Debunking Lies About the Bible (Part 9): Two ‘Contradictory’ Creation Narratives
As mentioned earlier in Part 3 of this series, on April 13, 2012 in Seattle, syndicated sex advice columnist and perversity-pushing Dan Savage bullied a group of about 3,000 high school students at the JEA/NSPA National High School “Journalism on the Edge” Convention. This group of students became the unwitting victims of Savage’s profanity-packed outburst as he gave full-vent to his religious ridicule and rainbow rage. His blistering intolerance was again on full display for all to embarrassingly behold, but at least it helped reveal where the real hatred in the culture war is emanating from. As a result of this incident, Brian Brown, President and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) promptly challenged Dan Savage to a debate on the subjects of the Bible and homosexuality. The two mutually agreed to face off at Savage’s home on August 15, 2012 for what many have later referred to as the “Dinner Table Debate.”
During his opening statement at this meeting, Savage renewed his assault on the Bible right out of the gate. “I did say that there is bullsh*t in the Bible,” Savage admitted, “and for that I have not apologized and I will not apologize. Bullsh*t means untrue words or Ideas.”
Savage then proceeded to question several biblical passages that contained what he considered to be examples of contradictions. He began his attack upon the veracity of God’s Word with extended comments on the Genesis Creation account. Although I completely disagree with his assessment, Savage does, however, do an excellent overall job of encapsulating each of the basic arguments that are typically leveled against God’s metanarrative or overarching history of Creation. For this reason, his entire statement is included here, and its glaring lack of merit will thereafter be exposed. As Savage stated,
There are two, uh, you know, “In the beginning,” let’s begin with the beginning of the Bible. You get two conflicting and contradictory Creation narratives right off the bat. Chapter 1 of Genesis and Chapter 2 of Genesis — most biblical scholars believe are two different creation narratives that have just been piggybacked together or set side by side. Most people read them uncritically and don’t notice that everything’s created in a different order and for a different reason. At the end of the first Creation narrative in Genesis, God creates humankind, not Adam and Eve, but humanity itself created in our image, male and female He created them, plural. And then, Chapter 2 of Genesis, a couple of verses in, it all starts over again; we have another Creation narrative and everything is created for a different reason in different order. Man is created first and placed in what must have been a very depressing garden because God had not yet created plants. He places man in the garden and then creates plants.
And then, God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And His response to that dilemma for man is not to create woman, not yet; it is to create animals. And he brings the animals to Adam; he names them.
Adam has some agency and some choice here; he’s allowed to express a preference, and he rejects all of these animals as potential partners. So, God creates Eve.
And why does He create Eve? To create a co-parent for Adam? No! To create a partner for Adam because it is not good for man to be alone. The message of Eve before they get down to the being fruitful and multiplying is the original purpose of Eve is companionship—because it is not good for man to be alone.
The contradictions, and of course, both of these stories — Creation narratives — can’t be literally true. I think if you’re a Christian who believes the Bible is literally true — the inerrant Word of God. Here is God telling you in the first three pages that you can’t take these, what comes next, literally because there is a contradiction here and a massive one. That was my father’s interpretation of the first two books of Genesis, is God opens with a: here are two beautiful stories; you have to work out the meanings, obviously you can’t take the Bible literally, word for word.
