Alice C. Linsley
Genesis is the battle ground over the questions surrounding creation. It has been co-opted by both Young Earth Fundamentalists and Radical Darwinians, yet Genesis is not really about the origins of biological life. It is about the origins of Messianic expectation among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors. It sets forth the pattern concerning the Divine King whereby Abraham's people would one day recognize Jesus as Messiah.
The Young Earth view hinges on assumptions about the Genesis "genealogies" used by Bishop Ussher to calculate the age of the universe. He did not understand that these are not genealogies. They are king lists, and their purpose is to tell us about Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors. They were the mighty men of old who spread out of Africa and established kingdoms across a vast expanse of the ancient world. They were not the first people on earth.
The Young Earth view is expressed in Coming to Grips with Genesis: Biblical Authority and the Age of the Earth on page 454: 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.
What happened to the Genesis 4 king list? Genesis 4 and 5 must be read as one unit as the lines of Cain and Seth intermarried. This is further supported by the fact that the Bible consistently portrays Cain as a ruler. By the time that Jude wrote his epistle (c. 68 AD) Cain was solidly established as the archetype of an earthly ruler. Jude warns those who might abandon Christ because of their suffering and false teachers that God punishes those who rebel against Him. He uses three men as examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest.
The rulers of Genesis 4 and 5 are confirmed as historical persons since analysis of their kinship pattern reveals an authentic marriage and ascendancy pattern. These rulers had 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 ruler ascended to the throne, was a patrilineal cousin, as was Keturah to Abraham.
Genesis matters because here we find the oldest king lists and evidence for the oldest priest caste.
Genesis matters because it presents the data which enables Biblical anthropologists to reconstruct an accurate picture of Abraham's ancestors; their marriage and ascendancy pattern; their ethics and metaphysics, and their extensive kingdom building by which they spread the Proto-Gospel across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.
Darwinians insist that all biological life has a common origin, but Genesis speaks instead of the de novo creation of essences ("kinds") that may change form or condition, but not morph into a different essence over vast periods of time. God uses mutation and adaption, for sure, but Christ is the ground of all life, and the unity of biological life is due to the fact that all things were created by and through Him. Genetic boundaries (horotely), and all other boundaries and directions, are fixed in Him.
Here we find the oldest layers of Biblical material. The context of this material is not Near Eastern. It is Nilo-Saharan and can be traced back to a time when the Sahara was wet. If we misrepresent this material, we misrepresent the entire message of the Bible.
Here we find clues as to the point of origin of the Divine Name YHWH. In following the Biblical clues we discover that the Shasu who are named on ancient Nubian monuments as devotees of YHWH are kin to Moses.
Genesis provides significant data for tracing the Kushite migration out of Africa. Here we find verification of the black populations in East Africa and Southern India mentioned by Homer (8th century BC). Homer alluded to the extensive empire and unity of the Saka and Sudra when he wrote, “a race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys.”
We also find clues for tracing the migrations of Abraham's Ainu ancestors to places as distant as Japan and Eastern Canada. The Biblical information has made it possible for Biblical anthropologists to make these connections.
Genesis matters because it is fundamental for developing a Biblical worldview and the ability to discern truth from falsehood. That worldview is essentially binary and never dualistic. It maintains a clear distinction between God and Man, between Heaven and Earth, between Good and Evil and between male and female.
Genesis matters because Jesus Christ is the theme of the book. Ultimately, Genesis is about the Divine Son and his ancestors to whom the promise was first given that a "Woman" of their ruler-priest lines would bring forth the "Seed" of God (Gen. 3:15).
Related reading: The Battle Over Genesis; Biblical Anthropology and the Question of Common Ancestry; YEC Dogma is NOT Biblical; Ethics and Archaic Communities; Between Biblical Literalism and Biblical Illiteracy; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology; Abraham's Kushite Ancestors; Who Were the Kushites?; A Scientific Timeline of Genesis