Is it a problem if a Christian does not believe in the Genesis account of Adam or Noah?


(Terrell Allison) #1

Is it a problem?

If a Christian does not believe in the Genesis account of Adam?

If a Christian does not believe in the Genesis account of Noah?

I ask this because there is a growing number accepting the idea that evolution is viable, and that the writers of the Bible were limited by their own perceptions.

What part does faith play in this?

What are your thoughts?


(Jennifer Judson) #2

My answer is no…and yes.

First let me speak from my experience because I think it is not unique. When I became a Christian, I came to Jesus. I wanted Him, what he offered. I wanted hurts inside to stop hurting and the feeling of not belonging and being unloved to go away. He spoke to those desires and offered a new life in Him. I’d gone to church and Sunday School all my life, I knew the stories, but it really wasn’t a matter of believing them or not–all my focus was on believing in and giving myself to Jesus.

I remained in that place a long time, doing a few things with great faith but predominantly not gaining in spiritual understanding or maturity. If someone had asked it I really believed in the Garden of Eden and the flood I probably would have shrugged my shoulders. The one thing I knew was that the question I would be asked on Judgment Day would be whether I believed in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. A definitive yes. Amen. Hallelujah.

Around age 30, after a lot of knocks in the world, I got serious about my walk with Jesus. I participated in lots of classes, small groups, Bible studies, etc. I gained a cumulative knowledge of the Word–one thing building on another. Even today when I look back just a couple of years I can see so much progress. Each study opens my eyes more and more.

In the course of this I came to see that the story throughout God’s timeline with humanity has a consistent theme of restoration…a thread that flows from the Garden of Eden. All scripture, including the flood, consistently show our self-centered natures and how God has used the course of history and stepped into it to bring about our salvation–should we choose to accept it.

I cannot provide anyone with any evidence that the Genesis stories are literal. I don’t know. But I take it in faith that they are how God has shown us the story and I fully believe in them and their purpose. It’s taken a lot of years to come to this place of trust. Because of all the things He has brought about in my present life I can trust His Word for the future…and from past, even Genesis.

So the yes part of my answer is doing my part to give more and more of myself to knowing Him and yielding to the process of sanctification. Walking forward with Jesus, growing in our spiritual maturity is not just important, it is everything.

If we believe that in order to be a Christian you have to get it all right, immediately, then it would be a very small group indeed. What I find is that the more is learn, the more God reveals to me, the greater the realization that I know so little. That my mind has only begun to grasp the breadth, depth, height of who He is an His love.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col 2:2-3)

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4)


(Robert Fields) #3

Terrell,

Your question of “is it a problem” is a good one. I’m not answering wether or not a person must believe in the Genesis account to be a Christian. I’m answering whether or not it’s a problem if a Christian does not believe in the Genesis account.

Consider this; Jesus was an historical figure who was sent by His Father to be a literal sacrifice ( an historical event) for the sins of humanity which was introduced by Adam (also an historical figure) who brought sin into the world through his disobedience ( also an historical event). The problem is this: If we take away the historicity of Adam we take away the need for an historical Savior. A literal death is not needed for an allegorical transgression. By not believing in Genesis we open ourselves up to some really dangerous and very harmful theology.

I’m trying not to be wordy but clear and succinct as well as helpful. I hope I at least have given you something to think about.

Thanks,
Robert


(Tim Ramey) #4

@rob1770 @Jennifer_Judson @tttallison
I consider myself to be, probably the least scholarly one in Connect. I’m not saying that with an air of false humility but because I so often get left behind by brilliant thinkers. Having said that, I am surprised that there is not more conclusive feedback to this very important matter.

Churches regrettably split over disagreeing with issues like this but It shouldn’t be as we all recognize Jesus as the One that unites our hearts and is our Savior…So with that, shouldn’t we have a succinct answer? So realizing the spirit where I’m coming from -NOT saying “And I thought that you were a Christian” to anyone who would disagree with me, I would answer “yes” to the question.

Keep in mind Robert’s quote:

I feel definitely that it’s a problem for the same reasons that Robert mentioned.


(Robert Fields) #5

Tim,

Thank you for your words. I do wonder if we should be asking this question to ourselves when confronted with such topics:

Is our position generating our theology or is good theology generating our position?

I think that in many instances we are not aware that we have already chosen a position, for whatever reason, and that is driving our theology.

