"To testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24
**PUBLISHED AS A MISSION PROJECT OF PILGRIMS HOPE BAPTIST CHURCH**
Vol. XIII, No. 3 March 1, 1997
IMPLICATIONS AND RAMIFICATIONS OF THE DENIAL OF THE FACTUALNESS OF THE FIRST ELEVEN CHAPTERS OF GENESIS
By Wayne Camp
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I believe the Bible. I believe all the Bible. I believe the Bible to be historically correct. I believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis to be historically correct. But, it is not uncommon to read where someone who professes to be a Christian denies that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are authentic, true, and factual. They are classified by many as mere poetry. A few years ago there was quite a battle in the Southern Baptist Convention over the first edition of the Broadman Commentary which advocated this infidelic theory. The delegates to the annual convention voted to withdraw the commentary. It was withdrawn from sale in the USA but the last I heard, the board of the SBC that published the commentary quietly shipped the books to Australia and other more liberal countries and sold it there in defiance of the vote of the delegates.
Hugh Ross, former Minister of Evangelism at the Sierra Madre Congregational Church who is a professing Christian currently in full-time, non-denominational ministry has written two books in which he has taken a similar position. The books, The Fingerprint of God (1089) and Creation and Time (1994), set forth many things that are contrary to the Bible. Dr. Ross teaches that the universe is 17 billion years old, give or take 3 billion and that it began with a God-caused "big bang".
In contradiction to the Biblical account of creation, Ross teaches that the sun, moon, and stars were created even before the first "day" of the creation, rather than on the fourth day as Scripture teaches. Of course, to Dr. Ross, the days of Genesis one were not 24 hour days but were long periods of history which covered approximately 4.6 billion years (See: The Fingerprint of God, 1st Edition, 1989, Pp. 146-155). In Genesis 1: A Scientific Perspective, Revised Edition, 1983, P. 11, Ross wrote, "Based on scientific dating records, each of God's creation days is several million years long."
Ross also teaches that death was created by God as a basic part of earthly existence and did not come with the fall of Adam. According to him, death existed billions of years before Adam ever sinned. He claims rain had occurred for billions of years before the flood. In direct contradiction to the ages given in Scripture, Ross claims that men were dying at young ages before the flood because 19 out of 20 died by murder. God lied when he said that men like Methuselah lived over 900 years before the flood. He also teaches that the flood was merely local and that most of the animals were not even affected by the flood, only those in Mesopotamia. God teaches otherwise. Genesis 7:19-23 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. 23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.
Many more things could be said of Dr. Ross' flagrant contradictions to the teachings of Scripture. It might interest the reader to know that Ross has strong support for his books and teaching from Dr. James Dobson. On April 17-18, 1991, it is reported by some who follow Dobson's broadcasts, "Dobson boasted that Focus on the Family helped give Ross' ministry ("Reasons to Believe") the initial publicity boost it needed to get started." On that program Dobson is reported to have said that he agrees "in an unqualified way" that the earth is billions of years old and did not disagree with Ross' claim death existed on the earth long before Adam and the fall.
When men who claim to be men of God take such a fatal step as denying the reliability or credibility of any portion of Scripture they are headed for serious problems. In The Down Grade, C. H. Spurgeon wrote,
The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of Gods Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. "To the law and to the testimony," is his appeal concerning every doctrine. He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him.
In looking carefully over the history of the times, and the movement of the times, of which we have written briefly, this fact is apparent: that where ministers and Christian churches have held fast to the truth that the Holy Scriptures have been given by God as an authoritative and infallible rule of faith and practice, they have never wandered very seriously out of the right way. But when, on the other hand, reason has been exalted above revelation, and made the exponent of revelation, all kinds of errors and mischiefs have been the result (The Sword and Trowel, 1887)
In the light of the widespread acceptance of the heretical teaching, that the first eleven chapters of God's word are not "necessarily factual history," I have begun a study of the many Implications and ramifications of this idea. Parts of this study will be published in this paper. In this first article, I want to simply look at the very first verse of Genesis.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
GENESIS 1:1 AND JOHN 1:1-3
I immediately think of the biblical argument that Christ was involved in this creation. John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. If one cannot depend on Genesis 1:1 as being factual, authentic, and true, what will you do with this passage. If Genesis 1:1 is not factual history there is no way one could believe John 1:1-3 to be factual history as it involves the first verse of the Bible. The eternal Word, God the Son, was in the beginning that is mentioned in Genesis 1:1. The creation that is said to take place in the beginning there is said to have been accomplished by the Word which was with God in the beginning. The doctrines of the trinity and of the deity of Jesus Christ are both involved in these two passages when you harmonize them. If you reject Genesis 1:1 as factual history, it seems to me you must reject John 1:1-3 as factual history.
