Back in July of this year, I was invited by Answers in Genesis to join an invitation only group of Christian leaders for a trip down the Colorado river through the Grand Canyon. The trip was a 7-day journey through the massive rock walls of the Grand Canyon that covered nearly 200 miles of the Colorado river. We slept on the side of the river each night under the stars, ate amazing food cooked in an iron dutch oven, fished for rainbow trout, and enjoyed great conversations with other professors and leaders of Christian organizations. Each day, we would take hikes through canyons and explore rock layers and fossil records as John Whitmore, a professor and geologist, would explain the significance of what we were seeing at various points.
Each evening, we would circle up together after supper and Terry Mortenson of Answers in Genesis or Bill Barrick who is a semi-retired Hebrew and Old Testament professor would speak to us from God’s Word. What I experienced on this journey was breathtaking. I have never struggled with the historicity of Genesis 1-11, the miracles of Genesis 1-2, or the judgment of God in a global flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9, but as I flew up out of the Grand Canyon on the seventh day by helicopter—I was reminded of how important the beginning of our Bible is and why we as Christians should take it seriously.
Today, I will focus on why the attacks on the miracles recorded in Genesis should be seriously opposed. Next week, I will focus on the importance of the history of the flood as recorded in Genesis 6-9.
Casting Shadows of Doubt on the Miracle of Creation
Evolution is a multi-tiered theory that involves cosmological evolution, geological evolution, and biological evolution. Darwinian evolutionary theory dates everything you see in the billions of years. According to the evolutionists and their “big-bang” theory, the age of the universe is estimated to have evolved over 14 to 17 billion years. Contemporary findings from the Hubble space telescope have prompted astronomers to reduce their evaluations of the universe’s age to a range between 8 to 12 billion years.
For many years, Darwinian evolutionary theory has been the dominant storyline within the sphere of secular education. Science books have been teaching a false theory as fact while openly denying the teaching of Scripture for a very long time. This is why today the primary belief of our society is that our world evolved into existence over the last 8-12 billion years. While you might expect secular unbelievers to openly deny Scripture on a university campus, certain voices have become a threat within evangelical circles. Did you know that only one educational institution within the Southern Baptist Convention actually has a stated position of young earth creationism?
We have witnessed attacks on the literal and historical record of Genesis among Christians for years. The Gap Theory was popularized by C.I. Scofield (August 19, 1843 – July 24, 1921) in his once popular study Bible. In recent years, pastor, author, and apologist Tim Keller (September 23, 1950 – May 19, 2023) denied the literal record of the creation account by claiming that God could have used evolution to bring about his creation. He stated the following:
Many believers in western culture see the medical and technological advances achieved through science and are grateful for them. . . . How then, can they reconcile what science seems to tell them about evolution with their traditional theological beliefs? Seekers and inquirers about Christianity can be even more perplexed. They may be drawn to many things about the Christian faith, but, they say, “I don’t see how I can believe the Bible if that means I have to reject science.”1Tim Keller, “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” [accessed: 8/12/23]
He goes on to say:
There is no logical reason to preclude that God could have used evolution to predispose people to believe in God in general so that people would be able to consider true belief when they hear the gospel preached. This is just one of many places where the supposed incompatibility of orthodox faith with evolution begins to fade away under more sustained reflection.2Ibid., [accessed: 8/12/23]
The church has been bombarded with all sorts of theories (Gap Theory, Theistic Evolution, Framework Hypothesis, and Progressive Day-Age Creationism) that attempt to blend God’s miracles with evolutionary theory in attempt to accommodate the secular culture. They take the Hebrew word “day” (yom) in Genesis 1:5 (as repeated in the creation account) and claim that it should be interpreted differently than Genesis 8:22 or Exodus 20:9-11. In Genesis 8:22 and Exodus 20:8-11, the word “day” is to be taken as a literal 24-hour period of time while in Genesis 1, the word should be interpreted as a very long period—even millions or billions of years.
Not only is this a perverted method of biblical interpretation that does violence to the text of Scripture, these theories make God appear to be weak. Did God need billions of years to do it, or could he speak light into existence and form the universe in an instant by the power of his spoken word?
