The Plain Reading of Genesis

Today I point you to this outstanding article entitled The Genesis Crisis. If anyone needs to be brought up to speed on the creation “debate” that is raging in the churches today this article is a good place to start. Here are some of the questions that the article answers (the answers are gleaned from the article—direct quotes are indicated with quotation marks):

Why do so many in the church today refuse to accept the plain reading of Genesis?

Answer: “Regardless of historical science’s inability to get its story straight, its various conjectures are given unquestioned authority and exert enormous academic and ideological pressure. And in the face of that pressure, many theologians and biblical scholars attempt to harmonize creation and evolution in hopes of maintaining both their academic credibility and their orthodoxy.”

What organization is militantly attacking the truth of creation and promoting the unbelieving theory of evolution?

Answer: BioLogos.

Who are some of the well-known and much too well-thought-of supporters of BioLogos?

Answer: N.T. Wright, Tim Keller, and Bruce Waltke.

What is one of the false charges made against those who accept the plain reading of Genesis?

Answer: That we are anti-science.

How should we respond to the charge we are anti-science?

Answer: “It’s worth remembering that true empirical science is measurable, testable, repeatable, and observable. Therefore evolutionary theories require at least as much blind faith as the Genesis account, if not more. And yet the wonky religions of Big Bang Cosmology and Darwinian Evolution have done an amazing job of frightening theologians with their façade of pseudo-scientific evidence.

Theologians who refuse to compromise and cave to that façade are not ‘anti-science.’ They are against bad science. If a scientific theory conflicts with God’s inerrant Word, it is the theory that requires revision; not Scripture. True biblical scholarship seeks to arrive at exegetical conclusions in conformity with the biblical text, not impose humanistic conclusions upon the text, thus changing its meaning. Those who insist on mixing oil with water combine pseudo-science with pseudo-exegesis and come up with convoluted solutions that neither scientists nor scholars can agree on.”

What errors are “evangelicals” developing as a result of their refusal to read Genesis 1 as history?

Answer 1: NT Wright does not believe that Adam and Eve were the first of their kind who lived alone in the garden of Eden. He sees them as “a primal pair in a world of emerging hominids” that God called out from that group of hominids to live in the garden of Eden. The implication is that Adam and Eve did exist, but they were not created, they descended from some pre-human ancestors—including various animals, plants, and rocks.

Answer 2: Tim Keller is open to the idea that “God forming man from the dust of the ground could be a description of evolution.”

Why is refusing to accept Genesis 1 as a historical account of creation so important?

Answer 1: It denies the authority of Scripture.

Answer 2: It also leads to a denial of the gospel. The article quotes John MacArthur who writes, “If Adam was not the literal ancestor of the entire human race, then the Bible’s explanation of how sin entered the world makes no sense. Moreover, if we didn’t fall in Adam, we cannot be redeemed in Christ, because Christ’s position as the Head of the redeemed race exactly parallels Adam’s position as the head of the fallen race: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:18–19). “And so it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45; cf. 1 Timothy 2:13–14; Jude 14).

So in an important sense, everything Scripture says about our salvation through Jesus Christ hinges on the literal truth of what Genesis 1–3 teaches about Adam’s creation and fall. There is no more pivotal passage of Scripture.”

There is one important question that the article does not answer. What is the most subtle and therefore most dangerous view of Genesis 1 that denies that it is a historical account of God’s work of creating the heavens and earth?

Answer: The Framework Hypothesis.

Where can you go to read more about the Framework Hypothesis?


Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? The Question of Genesis 1


The article linked above is the first in what is slated to be a series of articles by Pastor Rick Phillips about the incompatibility of the theory of evolution with the Bible. Phillips explains that the occasion for this series of articles is a report that Biologos (a supposedly Christian organization that aggressively and intolerantly promotes the theory of evolution) is spending $3.6 million to promote evolution within Christian circles.

There is one comment in the post that irks me a bit: “While I appreciate the moderate spirit of many who want to find a way to accept evolution alongside the Bible, I find that the more radical voices are here more helpful.” This statement rankles for two reasons. It indicates a default setting to approve of “moderates” over “radicals,” as if the “radicals” are likely to be more dangerous than the “moderates.” Secondly, “moderate” and “radical” are inaccurate labels, which Phillips should recognize in light of what he says in the rest of the article. The “moderates” should be called what they are, compromisers of the truth. And the “radicals” should be called what they are, faithful defenders of the truth. And it should be sharply pointed out that so-called “moderates” pose a deadly danger to the church, for they are the ones who have allowed the church to be ravaged by the theory of evolution.

But for the rest I greatly appreciate the article. I quote two paragraphs and highly recommend that you read the rest by following the link above.

It takes great effort to deny that Genesis 1 fits the genre of historical narrative. Here, we see a structure consisting of a series of waw consecutive verbs. The waw is the Hebrew letter V, which means "and" when attached to the front of a verb. When attached to a noun it is disjunctive—it stops the narrative flow. When it is consecutive, before a verb, the waw advances the narrative flow. "This happened and then this happened and then this happened." This is what we find in Genesis 1: "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness" (Gen. 1:3-4). Given this construction, literary guides to the Bible commonly identify Genesis as "an anthology, or collection, of stories" in which "narrative is the primary form."[3] Therefore, just like so many other chapters in the Bible which contain divine wonders that the unbeliever will reject, Genesis sets itself forth as recording events from history. Christians are expected to read accounts like this and believe that what is recorded actually happened, however contrary to secularist expectations….

One of the grand motives, I believe, for accommodating evolution in Genesis 1 is so that evangelicals can stop arguing about science and start teaching about Jesus. But do we fail to note that Jesus' story begins in Genesis 1? "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God..." (Jn. 1:1). In fact, when the interpretive approach used to neutralize Genesis 1 as history is necessarily extended by evolution, then the reason for Jesus' coming is lost? After all, without a biblical Adam as the first man and covenant head of the human race, then what is the problem for which the Son of God came? Here we see just how right Peter Enns is: evolution is not an add-on to the Bible, it is a replacement.


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