This article shows that we should read Genesis as Jesus read it—as historical fact.

Source: The Evangelical Presbyterian, 2013. 1 pages.

Jesus and Genesis

There is much disagreement among Christians regarding how the early chapters of Genesis should be understood. Liberal scholars usually denigrate them to nothing more than myth with some underlying truths that can only be guessed at. Evangelicals sometimes attempt to impose some kind of literary framework by which they hope to interpret them e.g. the Day-Age approach which views each of the creation days as an age of several million years with the "days" being only a literary device to facilitate the telling of the creation story. Usually they attempt to inculcate the theory of evolution into their millions of years. More recently some have tried to interpret these chapters in the light of a Cosmic Temple approach and view them as having very little to tell us about the origin of the world and its inhabitants. For example John Walton believes that Genesis 1 does not refer to material creation at all, but it is rather a functional account of the cosmos as a temple-palace. Others view these chapters as only being useful to answer the Why? – questions but having nothing to tell us about the How?

One of the most important rules of scriptural interpretation is that 'scripture is the best interpreter of scripture' and we should always accept the meaning given in another part of the Bible. In this regard we are grateful that Jesus often helps us to get a true and reliable perspective on how the early chapters of Genesis should be understood. The genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:38 traces his ancestry through his stepfather Joseph back to "Adam, the son of God". It follows closely the historical records in Genesis 5 and 1 Chron. 1-3. Jesus clearly believed in their historicity when in answer to a question about divorce he substantiates his views by quoting from Gen. 1:27 and 2:24. "But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female..." (Mk. 10:6-9). Both these quotes refer to God's work of creation of Adam and Eve and the establishment of the first family unit. Jesus treats them as being totally reliable and completely authoritative. This passage disproves the view currently popular with some 'evangelicals' that following several millions of years of evolutionary development of pre-Adamic man God chose two individuals, endowed them with spiritual qualities and called them Adam and Eve. This view is not compatible with the Genesis record and has no scriptural basis whatsoever. The subsequent history of the conjectured many thousands of the other pre-adamic and nearly human creatures who never achieved true human status has, as expected, also vanished without trace.

Jesus also referred to the historical fact of Abel's murder in Mt. 23:35 "all the righteous bloodshed on the earth from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah". He regarded Abel as the first person to die for the truth he believed in. He also accepted the historical reliability of Noah's flood Lk. 17:26, 27; Mt. 24:36-44 and equated it as being on the same scale as his own second coming in judgement i.e. being of worldwide significance. In Mt. 5:18 he stated his own position on the reliability of the writings of Moses and the prophets "For assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled". In Jn. 10:35 he reaffirmed that "scripture cannot be broken" and in so doing confirmed his belief in verbal inerrancy and the infallibility of the scriptural record which for him at that time was limited to the Old Testament.

Those who would attempt to cast doubt on the meaning of Genesis as a true and straightforward account of God's creation of the world and its inhabitants are obviously in disagreement with the views of Christ. If their interpretations are correct it follows that Jesus was in error. The reliability of the rest of the Bible must then immediately become suspect and Jesus is no longer a reliable guide to follow. Subsequently the edifice of biblical Christianity will inevitably collapse. Sadly many sections of the Christian church are heading in that direction just now. We must not follow them.

Add new comment

(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.