Before we explore any of the purported contradictions, did you notice Dan Savage’s disgusting reference to bestiality? Savage takes outrageous liberties in his reiteration of the Genesis account, but he’s unfortunately not alone in this contemptible interpretation of Genesis. According to Savage, God is blasphemously and implausibly portrayed as the quintessential buffoon who appallingly presents the animals to Adam as possible mates. And Adam, who is depicted as somehow wiser than God, sets the Lord straight when he rejects the animals as “potential partners” — to use Savage’s disgusting words. Evidently, God has the omnipotence and omniscience to create the entire universe ex nihilo (out of nothing), but according to Savage, the dumbfounded Yahweh is dreadfully inept at comprehending the biological incompatibility of Adam and the animals. The Lord is apparently so confused that He doesn’t realize who or what would make the best possible helpmate for Adam. Therefore, in Savage’s demented little version of the origin of the universe/world, he fabricates his own fictitious, pro-deviancy “god,” who is incompetent and must rely upon Adam for guidance on all matters taxonomical. Such an understanding represents an extremely depraved interpretation of Genesis, and it also neglects to take into account the visibly observable fact that the animals would have already been created in pairs, each with their own corresponding mate — the perpetuation of all life on planet earth required such a thing to be so. Undoubtedly, Savage’s aberrant explanation tells us everything we need to know about his heinous hermeneutical approach to comprehending the Bible. And is there any doubt as to what is motivating such a ludicrous exposition? Savage is clearly attempting to rationalize his own personal, homosexual violation of the “Laws of nature and nature’s God.” If God has no problem with bestiality, then, as Savage insanely surmises, homosexuality should certainly be permissible as well.
None of Savage’s arguments are original to him – they have all been recycled over and over by many anti-Bible liberals countless times, but we will methodically tackle each of his inaccurate accusations. Every question about Genesis is undoubtedly not going to be answered – that’s not even possible. Nevertheless, we will arrive at a vastly superior understanding of the Creation account than what we see fallaciously articulated throughout Savage’s malicious mischaracterization.
In this column, however, there will be no investigation into the age of the universe or any discussion about whether or not the “day” (Hebrew: yom) of Genesis 1 denotes a literal 24-hour period of time. Those, and similar topics, are way beyond the envisioned scope of this article. Instead, the focus will be primarily limited to an examination of the alleged “conflicting” or “contradictory” elements of the Creation narratives found in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2. It will also be irrefutably demonstrated that both accounts can be easily harmonized. Before considering any of these claimed incompatibilities, the scientific foundation of Genesis will be decidedly established.
The Myth of a Conflict Between Science and Religion:
As a preliminary means of validating the reliability of Scripture, we will begin with a brief response to the trumped up charge that there exists an unresolvable rift between science and religion. There is no real conflict, as we shall soon see, between these two pillars of Western Civilization. One supposed cosmological inconsistency regards the existence of light (1:3-4) – and the statement that “there was evening, and there was morning” (1:5) – prior to the Sun having been created (1:14-19). Even without the Sun, there were still two early sources of light necessary for photosynthesis (vss. 11-12). First of all, prior to the coalescence of molecular clouds (composed primarily of hydrogen) into the thermonuclear fusion factories that power radiant energy generating stars, there was undifferentiated light produced by primordial radiation which was diffused throughout the vacuum of space via electromagnetic waves and/or elementary particles called photons that came into existence at the initial moment of the Creation event (“In the beginning God created the heavens … Let there be light” – vss. 1, 3).
Secondly, the glory of God himself was a divine source of light prior to the formation of the Sun. As a matter of fact, eschatologically speaking, the way that all things began is ultimately the way that everything will come to a climactic conclusion. At the consummation of all history as we know it, the space-time continuum will cease to exist, and the heavenly bodies will be terminated as a source of illumination. As the Bible enunciates, the heavenly “city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (Rev. 21:23). And Rev. 22:5 also states, “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” God and the Lamb will be our perfect and eternal radiant Ones. To paraphrase the Gloria Patri doxology, “As it was in the beginning so shall it ever be.”
There is another interesting fact of Creation that requires consideration. Like the Bible, cosmologists acknowledge that the universe requires a beginning from nothing. They wisely realize that this is the undeniable implication of all the known laws and theories of physics. However, in their futile attempts to explain away the universe’s need for God as the outside, initiating cause, many scientists have desperately proposed the quantum vacuum (also called a vacuum state) theory to explain creation out of nothing. The most recent and famous proponents of this theory are atheists Lawrence Krauss, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow. They have presented their faulty reasoning in two books: The Grand Design (Hawking, Mlodinow) and A Universe Out of Nothing (Krauss).
