Wednesday, December 28, 2016


How should we regard Genesis 3, which describes the Fall of humanity into sin and death? Is it historical or non-historical, as the theistic evolutionists (TEs) maintain?

You might find it strange that TEs are passing judgment on the Bible. However, they have a vested interest in claiming that all the chapters that might contradict evolution as non-historical. For one thing, they believe that death and the survival-of-the-fittest was God’s original plan for evolving us, but this contradicts the plain historical account of not only Genesis 3 but also of Genesis 1-11.

However, does the Bible provide any basis to regard Genesis 3 as non-historical and mythological as the TE claims?

Genesis 3 claims that there was no sin and death until Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the fruit. This is consistent with the creation account in which God states that everything He had created was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Did this estimation preclude sin and death? Evidently! The creation account is explicit that animals were not intended to eat other animals (1:29-30), and that there had been such a state of comfort and peace that Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed (2:25), because they had not yet sinned.

Meanwhile, God had warned His first human creation against one thing – eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil:

·       And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

After their sin, God gave further details of what this death entailed:

·       “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19)

According to the Biblical account, God’s creation had been “very good,” but we brought sin and death, not God. Sin and death entered the world together, in contrast to the evolutionary account. The NT also affirms its historicity:

·       For the creation was subjected to futility [corruption – the Fall] not willingly, but because of him [God], who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. (Romans 8:20-22)

The “groaning” hadn’t been according to God’s design, but He allowed the Fall “in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption.”

Instead, had sin and death been part of God’s glorious plan involving the survival-of-the-fittest, the rest of the Biblical account would have opposed it. For instance, if death had been part of God’s “very good” creation, then He couldn’t blame Cain for killing his brother Abel. After all, it could have been justified by God’s own tool – the survival-of-the-fittest. Cain was simply the fitter one. In fact, any murderer or rapist would have been able to justify his behavior with such a perverse rationale.

There are many reasons that we regard the Genesis accounts as historical. For one thing, the genealogies which include Abraham and even Jesus argue for the historicity of Genesis. If Adam and Eve weren’t historical, then there would be no reason that the rest of the people in his genealogy should be regarded as historical.

Besides, all of the later Biblical commentary also regard these chapters of Genesis as historical. Here is a sampling from the NT affirming the historical creation order we find in Genesis:

·       When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. "Sovereign Lord," they said, "you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.” (Acts 4:24)

·       He also says, "In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” (Hebrews 1:10)

·       By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

·       Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3)

Adam as the first man:

·       For Adam was formed first, then Eve. (1 Timothy 2:13)

·       So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45)

·       [Jesus] the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:38)

·       Enoch, the seventh from Adam. (Jude 1:14)

·       Jesus replied, "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' ‘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." (Mark 10:5-9)

·       “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. (Acts 17:26)

·       For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. (1 Corinthians 11:8-9)

Adam as the original sinner and the cause of the Fall:

·       For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:22)

·       Death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:14)

If Adam’s work had merely been a matter of myth or parable, then too should we regard the work of Jesus.

Other verses regard even the serpent/Satan as historical :

  • And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. (Romans 16:20; Compare with Gen. 3:15)

·       And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)

  • He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (Rev. 20:2)

To deny that Genesis 3 and Adam and Eve were historical is to undermine the integrity of the entire Bible. It is to disregard the Bible’s own commentary in favor of an alien worldview that is being imposed on the text. It is also to add and to subtract from God’s Word:

·       You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19)

When the TE denies the historicity of Genesis 1-11, he takes away from God’s Word. When he imposes evolution upon it, he adds to God’s Word.

While the TE claims that he is salvaging the Christian faith for the educated who find themselves in conflict once introduced to the theory of evolution, even atheist Dale McGowan, Managing Editor of the Atheist Channel at Patheos, and author of Atheism For Dummies, is not so sure about this. He quotes Tullio Gregory who expresses his concern:

  • Once you cast doubt on man’s place in creation, the entire Biblical story of salvation history, from original sin to Christ’s incarnation, is also threatened.

Even though he is a strong advocate for evolution, McGowan confesses that he is “conflicted” and troubled by message of BioLogos, a TE organization peddling evolution to the church:

  • In a BioLogos video titled, “Adam and Eve: Engaging the Tough Questions,” an advisor notes that there are “a lot of proposals out there of when the first sin might have happened, what it might have looked like… we don’t have a simple answer on the question of the historical Adam…who were Adam and Eve, when did they live?”

  • This is always the first step in a crumbling theology – the suggestion that the answer is out there, it’s just very, very complicated. The problem is our ability to grasp the answer. But no worries, there are a lot of proposals. It all makes for an impressive simulacrum of rigor, an army of question marks in search of meaningful questions.

As McGowen points out, Biologos has undermined both the clarity of the biblical message and the church’s assurance about it.

However, TEs have often counseled me “to be humble about our interpretations of Scripture.” However, they are not at all humble about their dismissal of the first eleven chapters of Genesis as history. Nor are they humble about dismissing the NT’s clear assertions that Genesis is history.

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