Early Bible History – Genesis 1-11

This first major division of the book of Genesis covers the period of time that spans from the beginning of creation in chapters one and two, to the beginning of the formation of separate nations of people on earth in chapter eleven. The importance of these chapters in Scripture is to establish the origin of creation history along with the historical events that followed it, all of which laid the groundwork for everything else in history that has taken place since that time. Without chapters one to eleven having been written in the first book of the Bible, there would be no context for anything else that has taken place in history since then. This is true of secular history as well as sacred history for there is no difference between the two. Everything that has occurred in what is termed secular history has its origin in this historical account given in the first part of Genesis. Likewise, each section of Scripture found in each book of the Bible relates in some way back to this first section in Genesis.

This is an inspired account of the things that God has done in history from the beginning of its inception. The words contained in Genesis have not been written from certain archeological finds, nor from records left in ancient libraries, nor even from oral traditions that have been preserved through the ages. Higher critics of the Bible think they find several authors in Genesis from which the entire book was then pieced together. So then the question may be asked, how was the knowledge of early history on earth preserved if not in one of these ways? Since Jesus connects the book of Genesis to Moses (Matt. 19:4-8), and the other four books are recorded history he experienced, we know that he was its human author just as canonical tradition asserts. Scripture tells us God spoke to Moses face to face and gave him His prophetic word (Num. 12:6-8). We know therefore, this record of the beginning of history is one that comes from God Himself, who is the same One that has brought these things to pass.

Mention is made in Genesis of a book of genealogy (Gen. 5:1; 11:10). What this prior book is or has contained in it in terms of any prior record cannot be determined, but suffice it to say, Moses was inspired of God in the writing of Genesis. This is God’s preserved historical account of the things contained, stated from His vantage point as its Creator and Founder. The Biblical account of original creation and the immediate history that is subsequent to it was given to Moses in order to establish an inspired basis for all present and future faith in the true God. It certainly is possible that there could have been an oral transmission of early historical events through the family of the faithful between Adam and Moses, but either way Moses is the inspired author. The particular point in history in which Genesis was written was one in which there was about to be dramatic change in the world with the establishment of Israel as a nation.

The first eleven chapters of  Genesis should be understood as literal events just as they are written, for it is history they teach. Notice should be taken too that in the first two chapters of Genesis there is a marked difference found in it from other current views of history. Theistic Evolutionists believe the dawn of history is a succession of creative events that span millions of years of time, therefore, they view them figuratively. Darwinian Evolutionists claim that early earth dwellers were Neanderthals, living in caves. Neither of these views is so in God’s account of early history. According to genealogical records in chapters five, ten and eleven the approximate length of time between the beginning of creation, to the earliest nations on earth, is no more than two thousand years. This makes world history no more than six thousand years. Likewise, from the beginning of time nature exists as it does today, being the same in essence and in form. Also, early pre flood history records the presence of an advanced civilization on earth as well, showing that theories about cavemen are not true (Gen. 4:17, 20-22).

According to Genesis early history covers four important events. The first major event is creation itself covered in chapter 1:1-2:24. After God created the cosmos ex nihilo (out of nothing) as a sort of quark soup, He then formed it into a finished product within the span of six ordinary twenty-four hour days. The quality of the finished creation can be seen by what God said of  it when done; Seven times He pronounced His work good in the first chapter. God rested from His work on the seventh day; He then blessed and sanctified the Sabbath for a perpetual observance of  His finished work (Gen. 2:3; Ex. 20:8-11). But the crowning achievement of God’s work was in the creation of man, a living soul made in His own image (Gen. 1:27, 2:7). Also, God created man as male and female so that together they might display those unseen qualities of their Creator such as intellect, reason, affection and principle.

The second major event of history is man’s fall and ejection from Paradise (Gen. 3:9-12, 24). Without a record of  its existence on earth the Garden of Eden would not have been known. Neither would the original state and subsequent fall of man be known either. As beautiful and wondrous as the earth is now, there was once a place on earth that was even better in terms of its quality. Man started his sojourn on earth there in the Garden of Eden enjoying fellowship with God his Creator (Gen. 2:15). It is there in Eden that man was bidden by God to populate and dominate the earth (Gen. 1:28). Bible history records not only the loss of residence in Eden by it’s first inhabitants, but also the loss of their original righteousness along with the ability to take dominion over the earth (Gen. 3:15-19). Not only does Scripture record the fact of the loss, but also the reason for it, establishing the foundation for all of redemptive history.

