Aug 28, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia VI

Chapter Six - Entering the Family of God

"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Eph. 2:19 kjv)

"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named..." (Eph. 3: 14-15 kjv)

In the above passages reference is made to the "household" and "family" of God. Who are the members of this family and how did they become so? Are there members of the family who have been adopted? Or, is it the case that they have all been born or created into it? Further, what family model is in view by the Apostle? The Jewish, Greek, or Roman? How are the ideas about family different or the same in each of these cultures? In what ways is NT theology built upon the family model? These questions will be addressed in this and in the next few chapters.

These verses, along with others to be mentioned in this chapter, are further proof that those who are members of the "household" or "family" of God are such who have been born into it, and not because they have been adopted. Further, this is a Hebrew or Jewish "house" and "family," denoting that only those who are of the "seed" or "lineage" of Abraham, and who are by birth "Israelites," are its members.

Some might wonder why so much insistence is being put on the idea of being born into the family of God since those who believe in adoption also believe in being born again. The reason for this is because 1) being a child of a parent by birth excludes the idea of being adopted by the same parent, and 2) those who promote adoption as a model often say that it is adoption that makes one a member of the family of God, that makes him a child of the father, that makes him an heir, and 3) this is often stated without any reference to entering the family by birth. In other words, most promoters of the adoption model do not say "we enter into God's family and become his children by birth and adoption," but will simply say "we enter God's family through adoption."

It has already been shown how both cannot be true. To insist that both are true leads to absurdities, no matter who makes the assertion. I have great respect for those who hold to the adoption model, men like MacArthur, Piper, whom I have already cited and corrected, and J. I. Packer (to be cited). Yet, on this doctrinal point, they are wrong, as we continue to see.

J.I. Packer wrote in "Knowing God" (see as cited HERE - emphasis mine)

"‘Father’ is the Christian name for God. Our understanding of Christianity cannot be better than our grasp of adoption...But this is not to say that justification is the highest blessing of the gospel. Adoption is higher, because of the richer relationship with God that it involves."

These words echo those cited in previous chapters by MacArthur and Piper. Their doctrine of adoption, which is foreign to the Scriptures, is made into the very heart of the Gospel. MacArthur thought it was superior to being born a child. Here the learned Packer says that the doctrine of God adopting children into his family is the "highest blessing of the gospel," higher than even the doctrine of justification. He says that it is the doctrine of adoption that creates "the richer relationship with God" than any other thing. Like MacArthur and Piper, Packer affirms that adoption is superior to the birth method of entering into a family, doing more for the adoptee than for the natural child. Who can believe it?

Packer also wrote:

"Adoption is a family idea, conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship, and establishes us as His children and heirs." (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pp. 186-188)

So, according to Packer, how does one enter the family of God? Does he say it is by being born into it? Does he not rather say that one is taken into the family of God by being adopted? Does he affirm, in this statement, that both birth and adoption makes one a child and heir of the Father? Further, if God births his child, what need is there for adoption? What does adoption do that birth does not do? Further, when Packer says that adoption is what "establishes us as His children and heirs," does he not deny that this was done in birth? If one is adopted, and already a child and heir by that method, then how can a subsequent birth (an absurdity) be said to make one a child and heir?

In the section "What Our Adoption Shows Us," Packer wrote:

"The word adoption (the Greek means "instating as a son") appears five times, and of these occurrences only three refer to the Christian's present relationship to God in Christ (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). Yet the thought itself is the nucleus and focal point of the whole New Testament teaching on the Christian life."

It is good that Packer did not say that the Greek word "huiothesia" meant "adoption," but says it means "instating as a son." If the Greek word means "instating as a son," then where is the idea of adoption in those words? Do people speak of adoption in those terms? Further, why "son" and not "child"? Why "son" and not "daughter"?

He states a falsehood, as did MacArthur, when he says that the adoption metaphor is "the nucleus and focal point of the whole New Testament teaching on the Christian life." The doctrine of adoption is what presents the clearest view of how one enters into, and maintains, a familial relationship with God as Father? I thought divine birth and parental influence of the Father were the models of this family relationship? Besides the five verses where "huiothesia" is falsely translated as "adoption," where is adoption taught throughout the New Testament? Where did Jesus, Peter, James, John, etc., speak of  being made children of God by adoption? They all spoke of birth as being the only way that people become the children of God.

Further, Packer is wrong to affirm that three of the five passages with "huiothesia" refer to a present experience, and yet nothing in those passages say such. In fact, as previously observed, Paul is very clear when he says that Christians are "waiting for the adoption," and identifies it with the time of the "redemption of the body." But, more on that in upcoming chapters.

Packer also stated:

"Not is it only in the four Gospels...The Epistles, too, are full of it. We shall be drawing our evidence chiefly from the Epistles as we move on now to show the truth of our adoption gives us the deepest insights that the New Testament affords into five further matters: first, the greatness of God's love; second, the glory of the Christian hope; third, the ministry of the Holy Spirit; fourth, the meaning and motives of what the Puritans called "gospel holiness"; fifth, the problem of Christian assurance."

Again, this is just not the case. There is no mention of the adoption in the Gospels. Jesus did not teach it as the manner in which people become the children of God. Further, there is no mention of it in the Epistles, excluding the five verses of Paul with "huiothesia." Some may try to read adoption into some verses where "huiothesia" is not used, but it is not because it is already in the verses.

Packer implies that the doctrine of God adopting children gives "the deepest insights" into the New Testament teaching on how one enters the family of God. He affirms that this doctrine enhances God's love, as if more love were involved in adopting a child than in giving birth to a child. He affirms that the Christian hope, holiness, assurance, and ministry of the Holy Spirit, are all greater because of adoption than a child who was born. Who can believe it?

Packer also stated:

"In the ancient world, adoption was a practice ordinarily confined to the childless well-to-do. Its subjects, as we said earlier, were not normally infants, as today, but young adult (sic) who had shown themselves fit and able to carry on a family name in a worthy way. In this case, however, God adopts us out of fee love, not because our character and record show us worthy to bear his name, but despite the fact that they show the very opposite. We are not fit for a place in God's family; the idea of his loving and exalting us sinner as he loves and has exalted the Lord Jesus sounds ludicrous and wild-yet that, and nothing less than that, is what our adoption means."

It would have been good had Packer, who is generally thorough in his writings, had told us specifically what model of adoption was used by the NT writers and borrowed from "the ancient world." He does not identify adoption as an ancient Jewish practice, as some try to do. He seems to clearly refer to either Roman or Greek adoption practice. But which? Though similar, they were not exactly the same.

What is striking about the above citation is the fact that there is contradiction in it. He first says that it was the near universal practice of the ancient Gentile world for heirless men to adopt mature sons and that the choice of which sons to adopt was based upon the fitness of the son to be adopted. This is what MacArthur taught, and which is against his Calvinistic and grace teaching. But, Packer does not handle the difficulty by creating another difficulty as does MacArthur. Packer is saying that the adoption of the ancients, which is a model of how God acquires children, is really not a model! The adoption model Paul supposedly is using (Roman) will not work in picturing how and why God saves and acquires sons and heirs. This fact should have caused Packer to realize the defect in the adoption model itself. Look at the dissimilarities, not the similarities (as was done in the previous chapter).

1. Roman men adopted because they were without male heirs. (but God adopts not for this reason)

2. Roman men adopted mature men to become heirs, and not infants nor girls. (but God does not do so)

3. Roman men adopted the most qualified of young men to be adopted. (but God does not do so)

4. Roman adoption did not make the young man a birth child in the image of the new father (but God's method of adoption does this)

It seems clear then that the adoption model is really no model at all. How could it be with so many dissimilarities? So, why do men continue to teach adoption theology when it is so foreign to Scripture?

Packer also stated:

"Adoption, by its very nature, is an act of free kindness to the person adopted. If you become a father by adopting a son or daughter, you do so because you choose to, not because you are bound to. Similarly, God adopts because he chooses to. He had no duty to do so. He need not have done anything about our sins except punish us as we deserved. But he loved us; so he redeemed us, forgave us, took us as his sons and daughters and gave himself to us as our Father."

When he speaks of adoption being in "its very nature" "an act of kindness to the person adopted," he must know that this was not the reason why Greek or Roman men adopted. He seems to be using a modern adoption as the model, and not the Roman or Greek. Yet, he says that the model he is using is "ancient" and unlike modern adoptions. So, it is like it, and not like it. In the previous chapters it was shown how Romans and Greeks adopted for their benefit and not for the chief benefit of the one adopted.

What he is doing now, after having shown how adopting the worthy is not a model of how or why God adopts, showing how there is dissimilarity in that respect, is showing how there is supposed similarity in the fact that both the Roman and Divine reasons for adoption are the same, that is, they are both acts of kindness towards the son chosen for adoption. But, even in this he has failed, for it has been shown that there was little kindness as the reason for ancient adoptions in the Gentile world. With all such discrepancies in the model, then why plead for it?

Packer also stated:

"Nor does his grace stop short with that initial act, any more than the love of human parents who adopt stops short with the completing of the legal process that makes the child theirs. The establishing of the child's status as a member of the family is only a beginning."

