Genesis Chapters 1 - 11

This page is an attempt at a summary of some of the issues that may challenge Christians living in mainly evolutionary, atheistic and secular cultures when they consider particularly the early chapters of Genesis.

It is recognised that the early chapters of Genesis present a world history which is significantly different from that presented in most secular, scientific and educational circles and the media. It is hoped that some of the comments may offer some help and encouragement to remain confident in what the Bible says and not to be influenced away from the Bible by the thinking that is widespread in our secular culture.

Investigating these issues in detail and from a comprehensive scientific background is well beyond the scope of this page, not to mention beyond our knowledge and understanding. This page is intended just to highlight the main aspects for consideration and then we also mention some external resources to which the reader may refer for further research into subjects of interest.

Creation, the Flood and other issues from Genesis chapters 1-11

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Please click on the following links to go to each section.

1. The Wider Issues

The first 11 chapters of Genesis (covering largely the creation of heaven and earth and the universal flood) present a history of the world which is substantially different from that generally taught and adopted in 'scientific communities' and most countries and cultures in our age. This can and does cause problems for many Christians. Alternative scripture interpretations have been suggested in attempts to resolve some differences (e.g. theistic evolution, gap theory) but perhaps more commonly the issues are often ignored.

Although much of the debate is focussed on creation and evolution the "problem" (if it is a problem) is not confined to this issue. The generally taught culture is also in opposition to many other statements in the Bible including such aspects such as, for example:

There is further disagreement over many historical details in the Bible concerning the nation of Israel, despite archaeological findings which support the Bible history in many cases.

There are also many other notable occasions recorded in the Bible which are not explainable by conventional science including, a small selection for example:

In other words, even if the Genesis account of creation and the flood could be harmonised in some way with evolutionary view of origins in today's culture - or dismissed as actual history by treating it as allegorical, that is not a sufficient solution. There are plenty of other things in the Bible which also cannot be harmonised with evolutionary origins. The existence and actions of God as recorded in the Bible remain beyond the acceptance of any who have not yet known faith and belief in Jesus Christ.

To return to the issue of creation we must also remember that reference to creation by God is not confined to the early chapters of Genesis but is spread right through the entire Bible. Both Old and New Testaments claim that the God is the creator in many verses. Jesus himself also makes reference to creation and the flood. In addition the light that the New Testament brings on creation is that it was actually Jesus himself who performed the act of creation. Combining this with Genesis 1:1,2 we see that the Bible is saying God created the heavens and the earth but that actually God the Son (Jesus) executed the act of creation, under the will and authority of God the Father, and in the power and wisdom of God the Holy Spirit.

In summary, there are many points of conflict between Christian theology (i.e. the Bible) and the general culture which we are exposed to day to day. Attempts to harmonize aspects of the Bible with the present (generally atheistic) scientific and secular culture usually require treating Bible history as allegorical, spiritualising it or adapting the meaning of certain words. Those who do not believe in God inevitably must look to an alternative explanation of origins and this alternative is evolution. The question is for the Christian to be clear on what he or she believes.

2. The issues from Genesis Chapters 1-11

The key issues presented in Genesis chapters 1-11, some of which may challenge the belief of the Christian, are briefly listed below:

Issues which arise from scientific considerations which also need to be considered in the light of Genesis 1-11 include:

3. The Temptation

In Genesis, the Bible presents the original creation as "good" and also "very good". The meaning of this is that the creation was working as designed, in complete harmony and co-operation with itself and God. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sinned this harmony was lost and the consequences included death, hostility, pain, toil, and other evidences that the creation is no longer completely "good" like thorns on plants. The consequences of sin for man, the animal and plant kingdoms and the whole creation are far more extensive than we often realise. The gospel message is that Jesus has come to reverse this "curse" upon creation and make everything good again. If everything was not originally good then this makes a nonsense of the gospel itself. Colossians 1:20 says that Jesus will reconcile all things to himself by him, whether things on the earth or things in the heavens. This means that his death will reconcile man back to God, man to his fellow man, all creation to man and God, and even reconcile earth to heaven. This is a restoration of harmony between God and creation which existed before sin. God did not create sin!

Adam and Eve, the first people, were created with the capacity for independent choice; they were not robots. Sin came when they chose to disobey God. In fact their sin was really to disbelieve God or effectively call him a liar. This was not a matter of diet: it was a denial of the good character of God. God is the source of truth, righteousness, light and life but Adam and Eve believed a talking snake rather than God.

