How important are the first three chapters of Genesis—the creation and fall accounts? Does it matter if we allegorize the text to allow for billions of years rather than read it as a straightforward narrative? Does it matter if we allow for death prior to Adam’s fall? There are many—even in the Reformed camp—who argue that these are trivial issues in comparison to getting the gospel right. And while that may sound persuasive, it’s actually a misleading argument.
Driving a wedge between soteriology (doctrine of salvation) and our view of creation creates a dichotomy when there should be a dependency. The good news of the gospel is only good because of the bad news recorded in Genesis—that sin and death are intrusions on what was God’s glorious and perfect creation.
Moreover, if we are allowed to take subjective liberties with the first three chapters of the Bible, what’s stopping us from doing it elsewhere? And then there’s the question of biblical perspicuity—or clarity. Has God spoken clearly about the origins of the universe and man or has He spoken to us in metaphors that modern science can decipher? The stakes are infinitely high when it comes to God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.
For that reason, Phil Johnson interviewed John MacArthur several years ago to discuss modern assaults on the veracity of the creation account in Genesis. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” they take aim at the supposedly Christian organization known as BioLogos.
“BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.” That’s their mission statement and it’s a clear agenda. In recent years they have labored tirelessly to bring Genesis into conformity with Darwinian evolution. They argue that the scientific data is simply too compelling to ignore and Scripture needs to fall into line.
In the interview, John doesn’t hold back in stating the seriousness of their crimes, and those of anyone else who dares to tamper with the plain meaning of Scripture:
Is there a more deadly, more devastating, a more destructive, a more ungodly act than to openly and purposely and publicly denounce the veracity of the Bible? Is there a worse crime? Is not that the crime of all crimes? Because if you can’t believe what the Bible says, all is lost. And if you think because you have a Ph.D. in microbiology that you are the judge of all the earth and you have a right to edit what God has revealed by His Holy Spirit, then we better run over to wherever you are and bow down, because we need to worship you since you’ve got it right and the writers of the Scriptures, though inspired by the Holy Spirit didn’t get it right. I mean, there is no more serious crime than that. That is the ultimate crime, is to attack the veracity of Holy Scripture at any point.
And listen, this is not because there are alternate readings of Genesis. Let’s get that straight. This is not because we have some kind of manuscript diversity of Genesis. This is not because we’ve got five different accounts of Genesis and they’re all over the place. No. The manuscripts that we have of Genesis are all in absolute agreement, uniformity. This is exactly what Moses wrote and said, “This is the Word of the Lord.” This is a firsthand, eyewitness account by the Creator Himself.
So I don’t know that there’s a more heinous crime than destroying people’s confidence in Scripture. And if you start tampering in Genesis 1 and 2, where can we trust this book?
We should never treat our interpretation of the biblical creation account as theological hair-splitting. In “Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster,” John MacArthur and Phil Johnson show us that the inerrancy, authority, and clarity of Scripture is at stake. They show how the truth of the gospel stands or falls on the truth of Genesis. And they compel us to take up arms in the war against God’s truth.
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