Notice how again Packer is clear in laying the sole reason for being in the family of God, or being children and heirs of God, in "legal process" that has several stages and acts involved in it. Notice too that he does not say that being "born of God" is the initial act that makes one an heir and child of God, or brings him into the divine family, but says it is the legal act of adoption! But, there may be a legal process in adoption, but one never becomes an adoptee until the final act! Yet, in the above, Packer makes the first "initial act" in the legal process to be what makes one an adoptee. Surely anyone can see the further inconsistency in this.

Packer, ironically, in another section of his famous book, also stated:

"The gift of sonship to God becomes ours not through being born, but through being born again." 
(Chapter Nineteen - "Sons of God" SEE HERE)

I say he has here hit the truth, but it contradicts what he has said in the above citations from the same book! How could the gift of sonship come through birth if it comes by adoption? But, this is typical of most "scholars" on this subject, and it is bewildering.

These family members, from the opening passages, are "citizens of Zion," of the "commonwealth (politeia) of Israel," which is a community of family members who are all related by a common birth, and common parents. It will be shown that all the members of this family, or faith community, are not only related by birth, but by country of origin. It will also be shown how it is not to the physical seed of Abraham, or to those who are Israelites by physical birth, that these things apply, but to the spiritual seed, to those who have been born again and made Jews inwardly. This community of believers are children of God the Father and of Zion/Jerusalem the mother. The "birth and nativity" of those who are children of the new birth is of the land of promise, of that "heavenly country."

The word "household" is from the Greek "oikos" and the word "family" is from "patria" (from pater, father) Patria represents persons of successive generations who are related by birth.

Patria refers to a family or clan, to all who are linked by line of descent from a common progenitor or linked through ancestry. It refers to all the descendants of a particular patriarch. Since the whole Jewish nation can be traced back to Abraham, then it can be called the patria of Abraham. The word "family" is a collective term for the descendants of the same father. Just like modern society, there is the basic "nuclear family," consisting of parents and children. Beyond this, there is the "extended family," which includes relatives.

The Greek word for "family" can only be applied to those who have been born into it, and cannot refer to those who are adopted. There are no adopted members in the family or household of God. There are no aliens, foreigners, nor strangers, in this community. All are citizens of the same country and of the same family heritage. The "people of God" are one spiritually ethnic nation where each citizen is brother and sister to each other.

What is meant by the "whole family" being both in heaven and earth? It no doubt includes all redeemed men and women, those now alive on earth, and those who have died in Christ and are now, as disembodied spirits, alive in heaven.  This family, divided now by location, is like a tree, a kind of "family tree." Part of any tree is visible, above ground. Part of it is invisible, below ground.

It probably also includes the holy angels who are "sons of God." Angels were not procreated or born, but created. They certainly did not become members of the divine family by adoption. Had they been begotten like men, then they would have been first infants and would have to reach perfection by a process of growth and development, like natural men and like those born of the Spirit. They were made adult full grown sons in the image of the Father and hence their title "sons of God."

Angels are like Adam, in this respect, who was himself called "son of God." (Luke 3:38) Adam was made a full grown man and "son of God" as were the angels. No other man is like this, either as respects his natural or spiritual birth. God is the originator or creator of the extended family, which includes angels and men. Angels are "sons of God," but not by being "begotten" ("to which of the angels did the Lord say thou art my son this day have I begotten thee?" - Heb. 1: 5). They are, as stated, such by creation, not procreation. They are "sons of God" by production and not reproduction.

Redeemed men, or spiritual "Israelites," who also are styled "sons of God" in Scripture, are not made full grown men in their spiritual births, but are born infants and must develop into full grown status, the "end" of their having been begotten.

Christ, as the eternally begotten Son, was not begotten as a babe, but as the perfect Son of God. Christ, however, in his begotten human nature, was born a babe and progressed through the stages of growth, from childhood to full manhood (concerning which much more will be said in future chapters).  In regard to Christ's humanity he was a "child" before he became an adult "son," but not so in regard to his divinity.

Some teach that Christ is "son" by adoption, not by nature or by eternal generation. But, the Scriptures no more speak of Christ being "son" by adoption as it does of his people or the angels becoming sons by adoption. Becoming children or sons is the result of birth and creation, not by adoption.

The God-Man, Christ Jesus, is the "Firstborn Son" of the family of God, which family includes several classes of holy beings, as observed. Christ is ruling over the house of God on behalf of the Father. (Hebrews 3: 1-6) In this family, the Father and his Firstborn Son rule. The government of it being patriarchal in structure, each family member has his or her assigned place of honor and glory and of service.

Israelites of the OT, like Christians of the NT, in being born of God, are spiritually born as infants and do not attain to full status as a "son" until full maturity and complete likeness to the Father and Son.

Welcomed into the Family

"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (II Cor. 6:16-18)

The word "receive" may well be translated as "welcome." Separate yourself from your fallen family as Abraham forsook his father's house and the land of his birth in Ur of the Chaldees (Gen. 12:1) to become part of another family and nation in the land of promise. Rather than being "of" the world, the call is to become "of" God. It connotes the leaving of one family and community to become part of another.

In the Greek text "a people" is from the Greek word "laos" which often means "a people, people group, tribe, nation, all those who are of the same stock and language" in the NT, and sometimes it may simply mean "a great part of the population gathered together anywhere" (Thayer, Strong, etc.). W. E. Vine in his dictionary of NT words, says "laos" is often used "of Christians as the people of God, e.g., Act 15:14; Tts 2:14; Hbr 4:9; 1Pe 2:9" and of "a people of the same race and language," e.g., Rev 5:9; in the plural, e.g., Luk 2:31; Rom 15:11; Rev 7:9; 11:9; especially of Israel, e.g., Mat 2:6; 4:23; John 11:50; Act 4:8; Hbr 2:17."

A "people of the same race and language" are the people of God, not as respects who they are naturally, via their natural births, but as respects who they are spiritually, via their spiritual births. Their "race" is heavenly and Jewish, resulting from their birth of the Spirit and union with the Hebrew Christ. Their "language" is also unique to them as a spiritual ethnic group. Even now, metaphorically speaking, Christians speak the same language theologically, having the same basic creed of the Bible. But, one day they will all, in their eternal state, all speak the same language and be one in this as well as every other respect. Wrote the prophet: "For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. 3:9 kjv)

There should be no indefinite article "a" added to the passage as there is in many English translations. Though the definite article "the" is absent, this does not justify the insertion of the "a" indefinite. The Greeks did not make use of the indefinite, and one should not always be implied by the absence of the definite. This is the consensus of Greek scholars of the NT. The literal statement is "and I will be Father to you."

If God becomes Father to a man, does this not then denote that he gives birth to that man? This was true in regard to the Greek word for "father," which defines it as denoting one who is birth father, not to an adoptive father. Of course, this is not the only thing involved in being "father" so someone. It includes providing for the well being of the family. In speaking of "sons and daughters" rather than "children" the implication is that he will not only give birth to but be responsible for their reaching their destined end of their births, that of becoming full grown sons and daughters.

Universal Father

God is viewed in Scripture as supreme Patriarch or Father in relation to creation. "yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things" (I Cor. 8:6) "One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Eph. 4:6)

God is universal father. He is the "founding father" of the universe and of mankind. The man who invents or develops some new product is often called the “father” of that product. We use the term “father” to identify its source.

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto God, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:27)

Because God is Father of all created, some teach that the fatherhood of God means everyone is a spiritual child of God and because of that everyone is going to heaven. According to the Bible, this is not true. God is universal Father to all because he has given existence to all. He is the natural Father of all, but not the spiritual Father of all.

The whole point of all this is this: when Paul speaks of the "whole family" and relates this to "the Father," is there any idea present that God is an adoptive Father, rather than a birth Father? Who can fail to see that to father, in the Hebrew and Greek terms, refers to one who produces or creates children and sons in his image and with his nature?

I cannot find anywhere in the OT or in the NT where "father" is used to designate an adopted father, or for one who was not father because he has fathered or begat children. The idea, in Scripture, is that "father" is by definition one who has "begotten" a child. Likewise, as far as I know, no Scripture word for "child," when used in relation to parents, never alludes to an adopted child, but always to a begotten child. Even when "father" is used metaphorically there is still the idea of producing or generating. For instance, note this passage in Job. "Does the rain have a father? Who fathers ('begotten' kjv) the drops of dew?" (Job 38: 28 niv) The idea of producing or siring offspring is integral to how the word "father" is used in Scripture. Even the cry "Abba, Father," so much talked about in the context of being born or adopted, is not the cry of an adopted child, but of a birth child. We see it also in the words of Peter who speaks of "the Father...who hath begotten us again..." (I Peter 1:3 kjv) When God says that he had made Abraham the "father" of many nations (Rom. 4:17-18), it is clear that this means progenitor, not adopter. We have these words also from the NT that bear on this question of the members of the family of God - "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family," (Acts 13: 26 NAS)

Who are the real "Israelites"?