Their theory goes something like this: There is constant vacuum energy contained throughout empty space. When the vacuum’s positive energy (associated with matter) is symmetrically balanced with the vacuum’s negative energy (associated with gravity), some physicists will refer to this as a state of “nothingness.” Since the laws of relativistic quantum field theories require that the quantum vacuum be “naturally” unstable, the universe can therefore spontaneously spring into existence as the by-product of a disruption (quantum fluctuation) which upsets the balance of energy in the original vacuum state. Each fluctuation then causes the fields or energy to be organized into new arrangements that produce an observable, measurable particle(s).
As the above explanation illustrates, though, a quantum vacuum is obviously not really nothing in the classic sense of the word. First of all, it requires physical space, energy, fields, unpredictable fluctuations, and the established laws of quantum mechanics. Furthermore, space itself is not completely empty or a true void – it has definable properties (i.e.: three dimensions, time, pre-existent governing laws) and measurable features (i.e.: curvature, fields, waves, warps/ripples, dark energy, gravity, expansion rate). So, what Krauss, Hawking, and Mlodinow theoretically refer to as “nothing” is in reality not actually “no thing.”
In a scathing, but brilliant, book review of Krauss’ work (and by association anyone who holds to the same cosmological viewpoint), fellow atheist Dr. David Albert, professor of philosophy (specifically, a philosopher of science who is mostly concerned with issues related to the foundations of physics) at Columbia University and the author of Quantum Mechanics and Experience, thoroughly demolishes and dispenses with this nonsense theory. After questioning Krauss’ noticeably absent explanation for the pre-existence laws of quantum mechanics, Dr. Albert exposes the sleight-of-hand attempt to philosophically redefine a quantum vacuum as “nothing” for the absolute fraud that it is. The following selection from his NY Times critique is vintage material:
According to relativistic quantum field theories, particles are to be understood, rather, as specific arrangements of the fields. Certain arrangements of the fields, for instance, correspond to there being 14 particles in the universe, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being 276 particles, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being an infinite number of particles, and certain other arrangements correspond to there being no particles at all. And those last arrangements are referred to, in the jargon of quantum field theories, for obvious reasons, as “vacuum” states. Krauss seems to be thinking that these vacuum states amount to the relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical version of there not being any physical stuff at all. And he has an argument — or thinks he does — that the laws of relativistic quantum field theories entail that vacuum states are unstable. And that, in a nutshell, is the account he proposes of why there should be something rather than nothing.
But that’s just not right. Relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical vacuum states — no less than giraffes or refrigerators or solar systems — are particular arrangements of elementary physical stuff. The true relativistic-quantum-field-theoretical equivalent to there not being any physical stuff at all isn’t this or that particular arrangement of the fields — what it is (obviously, and ineluctably, and on the contrary) is the simple absence of the fields! The fact that some arrangements of fields happen to correspond to the existence of particles and some don’t is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that some of the possible arrangements of my fingers happen to correspond to the existence of a fist and some don’t. And the fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings — if you look at them aright — amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.
In other words, in hockey parlance, he (Krauss) shoots … he doesn’t score. Try as they may, there is no way to effectively eliminate the universe’s need for a timeless, spaceless, non-contingent, super intellect who powerfully caused the cosmos to spring into existence in an instant. Once again, the Bible withstands the scientific scrutiny and comes out smelling like a rose. God remains the only viable option for why there is something rather than nothing, and the very first pages of the Bible provide us with a historical, behind-the-scenes snapshot of the astounding, supernatural Creation event. Everything ultimately came from nothing by Someone.
