Here’s the full version of this month’s question… “Why are we even talking about creation? Shouldn’t we just focus on Jesus?”
I wish I had a million dollars for every time I’ve had someone ask me this. (Yes, I know I’m supposed to say something more like “I wish I had a nickel for every time”, but I’ve worked the numbers and it turns out that I would be a lot wealthier if it was a million dollars, so that’s what I’m sticking with!)
The larger context of this question is that many Christians think that people get too caught up in debating creation vs. evolution and it causes too much division and argumentation, and ultimately distracts from the most important point in the Bible… the Gospel message. How can you argue with that? What Christian in their right mind would not want to focus on Jesus? I personally think it is VERY important to focus on Jesus, but I also think that many Christians are not taking this focus far enough. This brief article attempts to explain why.
You can ask yourself, “Who is Jesus?” Well, He’s the Son of God and the Savior of the world. That’s true. However, long before He was Savior, He was our Creator! We learn of this from the first chapters of John, Colossians and Hebrews:
“All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” (John 1:3)
“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… All things were created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)
“by His Son… through whom also He made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)
Logically, if we are truly going to “focus on Jesus,” we should take His acts as Creator as seriously and we do His sacrificial act as our Savior.
When dealing with someone who feels we shouldn’t be too concerned about Genesis and just focus on Jesus, I often take them through the following series of questions (in which I am also including their typical answers):
Q: “What is the gospel message?”
A: “That Jesus died, was buried and rose again.”
Q: “But why did he do that?”
A: “To pay for the sins of the world.”
Q: “Why was that necessary?”
A: “Because we are all sinners.”
Q: “Why are we sinners?”
A: “Because Adam sinned.”
Q: “What difference did that make?”
A: “It brought death into God’s perfect creation and Jesus’ death was the payment for our sins.”
Q: “So Adam was a real person?”
A: “Sure, I guess so.”
Q: “So you believe there was a real garden with real people and that Adam’s actions made it necessary for Christ to die for us?”
Q: “So if Genesis is not literal history, how does that affect the Gospel message?”
A: “I guess it would seem to take away the significance of Jesus dying on the cross.”
Q: “So it seems like the Gospel message and Jesus are tied directly into the Genesis creation account?”
A: “Now that you mention it, yes, I guess they are.”
Q: “Do you see now why it is actually very important to defend the historical accuracy of the Genesis creation account?”
A: “Yes, but I had never thought about it that way before.”
Many times, skeptics seem to have a better grasp on the importance of the creation narrative than some Christians. Not that the skeptics believe the account… they just understand that without it, Christians lose the basis for their faith. Here are two example responses from atheists regarding Christians who attempt to reconcile the Bible and evolution by saying that evolution is a fact and that Genesis is not meant to be taken literally:
Richard Dawkins (world renowned atheist and ardent evolutionist, formerly from Oxford):
“Oh, but of course, the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic? So, in order to impress himself, Jesus had himself tortured and executed, in vicarious punishment for a symbolic sin committed by a non-existent individual? As I said, barking mad, as well as viciously unpleasant.” [Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 287]
G. Richard Bozarth (Atheist)
“Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus’ earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.” [‘The Meaning of Evolution’, American Atheist, p. 30. 20 September 1979.]
I think that Christians would do well to understand the gravity of these two statements.
Now, I will be the first to admit, we can easily take any subject, good or bad, significant or not, and get out of balance with it. There certainly are those who are all wrapped up in the creation/evolution debate and just like to argue and prove others wrong. This is not a very gracious or biblical approach and many times, these well-intended Christians never even get to the Gospel message… they just want to refute evolution. Again, to that I say, it is not balanced and certainly not effective.
So, should we focus on Jesus? Yes, but we need to have the “big picture” in view when we do, keeping in mind that Jesus’ death was necessary because of the historical accuracy of the Genesis creation account, which serves as a foundation for virtually every major doctrine we hold as Christians.
If you have any questions related to this month’s article or any other issue, contact us any time. We’d love to hear from you! You can even arrange a FREE ENGAGEMENT or seminar at your church, school, conference or camp.
Author: Jay Seegert (Co-Founder & Principal Lecturer, Creation Education Center)