Skip to main content

Evaluating Truth Claims in Genesis

Some people try to dismiss Genesis as myth containing spiritual truth using elements from the pagan neighbors of the Hebrews. Others say it is misunderstood, as if the Creator of the universe was unable to communicate with us. With closer inspection, we see that Genesis is a historical narrative.

Regarding Genesis 1-3, some people say there was a communication problem between God and us, or that it was myth. A closer look reveals the truth.
Credit: RGBStock / Billy Frank Alexander
The idea that the early chapters of Genesis are mythological should not be accepted by professing Christians, as there are serious problems that result. (One of these is that Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others referred to these chapters as literal history, so by denying this, one is calling them liars!) Also, there are repercussions with the gospel message.

Read some classical mythology, then come back to Genesis and see the difference. Myths are vague and have a different flow, but the Bible is precise. Indeed, even the sequence of creation days is specific — a day itself is defined. Interestingly, many translations have in Genesis 1:5 less accurate by using, "...the first day". The New American Standard, Revised Standard Version, Christian Standard Bible, International Standard Version, and several others have this detail correct.

In The Genesis Account, Dr. Jonathan Sarfati wrote:

The days of Genesis 1 have an interesting pattern in the Hebrew, which is not often reflected in English translations. The first day has a cardinal number (i.e. one, two, three …), yôm echad (יום אחד) Day One. The others have ordinal numbers, which are used to refer, for example, to the order of runners finishing a race (second, third, fourth … ). But in Genesis 1:5, the ordinal ‘first day’ (which would be yôm ri’shôn יום ראשון) is not used.

Also, days 2–5 lack an article (ה, ha, ‘the’) while days 6–7 have one on the number but not on the day. So a literal translation of Creation Week would be Day One; a second day; a third day; a fourth day; a fifth day; a day, the sixth; a day, the seventh. One English translation which correctly reflects the presence or absence of the articles is the NASB. For example, for Genesis 1:5, the ESV’s “the first day” doesn’t reflect the Hebrew as well as the NASB’s “one day”. The LXX also reflects the Hebrew article pattern, except for lacking an article on the sixth day.1

I took the liberty of stressing a couple of points that are not emphasized in the article linked below, which is less technical on Hebrew. The main point is that the early chapters of Genesis are written as historical narrative, and God knows how to communicate.
Many Christian scholars have suggested that Genesis 1–3 was never meant to convey historical truth. Instead, they say it is like one of Christ’s New Testament parables. God merely shared a made-up story to convey spiritual truths. Does the Bible give us any clear guidance to know for certain whether Genesis 1–3 is a parable?

After all, as Christians, we believe that there is only one particular way to understand the Bible. The Bible is God’s Word, His perfect and personal communication to His people for all time (2 Timothy 3:16). Accordingly, we cannot carelessly read the Scripture any way we want. To rightly understand His Word pleases Him (2 Timothy 2:15), but to twist the Scriptures offends Him and can lead to destruction (2 Peter 3:16). God has placed a premium on grasping what He really said.

To read the rest or listen to the audio by an excellent reader, follow "Genesis—The Original Myth Buster".

1Sarfati, Dr. Jonathan D., The Genesis Account: A theological, historical, and scientific commentary on Genesis 1-11. MOBI edition, Creation Book Publishers, October 2015. The Hebrew may differ slightly from this book, as it would not copy well and I had to obtain it elsewhere on the web.

Popular posts from this blog

Andy Stanley, Frank Turek, and Bad Theology

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen Andy Stanley has been disappointing some people, and causing quite a few to be alarmed by his opposition to the authority of Scripture. (Note: Do not be confused.  Charles  Stanley is his father, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and heard on In Touch Ministries . I've found most of his teachings to be doctrinally sound, and he upholds the inerrancy and authority of the Bible.) Unfortunately, megachurch director Andy Stanley has been saying things that are destructive to the truth, including recommending the false teaching of theistic evolution. Gray wolf image credit: US National Park Service While shooting from the hip can be a good thing, someone claiming the title of pastor should reign himself in . Stanley was disrespectful of small churches, then apologized later . In another instance, " What  did he just say?", Stanley may have used a very bad word in a sermon. When the segment was legally posted on YouTube

Disappointment with Young Earth Creation

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen  First, a note for anyone who is curious. The usual format: introduction with some of my thoughts plus links for useful information, excerpts of featured articles, then links to keep reading. I put my name on it and call it an article when I have more to say. This one will be different. I will reference older articles, then add some thoughts that I hope will prove helpful. There is more following the excerpt and link. So, does anyone remember Ken Keathley? Medal image manufactured at Custom Medal Maker Several years ago, Ken Keathley renounced young earth creationism to accept an old earth view. Apparently, he was disappointed by people in the young earth community. No kidding? Taking Friendly Fire This is where I'm going to open up and get personal with both of my readers. Ken Keathley is not the only one who has been disappointed, and in addition, I've been deeply hurt by the young earth community. Things I have posted on social(ist) media have been &qu

Gopher Wood and Noah's Ark

Something that has puzzled readers of the sixth chapter of Genesis is the use of the term gopher wood. Footnotes often say that the "Hebrew term is uncertain", and Bible translations differ — "I know what that means, Cowboy Bob! Noah commanded his sons, "Shem, you gopher water, Ham can gopher more pitch, and Japheth can gopher wood". No. Anyway, Bible translations differ. Many use the term gopher wood, and using the translations in my copy of theWord Bible Software , Coverdale (1535,) Geneva (1587), and Tyndale (1526) translated it as pine. The NIV translates it as cypress and adds the "uncertain" reference. The KJV, NKJV, NASB, HCSB, ESV, WEB all render the term as gopher wood. Credit: Wikimedia Commons /  Cimerondagert  ( CC by-SA 4.0 ) An excellent possibility is that God was not specifying a particular tree that has disappeared since then, but that Noah was to use hardwood. Getting into the Hebrew language, we see the root word tha