The Examination of the Literary “Contradictions” of Genesis 1 and 2:
When we look more closely at the Genesis Creation narratives, we must first consider the fact that neither God, nor the inspired biblical author, would intentionally make contradictory statements in such close proximity to one another. In other words, it makes absolutely no sense to state one thing, and then to almost immediately afterwards say the exact opposite. No author with the discernible ability and literary artistry that it obviously took to compose a book the caliber of Genesis would ever be that foolish or forgetful to do such a thing. Some biblical scholars, instead, prefer to obstinately engage in wild speculation and unprovable theories. They claim that the two Genesis accounts were actually written separately, possibly by distinct authors at different times, and then redacted or edited together at some later date. That’s what Dan Savage was referring to when he stated that “biblical scholars believe [Genesis 1 and 2] are two different creation narratives that have just been piggybacked together or set side by side.” However, what follows represents a completely different viewpoint when it comes to harmonizing the alleged discrepancies of Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis.
False Claim Number One: A Different Order of Creation
Most importantly, it is critical to understand that Chapter 2 of Genesis has as its primary concentration the specifics of the Garden of Eden, and it also contains a few clarifying details on the finer points of Genesis 1. In his aforementioned quote, Dan Savage claimed that there are different orders of creation described in the first two chapters of Genesis. He asserts that Genesis 1 places the origin of plants and animals prior to humanity’s arrival on the scene, but then, Genesis 2 turns right around and contradicts that description by reversing the order. However, the idea that mankind was divinely fashioned at the beginning of Chapter 2 before the creation of the plants, trees and animals is actually an unwarranted, or at the very least a biblically unsupportable, assumption.
Genesis 2:5 does, in fact, state that “no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up.” However, during that exact same time period, we are also told that “there was no man to work the ground” (vs. 5). Then, prior to the creation of Adam, the Bible states that “streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground,” which would invariably trigger the growth of trees and vegetation. Sometime after this, without any reference to an exact interval of elapsed time, we are told that “God formed the man [Hebrew: ‘adam] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (vs. 7). So, the assumption that Adam’s creation, as described in Genesis 2, preceded that of the vegetation is not a conclusion which can literally be drawn from the text.
All of the additional references to the “garden” (2:8) and “trees” (2:9) are specifically restricted to a particular location, the Garden of Eden. Therefore, Genesis 1 describes the overarching inauguration of all plant species upon the general surface of the earth. Genesis 2:8-17, on the other hand, refers to a very limited locale. The cultivation of the Garden of Eden was God’s landscaping project for the development of a dwelling place for humanity’s first family. To illustrate, when my wife and I purchased the only home we’ve ever owned in 2007, there were no trees located anywhere on our property. Trees obviously existed elsewhere, but my newly acquired 1/3 of an acre required a considerable amount of landscaping work, including the introduction of several plants, shrubs and trees. Genesis 2:8-10 describes a very similar kind of situation. Trees already existed on the earth (before the creation of Adam) (Gen. 1:11-12), but as for the Garden of Eden, there were no trees until sometime later. To begin with, God planted the garden in vs. 8, and He shortly thereafter placed Adam in his new home in vs. 15. Immediately upon entering the garden, Adam was assigned to be the world’s first horticulturalist (vv. 15-17), a task that would make no sense at all if plants and trees did not already exist. Therefore, there is no actual discrepancy; each of the first two chapters of Genesis contain a unique description of dual locations – the earth in general (Gen. 1) and the more particular Garden of Eden (Gen. 2).
As S. Michael Houdmann, the Founder, President, and CEO of Got Questions Ministries, eruditely explains,
The Hebrew words for “vegetation” are different in the two passages. Genesis 1:11 uses a term that refers to vegetation in general. Genesis 2:5 uses a more specific term that refers to vegetation that requires agriculture, i.e., a person to tend it, a gardener. The passages do not contradict. Genesis 1:11 speaks of God creating vegetation, and Genesis 2:5 speaks of God not causing “farmable” vegetation to grow until after He created man.
