Evangelical Eisegesis: Robert Clifton Robinson on Genesis 3:15

Robert Clifton Robinson has 400 prophecies that point to Jesus. Let’s examine his first example.

6 thoughts on “Evangelical Eisegesis: Robert Clifton Robinson on Genesis 3:15

  1. In Robinson’s partial defense, neither he nor other modern evangelicals are the first to interpret Genesis 3:15 along these lines. This prophetic or “protevangelical” reading goes back to the early church (Irenaeus, et al.). https://www.jstor.org/stable/43713761?seq=1

    But yeah, it’s a case study in motivated apophenia–the very human tendency to discern connections and patterns (even predictions) where none exist. There’s a reason just about every daily newspaper in the country still publishes horoscopes. ūüėČ

    With a book (or collection of books, rather) as voluminous as the Bible, we have no shortage of material to work with. Given enough time and and a reader’s willingness to squint real hard, the opportunities for creative, comforting, and confirmatory inferences are legion. As is the case for the holy writings of other religions.

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    1. I almost went into the history of the so-called “protoevangelium” but decided against it. It does, as you pointed out, have a looooong history. That might need to be an entry in my “Bible Study for Amateurs” podcast instead.

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  2. Robinson is building on a list that has been in circulation well before he was making that argument. Many years ago I started a page (requires landscape orientation) that I naively thought I would some day finish in response to all of these, and was using Robinson’s arguments to help me understand the claim. To the extent that I made it through, it was actually a very enlightening exercise and really helped me get a better understanding of the cultural background and authorial intent behind a lot of the passages.

    At this point I’ve lost interest and will never pick it back up and finish the list, but I feel better educated for having at least tried. And I’ve seen enough to feel confident that I’m not missing any earth-shattering revelations in the “prophecies” I haven’t covered.

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    1. I think just about everyone who has grown up in Christianity knows about the ‚Äúprotoevangelium.‚ÄĚ Robinson‚Äôs view has its own idiosyncrasies though and coupled with his particular brand of poor apologetics I thought it might be fun to address it.

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      1. To be clear, I was referring to the list as a whole (the 350+ prophecies), not just the protoevangelium. His list generally follows the other lists that are out there in many different forms, but his is probably the most comprehensively argued list that I encountered.

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  3. I think, when it comes to the Hebrew Bible, I’ll listen to the Hebrew scholars and Rabbis and take their word that there is not a single prophecy of Jesus in Jewish scripture. No divine messiah, no dying-and-rising messiah, no executed, humiliated, Listen to Rabbi Tovia Singer – a man that knows the New Testament as well or better than almost anyone I can think of – various Rabbi’s from Jews for Judaism (see YouTube video “Was Jesus The Jewish Messiah?”) and Hebrew scholars Chaim Maccoby and Geza Vermes. All of these people have similar positions with some variations of reasoning as to why Jesus was NOT the messiah, most claiming he didn’t fulfill ANY of the prophecies regarding same. Christians, on the other hand, MUST find ways to get Jesus in the Hebrew scripture for the sole purpose of perpetuating their mythology. that is not a search for truth, but a search for a predetermined truth already held by their believers.

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