As I was thinking about Christian Families it occurred to me that some people might not have the same foundational material as I do. Some people reject the accounts in Genesis because they believe them to be non-factual. Can someone who is genuinely committed to Christianity and the Kingdom of God reject Genesis as actual history without damaging their faith in the process?
I think not. Here’s why:
First, to be fair, I admit there is a spectrum of belief on this matter. Some people reject a literal reading of Genesis because it seems too incredible to be real. “Six days? Come on, you’ve got to be kidding me!” I have heard this over and over again. “A Flood? Surely an asteroid is a better explanation…” They speak as if one requires more or less faith than the other. Other people accept Genesis as a book but say its purpose is not to record actual history but instead is to record something they call ‘redemptive history.’ In other words, Genesis tells us “Who” did the creating and “Why” they did the creating but does not tell us exactly “How” they did the creating and certainly does not tell us “When” this creation happened. Yet there is a simple question I have about this position:
If we cannot trust Genesis for the details then how can we trust Genesis for the bigger picture?
In the end, a rejection of a literal reading of Genesis can lead to huge problems and inconsistencies.
Rather than trying to go through a bunch of science and statistics, we can approach the question at the top of this post in a different way. We can simply ask, “What did Jesus think?” Did Jesus think Genesis was literally history or did He think it was something else?
Being God, Jesus would have known the answer.
Being a teacher, Jesus would have clarified errors.
So what did Jesus think?
One of the clearest reference points for Jesus’ view on Creation is found in Matthew 19 when Jesus is challenged about divorce. Matthew 19:3 says, “Some Pharisees came to Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” Again, rather than trying to do a lot of work looking at the background to their question, let’s just look at how Jesus responds:
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that at the beginning the Creator “made them male and female,” and said, “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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.”
Right away you can see Jesus viewed the special creation of Adam and Eve as something which actually happened. Why is this so obvious? Here are a few reasons:
- Jesus made no room for a world without a Creator and so Christians who want to follow Jesus must not be agnostic or atheistic when it comes to the doctrine of Creation. Jesus clearly believed in God as the Creator.
- “At the beginning the Creator made them male and female.” A better translation of this verse could be “He that made them made them from the beginning a male and a female.” The words ‘male’ and ‘female’ in the text are singular and not general. This means the Creator created a man and a woman. This denies any evolutionary claim which suggests people evolved over millions of years. There was a Creator who, at the beginning, formed one man and one woman.
- Jesus bases his teaching on divorce on the history of God joining Adam and Eve together. If Adam and Eve were not joined together by God but rather were some kind of ‘breeding pair’ who chose each other sometime during the history of evolution then what Jesus says makes very little sense.
I could cite many more passages from the New Testament which quote the book of Genesis as historic fact. There are roughly 103 such quotations. Sixty of those quotations refer specifically to the first eleven chapters of Genesis.
If we are truly followers of Christ then we must follow His understanding of the book of Genesis. Not only will this allow us to be true to Christ but the book of Genesis provides very solid foundations for a genuinely Christian worldview as well.