Paul will explain in Romans chapter nine how both becoming, and being placed, as "sons of God," is not true for those who are mere "Israelites" biologically, according to the flesh, or who are so in name only, or even for  those who are so culturally and religiously. He will state positively - "They are not all 'Israel' which are of Israel (Jacob)." He will say also - "neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children." (vs. 6-7) He had earlier said nearly the same thing.

"For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2: 28-29)

Thus, there is a carnal fleshly Jew, Hebrew, or Israelite, as well as a physical circumcision. But, there is also reference to what is the opposite to the carnal and fleshly, to that one who is a Jew, Israelite, Hebrew, son of God, son of Abraham, etc., in a true and spiritual sense. In order to become a "Jew" inwardly, to become a real "Hebrew" or "son of God," one must be "born again" as Jesus taught (John 3:1-8), as well as the apostles (See for instance I Cor. 4: 13, James 1: 18, I Peter 1: 23-25). This new birth would become the real circumcision, dealing with the heart, the seat of man's moral being, and not with the flesh.

In I Cor. 10:18 Paul spoke of "Israel after the flesh," of that "Israel" of which every natural born Jew becomes a part by physical birth and natural circumcision. But the true "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16) is made up of those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, be they Jews or Gentiles (according to the flesh, that is) and they are by comparison rather "Israel after the spirit." The contrast is between natural, carnal, or fleshly Israel and spiritual Israel. One who is a "Jew by nature" (Gal. 2: 15), or by physical birth alone, or merely external, is not necessarily one so internally in spirit. One may be a reckoned a Jew by men and by human ethnic standards, and one in name, but may not be so in reality. There are they "who say they are Jews but are liars." (Rev. 3:9) Wrote Paul:

"Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." (Gal. 4: 28-29)

How does one become a "child of the promise"? By being "born after the Spirit" and not by adoption!

Aug 26, 2016

Coming Events

Here is what I am looking for in the near future as relates to end time prophetic events. I believe that they will occur regardless of who is elected U.S. president, but I do believe they will come to pass more quickly under Trump.

1. Trade War (short lived)
2. One World Currency & Banking System
3. Creation of Ten Trade Zones with its rulers
4. Trade Between Nations UN Regulated
5. Middle East Peace Agreement
6. Rebuilding of Babylon as Commercial Center
7. Worldwide Prosperity with Peace and Safety
8. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse



Aug 23, 2016

Born Again by Faith - Keach

The great particular Baptist, Benjamin Keach, was not such a kind of "Calvinist" as we have today where the idea of being born again by faith is rejected, and in its place is put the "born again before faith" idea. In this citation from Keach, we see that though he was a Calvinist, yet he taught, like Abraham Booth, that men are begotten by faith. He wrote:

"The Saints by their being begotten of God, through faith, in a mystical sort, are partakers of the divine nature." (SEE HERE)

I wish today's non Calvinists would quit saying that "Calvinists" believe men are "born again before faith." Such citations from men like Keach should teach them that not all Calvinists teach the born again before faith error, as do the Hyper leaning Calvinists.

Aug 16, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia V

Chapter Five - Defects in the Adoption Model

In this chapter a closer look at the adoption model will be given with the purpose of showing the severe defects in the model and how it is against Scripture. Most of the defects come in the form of contradictions arising from reconciling the model with the biblical model of birth, of which much has been said already. Other defects involve its opposition to other aspects of salvation and redemption.

In giving further scrutiny to this widely accepted model of child making by adoption, as applied to the way God makes his children, it has already been demonstrated that the birth model makes the adoption model unnecessary, and to insist on both being models calls for one to hold to a contradiction and to an absurdity.

In the previous chapter it was shown how the Scriptures of the OT were clear in calling Israel the Lord's "begotten son." This not only logically excludes the idea of "adoption" but accounts for it's absence in the OT as the explanation given by the Lord for calling people his children or sons. In addition to the verses cited in the previous chapter about Israel being God's offspring by a birth, notice these words of the prophet Isaiah.

"Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. Look unto Abraham your father, and unto Sarah that bare you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him." (Isaiah 51: 1-2)

What kind of "father" was either the Lord or Abraham to Israel? An adopted father or birth father? Though the word "begat" is not used in this passage, yet it is implied. Being "hewn" from the quarry is a metaphor for being sired by Abraham, as coming from his seed. Sarah's womb is compared to the pit from whence the hewn stone would be shaped. No where is adoption given as the reason for the Israelites being the children or sons of God. Of course, like in the NT, being "the seed of Abraham" is intimately connected with being "the children of God." In Galatians Paul said:

"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ... And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (3:16,29)

Those who are, truly in God's eyes, of "the seed of Abraham," are indeed the real "children" or offspring of God. But, what is it that makes one of this "seed"? If looked at from the standpoint of the physical seed, all who came "from" Abraham were of his seed, and none were his seed by adoption. It is also true in regard to those who are of that seed by virtue of their union to Christ, who is superlatively "the seed." Thus, as will be shown, believers, though ethnically Gentiles, are the real "seed of Abraham" or true "Israel of God" (Gal. 6:16), the spiritual children of God. Paul plainly says about those who are merely of the physical seed of Abraham - "They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed." (Rom. 9:8)

But, in either case, whether we are talking about the physical seed of Abraham, or the spiritual seed, we are still talking about people who are connected with Abraham by virtue of a birth, and not by adoption. The very idea that a Hebrew, or NT writer, would refer to adopted children as being the "seed" of a father is totally without foundation. Not only is it true that OT Israelites were so by birth, and not by adoption, but it is also true of NT believers.

Christians are Born and Not Adopted

"He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:11-13)

"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8)

Paul spoke of souls begin "begotten" by his preaching the Gospel (I Cor. 5: 15). Peter spoke of "being born again by the word of God" (I Peter 1: 23). James spoke of God who, of his own will, "begat us with the word of truth" (James 1:18) But, where is it ever said that Christians were adopted? As said in the Introduction, if the five verses that have "adoption" had been translated correctly, no one would ever think that Christians were God's children in any way other than by a birth. It is clear also that the NT writers referred to believers, either Jew or Gentile, as being the children and sons of God because of this spiritual birth and never as a result of a Roman style adoption procedure.

The Lord Rejected the Adoption Method

"After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen. 15:1-6)

This text is important in the debate about adoption and about how one becomes the child, son, or heir of a man, in the time of Abraham. Abraham has been promised a "seed," children, and especially a "son." This seed would become innumerable. Abraham's first understanding of God's promise was correct. God would give him a seed, an offspring, an heir, one who would "come forth out of thine own bowels." Yet, Abraham, with his age and that of Sarah, brings him to question the promise. Perhaps he has misinterpreted the prophecy. Maybe God will make an heir for Abraham by adoption, he thinks. But, this was not his first understanding of how God would give him a male heir. The adoption method was "plan B" in his mind. After all, it seems that adoption of a servant to be the male heir was a Mesopotamian custom. Following then the heathen custom of the day, he suggests that perhaps LORD God ought to adopt his “steward, this "Eliezer of Damascus,” to make him his legal “heir.” However, God rejects this plan and promises that Abraham will have a child “out of thine own bowels” (i.e., by being physically procreated). The Lord’s rejection of Abraham’s solution preceded God’s reiterated promise of innumerable descendants.

God says in this narrative - "An adopted child will not be your heir" and "your child will be your child by birth and not by adoption."

This ought to warn us about making adoption to be the vehicle for God acquiring children and of them becoming heirs, and about trying to make birth and adoption to be complimentary models. The Lord is not only strong in affirming that the heir to the Abrahamic promises will be made so by procreation, but also in denying that it is by adoption. Yet, in spite of this, commentators will continue to speak of both models as necessary to explain how people become the children of God. Just as adopted children were rejected from being the physical seed of Abraham, the seed being restricted to those born of the flesh, so the spiritual seed also are not adopted children, but those who are so by a new birth of the Spirit.

Does God Need To Adopt?

To speak after the manner of men, is God sterile? Is it because he cannot have children (again speaking carnally)? Is it because he is childless and must need adopt? This is the reason for most adoptions, among men historically, especially among the Greeks and Romans. It is because a man has no male heir, one of his seed, that he must therefore adopt. This is important, because all scholars know that if "adoption" be the correct rendering of "huiothesia," then it must be either a Greek or Roman model that is being used. Those who use a later English model have no authority to do so, for modern English adoption is unlike Greek or Roman in purpose and procedure. Knowing this, we must conclude that God is adopting children because he cannot have any of his own. This is one wholly untenable and yet a logical result arising from making Greco-Roman adoption the model for how and why God acquires children.

Someone might respond by saying - "Of course God is not sterile. He only chooses to adopt because he wants more children than birthed children, like many today." But, there are several things wrong with this reply and reveals much about how people can hold on to a false idea no matter what the logical consequences.

If you listen to the teaching of most commentators, then you will come away thinking that God is sterile, because, as we have seen, the reason why Greek and Roman men adopted males to be heirs was because they had none of their own, nearly always resulting from infertility. These are theological consequences of the view that says that God adopted Israel to be his son, and says that Christians likewise have been adopted into the family of God, all after the Roman or Greek fashion.