Despite much wild-eyed conjecture to the contrary, all the beasts of the earth and sky were not created after mankind in Genesis 2. In verse 19 of Chapter 2, the following is written: “Now the Lord God had formed (Hebrew: yatsar) out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all of the birds of the air.” This verse is not meant to be a statement indicating that the land animals and fowl were created at that exact moment. In fact, this citation is written in such a way as to indicate a past event (“had created”) (Gen. 1:20-25), which preceded Adam’s formal naming of “each living creature” (vss. 19-20). The animals were already created, and verse 19 merely provides the introductory, clarifying background information that is helpful to understanding what follows next. Reputable biblical scholars and other trusted sources concur with this particular translation of yatsar. H.C. Leopold (Exposition of Genesis, 1942, pg. 130), Hebrew scholar Victor Hamilton (The Book of Gensis, 1990, pg. 176), Old Testament commentators Karl Fredreich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, and the translators for both Zondervan and Tyndale House Publishers are all in complete agreement that “had formed” is the superior rendering in this instance. The verb in this text (yatsar) is best understood as being in the pluperfect tense (also called past perfect) which is utilized when recounting past events. Those who deny this fact must do so out of either ignorance or due to an inherent bias towards making the two chapters contradict with one another, not because the language of the passage warrants such.
Furthermore, the exact same Hebrew word was also used of Adam in Gen. 2:8 where it states: “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed (yatsar).” This verse is obviously not describing the creation of Adam at that precise moment. Once again, it is a statement alluding to an event that had already occurred in the past (Gen. 1:27-28). A simple reconciliation of these various passages goes something like this: On the sixth day, God created the animals (Gen. 1:24-25), then created man/Adam (Gen. 1:27-28), and finally brought the animals to the man, allowing him to name them (Gen. 2:19-20). This is a common literary device whereby the author deliberately — for dramatic effect or clarity purposes — takes the reader from the general to the more specific.
Before proceeding to the next point, it is also interesting to note that the Bible stipulates that all living creatures (humans and animals) were formed from the ground or soil of the earth. As Fox News recently reported (Nov. 2013),
A new study suggests clay may have been the birthplace of life on Earth. Cornell University researchers found that clay may have served as the first breeding ground for the complex biochemicals that make life possible, a finding that may reverberate with anyone familiar with the biblical creation story. ‘We propose that in early geological history, clay hydrogel provided a confinement function for biomolecules and biochemical reactions,’ said Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering and a member of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science, according to Science Daily.
The expression “confinement function” is reminiscent of the Hebrew word translated as “formed” (yatsar), which literally means to “squeeze (or contain/confine) into shape.” Good Bible interpretation and good science will never contradict, but will only serve to confirm one another.
False Claim Number Two: Different Details of Creation
At the end of Genesis 1, Dan Savage states that God created “humankind, not Adam and Eve.” That’s not exactly accurate. Dan is once again guilty of playing fast and loose with the facts. Although it is true that the name Eve is not specifically mentioned until Genesis 3:20, the perceptive Bible reader should be able to notice that immediately after the statement that “God created man in his own image,” we also find the phrase: “male and female he created them” (vs. 27). This is not to be confused as some sort of reference to the simultaneous creation of Adam and Eve because Genesis 2 makes it abundantly clear that was not the case. However, we do have an early, general reference to the creation of Eve in the very first chapter of Genesis.
In actuality, there is no real contradiction here at all. Genesis 2 actually picks up right where Genesis 1 concluded. Genesis 2:7, 18, and 20b-25 are merely providing us with more precise details regarding the earlier generalities of Genesis 1:26-27. So, what at first glance may appear to be contradictory is actually complementary, which is a fundamental principle found all throughout the Bible. Basically, Genesis 1 provides a big picture, general overview of the sequence of creation (the “bullet points” of the origin of the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them), but Genesis 2 elaborates on the finer, more specific aspects of God’s amazing establishment of the world in which we live. It is only by comprehensively surveying all of the scriptural information together that the student of the Bible can ever hope to comprehend and appreciate the timeless truths that the Word of God is attempting to communicate. Genesis 1 and 2 represent the panoramic macro-view and the localized micro-view, respectively. The author basically begins with a simple synopsis of Creation and then follows that with a more detailed commentary on the introductory events of primordial history.
