When you take away the literal historical meaning of Genesis 1-11, much more is lost than only the truth of God’s creating in six days and his destroying the wicked world that then was with a flood. One of the most important things that has been lost along the way or is in the process of being stifled is the historicity of Adam. With the removal of Adam comes the inevitable destruction of many basics of the Christian faith.
I recently attended a lecture at Cornerstone University’s seminary (Grand Rapids Theological Seminary) given by John Walton, a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. Walton is a post-modern higher critic. He says Paul (and therefore we) could not possibly have understood what Moses wrote in Genesis. He makes the claim that Paul completely misinterpreted the story. He bases this assumption on what he calls the Israelites’ cosmic geography or basically, “how they saw it.” Walton says that God through Moses used language that only the Israelites would understand, therefore neither Paul, nor you and I could possibly understand what he was talking about. Walton posits that because it was a completely different time and culture, the creation account in Genesis is not what it appears to be. Obviously Walton holds to some idea of inspiration, because he states that God used Moses. What about Paul then? He wasn’t inspired by the Holy Spirit? Walton not only has a skewed view of Paul’s Spirit-driven interpretation, but also he says that in the beginning God did not create anything material; he merely took control of the disorganization and created functions (nothing material) such as time. Apparently the church has been wrong about this for thousands of years. Who knew? Walton parallels the account in Genesis 1 and 2 to the construction of a house. He says God did not build the house, he merely made it a home when he “moved in” and “took control” by creating function. He says the cosmos is “sacred space” and God “moved in” on the seventh day, which was the goal of his taking control of chaos. This is a clear denial of the sovereignty of God’s creative hand. God created all things and he still controls all the events that occur. He didn’t take control, he always was in control.
With Walton’s denial of material creation in Genesis 1, he removes the possibility of a historical creation of Adam and merely designates him as the first person whom God adopted. He states (truthfully) that verses like, “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Eccles. 3:20) don’t imply that each of us as individuals was created from dust, but that we are all of this earth. He wrongly takes this a step further and says that since God did not create each of us from the dust, therefore Adam as our archetype (representative) couldn’t have been created out of the dust of the earth.
If you go down this wrong road, the question then must be asked: When was man created? Walton doesn’t really take a stance on this. Although he says he doesn’t agree that it was evolution, he says he is open to it. He does not provide a straight answer to what and when the “real” origin of mankind was; he mostly just raises questions and stirs the pot. If this isn’t post-modernism, then I don’t know what is.
Walton lets ancient near eastern culture influence his view of Scripture. This is not surprising when we live in the age when many claim the name of Christian but do not live by Scripture. They quickly shove aside Scripture in order to make room for what some ancient document or modern scholar has to say. What ever happened to validating all things in the light of Scripture? The apostle John sounds a clear warning about those who like Walton would have us believe something other than what is taught in Scripture. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partake of his evil deeds” (2 John 9–11). The Belgic Confession also addresses John Walton’s higher criticism in comparing ancient near eastern texts to Scripture.
We believe that those Holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein…it is unlawful for any one, though an apostle, to teach otherwise than we are now taught in the Holy Scriptures. [Walton would agree with this, but his understanding of what is taught in Scripture is wrong] Neither do we consider of equal value any writing of men, however holy these men may have been, with those divine Scriptures, nor ought we to consider custom, or the great multitude, or antiquity [Walton’s ancient near eastern texts]…as of equal value with the truth of God, for the truth is above all. (Belgic Confession, Article 7)
To sum up Walton’s teachings, we see he stresses that Scripture is unclear and inconsistent on most things because it was written for us but not directly to us. This is why he throws Paul’s inspired (as we see it) interpretation of the connection between Adam and Christ out the window. We insist that Scripture is entirely consistent with itself: Scripture interprets Scripture. We are convicted of this because the Holy Spirit is the author of the entire canon of Scripture.
Salvation does not make sense without Adam
Let’s refresh our minds regarding the creation and fall of Adam and its effects on all mankind. Adam was created as the first man by God on the sixth day. Adam was created in the image of God, that is, he actually possessed some of the virtues of God. “Man was originally formed after the image of God. His understanding was adorned with a true and saving knowledge of his Creator and of spiritual things; his heart and will were upright; all his affections pure; and the whole man was holy” (Canons III/IV, Article 1).
