Only Genesis:
Positive Elements of Creation

 
Ten positive elements may be identified in Genesis chapters 1-2, the order of creation. Only Genesis has a positive view of:

1. God’s Nature.
2. Communication.
3. Human Nature.
4. Human Freedom.
5. Hard Questions.
6. Human Sexuality.
7. The Scientific Method.
8. Verifiable History.
9. Covenantal Law.
10. The First Amendment.

1. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF GOD’S NATURE

God’s power is "the power to give."

That means his power is to do good and to give good things. Every act of God in the order of creation, Genesis 1-2, is designed for blessing man and woman who are the crown of his creation. There is no agenda for destruction.

Contrast the competing "gods" and "goddesses" apart from the God of the Bible. Their power is "the power to take and destroy." Witness the Greek and Roman pantheons and other mythologies where the gods engage in wars, murders, jealousies, sexual infidelities, combined with minimal concern for the human race. The assumption of sin from the beginning.

Scholars have compared the biblical order of creation with the Babylonian Genesis, also known as the Enuma Elish. Some argue the biblical text is based on the Babylonian text, but this is not the case. In the Enuma Elish, a god named Marduk kills the goddess Tiamat, and out of her dead body he creates the universe. Then Marduk kills another god, Kingu, and creates the human race from his blood in order to provide slaves to yet other gods. The story is based on "the power to take and destroy". The opposite of God’s "power to give" demonstrated in Genesis.

2. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF COMMUNICATION

God’s power for communication can be described as "the power to live in the light."

The first spoken words in the Bible record God saying: "Let there be light." In the Gospel of John, Jesus is described as the light. The Bible equals the word of God written, pointing people to the light of the Messiah.

God’s agenda toward men and women is to tell the truth. He speaks honestly about good and evil, about boundaries established for the good of mankind, about the destructive agendas of other "gods."

God is the author of truthful communication. In order to understand Him we must grasp the nature of His communication to us, which is the Bible.

3. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF HUMAN NATURE

Human beings are created in the image of God.

To be made in the image of God means we reflect the character of the good God who made us. We are more than animals in that we were created to have fellowship and communication with the Creator. Moreover, God gave authority for man to rule over the natural and animal kingdoms; he also commanded filling and subduing the earth through procreation and the building of communities. The image of God means we are made male and female and the physical body is good.

The positive qualities of God’s image can be summed up descriptively by the POSH L’s:

POSH Peace, Order, Stability and Hope
L’s to Live, to Love, to Laugh and to Learn

By design, human beings seek to fulfill these qualities in their lives. The question is how. On human terms? Or on God’s terms?

All these positives contrast with the destructive agendas of pagan gods, such as those in the Babylonian Genesis, where the highest definition of human nature is slavery.

Only the biblical worldview starts with good news (creation), descends into bad news (sin), and returns to good news (redemption). Other religious traditions assume bad news exists (sin) and offer false hope for escaping bad news. Why false hope? Because the solutions offered depart from the plan of the Creator of the universe. They depart from the Messiah promised in Genesis 3:15.

4. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF HUMAN FREEDOM

God’s definition of freedom is "the power of informed choice."

The first words addressed to a human being are found in Genesis 2:16: "And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free…’" God gave Adam freedom to eat from any tree in the garden. Then came the warning: "… but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’"

The passage describes the ethics of informed choice. God told Adam what was good and what was bad. He warned Adam about the consequence of bad choice, but did not force Adam into good choices.

Verse 16 contains the Hebrew phrase akol tokel: "in feasting you shall feast." Verse 17 includes the phrase moth tamuth: "in dying you shall die." Adam’s choice was simple. "In feasting you shall feast" or "in dying you shall die." Choose good or choose evil. Choose right or choose wrong. Feast or die. But God did not force the choice on Adam; He offered the ethics of informed choice.

What does it mean, "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil"? Simply, the knowledge of everything. Everything knowable is included under the opposite categories of good and evil. But only the uncreated Creator can understand evil without being corrupted by it. Man as a created being does not have the capacity to know evil without being destroyed by it.. As Genesis chapters 3-5 showed, eating the forbidden fruit separated Adam and Eve from relationship with God, and they later died a physical death as a consequence of their disobedience.

