I am so glad God inspired men to write the Bible. In it are so many things that are true. In fact, it can be said that all truths of the world find their foundation in the Scriptures. The Scriptures came about through plenary verbal inspiration. That means that absolutely every word of the original documents came about by the mouth of God, 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Just think of how important it is that every truth of the Bible is true. What if someone discovered just one thing that the Bible claimed as being true was, in fact, untrue? For me, if I were to discover that somehow someone had proven that something the Bible claimed was true was actually untrue, I think I would probably give up the Bible as being true all together.
Case in point, what if science proved that the world came into being just by chance, and that Genesis chapter one was just a myth, or a poetic literary piece from antiquity added to the Scriptures? If science proved that the world came into being in other ways than what is claimed in Genesis 1, what would that do to your faith in the rest of the Bible?
To measure the significance of these questions, it should be pointed out that unless your head has been in the sand for the last fifty years, you know that Science claims that the world came into being in ways other than Genesis 1. Words like “Big Bang,” “great explosion eons of years ago,” etc., are used to describe how the world came into existence. Today, you can go into any government run school classroom in America where science is taught as a subject, and every one of the students is taught this model of origins for the world in which we exist.
The problem is that the Bible teaches something entirely different. The Bible says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1 ESV) On the first day of creation, the Bible says, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3 ESV) Did you know that the words “God said” appears ten times in Genesis 1? As mentioned above, some “well-meaning” people who try to make the Bible fit with science, or vice-versa, say that Genesis 1 is a myth. Now, here is our problem. If Genesis chapter 1 is a mythological tale and not to be taken as true, and Genesis 1 says, “God said” ten times, then how should I interpret every other time the words “God said” appears in the Bible? The words “God said” appears 52 times throughout the Bible in the English Standard Version. And think about this, if the places where “God said” are to be taken as mythological, how shall we interpret the 274 times the words “Lord said” appear in the Bible?
As one who is suppose to make heads or tails about how the Bible applies to me as an individual living in the year 2014, these kinds of things sure complicate life a great deal. We are living at a time in history when everything in the Bible is being called into question concerning its reliability. Have you ever heard a Christian in the heat of an argument say, “Well, you can not believe everything you read in the Bible?” I have! More and more people are dismissing the Bible as being authoritative in their lives. “Christians” are calling into question the authority of the Scriptures over their lives. To some, the very idea that anyone could even think they could be 1st Century Christians, following the simple pattern for Christianity found in the New Testament, is preposterous and arrogant thinking. This is because many believe the Bible to be unreliable as a source.
Here are some things to consider concerning Genesis 1. First, The Holy Spirit inspired forty men over a sixteen hundred year period to write what God, in His mind, thought men needed to know, 1 Corinthians 2:9-13. Genesis 1 is as much part of that information as Jonah 1, John 1, and Hebrews 1. If I can give up on the validity of Genesis 1, I can give up on Colossians 1. Second, there is nothing in Genesis 1 that sounds the slightest bit like poetic language. Poetic language is embedded in things that are real, and not fantasy and fiction. For instance, Psalm 23 describes the writer as a sheep being made to lie down in green pastures by a shepherd. While we are not sheep, we understand the imagery of this poetic verse to instill faith in God as a Shepherd. Genesis 1 is factual, “And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1:11 ESV) What, pray tell, is poetic about that? Third, if Genesis 1 is myth, what do you do with the words of the writer of Hebrews, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” (Hebrews 11:3 ESV) Peter talked about doubters concerning the coming again of the Lord saying, “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God.” (2 Peter 3:5 ESV) Hebrews 1:2,3 says that Jesus is given the role of “upholding all things by the word of His power.” So, if Genesis 1 is not to be trusted, why not question everything Peter said since he wrote about it in his letter? If Genesis 1 is a fable, and the writer of Hebrews reflected upon it as be factual, then why not reject everything said in Hebrews? This seems to be the challenge before us.
What about the seventh day? Some “Christians” in the interest of bringing science and religion a little closer together, have said that the days of Genesis 1 are not to be understood as 24-hour days, but probably took place over millennia of time. Well, how does that work? Genesis 1 says that God rested on the seventh day. In Exodus 20 God gave Israel the 10 Commandments. One of those commandments was for the Israelites to keep every seventh day or “Sabbath day” as holy, and a day not to work. And as proof of its significance, He cited the seventh day of creation as the day when He rested from His labors. Perhaps, if the Science books of today were being used in the day when God gave the Ten Commandments, they would think that the seventh day was really not all that significant. If the days of Creation were not literal 24-hour periods, perhaps everything in the book of Exodus is suspect.
Can you see from this line of reasoning how disregarding the validity of some of the Bible endangers the acceptance of all the Bible? For, if we can disregard some, why not disregard the other? What we need to be teaching our children when they come home touting what their Science teacher says about origins is that they are being duped into a lie. The truth is that Genesis 1 is as reliable as every other chapter in the Bible for what it teaches. God made everything in the universe in six, literal 24-hour periods of time. Creation came about by the word of God. Then, on the seventh day, He rested. And with that, I rest my case.
(Some of my thoughts here came from, “Piloting The Straight,” by Dave Miller, pages 33ff.)