Consequently, man was sent to inhabit the earth outside of Eden. Instead of fulfilling the dominion mandate to populate the earth from within Paradise, now man was constrained to do this outside of it. Genesis records that the children of Adam and Eve multiplied until they became an entire civilization of people on earth (Gen. 6:1,2). Outside of  Eden, dominion of the earth was something quite different for man than it would have been otherwise. The quality of life in a post Edenic earth was marked by universal evil and violence performed by wicked men (Gen. 6:5). The dominion mandate on earth became nothing but a rule by tyrants (Gen. 6:4,5). Referred to as giants, these men commanded the respect and servile submission from the people of that society that was due only to God. Worse still the family of  faith who was vested with the responsibility of maintaining a witness for God in the world became corrupt through intermarriage with the ungodly (Gen. 6:2,3). The condition of the earth became so bad that it necessitated a universal judgement from God upon it (Gen. 6:7).

The judgement of  God upon the absolute evil that existed on earth was the occasion of the third great event of history. The earth, along with every living thing on it was destroyed in a cataclysmic flood (Gen. 7:11,12). Forty days and forty nights it rained on the earth until everything living was dead. That is, except for one family and one pair of every animal that God determined to save in a boat. From these living creatures that were saved on the boat everything that lives on the earth today has life. All humans on the earth have descended from this one family. All animals that exist today have descended from those that were saved from the flood waters. There were however, other animals that were not saved in the deluge, large creatures called dinosaurs. Early Bible history makes it clear that there was no ice age responsible for the disappearance of these creatures.

The earth was soon inhabited again by the descendants of this one family whom God saved from the flood, along with the animals that were with them on the boat (Gen. 8:15-19). From this family another civilization arose on earth just as before the flood. The Bible records the character of  this civilization as one which was unified by a single purpose, language and religion (Gen. 11:1,4). The religion of this civilization centered around a tower that was constructed for the purpose of religious worship; Worship of the heavenly host was the object of the first organized human religion on earth. The city called Babel can best be described as a city of man, one steeped in unified rebellion against God. Even at this early time in history man sought to organize himself into a world empire, in an effort to live apart from God. Babel and its tower were built for the specific purpose of man and his glory, in order to serve themselves rather than his Creator (Rom. 1:25).

This empire became the occasion for the fourth major event of early Bible history. A unity of the world’s population was achieved in part due to its single language, enabling them all to communicate freely with one another. This one language was the Hebrew tongue in which God had from the beginning communicated His revelation to the first man. But as man had corrupted his way on earth, and gravitated toward idolatry, the sacred language through which God communicated to Adam must not be permitted to be his. For this was the language in which God would communicate His covenant to Abraham and his children, then to Moses and the Israelites. The Hebrew language became the inspired tongue of the Prophets and of the Old Testament canon of Scripture. This language therefore, was not the exclusive possession of the pagan world.

It was from the beginning the province of God to build an empire in the world. The city of  Babel was a usurpation of this purpose. What is most telling about Genesis eleven is Gods word to Himself concerning the end for which this empire of man exists? “And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.” (Gen. 11:6). Nothing will be withheld from man who is organized in such a way against God, for man is ingenious, creative, inventive and highly motivated (Ecc. 7:29). Man was endowed by his Creator with tremendous intellectual capabilities. Coupled with a love for natural life, sinful man has always desired to live forever, ascending to the heavens in vain pursuit of self deification. This is the very reason God put man out of the Eden in the first place. “Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22).

But human self deification is actually the deification of another creature altogether. It is the deification of an angel that God made in the beginning, an angel who dwelt in the presence of God in both heaven and on earth. This was the highest creature whom God made in terms of beauty and wisdom. This angel was none other than Lucifer who rebelled too, being cast out of Gods presence with man and becoming a corrupter of nations and the chief architect of all opposition to God (Is. 14:12; Ez. 28:12-14). Lucifer, or, Satan as he is known, now commands the worship of all who are estranged from God. He is called the god of this world for he has blinded the eyes of those who do not believe, leading them into false worship that ultimately serves him (II Cor. 4:4). It was Satan who indwelt the serpent in the Garden, telling Eve that she could become like God knowing good and evil if she followed him. Now in Babel, the world set out to do this too. The tower in Babel was erected as an idol associated with the religion of astrology, a demonic religious belief inspired by Satan (I Cor. 10:20).

