William Lane Craig's Mytho-History vs. Historical Genesis

Comparing William Lane Craig's mythological and figurative approach to Genesis to the historical understanding of Genesis used by Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

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It is very sad to see how far William Lane Craig has departed from both sound reason and the truth of Scripture about creation, in this case the creation of Adam and Eve, in this 5-min YouTube clip. Though he has done much good for the church in exposing the foolishness of atheism and defending the resurrection of Jesus, he has strayed far from the truth on the question of origins.

There is absolutely no basis in Scripture for saying that Genesis 1–11 is mythical in any sense. Jesus and all New Testament writers took Genesis 1–11 as literal history.

Contrary to his confident assertion, there is absolutely no basis in Scripture for saying that Genesis 1–11 is mythical in any sense. Jesus and all New Testament writers took Genesis 1–11 as literal history. There is not a hint in their words that there is any myth in those chapters. And like their Lord, the apostles knew the difference between myth and truth: 1 Timothy 1:4, 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; and 2 Peter 1:16 (all use the Greek word muthos, from which we get our English word myth). Also, Genesis 1–11 unmistakably has the literary characteristics of biblical historical narrative just as do Genesis 12–50, Exodus, Joshua, Judges, Acts, and the Gospel accounts of the virgin birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, as chapters 6 and 8 in Coming to Grips with Genesis demonstrate. Those first eleven chapters of Genesis are not myth or mythohistory or poetry or parable or prophetic vision. They are sober, literal history and the foundation of the gospel.

And contrary to Dr. Craig’s view, Genesis 2:7 absolutely rules out the evolution of Adam’s body from an earlier hominid. That verse says God made man from the dust of the earth, breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living creature (or some translations say living being or living soul). The last two Hebrew words (nephesh chayyah) for “living creature” are also used in Genesis 1, 2, 9, and elsewhere to refer to sea creatures, birds, and land animals. They are also called “living creatures” (though not made in the image of God, as Adam, Eve, and we are). So, the interpretation “God made man from a living creature (i.e., preexisting hominid), breathed into it, and it became man” is absolutely impossible exegetically. It is the opposite of what Genesis 2:7 (and 1 Corinthians 15:45, 47) says.

Now, while Eve was indeed made from a preexisting living creature (Adam), it is exegetically impossible to harmonize Genesis 2:21–22 (or 1 Corinthians 11:8–9) with the evolution of her body from another hominid. Those verses are describing supernatural surgery performed on Adam.

One more point about Adam. In Genesis 3:19, God tells Adam “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.” So, if “dust” in Genesis 2:7 is a figurative word meaning “preexisting apelike creature,” then is 3:19 saying that when we die, we will revert to some apelike creature? Context requires that “dust” means the same thing in both verses. Adam was made supernaturally from literal dust. When he died, he eventually became literal dust again, just as other verses say we will become after death because we are descended from Adam (Job 10:9; Psalm 22:29; Ecclesiastes 3:19–20).

Dr. Craig says he still believes in miracles, and I don’t doubt him here. But how bizarre and unbiblical for him to believe that God can do (and did) some kind of miracle (supposedly described mythically as “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life”) to change an evolved hominid into a man but not to believe that God supernaturally (miraculously) made Adam from dust (non-living matter) and supernaturally made him come to life. Why is it any more difficult or unreasonable to believe that God created Adam and Eve, literally as God describes, than to believe that Jesus (the second person of the Trinity) was conceived in and born from the womb of the virgin, Mary, and that he rose bodily from the dead? Dr. Craig is totally inconsistent to believe those literal truths about Jesus (as he does) but to reject the literal truths about Adam and Eve. The same scientific establishment that Craig trusts regarding the big bang, billions of years, and biological evolution also says that it is scientifically absurd to believe in the “myths” of the virgin birth and bodily resurrection of Jesus, and therefore absurd to believe in the fall of Adam and the fall’s remedy, which is the gospel. Consider these atheists:

Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god [sic]. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing!1

Why reject the story of creation and Noah's Ark because we know that animals evolved, but nevertheless accept the reality of the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ, which are equally at odds with science? After all, biological research suggests the impossibility of human females reproducing asexually, or of anyone reawakening three days after death. . . . Now Darwin Year is upon us, and we can expect more books like those by Kenneth Miller and Karl Giberson. Attempts to reconcile God and evolution keep rolling off the intellectual assembly line. It never stops, because the reconciliation never works.2

Compromise with evolution doesn’t make the gospel more believable but rather totally ridiculous.

Compromise with evolution doesn’t make the gospel more believable but rather totally ridiculous.

Dr. Craig needs to read and deal with the scholarly chapters in Searching for Adam (which shows biblically, historically, and scientifically that human evolution is a myth and a hoax) and in Coming to Grips with Genesis (which defends young-earth creation biblically and historically). And he needs to believe all (not just some) of God’s Word rather than believing arrogant, secular scientists (most of whom are atheists, deists, or pantheists) who suppress the truth (revealed in creation, in their conscience, and in Scripture) because of their own wickedness (Romans 1:18–20; 2:14–16, 3:4).

Those many Christians who are wowed by Dr. Craig’s mind (which is brilliant), with his two PhDs (justly earned) and numerous books, articles, podcasts, and impressive debates with atheists, need to reject what Dr. Craig says about origins. Rather they should believe God’s clear Word (both in the OT and the NT) about Adam and about how, when, and in what order God created everything in the universe.

It is the church’s (especially most of her theologians and apologists) compromise with, first, millions of years, and then evolution over the past 200 years (see the historical context in this DVD or book) that has led to the moral and spiritual destruction of the once-Christian West, making us ripe for the Marxist takeover we are now experiencing. We need a massive revival and reformation in the church! That’s why our ministry theme for 2021 is “Waking up the Church.”

May we all stand boldly for the truth in this massive battle against the truth and authority of God’s Word and the gospel, which is being waged by people outside the church and sadly by many apparently well-meaning people inside the church.

Footnotes

  1. G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution,” American Atheist 20, no. 2 (February 1978): 30.
  2. Jerry Coyne (famous biologist), “Seeing and Believing,” The New Republic, February 4, 2009, https://newrepublic.com/article/63388/seeing-and-believing, accessed January 4, 2020.

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