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Rainbow Divider

Chapter 3

What Does the Bible Actually Teach?

As we said earlier, in a biblical view of history, God created everything in six days and pronounced it all “very good.” Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25. Genesis 1:31 sums it all up: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” There was no suffering or death. Animals ate plants and not each other. Such corruptions only entered creation as a direct consequence of Adam’s disobedience. His sin brought the curse of sin and death upon us all. Rom. 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned....” 1 Corinthians 15:21 & 22 tells us that “death came through a man,” and, “in Adam all die.”

Our world today lies under that curse. It is only in the new creation that there will be no more death, no more pain. These things will have passed away. Rom. 8:19-21 says, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.” See also Revelation 21:1-5. Revelation 22:3, in describing what is to come says simply, “No longer will there be any curse.” There is an unbroken thread of truth beginning in Genesis 1:1 that runs all the way through Revelation 22:21.

The Issue That Turned The Light On

The principal issue that turned the light on for me was the simple fact that EVERY attempt to fit millions of years into the Bible means that there was death before Adam—LONG BEFORE! And such a belief seriously undermines the whole message of the Bible.

Simply put: if there was death before Adam then death is just a part of the created order of things. In other words, God meant it to be that way! He meant for animals to kill and eat each other and for others to die of horrible diseases. He meant for there to be pain and suffering in His creation—and called it all “very good”!

Try to picture the God of the Bible looking down from heaven upon hundreds of millions of years of animals suffering and dying. Perhaps He looked down one day and said, “You there, T-Rex, you’re not doing your job! I don’t see enough blood. I want to hear more screaming as your prey dies.” As Mr. T-Rex raises his level of violence the Lord says, “That’s much better! That’s just what I intended. I’m so pleased! What a joy it is to watch my creatures scream in terror and die. Just think how many millions of years more I get to enjoy all this!”

Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Could the God of the Bible have pronounced such a creation “very good” and found pleasure in it? Are any of God’s revealed purposes consistent with, not thousands, not millions, not tens of millions, but (at least) hundreds of millions of years of pain, disease and death of morally innocent animals? Think about it! How could a God Who has no pleasure in even the death of the wicked find pleasure in the suffering and death of the innocent? Ezekiel 33:11. How could anyone imagine that a holy, righteous and loving God would establish such an order of things? Animals don’t sin. The only possible reason for such an order would be that God desired it to be that way.

What happened to the God who feeds the birds of the air (Matthew 6:26)? or the God who spoke of a time when, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”? Isaiah 11:6-9.

An Attack on God’s Character

The idea that God would create a world of suffering and death is nothing short of a satanic attack upon God’s character as revealed in His Word. It is one thing for His righteous wrath to be poured out on sin; it is something else again to create a suffering world where no sin exists (at least before Adam). Try to explain the suffering and tragedies of this world to your kids while holding to this compromise. You are left with no rational explanation except that God meant it to be this way. Then try to convince them of His love and His worthiness of their trust.

Even evolutionists recognize that evolution and the Bible don’t fit together! Tom McIver, an anti-creationist writer wrote about the “day-age” and “gap theory”: “Each...involves critical compromises with the plainest, most literal reading of the Bible to force Scripture into concordance with scientific evidence regarding the age of the earth.”

Jacques Monod said, “The struggle for life and elimination of the weakest is a horrible process, against which our whole modern ethics revolts. An ideal society is a non-selective society, is one where the weak is protected; which is exactly the reverse of the so-called natural law. I am surprised that a Christian would defend the idea that this is the process which God more or less set up in order to have evolution.” Indeed, particularly in view of Paul’s instruction to Christians to “help the weak.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

In a biblical view man was placed over all of the works of God’s hands. In a compromised view he is a very late-comer to a world already corrupted and out-of-control. In a biblical view, the corruption in the world is a result of the willful disobedience of the one that God put in charge. In a compromised view corruption is simply a “design feature” of creation. In such a world, exactly what is it that God is going to “restore”? Acts 3:21. If suffering and death have always been with us then what is there in creation’s past that can serve as a model for the promised corruption-free new creation? Corruption ultimately comes from Satan’s rebellion, not God’s loving design.

Adam’s Place in Creation

This issue of Adam’s place in the created order and of the consequence of his sin and rebellion is not a minor secondary issue. If the Genesis account is not true then the rest of the Bible has no meaning. That is what is at stake.

Listen to what Genesis 1:26-31says: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground — everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

In God’s order, man is a unique creation with a special place. David wrote: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.” Psalm 8:3-8.

But Adam sinned and fathered a race of sinners who needed a Redeemer. The whole meaning of Christ’s death is tied to Adam’s sin. Both Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 make it plain that Christ came as the “last Adam,” born into Adam’s race in order that in Him might be brought forth a new race, redeemed from sin and fitted for a brand new creation. Turn Adam into a myth, a nice religious story, and Christ’s death becomes pointless.

Some compromisers attempt to escape this conclusion by contending that Adam’s death was “spiritual,” that he would have died physically anyway since death was part of the created order. But listen to God’s pronouncement to Adam following his disobedience: “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:17-19.

