Jonathan Sarfati – Genesis: Bible Authors Believed it to be History

Ever had someone tell you, ‘You’re missing the whole point! The purpose of Genesis is to teach that God is our Creator. We should not be divisive over the small details. Genesis teaches the theological truth of “Who?” and “Why?” not about the “How?” and “When?”’ Or else they say that the Bible is a book for faith and morality, not history.

An obvious answer is, why should we trust Genesis when it says God created if we can’t trust it on the details? After all, Jesus told Nicodemus, ‘I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?’ (John 3:12). So if Genesis can’t be trusted on an earthly thing, such as Earth’s age, the sequence of creative acts upon it, or the Flood that covered it, then why trust it on a heavenly thing such as who the Creator was? Also, if Genesis 1 were merely meant to tell us that God is creator, then why simply not stop at verse 1, all that’s necessary to state this?

However, the critic has overlooked something even more important—Genesis is written as real history. This is why the rest of the Bible treats the events, people and time sequences as real history, not parables, poetry or allegory.

What does the rest of Scripture say?

The age and unique creation of Adam and Eve mattered to Jesus

When teaching about marriage, Jesus said:

‘But at the beginning of creation God “made them male and female. … For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one’ (Mark 10:6–8).

Here, Jesus quoted Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24 about a real first man and first woman who became the first couple, and this was the basis for marriage between one man and one woman today. Not a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, or more than two people. Evolution teaches instead that a whole population of humans evolved from a population of ape-like creatures.

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Terry Mortenson – When Was Adam Created?

Introduction

When did Adam come into existence? Evolutionists say Homo sapiens came into existence 200,000 to 400,000 years ago (depending on which evolutionist you consult, because they do not all agree on what a Homo sapiens is). Can we harmonize that with the teaching of God’s Word? Today, many Christians, including many leaders and scholars, think they can.

From my reading and interaction with old-earth creationists of all varieties in 25 countries over the last 35 years, I think one reason many of them think they can harmonize the two is that they have not paid very careful attention to the relevant biblical texts. They have just assumed that the scientists have proven the age of the creation to be billions of years and the age of mankind to be many tens or hundreds of thousands of years. They often recite the mantra that “the Bible is not a science textbook” (thereby confusing the vital difference between origin science and operation science, as discussed in this book’s introduction). Therefore, it is claimed, the Bible does not deal with the issue of the age of mankind or even how man came into existence.

Another reason that a great many Christians think that the age of man and the universe does not matter and that the scientific establishment’s view does not conflict with Scripture is because they or their teachers have been influenced by William Henry Green.1 The famous Old Testament professor at Princeton Theological Seminary wrote an article in 1890 in which he argued that “the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 were not intended to be used, and cannot properly be used, for the construction of a chronology.”2 He concluded that “the Scriptures furnish no data for a chronological computation prior to the life of Abraham; and that the Mosaic records do not fix and were not intended to fix the precise date either of the Flood or of the creation of the world.”3 In other words, Green contended, the Bible is silent about the age of man and also the age of the earth and universe, so scientists are free to determine these ages according to the scientific evidence, and Christians need not reject or fear any date so determined.

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Michael Boling – Lessons From the Garden: Existence, Relationships, and Processes – The Tragedy of Sin

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Something happened in Genesis 3 that shifted the course of history and impacted the entire universe. It seemed like such an innocent or unimportant action as after all, what is the big deal with eating something? We all need to eat right? Shouldn’t we as humans be able to decide for ourselves our own actions and what we believe to be right and wrong, if there even is such a thing?

Such a series of questions is potentially what was going through the minds of Adam and Eve as they pondered the tempting words of Ha-Satan that fateful day in the Garden. Whatever type of food grew on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was being talked up with God’s command to not partake of that tree being questioned. Adam and Eve both gave in to the lure and the lies of the enemy, thus disobeying God’s singular and clear command of “Do not eat”. As a covenant, God’s command to Adam and Eve had two consequences attached to it – Do not eat and you will live; Eat and dying you shall die. Disobedience of God’s commands is noted throughout Scripture as sin. Thus, the actions of Adam and Eve in disobeying God was sin and their sinful deed thrust the entire created order into disarray just as God had declared it would if they disobeyed His command.

As we continue to examine the threefold issue of existence, relationships, and processes, we have moved from a state of perfection to a place where sin has impacted the entire construct of the universe. Our current existence is perfectly described in Romans 8:22 which states, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Why does it groan? It groans under the weight and impact of the consequences of sin.

