The Power of Images

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

 Kind of sexy, huh?  It’s the first recorded meal.  “And she took, and she did eat, and she gave” (Genesis 3.6).  The image in the picture, and in much art is that it was an apple.  One of my favorite Aerosmith songs is ‘Adam’s Apple.’  In that oldie but goodie, Steven Tyler belts out:

conscience was related
man he was created
lady luck took him by surprise
a sweet and bitter fruit
it surely opened his eyes
well she ate it
lordy it was love at first bite
well she ate it
never knowin wrong from right.’

The fact is, and has been noted several times, we do not know what the fruit was, what it looked like (it was shiny).  But, the image stuck.  It seems that we got the idea of an apple from a second century Jewish translator-turned-Christian (blame the Jews) named, Aquila Ponticus.  It’s harmless.  It’s been used to show people that what they ‘think’ is ‘in’ the Bible, isn’t.

Another misconception (I am going to cover three of them), is that of a talking snake.  How many times have we heard that only a moron would take it literal that Eve was talking to a dad-gum snake.  I mean, come on, people!

  More sexiness and naughty bits.  I suppose a better picture than this:

I don’t know.  Regardless, this image is very popular.  We see the word, “serpent” in Hebrew and think, “snake.”  More Steven Tyler:

‘even Eve in Eden
voices tried deceiving
with lies that showed the lady the way
at first she stopped turned and tried to walk away
man he was believer
lady was deceiver
so the story goes but you see
that snake was he
she just climbed right up his tree.’

Tyler is tongue in cheek here, of course, and I won’t explain that to you.  These were things discussed in the seventies over a bottle of wine and a doobie when your parents were on a date for the night.  The image of a nude woman, a snake, and eating something forbidden has all the recipes for an erotic novel (and that’s kind of Tyler’s point).  Now, where were we?  Oh, the snake.

Well, let’s look at the text: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made” (Genesis 3.1).  The word in Hebrew for “serpent” is, indeed, used for what we call, “snake” (nachash).  Ophis is the Greek word, which has a long history in mythopoeic tales in the Ancient world.  Yep.  It’s a snake.  From this we move on.  But, I was taught better.  Something’s not right.  A snake is a creature made in Genesis 1.25 says, “And God maketh the wild animal of the earth after its kind, and the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing of the ground after its kind.”  In the Greek, the term for “creeping thing” is “reptile”.  It’s not a cow.  Psalm 148.10 says, “The wild beast, and all cattle, Creeping thing, and winged bird” (numerous examples can be shown).  The point is, a “creeping thing” is so because it “creeps upon the dirt” – on its belly.  It’s not a “beast” or “wild animal.

Now, let’s read the text again: “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the LORD God had made.”  The Hebrew text is literal here: The serpent.  Not serpents.  Not a serpent, but the serpent.  It was not a “creeping thing that creeps upon the ground” and made to “produce after its own kind” like snakes and lizards.  This particular serpent was a beast.  It was “more crafty” from all the other beasts the LORD God made.  There was only one of them.  God made him.  He was crafty.  He had no mate.  He was not a snake.  He was not a cow.  We don’t know what the heck he was, but we for sure know that he wasn’t a dad-gum snake!  If evolutionists can believe in talking (grunts) of a chance organism-becomes-hominid, then I don’t have much of a problem with a certain creature, a unique creature, that could talk.  I do have a problem with a “talking snake”.

But, check this out.  After this serpent-beast thing does what it does, God curses it: “And Jehovah God saith unto the serpent, ‘Because thou hast done this, cursed art thou above all the cattle, and above every beast of the field: on thy belly dost thou go, and dust thou dost eat, all days of thy life.”  Now, some think that here this beast (again, not a snake) is made to become a snake, and is the reason we have snakes today.  Well, no.  But, this serpent-beast is made to go on its belly; it’s reduced to one of the creeping things that creepeth along the dirt.  That does not make it a snake.  Second, all the other beasts, cattle, livestock, animals, creeping things, birds, seeds, whatever, are made to reproduce after their own kind with their own kind.  This beast, however, has no mate.  It was a unique and crafty beast (singular) “from all the beasts” (plural) God made.  There was no female counterpart.  When this thing died, that was it (“all the days of your life”).

