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Many Christians fail to realize that the events of Genesis are literal, are historical (particularly Genesis 1-11), and are foundational to all Christian doctrine.
Let us look in detail at some important Christian doctrines, to show why this emphasis on a literal Genesis must be accepted.
Suppose that we are being questioned concerning the doctrines Christians believe. Think carefully how you would answer in detail.
Why do we believe in marriage?
Why do we promote the wearing of clothes?
Why are there rules—right and wrong?
Why are we sinners—what does that mean?
Why is there death and suffering in the world?
Why is there to be a new heaven and a new earth?
We will consider each one carefully, as it is important to have reasons for what we believe. In fact, God expects His children to be ready to give answers—to give reasons for what they believe. In 1 Peter 3:15 we read, “
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”
Christianity, as distinct from atheism, is not a “blind” faith, but an objective one … our object is Jesus Christ. He does reveal himself to those who come by faith believing that He is. John 14:21 says, “
And I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Hebrews 11:6: “
For he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
If reasons for the validity of the Christian’s faith are not forthcoming, his witness is weakened and open to ridicule. Christians must be prepared to make an intelligent defense of the gospel by arming themselves with knowledge and an understanding of the forms unbelief takes in these days. Many Christians do not know how to communicate the fact that God’s Word and God’s laws are true. The net result is generations of wishy-washy Christians who believe in many things, but are not sure why. Personal witnessing can lose its impact if the Christian fails to share intelligent reasons for his faith. This must be avoided, lest ridicule and dishonor come to the name of Christ.
A good example of what happens when we do not give reasons for what we believe can be seen in a letter to the editor of an Arizona newspaper. It reads as follows: “When I was a youngster, we all believed that men had one less rib than women because God created Eve with one of Adam’s ribs. When the story was written five to ten thousand years later after Noah and the world flood, how many people could read, much less write? … You say you are a teacher of creationism in school classes. How would you answer these questions? If Noah took two of each animal on the ark, where did he get polar bears, bison, and kangaroos? You might answer that those animals lived in the Eastern Mediterranean area back then. The next question would be, how did the various colors of humans evolve from one white (deeply tanned) family in 5,000 or even 50,000 years? … When I was growing up in a deeply religious family, I was told not to question the Bible and other religious writings. I got no answer then, and 70 years later I am still waiting for a reasonable explanation.”
I personally spoke to the writer of this letter. As we talked, it became obvious that he had been told to accept the Bible by blind faith and was never given any useful answers. Omission caused him to reject evangelical Christianity. How sad! And the answers to these sorts of questions are available today. So, let us “give reasons for what we believe” as we discuss the subjects mentioned above.
If we did not have this historical basis, we would not have marriage.When Jesus was asked questions concerning divorce in Matthew 19, He immediately referred to the origin, and thus the foundation, of marriage. He said, “
Have ye not read, that He which made them at the beginning made them male and female? And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” And from where did Jesus quote? Genesis! (In fact, He quoted from Genesis, chapters 1 and 2, in the same verse. Those who wrongly say Genesis 1 and 2 are two different accounts of creation should refer to Appendix 1.) Jesus was saying: “Don’t you understand there is a historical basis for marriage?” If we did not have this historical basis, we would not have marriage. The only basis is in the Scriptures. You can say it is convenient for you, but you cannot tell your son he cannot marry Bill or, for that matter, marry Julie and Susan. Likewise, extramarital relationships would be a tolerable alternative. You would have no justification for thinking otherwise.
Now, if we go back to Genesis, we read how God took dust and made a man. From the man’s side, He made a woman. Adam’s first recorded words were: “
This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” They were one flesh. When a man and a woman marry, they become one. This is the historical basis. Also, we are to cleave to one another as if we had no parents—just like Adam and Eve who had no parents. We know it is to be a heterosexual relationship. Why? Because, as stated before, God made Adam and Eve (a man and a woman—not a man and a man). That is the only basis for marriage, and that is why we know that homosexual behavior and desire is an evil, perverse, and unnatural deviation. It is time the church stood its ground against the increasing acceptance of homosexuality as something natural or normal or as an “acceptable alternative.” Paul would not have written about homosexuality in the way that he did in Romans if he did not have that historical basis. (Please note that although as Christians we condemn the sin of homosexuality, we are to be grace-oriented toward the homosexual and seek his or her deliverance from bondage.)