Notice that the ground was cursed “because of you.” The natural world was affected by his disobedience. And especially notice the final part of the curse: “for dust you are and to dust you will return.” That sounds like physical death to me. If he only had to be redeemed from “spiritual” death then why did Jesus die a horrible physical death to make salvation possible? When Adam and Eve sinned, the process of physical death began even as they were immediately separated from God spiritually. Christ suffered an agonizing separation from His Father AND also died physically. He also rose physically, and reigns at the Father’s right hand until His promised return to finally and forever destroy the last enemy, death. 1 Corinthians 15:26.

If death is so regarded by God as an enemy, how is it that so many teach that his “very good” creation was designed to be “red in tooth and claw”? Once again, atheists understand this. That is why their efforts to undermine Genesis have been so relentless.

Atheist G. Richard Bozarth wrote, “Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to 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. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”

In attacking Genesis, Satan avoided a direct assault upon the cross. Such an attack would have resulted in a vigorous defense from Christians. Rather he cleverly attacked the record of the creation and fall, the historical foundation upon which the very need for the cross rests and his attack was, for the most part, ignored. Modern evolutionary science is nothing less than atheism with a lab coat for respectability.

Is God’s Word Reliable?

Another very foundational issue is that of the reliability of God’s Word. If we cannot trust the record of our beginnings then why trust any of the Bible?

Clearly there are portions of the Bible that are not to be taken “literally” in the strictest sense. In the scriptures we find poetry: Psalm 114:4 says, “the hills skipped like rams, and the hills like lambs.” Wouldn’t that be a sight! We find prophecy with symbolic language: Rev. 13:1 says, “...And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads....” We find parables: Matthew 13:3 says, “Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed.’”

Sometimes spiritual lessons are drawn from historical events: in Galatians 4:22-24, Paul makes note that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and one by the free woman. In verse 24 he tells us that “these things may be taken figuratively....” Paul certainly didn’t mean, as some claim, that the history didn’t happen, only that he saw a spiritual lesson in those historical events!

There are, of course, many other doctrinal passages, but the very backbone of the Bible is its history. It is set forth as a chronicle, in fact, of the redemptive history of mankind from the garden and the fall through the cross and the beginnings of the church. Those passages meant to be understood as poetry, prophecy, parable, allegory drawn from history, etc., are self-evident from the context in which they occur.

Genesis is History

Genesis 1-11 is clearly set forth as history. Any honest reader, considering only the text itself, would have to admit that it was written and meant to be understood that way. It is only the challenges of modern science that have caused people to back-pedal in their search for a way to harmonize the two. The style is a straightforward narrative, a recounting of events that actually happened. The style is no different from the narratives of the life of Moses, or David, or Jesus himself. Genesis may indeed not be a “science textbook” but it clearly is meant to be seen as simple history.

I am no Hebrew scholar—not at all—but those who are have demonstrated that the very construction of the creation account indicates a narrative. If I were to say to you, “Such and such happened and then this other thing happened and then something else happened and then another thing happened,” you would rightly understand that I was recounting events that had actually happened in the order in which they happened. The words, “and then,” make that clear. The Hebrew of the creation account has a similar construction.

And there is no need to reinterpret words like “was” and “day,” as some do, in order to bow down before the sacred cows of atheistic science. Those who do are elevating the ever-changing and unproven theories of science above the Word of God. Doing so has disastrous consequences. Some—I was one—may not turn away from truth over these issues but teach the compromises, wait a generation or two and see what happens. You’ll wonder why so many of your young people grow up, go off to college, and leave their “faith” behind. We cannot and must not compromise the Word of God, nor can we simply tell them to “shut up, believe, and don’t ask questions.”

Moses clearly believed that Genesis 1-11 was history. He was the one who, inspired by God, wrote it! He was the one who went up on the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments on stone tablets. One thing written on those tablets concerned the Sabbath and is recorded in Exodus 20:11. There we read, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” Now think for a moment just Who it was Who wrote that! It was written in stone with “the finger of God.” Exodus 31:18, Deut. 9:10. God Himself wrote it. He says He did it all in six days. Say different if you want to but I believe He is a reliable witness!

Earlier we quoted what David said in Psalm 8 about creation. There are many other Psalms in which God is clearly regarded as Creator in such a way that it is evident he saw the creation account as history. See Psalm 19:1, 74:16, 104:24, 136:9, 147:4, just to list a very few such references.

Beginning in Job 38 we find God addressing Job in no uncertain terms. And even though the language itself is poetic the underlying truth of creation shines through. He begins with a question in verse 4: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” This passage goes on and on describing God’s hand in the created order.

Real People?

Was Adam a real person? He is everywhere treated as such in the Bible. Besides the account of his life in Genesis he appears in the genealogies of mankind in 1 Chronicles 1:1 and Luke 3:38. Paul refers to him by name in Romans 5:14, 1 Corinthians 15:22 and 45, and also 1 Timothy 2:13-14. He also refers to Eve in the 1 Timothy scripture and in 2 Corinthians 11:3. Jude refers both to Adam and also to Enoch, the seventh from Adam, in Jude 1:14. Enoch is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:5. In every case Adam and the others are treated as real people.

Abel is referred to in Matthew 23:35 and Luke 11:51 (by Jesus), Hebrews 11:4, and Hebrews 12:24. Cain, who murdered his brother, Abel, is mentioned by name in Hebrews 11:4, 1 John 3:12, and Jude 1:11.

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