The Relevance of Genesis

4.20.2011 — 4 Comments

I have been a fan of Ken Ham, his speaking style (and voice), and what he continues to do through Answers in Genesis.

Recently AIG released a talk Ken gave entitled, “The Relevance of Genesis“.
In his talk (which is nearly 48minutes long), Ham reiterates the importance of the book Genesis as a core-understanding in the life of a Christian. He is right on target.

His main point, I think, is that we are free to (and many Christians choose to) believe that God could have created the world in millions of years instead of in 6-days or that God could have used evolution in the creation of man, and that such a belief does not necessarily effect our salvation, but that such a belief does undermine the relevance and authority of Scripture to generations to follow us.

Many of us know this to be true in the way Scripture has been interpreted and re-interpreted in our own lifetimes.

What do you think? Is a literal interpretation of Genesis (especially chapters 1-11) necessary to ensure Scripture’s authority for generations to come? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

One of the videos Ken Ham references in his talk is about the creation of canyons.

  • Jeremiah Clements

    I’d say, first, we have to define what it means to read Genesis “literally.” I’m more inclined away from Ham’s position because it seems to reduce how truth works in Scripture to a scientific equation. There are (I believe) problems reading the Creation account through that lens. Often the test question is “was the world created in six literal (i.e. 24 hour) days?” But our scientific standard of a 24 hour day is governed by the earth’s movement around the sun- which wasn’t spoken into existence by God until day three. Presumably God could have been working on a 24 hour cycle without the sun and applying the term “day” retroactively, but that seems like quite an exegetical hoop to jump through…

    • Jeremiah Clements

      whoops, sun is day 4- shouldn’t have relied on my memory!

  • Jason Butler

    I didn’t listen to Ham, but I think that Genesis has great relevance beyond a literal interpretation. Genesis’ purpose is not to be a scientific document in any way – but somehow American’s can’t get their scientifically minded brains to understand that something can be absolutely true without being literal. We can’t stand mystery. An evolutionary model (maybe not Darwinism per say) does not undermine the authority in Scripture in any way.

    Augustine argued (in the 4th century) that Genesis allows for “potencies” – or in other terms – God created things, i.e. seeds, water, land, etc – with the potential to develop into something further – Augustine even argued this for humanity. He even argued that there was a serious danger that Christian biblical exegesis could become locked into the scientific world of one specific generation and thus alienating it from later generations who would have a different understanding of science. (i.e. “the world is flat argument” by the church…”the earth is the center of the universe argument” by the church) Again – 4th century.

    I think we should realize that most of us are theologians – not scientists. And from that we should understand that we are not an expert in what we are not an expert in. Maybe we should listen to people like Alister McGrath, Denis Alexander, John Polkinghorne, Wown Gingerich, and Francis Collins – who give us an expert scientific relationship between evolutionary thought and Scripture.

    I would argue in the opposite – that our blindly and arrogantly dismissal of scientific explanation (which many Christians do when it comes to this topic) harms Scriptural authority and relevance for future generations much more than some holding to evolutionary theory (in some capacity) does. I think we should listen to Augustine here…

    • Stevan

      I wish I was smart-enough to respond to you, Jason! :) Good to hear from you!