Introduction, Apology and Interpreting Genesis
By Rod Porteous
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We Have The Answers To Our Questions The book of Genesis is the most important book ever written. That is a strong statement to make about an ancient book that has caused so many arguments among scholars, theologians, special interest groups, as well as other groups. I make this statement because the book of Genesis answers the age old questions that have plagued philosophers for ages, concerning events which happened when no man was present. Events can only be correctly recounted by an eyewitness, or someone who has received an eyewitness account, so what man could remember what happened at the beginning of the universe?
The answer to that question and many others is contained in the eyewitness account handed down to us by God, the only eyewitness to these events. He handed down this information through human vessels by divine inspiration. The problem usually is not that man has not had the answers to the questions that bug him the most, but that man does not like the answers given him.
The Book Of Genesis Is Inspired By God Speaking of the Old Testament, the only testament in existence at the time of the Apostle Paul writing to Timothy,"
All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)
Peter also made the statement about prophets speaking God's Words:
"holy men spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost."
The Book Of Genesis Is Our Foundation
The book of Genesis is, in reality, the foundation of all true history, all true science, and all true philosophy. Far above all those studies, the book of Genesis is the foundation of God's revelation to mankind. The Bible as a whole, but the book of Genesis in particular needs to be understood and interpreted as historical fact. God went way out of His way by inspiring human authors, so that the language used would be understood by all people. In fact, if people distort the book of Genesis, and particularly the first eleven chapters of Genesis, they undermine the entire rest of the Bible.
Foundation of Foundations
The first verse of the Bible is the foundational verse of the Bible. As we saw above the book of Genesis is foundational to the Bible as a whole, the first eleven chapters of Genesis is foundational to the book of Genesis, then the first verse of Genesis is the foundation of foundations, because it teaches of the primeval creation of the universe itself. This verse probably is the first words ever written, and since the Bible has been the most read book for many ages, they are probably the most read words in the world, since most people start reading the Bible sooner or later, and have probably read these words, even if they never read any farther.
1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This first statement is the most important scientific statement ever uttered. Now many might call that statement an overkill or a statement made out of extreme ignorance at best, but Genesis 1:1 was in the beginning of modern science, and will remain forever, the very foundation of true science. The word 'science' itself actually means "knowledge", so I must ask again, "What man could recall what happened at the origin of the universe"?
The answer to that question, can only be understood if we gain knowledge of God Himself. The true doctrine of the Trinity, which we will talk about a little later in these notes, is so important in understanding God's plan for the people He loves so much from the "foundation of the earth". That last statement tells us something about the rationality (how He thinks) of God. God created a perfect world that was "good" in the very eyes of God, along with innocent
people to take dominion over the earth and to converse with their Creator forever.
Foundation of True Science
Evolutionist presuppositions permeate the writings, of modern scientists. Stanley D. Beck says: "No central scientific concept is more firmly established in our thinking, our methods, and our interpretations, than that of evolution" (Bioscience, V. 32, October 1982, p. 738).
But it was not always thus. Beck himself, after defining and discussing the basic premises of science (that is, the existence of a real world, the capability of the human mind to understand the world, the principle of cause-and-effect, and the unified nature of the world), admits that "each of these postulates had its origin in, or was consistent with, Christian theology" (Ibid., p. 739). That is, since the world was created by a divine Creator, and man was created in God's image, therefore nature makes orderly sense, man is able to decipher its operations and true science becomes possible. If the world is merely the chance product of random forces, on the other hand, then our human brains are meaningless jumbles of matter and electricity and science becomes nonsense. Consequently, the great founding fathers of true science (Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Brewster, Faraday, Linnaeus, Ray, Maxwell, Pasteur, Kelvin, etc.) were almost all creationists and believed they were glorifying God as they probed His works. Yet today such scientists, would not even be considered scientists at all, because they believed in the primeval special creation of all things by God!
Foundation of True Americanism
Although not all of America's great founding fathers were Bible-believing Christians, almost all of them were true creationists, believing that God had created the world and man and all natural systems. The colonies had been settled and developed largely by Christian people who had come to this continent to gain freedom to believe and do what the Bible taught, and they all acknowledged that the foundational belief was belief in special creation. The historian Gilman Ostrander reminds us that: "The American nation had been founded by intellectuals who had accepted a world view that was based upon Biblical authority as well as Newtonian science. They had assumed that God created the earth and all life upon it at the time of creation and had continued without change thereafter" (The Evolutionary Outlook, 1875-1900, Marston Press, 1971, p. 1).