Early Bible history concludes with the last major event; a miraculous event performed by God in which He scattered the city of Babel’s inhabitants by confounding their language, thereby making it impossible for them to communicate. Also, it brought an end to false worship being conducted in the Hebrew tongue. Without the ability to communicate the people of the earth divided into separate nations according to their speech. It was by a miraculous act of God that the nations of the ancient world were formed. Each family with it’s own distinct language became a nation with it’s own distinct culture. With the advent of nations the struggle for world domination by a single nation came to an end. And so it was by this event that God set the world stage for His redemptive purpose with the Hebrew people which would come to its fulfillment in the course of time.

It is little wonder that Biblical critics today deny the first eleven chapters of Genesis as true history. Genesis defines them as the descendants of those pagan unbelievers that live in opposition to God. An acknowledgment of the supernatural acts of  God in creation and history flies in the face of natural philosophy, the religion of Darwinian atheists today. These men are little different from those who inhabited the city of  Babel, for they gaze at the planets and stars, supposing there to be some mysterious energy in them that once discovered might explain how they came about. The Darwinist who rejects creation history does not bother himself  to ask where does matter come from? No, he believes like the Greek philosophers did that it has always existed and that the present shape of things has evolved through some unexplained power into what we see and know now.

The Darwinist doesn’t bother asking the question where did he come from either, a question that relates directly to Genesis history. Instead, the naturalist believes in a uniformitarian cosmos that has never changed in substance, only form. So the naturist applies the inductive method in determining everything that he believes to be true, never taking into account that what he comes up with is what he presupposed to begin with. Therefore, the theory of evolution is only a theory and rests upon no evidence whatsoever, no material evidence or link to the original hypothesis. The scientific method does not take into account the fact that in order to arrive at truth it has to be supplied to the scientist in the form of revelation, or, either the scientist himself must be greater in essence than that which he purports to study. If this is the case then no scientific method is needed for the scientist is then a theologian that can simply pronounce what is or isn’t true from his superior position.

In fact, this is exactly what the Darwinian atheist does in discarding Bible history and declaring the scientific method to be true. The scientist arrives at evolution because it is a matter of his faith, an apriori faith in material nature as god. The Darwinist position is Theological because it assumes the hypothesis to be axiomatic, something which can only be done if two things happened to be true. 1. That nature is revelation and therefore, truth may be concluded through scientific investigation. 2. That man is superior to nature and can, therefore, determine what knowledge is or isn’t before the investigation, in which case it then becomes irrelevant. If the Darwinist believes himself to be but material nature too, then how can he also believe in the ability to determine the essence of that nature of which he is? That is of course, unless the Darwinist believes that he is a god.

No study of nature can arrive at truth because the one studying it is but nature too. Can anyone know every possible bit of evidence necessary to take into account when preparing a hypothesis? There is nothing wrong with science as far as it goes but it can only produce information, not truth. That is why what is considered fact today according to science is discarded tomorrow when some new discovery is made. Truth is revelational in character and comes from God who is truth (Ps. 31:5, Rom. 3:4). Unless God reveals truth, it cannot be known by a creature who is less than God and only nature too. When scientists ignore Bible truth, they come up with ridiculous unprovable theories such as evolution. Therefore, the early Bible history contained in Genesis one to eleven is necessary to be taken as literal.

No one can be certain of early history apart from God revealing it to us in His word. There exists no such thing as a principal of uniformity of  nature for neither it nor creation can be proved by the study of general knowledge. When God created something out of nothing, change occurred from what preceded it just as the Bible states. Nature was created “in time” it had a beginning. Aristotle believed that man always existed on earth but Genesis one reveals he had an origin. Darwinists believe that death is a function of nature but Scripture speaks otherwise. When sin entered creation men died because of a curse put upon them and the earth, bringing change to it from its original condition. Darwinists believe that an ice age occurred on earth millions of years ago. Scripture teaches that God brought a flood upon the earth to destroy it even though it had never rained previously.