What about the rest of the teaching on marriage? There is another aspect which has to do with the family. It is the reason many Christian families go to pieces or the offspring go astray. In the majority of Christian homes today, it is usually the mother who teaches the children spiritually. What an unfortunate thing it is that fathers have not embraced their God-given responsibility. When one looks at the biblical roles given to fathers and mothers, it is the fathers who are allocated the responsibility of providing for their children, and providing the family’s spiritual and physical needs (Isaiah 38:19, Proverbs 1:8, Ephesians 6:4). One result of this role reversal is that the sons often stop coming to church. Christian girls who have not been trained properly by their fathers concerning the marriage relationship often disobey the Lord by dating and marrying non-Christian men.
A young woman approached me and said that she was married to a non-Christian. She explained that when she was dating this man, she compared him to her father and saw no real difference. Yet, her father was a Christian. Because her father was not the spiritual head of the house, she did not see any real difference between him and the person she was dating. She saw no reason to make sure that her husband-to-be was a Christian. Now that she is married and has children, there are some extreme problems with their marriage regarding the bringing up of their children.
A major reason for so many problems in Christian families today is that fathers have not taken their God-commanded responsibility of being priest in their household. As a husband and a father, he is also a priest to his wife and children. It is not, however, a “boss” relationship where men despotically lord it over women. Female liberationists think the Bible teaches a tyrannical relationship in marriage. Unfortunately, many Christians think like this, also. However, the Bible does not say this at all. Anyone who uses these biblical role absolutes to justify one person’s seeking power over another has completely missed the whole message of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:22–33, John 13:5). The Bible also says we are to submit one to another (Eph. 5:21). If you do not adopt the God-given roles set out in Scripture, you will find that your family will not function as intended, and problems usually follow. The Bible also tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25). In many instances, if husbands loved their wives this way it would make it easier for many women to be submissive to them.
Consider why we wear clothes. Is it to keep warm? What then if we lived in the tropics? Is it to look nice? If these are our only reasons, why wear clothes? Why not take them off when we want to, where we want to? Does it really matter if one goes nude publicly? Ultimately, the only reason for insisting that clothes must be worn is a moral one. If there is a moral reason, it must have a basis somewhere; therefore, there must be standards connected to the moral reason. What then are the standards? Many in our culture (including Christians) just accept the fashions of the day. Parents, what about the training of your children? What do you say to them about clothes?
In her paper “Greek Clothing Regulations: Sacred and Profane,” Harrianne Mills has this to say: “Since the demise, roughly one hundred years ago, of the biblically based theory that clothes are worn because of modesty, various theories have been put forward by anthropologists concerned with the origins and functions of clothing.”1
Why do we wear clothes? There is a moral basis if you go back to the Scriptures.Why do we wear clothes? There is a moral basis if you go back to the Scriptures. We read in Genesis that when God made Adam and Eve they were naked. But sin came into the world, and sin distorts everything. Sin distorts nakedness. Immediately Adam and Eve knew they were naked, and they tried to make coverings out of fig leaves. God came to their rescue, providing garments by killing an innocent animal. This was the first blood sacrifice; it was a covering for their sin.
Men are very easily aroused sexually. That is why semi-naked women are used in television and magazine advertisements. Parents need to explain to their daughters how easily a man is aroused sexually by a woman’s body. They need to know, because many of them do not understand what happens to a man. At one church, after I had spoken on the topic of clothing, a young woman came up and told me that she had only been a Christian for six months. She was dating a young Christian man and was perplexed as to why he often told her not to wear certain things. Every time she asked him why, he started to feel embarrassed. She had not realized before that what she wore (or did not wear) could put a stumbling block in a man’s way by causing him to commit adultery in his heart.
