A March 22, 2021 article in Church Leaders entitled “Franklin Graham on Moral Decline: Governments Come and Go – This is What Matters” (link: Franklin Graham on Moral Decline: Governments Come and Go—This Is What Matters (churchleaders.com)) reports what Franklin Graham said:
Graham appears to view Trump as someone who has helped to forestall the U.S.’s moral decline, and he warned listeners against compromising on “moral issues,” something he sees many churches doing. “I think there are a number of churches that have caved in on some moral issues,” said Graham. “Homosexuality is not a political issue; it’s a moral issue. Abortion is not a political issue; it’s a moral issue. And I think for us as Christians, we need to stand on moral issues.”
And the way we stand against moral decline is by knowing Scripture and by doing what it says. Said Graham, “There’s a lot of evil in our country today, and that’s why it’s so important for us as Christians to stand for the Word of God and not compromise on God’s Word.”
He is correct! Many churches have caved in on moral issues. In my opinion, other churches, while they have not caved in publicly, have essentially caved in by playing “quiet mouse” on the moral issues. They have chosen to be silent in a pagan society that considers silence to be acquiescence.
It is vital that Christ-followers stand on the Word of God as properly interpreted according to grammatical-historical hermeneutical principles.[i] Genesis 1-11 is one block of Scripture that is fundamental for a Christ-follower to know and stand on because it is extremely relevant to many of the current issues that impact the evangelical Christian church today.
The church I attend (Fairview Community Church[ii] in Fairview, Tennessee) will begin a teaching on Genesis 1-11 using John MacArthur’s study guide on Genesis 1-11.[iii] On March 21, 2021, I had the privilege to preach a sermon by which I (1) extolled the virtues of every Christ-follower being a Berean (Acts 17:10-12[iv]) when it came to Bible study, and (2) identified the relevance of Genesis 1-11 to selected issues pertinent to the evangelical church.
Below are some issues Genesis 1-11 impacts.
GENESIS 1-11 IMPACTS THE CREATION-EVOLUTION DEBATE
There remains the debate between creationists and evolutionists. Genesis 1 very clearly establishes that creation is the only biblical way by which the universe, and all that is in it, was created in six literal days. A “day” is the cycle of time (i.e., 24 hours) it takes for the earth to make a complete rotation.
It is important to understand that Genesis describes the creation process in such a fashion so as to preclude the possibility of evolution. For example, the phrase “after their kind” in Genesis 1:11, 21 leaves no room for evolution:
Genesis 1:11 (NASB95) – 11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
Genesis 1:21 (NASB95) – 21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
The fact that on the sixth day God saw that it was “good” means the creation was complete with no room for evolution. Genesis 1:31 (NASB95) reads:
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
By studying Genesis 1-11, a person will better comprehend the biblical warrant for creation that excludes evolution.
By the way, there is a great book on creation by Paul Richards entitled Creation God’s Way: Puzzled about Creation & Evolution? Get Answers Here! (link to Christianbook https://www.christianbook.com/creation-puzzled-about-creation-evolution-answers/paul-richards/9781631295355/pd/295355 ). You should buy one and check it out!
GENESIS 1-11 IMPACTS LGBTQ ISSUES
As you study Genesis 1-2 you will become better versed at understanding why the lifestyles advocated by the LGBTQ movement run contrary to biblical teaching. Marriage is between one man and one woman per Genesis 2:24–25 (NASB95):
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
People were created either male or female from birth according to Genesis 1:27 (NASB95):
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Sadly, some churches disregard clear teachings from Genesis. For example, one group in Nashville called Gracepoint church in Nashville expresses their unbiblical position on LGBTQ issues:
GracePointe has led the way in full inclusiveness of the LGBTQ+ community. We are more than “welcoming”, we affirm and celebrate. We go beyond “allowing” LGBTQ+ individuals in membership and leadership: We love and depend on one another without any distinction. Many of our staff and community leadership are members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The lifestyles advocated by the LGBTQ movement are sinful, and therefore, a church ought to reach out to those folks with the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. Near the end of Max Lucado’s 2004 sermon that has stirred up so much controversy[v], Max showed love and compassion toward the homosexual community:
Where does that leave the church? Contrary to the tragic decision made by our Episcopalian brethren-we must react as Christ reacts-with simultaneous compassion and conviction.