Thanks and God Bless!
Robert


(Anthony Hodge) #6

Terrell,

I think there are two important aspects of this question.I do not believe it is a problem for people to have doubts about the meaning of or to not fully understand the Genesis accounts, I don’t think even the best of us fully comprehends it. According to John Lennox, the Genesis account is very complicated and there is much to learn from it. I do however think it is a problem if we start denying the accuracy of scripture. The Bible is the inspired word of God, it is O.K. to not fully understand it, but to say that it is incorrect or that it is not inspired by God is a huge problem because if you are willing to believe that then there is no reason to believe anything else that is written in it.

I use to believe that the theory of evolution was a viable idea, but struggled to understand how it could fit in with the Genesis account. After much contemplation and listening to people like Ravi, Vince, John Lennox, and many others I have come to realize that there are serious logical and evidence issues with the theory of evolution. I have come to find that the deeper one delves into the text and learns more about who God is, the more logical, the more consistent with reality, and the more evidence backed the Genesis account seems to be, and the more unrealistic and illogical other theories are. As Ravi has said may times, the truth is often guarded/surrounded by a body of lies.

James 1:5 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Blessings,

Anthony Hodge


(Terrell Allison) #7

Jennifer thank you for your response. It is a blessing to hear stories such as yours.


(Terrell Allison) #8

Thank you Robert. You have expressed my sentiments better than I can. If you have no faith in the Word of God, how can you have faith in Jesus? Are they not one?


(Terrell Allison) #9

Anthony, Thank you for your response.

I believe a big problem involving evolution is the fact that most all the schools of higher learning have embraced it, starting with Cambridge. Our brains are like computers. Once you have entered something into your computer it is difficult to completely remove it. Therefore those that have accepted what they have been taught as fact have a dilemma with what they read in the Bible. They are attempting to make them harmonious. If Evolution is fact then the words in the Bible cannot be, therefore you have to alter the literal meaning of the Bible in order to harmonize them.


(Anthony Hodge) #10

Terrell,

I absolutely understand what you mean. There is so much misinformation out there. So many opinions unsupported by facts. I have twin 5 year olds (boy and girl) in kindergarten right now. It worries me because I see what they are being taught, and I know that they are not now ready for me to explain to them what I believe, and more importantly why I don’t believe what I don’t believe. I notice you mention altering the literal meaning of the Bible, but do you think that is really necessary? I highly recommend the below linked video by John Lennox in which he discusses some ways of interpreting Genesis.

The Genesis Files: The Meaning and Purpose of Creation | Faith & Science | John Lennox, PhD

John Lennox: “Seven Days That Divide the World”

I would suggest doing something that Ravi often suggest, which is to ask people what they believe, and then why they believe it. It is much more effective if you can show people inconsistencies in their own beliefs rather than bombarding them with a bunch of our own. Once one starts to see that the theory of evolution has become more of a religion with no real evidence it forces people to think about what they have been told. I use to think that carbon dating was a precise science, but with a little digging you start to realize that they have no real clue how old everything is, or how big the universe is, or how far away the closest star even is. I am an engineer, I believe we can do science, but only because there is such a thing as truth, and logic, and that the God of the bible really exists. I am fortunate in that I have no no need to harmonize the Bible with the theory of evolution, both because I don’t believe evolution has any proof of being true, and because I believe that interpretations of what the bible says (including my own) can be wrong. The bible was not written to be a historical record of all that has occurred in the past, it’s has a far deeper message than just being a historical record. If we expect it to have every detail about every thing, could you imagine how big it would have to be? The Library of Congress would not be big enough to contain it! The bible is a message from God, in which he has revealed himself to us, so that we might know him, love him, and love others. That is its purpose, and the message it is conveying with every passage. There are plenty of instances in the Bible in which we are shown different people and then never hear anything about them again. Is it because they ceased to exist, or is it because they are not the focus of the message it is conveying? Ben Stein made a really good movie years ago called “Expelled, No Intelligence Allowed” you should check out if you have time.

Blessings,
Anthony Hodge


(Terrell Allison) #11

Anthony,

Congratulations on having twins. That must be challenging.

Thank you for the Lennox films. He is really well educated and well spoken. I also thank you for the advice not to bombard people with my opinion.

The Word is both simple and complex at the same time. I prefer to hold on to the literal meaning until it can be shown it was not meant to be literal. The Bible sometimes refers to men as trees. If God is referring to the fruit of a tree, and the tree God is referring to is a man, then that fruit will be what man produces.

