Do We Need to Interpret the Creation Account Literally?

Does it really matter what one believes about God’s creation?  Whether we believe in a literal view of Genesis or that God used evolution; who really cares?  There are many reasons that deem this question to be extremely important.

God’s Word is Above His Name

First of all, the Psalmist declares that “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your loving kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name” (Psalm 138:2 emphasis mine).  God’s has magnified His word, (the Bible [i]) above His name.  In Isaiah 40:8 we read, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands Interpret God's Word Literallyforever.” Thus, God is very concerned about the reputation of His word.  And if the Bible is from God, then, logically, it should be accurate and faithful in all that it says.  Consequently, we read that “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.  Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar” (Proverbs 30:5, 6).  We want to neither add to nor subtract from His words since no true follower of God wants to be found a liar by God.  It follows then that six, literal days or fifteen billion years of creation are two radically different claims.  These are so dissimilar to one another that it certainly could be asserted as adding to or subtracting from His words depending which is in fact correct.

Genesis is Foundational

Secondly, Genesis chapters 1-11 are the foundation of our worldview.  Where we start often determines where we end up.  If we interpret those six days to mean simply six days, then we have an easy path for the remainder of the Bible – what it says is what it means.  However, if we start down the path that the Scriptures do not say what they actually mean – that there is a buried allegorical meaning that must be mined out of them to truly get to the real meaning, then we will find ourselves not really ever absolutely sure what the Bible means.  Since looking for the underlying meaning so much depends on the cleverness of the interpreter rather than on the evidence of archeology, history, biblical grammar, philology and comparative linguistics, the interpretation becomes very Genesis is Foundationalsubjective and fuzzy.  If the Bible cannot be trusted regarding our origin, how can we trust it regarding our destiny?  If six days really means something else, then how do we know that Jesus’ statement “no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6) doesn’t also mean something else?  Or how do we know that “he who believes in Me, though he may die, shall live” (John 11:25) doesn’t mean something different?  If Genesis, the foundation of our origin, where God created man and man disobeyed God and fell, is not accurate or trustworthy, then how do we know that anything else in Scripture truly is?  How then do we know that the promises of Heaven are true?

The Origin of Marriage

Consider some of the foundational teachings that originate in those first 11 chapters of Genesis.  The first description of marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  If Adam and Eve were not really our first

parents and God didn’t really form them as stated in Genesis, then do we really become one flesh?  We are left without a clear precedent for marriage.  Jesus certainly invoked the first marriage account as a defense against those trying to justify divorce.  “And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘…Because of the hardness of your heart He wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:5-8).  He then added, “so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.”  The fact that Jesus said “from the beginning…” proves (if we take Him literally) that He clearly claimed Adam and Eve to have been created in the

beginning not billions of years later as predicated by evolution.

The Origin of Sin and Death

Genesis chapter three offers us an insider’s view into how sin, death, and suffering came into the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (whom Jesus stated were created in the beginning) to God’s commandment.  If we spiritualize this chapter of the Bible, then what is the historical foundation of our sin-filled world?  How do we account for death if Adam and Eve were merely allegorical or symbolic figures who never actually walked this earth and disobeyed their Maker?  However, if we use the simple method of literal interpretation, then understanding becomes very easy.  Understanding Genesis chapter three literally seems to be what Paul did in Origin of Death Found in GenesisRomans:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.  (Romans 5:12-14)

Paul states that Adam sinned and so through him, one man, sin spread to all.  He also mentions that Adam is a type of Him who was to come.  By saying that Adam is a type in no way is he suggesting that Adam was not a real person; rather Adam was the first of a kind, that is (sinful) humanity, and so too Jesus was the first of a kind (humanity holy and without sin).  In verse 17 Paul says, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”  Because Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus and since he unquestionably believed Jesus to be a real, historical person, then we can safely conclude that Paul also believed Adam to be a real, historical person.

The Promise of the Redeemer

Jesus the Redeemer of the WorldThe importance of the book of Genesis as being a trustworthy and true account of historical and actual events is hopefully evident.  Not only does it contain the true history of man’s fall, but also the promise of the coming redeemer.  In Genesis 3:15 God promised that someday, one of Eve’s offspring would come and make right and annul the effects of their disobedience.  “And I will put enmity between you [the Serpent] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  Ancient Jewish interpretation [ii] of this verse likewise understands the verse to be a promise of the coming Messiah and His remedy for man.  To dismiss the creation and fall of man as figurative and not literal is to undermine the very heart of the Bible’s message of the coming redeemer.

Taking the Genesis creation account literally is extremely important and the evolutionists know it which is why the American Atheist Magazine spells it out in case there was any doubt.

“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” [iii]


[i] I believe the Bible is a faithful and reliable historical document inspired by God.  There are numerous excellent books and websites on the subject, which demonstrate the accuracy of the Bible.  Visit  christiananswers.net/ for general questions and answersingenesis.com for answers to many Bible and science questions.

