Back to the Mythical Genesis | The Institute for Creation Research
Back to the Mythical Genesis

"Back to Genesis, the epic first book of the Bible that takes readers from stories of the creation of the world through the first centuries of human history." 1

An advertisement of an upcoming ICR "Back to Genesis" seminar, or perhaps an announcement of a new ICR book?

Hardly! These are among the opening lines of a recent feature story on the current revival of interest in the Book of Genesis. This revival is said to be spawning an imminent deluge of books and media events praising the religious and moral worth of Genesis while flatly denying its record of real history. The author, Sandi Dolbee, goes on to exclaim (and don't miss the Noahic metaphor!): "Now, over the next 40 days and 40 nights, more or less, Genesis will be awash in a flood of new attention. At least nine books, by one count, will rain down on bookstores. Interview czar Bill Moyers will add to the deluge with a 10-episode public television series on the subject." 2

The combination of Bill Moyers (the liberal once-Southern-Baptist bureaucrat, commentator, and media personality ever since the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson) and public television (with its anti-creationist bias as particularly imposed on its taxpaying audience with the one-sided Nova program which confused the creation-evolution question several years ago) is enough to quickly dispel any euphoria we might experience over this sudden interest of government in religion.

The author of the article cites many writers and editors as they attempt to evaluate the renewed interest in this ancient book of Genesis, which — they all agree — is nothing but myth and legend. Rabbi Harold Kushner offers the interesting idea that it is connected with "a sense of an end of days, a sense of cycles closing," because of the imminence of the year 2000. Phyllis Tucker, an editor of Publishers Weekly, attributes it to "overwhelming religious nostalgia." Bill Moyers calls Genesis "the mother of all books" — speaking more profound truth than he may have intended.

It is natural for us to be glad for this upsurge of interest in the foundational book of God's inspired Word. Moyers, by the way, says he got the idea for the Genesis series from a Genesis seminar he attended about five years ago. I do not know who sponsored this seminar, of course, nor what its perspective may have been, but at least it caused him to think about origins and meanings. Whether readers believe its records or not, the narratives in Genesis are magnificent literature, if nothing else, and it does speak solemnly and beautifully of the existence, character, and purposes of God.

It is sad, however, that these writers and religionists refuse to take the Genesis record as it stands. Rabbi Kushner, for example, says that the story of Adam and Eve should be understood as "the biblical metaphor of evolution. How the first human beings rose above the animal level and entered the world of knowledge of good and evil." 3 One of the book writers, Karen Armstrong, former Roman Catholic nun, interprets the story of Jacob wrestling all night with God as symbols "of the human struggle to relate to God." 4

And so on. Moyers says a key purpose of his 10-part television series on Genesis is to get people to engage "in a dialogue that will help us work ourselves through to a new cultural identity." 5 At least that's what the article says he said!

We can at least be thankful if this spate of books and television programs causes people to go back and read the actual book of Genesis itself. Genesis can speak for itself, if it is read with an open heart and mind. Serious readers will find they don't need Rabbi Kushner and other theological liberals to tell them what they think it means. The fact is that God Himself wrote it, using His chosen patriarchs to record it, and it means exactly what it says. All the other Bible writers, as well as Christ Himself, accepted it as true, literal history.

While Moyers and his liberal friends are in effect, "damning it with faint praise," as the old saying goes, others continue to attack Genesis — especially its accounts of creation and the flood — head-on.

The American Civil Liberties Union, in its latest high-pressure, fundraising, and membership-soliciting letter from Executive Director Ira Glasser, cites with great pride its part in the Scopes Trial and in the 1987 Supreme Court rejection of the Louisiana creation law. Glasser boasts that: "Our success in the Scopes trial played a major part in ending forced religious teaching in public schools." 6 He said that the ACLU's victory in the Louisiana case ended "a seven-year struggle by the ACLU to prevent the imposition, by law, of religious beliefs in the public schools." 7

A similar high-pressure, fund-appeal, and membership solicitation letter by Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, warns that "the Religious Right" is determined to "require that Biblical accounts of how the world began be taught in public school science classes." 8

One wonders if the ACLU and AUSCS and other such groups will oppose the proposed airing of the 10-part series on "Genesis: A Living Conversation" on public television, since they are so zealously opposed to any mixing of government and religion.

But I doubt it. They don't seem to be opposed to the state's endorsement of religion as such, but only to the true religion! Especially as founded upon Genesis!

The government has itself indirectly been promoting the rejection of Genesis as the true account of origins by its ongoing funding of projects to support evolution. The most expensive of these, of course, is the space program, which for decades has been trying urgently to find evidence of extra-terrestrial life. Such evidence, of course, is needed if the Genesis record that God created life on earth in six days is to be rejected. If life evolved on Earth (so the reasoning goes) it must also have evolved in other worlds. So probes are sent to the moon and the planets, and radio telescopes monitored for space messages, all at great cost to taxpayers, in the vain hope of finding some hint somewhere of extra-terrestrial life.

The unbroken chain of failures, however, together with the sky-rocketing national debt, had tempted Congress recently to curtail the funding of such ventures. That situation has now suddenly changed, of course, with the supposedly fortuitous revelation that a small, supposed meteoritic rock, found 12 years ago in Antarctica, had supposedly been formed 4 1/2 billion years ago in Mars, then supposedly fractured about a billion years later, allowing minerals to form that supposedly contained some structures that might have been primitive bacteria, then supposedly blasted into space by a commentary impact or something about 16 million years ago, finally settling down on Earth supposedly l 3,000 years ago. The minute structures supposedly might have been primeval Martian bacteria, although there are known to be inorganic processes that could have produced similar structures.

But with such supposedly overwhelming and profoundly convincing evidence that life once existed on Mars (it doesn't now, of course), immediately evolutionists just know that life must have evolved at many places through the universe.

And, most importantly, our government's exobiology research programs, which they hope will disprove Genesis, are no longer in danger of being defunded!

It is rare enough for a scientific discovery with no practical applications to draw an enthusiastic response from politicians, but it is almost unheard of for House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and U.S. Vice President Albert Gore to agree on the need for more government spending. The startling claim that a meteorite, consisting of a chunk of Mars rock, bears evidence of ancient life has provoked just such a reaction, however. Both political leaders told NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin separately in recent days that they are willing to fund more money to beef up the agency's Mars exploration effort. If that happens, the first hints of extra-terrestrial life could jump-start the struggling U.S. space science program.9

And President Bill Clinton himself has said: "I am determined that the American space program will put its full intellectual power and technological prowess behind the search for further evidence of life on Mars." 10

It does seem very important indeed to our political, scientific, and theological establishments to prove once and for all that the Genesis record of creation is only a myth.

I can't help but think of the ironic verse in Psalm 2:4 in this situation. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision."

[1] "Back to the Beginning: A Flood of Attention on the Epic Book of Genesis" by Sandi Dolbee. San Diego Union Tribune, August 30, 1996 (as well as other papers).
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ira Glasser, undated 1996 solicitation letter. ACLU. New York, NY.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Barry Lynn. Solicitation letter (Washing, D.C., American United for Separation of Church and State). 1996.
[9] Andrew Lawler, "Finding Puts Mars Exploration on Front Burner," Science (Volume 273, August 16, 1996), p. 865.
[10] Ibid.

* Dr Henry Morris is Founder and President Emeritus of ICR.

Cite this article: Henry M. Morris, Ph.D. 1996. Back to the Mythical Genesis. Acts & Facts. 25 (10).

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