Fathers need to explain to their daughters about how men react to a woman’s body. They also need to explain to their sons that although women’s clothes, or lack of them, can be a stumbling block to a male, it is not an excuse for them in relation to what their mind does with what they see. Job had an answer for this problem: “
I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” (Job 31:1). As Christians, males should have a covenant with their eyes and be reminded of this when lustful thoughts come as a result of what they see or hear.
Jesus states that if a man lusts after a woman in his heart, he commits adultery in his heart: “
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). Sin distorts nakedness. Even the perfect relationship experienced by Adam and Eve before the Fall degenerated. After the Fall, they hid from God and were ashamed of their nakedness. Many Christian women wear clothes that accentuate their sexuality. And many a roving eye follows every movement. But what is happening? Men are committing adultery in their hearts. Adultery for which they and the women will have to answer.
In many Christian homes the parents have certain beliefs about clothing. They say to their teenager, “You can’t wear that.”
The teenagers reply, “But why not?”
“Because it is not the Christian thing,” answer the parents.
“Why not?” ask the teenagers again.
“Because Christians don’t wear that,” the parents insist.
“Why not?” the reply comes.
Then you often hear daughters saying, “You’re old-fashioned, Mom and Dad.” They are saying that their parents have one opinion but they have another opinion. For the most part, children are going to stick with their own opinion. However, it is not a matter of the parents’ opinion or the child’s opinion. In order for the parents to “save face,” they often resort to an imposed legalism. What a difference it makes when the parents use Genesis as a basis to explain to their children why they must do this or that with regard to clothing, particularly if they have already solidly trained their children that God is Creator, He sets the rules, and Genesis is foundational to all doctrine. It is infinitely better than parents saying, “This is what you will do,” and imposing this standard on their children with no basis. However, as we read in Ephesians 6:1, “
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: For this is right.” Children must obey their parents, and that is not a matter of their opinion, either.
There is a moral basis for wearing clothes because of what sin has done to nakedness. We must understand how men are created. Man was designed to be easily aroused sexually and to respond to one woman (his wife). This was, and is, necessary for procreation in marriage. However, sin distorts this, and it is wrong for a man to look lustfully on any woman other than his wife. Therefore, clothing should minimize to the greatest extent any stumbling block laid in a man’s way. But a man is no less guilty if he succumbs to the “second look.” One should not simply accept the fashions of the day. There is a moral basis for clothing; therefore, there are standards. Knowing what men are like and knowing what sin does to nakedness, we thus have a basis for understanding what the standards should be.
What do you tell your children about laws? Perhaps you tell them some things are right and some are wrong, but do you ever explain to them the origin of right and wrong? Would you say we have right and wrong because God has given us laws? If so, why is that? Why does He have a right to say what is right and what is wrong?
Why is there right and wrong (e.g., the Ten Commandments)? Remember the story in Matthew 19:16–17 when the man came to Jesus and said to Him: “
Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.” How do you decide if something is right or wrong or good or bad? God, the only One who is good, created us, and therefore owns us. Thus, we are obligated to Him, and we must obey Him. He has the right to set the rules. He knows everything there is to know about everything (i.e., has absolute knowledge), and therefore we must obey. That is why we have absolutes, why there are standards, and why there is right and wrong.
Now, if you are not a Christian and you think some things are right and some are wrong, why do you think like that? You have no basis for such a decision. How do you arrive at your standards? How do you decide what is good and bad? Most non-Christians who believe there is a right and wrong are practicing the Christian ethic.
Atheistic evolutionary philosophy says: “There is no God. All is the result of chance and randomness. Death and struggle are the order of the day, not only now, but indefinitely into the past and future.” If this is true, there is no basis for right and wrong. The more people believe in evolution, the more they are going to say, “There is no God. Why should I obey authority? Why should there be rules against aberrant sexual behavior? Why should there be rules concerning abortion? After all, evolution tells us we are all animals. So, killing babies by abortion is no worse than chopping the head off a fish or a chicken.” It does matter whether you believe in evolution or creation! It affects every area of your life.