God made a covenant with Adam in the Garden – do not eat of the tree and you will live; eat of the tree and dying you shall die. In breaking the terms of that agreement by sinning against God’s command, Adam introduced a drastic change to humanity’s existence. No longer would man live in perfect harmony with nature and his fellow man with eternal physical life being the norm. In sinning, Adam and Eve were removed from the Garden and from the physical presence of their Creator. Instead of tending a lush Garden and having dominion over creation, thorns, thistles, and enmity between, man and fellow man and man and creation was the new norm. The travails of childbirth was the new norm. Furthermore, our existence now included a constant battle between the seed of Ha-Satan and the seed of the woman, a constant struggle against not just the daily battle to survive physically, but also spiritually. Our very existence post-sin experienced a dramatic shift from a place of perfection to the groaning we now see all around us.

This alteration of our existence post-sin also has a massive impact on relationships. As we noted above, man was removed from the Garden and from the physical presence of God. Sin impacts our relationship with God. He is holy and that which is not holy cannot enter His presence. We fight the constant battle of the lure of the flesh versus obedience to God’s commands for righteous living. Our hearts chase after evil rather than being in passionate love with our Creator. We have a broken relationship with our God that needs mending. Sin also impacts our relationship with our fellow human beings. God gave us His commands so that we might understand what it means to love God and others. When we watch the evening news, it is evident that man’s relationship with man is marred by murder, lust, envy, jealousy, rage, theft, adultery with these just being the tip of the iceberg regarding man’s inhumanity to man. Our relationships with others are broken and need mending.

Finally, we come to the issue of processes. Earlier I mentioned the aspect of God’s covenant with Adam that if he disobeyed God’s command, dying he would die. Sin introduced the process of death and decay. The Hebrew verb construct in Genesis 2:17 speaks of the process of dying that will assuredly result in the finality of death at a future point. In the Garden, the process was one of life without death and decay. Post-sin, we know experience all around us a much different reality, one of things wearing out (i.e. decay) and that of physical death. The processes of life need mending.

If this seems like somewhat of a depressing post let me assure you that it is just that very thing. Understanding the past reality of perfection in the Garden and understanding the present reality of a universe that is marred by the impact of sin allows us to grasp what the promise of redemption and restoration is all about. Moreover, if we do not understand what we are redeemed from and why we need to be restored and what that redemption and restoration will look like, we truly are missing the entire flow of the biblical message. I noted that our existence needs mending, our relationships need mending, and that the processes of life need mending. God promised in Genesis 3:15 that One would come to deal with Ha-Satan so that this mess we now endure would be fixed. The One who came is Yeshua our Messiah. He is our Redeemer.

In the next and final post in this series, we will take a look at what this redemption is all about and how our existence, relationships, and the processes of life will be mended forevermore.

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Dr. Terry Mortenson – The Fall and the Problem of Millions of Years of Natural Evil

A very controversial issue within the church today involves the question of millions of years of animal death, disease, predation, extinction and other natural evils, such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Can this evolutionist view of the history of natural evil be harmonized with the Bible? In particular, is the Bible’s teaching on the Fall of Adam and its consequences and on the character of God compatible with millions of years of natural evil?

Prominent New York pastor and author Tim Keller states the problem this way in a recent white paper for the theistic evolutionist group, Biologos Forum”

“One of the greatest barriers to belief in God is the problem of suffering and evil in the world. Why, people ask, did God create a world in which violence, pain, and death are endemic? The answer of traditional theology is—he didn’t. He created a good world but also gave human beings free will, and through their disobedience and ‘Fall’, death and suffering came into the world. The process of evolution, however, understands violence, predation, and death to be the very engine of how life develops. If God brings about life through evolution, how do we reconcile that with the idea of a good God? The problem of evil seems to be worse for the believer in theistic evolution.”

In his article Keller provides no real solution to this serious problem for his theistic evolution view. But careful attention to the Bible’s teaching on the Fall and its consequences as well as on Christ’s redemptive work in response to the Fall requires Bible-believing Christians to reject the idea of millions of years of natural evil before Adam. The character of God also militates against this evolutionary view of earth history.

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Ken Ham – From One Flesh—Or Two? New Ideas That Just Don’t Work

Ever since the time of Darwin, many church leaders and academics have attempted various ways to harmonize Genesis with “millions of years” and Darwin’s ideas of common descent. Consider a new proposal by Bill Dembski, who teaches at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, reputed to be a conservative Southern Baptist school. He claims that Adam and Eve came from “human-like beings” who lived outside the Garden of Eden:

For the theodicy* I am proposing to be compatible with evolution, God must not merely introduce existing human-like beings from outside the Garden. In addition, when they enter the Garden, God must transform their consciousness so that they become rational moral agents made in God’s image.

Any evils humans experience outside the Garden before God breathes into them the breath of life would be experienced as natural evils in the same way that other animals experience them. The pain would be real, but it would not be experienced as divine justice in response to willful rebellion. Moreover, once God breathes the breath of life into them, we may assume that the first humans experienced an amnesia of their former animal life: Operating on a higher plane of consciousness once infused with the breath of life, they would transcend the lower plane of animal consciousness on which they had previously operated—though, after the Fall, they might be tempted to resort to that lower consciousness.