These and many more things in Genesis history fly in the face of Darwinian science. Who shall the Christian believe, God or men (Acts 5:29)? But there are others who claim to be men of faith and yet, like Darwinian atheists think that Genesis one to eleven is allegory rather than history. These men came into the church long ago being persuaded by the claims of science, that they must believe it to be true rather than Gods word. Dazzled by the claims of science, and unable to endure the scorn of learned men, these Theistic evolutionists try to reconcile  Bible history with the theories of men. Theistic evolutionists claim to be Bible believing, orthodox Christians. But as modern men they respect the claims of scientific induction to be neutral unbiased methodology. These Theologians are compelled to explain history in terms that complement modern modes of thought. And so they say that the days in Genesis one do not mean literal days but long ages, as though a process of time is a more scientifically tenable position to believe in than an all-powerful God who creates in a moment.

The idea that knowledge is a neutral thing in apologetics has been around since the seventeenth century. A serious error in judgement began when Christian apologists determined that enlightenment skepticism of Scripture integrity should be defended with arguments from nature. This logic was based on the rationalistic principle that truth is self evident in nature. Therefore, special revelation is a logically deduced reality in defense of the Christian God. Common sense philosophy erred in that it equated the witness of  God in nature as equal in substance to Scripture. The difference in the two was in the degree of knowledge that both manifest. Nature, it was reasoned could sufficiently testify all that is necessary to convince a skeptic of the veracity of Scripture. If this is accomplished in the thinking of an unbeliever, then the revelation of God in Scripture brings forth those propositions of the faith necessary to convert him to Christ.

Belief that knowledge is neutral, or a tabula rasa in Latin, is what eventually led to Darwinian arguments from science winning the debate on the origin of nature, over and against Scripture. There were otherwise sound Theologians such as Charles Hodge and Benjamin Warfield that were led astray by scientific arguments based on “general revelation” in nature concerning creation. To be sure, these men did not follow Darwin over the cliff in denial of God altogether as he eventually did. But these men and many others in the seminaries tried to reconcile science with Scripture. An early version of  Theistic evolution called concordance was adopted as the approach to this dilemma. Theistic evolutionists like Hodge and Warfield may hold to orthodox confessions of faith and yet, interpret Genesis one and two in a figurative manner. The problem with this is profound as it is impossible to defend all the major doctrines of Scripture if Genesis history is not taken literally.

Genesis chapter one to eleven is foundational to the entire Bible, to faith in Christ and His redemption. Jesus and the apostles built their theology upon early Bible history taken as literal events. Just a few verses from Scripture will suffice in making this assertion. Jesus defended Genesis one history in creation and the institution of marriage (Matt. 19:3-9). Jesus defended Genesis three concerning Satan and his murderous lie (John 8:44). Jesus defended Genesis seven using its history as an analogy of future events (Matt. 24:37-41). The apostle Paul defended Genesis ten concerning Noah and his three sons (Acts 17:26). Paul defended a historical Adam and his fall teaching federal reprobation/redemption theology (Rom. 5:12-21). Paul defended Genesis one’s account of Adams creation with Eve coming from his rib (I Cor. 11:7-12). Paul defended Genesis three on Eve being deceived (I Tim. 2:12-15). The apostle Peter defended the history of the flood in Genesis seven (II Pet. 3:5.6).

Faith in the literal account of Genesis one to eleven as history is essential to orthodoxy. The New Testament links Jesus to Genesis history by way of creation and redemption. The inspired apostle John wrote the Word was in the beginning with God, and that all things were made through Him (John 1:1-3; Gen. 1:1). John linked Jesus to the creation of light and the creation of man (John 1:4,5; Gen. 1:2,3; 2:7). The inspired apostle Paul based his entire doctrine of creation, redemption, and the church on the person of Jesus Christ, relating Him to Genesis history (Col. 1:13-18; Rom. 4:17; Eph. 5:30-32). The writer of Hebrews framed his doctrine of faith upon the testimony of historical people found in Genesis one to eleven (Heb. 11:1-7). There is a strong case made from the New Testament that Genesis one to eleven is history. Therefore, it is a contradiction for someone to profess faith in the Biblical Jesus, while at the same time denying Biblical history.

In conclusion, Genesis one to eleven is history revealed in the inspired pages of Scripture. The apostle Paul said “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4). This includes the early chapters of Genesis. If early Bible history is not accepted as it is written there can be no foundation for anything else that follows in the Bible. The contradiction that Theistic evolutionists promote in denying a literal early Bible history is a compromise of the soundness of their claim to orthodoxy. It also compromises the soundness of the church’s witness to the world too. The church preaches a historical Jesus who accomplished a historical redemption for the people of God. Therefore, Christian faith is based on objective reality and not myth.

Advertisements
Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
%d bloggers like this: