The book of Genesis (meaning Origin; Birth) is one of the most attacked and misunderstood books of the Bible. In late 2014, Pope Francis reiterated the Catholic acceptance of the Big Bang theory when he said: “Reading Genesis, we imagine that God is ‘a wizard with a magic wand’ capable of doing all things, he said. ‘But it is not so.’
Catholicism officially consider the first 2 chapters of Genesis as “symbolic”. A Catholic priest explains why:
“The Church, then does not accept…the literal interpretation of the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis…When creation-science advocates ply their fundamentalist tools to this final scripture book [Revelation], the Church often becomes a target for vehement attack” (Edward, Daschbach, Visitor Oct 21, 1984, 3).
They allegorize the creation account in Genesis to prevent people from calling their church the “whore of Babylon.”
The book of Genesis covers a span of thousands of years involved from the time of creation to the time of Joseph’s death (about 1657 B.C) and it was completed by Moses about 1513 B.C. Some skeptics dismiss its contents as myths or fairytales and give several reasons for so doing.
An objection was that writing didn’t exist in Moses’ time, therefore he couldn’t have written the book of Genesis. A scholar points out that archaeological research gives solid proof that “the art of writing began in the earliest historical times known to man” (New Discoveries in Babylonia About Genesis, 1949, 35). Most modern scholars now agree that writing existed long before the time of Moses (2nd millenium BC).
In Exodus 17:14, God told Moses: “WRITE this as a memorial in the book”- proving that the art of writing was well known at the time. It also seems Adam had a way of recording things in writing in his time (Gen. 2:19).
Critics question where Moses obtained the information in Genesis. He received them by divine inspiration (2Pet 1:21). He also made frequent references to historical documents existing at the time. In ten places, we read “these are the generations of” (Gen 2:4, 5:1, 6:9, 10:1, 11:10, 27, 25:12, 19; 36:1,9, 37:2). The Hebrew word for “generations” also mean “origins” or “histories.”
Critics allege that the Genesis creation account was taken from Babylonian creation myths. One of these myths say Marduk, the chief god of Babylon, killed the goddess Tiamat and took her corpse “spilt her like a shellfish into two parts: Half of her he set up and ceiled it as sky.” This was how the earth and sky supposedly came to be.
It also says that human life came to existence when the gods caught a god called Kingu and “imposed on him his guilt and severed his blood (vessels). Out of his blood they fashioned mankind.” (James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts 1967, 67, 68) Most ancient myths contain absurd tales like these, yet none of them give us the history, genealogy and chronology that the book of Genesis give.
Bible prophets accepted the events of Genesis as real e.g destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Is 1:9, Am 4:11), and considered the persons mentioned in them as real persons e.g Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Mic 7:20). Jesus Christ also spoke of Adam and Eve as real people (Mt 19:3-6), so if the book of Genesis is unreliable or “myths”, so is the rest of the Bible and Christ is shown to be a deceived man (or liar) who took myths as truth. Any “church” that makes such a claim is devilish.
Furthermore, from Gen. 2:8-14, we learn a number of specifics about the garden of Eden. It was located in the eastern region and was watered by a river from 4 sources which were named. Two of the rivers mentioned (Euphrates and Tigris) still flow today. Even the lands they flowed through were mentioned. If Eden was a myth, we wouldn’t have these facts.
As for the other two rivers, we must remember that Moses wrote the Genesis account about 2,500 years after the events had occurred, thus, at the time, Eden was almost ancient history. That would make it impossible for these river landmarks to remain the same after dozens of centuries. Also, earthquakes and dynamic changes in the earth crust would have shifted the land courses.
It is argued that the idea of a body being created from dust or talking snakes are “fairytales” but modern science has shown that the human body consists of the same elements- Hydrogen, Oxygen, Carbon- that are found in the earth crust. Also, spirit beings can make animals talk e.g in Balaam’s case (Num 22:26-31). This is easier to believe than big bang.
It does matter what we believe about the book of Genesis. To reject it in favour of some silly theories, is to reject the reality of sin and death, the promise of the Messiah, the necessity of redemption and the institution of marriage.
Like an atheist wrote:
“Destroy Adam and Eve and original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God and take away the meaning of his death.” (Christian News, 96, 11)