The Importance of a Literal Genesis

A literal version of the first eleven chapters of Genesis is foundational to the rest of the Bible. Without a literal interpretation of the Creation account, the fall of Adam, and the flood during the days of Noah the rest of Scripture is just nonsense. Does this seem a little preposterous? It doesn’t seem that way to the opposition. In an issue of American Atheist, G. Richard Bozarth wrote the following about the importance of the Genesis account to the basis for Christianity.

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary … If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing! What all this means is that Christianity cannot lose the Genesis account of creation like it could lose the doctrine of geocentrism and get along. The battle must be waged, for Christianity is fighting for its very life.” [1]

According to Scripture, Jesus died to redeem the world from Adam’s sin (Rom. 5). But, logically, if the account of Adam is just a myth, then Romans makes no sense when it says “…sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men….” [2] The book of Romans says that death came as a result of sin, and that it was Adam who brought death into the world. If there were no Adam and death has existed for hundreds of millions of years and long before man was ever on the earth, then why did Jesus’ have to die? Jesus’ redemptive death only makes sense in light of a literal understanding of the Genesis record. Genesis states that the earth was created in six days and was a paradise where there was no death. Then Adam sinned and brought death and the Curse into the world. Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin, that is, Jesus’ death paid the penalty for Adam’s sin. Through his sacrifice, God was able to redeem all of mankind. The focus of the entire Bible is on the story of Adam’s sin and the Messiah who paid for that sin. Do you see how if the first part of the story is just myth then the second part of the story is just nonsense? That is why it is absolutely imperative that Christians understand that Genesis is a literal account of history; it is not figurative.

In our culture today, the literal account of Genesis is under constant attack. In our schools, especially public schools, in the news media, in television and movies a constant barrage of ancient earth and evolutionary theory is promulgated. Visit any state or national park and you will find all kinds of information about how geologic features were formed millions of years ago or how that the area was first occupied by humans tens of thousands of years ago. Constant repetition through all of these media has led to the false belief that science has proven that the earth is billions of years old and that man evolved into his present state over the past several million years. Since there is no way to reconcile a literal rendition of Genesis with the idea of millions of years of evolution, many people over the last century have rejected Christianity on the basis of so-called “science” even though very, very few of them actually have understood the science upon which they were basing this decision. Unfortunately, they based their decision on propaganda, which over time becomes “fact.” It is no surprise, then, that many of these people then reject Christianity as an illogical proposition. Most Europeans are no longer Christians in any real sense and much of the United States is headed in that same direction.

Today, we are locked in a Culture War. On one side we have the forces of Christianity who are fighting for traditional moral absolutes, and on the other side we have the forces of post-modernism fighting for relativism. But if we examine the history of this war, we will find that the real battleground is Genesis. If Genesis is true then people have good reason to believe God and become Christians. If Genesis is not true, then people have little reason to do this.

It is imperative that Christians become familiar with this issue not only for the sake of their own faith but more importantly so that we can begin to win back the ground that has been ravaged by the Enemy for nearly two centuries.


[1] G. Richard Bozarth, “The Meaning of Evolution,” American Atheist 20 (Feb. 1978): 30 as quoted by Henry Morris in “The Long War Against God ” (Master Books, 2000) p.119.
[2] Romans 5:12(NIV)

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  1. I am trying to understand how in the beginning animals were vegatarians, yet the carnivores have specialized teeth for ripping and tearing its kill. Also, Noah carried all animal species on the Ark, but many animals were isolated from Noah by geographical barriers. Even today species developed apart from related species differently because of isolating barriers eg: islands. I am just trying to “get my head around this”

    1. Thanks Jim, I think one error we can make is assuming that just because animals are carnivorous today, having teeth for meat eating etc., that this is the way God intended. What we see now is a world that is deformed because of the fall of Adam and it is all under a curse. Also, there is solid evidence to indicate that there was only one continent with no oceanic barriers that would have prevented them from assembling for Noah. And finally, on the ark Noah only had a representative animal from each “kind.” i.e. one from each genus, such as genus of “Canus” which would be representative of all dogs, including wolves, coyotes, foxes, and our pets etc.

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