God was not in the beginning. God did not create the heaven and the earth in the beginning. The Word, who was later made flesh, was not in the beginning with God. The Word did not create in the beginning. All things were not made by him and for him. These first three verses of John lay the foundation upon which the thesis of the entire book is developed. The theme of John is principally that Jesus Christ, the eternal Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us is the Son of God and God the Son, the eternal creator of the universe. Reject Genesis 1:1 as authentic history and you must, to be consistent, question the authenticity of the first three verses of John. Perhaps that is mere poetry, also. And, if the first three verses are mere poetry, can the rest of the book be authentic?
GENESIS 1:1 AND EXODUS 20:11
And what of the book of Exodus. Is it authentic history, factual and true history? Or is it poetry, also. After all, it does record something as factual that is from Geneses, chapter one. Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Incidentally, Hugh Ross whom I mentioned above, believes we are still in the seventh day of Genesis, chapter one.
GENESIS 1:1 AND HEBREWS 1:10
There is also a verse in Hebrews that must be called into question if one questions the authenticity of Genesis 1:1. Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands. Again, consistency demands that I reject this verse as authentic history if I reject the first eleven chapters of God's Bible as authentic history. This verse is also an affirmation of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It credits him with laying the foundation of the earth. It is his hands that made the heavens and the earth, not some big bang which he merely caused. Reject the first verse of the Bible as true, authentic, factual history and you must reject Hebrews 1:10 as true, authentic, factual history for it records the same thing. And, since John 1:1-3 and Hebrews 1:10 set forth the deity of Jesus Christ by crediting him with that creation recorded in first verse of the Bible, the deity of Christ must be questioned by those who question the authenticity of that very first and foundational verse of God's holy, infallible word.
Since Hebrews 1:10 is a quoted from the Psalms, the argument that the first verse of the Bible is not authentic and factual history, calls into question the authenticity of the Psalms. Psalm 102:25 Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. Is that authentic history? But, you say, "The Psalms are poetry." True, but they are also authentic history. For those who believe in the authenticity of the event recorded in the first verse of the Bible, there is no problem with this verse and others like it that are found in the Psalms. But, reject the first verse of the Bible as authentic, factual history and you must reject this verse as authentic, factual history.
GENESIS 1:1 AND PROVERBS 8:29-30
Solomon personifies wisdom as the Lord Jesus Christ. In the passage in which he does that, these words are found. Proverbs 8:29-30 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. This verse perfectly harmonizes with the others I have already mentioned. Their authenticity rests solidly on the authenticity of Genesis 1:1. If it is mere poetry and not factual history, they must be dismissed as the same for they repeat, with various amplifications, what is said in that very first verse of the Bible. Reject it as factual history and these must be rejected as factual history.
GENESIS 1:1 AND ISAIAH
The ramifications of this rejection of Genesis 1:1 also reach to the prophecy of Isaiah. Consider this verse. Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. The same Spirit who inspired Moses to write the first verse of the Bible inspired Isaiah to record the same event. If one rejects Genesis 1:1 as mere poetry, and not factual, true, authentic history, he must also reject this verse in Isaiah. If Genesis 1:1 is only poetry, not factual history, perhaps that is true of the book of Isaiah, at least this verse and others where Isaiah mentions the creation. Isaiah 48:13 Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. Isaiah 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.
GENESIS 1:1 AND JEREMIAH
The tentacles of this heresy extend themselves to other books also. Jeremiah 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion. Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. It seems rather obvious that Jeremiah had not the slightest hesitation to make reference the Genesis 1:1 as if he considered it authentic, true, factual history.
GENESIS 1:1 AND ZECHARIAH
Zechariah was a prophet of God. Or, was he a mere poet also who was not writing authentic, factual things. He too proclaims the truth of the first verse of God's word when he uses the creation as a ground of praise of God. Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. One of two things is evident from this verse. Either Zechariah believed the first verse of the Bible recorded an authentic historical fact, or he too was simply writing poetry and was not concerned with authentic, true, factual history. If his declaration be true, authentic history, then Genesis 1:1 must be likewise. If that first verse is not true, authentic, and factual history, neither is this verse. If I can't depend on this verse from the pen of Zechariah, can I believe anything else he wrote?
GENESIS 1:1 AND THE APOSTLE PAUL
Paul was apparently convinced that the first eleven chapters, including the verse we are discussing, were authentic, true and factual history. Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. Again, the deity of Jesus Christ is advanced on the grounds that he created all things. But, if Genesis 1:1 is mere poetry and not true and authentic history, must we not also dismiss this verse as the same? Paul also alludes to the authenticity of the first verse of the Bible in his letter to the Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. And what of this statement? Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ. There is another verse in the letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. Hebrews 3:4 For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
JESUS AND GENESIS 1:1
Jesus refers to this beginning that is mentioned in Genesis 1:1. Matthew 19:8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. Mark 10:6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. It appears that Jesus was looking at the account of the creation, first set forth in the first verse of the Bible and enlarged upon in the early chapters of Genesis, as authentic history and establishes other truth on the authenticity of those first two or three chapters. The problem one faces is this: If the first eleven chapters of Genesis is not factual history, can one trust these words of Jesus to be factual history? In fact, if the words of the first verse of the Bible are not factual history, one must dismiss the words of Jesus as mere poetry for it contains statements based on poetry, not factual history.
