Should Genesis be taken as historical?

Chris, I see no indication that we should regard this parable as history. If Jesus had claimed otherwise, then I’d have to rethink my assessment.

However, I have no choice but to regard Genesis 1-11 as history, because the rest of the Bible does. For example, Peter writes:

2 Peter 2:4-9 (NASB) For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter… then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,

If these events hadn’t historically occurred and were instead allegories, we would have no recourse but to regard the future judgment as allegory.


Please check out this link and let me know what you think:

  1. “I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.”

I wouldn’t use the word “trump,” but I agree that science can rightfully challenge traditional interpretations. “Religious truth” is not the same thing in this context as “absolute truth.” I take it to mean “traditional interpretation.”

  1. “Theology and biblical studies move forward as well in dramatic and revolutionary ways but New Atheist critics dismiss this progress”

This also doesn’t bother me. I am happy that many Evangelicals approach the texts about women in the New Testament differently than they did in 1960. I am also happy to read Wright’s NPP stuff, and think it makes a valuable contribution to NT scholarship. What is the point of biblical scholarship if it doesn’t lead to “progress” in the field?

  1. “In The God Delusion Dawkins eloquently skewers the tyrannical anthropomorphic deity of the Old Testament—the God that supposedly commanded the Jews to go on genocidal rampages and who occasionally went on his own rampages, flooding the planet or raining fire and brimstone on wicked cities. But who believes in this deity any more, besides those same fundamentalists who think the earth is 10,000 years old? Modern theology has moved past this view of God.”

I do not believe in or worship the Dawkins cariacature either. Do you believe in Dawkin’s cariacature of God?

  1. “I am not equating scientific and theological progress. They are very different enterprises. Christianity is rooted in unique historical events that were recorded by the early church as they tried to make sense of their encounters with the risen Christ. This was a unique and mysterious event that will never be “understood” within the explanatory framework of science.”

I agree 100%

I honestly don’t see what I was supposed to find shocking about the blog post you linked, nor do I think it proves what you claim Giberson believes.

Hello Daniel,

The evidence is teaching us that Genesis isn’t teaching history. It’s not rhetoric vs. rhetoric.

So I’d say you have a problem with evidence, not just BioLogos.


Hi Daniel,

It is quite possible that Adam and Noah were both historical figures and that evolutionary creationism is the best account of both the Scriptures and the scientific evidence. Are you interested in how that might be?


The uniform testimony of the NT is that Genesis does teach history. There are many example of this:

1 Corinthians 11:8-9 (ESV) For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.

Paul also recognized that the way God had historically created also impacted theology.

So true! This is why I engage here. I have often observed the extensive impact of Biologos. Their followers are left clueless about the Bible. They have surrendered the basics of the faith - the Fall, the advent of sin, the “very good” divine creation, Christ as the second Adam, the Garden account - and cannot maintain a Christian and Biblical worldview. Consequently, their views are inseparable from the university’s.

One evidence of this is that I have often asked them to go on record if they approve of same-sex marriage. None have ever claimed to oppose it.

Probably because we ban debates about politically charged topics here when they have nothing to do with the mission of BioLogos.

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One of our guidelines for gracious dialogue is that we not evaluate the faith of other people or guess at their true beliefs, motivations, or attitudes. You can talk about what you believe. You do not know what goes on in the hearts and minds of all these unnamed “BioLogos followers,” and it’s not your place to speak for their faith or beliefs. Please keep that in mind in your future posts.


Christy, I make it a point to not make judgments about whether people are saved. However, it is totally Biblical to “evaluate the faith of others.” Jesus certainly did a lot of this (Matthew 23):

John 5:42-44 But I know that you do not have the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

Please remember that Jesus is our model for love. Therefore, we see that love warns and corrects. We must do the same.

About same-sex marriage – several TEs did go on record to claim that there are for it, but NONE indicated that they were against. I think that this is very revealing, don’t you?

It may be biblical, but it’s not what this site is for, so refrain from doing it, at least in writing.

I think it reveals that you personally know a grand total of “several” people’s private opinion on a matter completely unrelated to evolutionary creationism and they agree with each other. No, I would not call that “very revealing.”

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Paul seems to have a different opinion of the basics of the faith in 1 Cor. 15:1-4

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures



While I am glad to hear that you still cling to what is of “first importance,” I am concerned that these too might fall before Darwin’s acid. How? If you will not accept what the Apostles and Jesus have said about Genesis, then you have called into question their testimony in general, including these things of “first importance.” You have embraced a bit of leaven that might leaven the entire loaf.

I doubt Jay was questioning what the Apostles or Jesus taught. What he seems to be doubting is what you do with their teachings as it relates to Genesis. Their “credentials” and authority are secure. Yours are not.


To deny the historicity of Genesis 1-11 is to doubt what the Apostles taught about these chapters. they regarded them as historical. Here is just one example:

Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV) He [Jesus] answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has [historically and actually] joined together, let not man separate.”

If God did not join man and woman together, as Jesus had claimed He had historically done, His argument against divorce would have fallen apart.

It is telling that you had to insert the bracketed phrase into what Jesus said there in order to make your point. Now I’m not against clarification. You used the brackets above that to good (and reasonable) effect to remind us who it was [Jesus] that was talking. Very good. What is not so good is when you then change what Jesus said about marriage into a teaching about historicity and science. So once again: it is your [nicely bracketed] point that is under scrutiny here (and falling short). Not Jesus’ point.


I take this to mean that in the beginning when humans were created God planned on a man and a woman to be one flesh in marriage. This is not a reference to Adam and Eve but a reference to all of mankind. The argument against divorce is based on how mankind was created and not anything to do with Adam and Eve.

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Nicely illustrates the issue of inserting man’s words into the Bible and calling them God’s.


I believe that is called “eisegesis.”

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The quote from Genesis is this:

Gen 2:23-24: “And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

That’s an odd little text, isn’t it?

Adam is naming and declaiming! He names her gender “Woman”, and even forecasts the institution of marriage, and the motivation for a man to leave the security of his parents.

Interestingly, the Old Testament makes no assertions about divorce or marriage in reference to this part of Genesis.

There were two schools of the Pharisees. One asserted that divorce was permissible. The other asserted that it was not.

The Essenes, from whom much of Christian morality is borrowed, opposed divorce to such a degree, they had a rather important compromise concerning the betrothal.

An Essene man could periodically share the bed of his intended for up to three years (presumably without cohabitation). If no children were produced (and because children were a crucial means of support for any woman), they could part ways without technically violating the injunction against divorce. And they were free to find a mate with whom they might be more reproductively compatible - - unless, of course, they decided to marry anyway.

Before the idea of pre-marital liaisons became strictly rejected, there seems to have been a general idea that sex, in and of itself was not sufficient for a man and woman “to become one”. . . or at least not permanently so if it was up to them (as the “deciders”).

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