Further, the way adoption is explained today, it is God who adopts because it is his way of caring for orphans, and people are encouraged to imitate him in this and adopt orphans. He adopts for the benefit of the orphan. But, Greek and Roman adoption was not for the purpose of helping orphans, nor for the chief good of the one adopted, but rather for the greater good of the childless man. If this be a model for Christian theology, then God not only is represented as sterile and childless, but also as adopting chiefly for his own good.

In "The Law of Adoption" by John Francis Brosnan in the Columbia Law Review (Vol. 22, No. 4, Apr., 1922, pp. 332-342 - SEE HERE - emphasis mine), we read:

"Roman law is the unquestioned source of our adoption statutes of to-day. It is, therefore, of interest to consider, although briefly, the place and development of adoption under that system of jurisprudence.

Its purpose was to create artificially the parental power for the benefit of a head of a family over a person not subject thereto by birth. It was designed to avoid the extinction of the family and to perpetuate the rites of family religious worship, so that it was frequently resorted to and became extremely important."

If in Roman adoption the father, or paterfamilias. is a type of God as father, then it fails miserably. Is the Roman father, in his purpose and procedure in acquiring sons and heirs a picture of God doing the same? Who can believe it? Yet, if the Roman system of adoption be the model put forth by Paul to illustrate God's adoption of sons and heirs, we have many problems, as is being shown. By the Roman model one must view God as adopting children because either 1) he has none of his own, or 2) because his own biological sons are rejected as not being worthy to be heir.

Trevor Burke wrote the following in "Pauline Adoption: a Sociological Approach" (emphasis mine - SEE HERE):

"Given the fundamental importance of the family to Roman society, adoption was a lifeline 'for a family in danger of dying out' . This was usually due to a paterfamilias (head of the household) being unable to have children of his own, or because his own children had failed to live to adulthood, and so, in order that he might have an heir, recourse was made to adopting a son from another family...where childlessness is one of the main reasons for embarking on such a course, The Roman conception of adoption was rooted in the old religious basis of the Roman family where each family had its own cult or sacra ('sacred things'). It was paramount that the family worship should continue and where this was threatened, or in doubt, due to a lack of persons to carry it on, adoption was called into practice. Again, unlike society today where children are adopted, the normal subjects of adoption in the Roman world were already adults, by which time the chances of survival were greater and the adopting father could see what he was getting as a son and heir."

Does God adopt for the reason that Roman men did? Was it a "lifeline for a family in danger of dying out"? Who can believe that this would be a reason for God to adopt! Does God adopt because he is "unable to have children of his own"? Does he adopt because some of his biological sons are unworthy? Does God adopt adults or children?

Consider also the fact that in Roman adoptions, the male chosen to be adopted, slave or near kin, had choice whether to be adopted or not. This is because the purpose of Roman adoption, to acquire a male heir, nearly always excluded babies or small children, as noted. "Sons" were adopted, that is, adolescents or young mature men. These men had to agree to the adoption. Yet, in modern adoptions, not only is the purpose generally not to acquire a male heir, but the age of the adoptee is different, for today adoption is rarely of young men, it nearly always being adoption of babies or very small children, whose consent is not required. Clearly, whether  we choose an adoption model where the choice of the adoptee is involved, or not, each model has its consequences theologically.

The Eternal Family & Son

God has never been childless or without an heir. Just as the first person in the Trinity is styled the "Father," and has ever been so, likewise the second person has always been styled the "Son," and this has ever been so. Likewise, the Spirit is the third member of this divine family.

Christ is "the Son of God" and "the only begotten of the Father," and this by birth and not by adoption. This begetting of "the Son of God" is an immanent act of God, eternal and without beginning. As long as God has been "Father" he has also been "Son" and "Spirit." So, it is not proper to say that God adopts children from among men because he is childless or without a male heir.

"The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water." (Prov. 8:22-24)

The Son of God was "brought forth" in eternity past. His sonship is without beginning. It was the Father, Son (or Word) and Spirit that said "let us make man in our image after our likeness."

Not only will the purpose of Greek or Roman adoption, or of that adoption suggested by Abraham, not serve as a model for why God is "father" to his children, but it will not picture how he actually makes or produces children, as has been shown. Certainly God does not adopt because he wants more children than he is able to produce, the reason for many modern adoptions, nor because he is sterile or unable to produce children, nor because he lacks an heir.

God was not creating a totally new family by begetting children from among fallen men. As shown, there is the eternal family of Father, Son, and Spirit. Those who are "born of God" are they who become new members of the eternal family. Not that they ever become members of the Trinity or become God, but are created children, who are not so from eternity. Angels are, in the OT, called "sons of God," and this is due to them being created as such. So, likewise, Christians are "sons of God" by a new creation.

Romans Adopted Their Own Kin

Considering that the main purpose of Roman adoption was the preservation of the family clan or cult, only males were chosen. Generally heirless Roman men looked within their own extended family for a suitable man to adopt as son and heir. If a worthy man was not found there, one could be taken from among the slave population and made an heir. Caesar adopted his great-nephew Octavius. Actually, many Roman emperors adopted their successors. Adopting nephews was very common.

Now, if all this be a picture of how God supposedly adopts men and makes them heirs, then does he not look first to his own kin? If he does have begotten children, yet he adopts, is it because his own children have proved unworthy?

At this point, by way of introduction, mention must be made about the fact that Romans "adopted" or "son placed" their own biological sons in the Toga ceremony. But, that will be addressed in coming chapters.

I am sure that it has by now become quite obvious that the theological consequences for arguing for a doctrine of adoption to explain the manner in which people become children of God, and enter into his family, is quite untenable.

Wrote Dr. John MacArthur in "Marks of a Child Adopted by God" (See Here - emphasis mine):

"The theme of these three verses then clearly is our being adopted as sons of God. One of the most beautiful and rich theological concepts of the Scripture is this theme of adoption. In fact the very word is filled with grace and mercy and love. Adoption by definition refers to a legal action by which a person takes into his family a child not his own and usually not even related to him for the purpose of treating him as and giving him all the privileges of his own child. That's adoption, a legal action by which we take someone who is not a part of our family in to grant them all the privileges of being our true child."

One should be able to see the several errors in Dr. MacArthur's words. First, is it so that Christians, by adoption, are not God's own children, as MacArthur affirms? MacArthur, like Piper and others, argue that God will later, after adoption, make those "not his own," to become his own children by the new birth, but, as observed in the previous chapters, this is fraught with all kinds of difficulties. One wonders what a later spiritual birth does for the adopted person?

MacArthur again wrote:

"In the first century, you will be happy to know this, in the first century when Paul was writing this adopted children were in many cases more honored than natural children. That's right. In many cases, in all cases it was seen as an act of honor to be adopted. And to be able to say in a world of illegitimate children and in a world of orphaned children I was chosen by someone. I wasn't just born into a family and you got what you got; I was chosen. Being adopted was a noble thing. An adopted son was deliberately chosen by the adopting father to perpetuate that father's name and to inherit that father's estate. And when a father in the Greek world didn't have a son he would go find the noblest available son and adopt him and give him all the rights and privileges. He was in no way inferior; in fact he was chosen because he may be superior. There were many fathers who had sons but their sons didn't meet their qualifications to pass on the estate so they went out and found one that did. An adopted son may have well received the joy of his father...father's affection more than a naturally born son and he may well have reproduced his father's moral standards more perfectly than natural sons."

Notice how MacArthur exalts the idea of being God's adopted children over being his own children by birth. He says that the birth is inferior to the adoption because in the latter case the child is chosen for its worthiness, while the former is not the result of a choice. He said - "when a father in the Greek world didn't have a son he would go find the noblest available son and adopt him." Is that what MacArthur believes about election, that God chose the most worthy? The child thus feels more loved and more important by being adopted rather than by being born? It is ironic that MacArthur, a Calvinist who believes in the doctrine of unconditional election, could think that his model of God choosing to adopt children, based upon their worthiness, is consistent with that.

It is hard to believe that MacArthur could so belittle the "birth" of Christians into the family of God, in favor of his adoption model, by saying "I wasn't just born into a family"? No, I was both born and adopted, and the latter is so much more precious than the former! No, I was adopted, which means I was chosen, but to be born does not imply choice. Such false reasoning from one who ought to know better!

Surely MacArthur knows that God is in control of all things, and that his birthing of children is a result of choice? Does he believe that some of God's children are "accidental pregnancies," that happened not as a result of choice? Surely he believes that every child that he has ever sired was sired on purpose? But, more on that later.

Dr. MacArthur wrote further:

"And that's the whole point of biblical adoption, that we become children of God by sovereign, divine choice. We are the preferred choice of God. That's a remarkable thing, isn't it? On the basis of free and voluntary election God has chosen us to be adopted as His sons."

Again, he is arguing for a Pelagian or Arminian view of election. God chooses on the basis of some qualitative difference or condition in the individual in a group. He says "we are the preferred choice of God," God choosing the fittest.

