The Genesis Myth, Part 3

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Thursday, August 8, 2019 0 comments

by Steve Risner

This writing is the 3rd in a series about the intent and proper way to read the book of Genesis. You can find the other two here and here. Is it an ancient historical narrative with real people, places, and events? Is it poetic? We showed how this second question doesn't actually matter, but people bring it up. A song or poem about an event in history doesn't take away from the historicity of the event. Is it myth or folklore? Is it an allegory or parable with no real connection to reality other than the ideas presented (not the actual people or events)? How does such a thing even make sense? Our faith, the Christian faith, is in the one true God. Why? I hope you're beginning to see that the Genesis narratives of history—etiologies of the universe, life, humanity, sin, and redemption—are no different in their writing than the rest of the book of Genesis and, actually, no different than the rest of the historical books found in the Bible. Without a natural reading of the text, the Jewish and Christian faiths fall apart because their very foundations are reduced to cute stories that teach us something but have no basis in reality.

The grammar of Genesis 1 cannot be considered poetry. We've been over that a great deal, but I wanted to add something to it. In Hebrew, there is something known as the “vav consecutive” which is a way to describe something that happens in a particular order. In other words, it's like “this happened, then this happened, then this happened, etc.” It's common in Hebrew historical narratives. This is found over 50 times in the first chapter of Genesis! It's a detailed look at an event the author obviously thought really happened. It is exceptionally rare to find such wording in Hebrew poetry. That's not to say it couldn't be poetry, but it has none of the hallmarks of Hebrew poetry and, therefore, would be a one-of-a-kind poetic entity. We call that “special pleading.” And, again, this doesn't take away from its factual nature at all. But Biblical scholars make the claim that there is no figurative language at all in Genesis. We covered that in last week's blog post.

The narrative also claims to be a family history. There is no known break between any early chapters of Genesis and the later chapters. They flow continuously and with uniformity. No one to my knowledge argues that Genesis 12 isn't intended to be historical. There's no reason to think earlier chapters aren’t historical as well. The Bible repeatedly makes reference to individuals found in the first 11 chapters of Genesis including Adam, Abel, Seth, and Noah. Often times, these people are mentioned with other individuals whose reality in history is not contested. Why is this? There is no reason beyond the fact that the humanist origins myth (the Big Bang and biological evolution) isn't compatible with a natural reading of Genesis, so some even within the Church have looked to atheism, secular humanism, and the like to learn about our origins. This shouldn't be so. It's often stated that, “The Bible isn't a science text” which is 100% true. However, it doesn't need to be. It's a historical text for sure, especially the several books that specifically are written to that end. Genesis, Exodus, and several other Old Testament books are clearly written to be historical in nature—giving us a solid family history of not just the Hebrews/Jews but also a very linear look at the ancestry of Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.

Were Adam and Eve real people—the parents of all humans? The Bible makes it very clear that this is precisely what it teaches. Show me otherwise. If they were not real people, then nothing the Bible says can be considered trustworthy, for the detail and constant reference to these people and their offspring can't be understood as meaning anything else. If the follower of Christ claims these people were not real, then there was no Fall. If there was no Fall, there was no curse. If there was no curse, there was no promise of a Redeemer, and the faith is of no use to anyone. Again, if you believe I am in error, please explain that error.

Genesis 3:15 tells us of the “offspring promise.” Genesis 5:29 mentions the curse found in Genesis 3 starting with verse 14. The curse was declared as a direct result of the action of these two people (actually, Adam specifically). Jesus is mentioned by Paul as the Last or Second Adam. How does this work if the first Adam was not real? Some say, perhaps, that Adam and Eve were “all of us.” They represent humanity in this tale of the origins of sin and death as well as our need for redemption. However, this doesn't logically (or theologically) follow. If “in Adam, all sinned,” how does that sin get passed on from him to his progeny of he didn't exist? It means the curse doesn't get passed on and the Fall didn't happen. If this is so, the promise of a Redeemer is also mythical or not real. And if Adam didn't pass his sin nature to his offspring, what are we in need of a Savior from? Or if you believe Adam was a real person but he evolved, wouldn't it follow that other humans had evolved at around the same time since the population was moving in that general direction so to speak? This would mean their offspring didn't carry the sin nature and, therefore, are immune to the consequences of sin since they didn't inherit that nature from their ancestors. Only Adam's progeny would require salvation as others from other lines wouldn't have inherited it. Do you follow?

The theological issues I've described are only starting to scratch the surface. They get significantly more profound as we study His Word and what it reveals about humanity, God, nature, and eternity. In other words, the more we learn from God's Word, the more we see it cannot function under any sort of conjunction with any origins myth—be that humanist (the most popular I believe), Hindu, or whatever tale you want to marry with the historical creation account found in the Bible (not just Genesis).

But there is far more than the creation narrative that some believers toss when they reject the natural, intended way the text is to be read. They have to reject the Flood or suggest it was something other than what the Bible states repeatedly it was—an amazing, global catastrophe that decimated the entire planet for a year as a result of the terrible sin that all of mankind, save Noah and his family. Peter tells us that since God promised to never again do such a thing—a global Flood that destroys everything—there will be a day when the earth is purged with fire rather than water. If the Flood wasn't a real, global event, what does this mean? Will God destroy a small portion of the earth with fire on that day? Will He destroy everything with fire in a tale of folklore or a mythological event that won't actually happen or will it be embellished so as to make it seem global and horrible? The thought is laughable, but some very intelligent people have painted themselves into such corners. The detail that describes the event—the Flood—is so precise and so immense that it's inconceivable to consider the intent of the narrative to be anything but historical. Again, this is not just Genesis 6-8 we're talking about but the many references to this event throughout the Old and New Testaments. Anything else? Yes!

The Tower of Babel, which I have written an entire series on, is another historical event that the text clearly intends to convey as actual history. It uses the proper grammar and structure to be taken as history. The narrative gives us specific details about where and when this even took place. The studies of language, cultures around the globe, and archaeology can all easily be seen to support this event. Some have suggested that the Table of Nations is one of the most accurate and consistent writings on the origins of people groups and no one has yet to find actual fault with it. Sure, many will say it's not the true history of all people groups on earth, but there is nothing behind that claim. As I outline in the above-mentioned series, the evidence is overwhelming and more than enough to convince someone who is honest in their search for truth.

Regrettably, there are far too many these days who care nothing for the truth. Their quest is to stroke their unbelief, no matter what. This is why altering the text to make it fit with the currently popular version of the humanist origins myth is illogical and actually dishonest. Making the truth of Scripture false so unbelievers won't argue with it serves no purpose. They, like we all once were, are at war with God. For most, in my opinion, it's not that they don't believe He's real but that they hate Him and don't want to submit to Him. So, they cloak their hatred in a claim of unbelief, even effectively lying to themselves about it. However, the fact that there are few if any real atheists is not the point of this writing. We will pick up with this discussion on Genesis next time. Thank you for your time and attention.

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