Examining the theological teachings of Genesis 1 first demands an acceptance of the Holy Bible as the one authoritative source of God’s revelation about Himself.  As God’s own revelation, it must be accepted that God’s Word must be accepted as absolutely true, infallible and worthy of deep study.  The Word of God, itself, states that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).  “Inspiration” means that “all scripture” is God breathed, which gives an image of God Almighty actually speaking among mankind.

 …it  should become evident that Genesis 1 tells us that these doctrines are not only false, but severely detrimental to the foundational teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It must also be pointed out that the revelation of God is sovereign and supreme.  In fact, the scripture goes so far as to say “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).  When Psalms 119:160 further states “Thy word is true from the beginning,” it should be clear that this revelation of God can be trusted and relied on as absolute truth.

The aim of this paper will be to investigate how the first chapter of Genesis addresses the issues of atheism, polytheism, materialism and evolution.  Each of these movements and teachings will be briefly described, then contrasted to the light of God’s Word.  Through this investigation, it should become evident that Genesis 1 tells us that these doctrines are not only false, but severely detrimental to the foundational teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Atheism is a belief system that teaches that there is no God.  Not only do atheists claim that the Judeo-Christian God does not exist, but none of the gods in other beliefs of the world exist.  It is interesting to note that while atheists reject belief in God, and often claim to abhor faith, trust and belief, they do not seem to realize that their claim that God does not exist is actually a faith proposition in the first place!  Another argument regarding atheism is made by atheist John Jay saying, “I very concisely remarked that if there was no God there could be no moral obligations, and I did not see how society could subsist without them!”

It seems that atheism has had a rather long history, as it is mentioned as far back at the works of old-world historians Philo and Josephus.  The modern atheist seems to enjoy considering himself to be a free thinker, one who is wise and not persuaded by the opiate of the masses, which is religion.

The first address in opposition of atheism in Genesis 1 comes at the very beginning of the Word of God:  “In the beginning, God…” says Genesis 1:1.  While there are many excellent volumes that have been written through the years discussing the existence of God by such men as Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel, no single book or no collection of books can make the definitive, dogmatic, authoritative statement as the first verse of the Word of God.  It makes no apologies for offending the atheist, nor does it set out to prove His existence.  Genesis 1:1 boldly assumes that God exists and that there is no debate on the issue.  What an absolutely powerful foundational statement this verse makes!

Throughout the first chapter of Genesis, the account is given of the Lord’s act of creation, showing His own design, work and providence.  In fact, The Moody Handbook of Theology states, “The creation account is a denial of any form of evolution—atheistic, theistic, or threshold.”

Not only is all creation the special revelation of God of His existence, God’s remarkable creation of man is another evidence of God and who He is.  Genesis 1:27 tells us “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”  Wesley explains that in being created in God’s image, man was given an eternal soul, he was given authority and government of the creatures.  He goes on to assert that God’s image upon man consists in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness.  Moody further expresses that man was made in God’s image in that he has God’s spiritual, natural and moral likeness.  In any case, if man is truly created to resemble all these attributes, it would be nearly impossible that he would have spiritual and moral attributes if he were not created by Almighty God!

The Holy Bible, itself, proclaims that to declare that there is no such thing as God is folly.  Twice in the book of Psalm (14:1 and 53:1) it states, The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.”  In at least nine other places in the Bible, the assertion is made that there is no other God (Deuteronomy 32:3; 1 Kings 8:23; 2 Kings 5:15; 2 Chronicles 6:14; Isaiah 44:6, 8; 45:5, 14, 21).  And let us not forget that the word “god” is used nearly 4,700 times in His Holy Word.  Certainly this evidence presents a powerful statement of the glorious declaration of God’s own revelation about Himself!

Polytheism is a more honest belief system than atheism in that the polytheist is at least honest enough to claim belief in a god, but the polytheist’s problem is that he believes in many gods, or even perhaps many different religions or belief systems.  Evidence of polytheism nowadays is revealed in part by the popular notion that “all paths lead to God.”  That Christianity is a monotheistic religion is one of the foundations of the faith, but it is tempered in believing that God is a triune being, or three persons in one God.

First, the Holy Scriptures are clear that there is only one God, and not many gods which we are to worship and glorify.  Genesis 1 declares that God created the heavens and the earth, and not that there were a number of Gods involved in creation.  Genesis 1 mentions God in 26 of the 31 verses in that chapter, while ignoring the notion of many Gods creating the universe.  Further in the Old Testament, in Hosea 13:4, God Himself says, “I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”   And the New Testament is in agreement with the Old Testament.  James 2:19 advises, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well…”

The Word of God not only teaches that there is one God, but it reveals that God exists in three separate persons, otherwise referred to as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  This very doctrine can be seen in the Hebrew word for God as it is translated in this chapter.  This Jewish word is elohim.  It is interesting to note that while “god” in the English is a singular noun, elohim in Hebrew can be either singular or plural.

