Part One: The Importance of Genesis and a Literal Six Day Creation

“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.”

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

God’s Word is Above His Name

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.  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 forever.” 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 subjective 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 Romans:

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

The 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.


[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)

Rabbinic Quotations on Messiah

Rabbinic Messianic Quotations

Rabbinic Quotations on Messiah (click on link to visit source)Submitted by Jean Gibson on Mon, 05/22/2006

The following quotations are an amazing collection of statements from the Rabbis over the years confirming that the many passages which speak of the Messiah point to Yeshua (Jesus). See Jewish Messianic Texts and The Zohar, Three in One and Exodus Rabbah

RASH MISHLE [10:21]:   Rab Huna counted amongst the seven Names of Messiah also:   haShem Zidkenu [Referring to Jer. 23:6].

 

R. JOSEPH ALBO OF TOLEDO [SEPHER IKKARIM 28:54]:   The Scripture calleth the Names of Messiah also:   L-rd Zidkenu, because He is the Mediator through Whom we shall get the righteousness of the L-rd.

 

R. ELIJAH DE VIDAS:   The meaning of He was wounded for our transgressions bruised for our iniquities is that since Messiah bears our iniquities, which produce the effect of His being bruised, it follows that whoso will not admit that the Messiah thus suffers for our iniquities must endure and suffer for them himself [on Isa. 53].

 

SANHEDRIN [93B]:   Messiah…What is His name?   The disciples of the school of the Rabbi [Yehudah Hanassi, the author of the Mishnah] said:   Cholaja [the sickly] for it says [Isa. 53:4]:   Surely He hath borne our sicknesses and carried our pains; and we did regard him stricken, smitten of G-d and afflicted.

 

ZOHAR [To Deut. 6:4]:   Hear O Israel:   HaShem our G-d, HaShem is One.   Why is there a need of mentioning the Name of G-d three times in this verse?   The First HaShem is the Father above.   The Second is the Stem of Jesse, the Messiah Who is to come from the family of Jesse through David.   And the Third One is the Way which is below [meaning the Holy Spirit Who shows us the way] and These Three are One   (Zohar quotes from Amsterdam Version).

 

Rabbi Moshe el Sheikh, Chief Rabbi of Safed…

“I will do yet a third thing, and that is, that ‘they shall look unto Me,’ for they shall lift up their eyes unto Me in perfect repentance, when they see Him Whom they pierced, that is Messiah, the Son of Joseph; for our Rabbis, of blessed memory, have said that He will take upon himself all the guilt of Israel, and then shall be slain in the war to make an atonement in such manner that it shall be accounted as if Israel had pierced Him for on account of their sin He has died; and therefore, in order that it may be reckoned to them as perfect atonement, they will repent and look to the Blessed One, saying that there is none beside Him to forgive those that mourn on account of Him who died for their sin; this is the meaning of ‘They shall look upon Me….’”

 

G-d will set His own crown upon the head of King Messiah, and clothe Him with honor and majesty…Midrash Tehillim on Ps. 21:3….   Rabbi Hann, in the name of Rabbi Aha, continues the thought…G-d will bestow a portion of His supernatural glory on Messiah….   The Midrash then continues with two designations of Messiah; HaShem, a man of war and HaShem, is our righteousness.

 

[On Isa.9:6:   R. Aben Ezra:]…There are some interpreters who say that “Wonderful, Everlasting Father” are Names of G-d and only “Prince of Peace” is the Name of the Child.   But according to my view, the interpretation is right (which says):   all are the Names of the child.

 

[Midrash Echa (1:51)]:   …What is the Name of King Messiah:   To this answered Rabbi Abba bar Kahana:   HaShemis His Name, for it is written:   “This is the Name whereby He shall be called:   HaShem Kidkenu.”

 

[See also, Midrash Rabbah [999:8), (Ps. 45:6), (Prov. 30:4), (Ps. 2:7), (Sukkah [52a]), (Zohar [part III, fo. 307, Amsterdam edition]), (Ps. 2:12 Leesor’s trans.)…{etc.…also, verses in Tanach may be one or two verses difference depending upon your translation}… [Zohar vol. III]…The Ancient and Holy One is revealed and described as being Three; it is because the Other Lights are Two complete Ones, yet is the Ancient and Holy One described and complete as One, and He is One, positively One; thus are the Other Lights united and glorified in One, because They are One…[Rabbi Simeon further states]…Thus are the Three Lights united in One.   The Spirit which is downward, Who is called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit which is the Middle Pillar, Who is called the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, also called the Spirit below.   The Upper Spirit is hidden in secret; in Him are existing all the Holy Spirits [the Holy Spirit and the Spirit that is the middle pillar], and all that is light.

 

{see also, (Bereshis rabba 2), (R. Simeon on Song of Songs 2:6, Zohar Tanchuma), (R. Tzvi Nassi’s book, The Great Mystery), (Burt Yellin’s book, Messiah, A Rabbinic & Scriptural Viewpoint) (Sukkah 52a; Rabbi Dosa), (Rabbi B’rekhyah:   From the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, S. Driver & A. Neubauer, Hermon Press, New York.