Finally, one last false image from Genesis 3 must be smashed.  Eve was not made from the rib of Adam.  

 The Hebrew text, again, simply says, “Then the Lord God cast a deep sleep upon Adam: and when he was fast asleep, he took one of his sides, and filled (closed up?) up flesh underneath it.”  Now, yes, the Hebrew here can mean a rib.  Hopefully one seasoned with this:

It’s actually a beautiful image.  God made a man, and from that man made a woman (same identity, same substance, made in the same image).  I mean, God made Adam from dirt, does that mean dirt rule over Adam?  Hardly.  Then neither should it imply that woman being made from man means man is over the woman intrinsically speaking.  The woman was made from what God “took” (what he “took” was his “side” – something inside because Adam’s flesh (sarx) had to be “closed up”.  Maybe this is where we must get in touch with our inner-femininity comes from….I’ll stop.

The point of all of this is that images tend to add to the actual text.  When we try to imagine Man and Woman in a garden, we only have our own settings to do this.  When we image one of our ribs, and throw in an apple and a talking snake, the picture starts looking, well, rather ridiculous.  And that’s exactly the kind of thing doubters do to this historical account of our origins.  The fact is, we have a text.  I don’t know what Adam and Eve looked like.  How tall they were.  I don’t know what language they spoke.  I have no clue what the crafty beast-serpent looked like, either.  I have no idea what kind of “fruit” they ate.  I do not have any idea whatsoever what the Garden looked like, or how the topography was, the atmosphere, etc.  I can use my imagination based on how I perceive “garden” “fruit” “man” and “woman” today, and then use that to construct what those things sort of, maybe, possibly were.  But, my mental picture (image) is just that: an image, not reality.  I wasn’t there.  It’s going to be blurred to some extent.  I have no idea what the first animals, beasts, fish etc., looked like.  I suppose, to some degree at least, a dog is a dog.  But, the first pair of caninae, the sub family of canidae?

I don’t know.  But, how does not knowing mean that “and God made all the beasts of the dirt after their kind” is false?  That would simply be very bad logic: “Causation A is x.  B is the result of Causation A is x.  We do not know Causation A is x.  Therefore, we do not know B.”  If that were the case, the whole issue of “reasoning backwards” based on “present data” (causative reasoning) is moot.  Science goes out the window and that would be bad for making combustible engines and the formula C3H7NO2  which would be bad for skateboarders!

Yeah, I have a problem with talking snakes, and a rib for woman, and an apple tree (I like apples!).  I don’t have a problem with Genesis, however, as an explanatory non-fiction source of ultimate origins of all that we see.  I have a problem with looking at my dog, A.J. and thinking, “God made him.”  Well, no.  Not directly.  A.J. is a spin off from a spin off from thousands of years of spin offs from what we “label” or “categorize” canidae (a Latin term for “of the dog” that someone, somewhere, used when naming that thing somewhere at some point in time – just like Adam did when he arbitrarily “picked” names for things).  Why not call a dog a “booboozambick”?  Oh, sorry, it’s not Latin….it’s not scientifically correct.  Okay, canine it is.  Whatever.  I’ll take the imposed term (imposed by who?).  I mean, we got to call it something, right?  Anyhow, it’s late.

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington, who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS and graded exams in Hebrew. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly sold out its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (Kindle/Amazon, 2019); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) working directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon.  He also is working with Redemption Life Bible Church with Pastor Tyler Jackson in New Castle, Indiana.  Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church. Samuel has four children, one step-son, ages sixteen to twenty-eight and has worked part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for over five years.  He has a solid reputation in the community, and has performed marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle.

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