seemed to be consistent with the iceberg metaphor. So for example, one of the places in the gospels that people generally see a reference to Adam, is Mark 112 and 13. Jesus is in the wilderness. He's with the wild animals, and there's a peaceful coexistence. And it goes back to Isaiah 11. But that itself echoes Genesis 123. And so you have that, but some would say, I would say there's Adam Christology, but this is an isolated example. I would say, maybe we could flip that and say, here's an explicit reference, more or less, more or less, it's not taken for granted. But I'd rather explicit example, in Mark's temptation account, that then gives us all the more work to say, if it's here, maybe it's elsewhere as well. So are you is there in the binding the strong man arguments there? In a number of references to even taking my yoke upon you may learn from me and Matthew 11. For example, references to the Son of Man, if there is an academic angle to that person Daniel Southern, and if Son of Man by and large does seem to be influenced by Daniel seven in the gospels, which I think the answer to both of those questions is yes, then maybe were Son of Man is used there is built in as sort of a dynamic, authoritative, kingly royal figure, I think that is the case. And so even when you come to the book of Revelation, the thousand year reign, whenever one takes that rain to be, I don't live for 930 years, the thousand year range is 70 years beyond 930. And it's not difficult to make a connection that what you have here is the reign of the new and better Adam. And that's in Revelation, but I think I mentioned it a couple places in the book. And so I would use that iceberg analogy to say that the verbal parallels this and this could be what some would say maybe as a weaker part of the argument. There's not a ton of verbal parallels, but conceptual parallels content, the way it fits contextually with the questions people were asking, and things that people were discussing around the first century in that Jewish Christian context. I think it does fit those contexts well, and I do think there is enough, explicit there in the New Testament. And I lay the case out the best I can in the volume, that we are on strong, firm exegetical grounding to say, academic Christology is to be found in the Gospels. And so that's the tension, the tension is wanting to prove one's case, beyond the shadow of a doubt. exegetically, but also being sensitive to the subtle ways that biblical authors sometimes speak about those things, which were, in many cases, some of the most important things they they just simply understood and agreed upon without having to argue for it.
So thank you for that. And thank you for thank you for the interview. It's been really enlightening and do about the book, again, very much enjoyed it. Maybe in parting, I can just ask you, quickly, maybe, maybe, you know, one or two sentences to lay everything. If you know someone's watching this interview and is thinking about buying the book reading the book looking into the book, what's the what's the one takeaway, or maybe someone's watching this and they're not going to read the book, that person is not going to read the book, which we wouldn't recommend, of course, but
do they buy?
Yeah, no, that's right.
But so if, if that's the case, what's the one thing you would want the listener to consider from your argument? What's the kind of the big takeaway?
the Gospels present Jesus as a representative figure who's accomplished in salvation. And they do this in large part by presenting him as a new atom figure. And if we can understand that, then I think it opens up a number of avenues to be explored, both in preaching and in further research.
Very good. Thank you. Well, you heard it here first. So thank you, Dr. Crowe. And thank you for your book.