 

Our Rabbis have a tradition that in the week in which Messiah will be born, there will be a bright star in the east, which is the “star of the Messiah.” – Pesikta Sortarta.   (fo. 58c.1).

 

The thought of Torah changing in the “Age to Come” is again made perfectly clear in the rendering of Deuteronomy 17:18, in Sifra.   Here it is stated that the L-rd wrote a copy of Mishna-Torah for Himself, and that He would not be content with the Mishna-Torah of the father.   The question is asked… “Why does He say Mishna-Torah?   Because it is destined to be changed.”

 

“The Torah which a man learns in this world is but vanity compared with the Torah of Messiah” Midrash Qohelet on Eccl. 11:8.

 

And I will put enmity between thee and the WOMAN and between thy seed and her SEED; He shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise His heel.   Gen. 3:15 Leesor’s.

 

It is not written that we may preserve [sic] a son from our father, but SEED from our father.   This is the SEED that is coming from another place.   And Who is this?   This is the King Messiah.

 

Ber. Rabbah (51, ed. Warsh. p. 95a, on Genesis 19:32)…This is that SEED that is coming from another place, and Who is this?   This is the King Messiah.   – Ber.   Rabbah 51,ed.   Wars.   P.95,a, on Gen.   19:23).

 

My Son art Thou; I have indeed this day begotten Thee.   *Do homage to the Son, lest He be angry, and ye be lost on the way; for His wrath is so speedily kindled.   Happy are all they that put their trust in Him.   – Psalm 2:7-12 Leesor’s

 

*[Ps. 2:12, Heb. ‘Bar’ = 202]…Thou art the Son, the faithful shepherd; of Thee it is said, “Kiss the Son.”   {note:   this has been removed in English in many new Jewish Tanach translations, but it is there in the Hebrew!}   Thou art the Governor of the Universe, the Head of Israel, the Lord of ministering angels, the Son of the Highest, the Son of the Holy and Blessed One, yea the very Shechinah.   {note:   The Schechinah is the VERY HOLY SPIRIT OF HA-SHEM!}

 

Our doctors expound the Psalm of the Messiah – (Jarchi (mass) [ref. Ps. 2])

 

Whosoever is not willing to praise This Son, his sins shall be brought before the Holy King.   – Zohar (Dent. fol. 109) [ref. Ps. 2]

 

It is a tradition of the Rabbis that Messiah, The Son of David, Who is to be revealed speedily…the Holy One said unto Him, Ask of Me anything and I will give it thee, for it is said, “I will declare the decree, etc.   Today have I begotten thee.” – Talmud Bab.   (Succah, fol. 52) [ref. Ps. 2]

 

*This is the faithful Shepherd; Of Thee it is said, “Kiss the Son,” Thou art the Prince of the Israelites, the L-rd of the earth…The Son of the Most High, the Son of the Holy G-d …and the gracious Shekinah.   – Zohar (Gen. fol. 88, c. 348) [ref. Ps. 2]

 

They He [My Servant Messiah] will become despised, and will cut off the glory of all the Kingdoms; they will be prostrate and mourning, like a man of pains, and like One destined for sickness; and as though the Presence of the Shekinah had been withdrawn from us, they will be despised, and esteemed not.   – Targum Jonathan Isaiah 53:3.

 

Our Rabbis with one voice accept and affirm the opinion that the prophet is here speaking of the Messiah.   – R. Mosheh El-Sheikh [ref. Isa. 53:3]

 

The L-rd is the King Messiah; He is also the Angel of the Covenant.   – Kimchi

 

The L-rd is both the Divine Majesty, and the Angel of the Covenant, for the sentence is doubled.   – Aben Ezra

 

The L-rd may be explained of the King Messiah.   – Mashmiah Jeshua, fol. 76

 

For to us a Son is born, to us a Son is given:   and He shall receive the Law upon Him to keep it; and His Name is called from of old, Wonderful, Counselor, ELOHA, The Mighty, Abiding to Eternity, The Messiah, because peace shall be multiplied on us in His days.   – Isaiah 9:6 Targum Jonathan

 

Rabbi Samuel, the son of Nachman, said, “When Esau met Jacob he said unto him, ‘My brother Jacob, let us walk together in this world.’   Jacob replied:   ‘Let my L-rd, I pray thee, pass over before his servant’” (Genesis 3:14).   What is the meaning of, “I pray thee, pass over”?   Jacob said to him:   I have yet to supply the Messiah, of Whom it is said: “Unto us a Child is born.”   – Midrash (Deuteronomy 2:4)

 

But the wise man, R. Abraham Ben Ezra, has interpreted this prophecy of the great wars which shall be in all the world in the days of the Messiah, the Son of Joseph… The Messiah therefore is the Person to be smitten before the scattering of the sheep. – R. Kimchi [ref. Zech. 13:7]

 

While He bore the sins of many and for the transgressors He let (evil) befall Him.   – Isaiah 53:12.b Leesor’s

 

And when Israel is sinful, the Messiah seeks for mercy upon them, as it is written, “By His stripes we were healed, and He carried the sins of many; and made intercession for the transgressors.” – B’reshith Rabbah (pp. 430, 671)

 

…And they will look up toward Me (for every one) Whom they have thrust through, and they will lament for Him as one lamenteth for an Only Son, and weepeth bitterly for the Firstborn. – Zechariah 12:10 Leesor’s.

