1 The Importance of Genesis
Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing. (R. Bozarth 1979: 30, “The Meaning of Evolution” American Atheist Magazine, emphasis mine)
God’s Word is Above His Name
Does it really matter what one believes about God’s creation? Whether we believe in a literal view of Genesis or that God used evolution; who really cares? There are many reasons that deem this question to be extremely important. First of all, the Psalmist declares that “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name” (Psalm 138:2 emphasis mine). God’s has magnified His word, (the Bible 1) above His name. In Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Thus, God is very concerned about the reputation of His Word. And if the Bible is from God, then, logically, it should be accurate and faithful in all that it says. Consequently, we read that “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5, 6). We want to neither add to nor subtract from His words since no true follower of God wants to be found a liar by God. It follows then that six, literal days or fifteen billion years of creation are two radically different claims. These are so dissimilar to one another that it certainly could be asserted as adding to or subtracting from His words depending which is in fact correct.
Genesis is Foundational
Secondly, Genesis chapters 1-11 are the foundation of our worldview. Where we start often determines where we end up. If we interpret those six days to mean simply six days, then we have an easy path for the remainder of the Bible – what it says is what it means. However, if we start down the path that the Scriptures do not say what they actually mean – that there is a buried allegorical meaning that must be mined out of them to truly get to the real meaning, then we will find ourselves not really ever absolutely sure what the Bible means. Since looking for the underlying meaning so much depends on the cleverness of the interpreter rather than on the evidence of archeology, history, biblical grammar, philology and comparative linguistics, the interpretation becomes very subjective and fuzzy. If the Bible cannot be trusted regarding our origin, how can we trust it regarding our destiny? Jesus even asks the pointed question: “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
If six days really means something else, then how do we know that Jesus’ statement “no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6) doesn’t also mean something else? Or how do we know that “he who believes in Me, though he may die, shall live” (John 11:25) doesn’t mean something different? If Genesis, the foundation of our origin, where God created man and man disobeyed God and fell, is not accurate or trustworthy, then how do we know that anything else in Scripture truly is? How then do we know that the promises of Heaven are true?
The Origin of Marriage
Consider some of the foundational teachings that originate in those first 11 chapters of Genesis. The first description of marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” If Adam and Eve were not really our first parents and God didn’t really form them as stated in Genesis, then do we really become one flesh? We are left without a clear precedent for marriage. Jesus certainly invoked the first marriage account as a defense against those trying to justify divorce. “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘…Because of the hardness of your heart He wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:5-8). He then added, “so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.” The fact that Jesus said “from the beginning…” proves (if we take Him literally) that He clearly claimed Adam and Eve to have been created in the beginning not billions of years later as predicated by evolution.
The Origin of Sin and Death
Genesis chapter three offers us an insider’s view into how sin, death, and suffering came into the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (whom Jesus stated were created in the beginning) to God’s commandment. If we spiritualize this chapter of the Bible, then what is the historical foundation of our sin-filled world? How do we account for death if Adam and Eve were merely allegorical or symbolic figures who never actually walked this earth and disobeyed their Maker? However, if we use the simple method of literal interpretation, then understanding becomes very easy. Understanding Genesis chapter three literally seems to be what Paul did in Romans:
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14)
Paul states that Adam sinned and so through him, one man, sin spread to all. He also mentions that Adam is a type of Him who was to come. By saying that Adam is a type in no way is he suggesting that Adam was not a real person; rather Adam was the first of a kind, that is (sinful) humanity, and so too Jesus was the first of a kind (humanity holy and without sin). In verse 17 Paul says, “For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Because Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus and since he unquestionably believed Jesus to be a real, historical person, then we can safely conclude that Paul also believed Adam to be a real, historical person.
The Promise of the Redeemer
The importance of the book of Genesis as being a trustworthy and true account of historical and actual events is hopefully evident. Not only does it contain the true history of man’s fall, but also the promise of the coming redeemer. In Genesis 3:15 God promised that someday, one of Eve’s offspring would come and make right and annul the effects of their disobedience. “And I will put enmity between you [the Serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Ancient Jewish interpretation 2 of this verse likewise understands the verse to be a promise of the coming Messiah and His remedy for man. To dismiss the creation and fall of man as figurative and not literal is to undermine the very heart of the Bible’s message of the coming redeemer.
1 I believe the Bible is a faithful and reliable historical document inspired by God. There are numerous excellent books and websites on the subject, which demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible. Visit christiananswers.net/ for general questions and answersingenesis.com for answers to many Bible and science questions.
2 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons…Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha. [Messiah]” (Targum Jonathan, Genesis 3:15)