“He [Jesus] answered, ‘Have you not read that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female?’ “ (Matt 19:4).
“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:38-39).
Matthew surely does seem to be showing us that Jesus believed that Genesis was literal history, doesn’t he? Jesus said God made people “in the beginning” of the creation, like on day six, not after several hundred million years of evolution! Jesus cited the real historic event of Noah’s flood as a way for us to discern when the world is nearing His return / second coming. So, if the flood narrative is poetry or allegory (which it’s not), then Jesus’ second coming must also be allegory (which it’s not).
In the decades after Darwin gave atheists a seemingly viable vehicle to explain the world apart from God, even very well-meaning theologians jumped on his bandwagon and tried to perform interpretive gymnastics with Genesis. They were trying to accomodate the Bible to Darwin’s theory, which at the time looked so legit. They tried to squeeze in millions of years by inventing the gap theory, or the day-age theory, or the framework hypothesis. In short, they were all too eager to accomodate God’s Word to man’s word, and they invented ways of reading Genesis that were not even dreamed of for thousands of years prior. This is called eisegesis, or reading into a text what is not really there. It is never recommended for Bible believers, and the more time that passes since Darwin’s lie, the more it becomes clear even to secular scientists that this theory’s days are numbered! There simply is no need for any Christian to feel obligated to somehow “reconcile” Genesis and the Bible with Darwinian theory and the geologic epochs (million/billions of years). Why would we want to reconcile God’s absolute truth with unscientific lies?
Though we might spend hours discussing the various accomodationist theories, the blunt fact is that every New Testament writer quotes or refers to Genesis 1-12 in his Spirit-breathed writing. Every single NT writer assumes that Genesis is a literally true, narrative history of the origins and beginnings of the world and universe. Friends, when we presume to know how to better interpret the Bible than those NT writers being borne along by God’s Spirit, we are on the hermeneutical Titanic! Simply put, we’re wrong.
But what is so darned important about Genesis 1-12 anyway? I mean, big deal if it’s poetry (which no Hebrew scholar worth his salt would claim) or allegory (ditto)? As long as we trust in Jesus, isn’t that all that matters?
Not so fast. Consider the doctrines (teachings) that have their foundation in the first chapters of Genesis. Here are just a few:
- Creation ex nihilo. God made everything out of nothing. He spoke and it was so. This goes to God’s omnipotence and eternal nature.
- God as the Source of all life, all energy, and all power. All life, energy and power is derived from Creator God. Is it insignificant that Gen 1:2 tells us God’s Spirit “hovered” or “vibrated” over the initially formless, watery mass called earth? I think not. God is imparting energy and motion and power to His creation!
- Manhood and womanhood, or gender roles. The gender confusion plaguing our nation is easily resolved by a return to Genesis 1-2.
- Human dominion. God gave people stewardship over the earth and all its resources. He commanded us to rule over the animals and plants, and to cultivate and beautify it. PETA, contrary to the thinking of cultural elites, is not exercising proper dominion by elevating animals to human status. They are defiling God’s created order and mandate.
- God’s creation of marriage. One man, one woman for life. Any questions?
- God’s love for children. God’s first command to people? “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God loves children! But we do not. We medicate ourselves to ensure we do not have children, or at least so that we only have them when it’s most convenient for us. We surgically alter ourselves in order to avoid obeying God’s mandate.
- The joy of work. God made us to work! Work was not a part of the curse of sin entering the world. Adam was told to cultivate the garden from the word “go.” The curse of sin, however, has ensured that the earth and its resources fight back now, making our work toilsome. Nevertheless, people are created to find joy in work. Is our culture living up to this, or are we idolizing work and letting it ruin our lives?
- God as the Supreme Lawgiver. Our nation’s founders grasped this concept well. Today, our leaders do not so much as acknowledge that all truth and right and good finds it standard in God and His Law.
- God as Covenant-Maker and Covenant-Keeper. It was Adam, and by extension us, that broke covenant. Not God.
- Mankind as fallen, helpless, spiritually dead sinners. When Adam and Eve rebelled, they carved out a massive chasm between their rebel hearts and their Creator God. The chasm is so wide and deep that no mortal can cross it on his own power, by his own wit, will or wisdom. God promised if Adam sinned, “Dying you shall die.” We’ve been dying ever since.
- God’s gracious initiative to atone (cover) our sin and rebellion. God made animal skin clothing for Adam and Eve, a clear foreshadowing of the truth that only God can atone for sins. Our sewing fig-leaves has never worked to patch things up with God, and it never shall.
- God’s promise of salvation which would come through a seed (offspring) of Eve and would one day reverse the curse and crush Satan’s evil head. Genesis 3:15 is known as the proto evangel, or first gospel. Indeed, it is the first time in Scripture where we are told as sinners to hope in a merciful Savior-Warrior-King who would come as one of us, yet deliver us.
- God’s wrath and holy anger against sin, as seen in the global flood of Noah. Why do atheistic scientists hate the idea of a global flood? NASA has theorized that there once was a global flood on Mars (which as far as we know has no water today). Why would they have no problem with the idea of a global flood on a waterless planet like Mars, but despise the same idea here on the planet earth, where we have water, water, everywhere?!?! Gets to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?
- The reason for the various people groups (not races, as the Bible teaches we are all one race – Adam’s race). The Tower of Babel provides the explanation for the people groups of the world, the languages of the world, different cultures, etc. This is something Darwinian theory simply cannot effectively explain.
- The plan of redemption unfolding through a man named Abram, to whom God promised “all the people of the earth will be blessed” through you. See Galatians 3:15-22.
Friends, you may think all the above is meaningless or not important. But if you do, you have to also admit the gospel is not important. To make Genesis allegory is to make the gospel of a holy God reconciling unholy sinners through His perfect Son, the God-man Jesus, a farce and allegory. Was the cross of Christ where an allegorical Jesus died for our allegorical sins and provided allegorical salvation for those who trust in this whole big allegory?
I can’t speak for you, but as for me and my house, we’re not about to give up “In the beginning God.”
“For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day” (Ex 20:11).