I have no gospel unless Genesis is history

The other day I came across an article titled: “6 Reasons Christians Should Embrace 6-Day Creation”. I shared it on my own Facebook page without fully digesting the arguments and deciding whether or not I agreed. What followed was a lively debate, sometimes regurgitating well rehearsed arguments, often with a modern slant. About the article, I was struck by the final paragraph: “In closing, it is my strongest conviction as a Christian that 6-day creation is the only longterm viable option for Christian theology. As D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “I have no gospel unless Genesis is history”” and agree with the final statement.

It got me thinking on my own position when it comes to how the world came into being and how we view the account given of creation found in the first book of the Bible. I agree with the illustrious doctor because many of the great doctrines of the Bible: creation, man, sin, salvation, marriage, gender etc. find their origins in those early chapters of Genesis, the very ones that are disputed as being inconsistent with science. For me it is never a question of either science or religion but rather truth, whether scientific or religious. If we are to consign Genesis as a work of fiction or at best mere allegory, this will question those very doctrines that I believe to be axiomatic and fundamental to authentic Christian belief.

I suppose, while the term “fundamentalist” is used in pejorative sense, even among many Christians, my own background and associations have tended to be more with those of a fundamentalist leaning ilk as opposed to liberal one. One example is to do with Bible interpretation and whether books like Genesis should be taken on face value. I realize at this point we could go off on many tangents e.g. the credibility of a less than 10000 year old earth formed in 6 24 hour days, a talking snake, and two trees of special significance etc., and have spent many hours debating this in the past, often recognizing with the benefit of hindsight my own ignorance and areas of indoctrination. Yet these things matter immensely.

For one thing, in our public schools, evolution is generally taken for granted, and if Bible creation is spoken off it is usually regarded as myth. Given whether we are a product of blind chance or intelligent design is a question of utmost importance, as is if there is a way of reconciling the current consensus of the scientific community with the Genesis account. It is regrettable at this stage in history the former notion carries sway to the extent the latter is dismissed. I confess when it comes to evolution, I know too little to argue (I do not even have a Biology O’Level), other than state my belief even with advances in areas like DNA research we have yet to prove a higher species i.e. man has evolved from a lower one.

I am on firmer ground though with physical science. I have a degree in it and when it comes to concepts like relativity and quantum mechanics I am not completely lost, and get why scientists may argue for an older universe. It is a question that has divided distinguished theologians and men of God down the ages. I recall when I studied nineteenth century church history and discovered to my astonishment that three of my sainted heroes: J.N.Darby, E.B.Pusey and Thomas Chalmers, all subscribed to the gap theory: arguing that there was a period of millions of years between Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” and Genesis 1:2 “Now the earth was formless and empty”.

I realize that a true fundamentalist will likely literally subscribe to every word of the Genesis creation account, realizing it needs to be taken on face value, and because I can’t do this I can’t claim to be one. Even so, my interest is seeking the truth. While I can allow for a degree of imagery in the creation account, I believe creation was a deliberate act by the creator God (Hebrew – Elohim) and that Adam and Eve were the crowning glory of all the good that He created. This was later marred by sin and disobedience, yet with the hope of redemption. I will continue to keep an open mind on questions like whether evolution had some part to play and the age of the universe, literal interpretations etc., while recognizing what God created was good and what is recorded in Genesis 1-11 is not only true but possibly the most important section of the entire Bible.

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