Dr. MacArthur wrote further:

"Throughout the New Testament you see this imagery over and over again that when you become a Christian you enter into the very family of God. You did nothing to earn it, you did nothing to deserve it, you did nothing to choose it,"

In speaking of adoption he said "throughout the New Testament you see this imagery over and over again," but, as shown already, the NT does not promote the idea of adoption "throughout," but rather teaches that people are designated as children and sons of God as a result of spiritual birth. But, men like Piper and MacArthur, think that being born of God does not do for us all that we need to make us his children, being deficient in that respect.

In these words he also contradicts what he said previously. He said that God chose the worthy to be his heir, but here he says that becoming God's child by adoption is something that a person did not do anything to earn. Then, he says, "you did nothing to choose it." But, he must be arguing from modern English adoption modes, which the Apostle knew nothing about, of course, for in Roman adoption the adoptee, as stated previously, had to approve of the adoption.

So, we see more of the fact that the birth model and the adoption model are not complimentary, but rather at odds. First, in the case of Roman adoption, the person chooses whether he wants to be the son of another. Yet, in birth, the child does not choose such. So, which is it?

Dr. MacArthur wrote further:

"Now, when we talk about salvation in the terms of adoption, I just want to put in a footnote here so you don't miss the full picture. That's just one view of salvation. You could talk about salvation with the term of justification, which is a different issue. It looks at salvation from the forensic side, from God declaring us righteous on the merits of Christ. You could look at salvation as regeneration, which looks at salvation as the new birth. You could look at salvation under the term “sanctification,” which means you're set apart from sin unto holiness. And you can look at salvation as adoption.Those are all facets of salvation. It's like one diamond with many facets; you can look at from many angles and see its beauty. We are regenerate, we are justified, we are sanctified, we have been converted and we have been adopted. So in one sense we are sons by adoption and we are also sons by birth. Right? Regeneration. You shouldn't be confused, you shouldn't say are we adopted or are we born? Both. Those are just images. Those are just magnificent ways to look at what happened to us. And I think the reason that the New Testament introduces adoption is because adoption was such a remarkably lofty thing. To say that you were born into the family of God might not be something very special but to say that out of all the world of people God Himself chose you and lifted you to the status of an heir and a joint heir with Jesus Christ to become His own son forever that says something unique."

Yes, there are "facets" to the diamond of soteriological truth. But, to argue that justification and sanctification are facets of salvation in the same way as are birth and adoption, fails to see how the one involves a contradiction while the other does not. It is not a contradiction to say one has both been justified and sanctified, yet it is a contradiction to say that one has been both adopted and born by the same parents. Further, he tries to cover up such contradictions by saying "those are just images," as if this meant that it is okay for such contradictions to exist. Also, he again reiterates the fact that birth alone is deficient, and requires adoption as an addition, with adoption being the more important facet. Again, he belittles the importance of being born a child.

Dr. MacArthur wrote further:

"That's why the issue of adoption, picture of adoption, is given for us in the New Testament, because it opens up and enriches us with this tremendous dimension of salvation."

With this, like Piper, MacArthur admits that the doctrine of adoption was not an OT teaching. In this admission, he gives up a large basis for his case being truth. NT teaching is based upon the OT. Further, as has been shown, the NT does not contradict the OT, for the NT also does not teach the doctrine of adoption.

Aug 15, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia IV

Chapter Four - Israel's Sonship

"And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn." (Exodus 4: 22-23 KJV)

"When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." (Hosea 11:1 KJV)

"You are the sons of the Lord your God." (Duet. 14:1 English Standard Version)

These are among the leading texts of the OT that identify Israel as God's "son." Sometimes the singular "son" is used, when referring to the nation or commonwealth as a whole, but sometimes the plural "sons" is used when referring to individual "Israelites," to whom belongs "the placement of sons." The title or designation of "son of God" belongs to Israel and to Israelites. The above verses from the OT teach this and Paul affirms the same in Romans 9:4. The more frequent designation for the paternal relationship between God and his chosen people, in the OT, is "children of God" rather than "sons of God." On this point more will be said in following chapters.

So, just how did Israel become God's son? Was it by adoption? If so, then Israel was not begotten. Was it by being begotten? If so, then it was not by adoption. Or, was Israel, like many commentators affirm, somehow God's son by both birth and adoption? Where is the proof of it?

Many Bible interpreters and expositors will first presume that God adopts people to be his children, based primarily upon translating "huiothesia." as "adoption." Next, they will admit that adoption falls short of making a child "like" his adopted parents. This, they affirm, requires a birth. There are several serious flaws with this way of thinking.

First, why first presuppose adoption as necessary to birth? Second, if birth is first presupposed, what need is there of being adopted? Adoption would not, in such a case, give one additional identifying quality towards what it means to be a "child," "offspring," "son," "daughter," etc. Adoption cannot make the begotten child any more "like" his father genetically. He cannot become any more in "nature" a child to his father by being adopted. He cannot receive any more inheritance or ruling family authority by being adopted, for he has all this by virtue of birth.

Which comes first, birth or adoption in the scheme of most theologians who accept the idea of adoption as a way in which people become the children of God? If one insists that God first adopts and then gives birth, then why the birth? The reason can't be to make the adopted person a child, for he is already so by adoption. Such a view forces one who holds to this scheme to affirm that the new birth is not what makes one a child of God, for he is already such by adoption. That is simple reductio ad absurdum. This scheme leads to a slim view of what it means to be born of God. In such a scheme the birth becomes almost meaningless theologically. On the other hand, one who says that God first begets and then adopts has the problem of making adoption meaningless, for it does nothing for the child that the birth has not already done. Also, to say that God gives birth to take up deficiencies owing from mere adoption, begs the question.

Are there sons of God who were adopted but were never born? Are there some who are born but not adopted? Is the family of God so divided? As stated in the Introduction, going into error on the meaning of "the huiothesia" has given rise to sects who have so divided the family of God. After all, it is reasonable to assume that one who has been adopted may die before he is born, and so could not possibly be equal to other children of God who had been both adopted and born.

Those who accept that both adoption and birth are ways in which God produces children have many difficulties over which to overcome, as is evident. Is the person who is adopted but not born an equal heir to those who are both? Is the mere adopted child but half a child?

Was Israel Begotten or Adopted?

"Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee. And the LORD saw, and spurned, because of the provoking of His sons and His daughters." (Dt. 32:18-19)

In the opening verses cited in this chapter we saw that LORD God called Israel not only his "son" but also his "firstborn," or "first begotten." Here the Lord specifically says that he "begat," or gave birth to, the nation of Israel. Further, it is because of this "begetting" that Israel is God's child.

No where in the OT does the Lord affirm that Israel is his child by having been adopted. If so, would Israel not wonder who then was his real father, like most adopted children do? The adopted child may have grown to love dearly his adopted parents, but still, that child will know that they are not his real parents. He will, as a typical adoptee, possess a longing to meet his parents, assuming they are still alive. Even if dead, the child will still want to know all about his biological parents, and perhaps even desire to be more like them rather than like his adopted parents.

Also, though the title of "firstborn" may not always be held by the actual first born male child (for it has more than once been transferred to a younger brother), yet it was never conferred upon an adopted son, nor upon one who was not of the "seed" of the father. So, not only does God expressly say, in the above verse, that he had "given birth" to the nation (which excludes the idea of adoption), but the idea of birth is also strongly implied in the opening verses (that state that Israel was the Lord's  "firstborn"). So then, where in the OT is adoption given as the reason for Israel being God's child or son? Will one impose such a model on it based upon a faulty translation of "huiothesia"? Upon a faulty interpretation of what Paul meant when he said that "the huiothesia" belonged to Israel?

To show how commentators err in their thinking when contemplating these facts, notice what Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers says regarding "adoption":

(4) The adoption.—They are the theocratic people, the people whom God had, as it were, adopted to Himself, and taken into the special filial relation. (Comp. Hosea 11:1, “I called my son out of Egypt;” Exodus 4:22, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn;” et al.)

But, where did LORD God ever say that Israel was his son by a legal process of adoption? Certainly not in the verses cited. Did he not rather say that Israel was his son as a result of begetting?

In Matthew Poole's Commentary here is what is said:

"That begat thee, i.e. who hath adopted you to be his people, and hath showed as much care and kindness to you as if he had begotten you."

This is blatant error and goes against common sense. The text says that God "begat" but the commentary says that means that God had "adopted" them? Who can believe such interpretation? Not only this, the comment is further wrong in saying "as if he had begotten them," a denial of the fact stated in the sacred text.

Dr. John Piper, present day Bible expositor, wrote in "Adoption: The Heart of the Gospel" (SEE HERE - emphasis mine):

"The biblical foundation for the act of adopting children is primarily in the New Testament rather than the Old. There are only three adoptions in the Old Testament (Moses, Esther, and Genubath, 1 Kings 11:20). Israel is called God’s son (Exodus 4:22; Deuteronomy 14:1; 32:6; Jeremiah 31:9; Hosea 11:1) but not until the New Testament is this called adoption."