This issue comes down to the simple fact explained by Paul in Romans 3:20, “
For by the law is the knowledge of sin.” In Romans 7:7 he continues: “
I had not known sin, but by the law.”
We have the responsibility to obey and rejoice in His goodness, or disobey and suffer His judgment.The existence of God is nowhere defended by Scripture. This fact is taken as being obvious. Who He is and what He has done is clearly explained. Neither is there any doubt as to His sovereign authority over His creation or what our attitude should be toward Him as Creator. He has the right to set the rules. We have the responsibility to obey and rejoice in His goodness, or disobey and suffer His judgment.
Adam, the first man, made this choice. He chose to rebel. Sin is rebellion against God and His will. Genesis tells us that this first act of human rebellion took place in the Garden of Eden.
To understand what sin is all about—that all mankind are sinners—and how to recognize sin, God gave us the Law. He had the right and the loving concern to do this. He is Creator, and His character allows for no less. All-powerful, all-loving, all-gracious, He has laid down for us the rules by which we must live if our lives are to develop in the way they should. As Paul says in Romans 7:7, “
For I had not known lust, except the law had said thou shalt not covet.”
The Bible clearly teaches that each human being is a sinner, in a state of rebellion against God. Initially, the Law was given, as Paul states, to explain sin. But, knowing about sin was not a solution to the problem of sin. More was needed. The Creator had not forgotten His commitment to and love of His creation, for He set the payment and paid the price—himself. God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, suffered the curse of death on a cross and became sin for us so that God could pour out His judgment upon sin. But, just as all die in Adam, so all who believe in Christ’s atoning death and resurrection live in Him.
Those who oppose the Creator are opposing the One who is the absolute authority—the One who sets the rules and keeps them.
In the Book of Judges it is stated: “
In those days there was no king in Israel; but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6). People today are little different. They want evolution taught as fact and the belief in creation banished because they, too, want to be a law unto themselves. They want to maintain the rebellious nature they have inherited from Adam, and they will not accept the authority of the One who, as Creator and law-giver, has the right to tell them exactly what to do. This really is what the creation/evolution conflict is all about. Does God the Creator have the right to tell a person what he must do with his life? Or, can man decide for himself what he wants to do without suffering the consequences? These are not rhetorical questions. Their very nature demands an answer from every individual. Thus, it comes down to whether or not man is autonomous, and therefore can decide everything for himself, or whether he is owned by God. Most want to be autonomous and believe they can act according to their own desires and understanding. But, man is not autonomous, and there the battle rages.
The Bible tells us that those who trust in the Lord, and are indwelt by His Holy Spirit, will show the fruit of the Spirit: “
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22–23). Those who are not indwelt by the Spirit of God, and who reject the God of creation, will reflect the fruit of this rejection: “
adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like” (Galatians 5:19–21). The Bible states clearly that corrupt roots bring forth evil fruit. Pornography, abortion, homosexuality, lawlessness, euthanasia, infanticide, loose morals, unfaithfulness in marriage, and other such things—practices which are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society—are certainly fruit of corrupt roots. They are the corrupt roots of evolution firmly entrenched in the compost of humanistic thinking.
Evolution is an anti-God religion held by many people today as justification for their continued pursuit of self-gratification and their rejection of God as Creator.
Many today will not accept that they are sinners. They do not want to accept that they must bow their knees before the God of creation. They do not want to accept that anyone has authority over them with the right to tell them what to do.
Even many in our churches do not understand what is meant when man is described as “sinful.” Many preachers (even many who consider themselves evangelical) think that the definition of sin can be limited to such things as adultery, alcoholism, heroin addiction, nudity, x-rated movies, and bad language. However, sin does not stop here. We must understand that sin affects every area of our lives. Sin has an influence on every aspect of our culture. We must understand that sin pervades the whole of our thinking, and will, therefore, affect the whole of our actions. Jesus said, “
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19).
