Where does he get this stuff?
Bill O’Reilly has done it all. He has attended Harvard. He’s been a reporter in some of the biggest television markets in the country. He has traveled the world. He has interviewed presidents. He anchors a top-rated cable TV show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” which I watch religiously. He makes a ton of money. He is a very smart man. Except, when it comes to the Bible.
His biblical illiteracy was showing during an interview last Wednesday night with Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the 11,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. He asked the preacher about Adam and Eve. “Did they literally live in the Garden of Eden and usurp the evolutionary process?” In other words, were Adam and Eve real people, or is that story in Genesis “allegorical”?
He was not off to a good start. O’Reilly, who told Jeffress he was a “believer,” apparently did not know he was picking a fight with Jesus and the apostle Paul. Never a good idea. On numerous occasions, the Lord and Paul confirmed events in the Old Testament as being historical fact. The creation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was one of those events.
In the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus said, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female…” (Matthew 19:4)? Again, in the New Testament book of Mark, the Master said, “But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). The Savior was quoting a verse in the Old Testament book of Genesis, which reads, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Genesis 1:27).
Jesus was affirming the historicity of Adam and Eve, the first humans. He did not call them by name, but the reference is very clear. He is not referring to an “allegory.” He is referring to a literal man and a literal woman. He is referencing a specific part of the Old Testament, the book of Genesis, and a specific event, the creation of the first man and the first woman. Nothing allegorical there.
In addition to Jesus, Paul, the apostle, mentioned Adam, and it’s clear Paul believed Adam was a real person. That means O’Reilly is also questioning the veracity of one of the greatest men of God who has ever lived.
In the New Testament book of Romans, Paul wrote, “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that was to come” (Romans 5:14). Again, in the New Testament book of 1st Timothy, Paul wrote, “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13-14).
It is clear Paul is talking about a real man and a real woman, a real event and specific facts concerning that event. According to Scripture, Paul and the other writers of the books of the Bible, did so under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God and the Bible says God cannot and will not lie. God did not deceive Paul about Adam and Eve. If He had, He would not be, by definition, God. He would be less than perfect and would be like you and me.
In the New Testament book of 2 Peter, we read, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Elsewhere in the New Testament, Paul wrote, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
O’Reilly continued his quarrel with Jesus when he tackled the story of Jonah and the whale, a favorite for Bible skeptics. “A whale swallowing Jonah for three days, that doesn’t happen,” O’Reilly said. But again, in the New Testament book of Matthew, Jesus said, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). By referencing Jonah and the whale, Jesus was using a real story to illustrate a real future event, His resurrection.
In saying this, Jesus confirmed that there was a real person named Jonah and that there was a real fish and that fish really did swallow the prophet and the prophet really did stay in that whale for three days. Doesn’t sound like the Master was referring to this as an allegorical story. The Savior is confirming the Old Testament account of a man swallowed by a fish that is found in Jonah 1:17-2:10.
Bill, the believer, was now 0 for 2. He had lost both rounds to Jesus and we can throw in a knockout by Paul for good measure. But, Bill wasn’t through. In conclusion, O’Reilly asked if he could be a good Christian if he believed the Bible is allegorical in some cases.
A better question, Bill, would be, “Can I be a Christian, period, and challenge Jesus?” Possible, but not probable. A Christian is a follower, a disciple, of Jesus Christ. A Christian is madly in love with Him. A Christian believes every word that has ever proceeded out of the mouth of God’s Son. A Christian knows that Jesus always speaks the truth.
In the New Testament book of John, He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Bill, with that verse in mind, do you believe Jesus is the only way to Heaven? If you don’t, you are calling the Redeemer a liar and you are not a Christian.
Ed Baswell is the host of Crossfire Radio weekdays from 7-9 am on The Promise, 90.7 FM. The show is streamed live worldwide at promisetalkradio.org.