William Dembski, End of Christianity (B&H Publishing, 2009), p. 155.

*Theodicy refers to a defense of God’s goodness in an evil world.

You could test these claims against several scriptural teachings. But just one—the biblical teaching of “one flesh”—is more than sufficient to show how Dembski’s position undermines key biblical doctrines, including marriage, the church, and ultimately the authority of God’s Word in the Old and New Testaments.

Genesis 2 Is Written as a Literal Account of “One Flesh”

The first step in evaluating any claim is to look closely at what Scripture actually says. In Genesis 2, we read, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’” (Genesis 2:21–23).

If one takes this as literal history, then God made Adam first (from dust—Genesis 2:7), and then put the man to sleep, and from his side (a rib) made the first woman. Note Adam’s words that this woman was “flesh of my flesh.” They were one flesh.

In Genesis 2:24, God explains that marriage is to be a bond between a man and a woman and that they shall “become one flesh.” In marriage, a couple is to be spiritually one and physically one—based on the one flesh aspect of how woman was created.

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Justin Taylor – The Loss of Historical Adam and the Death of Exegesis

Steven Wedgeworth, commenting on the revisionist work of Peter Enns and J. R. Daniel Kirk and the agnosticism of Tremper Longman on the historical Adam:

What we are seeing in theological circles is a new refusal to exegete at all. Instead of demonstrating the ways in which the rest of the Bible supports a figurative or mythical reading of Genesis, we are told that it doesn’t matter if even the Old and New Testament writers were mistaken. Dr. Kirk asks, “Is it possible to affirm the point Paul wishes to make—that God’s grace, righteousness, and life abound to the many because of Christ—without simultaneously affirming the assumptions with which he illustrated these things to be true?” His answer is typical of the new hermeneutical shift:

To accompany Paul on the task of telling the story of the beginning in light of Christ, while parting ways with his first-century understanding of science and history, is not to abandon the Christian faith in favor of science. Instead, it demands a fresh act of faith in which we continue to hold fast to the truth that has always defined Christianity: the crucified Messiah is the resurrected Lord over all. Belief in Christ’s resurrection was a stumbling block for the ancients, and it is a stumbling block for us moderns as well—and increasingly so as we learn more about our human story and the biological processes entailed in life on this Earth. We do not give up on the central article of Christian faith when we use it to tell a renewed story of where we came from. On the contrary, we thereby give it the honor which is its due.

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Denny Burk – Andy Stanley’s Poison Pill for the Doctrine of Scripture

Andy Stanley’s comments on Adam and Eve have been making the rounds since they appeared on HereIBlog.com yesterday. In short, Stanley affirms the historicity of Adam and Eve, but not because Genesis says so. Rather, he bases his belief on what Jesus says about Adam and Eve. You can listen to the entire discussion above, but here are the relevant excerpts:

The foundation of our faith is not the Scripture. The foundation of our faith is not the infallibility of the Bible. The foundation of our faith is something that happened in history. And the issue is always – Who is Jesus? That’s always the issue. The Scripture is simply a collection of ancient documents that tells us that story…

Here’s why I believe this actually happened. Not because the Bible says so, but because of the Gospels – Jesus talks about Adam and Eve. And it appears to me that he believed they were actually historical figures. And if he believed they were historical, I believe they were historical because anybody that can predict their own death and resurrection and pull it off – I just believe anything they say.

Let me say first of all that I am genuinely grateful that Stanley affirms the historicity of Adam and Eve. In this day and age, that position is under siege, and I don’t want to minimize the importance of Stanley’s affirmation in this regard.

Nevertheless, there’s a poison pill in his remarks for the doctrine of scripture. The view of scripture that Stanley evinces undermines what evangelicals hold to be the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture.

While it is true that Christ’s accomplishment in the cross and resurrection is the basis of our salvation, it is misleading to say that the “foundation of our faith is not the Scripture.” Our only access to what Christ accomplished for us in history is through Scripture! The message of salvation comes to us in the Bible, apart from which there is no salvation. This is why the apostle Paul can speak of the apostles’ message as the “foundation” of the church (Eph. 2:20). Without their testimony which has been inscripturated for us in the Bible, there is no salvation.

