Friday, September 18, 2015

Theology Established in Genesis 1-11 Gives Us Confidence in its Authenticity

Biblical themes established in Genesis 1-11


Have you ever felt like you could not trust the accuracy of the Bible? Have people said to you that the Bible is a book of "fables", or not historically accurate? Have even some of your Christian friends made you doubt more specifically the authenticity of Genesis 1-11? I want to help you in your ability to trust the Theological roots of the Genesis 1-11 account. There are far smarter people than I who can debate the scientific stuff, but what I want you to know is that you do not have to check your theological brain at the door either if you hold to a historically accurate Genesis 1-11.

What I will aim to do in this post is give you plenty of good theological foundations in which we can beleive the historical authenticity of Genesis 1-11 because of their linkage to almost every theological and biblical theme that I can think of, and of course many of those that I cannot think of. First I would like to point out one of those maybe more obvious ones. Marriage is a Biblical theme that is established in Genesis 1-11. Jesus also reiterates that theme, "Have you not heard, He made them male and female." Sabbath is another theme that is established in the Creation account and repeated by Jesus. Jesus is also called our sabbath rest. Other themes that are established are, Original sin, Christ's sustaining creative power (Repeated in Colossians 3 and Hebrews 1), Coming redemption (as seen in the curse after Adam's sin). Also seen in the curse with pain through childbirth, Family order (paternal spiritual leadership), and that the woman sinned first, Which is repeated in Timothy. Jesus in Hebrews is established as our sabbath rest, and if Gen 1-11 is poetic, and not with a literal seventh day of rest from Creation, then there is no O.T. or N.T. basis for a literal sabbath either. However there must be a literal sabbath in which we were meant to rest, so that Jesus could fulfill that rest in which we need not work anymore to please a Holy God.

There is a new and rising field of study called Theology of Work. This Theology of Work is also established when Adam is given the task pre-fall of naming animals, and post-fall we will work "by the sweat of our brow." On a sadder note, sin digs its roots deep into the heart of the first brothers as seen in Cain and Abel directly followed by the first murder. Other more scientific things are established in which God establishes seasons as first seen in the aftermath of the Noahic flood. on those same lines The Noahic Covenant is established in which God promises to never again send another worldwide flood. Right after the flood we have the Noahic genealogies, which are the basis of all other genealogies. If we don't have those genealogies as authentic living people, then we do not have a flesh and blood Messiah in Jesus either.
In other areas of Genesis 1-11 we have languages and cultures emerging (Anthropology). We see clearly the establishing of language and culture at the Tower of Babel and the confusion and origin of languages. These things cannot be just overlooked as unimportant insignificant "fables". They are the establishing of Anthropological grounds and why we have confused languages to this day. Either they happened or we cannot trust the historical accuracy of the whole of Scripture. I chose to trust the Authenticity of these "fables" or "Mythologies" as some have labeled them.

Here is a short list of some of the many theologies that are established in Genesis 1-11...

  • The Trinity: ("let us make man in our own image")
  • Theology (proper): in the character of God (as creative, loving, and just God)
  • Christology: Pre-existent Christ creator of all things (Colossians 3, Hebrews 1) as seen in the prophecy concerning the serpent and how Christ would die
  • Pneumatology: (study of the Holy Spirit) as seen in the Spirit of God hovering over the waters, and his part within the Godhead. 
  • Soteriology: (study of salvation) as seen in God enacting and beginning the salvific history in which the serpent would "strike his heel and he will crush your head", or more easily put, Why did Jesus need to die on a cross?
  • Harmartiology: (study of sin) as seen in what is called "original sin". If there is no Adam or original sin there is no Harmartiology. Why is there sin in the world?
  • Prolegomena: has God revealed himself in creation and the signs in the universe or not? If he did not create, then how does he have the power to reveal himself in nature?
  • Anthropology: does man have a fallen sinful nature as described in Gen 1-11 or not? And was man created in the image of a holy eternal perfect uncreated God?
  • Missiology: let us make man in our own image, this is God's way of making himself known and it is the beginnings of the Misseo Dei!
  • Ecclesiology: *
  • Eschatology: *
  • Angelology: *

*except for these three fields of theology, every other systematic is either established, began or addressed in a foundational way in Gen 1-11. I am not aware of if these other three might be hinted at in places, established, or otherwise in the first 11 chapters of Genesis. All these areas of theology are addressed, or at least begin to be addressed through foreshadowing. So be confident you stand on steady, unshakable, and historical Theological ground. You also stand on practical ground in believing in the historical accuracy of the beginning of Genesis.


Here are a few practical questions that can be answered from the first 11 chapters of Genesis too...
  • Why do we have a seven day week?
  • Why is there death?
  • Why do we need a new heaven and a new earth if this old earth is not fallen?
  • Why do we wear clothes?
  • What is the foundational history of the whole rest of the Bible and theology?
Here is a good way to look at the historicity of the whole bible in seven different movements.

  1. Creation (Genesis 1-11)
  2. Corruption (Genesis 1-11)
  3. Catastrophe (Genesis 1-11)
  4. Confusion (Genesis 1-11)
  5. Christ (N.T.)
  6. Cross (N.T.)
  7. Consumption (N.T.)
Can the gospel be true if the historical foundations of it in Genesis are not or cannot be trusted as historically accurate? Or for that matter, can we trust any other miraculous thing in the entire Bible also as historically accurate? If we cannot trust the miraculous, then we cannot and don't believe the core elements of the gospel (i.e. The resurrection of Christ from the dead, and our resurrection from the dead). My question is why do we want to explain away Genesis as not authentic, but not the rest of the supernatural elements of the Bible? Because we cannot explain the "cataclysmic supernatural" events in their pages? It is true that you do have to believe in the miraculous to believe that the Bible is accurate? There are supernatural events in almost every chapter of the Bible. Most are smaller than the "cataclysmic supernatural" events in Genesis, But supernatural nonetheless. We can and must trust them, because the gospel, and everything Jesus taught is in their pages. With these few thoughts I hope and pray you can trust at least in the theological and historical authenticity of Genesis 1-11. 
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