Why are there so many translations of the Bible and why are there so many denominations? Did God actually walk the earth with Adam and Eve?


You are asking three different questions, with very different answers.

  1. The reason there are so many translations into English is, quite simply, because there is a market for them.  The Bible is by far, without even a close comparison, the largest selling book of all times.  I am sure that sales are well past one billion.  There is a fantastically high interest in reading the Bible.  Therefore, there is also support for a number of translations.  Besides, different people are interested in different kinds of translations.   There are paraphrases like the New Living Bible, the Philips Translation and many others.  There are phrase-for-phrase translations like the New International Version or the New King James Version.  And then there are more precise (but slightly harder to read) word-for-word translations like the Revised Standard of the New American Standard.  There are literally dozens of other translations into English.  We have an embarrassment of riches in this area.  This is a good thing because when taken together, two or three good translations gives a more accurate sense of the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek Old and New Testament.  Although it might be a bit confusing for you, having multiple translations, especially in English, is a good thing.
  2. The reason there are so many denominations is a matter more of history than of anything else.  There really was just one Christian church in the first three centuries.  From about 350 AD until about 1700 AD, Christianity was governed by state-run churches.  During that period the number of Christian groups was limited and competing Christian groups were generally suppressed.  As of 1700 AD there were probably a bit more than a dozen definable Christian groups (Coptic, Roman Catholic, Jacobite, Orthodox, Lutheran, Reformed/Calvinist, Anabaptist, Quaker, Puritan, Baptist and a couple more).  After 1700, as religious tolerance was gained in Holland, America, England, and later throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world, a flood gate was opened and literally hundreds of separate definable Christian groups sprang up. We can argue that this is a very bad thing, as Jesus pleaded for Christian unity.  However, as long as human beings are free to act, new Christian groups will continue to pop up.  Many teach false doctrines, but many differences are over inessential teachings.  The existence of false teaching is one of the explanations of all these groups.  However, some of the division is over inessential teachings.  It is hard for a charismatic believer to be in intimate fellowship with a believer who does not accept the validity of present-day speaking in tongues and other miraculous manifestations.  So, as lamentable as the amount of division in Christianity is, it is not likely that these divisions will end any time soon.
  3. It is debatable whether this “walking” in the garden was literal or metaphorical.  I cannot rule out the possibility that God manifested himself in a visible form in the garden of Eden.  It is my preference to view the “walking” as metaphorical.  Adam and Eve had a more intimate relationship with God than we do, as they were innocent and had not sinned.  Exactly what this relationship was like is not fully certain.  It does seem that God spoke to them somehow.  We may have to settle for not being entirely certain whether this “walking” was literal or metaphorical.

John Oakes

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