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Vern Poythress – A Biblical and Scientific Adam

As the battle between Darwinism and the Bible rages, some evangelicals have backed away from maintaining that Adam and Eve were real, historical individuals created in the way Genesis 2 relates:

“… the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

In a just-published article from the Westminster Theological Journal, Westminster Theological Seminary professor Vern Poythress brilliantly explains why such a surrender is wrong biblically and scientifically. Poythress, with both a Th.D. and a Harvard Ph.D. in mathematics, is well-positioned to write about both theology and evolutionary theory. He has published 13 books, including Redeeming Science and Redeeming Sociology, and numerous scholarly articles. We post this new one with the author’s and WTJ’s permission. —Marvin Olasky

ADAM VERSUS CLAIMS FROM GENETICS
Did Adam and Eve exist? Does science say otherwise? The human genome project has produced voluminous data about the information contained in human DNA. Various news media and scientists tell us that this information demonstrates our ape ancestry. How do we evaluate these claims?

Evaluation is important for theological reasons. As the claims based on genetics have mounted, the theological discussion about Adam has heated up. From people with biblical and theological training we hear the argument that we must revise our understanding of the Bible and theology because we have to accept that evolution is an established fact.[1] In response, we hear the opposing argument that the Bible and theology call on us to retain the conviction that Adam was a historical individual whose fall into sin resulted in guilt and sin for all his descendants.[2] On both sides, people with training in biblical studies have understandably avoided discussing in detail the character of the scientific claims, and yet these have obviously greatly influenced the side that has abandoned the traditional understanding of Adam.[3] It is important to undertake a theologically informed evaluation of claims coming from genetics.

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Lee Anderson – A Response to Peter Enns’s Attack on Biblical Creationism

Introduction

Published in January of 2012, Peter Enns’s work, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins, has generated shockwaves through Christian academia. Enns, in his book, affirms a position known as “theistic evolution,” which asserts that biological (Darwinian) evolution is a scientifically confirmed fact, but also that God was responsible for overseeing and directing the evolutionary development of all the various life forms. Enns’s position is hardly original; theistic evolution has long been promoted as a way for Christians to hold to some semblance of the integrity of Scripture while simultaneously maintaining a degree of respectability within the secular scientific community that has almost uniformly accepted the viability of evolutionary theory. This position has, in fact, been looked upon as a happy medium even by biblical scholars considered to be markedly conservative, theologically speaking (for example, Kidner 1967, pp. 26–31). What is unique about Enns’s book, therefore, is not its attempt to combine evolutionary theory with Scripture, but rather the manner in which it does so, and his reassessment of the Apostle Paul’s view of Adam in the process (see Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15). Whereas many theistic evolutionists look for an actual “Adam” who became head of the human race, Enns argues for an even further departure from biblical literalism while still maintaining his acceptance of an orthodox view of the inspiration of Scripture and the inerrancy of the Genesis creation record. Since differences between competing views of human evolution can be highly nuanced, especially when the subject of theology becomes intertwined, it is best to let Enns speak for himself in defining the key differences. With respect to the views of mainstream theistic evolutionists, he writes:

Some understandably seek to merge evolution with Adam in an attempt to preserve what they perceive as the heart of Paul’s teaching on Adam, yet without dismissing natural science. In other words, evolution is fine so long as an “Adam” can be identified somehow, somewhere. So, for example, it is sometimes argued that Adam and Eve were two hominids or symbolic of a group of hominids with whom, at some point in evolutionary development, God entered into a relationship. At this point God endowed them with his image, thus making them conscious of God and thereby entering into a covenant relationship with them. Such a scenario is thought to preserve at least the general story of Genesis. (Enns 2012, p. 138)

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Dave Jenkins – Adam, Eve, the Gospel and the Truthfulness of Scripture

The historicity of Adam is one of the most debated issues in modern Christianity. There are many who simply do not believe Adam and Eve existed, even within the Church. Some scholars do not believe that the existence of a literal Adam and Eve is crucial to Christian doctrines of the Fall, and Redemption. William Dembski, college professor and senior Fellow with Discovery Institute Center for Science and culture, writes:

“The theodicy the defense of God’s goodness in view of the existence of evil developed in this book is certainly compatible with a literal Adam and Eve. But it does not require a literal Adam and Eve. What it does require is that a group of hominids, however many, had their loyalty to God fairly tested; moreover, on taking the test, they all failed.”

Others believe that the Genesis account of the creation of man and the fall may be allegorical. Francis Collins states, “The real problem for the believer comes down to whether Genesis 2 is describing a special act of miraculous creation hat applied to a historic couple or whether this is a poetic and powerful allegory of God’s plan for the entrance of the spiritual nature (the soul and the Moral law into humanity.”

Peter Enns, author, former professor, and Senior Fellow of Biblical Studies for Biologos, in an interview for Christianity Today reveals:

“To Peter Enns, a literal Adam as a special creation without evolutionary forebears is “at odds with everything else we know about the past from the natural sciences and cultural remains.” As he reads the early chapters of Genesis, he says, “The Bible itself invites a symbolic reading by using cosmic battle imagery and by drawing parallels between Adam and Israel.”

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