Does Genesis Matter to the Gospel?
by Brian Thomas, M.S. *
A man once told me he was a “New Testament Christian,” meaning he did not believe in Genesis as history, but he did believe in Jesus. I asked him if he could think of any New Testament teaching not based in Genesis. He couldn’t. Can you? Tight historical links show that the core ideas of the gospel hinge on Genesis.
The Romans Road to Salvation highlights four verses from Romans that summarize what a condemned sinner needs to know and do to be saved from judgment. Each stop along the road reveals an essential link that securely anchors the gospel to Genesis.
At the first stop, we learn that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”1 But what is sin? It means breaking God’s holy law. God gave the first law to Adam and Eve in the Garden, saying, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat.”2
The second stop on the Romans Road says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”3 Death refers to separation, including body from soul or a person from God. Of course, Genesis 3 records the origin of death. When the real Adam and Eve disobeyed God, His justice demanded the death penalty. According to evolutionary history, man did not descend from Adam and Eve but evolved from animal ancestors that had been living and dying for billions of years. Those who believe this man-made version of history see no Adam in their past, so they struggle to understand the last Adam, Jesus.
Now for some good news. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”4 This says that although our crimes against God earn death, God the Father sentenced His own Son in our place. Genesis 3:15 promised help through a descendant of Eve, and that help came with Christ’s birth. His life, death, and resurrection provided a way to escape everlasting death, just as the Lord long ago provided an ark as the escape from dying in Noah’s Flood.5 Only eight people believed God’s message of coming judgment and entered the Ark to be saved.6 Matthew, Luke, Hebrews, 1 Peter, and 2 Peter all refer to Noah as a real person.7 Plus, Jesus descended from Adam through Noah, according to Luke 3:23-38. If Jesus did not descend from Adam as a historical person, then how could Christ’s payment apply to any of Adam’s descendants?
He paid our death penalty and defeated death with His resurrection, so even though our sins have earned eternal separation from God, the Lord Jesus can now save all those who trust in Him.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.8
Where do we first learn the benefit of believing God? Of course, it’s in Genesis, when Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He accounted it to him for righteousness.”9
So, God’s glory, God’s law, man’s sin, a death penalty, a way of escape, and believing God’s Word all tightly link the gospel to Genesis history. I can think of no reason why the “New Testament Christian” I met shouldn’t just become a “whole Bible Christian.”
- Romans 3:23. In addition to providing its historical anchors, Genesis also tightly links to the gospel because the power and beauty of His magnificent work in the creation week reflects “the glory of God” of which we fall short. How can we sinners draw near to this Creator? By following the Romans Road.
- Genesis 2:17.
- Romans 6:23.
- Romans 5:8.
- The Flood showed that God takes sin seriously, and continent-spanning rock layers containing fossils of mostly sea creatures show that God really flooded the whole world.
- “[God] did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5).
- Matthew 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 2:5.
- Romans 10:9-10.
- Genesis 15:6.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Brian Thomas, M.S. 2015. Does Genesis Matter to the Gospel?. Acts & Facts. 44 (8).