Why I believe in Genesis Chapter 1
I have a friend in California who has two passions when it comes to Bible study.
He loves eschatology which (according to Merriam-Webster) is “a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind.”
But he is even more passionate about how the world began. He’s a creation science buff. In truth, he’s more like a creation science fanatic.
So, there you have it. He is an alpha-omega man, a beginning and the end kind of guy. I tease him sometimes because there is a lot of content in the Bible between Genesis and Revelation!
But let’s think for a moment about Genesis, chapter 1.
It says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” and for the rest of the chapter it speaks of how God went about it. On the first day He created light, on the second day He created the firmament, and so forth.
Do we Christians really believe that God created the entire universe and everything in it in six days? I prefer to ask deeper and more fundamental questions that press into the very core of what we believe:
Do we Christians believe the Bible?
Do we believe in the inspiration of Scripture?
For that matter, do we believe in God?
There was a time in my life, back in college, when I genuinely struggled with these questions. Can we choose which parts of the Bible we believe and which parts we don’t believe? If so, what criteria do we use?
Some People Need Scientific Proof
When it comes to the creation of the earth, Bible critics generally choose science as the basic criteria. Evolution is a scientifically proven fact, they say, and therefore the creation story in Genesis 1 is false. Period. End of subject.
This is the kind of thinking that puts my friend in California on his creation science platform. He can lecture for hours on the failure of evolutionary theory and why the Bible is right. He teaches Sunday school and gets criticized for spending too much time promoting creation science.
Here’s his point about teaching so heavily on the subject. He says, “If you can’t believe the very first chapter of the Bible, then how can you believe the rest of the Bible?”
And there is the crux of the matter. I’ll repeat it.
“If you can’t believe the very first chapter of the Bible, then how can you believe the rest of the Bible?”
And so, my friend spends a lot of time explaining the evidence set forth by creation scientists.
When I refer to “creation scientists,” I’m not talking about fellow Christians who enjoy science as a hobby. I’m talking about brilliant men and women who have PhD’s from prestigious universities in the hard sciences: geology, biology and so forth. They are the only people we should be listening to if we don’t have our own PhD’s.
My friend chooses to use scientific arguments to prove his point that the Bible is true. This is because he loves science. Since the critics tend to use scientific arguments, he counters with scientific arguments.
However, examining science is not the only route to believing Genesis, chapter 1.
Other People Only Need Faith
Back in college, I didn’t (and still don’t) spend a lot of time trying to understand what the creation scientists had to say. It’s not that I think they are wrong or that what they say is not important. It’s just I don’t seem to be gifted with scientific genes. I’m simply not smart enough comprehend scientific arguments and I expect I never will be.
I am just a childlike believer in Jesus Christ. Whatever He teaches, I choose to believe.
For example, here is what Jesus taught about Jonah. Jesus said,
“An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Here Jesus is using the story of Jonah to make a larger point. But forget about the larger point for the moment. What did Jesus believe about Jonah?
Did Jesus leave any doubt about whether Jonah was living and breathing inside a fish for three days and nights? No.
Was it scientifically possible for Jonah to live inside a fish for three days and nights? No.
Does the Bible teach that Jonah was alive in the fish for three days and nights? Yes.
Do I believe that Jonah was alive in the fish for three days and nights? Yes. If Jesus believed it, why wouldn’t I?
Back in college, I came to the point where I simply believed in Jesus. If Jesus taught something, I believed it. If God wrote something, I believed it.
This was not an empty-headed decision. I can’t describe the intellectual struggle behind it. At the time it felt like I was committing intellectual suicide, but today I prefer to look back on it as a Kierkegaardian leap of faith.
I took the leap. My fundamental issue was TRUTH. I suddenly found myself believing in Jesus, the Bible, everything God has to say, and that included the creation story. Everything in the Bible teaches truth, God’s truth. I simply took it by faith.
After that, the scientific arguments became irrelevant to me.