Note that these great pioneers were intellectuals, not ignorant emotionalists. They laid great stress on education and science, founding many schools and colleges, in confidence that true learning in any field must be Biblically governed. Christian historian Mary-Elaine Swanson, says: "in colonial times, the Bible was the primary tool in the educational process. In fact, according to Columbia University professor, Dr. Lawrence A. Cremin, the Bible was 'the single most primary source for the intellectual history of colonial America.' From their knowledge of the Bible, a highly literate, creative people emerged." (Mayflower Institute Journal, August 1983, p. 5.) In a July 4 address in 1783, Dr. Elias Boudinot, then president of the Continental Congress, stated that his reason for advocating an annual Independence Day observance in America was the great precedent set by God himself. "No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and the earth finished his almighty work, and pronounced all very good, but he set apart (not an anniversary, or one day in a year, but) one day in seven for the commemoration of his inimitable power in producing all things out of nothing." (Address to the' New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati, July 4, 1783).
The fact of creation was also clearly implied several times in the Declaration of Independence itself ("endowed by our Creator," "created equal," "Nature's God," etc.). Attorney Marshall Foster has pointed out that at least the first 24 state constitutions recognized Christianity as the religion of their states (Mayflower Institute Journal, August 1983, p. 1).
Yet today, the Bible, Christianity, and creationism have been banned from the schools of the states which had been founded to teach these very truths! All this has been done in the name of a gross distortion of the First Amendment. The amendment which was intended to prevent the establishment of a particular national denomination (e.g., Catholic, Anglican), has instead been so twisted as to establish evolutionary humanism as the quasi-official religion of our public institutions.
The Foundation of True Religion
The true religion must necessarily be based on worship of the world's true Creator. Other religions may deify great men, or man-made systems, or the world itself, but these are all merely variant forms of humanism as men "worship and serve the creature, rather than the Creator" (Rom. 1:25). It is highly significant that all such religions and religious books begin with the creation, rather than the Creator, except the Bible! That is, they all start with the universe already in existence, and then try to delineate how the primeval space/matter/time universe somehow developed into its present array of complex systems. This attribute characterizes both ancient paganism and modern humanism; these and all other atheistic, pantheistic or polytheistic religions are merely various forms of evolutionism. Only in Genesis 1:1 (the foundation of all foundations!) is there a statement of the creation of the universe itself. Without this foundation, true religion is impossible.
Now although creation is the foundation, it is, of course, not the complete structure. Orthodox Judaism and Islam, like Christianity, believe in one eternal Creator, as revealed in Genesis 1:1, but they have rejected Him as Savior. In addition to the general revelation seen in the creation, God has explicitly revealed Himself through both His Word and His Son. Those who reject either or both, even though they believe in one God as primeval Creator and, like Christianity, are monotheistic, cannot know God in His fullness. He must be known as gracious Redeemer as well as omnipotent, but offended, Creator. Thus, Biblical Christianity is the only truly creationist religion.
Foundation of Christology
By the same token, neither can one know Christ as He really is if one knows Him only as Redeemer. Faint-hearted Christians often justify their lukewarm attitude toward creation by saying that it is more important merely to "preach Christ." They forget that we are preaching "another Jesus" (II Cor. 11:4) if we do not preach Him as He really is, along with His complete work. The threefold aspect of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ is beautifully outlined in the majestic declaration of Colossians 1:16-20.
(1) Past Work, Creation: "By Him, were all things created." Col. 1:16.
(2) Present Work, Conservation: "By Him, all things consist." Col. 1:17.
(3) Future Work, Consummation: "By Him to reconcile all things." Col. 1:20.
The great scope of this threefold work is "all things in heaven and in earth." Jesus Christ was Creator before He became the Sustainer (or Savior) and Reconciler, and the awful price of reconciliation, "the blood of His cross," is the measure of mankind's terrible offense against our Creator. That offense, furthermore, consists essentially of rejecting His Word, and thus denying that He is really the Creator. One truly "preaches Christ" only when he first of all presents Him as the Almighty Creator, from whom man was alienated when he repudiated God's veracity in His Word. Only when this is first understood is it really meaningful to speak of God's forgiving grace and saving love, His incarnation and redemptive sacrifice as Son of Man.
