How Important is a Proper Understaning of Genesis 1 – 3?

In an interview with Bible Gateway, Dr. Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary, explains how if we misinterpret the first three books of the Bible, then we will be off in our understanding of the rest of what God has to say to us. For example, take a look at how important it is get God’s perspective on redemption right from the start:

If someone radically changes the framework of creation and fall, he changes or even dissolves the meaning of redemption. It no longer makes sense for Jesus to redeem us if there’s nothing to redeem us from, because there was no fall.

Would anyone attempt to radically change “the framework of creation and the fall?” And if so, how? It should comes as no surprise that these recent attempts to alter God’s Word can be traced all the back to the beginning, in Genesis 3. You guessed it; the master of distortion, the devil, enters the scene and succeeded at twisting Adam and Eve’s view of God from a loving Creator to a God who was now withholding true wisdom from them.

Dr. Poythress list three major areas that Satan continues this distortion to all who will listen. First Poythress spoke of the controversy of modern cosmology’s billion year theories with the Genesis account of the six day creation. Just listen to modern astronomers explain what black holes are. Seriously, I heard physicist warn of the dangers of the sun burning out and how mankind would have to vacate the solar system. The way he made it sound, I thought we needed to pack our bags, but then he gave a time frame of something like 5 billion years. How can anyone speak with any degree of certainty about a time span measured in billions of years in the future or in the past for that matter? But when peering into the vastness of space, the scientist without hesitation speak of the age of the universe in these terms.

Next, he spoke of the controversy with the “neo-Darwinian framework of purely gradualistic human origins” and the Bible’s unique couple, Adam and Eve. Here again, anytime the theory of evolution is proposed, it always assumes an earth in the billions of years old. Probably, they expand time to this degree because no one has ever witnessed such an evolution as the Darwin camp proposes. From what we know of the development of man or animals, survival of the fittest makes some sense with possible mutations, but is there any record of a species making a change as drastic as an ape becoming an intelligent man? I am fine with believing that we came from a unique couple instead of an ape or a one-cell ameba out a pool of water.

As for the philosophical controversies with the Genesis account, Proythess asked this informative question: “How does the focus on a personal God and personal human beings correlate with philosophical materialism, according to which everything derives by random impersonal processes in the motion of matter?” For me this explains the death of absolute truth and morality that we see so often today with those who are so steeped in this worldview. Again, materialism has to make some pretty big assumptions which puts it at odds with Genesis 1 -3. Once I heard scientist discussion this view on a program, and the thing that jumped out to me was that matter was spoken in god-like terms like self-existent and eternal. To be more specific, he spoke the particle as having been here from eternity past. The particle became more complex until life evolved. The living creatures became aware, and get this, the living creatures now with awareness came up with the concept of a god. If you have been following any of the developments with the “god-particle” and even with introduction of the more recent telescopes, many now agree that matter had a definite beginning. If it had a beginning then, who started it? As for death of morals, when you subscribe to the view point that everything came from the all-holy-matter, you can then throw away any accountability and you can then do whatever you please.

Poythress did leave us with this word of caution when reading the Genesis account and trying to reconcile it with the modern scientific view: “So more than one theory has sprung up among Bible-believing Christians about how best to correlate Genesis 1 with mainstream science. We should exercise appropriate caution about scientific claims, because claims about the far past involve key assumptions of continuity, which are unlike experimental science.” In short, we need to remind ourselves of what faith is all about, taking God at his Word. Another key take away from the first three books of the Bible, is for us not to allow the master deceiver to cause us to question, ” Did God really say?” Read BibleGateway.com article

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