Norman Geisler, author and professor of theology, philosophy, and apologetics at various colleges and seminaries, and his co-author Thomas Howe, Professor of Bible and Biblical Languages at Southern Evangelical Seminary, provide the following helpful chart in their highly recommended volume The Big Book of Bible Difficulties (formerly titled: When Critics Ask):
GENESIS 1 GENESIS 2
Chronological Order Topical Order
Creating Animals Naming Animals
In his respected book Ancient Orient and Old Testament, author and scholar Dr. Kenneth Kitchen explains:
Genesis 1 mentions the creation of man as the last of a series, and without any details, whereas in Genesis 2 man is the center of interest and more specific details are given about him and his setting. Failure to recognize the complementary nature of the subject-distinction between a skeleton outline of all creation on the one hand, and the concentration in detail on man and his immediate environment on the other, borders on obscurantism (1966, p. 117).
Many Bible critics have also tried to make a lot of hyperbolic hay out of the different names for God that are utilized in the first two chapters of Genesis. A brief quote from Hank Hanegraaff, President of the Christian Research Institute and host the acclaimed Bible Answer Man radio program, will quickly dispense with such absurd claims:
As Hebrew students will immediately recognize the author of Genesis uses Elohim to identify God in both chapter one and chapter two. The only notable difference is that in chapter two the author adds Lord or Yahweh to Elohim. It is hardly a stretch to suppose that a single author would underscore the power of God in creation in chapter one and then emphasize that God in creation is likewise God in relationship with respect to humankind in chapter two. (emphasis original)
False Claim Number Three: Different Reasons/Purposes of Creation
Dan Savage asked the question, “Why does He [God] create Eve? To create a co-parent for Adam? No! To create a partner for Adam because it is not good for man to be alone. The message of Eve before they get down to the being fruitful and multiplying is the original purpose of Eve is companionship—because it is not good for man to be alone.” This is where it is quite easy to discern the manner by which Savage’s blatant bias is driving his interpretive method. He is clearly predisposed to favor his non-reproductive homosexual lifestyle. Yet, once again, Savage is certifiably in error.
After creating the first “male and female” residents of planet earth (vs. 27), they are immediately commanded to “be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth” (vs. 28). Eve is not referred to as a “suitable helper” or partner for Adam until Gen. 2:18, 20. Nevertheless, this is another clear case of creating a false distinction without an essential difference. There is actually no need to manufacture a baseless either/or proposition, despite Savage’s insistence to the contrary. Eve’s role is to function as both co-parent and a suitable partner/companion. It is completely groundless to prioritize one role or purpose over the other; therefore, one would be completely justified in referring to Eve as Adam’s “helpmate,” a term which clearly incorporates both capacities. Moreover, the Hebrew word translated as “helper” (`ezer) is not intended to imply a woman’s inferior status. In fact, the exact same term is also interestingly applied to God Himself in numerous biblical passages, including the following: “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help (`ezer) and our shield” (Ps. 33:20). The designation of a woman as man’s helper (`ezer) is therefore quite a profound compliment and an amazing godly comparison.
The Literal Interpretation of Genesis:
As stated in Part 6 of this Debunking Series, unless the literary genre is figurative in nature (parabolic, prophetic, poetic, etc.), the traditional, evangelical approach to biblical interpretation is best characterized as the literalistic plain reading of Scripture, in which the serious Bible student endeavors to discover the originally intended, factual meaning(s) of the author(s). Although Genesis does contain its share of poetic elements, that does not preclude reading the general prose of its narrative account in a more literal fashion.
Author and apologist Hank Hanegraaf underscores our essential interpretive foundations:
While Bible-believing Christians may disagree on how to interpret Genesis 1 and 2, they all hold to the following three essentials.
First, they believe the Bible, including Genesis, to be the infallible repository of redemptive revelation. They may differ on interpretation but never on inspiration.
