Alice C. Linsley
Genesis matters because it presents the data which enables Biblical Anthropologists to reconstruct an accurate picture of Abraham's Kushite ancestors; their marriage and ascendancy pattern; their metaphysics, and their extensive kingdom building by which they spread the Proto-Gospel across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.
Why Genesis matters is the topic of a presentation to be given tomorrow at the Association of Christian Schools International conference in Lexington, Kentucky. I'm interested in what the presenter, Dr. Tommy Mitchell, will say. Here is the description of the session from the conference brochure:
• Explains why a literal acceptance of the book of Genesis from the pastor to the pew is foundational for the modern church to fulfill its mission of winning souls and raising up strong Christians.
Dr. Mitchell is affiliated with Answers in Genesis, founded by Ken Ham, a young-earth creationist and founder of the Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio.
I'm curious about what is meant by "literal acceptance" and why this is necessary for the "modern church" and not for the church in all ages?
Why Genesis matters might draw diverse responses, but probably most who attend will be on board with the young-earth creationism that Ham and Mitchell espouse. It is bad science because it ignores the human fossils dating to over 3 million years and human artifacts dating to over 100,000 years. It holds that God created things with the appearance of age. Occam's razor aside, one wonders why this proposition isn't found anywhere in the Bible. It is a very significant assertion and one which scientists would want to test, but of course, it is beyond proof. We are expected to take their word for it.
Young-earth creationist see Genesis as the battle ground between Bible-believing Christians and evolutionists. If evolutionary theory wins, it will undermine our children's confidence that Genesis is the word of God and reliable. This is a tempest in the Christian schools' teapot since evolutionary theory has won in the public schools, though it too is bad science, having no real physical evidence.
Others might say that Genesis matters because it is the foundation to the whole Bible and the basis for a "biblical worldview". Holding a biblical worldview hardly matters to most people today, so this too is a tempest in a teapot. There is also the question of whether the Evangelical representation of the biblical worldview is authentically biblical, but that's another topic.
The young-earth creationists' view is expressed in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth on page 454 where they state: We affirm that the genealogies in Genesis 5 and 11 are chronological, enabling us to arrive at an approximate date of creation of the whole universe.
One must ask what happened to the genealogy of Genesis 4? Genesis 4 and 5 have to be read as one because the Bible makes it clear that these rulers are the descendants of the brothers, Kain and Seth, whose lines intermarried. It is exactly here that we can verfiy that these rulers are historical persons since analysis of their kinship pattern reveals that the pattern remained unchanged from Genesis 4-5 to Joseph and Mary. That pattern involved each of these rulers having two wives living in separate settlements on a north-south axis. The first wife was a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The second wife, taken before the heir ascended to his father's or maternal grandfather's throne, was a patrilineal cousin or niece, as was Keturah to Abraham.
Genesis matters because Jesus Christ is the theme of the book. Ultimately, Genesis isn't about material or human origins. It is about the ancestors of Jesus Christ. This is evident in analysis of the Genesis genealogies. Of course, Jewish readers wouldn't agree with this view, but all Christians should be able to accept this.
Related reading: Between Biblical Literalism and Biblical Illiteracy; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; Abraham's Kushite Ancestors; Who Were the Kushites?