Other religions have a negative view of freedom. A classic example is the creed of earth-based religions: "An ye harm none, do what ye will." This is the Golden Rule in negative form. The word "harm" assumes harm exists -- the assumption of sin without a prior good creation. Jesus spoke the Golden Rule in positive form, reflecting his divine identity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

All religious origin texts, apart from Genesis, offer a negative view of human freedom. It is freedom from being violated. Not so the Bible. The biblical view is freedom for creativity. It is freedom for joyous choices within the good boundaries established by the good God of Creation.

5. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF HARD QUESTIONS

The "power to love hard questions" is fundamental to human nature.

This is implicit in the order of creation, as God commanded Adam and Eve to rule over the earth, to fill and subdue it. Thus the origin of human curiosity and inquisitiveness, which leads naturally to asking questions.

This reality is later made explicit. Consider the books of Job, Ecclesiastes and Psalms. Here are found some of the hardest questions in human experience. King David screamed his despair in Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

God invites people to shout their pain, to ask the questions that trouble their souls. In 1 Kings 10, the Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon with hard questions. After hearing the wisdom of his answers she praised Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Questions were central to Jesus’ teaching ministry, and he entertained them from all comers. To follow Jesus means following in his footsteps. It means being accountable to questions from anyone.

Therefore no one should run away from questions, for all the answers are found in God, the Scriptures and creation. In heaven yet to come, the redeemed of the Lord will have an eternity to explore the infinity of God’s goodness, to ask their toughest questions. All in fulfillment of Genesis 2:16: "in feasting you shall feast" -- forever.

6. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF HUMAN SEXUALITY

Genesis is the only religious origin text that views women with full dignity as moral equals with men.  It is the only text with a definition of sexuality preceding human brokenness.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27) "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them ‘man’." (Genesis 5:1-2)

The Hebrew word for "man" is adam. When God calls them "man," he is referring to male and female as a unit. Not only that, but He gives man and woman the power equally to rule over the works of his hands: "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it." (Genesis 1:28) There is no trampling of woman by man in the order of creation. Rather, there is moral and relational equality before God the Creator.

Pagan feminist theologians love Genesis 1:27. They also know Genesis is the only origin text that treats women with respect. Other texts, in their assumption of sin from the beginning, treat women as objects to be abused in one way or another

A central concern of pagan feminists is to diagnose the origin of male domination and violation of women. Here the doctrines of creation, sin and redemption provide the key. Simply put, the origin of male chauvinism came in Genesis chapter 3 with the Fall of Adam and Eve. The Bible records tremendous violation of women by men (and some of men by women), but as the result of sin in rebellion against God the Father. God’s intrinsic nature and power is "the power to give, to bless, and to benefit." In a sin-stained world, many men have chosen the opposite power, "the power to take," and have violated women emotionally, physically, and sexually.

The remedy is for men to renounce "the power to take" and to embrace "the power to give" toward all women. They should especially honor their wives with fidelity, sacrificial love, and with gratefulness for their unique capacity as women to bear babies.

"For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." (Genesis 2:24)

While the verse omits the word "marriage," it nonetheless provides the foundation for marriage and human sexuality. The reference to "father and mother" is noteworthy, for Adam and Eve as direct creations of God had no human parents. The text establishes – prior to the introduction of sin -- the covenant of marriage for the descendents of Adam and Eve.

Human sexuality in the order of creation is uniquely positive, and it is defined as one man, one woman, one lifetime.

7. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD

The Bible in the order of creation treats the sun, moon and stars as inanimate celestial objects.

Contrast other origin texts, where the sun, moon and stars are gods and goddesses that control human destiny. Pagan texts give the basis for astrology and superstitious fears. Genesis gives the basis for astronomy and science.

The Old Testament principle of falsification was built on this foundation, since a prophet of Israel had to be 100% accurate. If any one of his prophecies ever proved false, he was a false prophet entirely.