Furthermore, they are committed to the truth that God created the universe out of nothing at all (creatio ex nihilo). Moreover, they hold to horizontal changes within living kinds (microevolution, as when bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics), but never vertical changes from one kind to another kind (macroevolution).
Finally, they hold Adam and Eve to be special creations made in the image of God rather than fictional exemplars of primitive humanity. As such, they deny naturalistic paradigms—including a version of theistic evolution in which God is said to have employed purely natural processes to produce the first humans.
Dan Savage declares that: “Here is God telling you in the first three pages [of Genesis] that you can’t take these, what comes next, literally because there is a contradiction here and a massive one.” However, as has been incontrovertibly demonstrated above, Savage’s claim doesn’t hold any water. All of the so-called conflicting components of Genesis 1 and 2 can be easily reconciled through a more careful examination of the specific details of both chapters. It is also necessary to view each chapter with an understanding of the general and the specific, the universal and the local. The reader of the Bible must also be aware of their personal biases and any preconceived notions that may negatively and inaccurately influence the interpretation of the text. That is especially true for someone like Dan Savage who has a vested interest in proving the Bible wrong as a means of validating his sinful lifestyle. Therefore, we must all avoid the ever-present temptation to find what we want to find in the Bible, and instead sincerely follow the facts wherever they may lead.
Finally, Savage states, “That was my father’s interpretation of the first two books of Genesis, is God opens with a: here are two beautiful stories; you have to work out the meanings, obviously you can’t take the Bible literally, word for word.” This quotation should stand as a stern warning to all parents, who most certainly have the ability to influence their children for good or for evil. When we instruct our children in a way that undermines the authority of the Bible, we should not be surprised when unhealthy and sinful consequences follow. While our children will each eventually make their own decisions, it is nevertheless true that parents are given the daunting responsibility of laying a solid foundation for the next generation; and bad theology inevitably leads to bad behavior. Orthopraxy demands orthodoxy.
The most important thing to remember is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ confirmed the Creation account as outlined in the Old Testament. On numerous occasions, Jesus also made crucial proclamations that affirmed pivotal details regarding the historicity of the entire Genesis narrative. For instance, Jesus mentioned the Creation of Adam and Eve (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:5-7), the institution of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27), the martyrdom of Abel (Matt. 23:35), and the Flood in the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37-39). Likewise, many of the New Testament authors also provided confirmation of the fact that the book of Genesis presents an accurate chronicling of bona fide ancient events. These writers made bold attestations to the truth of Creation (John 1:1-2; Rom. 1:20; 2 Pet. 3:4; Heb. 1:10), Adam and Eve (Luke 3:38; Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:22, 45; 1 Tim. 2:13; Jude 1:4), the Fall (Rom. 8:20-22; 1 Tim. 2:14) Cain and Abel (Heb. 11:4, 12:24), and Noah (Luke 3:36; Heb. 11:7; 1 Pet. 3:20; 2 Pet. 2:5). So, we have a very clear and distinct choice to make. We can either believe the words of the Lord Jesus Christ who died, rose again, and offers to transform lives for eternity or we can believe the malicious lies of a foul-mouthed, hedonistic man like Dan Savage. As a person considers such a critical, life-altering decision, they need to also remember this: The message of the Bible was irrevocably sealed with the blood of Jesus and his first disciples. They were martyred for the truth, and we do them and our posterity a grave disservice when we fail to boldly uphold the Bible as God’s infallible Word.
For me, the choice is easy – I take Jesus! And as a result, I also accept the Genesis Creation account to be God’s declaration of true historical facts, absent any actual contradictions. Adam and Eve were created by God and fell into sin; thus, necessitating the redemptive work of Christ — our “second Adam” (Rom. 5:12-21) who likewise faced his own tree, the cross. But unlike the first Adam, Jesus overcame the brutality of crucifixion and purchased our pardon as a result. For those who reject the beginning of the Bible, the concept of redemption for fallen humanity loses its meaning. It would be wise to avoid this perilous, but popular, pitfall.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1)
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