Pan Theology

Today's guest blogger is Troy Jackson who offers us a lighthearted look at a subject that has caused friendships to die and churches to split up. Let's join in the fun. 

Pan Theology
by Troy Jackson © 2011

Recently a group of friends and I entered into a discussion on whether or not Adam had a naval. It was a completely civil discussion, and we reached no conclusions, but it reminded me of some not-so-civil theological discussions I had while at Bible College. If you have never witnessed two or more passionate, Christian scholars embroiled in a debate on an obscure theological point, it is difficult to understand. Individuals who are brothers in their faith going at each other with a vehemence that makes debates on Capitol Hill look like one of my four-year old granddaughter’s tea parties by comparison.

My dad was a down-home country preacher with very limited theological education. A fact I used to think made him inferior to my professors. Well, if I’m being honest, at the time I thought it made him inferior to me, which is probably what inspired me to attempt to engage him in just such a discussion. I was even prepared to take either side as befitted the occasion.

I posed some innocent sounding question; these debates usually start with something innocent sounding, and waited for him to take a side. He thought for a bit and said, “Son, I try to avoid pan-theological issues.”

Now, being a highly educated person I was not about to let something like having no idea what “pan-theology” was stop a good debate, so I fired back. “What do you mean by ‘pan-theology.’?”

“I figure anything that doesn’t directly relate to our salvation or how we are supposed to live our lives as Christ’s followers will all pan out in the end. So, anything that falls outside of that is pan-theology.”

My dad could sure ruin a good discussion. So, because I was deprived in my youth I’d like to propose a pan-theological discussion right here in this blog. What do you think? Did Adam have a belly-button? While we’re at it did Eve? Don’t just throw out an answer, back it up with some reasoning. If you want to get into it did good old Adam have one less rib than everyone else, or did the pattern change with Eve. If everyone gets into this we can go for other topics. How many angels on the head of a pin type of debate—although my friend’s young daughter says it’s definitely five. She didn’t offer any supporting Scripture, but she said it with such conviction.


  1. Adam and Eve definitely did not have belly buttons. Scientifically speaking, belly buttons only exist for the purpose of transferring nourishment from mother to baby during pregnancy.

    Here are some questions for you:

    What did Adam and Eve say when Cain and Able asked them why they had belly buttons and Mommy and Daddy didn't?

    How old were Cain and Able when Adam and Eve explained why they were kicked out of the garden? Did they even tell them? (They obviously told Seth because the story got passed down through the generations.)

    What color animal skins did Eve wear? How many outfits did she have?

    Did Adam and Eve eat their 7 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day? Did they discriminate against certain fruits and vegetables because they resembled the forbidden fruit?

    How did they get enough vitamin D?

    I enjoyed your article. It was fun.

  2. Dear DR,
    Fun questions. Somehow, I always thought that the babies came after they were kicked out of the garden. There's food for thought here, and some interesting conversations would ensue. Maybe some day we'll get to ask them of Adam and Eve.

  3. I have also had the impression that the babies came after they were kicked out of the garden. But did they tell Cain and Able about their first sin? Did they ever tell Cain and Able how glorious the garden was? Maybe Adam and Eve were not honest enough about what they learned, or should have learned, from their experience in the garden.