Tuesday, August 28, 2007

"Anecdote of the Jarred Interpretation"

'Supernatural' Halo
(Image from Wikipedia)

Looking around the internet for more Christian sources portraying Adam as accepting the forbidden fruit from Eve in an act of heroic self-sacrifice, I came upon these words in an online transcription of a sermon by William Marrion Branham (1909-1965) titled "Polygamy":
Adam was a type of Christ. But whereas Adam's self-sacrifice brought DEATH upon all creation, Christ's sacrifice brought LIFE.

Adam did NOT sin. 'He that is born of God cannot sin' (I John 3:9). Taking Eve unto himself, he took her responsibility and caused the whole world to come under sin's curse -- death when he crossed the time-line and the Life-line to redeem his wife. How could Adam fall when he was in God's image?

Eve sinned when she broke God's covenant of works by UNBELIEF in His Word. Adam did NOT sin (or disbelieve the Word) and broke the Covenant by faith. He knew He was a Son of God and could no more be lost than God could be lost, and therefore God MUST redeem Him. If he joined Eve in time, God would redeem her with him. By the marriage union, the two were one flesh. However Adam took the 'permissive', and not the perfect will of God.
Interesting. It appears that Adam "took dominion everywhere," even in the "slovenly wilderness" outside Eden! Now, I'm not in any way suggesting that this version of the Fall is anywhere close to orthodox Christian interpretation. In fact, William Branham seems rather far even from mainstream pentecostalism, of which his 'church' is a branch. From my cursory reading on this website and others, Branham seems to have claimed to be the Prophet Elijah returning at the end times. He also rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, arguing for a sort of Modalism. Nevertheless, he seems to have been well-known in pentecostal circles in the 1940s and 1950s, especially for his role in the faith-healing movement.

Strictly speaking, the excerpt above is taken from what is said to be one of the "Teaching Sermons based on the Expositions of William Branham," so I don't know that it's an exact transcription of Branham's actual words, but from my cruising around the Branham sea of discourse, the message looks roughly consistent with things said by him elsewhere. I notice that the text of the sermon doesn't mention "love" as Adam's motivation, but in other transcriptions of Branham's words, Adam's love for Eve is given as the motive:
[W]hen Adam saw Eve had sinned and had done wrong, Adam walked right out not deceived but with both eyes open. But he so loved Eve that he took her place in death with her and walked out with her. ("God Making His Promise," Paragraph E-64 (December 9, 1956))
Similarly, in another sermon, Branham states that "Adam so loved Eve that he went out with her" from God's presence ("God's Servant Job," Paragraph E-69 (February 23, 1955)).

I'm not sure that this line of research is taking me close to anything that might become an article on Milton and his influence, but there may be subterranean connections to a stream that fed Milton's thinking despite the fact that Milton insisted that Adam's love in choosing Eve was a form of idolatry, for in Milton's reading, Adam put love of Eve above love of God.

From a Miltonian perspective, Branham's understanding is as limited as Adam's and falls into the same idolatry.

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At 8:54 PM, Blogger admin said...

Gypsy Scholar,

You are right. "Polygamy" is not
a sermon preached by Wm. Branham,
but an article that is based on
the teachings of Wm. Branham.

Anyway, I think Branham's way
of explaining the fall is the best
one I have heard.

As in all other things, it's all
in the types. First Adam and second
Adam. Shadow vs. Reality.

Adam was not fooled as the Bible
says. Eve was... Jesus was not a
sinner, we were. He took our sin
on himself. Adam took Eve's sin
on himself in a type.

Eve was also taken out of Adam.
The Church is taken out of Christ.

When Christ died, three elements
came from his side. First water
and blood. Later, the Spirit that
came down on the day of Pentecost.

These three elements constitute the
New Birth. Water, Blood, Life.

Justification (water) baptism
Sanctification (blood)
Holy Ghost baptism (life, spirit)

The types are perfect. :)

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 3:39 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Erland, thanks for clarifying that Branham is not the direct author of "Polygamy." Who is, by the way?

As you've probably surmised, I don't read Paul or Genesis in the same way that Branham or his followers do -- though I think that I understand the logic of his interpretation.

You might (if you haven't already) take a look at my other recent posts on this subject for some of my reservations.

Or better yet, just read Milton's Paradise Lost, especially Book 9, which presents Adam's decision as one in which he is wrongly swayed by his emotions in choosing to 'sacrifice' himself.

By the way, do you happen to know of others who have argued that Adam performed a noble, heroic self-sacrifice out of love for Eve?

Thanks for visiting.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:44 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

SR, no offense intended, but you look a little scarey to me, so I'd prefer that you leave me out of your secret rapture.

I usually don't allow 'advertisements' -- such as yours certainly is -- in my blog's comments, but I'm feeling rather ecumenical today, so I'll let it be...

By the way, what's your position on Adam's putative self-sacrifice?

Jeffery Hodges

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