Bruce Jones – Is Genesis 1-11 Historical and Accurate?
Written by Teddy on July 30, 2016
Part Twelve – “So How Old is the Earth – Genesis 4-5”
In 1650, James Ussher, the Archbishop of Ireland, came up with a detailed timeline for all of the events in the Bible, going all the way back to the creation of man and the universe. According to Ussher’s chronology, Adam and Eve were created in the year 4004 BC. In order to date backwards from Abraham to Adam and Eve, Ussher made use of the genealogies given in Genesis 5 and 11. A critical assumption that he made in his interpretation was that these two genealogies were complete (that is, that they contained no gaps or missing names). Since then many conservative young earther’s have agreed or stretched the time line to six thousand years and maybe a few at the most to ten thousand years. And of course this is based on the consistent hermeneutic that the Bible should be taken in its most plain and literal sense, unless there is some contextual or comparative reason not to. So how do those in the PC camp view this?
Some simply say these verses are really not historical! To which we reply that Genesis 1-11 is in fact history not (a) poetry, (b) parable, (c) prophetic vision, or (d) mythology, Now believe it or not there are those who want to equate these verses (as in all Genesis 1-11} to being Mesopotamian myths which is a direct contradiction of the Bible. And some of their apologetics are made to fit an old earth paradigm by which the age of man has to be longer than 6000 years. Now in regards to other biblical genealogies what can we learn from them? Well first of we are again confirmed in that there was a literal Adam who was the first man as we see here in Genesis 4 which begins by saying “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord” “And she again bare his brother Abel” And we all know the story that Cain killed Abel so thereafter ‘Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew”. There are four verses in the New Testament that refer to Cain and Abel as historical persons and Jesus alluding to the murder of Abel in John eight says “the devil, was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth”.
Now of course there are many other genealogies in the Bible such as for David and also for Jesus himself in Luke 3 which going backwards from Joseph his legal father stops at Adam, the son of God. That includes verses 35 and 37 which have a few from the list here in Genesis. So despite the oft repeated attempts to undermine the historical narrative as being true by referring to science or sometimes literary criticism, Jesus and several other inspired authors of the Bible confirm the list is historical. It starts off in Genesis 5:2 saying it is a book of the generations of Adam.” Now this exact phrase. These are “the generations,” means the “history.” “The book of the generations,” means a family register, or history of Adam as it also refers in Genesis 37:2 to ‘the records of the generation of Jacob.” Then before that in Genesis 11:27 we read of “the records (which means its more than oral tradition) of “the father of Abraham “ And then before that we read in Genesis 6:9 a very straightforward: comment that “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” In fact throughout the book of Genesis we find the phrase ‘records of the generations” used ten times: (1) Genesis 5:1 (2) Genesis 6:9 (3) Genesis 10:1 (3) Genesis 10:32 (4) Genesis 11:10 (5) Genesis 10:32 (6) Genesis 11:27 (7) Genesis 25:12 (8) Genesis 25:19 (9) Genesis 36:1, 9 (10) Genesis 37:2. Now let me put it this way. If it was good enough for Noah, Noah’s sons, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be acceptable as real historical and accurate history, then why change the rules for the earlier record? Unless of course the comparing of Scripture with other Scriptures is not the over-riding hermeneutic but again Science-so-called trumps it.
Another dimension of this argument is the fact that specific years of life span are used consistently for the characters in the line-up and all of them fit the pre flood conditions, unless of course a universal flood is assumed as progressive creationists to be local. So here are the life spans of the main characters in Genesis 5. (1) Adam lived to be 930 years old. Then as God had predicted “he died” (2) Seth his son lived to be 912 years old. Then “he died”. (3) Enos lived to be 905 years old and then “he died” (4) Cainan lived to be 910 years Then “he died.” (6) Jared lived to be 962 years old. “He died.” (7) Enoch, whom we will discuss separately only lived to be 365 years old and then the text says “God took him:” and he didn’t die. (8) Methuselah lived to be 969 years old, then “he died” the longest living one among them all. (9) Lamech lived 777 years and then “he died” And (10) Finally there is Noah who is said to be 500 years old before bearing three sons that sets the stage for the universal flood in chapters 6-9. Please note that I Chronicles 1:1-4 confirms this record showing Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, and the sons of Noah’ were in the original cast of characters as does Luke 3:36-38.: Now adding them all up and considering they also over-lap, adds up to just 1656 years from the creation of Adam (as we have is said from the beginning) to the flood. Noah who’s called “the preacher of righteousness” in in the time of “the old world” in 2 Peter 2:5 (which underscores a universal flood) which then affirms the historical record again. So the text in the most natural way, comparing scripture with scripture you can rest confident that man is only been around 6000 years.
Now an interesting insight into the accurate historical account of Genesis 5 is found in a closer study of Enoch. The text says he (as later Noah) “walked with God” As a result in his case,”God took him” (Genesis 5:24). Hebrews 11; 5 expands on the text saying “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death (another confirmation on the historical accuracy if the text) and as a result “was not found because God translated him” Then the New Testament tells us he was also a prophet. In Jude 14-15 we read “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him” Now aside from my conviction that Enoch is a type of the Church raptured before the Great Tribulation and the second coming of Christ, his prophecy in order to have any contemporary application appears to have alluded to the flood intended to judge everyone. The text also confirms the historical accuracy of Genesis 5 again and recorded history “from the beginning” when Adam was created until Noah and the flood. Another interesting text is about Enoch’s son named Methuselah the oldest man to live at that time whose name is translated “When he dies is shall be sent” and a reasonable explanation is this refers to the judgment to come as prophesied by Enoch regarding the judgment of the flood. And let the record show that right after Methuselah died that the flood came. Meanwhile then and today, despite evil and increasing lawlessness God “was longsuffering” (1 Peter 3:9 and 2 Peter 3:20).
That brings us to the final attack on this interpretation as their leading proponent says ‘The genealogies in the Bible are not tight, but contain gaps i.e. missing generations” . Well I hope I have proven thus far from several perspectives that the record of the generations from Adam until Noah is totally consistent with other biblical genealogies and confirmed more than once by comparing scripture with scripture. There are no gaps in the record and the only reason this pre-supposition is forced upon the text is to justify the claims of Progressive Creationism which is eisegesis, not exegesis. To be technical, I would note there are three sets of manuscripts that have translated the Old Testament first five books called the Pentateuch. First is the (a) Samaritan Pentateuch which is the least reliable (b) The Septuagint which was a Greek translation of the text and often quoted by Jesus, 64 times to be exact. (c) And then finally the Masoretic text used by Modern Jewish Bibles and if I recall my seminary training when they finished transcribing a portion of scripture they would go back and count the letters and if they were not in agreement they started all over again. But they all agreed that the creation was at that time only thousands of years old, based on the chronology without any hint of gaps. Yes there are some genealogies which have gaps but the text in context does demonstrate that. And it is totally arbitrary to find those examples and super-impose them on the Genesis record to suit their pre-suppositions. Back next week with more.