Lennox reminded me that scientists do not know what energy is, whether it be gravity, magnetism, or light. Lennox mentioned Lawrence Krauss. Back in 2006 in an Edge article Lawrence made a statement that the CMB mapping was pointing toward the idea that the earth is the center of the Universe. He made the statement that the Copernican Principle was in jeopardy, and the scientific world could be turned upside down. Do you know what happened that no one talks about the evidence for this that was provided by the CMB mapping?

Best regards,

Terry


(Carson Weitnauer) #12

Hi Terry,

I was intrigued by your statement:

If you have no faith in the Word of God, how can you have faith in Jesus? Are they not one?

Could you explain how this might work for a few scenarios?
For instance, the thief on the cross who placed his faith in Christ? Do you think he also accepted the Old Testament Scriptures as authoritative?

Or when Simon the magician is converted by Philip’s preaching in Acts 8:9-13. It seems that Philip’s message was focused on the “good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”.

I am not saying that these disciples did not go on to learn about the Word of God, but it seems that their faith in Jesus preceded their understanding of the Scriptures as being revealed by God.


(Jennifer Judson) #13

Thus far much of our conversation about the Genesis account here has centered on those perhaps who are challenged by what they’ve been taught about evolution.

Way back, my challenge was not evolution, but other things – both secular and biblical. I’d seen dinosaur bones with my own eyes–lots of them. That did not seem to jive, although I eventually came to a place where I dismissed it as unimportant in what I believed–that all scripture is God-breathed and true–whether or not I understood it accurately.

But there were confusing things in the Genesis account itself. Of course the age old question…where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from? But just after the account of Cain killing Abel… Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.

He built a city. This was very confusing. Why? Who would live there? Cities came to be built for protection. Protection from who? If I take the Genesis account literally it tells me that both of these things happened: Adam and Eve where the first humans of creation AND there were already (or concurrently) others.

Whether or not the meaning is literal, it seems to me that what is revealed in scripture is to provide a narrative of God’s story with mankind and it should not be considered to be a full how-did-it-all-come-about kind of textbook. So I take it on faith that God will reveal to me what he wants me to know. In the meanwhile I try to remind myself of Paul’s instruction to Timothy and keep my focus away from areas where my mental wheels begin to spin.

(1 Tim1:3-7) “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”

For years genealogies that didn’t fully jive and other types of inconsistencies in scripture were an obstacle to faith for my Dad. He wanted every T to be crossed and every i dotted. He was an engineer with an analytical mind, gifts that could have illuminated the truth of scripture but instead made him adamantly convinced it was flawed by the men who wrote it. So I could easily see what Paul was talking about.

I have been blessed that my faith has grown, that I have been in a church with a strong emphasis on discipleship and learning, and challenges that have allowed me to strengthen my trust muscle. But it has been a journey of a lifetime.


(Terrell Allison) #14

Carson,

I have placed your questions in italics

I was intrigued by your statement:

If you have no faith in the Word of God, how can you have faith in Jesus? Are they not one?

Could you explain how this might work for a few scenarios?
For instance, the thief on the cross who placed his faith in Christ? Do you think he also accepted the Old Testament Scriptures as authoritative?

I have no way of knowing how much he knew, or believed, about the Old Testament. One thing for sure, he believed Jesus was the Messiah who was promised in the scripture.

Or when Simon the magician is converted by Philip’s preaching in Acts 8:9-13. It seems that Philip’s message was focused on the “good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ”.

Is converted the right word here for Simon? His heart was not converted.

I am not saying that these disciples did not go on to learn about the Word of God, but it seems that their faith in Jesus preceded their understanding of the Scriptures as being revealed by God.

I hope I did not convey the thought that you had to know and understand the Bible to be saved. When I was converted I knew nothing but the song "Jesus Loves me".

Brother in Christ,

Terry


(Carson Weitnauer) #15

Hi Terry, thank you. Yes, my example regarding Simon was far too hasty - mea culpa! It seems that we are in agreement that there is a distinction between having faith in Jesus and understanding that the Scriptures are the infallible word of God.


(Terrell Allison) #16

Jennifer I have often been challenged by what the scripture says. I have learned to wait on the Lord. It comes line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little.

Jesus spoke quite a bit in parables. I believe the trees in the garden were metaphors. The Bible relates men to trees in a number of places. I believe Jesus is the tree of life. Isaiah 53:2 describes Jesus as a tender plant, a root in dry ground. Satan is described as a cedar tree in the garden of God whose branches were enriched by the multitude of waters. Both the trees were in the midst of the Garden, yet the one is not even noticed. It is only a tender plant in dry ground. It’s time to bear fruit had not yet come.

May God bless you in your walk with Him.