JAMES AND GENESIS 1:1
What of the words of James recorded by Dr. Luke? Can they be depended on since they are based on the idea that this beginning recorded in Genesis really did occur? Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
The poor Apostle whose name was Peter was also involved in this matter. He apparently believed the creation, as recorded in Genesis, was true, authentic and factual history. 2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. Was Peter also a poet who was not concerned with true, authentic, factual history? Must this verse be dismissed as mere poetic expression? Must the rest of his writing also be considered that way?
What of the book of Romans? Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.
We must bring the Apostle John into this matter again. Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
I have shown from one single verse, the many dangerous implications and ramifications of the infidelic notion that the first eleven chapters of Genesis are not true, authentic, factual history. Since God only and always declares truth, one will eventually dismiss those same chapters as spurious and not the word of God. It would be serious enough if this heresy could be confined to the first eleven chapters. The examination of the very first verse shows the error cannot be confined to those chapters but reaches it pernicious tentacles into the entirety of the Word of God, even bringing into question the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. If I cannot believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis as an authentic, factual, true history of the events recorded there, I cannot accept the rest of the Bible for its writers clearly perpetuate this spurious history begun in the first verse of the Bible. I cannot trust Jesus Christ for he is a party to the perpetuation of this poetic lie, this spurious history.
I also must question the deity of Jesus Christ for the creation by him and for him is repeatedly given as proof of his deity. If the creation account of the first verse and first two or three chapters of Genesis did not occur as recorded what ground does it give me for believing in the God-hood of Jesus Christ. Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Deny or pervert his account of the creation and it undermines the doctrine of his deity.
Commenting on Genesis 1:1, A. W. Pink wrote, ". . . suffficient is expressed in this one brief sentence to expose every fallacy which man has invented concerning Deity. This opening sentence of the Bible repudiates atheism, for it postulates the existence of God. It refutes materialism, for it distinguishes between God and His material creation. It abolishes pantheism, for it predicates that which necessitates a personal God . . . 'In the beginning God.' This is the foundation truth of all real theology." (Gleanings in Genesis, Pp. 9-10).
The very essence of God pleasing faith is grounded in a firm conviction that what is recorded in Genesis 1:1 and such is affirmed by Paul. Hebrews 11:3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. When one begins to doubt the authenticity of the Genesis account of creation as declared in the first verse of God's holy word, he has laid the ax to the root of his faith, if he has any. John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. One who is of God does not doubt the words of God. He does not try to make them conform to so-called "scientific discoveries." You do not have to prove to him the authenticity of Scripture by the findings of archeologists. Simple, God-given faith is enough for one who is of God. If one sets aside the history of the word of God; it will not be long before he sets aside the promises of God. If ones sets aside the history of Genesis, he will soon set aside the prophecies of Isaiah. If one besmirches the historical record of Genesis, he will soon besmirch the historical record of Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-3).
Trust no man with your theology who doubts any portion of the word of God to be authentic. Trust no man with the gospel who casts a shadow of doubt over any portion of God's holy and pure word. Trust no man with the message of salvation who questions the message of creation. Trust no man with your emotions who casts questions about your origin. Trust no man with your family who questions the origin of your family.
The way to tell if one is truly of God is not by some good he may do. The way to tell if one is of God is to note how he handles and hears the word of God. 1 John 4:6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. Those who do not hear, and those who deny any portion of the word of God to be true, speak and write by the spirit of error. They should be avoided at all costs.
I shall close with these solemn and truthful words from Charles Spurgeon which I used in the last issue,
"If we doubt God's Word about one thing, we shall have small confidence in it upon another thing. Since faith in God must treat all God's Word alike; for the faith which accepts one word of God, and rejects another, is evidently not faith in God, but faith in our own judgment, faith in our own taste" (Quoted by A. W. Pink). Spurgeon also said, ". . . the act of disbelieving God about one point will drive you to disbelieve Him upon the other parts of revealed truth, and you will never come to that true, childlike faith which God will accept and honor." Again he said, "If I did not believe in the infallibility of the Book, I would rather be without it. If I am to judge the Book, it is no judge of me. If I am to sift it, like the heap on the threshing-floor, and lay this aside and only accept that, according to my own judgment, then I have no guidance whatever, unless I have conceit enough to trust to my own heart" (MTP, Vol. 35, P. 257).
Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
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