Summary: The purpose of this study is to strengthen your faith by understanding these Genesis passages that are often accused of being contradictory.
Genesis Controversies and Contradictions
Before we depart from the origin stories in Genesis, I believe it is necessary to address common questions and misunderstandings of this portion of the Bible. The book of Genesis is the most attacked book in the Old Testament if not the most attacked book in the Bible.
It is understandable that the beginning would be the focal point of critics. This is a foundational book and if it falls, so does Christianity. If Genesis is a myth or just a moral story, Christianity cannot stand. If we did not inherit sin from Adam, then we can’t all have an inherent sin nature and there is no need for a redeemer. If God did not create the family and ordain marriage, then our sense of morality is unfounded. Jesus used the union of Adam and Eve as the evidence of God’s purpose in creating human relationships, therefore, if this did not exist, Jesus was in error and His purpose and teachings are founded upon error. Every foundational issue of Christianity originates at the book of Genesis; values, morality, humanity and God’s plan of redemption. If Genesis is false, the Christian faith is built without a foundation. Then the skeptics would be right in their often declared questions, “Who are Christians to say what is right and what is wrong”. “Who are you to say Jesus is the only way to Heaven?”
The New Testament is founded upon the book of Genesis. There is a reason why the world is relentless in its determination to discredit the Bible’s claim of the beginning. If we acknowledge that God created man in His own image, then we are forced to acknowledge that God has a right to hold us accountable for how we reflect the image of the God who created us. There are many ways that critics attempt to discredit the Genesis account. Suppression of evidence is the primary tactic, but scripture is also attacked by false evidence, claims of contradictions and intimidation.
The Genesis account is rich with verifiable history, though we have to dig a little deeper to see the cohesiveness of this account. Obviously there is no way I can address every single question and remove every source of doubt. That is not my goal. My goal is to make those who refuse to believe swallow a camel while they are straining at gnats. A couple of years ago I was struggling with doubt as well. I my personal experience with Christ was unshakeable, but the constant barrage of negative attacks against the Bible left me without a feeling of confidence. I believe this is normal and even healthy if addressed in a healthy way. Many Christians will say that we shouldn’t question the Bible but have faith that it is accurate in every way. Whether this is a valid position to take, I don’t know. But I do know that I can’t take this position. How can I have confidence in God and His word if I feel like I am denying reality? What happens when I grow tired of pretending that everything is ok? Living a Christ-centered lifestyle is a hard enough challenge without adding the burden of doubt on top of it and then beating myself with guilt over my feelings of doubt. I believe there is a misunderstanding of what faith means. Samuel Clemens (AKA Mark Twain) once said, “Faith is believing something you know isn’t true”. I don’t know about you, but I can’t live under that kind of pressure. My Bible says that God is not the author of confusion. To try to marry false information with faith is nothing but confusion. What started my seeking was seeing an atheists rattle off a list of so-called facts that dispute the Bible and seeing a Christian respond by saying, “Are you going to believe the facts, or are you going to believe God?”
If God is not the author of confusion, why should we expect people to make such an absurd choice? Faith does not mean believing the impossible; faith is believing that nothing is impossible through Christ. God has given us evidence that supports faith. Because of this, we can be confident knowing if what is seen is true and does indeed validate the Bible, we can also have confidence that what cannot be seen will also be true as well. Unlike religions, our faith is built upon evidence. Claims the Bible put into print thousands of years ago are proving valid in this modern day. If anything, these prove beyond a doubt that scripture is not a moral storybook, but an accurate historical account that God has ordained for our spiritual application. The reason skeptics are believed and scripture is not is that there are few who boldly proclaim the camels and many who boldly proclaim the gnats. Because of this, the world is straining to see the gnats while ignorantly swallowing the camels. In my encounters I have found that both atheists and Christians are equally ignorant of the facts and often unwilling to apply themselves to find out the truth. The major difference is that atheists use big words and swelling arguments and are masters at stretching the facts and proclaiming their own intellectual abilities. What they lack in knowledge and understanding they more than make up for in proud assertions. Christians on the other hand feel intimidated by the proud boastings and keep silent or adopt the atheist’s argument. They either fall from the faith or try to marry the two with doctrines like ‘Theistic Evolution’ or deny the authorship of the Bible completely. Then we sit bewildered while wondering why the church has no power. Will God show Himself strong on behalf of those who don’t believe His word or compromise with those who are at war with God? The evidence is overwhelming, so there is no need for compromise. What God has revealed does not require faith, but instead we are commanded to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear”. Meekness does not mean to be timid. It means to proclaim the truth with gentleness of spirit.