Compassion. Yes, homosexual activity angers God. But who among us has not angered God? It wasn’t homosexuality that caused Jesus to cleanse the Temple. It was self-righteousness and greed: two sins that dog all of us. Let there be no gay bashing among God’s people. No arrogant parading of signs.
There is no justification for gay jokes. Do we mock the alcoholic or shun the gossiper? Let’s show the same grace to the brother or sister who struggles with sexual sin. Is the church not a collection of saved sinners? In fact, numbered among the members of the early church were some former homosexuals.
But, it is biblical error for a church to “affirm and celebrate” that kind of lifestyle which according to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11[vi] is damning.
By studying Genesis 1-11, you will be better equipped to reach out to those in the LGBTQ community.
GENESIS 1-11 COUNTERS THE ATTACK ON THE BIBLICAL NUCLEAR FAMILY
By studying Genesis 1-2, you will better appreciate the family structure as ordained by God. God’s plan for the nuclear family is under attack by groups such as Black Lives Matter. A September 24, 2020 article (“BLM site removes page on ‘nuclear family structure’ amid NFL vet’s criticism”) in the New York Post[vii] reveals that BLM pulled some anti-nuclear family statements from their website reads:
The group, whose co-founder Patrisse Cullors has described herself and fellow co-founder Alicia Garza as “trained Marxists,” removed a page titled “What We Believe” that included its public policy positions as well as describing itself as part of the “global Black family” — a change first reported Monday by the Washington Examiner.
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable,” the website formerly read.
The page, which was no longer available Thursday, also said BLM aimed to “dismantle the patriarchal practice” that leads to mothers having to work double shifts to make ends meet.
A December 16, 2020 article entitled Hohmann: Dem. Document Surfaces Demanding Biden Clamp Down On Conservative Christians (link: https://harbingersdaily.com/hohmann-dem-doc-demands-biden-clamp-down-on-christians/ ) describes a threat to the nuclear family:
A group backed by congressional Democrats touting a “Secular America” has sent a 28-page document to the Biden transition team advising him to strip First Amendment rights from Christians who advocate traditional biblical positions on the sanctity of life, marriage, education and the nuclear family.
There is no question that the biblical nuclear family is under attack in America.
By studying Genesis 1-11, you will be better able to recognize error that exists in movements with nice-sounding names and counter that error with biblical arguments.
GENESIS 1-11 ESTABLISHES THE IMPORTANCE OF KNOWING THE WORD OF GOD
The account in Genesis 3 of the Fall helps a person better appreciate the importance of knowing the Word of God. Along the line of what the devil did with Eve[viii], many so-called “Christian” groups begin their deception with questioning the Bible and then misquoting the Bible to support their heretical teaching. A February 18, 2021 article entitled “Nashville Church says Bible isn’t the Word of God, then draws ire” in The Christian Post[ix] about Gracepointe reads:
As Progressive Christians, we’re open to the tensions and inconsistencies in the Bible. We know that it can’t live up to impossible, modern standards. We strive to more clearly articulate what Scripture is and isn’t,” the church noted before stating what the Bible is and isn’t.
“The Bible,” the church said, “isn’t: the Word of God, self-interpreting, a science book, an answer/rule book, inerrant or infallible.” Rather, it is: “a product of community, a library of texts, multi-vocal, a human response to God, living and dynamic.”
By studying Genesis 1-11, and especially the Fall, you will become more aware of the enemy’s strategy to introduce damning heresy into the church. We will better understand the care you must take to accurately handle the Word of God consistent with a passage like 2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV):
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
GENESIS 1-11 AFFIRMS THE TRUTH THAT SALVATION IS BY GRACE ALONE
In secular society and even in the church, there is a huge misunderstanding about sin. An Arizona Christian University Survey of August 4, 2020[x] reveals that 41% of people who fall within the category of evangelical Christian agree with the statement that:
A person who is generally good or does enough good things for others will earn a place in heaven.
A study of Genesis 3 reveals that all of mankind is sinful and only through God’s plan of salvation, which was first set out in Genesis 3:15, can a person be saved. Genesis 3:15 (NASB95) reads:
15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
By studying Genesis 1-11, you will become better able to defend the truth that salvation is only through Jesus Christ as proclaimed in Acts 4:12 (NASB95):
12 “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
GENESIS 1-11 CONTRADICTS THE NOTION THAT PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY GOOD
Society has adopted the notion that people are inherently good. Genesis 4 shows the rebellious and sinful nature of man. Genesis 4 shows that God and not man makes the rules. John MacArthur writes at page 41 of the study guide:
The problem was that Cain did not get to make the rules about what offerings were acceptable before God. Cain knew what God wanted, but he ignored God’s command and brought what he wanted instead.