 

And the heathen will look unto Me to see what I will do to those who have pierced Messiah, the Son of Joseph. – Aben Ezra

 

It must be granted him that says, for Messiah the Son of Joseph that shall be slain as it is written, And they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced.   – Talmud Bab.   (Succah 52, 1)

 

He will revive us after two days; on the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His Presence.   – Hosea 6:2 Leesor’s

 

This passage is applied to the resurrection and to the Messiah by R. Moses Hadarshan in Genesis 22:4.   – Ber Rabbah (Frey)

 

R. Alexander said R. Joshua ben Levi objects to what is written, “And behold one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven; and it is written, “Poor and riding upon an ass”; if they {Israel} are worthy, He {Messiah} comes with the clouds of heaven; but if they are not worthy, He comes poor and riding on an ass. – Talmud Babl. (Sanh., fol. 98, 1)

 

Therefore will the Lord Himself give you a sign; behold this almah/young woman [in LXX trans.   done by 70 Rabbis, it is the Greek word for virgin] shall conceive, and bear a Son and she shall call His Name Immanuel (G-d with us).   – Isaiah 7:14 Leesor’s

 

R. Huni, in the name of R. Ide and R. Joshua, said that this man is the King of Messiah of Whom it is said, Psalm 2:7, “This day have I begotten Thee.” – Talmud Bab

 

Out of thee Bethlehem shall Messiah go forth before me, to exercise dominion over Israel.   Whose Name has been spoken from of old from the day of eternity.   – Micah 5:2 Targum Jonathan

 

Out of thee ( Bethlehem) shall come forth unto me Messiah, the Son of David.   – R. Jarcdhi

 

Behold, I will send my messenger, and He shall clear out the way before me: and suddenly will come to His Temple the L-rd Whom ye seek; and the Messenger of the Covenant Whom ye desire, for behold He is coming saith the L-rd of hosts.   – Malachi 3:1 Leesor’s

 

DAVID FLUSSER, PROFESSOR OF RELIGIOUS HISTORY AT HEBREW UNIVERSITY, JERUSALEM:   I do not think that many Jews would object if the Messiah – when He came – was the Jew Jesus.

 

We may all feel thankful that the Jewish race was so prolific in great men, that even so late in history, it produced one {Jesus} Who deserves to be compared with Moses, Isaiah and Hillel.   – Rabbi Adolph Moses in Courier-Journal 1885

 

Many ancient rabbinic sources understood Isaiah 53 as referring to the Messiah.   Here are quotations from some of them:

 

Midrash Ruth Rabbah:   Another explanation (of Ruth ii.14): – He is speaking of king Messiah; “Come hither,” draw near to the throne; and “eat of the bread,” that is, the bread of the kingdom; “and dip thy morsel in the vinegar,” this refers to his chastisements, as it is said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.

 

Zohar:   “He was wounded for our transgressions,” etc…There is in the Garden of Eden a palace called the Palace of the Sons of Sickness; this palace the Messiah then enters, and summons every sickness, every pain, and every chastisement of Israel; they all come and rest upon him.   And were it not that he had thus lightened them off Israel and taken them upon himself, there had been no man able to bear Israel’s chastisements for the transgression of the law:   and this is that which is written, “Surely our sicknesses he hath carried.”

 

Rabbi Moses Maimonides:   What is the manner of Messiah’s advent…there shall rise up one of whom none have known before, and signs and wonders which they shall see performed by him will be the proofs of his true origin; for the Almighty, where he declares to us his mind upon this matter, says, “Behold a man whose name is the Branch, and he shall branch forth out of his place” (Zech. 6:12).   And Isaiah speaks similarly of the time when he shall appear, without father or mother or family being known, He came up as a sucker before him, and as a root out of dry earth, etc …in the words of Isaiah, when describing the manner in which kings will harken to him, At him kings will shut their mouth; for that which had not been told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have perceived. (From the Letter to the South (Yemen), quoted in The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, Ktav Publishing House, 1969, Volume 2, pages 374-5.)

 

Rabbi Mosheh   Kohn Ibn Crispin:   This rabbi described those who interpret Isaiah 53 as referring to Israel as those:   “having forsaken the knowledge of our Teachers, and inclined after the stubbornness of their own hearts,” and of their own opinion, I am pleased to interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis, of the King Messiah… This prophecy was delivered by Isaiah at the divine command for the purpose of making known to us something about the nature of the future Messiah, who is to come and deliver Israel, and his life from the day when he arrives at discretion until his advent as a redeemer, in order that if anyone should arise claiming to be himself the Messiah, we may reflect, and look to see whether we can observe in him any resemblance to the traits described here; if there is any such resemblance, then we may believe that he is the Messiah our righteousness; but if not, we cannot do so. (From his commentary on Isaiah, quoted in The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, Ktav Publishing House, 1969, Volume 2, pages 99-114.)