Foundation of Faith
The great message of Christianity is that "the just shall live by faith" (Heb. 10:38), speaking of "them that believe, to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39). But exactly what is this living faith—this saving faith? Faith in the abstract is only naive sentimentality; it must be faith in something and/or someone to have any substance. The faith of which the apostle speaks, of course, is outlined in the verses immediately following, in the great "Faith Chapter," Hebrews 11. It is the faith of Abel, offering an acceptable sacrifice; it is Enoch's faith, pleasing God in obedient witness; it is Noah's faith, believing and acting on God's word; and Abraham's faith, stepping out on God's promises.
But, first of all, it is the foundational faith of Hebrews 11:3, the faith by which "we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." This affirmation clearly tells us that any meaningful faith for salvation and the Christian life must be founded, first of all, on faith in God's special creation of all things, not out of already existing materials but solely by His omnipotent Word!
Foundation of the Gospel
Many Christians, who either ignore or compromise the Biblical doctrine of creation, have urged creationists just to "preach the Gospel—not creation!" But this is impossible, because the saving Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is squarely founded on creation. The wonderful threefold work of Christ (creation, conservation, consummation) as outlined in Colossians 1:16-20, is identified as "the gospel" in Colossians 1:23. The very last reference to the Gospel in the Bible (Rev. 14:6, 7) calls it the everlasting Gospel (thus, it could never have been any different) and its message is to "worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. "While it is surely true that the central focus of the Gospel is on the substitutionary atonement and victorious bodily resurrection of Christ (I Cor. 15:1-4), it also includes His coming kingdom (Matt. 4:23) and His great creation. Any other gospel is "another gospel" (Gal. 1:6) and is not the true gospel.
Without the creation, a supposed gospel would have no foundation; without the promised consummation, it offers no hope; without the cross and empty tomb, it has no saving power. But when we preach the true Gospel, with the complete Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ as they really are, we build on a "sure foundation," can promise a "blessed hope," and have available "all power in heaven and earth" through Christ who, in all His fullness, is "with us, even to the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20).
Man was God's prize creation. He loved man so much that He desires to show His love and converse with man for ever. It was not after man sinned that the very Creator of man decided to put aside His royalty and humbly become a man and take the death sentence in the stead of mankind who had become "adulterous" with other gods, namely the self-indulging, lustful, humanistic false gods and thereby deserved to die forever. God Himself designed this most extreme act of love "before the foundation of the world." In the book of Revelation, we read:
13:8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose
names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from
the foundation of the world.
What a beautiful love story of an all-powerful, all-loving, all-righteous, all-just God and His perfect love for His ungrateful creation - but the story does not end there. This is truly the ultimate love story with the ultimate blissful happiness never ending for ever.
Isn't it interesting that God's purpose starts in Genesis chapter one, and as we are reading in the last book of the Bible, God's plan of His lost people having been converted and worshiping their Creator, Who became their Savior, Who became the final Consummator of the original plan, all planned out at the very "foundation of the world".
The Existence of God
Can a man really know that there really is a God, or does God expect us to only know Him by faith? What about the man who calls himself an atheist or an agnostic? In the book of Romans, we find out:
1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in
1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for
God hath shewed [it] unto them.
1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are
clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his
eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
This passage is used as a text in the field of study called Natural Theology. First of all tells us that not only the atheistic evolutionists, but even the "Christian" who compromises with any of the false ideas and philosophies of the world (holding the truth in unrighteousness) is going to see God's wrath, but verse 19 explicitly tells us that everyone (even atheists) know that there is a Creator, because He has shown Himself to them!
You may ask how has God revealed Himself to the atheist? The answer is found in verse 20, the things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen in the things which God has made. Anyone can look at God's magnificent universe, the countless stars, majestic mountains, etc, and know that that creation with no intelligence could have created itself. In fact the observer knows from looking at the creation, that the Creator must be more intelligent than any man, because no man could make even a blade of grass appear from nothing, let alone the universe.
Verse 20, tells us that all atheists and so-called agnostics are actually liars as they proclaim not to know God, yet God has revealed Himself to everyone. Today, in the public education system, we have many atheists proclaiming that Creation is religion, and therefore not science and it can not be taught in the public schools; but evolution is science so that it may be, and is mandated that it must be taught in public schools (and many "Christian" schools).