[ii] “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between the seed of thy son, and the seed of her sons…Nevertheless for them there shall be a medicine, but for thee there will be no medicine; and they shall make a remedy for the heel in the days of the King Meshiha. [Messiah]” (Targum Jonathan, Genesis 3:15)

[iii] – R. Bozarth 1979: 30, “The Meaning of Evolution” American Atheist Magazine, (emphasis mine)

The Image of God: Exposure to God’s Light Will Be Heaven for Some and Hell for Others

God made Adam in his image and likeness but what is that image? God is an infinite being and has many communicable and non-communicable characteristics such as creativity, vision, passion, ability to love, mercy. Could the image of God actually include what He looks like? The verses interpreted literally will surprise you!

 

 

THE IMAGE OF GOD

Douglas Hamp

Ezekiel’s Vision of God

And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness [k’mareh כְּמַרְאֵ֥ה] with the appearance of a man [adam אָדָ֛ם] high above it.

  • Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber [electricity] with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

    God Radiating Fire and Electricity

    God Radiating Fire and Electricity

Prophets Seeing God

  • I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple, (Isaiah 6:1).
  • I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire, (Daniel 7:9).

 

One like the Son of Man

  • One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool [like Daniel 7:9], as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a God Radiating Fire which is Hell for the Unbelieversharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. (Revelation 1:12-18).

A Spiritual Body

  • So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable… It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body, (I Corinthians 15:42-44).
  • As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven, (I Corinthians 15:45-49).
  • Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself, (Philippians 3:21).
  • As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; ​I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness [t’munah]. (Psalms 17:15)
    • I speak with him face to face, Even plainly, and not in dark sayings; And he sees the form [t’munah] of the LORD…” Jesus Transfigured and the Image of God(Numbers12:8)

 

 

Partakers of the divine nature

  • by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:4 ESV)
  • “when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is,” (1 John 3:2).
  •  “He [Jesus] is the image [eicon εικον (icon)] of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” (Colossians 1:15 NET).
  • “and have been clothed with the new man that is being renewed in knowledge according to the image [eicon εικον] of the one who created it,” (Colossians 3:10 NET).

Bodies of Light

  • “and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light [phos φως].” (Matt 17:2)
  • Then the righteous will shine forth [eklampo ἐκλάμπω] as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matthew 13:43)
  • Those who are wise shall shine [LXX: eklampo ἐκλάμπω] Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.  (Daniel 12:3)
  • “it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright [λαμπρον] and pure – for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.” (Revelation 19:8 ESV)
  • Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength (Judges 5:31).
  • But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18).
  • The light of the righteous rejoices, ​But the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 13:9)
  • Whoever curses his father or his mother, ​His lamp will be put out in deep darkness. (Proverbs 20:20)
    • For there will be no prospect for the evil man; ​The lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24:20)

 

Supported by Ancient Jewish Interpretation

  • The Midrash Rabbah (Rabbinic literature from the first or second century AD) of Genesis 3:21 reads, “AND THE LORD GOD MADE FOR ADAM AND HIS WIFE GARMENTS OF SKIN [‘or עֹור], AND CLOTHED THEM (III, 21). In R. Meir’s Torah it was found written, ‘Garments of light (or)’ this refers to Adam’s garments, which were like a torch, broad at the bottom and narrow at the top.”

Biophotons

  • DNA Emits light

Around 1923 Ukrainian Biologist Alexander Gurwitsh discovered that living things such as onions and yeast produced an ultra-weak photon emission… confirmed independently by Russian scientists around 1950 they discovered an “ultraweak photon emission” from living organisms.

confirmed independently of the previous finding by Italian nuclear physicists L. Colli, [et al] in 1955 who “by chance discovered a ‘bioluminescence’ of seedlings,”.[1]

School of Medicine at Kanazawa University, in Kanazawa, Japan:

“All organic life absorbs, emits, and processes light. Biophoton emission or spontaneous ultraweak light emission has been observed from almost all living organisms” intensities ranging from 10-19 to 10-16 W/cm2[2]

Moses’ Shining Face

Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai […] that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone [פָּנָ֖יו עֹ֥ור קָרַ֛ן] while he talked with Him. So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him… (Exodus 34:29-30, 33).

Destroyed From the Lord’s Presence

  • the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from [by virtue of] the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
  • He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:10)
  • For Tophet [was] established of old, Yes, for the king [c.f. Isa 14:5, Ezekiel 28:12] it is prepared. He has made [it] deep and large; Its pyre [is] fire with much wood; The breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, Kindles it. (Isaiah 30:33)
    • “And they have built the high places of Tophet, which [is] in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire…(Jeremiah 7:31)

The Believer Tested by God’s Fire

  • Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (1 Corinthians 3:12) each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:13) If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:14) If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:15)

 

 


[1] Fritz-Albert Popp Institut retrieved Feb 9, 2011 from:  http://www.biophotonik.de/biophotonik_geschichte.php.

[2] T. Amano 1, M. Kobayashi 2, B. Devaraj 2, M. Usa 2 and H. Inaba 2, 3 (1) Department of Urology, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, 920 Kanazawa, Japan. http://nourishedmagazine.com.au/blog/articles/the-secrets-of-light-cancer-and-the-sun.