In looking at the underlying basis for the first murder, you will better appreciate that there are NOT “many paths” to God, but that the only way to God is through the blood of Jesus Christ. See Acts 4:12. Genesis 6-8 reveal that mankind only got worse to the point where God killed all of mankind[xi] except for Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives.
The account of the flood will help you better appreciate the magnitude of God’s grace. Even though God had given the people many years[xii] to repent while Noah built the ark, He still gave them one final week to find salvation in the ark. Genesis 7:4 (NASB95) reads:
4 “For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.”
In Genesis 11, the account of the tower of Babel reinforces the truth that people are not inherently good. It shows the pride of man as demonstrated by Genesis 11:4 (NASB95) :
4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
By studying Genesis 1-11, you become better equipped to address those who say people are inherently good.
GENESIS 1-11 SUPPORTS THE TRUTH THAT GOD’S PEOPLE ARE TO WORSHIP HIM
In looking at Genesis 8, you will better appreciate the importance of worshipping God. Once Noah exited the ark, he built and altar and worshipped God. Genesis 8:20–21 (NASB95) reads:
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 The Lord smelled the soothing aroma; and the Lord said to Himself, “I will never again curse the ground on account of man, for the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth; and I will never again destroy every living thing, as I have done.
Noah’s act of worship should strengthen a Christ-follower’s resolve to assemble for worship even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GENESIS 1-11 CONFIRMS THE TRUTH THAT LIFE IN THE WOMB IS PRECIOUS
We see in Genesis 9 that God highly values human life when He established capital punishment on every animal or human who took a human life unlawfully. The reason man could kill animals, but neither animals nor man could unlawfully kill a man was because man alone was created in God’s image. Genesis 9:5–6 (NASB95) reads:
5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
By studying Genesis 1-11, we ought to better appreciate how much God hates abortion. This is especially relevant today in light of the strong pro-abortion position of the Biden-Harris administration.
There are many reasons that should cause a Christ-follower to study Genesis 1-11. I will begin an online class at the Fairview Community Church website. I hope that you avail the opportunity to study Genesis 1-11 either in person or through the website.
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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[i] The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics sets forth basic hermeneutical principles. See link at https://library.dts.edu/Pages/TL/Special/ICBI_2.pdf .
[iii] John MacArthur, GENESIS 1-11: Creation, Sin and the Nature of God, (2015), Nelson Books, Nashville, Tennessee. A link on Amazon to the book is https://www.amazon.com/Genesis-11-Creation-MacArthur-Studies/dp/0718033744 .
[iv] Acts 17:10–12 (NASB95) reads:
10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.
[v] See article entitled “Max Lucado apologizes for past comments on homosexuality after outrage at National Cathedral” by David Paulsen and posted Feb 11, 2021. Link is https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/2021/02/11/max-lucado-apologizes-for-past-comments-on-homosexuality-after-outrage-at-national-cathedral-invitation/ .
[vi] 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (NET) reads:
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals,10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. 11 Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
[vii] The link to the article is https://nypost.com/2020/09/24/blm-removes-website-language-blasting-nuclear-family-structure/ .
[viii] Genesis 3:1–7 (NASB95) describes how Eve was deceived:
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 3 but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’ ” 4 The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
[x] An article (AWVI 2020 Survey: 1 in 3 US Adults Embrace Salvation Through Jesus; More Believe It Can Be ‘Earned’) about the survey is at https://www.arizonachristian.edu/2020/08/04/1-in-3-us-adults-embrace-salvation-through-jesus-more-believe-it-can-be-earned/. The survey itself is at https://www.arizonachristian.edu/culturalresearchcenter/research/ .
[xi] Genesis 6:5–6, 11-13 (NASB95) reads:
5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. … 11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth.
[xii] The article entitled “How Long for Noah to Build the Ark?” (link: How Long for Noah to Build the Ark? | Ark Encounter) suggests about 70 years to build the ark. John MacArthur suggest about 100 years. No matter the specific time to build the ark, it was a generous period of time to repent in light of the evil of the people.