The story may seem hard to visualise today but we must remember this is God's record of how sin came into the world. It has taken the immense sufferring and death of God's Son including even a breakdown in the Trinity on the cross to overcome sin and death in the creation.

It is to human shame that Adam and Eve failed but no man or woman that has lived since can say that they have not doubted God's word. If we don't believe what God has said we are repeating Adam and Eve's error.

We are not given all the details we might like concerning the temptation. But with some speculation and with Job chapters 1 and 2 in mind it does seem possible that Satan asked God for permission to tempt Adam and Eve. Perhaps a proviso in such permission was that Satan should appear in the form of a serpent rather than a mighty angel to reduce the force of the temptation to that which could and should have been overcome.

4. Is Evolution really a credible explanation of origins?

When challenged over the Bible creation account it is useful to consider whether the alternative evolutionary explanation of origins is any more believable or even scientific?

5. Bible Verses about Creation and the Flood

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God's Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw the light, and saw that it was good. God divided the light from the darkness.
Genesis 1:1,2,3

The flood was forty days on the earth. The waters increased, and lifted up the ship, and it was lifted up above the earth. The waters rose, and increased greatly on the earth; and the ship floated on the surface of the waters. The waters rose very high on the earth. All the high mountains that were under the whole sky were covered. The waters rose fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. All flesh died that moved on the earth, including birds, livestock, animals, every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, and every man.
Genesis 7:17-21

Haven't you known? Haven't you heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't faint. He isn't weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:28

I have made the earth, and created man on it. I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens. I have commanded all their army.
Isaiah 45:12

Before the mountains were born, before you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.
Psalm 90:2

For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.
Psalm 96:5

Of old, you laid the foundation of the earth. The heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will endure. Yes, all of them will wear out like a garment. You will change them like a cloak, and they will be changed.
Psalm 102:25,26

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding. Who determined its measures, if you know? Or who stretched the line on it? What were its foundations fastened on? Or who laid its cornerstone."
Job 38:4,5,6

Seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name.
Amos 5:8

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.
Mark 10:6 (Jesus speaking)

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But no one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. "As the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Matthew 24:35-39 (Jesus speaking)

Therefore also the wisdom of God said, I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute, that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation.
Luke 11:49,50 (Jesus speaking)

All things were made through him. Without him, nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:3

For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity, that they may be without excuse.
Romans 1:20

By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.
Hebrews 11:3

6. Does the Genesis Creation account contradict Science?

Here are some issues which show consistency between Genesis Chapters 1-11 and experimental science.

7. Gospel Considerations

Setting aside any scientific considerations we may also remember that Jesus took a human body when he was born into this world and although Divine, after his death received a new resurrection body with a similar human appearance and he still appears in this form of a man for evermore. Jesus took human form and was the perfect man created in the image of God; the concept that humanity might be continually evolving rather than originally good and now fallen is incompatible with the gospel.

Another gospel implication with evolution is that it requires death to be present from the beginning. The Bible claims death is the result of human sin, so evolution is completely inconsistent with this claim.

8. Dinosaurs and the Age of the Earth

From a Bible perspective, dinosaurs are land animals and therefore the Bible says that they were created along with man on the sixth day of creation. So this places dinosaurs and man together. Although this is completely against the general secular opinion and at first may seem very strange the following considerations are relevant:

9. The Flood

By just 10 generations after Adam, despite the Holy Spirit working for righteousness, sin had so multiplied that almost the whole earth was corrupt and violent. Only Noah and his family had remained faithful to God. Things were so bad and it grieved God so much that he almost regretted even making man. God decides to make a new start and demonstrating his judgment against sin but also his mercy, he plans to send a flood upon the whole earth but save Noah and his family and representative animals so the earth could be repopulated. God gave mankind warning that the flood would come after 120 years so there was plenty of time for repentance. But it seems none did repent and they continued in rebellion against God. Whatever was the exact geography, climatic and atmospheric conditions before the flood we read that it rained for 40 days and underground water reservoirs were broken up releasing their contents. The flood is a picture of Gods judgement against sin and the ark is a picture of salvation. We have no justification to say these are pictures only. They are as real as future judgement and the gospel of Christ. If we deny a real flood we might as well deny a real future judgement since this will be a direct parallel.

10. References

There are many useful and much more comprehensive resources concerning creation and evolution issues etc. available online. The reader is encouraged to use such resources to investigate further. The following sites have extensive information on many of the isues raised on this page and many other issues too.