Cause And Effect
Cause and Effect Is the study of evolution scientific? Is the study of Creation only a religion and not scientific? Well the truth of the matter is that both evolution and Special Creation could be classified as religions and not sciences; because the events of the origin of the universe are not repeatable events, which is a mandate of the use of the scientific method. Neither evolution nor Special Creation can legitimately be called a scientific theory because predictions of any related phenomena cannot be legitimately made or observed if the ideas can not be tested by experiment.
This fact alone doesn't make either study less scientific however, and in fact, the basis of the scientific method, sometimes called the law of causality, can quickly let you determine which of these ideas is more scientific; but more importantly, which idea should not only be taught in schools, but which idea should be used by scientists to interpret all data which the scientist observes.
The law of causality, which could be stated "For every effect there is a sufficient cause", was the basis of Isaac Newton's "Rules of Reason" which served as the basis of study at the dawning of "Modern Science". Newton also taught that no one should assign any more causes than are necessary for the observable effect, and that no effect could be greater than its cause. Where did Isaac Newton get this foundation of study, that revolutionised scientific study, and later became the foundation of the modern scientific method?
The answer is found in the book of Romans in the above verses. You see, there might be many causes for the visible (observable) things of creation, but there is one ultimate cause at the beginning of that list that caused the whole list. "Science in the modern sense, would be altogether impossible if cause and effect should cease." (The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Pg. 35)
Think of the chemist who mixes reactant A with reactant B to observe product C, and every time the event is repeated, the same effect appears. Would there be any chemistry if there were no law of cause and effect? The same idea would apply to any legitimate science. Even though the law of cause is universal (applicable in all science
and human experience, it may stil not be altogether clear how this points to God's existence.
There has been, in fact, those that have tried to use this very principle to discredit the supernatural miracles of the Bible. A group of philosophers with the study of scientific determinism have attempted from time to time to use the law of causality to disprove Christ's miracles; but obviously these men missed the point of the law completely.
A miracle does not go against the law of causality, but it does automatically invoke a higher cause - a miracle working God. There is only two alternatives in the above situation. There is 1.) an endless chain of non-primary causes, which is the belief of the evolutionist (an infinite universe which evolved itself). The big problem with this line of thinking is that each member of the endless chain of finite links, can itself be regarded as an effect. Since every member of the chain is a finite effect, the whole series is itself a combined effect, but since the number of links is infinite, its cause must be infinite. Also, each succeeding link of the chain must be greater than the one before it, so something is always lost from cause to effect". (The Biblical Basis of Modern Science, Pgs. 187-191, "entropy") Eventually somewhere in the finite links, one of the finite links of non primary causes, a non primary cause must be reached that is infinite. Since nothing can be more infinite than infinite, this must finally be a primary first cause, or
2.) - the infinite cause of the universe, the transcendent Creator God. Follow this list of first causes of the universe:
1. The First Cause of limitless space must be infinite.
2. The First Cause of endless time must be eternal.
3. The First Cause of boundless energy must be omnipotent.
4. The First Cause of infinite complexity must be omniscient.
5. The First Cause of love must be loving.
6. The First Cause of life must be living.
Therefore, the First Cause of the universe must be an infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, personal, volitional, holy, loving, living Being! The only adequate First Cause is the God of the Bible!
You determine for yourself which is more "scientific" an irrational endless chain of effects without a primary cause, or Special Creation with the only adequate First Cause of everything.
Space, Mass, and Time We stated earlier that the first verse in the Bible is he most important verse ever written, because it is foundational by giving the origin of space and matter. Not only does the the first verse of the Bible give the account of the creation of space and matter, but also demonstrates and places a marker on the beginning of time. For thousands of years, men have realized that the universe is a space-matter-time universe. "The common phenomena of universal experience are always related to just these three (space, matter, and time)- and no other – physical identities." (The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, Pg. 59.). The universe is actually a "continuum" of space, matter, and time, no one of which can have a meaningful existence without the other two. The term "matter" is understood to include "energy" and must function in both space and time. "Space is measurable and accessible to sense observation only in terms of entities that exist and events that happen in space, and these require both matter and time. The concept of time, likewise, is meaningful only in terms of entities and events existing and transpiring during time, which likewise require space and matter.