We must understand that God is the Creator and law-giver, and every human must kneel in submission to Him. That there will come a time when all will do this is clearly recorded by Paul in Philippians 2:10–11: “
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God’s Word (the infallible Word of the perfect Creator) has to be the basis of our thinking. God, the Creator, is the One who provides the blueprint for happy and stable human relationships. If His Word is heeded, He supplies the basis for a true Christian philosophy for every area of human existence—agriculture, economics, medicine, politics, law enforcement, arts, music, sciences, family relationships—every aspect of life. In other words, there is a whole Christian way of thinking. There are foundational biblical principles that govern every area of life. The Creator has not left His creatures without an instruction manual.
Man’s rejection of God as Creator (not starting with His Word as a basis for thinking in every area and not being submissive to Him) has resulted in the problems we have in society. This was painfully highlighted in a letter to the editor of an Australian newspaper. Apparently, a country newspaper was approached for placement of an advertisement requesting a married couple for farm work. They were told there would be no printing of an advertisement that contained the words, “Married couple.” The problem was apparently one of “discrimination.” The term “married couple” had to be replaced with “two persons.” It didn’t matter which two persons applied for the job! The question: “On whose authority can’t this be printed?” The answer: “The Human Rights Commission.” The writer of the letter was justifiably horrified. However, this incident is the fruit of evolutionist thinking, and we can only expect similar instances to increase.
Concerned and convinced Christians must pray that the Lord will make clear to everyone the frightening direction in which man’s rebellion is heading. Christians need to establish firmly the fact that God is Creator and that He has given us His law. We need to recognize what sin is and what the results of sinful existence are. We need to proclaim deliverance from sin through faith in Jesus Christ. Apart from this, there will be no rectifying the situation. An all-out attack on evolutionist thinking is possibly the only real hope our nations have of rescuing themselves from an inevitable social and moral catastrophe.
It is not easy for any human being to acknowledge that if there is a Creator we must be in submission to Him. However, there is no alternative. Man must recognize that he is in rebellion against the One who created him. Only then will man understand the law, understand what sin is, and understand the steps necessary to bring about the change in individual lives that can ultimately effect changes in society.
The more our society rejects the creation basis and God’s laws, the more it will degenerate spiritually and morally. This has happened many times throughout history and should stand as a warning. Let us consider a modern day example.
Missionaries were sent to New Guinea because there were many so-called pagan and primitive people there. The story is told of one cannibal tribe, which has since ceased to be cannibalistic. Previously, men would race into a village, grab a man by the hair, pull him back, tense his abdominal muscles, use a bamboo knife to slit open his abdomen, pull out his intestines, cut up his fingers, and while he was still alive, eat him until he died. People hear that and say, “Oh, what primitive savages!” They are not “primitive” savages; their ancestor was a man called Noah. The Indians’ ancestor was a man called Noah; the Eskimos’ ancestor was a man called Noah; and our ancestor was a man called Noah. Noah had the knowledge of God and could build ships. His ancestors could make musical instruments and they practiced agriculture. What happened to those New Guinea natives is that, somewhere in history (as Rom. 1 tells us), they rejected the knowledge of God and His laws. And God turned them over to foolish, perverse, and degenerate things.2
However, this same degeneracy (this same rejection of God’s laws) can be seen in so-called civilized nations that cut people up alive all year long (one and a half million of them in the United States each year), and it is legalized. This is what abortion is—cutting up people alive and sucking out the bits and pieces. The so-called “primitive tribes” had ancestors who once knew the true God and His laws. As they rejected the true God of creation, their culture degenerated in every area. The more our so-called “civilized nations” reject the God of creation, the more they will degenerate to a “primitive culture.” Thus, a culture should not be interpreted according to whether they are primitive or advanced (as presupposed by the evolutionary scale), but every aspect of their culture must be judged against the standards of God’s Word. How does your nation measure up?
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.