Combine the love of hard questions with the principle of falsification and what do you get? The scientific method. If a scientific hypothesis withstands every test thrown at it, confidence grows that it may be true universally. But if a test ever disproves it, the hypothesis must be discarded or reformulated. Like the standard of the Old Testament prophets, 100% accuracy is required of true science.

The Bible presents itself as an accurate revelation that can be trusted. Indeed, the Scriptures are the most thoroughly examined written texts on the face of the planet and they continue to hold up under scrutiny. For example, many biblical passages have been supported by archeological discoveries.

Jesus himself submitted to the principle of falsification. "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?" (John 8:46) "Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said ‘I am God’s Son’? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does." (John 10:36-37)

The Bible gives the basis for the scientific method, and anyone who claims biblical faith will embrace honest science in the name of truth.

8. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF VERIFIABLE HISTORY

The Bible on its own terms is concerned with accurate history from the beginning.

Note how Genesis 2:14 makes reference to two rivers that are known today: the Tigris and the Euphrates. The writer of Genesis used the rivers to locate the Garden of Eden, where God created the first man and woman. He assumed his readers could identify the exact location from the geographical markers given. Unlike other origin texts that begin with mythology and work forward to dimly recollected events, the Bible starts with concern for accurate geography and history from the very beginning.

I am a white man who for several years has driven Native American children to summer camp. I say to them, "Did you know that you and I are cousins?" They give me a quizzical look. "Yes, we’re cousins because we are all descended from Adam and Eve." This is the Bible’s view of history. We are one family -- white, black, brown, whatever our skin color, whatever our language or culture. Therein lies the greatest impetus for eliminating racism and classism on planet Earth.

Biblical genealogy corroborates the history, tracing the human lineage from Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, to Jesus. And then it works backward from Jesus to Adam. Why? Because Adam was considered just as real as Jesus was. And because the Messiah would descend from Adam to fulfill the prophesy of redemption in Genesis 3:15.

No pagan origin text even attempts to trace a known historical figure back to the first human beings. The Bible is unique.

In an age of spin-doctors and revisionists, the Bible concerns itself with real history.

9. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF COVENANTAL LAW

Only the God of the Bible makes faithful covenants, or promises with people.

"The major covenants of the Bible are the Adamic and Noahic covenants (applicable to all people); the Abrahamic, Mosaic and Davidic covenants (applicable to the Jews in preparation for the Messiah); and the New covenant of the Messiah (available to all people by design since the Garden of Eden)"; the final covenant yet to come is the eternal Kingdom of God.

In each covenant God establishes expectations, the promises to be received for fulfilling the expectations, and the consequences of rejecting them.

"The Adamic covenant means that all people were made in the image of God at the outset, to live the ethics of only Genesis. The Noahic covenant was established after the flood in a sin-broken world. The Abrahamic, Mosaic, and Davidic covenants were given at different periods in the history of theocratic Israel."

"The New or Messianic covenant community is a kingdom in exile, having no national territory, but awaiting the coming of the new heavens and new earth, to be ruled by King Jesus. As Israel preserved the messianic lineage through external laws, Christians preserve the proclamation of the Messiah through the internal sanctification of the Holy Spirit – the circumcision of the heart."

Contrast the pagan deities of other origin texts, who arbitrarily wield power for self-aggrandizement, who are embroiled in sin, and who ultimately show little or no concern for human beings.

(quotations in 9. above are from First the Gospel, Then Politics...)

10. ONLY GENESIS HAS A POSITIVE VIEW OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT

The First Amendment is based on the definition of freedom found in Genesis.

When God created Adam He gave him the freedom to accept or reject His standards. Thus the order of creation established a foundational principle. Namely, the freedom to reject God, which is manifest in different ways. People may create a human version of God. They may seek to become their own god. They may substitute an idol for God. Or they may disavow the existence of God.

The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances

The first freedom is freedom of religion. Without the security of religious liberty, no one is free to speak, print, assemble or seek redress for what he believes. They are all dependent on freedom of religion, consistent with the prior foundation of Only Genesis.

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