But how did the Creator leave heaven take on the body of a man and actually die, but at the same time the entire cosmos depending on the consisting power of its Creator? Can we actually learn of this Creator whose dual existence does not seem rational to mankind's finite mind? I have read many explanations of the Trinity in theology books, and heard many "illustrated explanations" from sermons and tapes, all examples of which I could never use in high school or college classes, because the illustrations fell too short of explaining the Triune, yet One God. I, like many Christians, thought there was no good earthly example, or as it would be called in science, a "scientific model" for acquiring knowledge of the Creator.
We Can Not Interpret Genesis Allegorically Or As A Myth
Many Christians do not realize what undermining of the faith a seemingly small compromise with liberal thinkers actually does. Henry Morris makes the statement, "No other book of the Bible is quoted as copiously or referred to so frequently, in other books of the Bible, as is Genesis." (Genesis Record, Pg. 21).
In the Old Testament, Henry Morris gives for example, Adam is mentioned by name in the books of Deuteronomy, Job, and I Chronicles; and Noah is mentioned in I Chronicles, Isaiah, and Ezekiel. Abraham is mentioned by name in fifteen books of the Old Testament, and eleven of the New. Jacob is named in twenty books (other than Genesis) in the Old Testament, and in seventeen of the New Testament. In a special sense, every mention of the people or nation of Israel is an implicit acknowledgement of the foundational authority of Genesis, since Israel was the new name given to Jacob by God, and Israel's sons became the twelve tribes of Israel. Apart from the book of Genesis, there is no explanation for Israel, nor consequently for all the rest of the Old Testament.
The New Testament is, if anything, even more dependant on Genesis than the Old Testament. These is at least 165 passages in Genesis that are either directly quoted, or clearly referred to in the New Testament. Many of these are alluded to more than once, so that there are at least two hundred quotations or allusions to Genesis in the New Testament.
In fact the part of Genesis which has had the greatest attacks of skepticism and unbelief, the first eleven chapters, is the part which had the greatest influence on the New Testament. Yet there exist over one hundred quotations or direct references to Genesis 1-11 in the New Testament.
Furthermore, every one of these eleven chapters is alluded to somewhere in the New Testament, and every one of the New Testament authors refers somewhere in his writings to Genesis 1-11. On at least 6 different occasions, Jesus Christ Himself quoted from or referred to something or someone in one of these chapters, including specific reference to each of the first seven chapters. Can you believe that, in not one of these many instances where the Old or New Testament refers to Genesis is there the slightest evidence that the writers regarded the events or personages as mere myths or allegories. No they viewd Genesis as absolutely historical, true, and authoritative. It is quite impossible, therefore, for one to reject the historicity and divine authority of the book of Genesis without undermining, and in effect, repudiating the authority of the whole Bible.
If Genesis Is A Myth, Then Christianity Is A Myth
Look at his serious note: again from Henry Morris, "If the first Adam is only an allegory, then by all logic, so is the Second Adam. If man did not really fall into sin from his state of created innocency, then there is really no reason for him to need a Savior. If all things that exist can be accounted for by natural processes of evolution, there is no reason to look forward to the future supernatural consummation of all things. If Genesis is not true, then neither are the testimonies of the prophets and apostles, and Jesus Christ Himself becomes a false witness, either a deceiver, or one who is deceived, and His claims of omnipotence and omniscience becomes blasphemy. This makes faith in the glorious Gospel of Christ an empty mockery." (Genesis Record, Pg. 22) Because the book of Genesis is indeed the Bible's foundational book, then it is obvious that the first eleven chapters of Genesis, which deal with the whole world and all the nations, constitute the foundation for the rest of Genesis, which deals specifically with the beginnings of the nation of Israel. By the same token, chapter one of Genesis is the foundational chapter of the first eleven chapters, since it summarizes the creation of the world and everything in it.
My aim in this study is to show that God, from the very beginning, was preaching the Gospel to His people with word pictures. I have attempted to demonstrate each type and antitype with Scriptural background.
Jesus let us know that the Old Testament Scriptures taught of Him, when he was on the road to Emaeus:
24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to
believe all that the prophets have spoken:.... 24:27 And
beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto
them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus made this same claim when people questioned His authority
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have
eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
And again in John 5:
5:45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is
[one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. 5:46
For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he
wrote of me.
If Jesus taught that way, then I must at least attempt to imitate His style of teaching.
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