The debate about Genesis 1-3 often centers on the age of the earth and whether or not evolution disproves the Bible’s account of creation. However, Genesis 1-3 provides rich theological and philosophical insight that all Christians should be aware of and use in evangelism. Here are four truth claims in Genesis 1-3 that will help you in your next evangelism discussion.
Genesis 1-3 Claims Metaphysical Truths
Metaphysics is the study of what is true about fundamental reality. Genesis’ opening line states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In context, Moses, the author of Genesis, is making the claim that there is not a multitude of gods who are responsible for transforming the formless, void, chaotic, earth into that which produces life, beauty and purpose. Rather there is only one God who is over all and ultimately responsible. Second, the opening line of Genesis begins to develop the idea that the creation of the heavens and earth has been done by a timeless, spaceless, powerful and personal creator. While the context is not making a robust, detailed, argument against naturalism or materialism, the implications of the text certainly warrant that conclusion.
When we look at the text of Genesis 1 these metaphysical claims come to light. Paired with our philosophical and scientific insights of today (kalam and contingency arguments) the metaphysical truths of Genesis 1 shines through and therefore, we need not shy away from appealing to the truth found in the text.
Genesis 1-3 Claims Epistemological Truths
Epistemology is the study of knowledge. The subject address questions like, “How do we know what we know? Can we know anything? What is truth?” On several occasions Genesis appeals to the existence of objective truth (truth that is outside opinions or feelings). God desires that humanity has dominion over the animals of the earth (Gen. 1:28) and allows Adam to name all the animals (Gen. 2:19). The text reveals that humans can know distinct differences between themselves and the animals in function and appearance. Furthermore, Adam could objectively know that there was a difference between himself and Eve in their metaphysical makeup.
Genesis reveals to us not only metaphysical claims about reality but also that humans can objectively know and identify these truths about things like the difference between humans and animals and the differences between males and females.
Such distinctions are vital to engaging society today as the lines of distinction are blurred because the claim to know anything objectively has been rejected by culture. Yet, even if the culture reject the idea that anything can be objectively known, Genesis clearly makes the claim to the knowability of objective truth.
Genesis 1-3 Claims Objective Moral Truths
While in the Garden humanity is given moral precepts by which to follow (Gen. 2:17) These moral obligations are derived from God and these moral facts can be known, followed, or disregarded by humanity. Therefore, given the text of Genesis, Christians can know that from the beginning objective moral facts (or divine commands) existed and have always existed. Moral values and duties are not beholden to changing opinions of humanity nor are they merely products of biology and environment. Furthermore, ignoring moral values and duties grounded in God have consequences. By examining this truth in the text of Genesis we can better understand the gravity of our cultural situation today. We live in a time where society desires to do what is right in each individual’s own opinion, denying the fundamental truths that objective morality exists and is grounded in God.
Genesis 1-3 Claims Theological Truths
Genesis 1-3 also claims that a number of theological truths exist. First, God is a personal God. During the writing of Genesis, the ancient Near East cultures believed that they were merely pawns in a divine chess game played by the gods. The gods only valued humanity as a means to their own personal end goals. Humanity obeyed the gods not because there was a personal love shared between the gods and humanity. Rather, humanity obeyed the gods so they could live and not have their entire home, family, or city-state destroyed.
Genesis 1-3 (and the whole book for that matter), radically departs from this narrative. Instead, God is a personal God who, like a master artist, has created a world full of beauty, purpose, and relationship. He has fashioned humanity to bear his image and walks alongside humanity as a partner to oversee creation. Even when the bond with humanity is broken, God initiates His plan to rescue humanity and restore the relationship through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Thus, God is not distant from humanity or annoyed by humanity; no, God is personally aware of and invests in a relationship with humans because they are the pinnacle of His creation.
While much more could be said, I hope you see the importance and impact of the claims made in Genesis 1-3. They are timely and timeless truths that can aid in our conversations with those trapped in the darkness of the culture. It is amazing to examine the text of Genesis 1-3 knowing that it claims metaphysical, epistemological, moral, and theological truths that help us answer questions about ourselves and God.