It is good that Dr. Piper agrees that the act of adopting children was generally not known in the OT. It is good that he admits that God calling Israel his son was not known in the OT as "adoption." But, sadly, in spite of these admissions, he will nevertheless teach that Israel was the son of God by adoption, rather than by begetting. Further, he is wrong to affirm, as is being shown, that the NT calls the act of producing children of God "adoption." The only authority for such a view is based upon the five passages of Paul that have the Greek word "huiothesia." Further, Dr. Piper is wrong on the number of supposed "adoptions" in the OT. Others find more examples. But, as stated previously, none of the examples given were evidence of full formal adoption, nor the result of a Hebrew law or custom. As promised, these examples will be looked at in their place.

He also said:

"The deepest and strongest foundation of adoption is located not in the act of humans adopting humans, but in God adopting humans. And this act is not part of his ordinary providence in the world; it is at the heart of the gospel."

But, there is no where in the Bible that says that God adopts children. The only proof, being the five passages of Paul, is no proof at all, as has been shown, and will show yet further. Strange, however, is the statement of Dr. Piper that this doctrine, that affirms that God adopts children, is "the heart of the Gospel" when it is only based upon the five passages of Paul and is not mentioned in other places in the NT in connection with the defining elements of the Gospel. However, God begetting children is often mentioned.

You simply cannot have a misinterpretation of "huiothesia" to be the sole basis for such a doctrine, a doctrine which is foreign to both testaments. Further, you cannot base cases of informal or heathen adoptions, in the OT, as proof that it is another model of how God saves us. The adoption model, as has been shown, and will be shown even further, is at odds with the birth model. To affirm the use of the adoption model, with all its theological difficulties, on the basis that "huiothesia" means adoption is poor theology.

Dr. Piper admits that God did not explain the making of Israel his child by adoption. But, he says that this does not mean that this was not the reason or explanation. He says that justification for imposing the adoption model on the OT is because there is authority in the NT to do so. But, again, it is very weak authority to base it upon the five passages of Paul and upon the meaning of the Greek word.

He also said:

"God did not have to use the concept of adoption to explain how he saved us, or even how we become part of his family. He could have stayed with the language of new birth so that all his children were described as children by nature only (John 1:12-13, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”). But he chose to speak of us as adopted as well as being children by new birth. This is the most essential foundation of the practice of adoption."

You would think that the "doctrine of adoption" as understood by Piper and the majority of biblical commentators, would be as talked about in the NT as is the idea of being God's children by a spiritual birth. Yet, not only was adoption not a model in the OT to explain how Israel became God's child and son, so too the NT has no such model. Piper admits that "the concept of adoption" is a way for God "to explain how he saved us" and "how we become part of his family." This, as stated previously, is important because if the model of salvation is wrong, then what is illustrated and taught from it will not all be right. Notice also how Piper considers the "doctrine of adoption" to be "the most essential foundation practice."

Obviously the reasoning of Dr. Piper leads one to the idea that the birth model, which is the only one in the OT, and the one that he admits is the general NT model, is deficient, either in the model or in the reality it represents. The adoption model is, therefore, supposed to solve the deficiencies of the birth model. For obviously, the adoption does something that the birth does not do. But, what could that possibly be? If one is a child or son by birth, he cannot be made more of a child or son by adoption. He cannot be more of an heir by adoption than he already is by birth. In fact, there is nothing that adoption can give to an existing child that he does not already have from his father. So, as stated previously, adoption becomes meaningless. But, not only that, but full of contradictions and absurdities, as will be observed in the next chapter.

Further, Dr. Piper speaks of "the language of the new birth." Well, that is the language of both testaments, but the language of "adoption" is of neither.

He also said:

"This means that the status of being a son legally preceded the experience of the Spirit coming to give us the affections of sons. We are legally sons before we experience the joy of sonship. The object work of our salvation (two thousand years ago at Calvary) precedes and grounds the subjective experience of our salvation by the Spirit today."

As noted earlier, men who teach adoption as a model of salvation and of the way that God acquires offspring, as does Piper and the majority of commentators, will debate among themselves the ordo salutis relating to birth (regeneration) and adoption. Some will put birth before adoption, others, like Piper, will put adoption before birth. Either way, as we have seen, and will yet see further, there are serious flaws for them.

Dr. Piper believes one becomes "legal sons" first, before the experience of sonship in the new birth. He also looks at adoption from the standpoint of what God did at Calvary, at a time when the adopted did not exist, being the objective aspect of legal adoption procedure. In other words, believers became legally the children of God at Calvary. Of course, he will also say that in some respect adoption occurs in time when one repents and believes the Gospel. Further, he will even say that adoption is not complete till the resurrection. But, of all these wrong notions more will be said in the next.

He also said:

"Adoption brought us, and brings our children, the rights of being heirs of the Father."

Adoption is what brings "the rights of being heirs"? I thought birth is what did that according to the Scripture?

He also said:

"Consider too, that according to Romans 9:4, the people that God chose in the Old Testament, the Israelites, were adopted out of a terrible situation. “They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.” But how was this adoption effected? Hosea 11:1, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” They were slaves in Egypt. But not only that, they were often also rebellious against God. “Our fathers, when they were in Egypt, did not consider your wondrous works; they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea” (Psalm 106:7)."

God adopted Israel when he brought them out of Egypt? Then, they were not already his children before leaving Egypt? And, if they were his children before the Exodus, then what did adoption do for them?The text cited by Dr. Piper from Hosea 11:1 says that Israel went into Egypt, like Christ, a "child," but came out from Egypt a "son," someone who was at Bar Mitzvah age. There is no adoption in the verses cited nor in the entire OT that identifies the father child relationship between God and Israel as owing to anything other than to a birth relationship.

Adoption means to be "adopted out of a terrible situation"? By this reasoning it has nothing to do with becoming children but rather with deliverance, and this leads one to believe that one is adopted by God every time he delivers from a terrible situation.

He also said:

"Therefore, God went and took a son from Egypt who was both enslaved and rebellious. The pattern is set: adoptions does not just come from nice, healthy, safe, auspicious situations."

The same reply as above may be applied to these words. Dr. Piper finds no foundation in the OT for viewing the deliverance from Egypt as the time of Israel's adoption, but does admit that he finds "the language of" birth as that foundation.

Further, one does not know what precise model for adoption Piper is using to uphold his doctrine of adoption. Is he using the Roman or Greek model? If so, why does he constantly reason from facts that are purely English and modern, and not upon the former? But, more upon this in the next chapter.

He also said, in regard to Paul's statement that the huiothesia is yet future::

"This strikes us as strange. Aren’t we already adopted? Why does Paul say that we are “waiting for our adoption”? Yes, we are already adopted. When Christ died for us, the price was paid, and when we trust him, we are legally and permanently in the family. But God’s purpose for adoption is not to leave any of his children in a state of groaning and suffering. He raised Jesus from the dead with a new body, and he promises that part of our adoption will be a new resurrection body with no more disabilities and no more groaning. Therefore, what we wait for is the full experience of our adoption—the resurrection of our bodies."

The fact that Paul clearly and plainly says that "the huiothesia" is future would indeed strike as strange someone who teaches that it is something of the past, present, and future. Dr. Piper speaks of "that part of our adoption," and this is in keeping with how most commentators speak, for with them adoption is not one act, but several, and a process. Of course, such an idea begets (pun intended) numerous theological absurdities and glaring contradictions, as has been shown, and will be shown further.

He says that Christians are "already adopted" and yet the text says it is future. Paul does not say "waiting for the completion of the adoption (huiothesia)." Yet, like Piper, many will interpret "waiting for the huiothesia" as a present reality.

Aug 12, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia III

Chapter Three - Jewish Origin of Paul's Concept

In the previous chapters it has been affirmed that "the huiothesia" is Jewish in origin and not Greek, Roman, or English. Most scholars of the word, who see "adoption" as its proper signification, will take such a definition into the OT with the intent of seeing it there explained and referred to, or practised in Israelite society, for, after all, it belongs to them according to Paul. But, seeing that "adoption" was not an Hebrew institution or practice, the scholar or Bible student must do one of two things, if he is intent on keeping his erroneous definition of "huiothesia." First, he must find examples where western style adoption of children was legally provided for and practiced in the OT, and second, not finding it, he must impose such upon it. Then, having done this, the Bible scholar and commentator will attempt to show how Roman or Greek adoption was an additional model to the biblical birth model to illustrate how both Israelites and Christians become children or sons of God.

The few examples generally offered from the OT will be looked at more closely in later chapters, but it has already been affirmed that such examples are not of actual adoptions, after western fashion, but of either informal adoptions or else reflect a non-Jewish practise. Many biblical commentators have erred in assuming that by "the hiuothesia" Paul is alluding to either a Greek or Roman model of "adoption," and then err even further by taking that assumption to the OT and then forcing that model on it, and thus of course, on the manner in which "Israelites" became either the "children" or the "sons" of God.

The fact that Greek or Roman adoption was not practiced in Israel ought to cause those who accept "adoption" as the proper signification of "huiothesia" to pause and deeply consider such a stunning fact. It ought to lead them to retrace their steps and to take a different interpretation of what Paul meant by "the huiothesia." A person's reasoning at this point should go something like this:

Defining "huiothesia" as "adoption," as I do, and knowing that it peculiarly belongs to Israelites, I should then find it used as an idea or model in the OT for illustrating the relationship that God had with Israel. But, I do not find it there, but rather find that God spoke of Israel as being his "begotten" child or son, and not his "adopted" child or son. Therefore, there must be something wrong with the definition of "huiothesia."