When Adam sinned, he sinned on behalf of all mankind. Man by way of Adam lost the image of God but still had “glimmerings of natural light, whereby he retains some knowledge of God, of natural things, and of the differences between good and evil, and discovers some regard for virtue, good order in society, and for maintaining an orderly external deportment” (Canons III/IV, Article 4). As children of fallen Adam our lives are to be a continual putting off of the old man and a putting on of the new man, the restoration of the image of God in us. Ephesians 4:22–24 sets before us this relation between the image of God and sanctification: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Because of our fallen nature we are wholly incapable of doing this and therefore must seek for our salvation outside of ourselves. This is where Christ comes into the picture as the second Adam. Now in your mind take away everything you have just read: Adam as a created person with the image of God who fell from his glorious state and stands in the need of redemption. If there was no historical, created Adam, there is no need for salvation in Christ. Many in the name of Christianity are rejecting the reality of an historical, created man called Adam. They claim to do this without removing Christ from the picture. It doesn’t work like that. Christ is the answer to Adam’s (elect man’s) inability to pay for his sins. Remember that when Adam and Eve sinned, they sewed fig leaves in an attempt to cover their nakedness, because they were ashamed. These vain coverings were not enough. After God talked with them about their sin, he provided them with animal skins. Two important points must be made here. First, God provided them with animal skins for clothing. This shows that blood needed to be shed so that payment could be made for their sins. Second, God provided them with animal skins. God was showing Adam and Eve and all mankind after them that in his justice payment must be made for sin, and only he can provide the means to remove the debt we pile up with our sins. He accomplished this on the cross through the death of his Son. Deny the first man Adam and you subsequently deny the second Adam, Christ. Adam sinned on behalf of the rest of mankind after him, but Christ came on behalf of God’s chosen elect as payment for all their sin. The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul in Romans 5 makes a clear parallel between Adam and Christ. You would do well to read the chapter in its entirety as we will quote only a few verses here.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (v. 12)…But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many (v. 15)…Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life (v. 18). For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous (v. 19).
Evolutionism destroys the sanctity of marriage
Marriage is a creation ordinance given to us in Genesis 2: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (v. 18). God created woman as a help fit for man because none of the animals Adam had named were “meet for him” (v. 20). So God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam and took a rib from him and formed a woman. God did not take a part from his foot so that men may now trample on women. God did not take a part from his head so that now the woman turns the man wherever she pleases. God took a rib, close to man’s heart. A wife is close to a man’s heart. He loves her and cares for her and leads her with the authority given by God.
Removal of the truth of this chapter has destroyed the sanctity of marriage. Men do not care for their wives as they ought. Tentacles of the feminist movement turn wives against their husbands. Marriage is not for one male and one female anymore, but homosexual couplings are recognized as marriage, even in the mind of some who claim to be a part of the church. The Lord said, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife” (v. 24), not his husband.
If you are going to promote an idea such as evolutionism, as the theistic evolutionist does, then why believe in God at all? Why worship God if he is not the Creator (Isaiah 40:28)? Why worship God if he is not “the most high over all the earth (Psalm 83:18)? Why would anyone worship a God who is not Most High? Those who hold to the world view of evolutionism do not abide in the doctrine of Christ and do not have God (2 John 9). They do not worship God, they worship man: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:21–23).
With a belief in the world view of evolutionism comes utter destruction of the gospel. With evolutionism comes the removal of the first man Adam. The result of this is the destruction of the creation ordinance of marriage. With the destruction of the ordinance of marriage comes the rampant divorce and remarriage and sexual immorality we see in today’s society. With the annihilation of the marriage ordinance also comes the homosexual movement. With the removal of the marriage ordinance comes denial of the headship of man in the feminist movement. With the removal of Adam comes the removal of original sin and guilt of all mankind. In the end there is no need for Christ to come and make payment for sin, so he is treated as irrelevant as well. And at this point we have reached something that is not Christianity at all. This is the bitter fruit of evolutionism.