Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 133:530 (Apr 1976)
Article: Periodical Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Periodical Reviews

“Original Sin as Natural Evil,” Richard H. Bube, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 27 (December 1975): 171-80.

The author of this article is editor of the journal in which it appears as well as a member of the department of materials science and engineering of Stanford University. He explains that this article is part two of “a speculative model in which both biblical theology and an evolutionary view of life were integrated” (p. 171). In this article he is specifically dealing with “the significance of ‘original sin’“ (p. 171).

The manuscript for the article was submitted “to four distinguished scholars in biblical disciplines and in theology, history and philosophy” (p. 171 )—Bernard L. Ramm, W. Stanford Reid, Paul K. Jewett, and Alvin Plantinga—for critical responses. These are published together with the article and “an attempt at clarification” by Bube to some of the criticisms (pp. 179-80).

Bube’s crucial question is, “Must we adopt a chronological literal historical view of Genesis 1–3 ?” (p. 174). His answer to that question is “No.” He writes, “If we take these chapters of Genesis as not presenting an historical account of an idyllic perfect world before the Fall, we find consistency with scientific data which informs us about the occurrences and history of the world in previous times” (p. 174). Obviously Bube prefers taking the so-called scientific data at face value to taking the Bible that way.

Bube also has difficulties in properly defining original sin. He presents it as a “practical definition…that predisposition with which we are born, that natural inclination toward self-centeredness which can lead us to transgress the commandments of God and to exalt the commandments of self” (p. 175). Biblically speaking, original sin means that as a result of Adam’s sin and his participation in it (Rom 5:12), each human being is born in a state of spiritual death with a nature of sin whose “righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa 64:6) and which cannot

do anything to gain acceptance with God. Original sin and total depravity are something more than a “natural inclination toward self-centeredness.”

In his openly evolutionary model Bube seems to identify the cause of sin with the vestiges of mankind’s animal ancestry. At some stage God apparently did something that made what had been an animal (Bube never explains which) into a man made in the image and likeness of God. Before God did that something, se...

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