Once a person is at this point he will do as others have done and research the meaning of the Greek term and how it is used by the apostle. If this is done honestly, he cannot but come to the same conclusion as have others, which concludes "adoption" to be an awful translation and the cause of the problem. Once that is accepted as true, and the real meaning discovered, a person will experience his Eureka moment on this important issue, and come to greater understanding, and be able to help others who struggle with the difficulty of trying to reconcile how one can be both God's child by birth and by adoption.

Concerning the other things in Romans 9: 4 that are said to "belong" or "pertain to" those who are "Israelites," besides "the huiothesia," are "the glory," "the covenants," "the giving of the law," "the covenants," and "the promises." Why think that all these things are found in the OT except for "the huiothesia"? But, "adoption" is not found in the OT, therefore "adoption" is not "huiothesia."

It is interesting to notice how in Romans 9: 4 "adoption" ("υἱοθεσία") is in the same form as "giving of the law" (νομοθεσία) though translated into English differently. If we translated the latter part of the compounds by "placing" then it would be "son placing" and "law placing," but if by the word "giving" then it would be "son giving" or "law giving" (or expressed another way, either "giving of the sons" or "giving of the law"). Another example of a Greek compound word with "thesia" is the word ὁροθεσίας which is translated in many English translations as either "bounds" or "boundaries" but is literally the "placing" or "fixing" of bounds or limits (Acts 17:26). Also, if "fixing" be another word to use to translate "thesia," then we may translate "huiothesia" as "fixing of sons."

The Use Of The Definite Article

In Romans 9: 4, as well as in three of the four other instances where Paul used the word "huiothesia," he uses the definite article "the." The one exception is Romans 8: 15, which will be examined in its place, and the absence of it there is itself significant, being the exception.

Here are the five passages where "huiothesia" (adoption) is used, in the KJV, and all have the definite article before the word. Erringly, the KJV often added the definite article to the English text when there was none in the Greek. However, in the Greek text all have the definite article except Romans 8: 15 and Ephesians 1: 4.

Romans 8:15—“. . . but ye have received the Spirit of adoption. . .”
Romans 8:23—“. . . waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
Romans 9:4—“. . . Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption. . .”
Galatians 4:5—“. . . that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
Ephesians 1:5—“ Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself...”

Some English translations do however omit the definite article for Romans 8: 15, and concerning this I will have more to say in later chapters. A better translation of Romans 8: 15 would be "huiothesia spirit." Neither the word "pneuma" (spirit) or the word "huiothesia" have the definite article before them. But, the KJV made several errors along this line which does not help one discern the meaning of the Apostle Paul. Looking at the above translations of the five verses they translate the same Greek word "huiothesia" differently. In one case it is "adoption of children" and in another it is "adoption of sons." Who gave the KJV translators the right to translate "children" rather than "sons" and to blur the distinction? But, again, more on this passage and its implications will be taken up in upcoming chapters.

By use of the definite article in Romans 9: 4 Paul is 1) pointing to something specific and 2) calling attention to what he has already spoken about previously in Romans 8: 15 and 23, where he first introduced the term in the epistle. The definite article in "the huiothesia" may therefore be viewed not only as indicating what is specific, the difference and not to the genus, but may be adjectival, demonstrative, or relative. What has Paul previously said about "the huiothesia"? He said these remarkable things:

1) Christians now possess a huiothesia spirit
2) Christians are waiting for "the huiothesia"
3) "the huiothesia" is the same thing as "the redemption of the body"

Now, to such commentary, the Apostle adds, in 9:4, the fact that "the huiothesia" belongs particularly to "Israelites." Concerning each of these statements more will be said as each of the five passages are analyzed.

The NT Is Contextually Hebrew

"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." (Romans 15:4)

If we can substantiate the fact that Paul in Romans, as well as elsewhere in his epistles, nearly always makes use of Hebrew models and metaphors for illustrating the way God saves sinners, and makes them members of his family, rather than those of the Gentiles, then one should first assume the Jewish and not opt for the Gentile unless there is clear reason to do so.

To help show further that "the huiothesia" is Jewish and not Greek, Roman, or English, in addition to the proof already given, it will be demonstrated that Paul's letter to the Romans as well as the whole new testament is based upon OT or Jewish laws, rites, and history, and not that of the Greeks or Romans. The above passage of Paul in Romans indicates this fact.

The view that says "the huiothesia" is a direct reference to Greco-Roman adoption law and practise violates the Apostle's own words as cited above. In such a view it is not what "son placement" may have meant in the OT, for the Israelites, that becomes a model of salvation, "for our learning," but rather what it meant in Roman writings, for non Israelites. Thus, in this instance, Paul goes outside of the writings of the OT, outside its types, figures, examples, etc., in order to find an example of how people come to be God's children and sons. In regard to "the huiothesia" too many translators and Bible commentators may well say "whatever was written aforetime in Roman law was written for our learning."

If we look at the figures and terminology of the Book of Romans, is it Roman, Greek, or Jewish? If it is a mixture, which is the predominant source? The Book of Romans is like the entire NT in regard to its nigh universal use of Hebrew OT words and metaphors to illustrate some aspect of salvation.

New Testament theology is based not only upon express statements of the Old Testament, and upon its legal code, but also upon its types, shadows, figures, examples, word usage and definition, leading personages, historical events, etc., as well as its customs and traditions. Only occasionally does the NT make use of laws and customs outside of a Jewish context in order to serve as theological mediums. Therefore, the hermeneutic rule is to first view a term, citation, figure of speech, types, etc., in the NT, as Hebrew and only allow that Greek and Roman are the exceptions. Assumption and a prima facie case are with the view that "the huiothesia" is a Jewish idea first and foremost.

The new testament uses words like "figures" for old testament people and events. So likewise with the words "types" and "shadows."

"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." (Col 2: 16-17)

Notice that it is the religious and civil activities of the Jews of the OT that are "a shadow of things to come." Israel's law and feasts serve as models and metaphors of the facets of redemption, and not those of the Greeks or Romans. Elsewhere in the NT it is Hebrew laws and practises that are called "examples," "types," "figures," etc., especially in the Book of Hebrews, not those of the Gentile world. All this is but further evidence that the concept of "son placement" was not taken from the Greek or Roman world but from the Jewish world of the OT.

Christ and the NT writers not only used things in Israelite culture to illustrate aspects of God's saving work, but also made use of things in nature, in the physical world, to picture divine truth, and even  made use of common every day occurrences to illustrate moral and spiritual truth.

Jesus talked about men finding treasure and likened it to men finding the kingdom of God. He taught that fishing was like preaching. He also compared being stewards or managers of earthly things with being so in spiritual or heavenly things. He taught that farming, with its sowing and reaping, was a picture of the preaching of the Gospel, of salvation and damnation, and of the end of time, which is a harvest.

Like Jesus, Paul and the other NT writers made use of not only physical models of the universe to illustrate or adumbrate spiritual truth, but also common things such as building and buildings, doctors and doctoring, going to court, buying and selling, maturing and going to school, beside all kinds of human relationships and interactions that serve as metaphors of salvation. Consider also how in the NT water is a symbol of that which is spiritual, of the Spirit of God or of the word of God, a metaphor for the instrument of moral cleansing, and that bread and food serve as metaphors of some aspect of salvation in Christ. Even the idea of spiritual "birth" is a metaphor.

Paul often alluded to the Greek games and athletic contests, such as those of the Olympic or Isthmian games. He used references to fights and races, to winning crowns at competitions, of battling various foes, all to illustrate truth about God and salvation. Paul often used military terminology, perhaps in Greek or Roman language, to talk about the Christian warfare. But, it may be said, that these uses of Gentile institutions and practises were not so unique to Greece or Rome that they were unknown in Israel.

Peter used the figure of the Pyramid of five corners when he spoke of the chief or head corner. He also used the eye disease of nearsightedness as an illustration of those who "cannot see afar off," cannot see the end and purpose of all things.

James used the example of great fires starting from small ones to illustrate how a misspoken word causes damage. He said that looking into the word of God was like looking into a mirror.

But, acknowledging all this does not warrant us to think that the major metaphors and comparisons, used by the Bible writers to illustrate divine truth, were borrowed from outside of the Jewish world. All the leading metaphors in the NT that are used to teach something about salvation are taken from the Hebrew OT, and even most of the secondary metaphors, taken from outside of the OT and from Hebrew culture, are such that can be found in any culture, even Israel.

Interesting and ironic is the fact that when NT writers refer to some event or institution in the Gentile world, it is not to illustrate or reveal something about salvation, but about judgment and damnation, and about things that are wrong. Thus, to Peter, the deluge was an "example," but of what? The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were events with lessons to teach. But, what does it teach?

Consider also the fact that the OT often denounces Gentile culture, with its laws and institutions, as being vain, without meaning. "Learn not the way of the heathen...For the customs of the people are vain." (Jer. 10:2-3) Shall we say that the Roman and Greek custom of adoption, in light of all this, is a adumbration and picture of how God takes sinners and makes them into his image?