Anytime we cast doubt upon the literal record of God’s miraculous work in Genesis we open the gates to the ancient dragon and enemy of God. Every single time you hear a politician, professor, or a pastor referring to the age of the earth as being millions and billions of years—hear that as a direct assault upon the Word of God.
Casting Shadows of Doubt on the Historical Adam
Dr. William Lane Craig has published a book, In Quest of the Historical Adam, in which he argues that the historical Adam was real, literal, and historical, but at the same time—mythical. In his book, he argues for a man named Adam but claims that the details recorded in Genesis 2–3 about the origin of mankind and the nature of their fall in sin are what he terms as a mytho-history which denies the literal historical narrative of Genesis.
In an interview with Christianity Today, Dr. Craig explains his positions by saying:
History is a narrative concerning real people and events, and so a mytho-history would be a sort of fusion of the two: a narrative concerning real people and events told in the language of myth in order to ground a culture’s identity and institutions in events of the primordial past.
Dr. Craig was asked a follow-up question. “One reason you support the mytho-history classification is the presence of what you call ‘fantastic elements’ in the text. What are these, and how do they differ from supernatural elements?” He responds:
I define “fantastic elements” as those which, if taken literally, are so extraordinary as to be palpably false. Myths are typically characterized by these sorts of fantastic elements. For example, in the Mesopotamian myth The Epic of Gilgamesh, there’s a story of how the bull of heaven—that is, the constellation Taurus—comes down to Earth and rampages through the town of Uruk until Gilgamesh and his cohort grab the bull by its tail, slay it, and distribute its meat to the town’s citizens.
Similarly, the primordial history of Genesis 1–11 includes elements which, if taken literally, would be so extraordinary as to be clearly false. Take, for example, magical trees with fruit that, if eaten, would impart the knowledge of good and evil or immortality, or the presence of a talking snake that tempts the man and woman to sin. Now, these are different from supernatural or miraculous elements, which concern events God brings about directly. Given the existence of a transcendent creator and designer who established the universe and its laws, it’s perfectly plausible that such a person could work in ways unexplainable by natural causes.3William Lane Craig, “William Lane Craig Explores the Headwaters of the Human Race” Interview, [accessed: 8/12/23]
Dr. Craig claims that the text of Genesis contains “’fantastic elements’ as those which, if taken literally, are so extraordinary as to be palpably false.” In other words, if you claim that Genesis is literal, you deny the real message of the book. To suggest that Dr. Craig is casting a shadow of doubt upon the miracles of Genesis would be a gross understatement. This is a direct and vicious assault upon the text of Scripture and the historical record that God has provided us at the very opening pages of sacred Scripture.
The Bible is not a science book. Our God created the laws of nature, so it’s not a science textbook, but rather a book that unveils who God is and what God has done and continues to do in his creation. Science is not opposed to the Bible and the Bible is not opposed to science. You can’t measure a miracle by science, but you can observe the aftermath scientifically and see evidence of the miracle such as the rock layers of the global flood. To suggest that historical narrative cannot contain records of God’s literal actions that happen to be extraordinary and miraculous is to deny the trustworthiness of God’s Word. Such a claim is merely an echo of the words of Satan to Eve, “Did God say?”
The Bible begins with a miracle and the Bible closes with the anticipation of a miracle. If a professor or a pastor can cast doubt upon the miracles in Genesis—it’s likely that he can tempt you to deny the miracles in Luke or Revelation too. If the ancient dragon can tempt you to reject the literal and historical record of the first Adam, he might tempt you to reject the literal and historical record of the last Adam—Jesus Christ.
Thomas Jefferson enjoyed reading the Bible, but he rejected the miracles. He took a razor knife and cut the miracles out leaving behind the “moral teaching” of Jesus. His version of the Bible is on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History officially called the The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth, but most people know it as The Jefferson Bible. We must guard against cutting and pasting the Bible to fit our own opinions. We would not dream of treating the Constitution of the United States in this manner, so why would we dare approach the Word of God with such a destructive hermeneutic?
There is an ongoing battle over the beginning of Scripture, and the church must be resolved to remain steadfast and immovable on this foundational doctrine. The beginning of the Bible matters.
|Tim Keller, “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” [accessed: 8/12/23]
|Ibid., [accessed: 8/12/23]
|William Lane Craig, “William Lane Craig Explores the Headwaters of the Human Race” Interview, [accessed: 8/12/23]