Many who deny that the days in Genesis 1 are real days try to persuade us to believe that God did not intend for us to take Genesis to be a record of real history. Some say the Bible begins with a myth. Others say it begins with a vision filled with symbolic language. Either way, they are trying to convince us that the events recorded in the first chapters of Genesis never took place. Such teachings we must wholeheartedly reject.
Real History, Not a Vision
Some have said that just as the Bible ends with a series of visions containing symbolism, so it began with symbolic language. But there is a clear difference between the book of Revelation and the book of Genesis. Unlike the book of Genesis, the book of Revelation repeatedly speaks of that which John saw: “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev. 13:1a). This is something John saw in a vision, and it contains references to objects that are obviously symbolic.
But such is not the case with the Genesis creation narrative. Moses did not write, “And I saw plants brought forth out of the earth.” Rather, he speaks as one who is giving a record of real historical events. Additionally, the objects mentioned in the narrative are not merely symbolic. Unlike the beast in Revelation with seven heads and ten horns, all the creatures spoken of in Genesis do actually exist.
Furthermore, if the creation of Adam is merely symbolic, then so might be Adam’s fall. And if our fall in Adam is merely symbolic, then so might be our resurrection in Christ: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (I Cor. 15:22).
If all in Adam really did not die, then it would follow that all in Christ really will not be made alive. That is how serious it is to deny the historicity of the creation story.
Real History, Not a Myth
The Genesis creation narrative is history, not a myth. Myths arise out of the mind of sinful men, but Moses wrote Genesis when he was borne along by Christ’s Spirit. Napoleon referred to history as “a fable agreed upon,” and in many respects this is true of history as conceived by man. But such is not the case with the history recorded in Scripture.
Different nations have different myths. These myths were often invented to convince the citizens of a given nation of their great origin and destiny, and to assure them that some divine force was with them, fighting for them. Not surprisingly, many have argued that just as different nations have had their different myths about their different gods, so the Hebrews wrote a book containing myths about their great origin and destiny, and about how their God fights for them and is leading them to worldwide dominion.
To support this notion, many like to point out that the heathen nations also have myths about creation and about a great flood, and that some details in these stories are similar to those found in Genesis. But these similarities may be explained by the fact that all those who left the ark knew the truth about creation and the flood. But as time went on the unbelievers in Noah’s generations corrupted the story.
If Genesis is a myth, then the whole Bible is just a collection of myths. And if the events recorded in Scripture never really happened, then we are still in our sins, and have absolutely no hope. But thanks be to God the Scriptures are not myths. In fact, the Scriptures themselves declare to us that they are not myths. In II Timothy 4:4, the word translated “fables” is the Greek word for myths: “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” In this verse, the truth of Scripture is contrasted with myths. It says that one who truly believes the Scriptures loves the truth and rejects myths. He believes the creation narrative to be a record of real historical events, setting forth truths that are fundamental to the whole of the Christian faith.