A television network in the U.S. is once again trying its hand at reconstructing historical accounts recorded in the Bible. In the Beginning . . . is the attempt by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) to visually render the accounts found in the Old Testament about Abraham and his lineage.
Considering that the network’s premise is that the Old Testament accounts are based on “theology and myth”,1 the mini-series could have been worse. And considering that their last attempt to recreate an account from the Bible (Noah’s Ark) was riddled with factual and historical errors, In the Beginning . . . was not bad—considering.
Following are our comments on this latest series by Hallmark Entertainment, Inc. Because AiG’s specialty is Genesis 1–11, we have chosen only to comment on the section of the movie pertaining to this.
The mini-series begins with the patriarch, Abraham, confronting those under his care about the idols they have been worshipping. He states,
“All of you— listen to me! You know what God has commanded, but you don’t know God. These idols are all you know. Who made the Earth you are sitting on? Who made the rocks? The sky? This thing [holding up an idol]? This thing of clay? No! God did! The one God, the only true God! Should I tell the story?”
With nods of assent from his listeners, Abraham continues with the creation account:
“In the beginning, there was nothing—there was darkness. And God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And God separates the light from the darkness. And the light He called day and the darkness He called night. And that was the first day.”
AiG’s response [AiG]: The visuals used to depict the creation of light on the first day are reminiscent of a big bang with swirling clouds of gas and exploding rocks (see Q&A: Astronomy and Astrophysics for articles on why the big bang is unbiblical).
Abraham [A]: “On the second day God said, ‘Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God called the dome sky.’”
[AiG]: This statement furthers the skeptical attacks on the Bible’s scientific inaccuracy by implying that the sky is a solid dome. But see “Is the Raqiya‘ (‘Firmament’) a Solid Dome?” for a refutation of this idea.
[A]: “On the third day, God said, ‘Let the waters be gathered together and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so. And God called the dry land ‘earth’ and the waters He called ‘sea’. And God saw that it was good. And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth plants yielding seed. Fruit trees of every kind.’
“On the fourth day, God said let there be lights in the sky to give light on earth and let them be for signs, seasons, days and years.
[Taking a goat] “On the fifth day, God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth living creatures [showing pictures of fish]’ and God blessed them saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the seas and the earth.’” [Pictures of birds, insects, snakes, buffalo herds are shown].
[AiG]: Curiously, the creation of all animals is placed on this day. Biblically, sea creatures and winged creatures were made on Day 5, while land animals, creeping things, and man were created on Day 6.
[A]: “On the sixth day, God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our own image and likeness.’ And so it was.”
[AiG]: God did create man on the sixth day, but as said above, He also created land animals and creeping things on this day. By the way, Adam and Eve are both, appropriately, portrayed as being “middle brown” in skin color (see “What was Adam like?”).
[A]: “And God saw all that He had made, and He saw that it was, indeed, good. And so all the heavens and the earth were made, all their multitudes of living things. And on the seventh day God rested. And God formed a man from the dust of the earth. And God took a rib from Adam’s side and from it made a woman and that is why a man leaves his father and mother and marries a wife and they are joined together as one. And Adam called the woman Eve.
“And God made a garden for them in Eden in the east. They were naked and they were not ashamed. In the middle of Eden, grew the Tree of Knowledge—the knowledge of Good and Evil. And God said to Adam, ‘You can eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden, save one—The Tree of Knowledge. Its fruit is forbidden to you. If you eat it, you will die.’ Of all the creatures in the Garden the serpent was the most cunning. And the serpent tempted Eve, ‘Eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. You won’t die, your eyes will be opened and you’ll be as God Himself, knowing good and evil.’” [Eve reaches through dead twigs to get the fruit that looks like a berry].
[AiG]: Their choice of a berry as the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ is interesting—many people mistakenly believe it was an apple, although the Bible does not state the kind of fruit.
[A]: “Eve ate the fruit and she gave it to Adam to eat. And their eyes were opened, and they knew they were naked and they were ashamed and they tried to hide from God. But how could they hide from Him? He found them out and gave them clothes to wear.”
[AiG]: Adam and Eve had first tried to make their own clothes—covering themselves with leaves. But this was not adequate. God killed an animal (this was the first animal death), shedding its blood, to atone for their sin. This is an important gospel-related issue, and the omissions are regrettable. With the skin of the animal, He made clothes for Adam and Eve—a continual reminder of their disobedience.
[A]: “He heard what the serpent had done and God cursed the serpent saying, ‘On your belly you shall go and dust you shall you eat.’ As for Adam and Eve, He cast them out of Eden. And so it was the evil came into the world.”
[AiG]: This is correct. However, God also placed a curse upon the ground, and on Adam and Eve themselves.
[A]: “Cain, the son of Adam, killed his brother Abel. All of you are descendants of that first man, Adam. I, Abraham, am descended from his son, Seth and from Noah, who made the Ark that floated on the waters of the Great Flood that God sent down in the ancient days. He made you!”
[AiG]: Abraham’s lifetime was actually not long after the Great Flood (which by the way, covered the entire earth and killed every land creature not on the Ark), probably only 300 years or so.
Answers in Genesis is concerned about the cavalier attitude with which so many people approach the Word of God today. Although we understand that NBC took some “dramatic license” with their portrayal of the biblical account, it is important to understand that the Bible is not a book of myths and fables, able to be turned in the direction we wish it to go. It is, rather, the very word of God, and as such cannot be changed to suit our preconceived ideas. The Lord says, “But to this man will I look: even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2). We encourage those of you who have seen this movie to discuss it with your children, by comparing and contrasting the biblical account and the Hallmark Entertainment, Inc account.