Digging deeper into the creation account, an English grammatical error can be seen in Genesis 1:26:  “And God said, Let us make man in our own image.”  Here we have a singular subject with plural pronouns.  This would be an error that would bring an English teacher to tears!  However, when examined in the light of the original languages, we see Elohim, a plural noun, conversing with other persons of the trinity.  This assertion in Genesis 1 allows for further exposition in Deuteronomy 6:4, which says “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.”

The whole of the scripture in is complete harmony with this doctrine of one God existing in three persons.  Not only does the Old Testament teach this doctrine, but the New Testament makes claims to this truth.  It is 1 John 5:7 which tells us, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”  In fact, Jesus Christ, Himself, pointing to the Old Testament scriptures, taught us in Mark 12:29 that “The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.”  While this doctrine is indeed a mystery, and hard for us to understand, we are to take a step of faith, not sight, and take God at what He has revealed to us in His word.

The theory of evolution teaches that life started in a primordial soup of chemicals, going from a single cell amoeba to a water dwelling creature, then evolving to a land-dwelling creature, then through a series of species-specific adaptations, man evolved into an upright-walking creature.  Evolution has been around for many centuries, with evidence that there was belief in it in ancient Greece and Egypt.  Charles Darwin popularized the theory of evolution in the 1800’s based on limited findings that he made in a short period of time on the Galapagos Islands.  The Holy Bible, on the other hand, preaches to us “that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).

Evolution can bring about two very distinct dangers to the church.  In accepting the theory, one removes the involvement of God in creation, stating that all things that exist do so because of chance or an accident.  At the very least, even if one tries to compromise by saying that God “used” evolution to create man, evolution did not happen over the 24 hour period in day six of creation (see the article “Six Days or Not?”).  Furthermore, Genesis 1 teaches that God, Himself, made man in His own image (not an accident) out of the dust of the ground (not from the water as taught by evolution).  This form of the theory is typically accepted by unbelievers without question.

The next form of evolution claims that perhaps God used evolution to create everything.  It is the second form of evolution that is quite possibly the most dangerous to the church, as it attempts to convince the believer to compromise the plain, literal teaching of the word of God.  Genesis 1, in it clear narrative, starts by declaring that “God created the heaven and earth.”  This chapter ends by once again teaching us that God made everything.

Genesis 1 and the whole of the Bible could not be clearer on the matter of evolution.  Man did not come to exist through a series of chance transitions and adaptations, but by the creative hand of a creative God.  God commented that He would create man “in our own image” (Genesis 1:26), and He did so in verse 27.  In fact, Genesis 2:7 teaches that God formed man from the dust of the ground – a stark contrast from the theory of evolution as mentioned earlier.  The Holy Bible stands firm: God, Himself, made man, and did not “use” a form of evolution to do so.

The philosophical theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter or energy.  This philosophy would then reject any existence of God, control by God or sustaining of life by God.  Much like the theory of evolution, materialism promotes that there is not even a thought of God existing, and as such leaves a very dangerous proposition.  If there is no God, then there is no moral standard by which to live.  In other words, if there is no God, then there is no influence that guides man toward not committing murder, not stealing, not telling lies or not committing adultery.  If there is no God, then who is to say that anything is wrong or immoral?  The only standard or code by which mankind would live would be his own code, determining for himself what is right or wrong for himself.  Without any sense of good and evil, or without any standard of right and wrong, all man is left with is a philosophy of materialism.

But if the Word of God is true and its doctrines are inerrant, then we must accept the very demand made by the Bible that God does exist when the scriptures declare that “in the beginning, God…”  Without argument, question or apology, man is introduced to God Almighty as a creative God, one who writes the word of His law in man’s heart, and God who desires a relationship with man.  This same God sent His Son to die on the cross so that man could know what it is to be able to be called a child of Almighty God.

Atheism teaches that there is no God, and the philosophy of materialism postulates that matter and energy are all that exist.  Genesis 1:1 clearly teaches that God does exist.  The theory of evolution uses man’s devices and intelligence to promote that man came to be what he is by a unique series of transitional adaptations, but Genesis 1 tells us that God created man in His own image.  Polytheism would have us believe that there are many gods, but God Himself proclaims that he is the one, eternal God.  Truly Genesis 1 lays the foundation for the rest of the word of God with its doctrines and stands which it takes!


4 Responses to “The Doctrines of Genesis 1”

  1. 1 Batamae Tau
    January 26, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Fine,but why division? If etheist and evolutionist have different doctrine of creation or theory than we all Christians could by than know satans creative handy work is at play again here to create division among mankind .
    Thanks for this study.

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