Roman Epistle is Contextually Jewish

Paul's habit was to use Hebrew laws and customs as types and shadows of theological truth, especially as revealed in the new testament. Illustrations about salvation, redemption, justification, etc., are taken from Hebrew law and thought. This is the NT rule, with but few exceptions. If reference is made to laws, teachings, and ideas concerning marriage and family, inheritance, government, righteousness, justice, holiness, sin, guilt, punishment, theology, divine worship, sacrifices, priesthood, etc., they are taken from the Hebrew OT and not from the writings and institutions of the Gentiles.

Illustrations of Salvation are Nearly Always Hebrew

Israel's seven festivals were all ordained by God to be pictures of salvation and redemption, but not so those of the Gentiles. The family laws of Israel were used by NT writers as paradigms of the relationship that God has to Christians, and they to each other, and not the family laws of Greeks or Romans. Israel's laws of inheritance served as the foundational context for explaining the Christian inheritance. Incidents in the history of Israel's patriarchs, and of the nation itself, all serve as examples and means of illustration to convey new testament truth about Christ and the way of salvation. The NT writers would never consider viewing God's dealings with other nations as pictures of salvation. Incidents in the history of Israel teach NT truth about salvation through Christ, such as their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, their baptism in the Red Sea, their journey through the wilderness to the promised land, their conflicts with their enemies, etc., all serve all examples of NT truth, but not so with any other nation.

Of course, as stated, the NT contains teaching illustrations that are based in Gentile laws and customs, but these are the exceptions, and are merely supplementary to the Hebrew.

Aug 11, 2016

Waiting For The Huiothesia II

Chapter Two - The Huiothesia Belongs To Israelites

“Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;” (Rom. 9: 4; KJV)

Of the five occurrences of "huiothesia" this seems to be the best place to begin a study of Paul's use of the term. First, because it is definitive in regard to what is meant by the term, giving an historic Jewish setting to it, and Second, because it is in the context where three of the five occurrences of the word are found, and Third, because many scholars of the word, even among those who translate wrongly, agree that this is a proper starting place to examine its Pauline usage, and agree that it has been often overlooked and not given its proper due. In the debate over whether "the huiothesia" alludes to a Jewish, Greek, or Roman institution or practise, this verse's bearing on the question is obvious and cannot be ignored.

Paul is express in affirming that η υιοτεσια — hē huiothesia  (the huiothesia) "pertains to" or "belongs to" those who are "Israelites." If it belongs to them, then it does not belong to Greeks or Romans as such. Those scholars who try to find the Pauline significance of "the huiothesia" in Greek or Roman law and customs are on the wrong track. If one wanted to know about "the glory" that Paul says belongs to Israelites, then would he not go to the OT to find it? Would he go to Greek or Roman history and community to find "the glory," or the other things mentioned as peculiarly belonging to Israelites? Then why go there to find the meaning of "the huiothesia"?

This is the only time that the term “adoption” is directly applied to Israel in most English translations. This is odd seeing that the term “adoption” does not generally appear in English translations of the Old Testament, nor does "huiothesia" appear in the Septuagint. This oddity ought to prompt Bible students to question the translation of the Greek word, and instead of going into the OT to find the practise of western "adoption," they should rather go looking for "son placement." As we will see, there was no "adoption" per se in Israel, in the OT, yet there certainly was "son placing" or "son positioning," as we will see.

No Adoption In Israel

The Jews did not have adoption laws, it not being practiced among them. So, how did they take care of orphans and men who died childless and without a male heir? Was it different from how the Greek and Roman world dealt with the matter?

In each of the three cultures mentioned, all were patriarchal, the father being the head of the family. He was lord and ruler over the "clan" or "cult," or sub tribe. He was also the family priest, responsible for the religious education of the family. Further, in each culture, the laws of succession and inheritance, for both property and family status and authority, required a male heir, a full grown son to perpetuate the family and its name. But, besides these basic similarities, there are marked differences between how Israel, through her laws and customs, dealt with the problem of fathers who had no male heirs, as compared with that which is either Greek or Roman.

The Greco-Roman world used the vehicle of adoption to solve the problem of a father having no male heir. The Jews, however, dealt with it in a different manner.

The Law of Levirate Marriage

"If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her. And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel." (Deut. 25:5-6)

The Jew then handled the problem of a man who dies without a male heir differently than did the Gentile world. The Jew, by LORD God's instruction, dealt with it by what is called "levirate marriage." The Greco-Roman world dealt with it by adoption. Further, the purpose of adoption in the Greco-Roman world was not the same as it is in today's western world.

Men today, in the English world, do not generally adopt adolescent or adult males, or "sons," and certainly not because they lack a male heir to preserve their family estate or heritage. Nearly all adoptions today in the western world involve adopting babies, or very small children, who are orphans. However, in the Greco-Roman world, this was not the reason. Adoption was not practiced as a way to deal with orphans or with the fatherless. Its whole purpose was in order to give a male heir to a man who had no male children.

The fact that Roman adoption is unlike modern English adoption creates difficulty for those who proceed in their explanations of the Pauline doctrine of "huiothesia" on the basis that "huiosethia" means "adoption."

The Roman Model is not like the English

So, which model of adoption do we choose? If we reject the Jewish model, accepting the translation of "adoption" for "huiothesia," then we must opt for either the Roman, Greek, or the English. Each one has serious consequences in theology, for as all agree, the "adoption" or "huiothesia" theology of Paul is a paradigm or illustration of some important aspect of salvation. If we get the model wrong, then we will get the doctrinal implications wrong.

The place that a Bible student finds himself at this point is confusing. Having left the path of truth by accepting "adoption" as the proper translation of "huiothesia," he comes to a fork in this errant path and must decide which way to go. Shall he go the Greco-Roman way, or the English way? Do I use the Roman model to illustrate how I become God's child by adoption or the English?

As we have seen, and will see yet further, accepting either of these models as a paradigm of how people become children or sons of God produces insurmountable theological difficulties, leads to heretical opinions of all kinds, and brings unease to the Christian's peace of mind.

Why Adopt?

The sole reason for adoption in the Greco-Roman world was in order for a man who had no male heir to acquire one. The idea of adopting daughters was not the reason for it and was not even practiced. This being the reason, such a man often chose either an adolescent or a mature young man who was of age. This young man would become, by legal act, the "son" of the adopter. The "son" then would become the heir of the family estate and preserve the name and heritage of his "father." Had the Greeks and Romans adopted (pun intended) the Jewish law of levirate marriage, they would, like the Jews, had not had such an institution as "adoption."

Unlike Greco-Roman adoption, English or general modern "adoption" rarely has for its reason the preservation of a man's name, estate, or family heritage. This is not to deny that many people adopt children today because they cannot have any of their own. In fact, as all know, many people who adopt already have their own biological children. Thus, the "family" consists of both biological and adopted children. Consider also that adoption in our day has even come to include the idea of single parents adopting children, yet in Roman and Greek society only men adopted males and not for the benefit of the adopted, but for the benefit of the adopter. Women did not adopt in the Greco-Roman world nor did men adopt girls to become daughters.

With these differences before us, which path (model) we take will have its theological consequences. Keep in mind that the person choosing which path to take is already on the wrong path by having interpreted "huiothesia" to mean "adoption." Whichever model of adoption we then take will bear on our views regarding salvation. The particulars of the "adoption process" are used by theologians and Bible teachers to explain the legal process involved in a person becoming God's child. But, as we have seen, the particulars of the adoption legal process are quite different in each context.

Fostering Children, Taking in Strangers, and Informal Adoption

One of the ways that the western world today deals with orphans is by encouraging their adoption. Those not adopted are either placed in temporary "foster homes," with "foster parents," being "wards of the state," or in "orphanages." Also, many Christians, especially Catholics, practise "God fathering" and "God mothering" where people become a kind of second parent, or "God parents." Sadly, also, many today, as always in the past, are orphans who simply live on the streets. However, in neither the Jewish, Greek, or Roman world was modern English adoption practiced. This is one of the reasons why it is wrong for modern English translators to continue to translate "huiothesia" as "adoption." The average young Bible student will at once think in the mode of his ideas of modern English adoption.

There is no command from LORD God in the OT for Israelites to adopt orphans. God did, however, speak directly to them about caring for them in other ways.

"When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied." (Deuteronomy 26:12-13)

The ancient Hebrews provided for both strangers and orphans, yet they did this without formal adoption. Many of them "took in" strangers and foreigners into their homes, making them either indentured servants, or as a kind of informal adoption that was meant to be temporary. Every Israelite was to fill the vacuum created in the lives of children who lost their parents by being parents to them, being fatherly and motherly towards them. It is also done with the view that such orphans will one day no longer need their care and either start their own families (in the case of males) or become part of one by marriage (in the case of females).  The cases of supposed adoption practises in the OT, as we will see, are not cases of formal adoption, nor the result of Jewish law and practise, but were at best but informal adoptions, and done in a Gentile environment. Adoption, as I have shown, was not practiced by Jews in the OT and to go looking for it there (because of an erroneous translation) leads to doubt and theological confusion.