Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Note the following:
First, notice the difference between the way Moses begins Genesis and the way a common fairy tale begins. Moses says, “In the beginning…”, how do fairy tales begin? “Once upon a time…” This is meant to teach us that the events of Genesis are a real historical account. Creation, fall, and the promise of redemption, the flood, and the tower of Babel are all real occurrences. Adam and Eve, Noah, and Abraham’s family are all real people.
It is popular in our generation to believe that Adam and Eve, the garden, the serpent, Noah, the flood, and basically the events of Genesis 1-11 are nothing more than mere myth, given to us in Scripture to teach us lessons, not to tell us real history. The reality lost in believing chapters 1-11 are filled with myth and real historical people who encountered real historical events is that we lose the greatest thing that could ever be given to us, the gospel itself. I am not overstating my case here. If we don’t believe Adam and Eve were real people what do we believe the fall was? A metaphor meant to teach us a greater lesson? That the fall of man is a figurative dilemma and not a realistic death? If that’s the case, do we really need a Savior to come and die for sinners if sin is merely a metaphor and not reality? Adam foreshadowed Christ, in that just as sin passed to all men through Adam, so too in Jesus, righteousness passes to all who believe. If Adam and Eve weren’t real people, if they didn’t really exist, there is no need for salvation because no fall would have taken place, and sin would have not entered the world. If sin never entered the world, there is no need for salvation, and if there is no need for salvation there is no need for Christ, and where there is no need for Christ there is no life to be found at all.
We must see the necessary implication on the gospel if we deny the existence of Adam and Eve. To love the gospel is to love the historical reality of our first parents. So bound up with the reality of the first Adam is the grander reality of the Second Adam. If we lose the first, we lose the Second. Do not be fooled, this is a slippery slope. If we see Adam and Eve as myth, what’s next? Noah? The flood? The Exodus? The Cross? As soon as we give way to the false notion that Genesis 1-11 are myth, it is really only a matter of time before we begin to believe the entire Bible is just a grand legend someone made up.
Second, notice the phrase “In the beginning…” What other Bible book begins with the exact same phrase? The Gospel of John begins like this in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Both the beginning of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament start in the exact same place, in the exact same manner. Seeing this repetition we should ask the question: why? I think the answer is simple: Moses through Genesis means to introduce the work of the Creator in Creation while John in his Gospel means to introduce the work of the Creator in New Creation. Moving from the Creator’s in creation to the Creator’s work in new creation is in line with how the New Testament fulfills the Old Testament.
Third, notice that in the phrase “In the beginning…God…created…” we are introduced to the main character of the Genesis narrative, God. We learn much in this introduction. We learn God exists, we learn God is not silent, we learn God is eternal, we learn God is fully independent, and we learn God is powerful and strong. That Moses begins the creation account with the person of God we can conclude that Genesis is more concerned with God the Creator than with the time or details of God’s creation. God, the author of the great play, has walked on the scene. He is about to make the stage on which the drama of redemption will be acted out. This God has made the heavens and the earth.