This post isn’t about Ken Ham’s organization “Answers in Genesis.” Regardless, it is about how foundational Genesis is for Christianity. For 2016, I decided to focus on 2 books of the Bible: Genesis and Romans. Right now I am making my way through Genesis, not only the biblical text itself, but reading other various books and commentaries about Genesis. Two books both point out how important Genesis is for understanding the New Testament.
Derek Kidner, in his commentary (Tyndale), states that:
“Genesis, in fact, is in various ways almost nearer the New Testament than the Old, and some of its topics are barely heard again till their implications can fully emerge in the gospel. The institution of marriage, the Fall of man, the jealousy of Cain, the judgment of the flood, the imputed righteousness of the believer…are all predominantly New Testament themes. Finally there is the symmetry by which some of the very scenes and figures of the earliest chapters reappear in the book of Revelation.” (page 14)
Likewise, Henry Morris points out in The Genesis Record, that:
“No other book of the Bible is quoted as copiously or referred to so frequently, in other books of the Bible, as Genesis.”
After giving examples of characters such as Adam and Jacob being referenced in other parts of the Old Testament, Morris further states:
“In a special sense every mention of the people or nation of Israel is an implicit acknowledgement of the foundational authority of Genesis, since Israel was the new name given to Jacob, and his sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. Apart from the book of Genesis, there is no explanation for Israel, nor consequently for all the rest of the Old Testament.”
In regards to the New Testament, Morris points out:
“It is significant that the portion of Genesis which has been the object of the greatest attacks of skepticism and unbelief, the first 11 chapters, is the portion which had the greatest influence on the New Testament. Yet there exist over 100 quotations or direct references to Genesis 1-11 in the New Testament…On at least 6 different occasions, Jesus Christ himself quoted from or referred to something or someone in one of these chapters…Furthermore, in not one of these many instances where the Old or New Testament refers to Genesis is there the slightest evidence that the writers regarded the events or personages as mere myths or allegories.” (page 21-22)
Well, those quotes could open up various cans of worms, but that is not my intent, and I’d prefer that any comments not move in that direction.
The point I instead want to emphasize is how important Genesis is for understanding other parts of the Bible – particularly the New Testament. You can’t read far in any New Testament book without coming upon references to Genesis. With little familiarity with Genesis – various stories, illustrations, and references will not make sense or be fully understood.
Often we direct a seeker or new believer to read one of the Gospels (which is well and good) but do we then direct them to Genesis? I never have. Genesis is foundational, and while the organization Answers in Genesis may make you uncomfortable, they are at least right that Genesis is foundational and many answers are indeed found or originate there.