It was my intention to write about the truth of pre-Abrahamic Scriptures, as this was on my mind for the past week. The idea was stirred in my heart after the Media delivered report after report of the riots which at first broke out in Tottenham, North London, after a man was shot dead by Police. The riots then quickly spread across London, then into various provincial cities such as Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool. Along with the rioting, shops were ransacked and destroyed and merchandise looted.
Then only yesterday I came across this article in the Saturday's Daily Mail newspaper. Written brilliantly by A.N. Wilson, this columnist believes that the basic reason for the decline of our society is based on the breakdown of the family unit which, he writes, was sustained throughout history by a bedrock belief in the truth of religion. He praises Muslims, Hindus and Jews for allowing their faith to bind families together, yet let out a blast particularly at the Church of England for wringing her hands while congregation numbers dwindle. He then lets rip on the academics, particularly on what he calls "the nuttier fringes of the chattering classes" for leading the nation away from belief in God and the Bible's truthfulness. Two people he names: Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, both having written books debunking Divine Creation and the early history of the human race for the theory of Evolution. They present a very convincing argument in the name of Science that we are here as an end result of a long process of organic evolution covering a time span of around 200,000,000 years. At the same time, these two are convinced that religion is a poison to the fabric of society.
Thus faith in the Bible has been severely knocked, particularly in the early chapters of Genesis. If the Bible is likened to a vessel, say a pail or large bowl, to have the truth of the early chapters of Genesis called into question would result in a hole at the bottom which would render the vessel useless for holding water. Likewise, the Bible has been rendered ineffectual as a book for spiritual and moral guidance. It has become a book for fanciful stories and myth, at best these myths provide some hidden truth on how one should behave, but remains totally insufficient in historical and spiritual content. Yet the Bible, particularly the book of Genesis, contains the very essence for a stable, crime free society - the institute of marriage and the family unit: father, mother and children brought up in a godly manner. Yet our academics, as A. Wilson rightly comments, are responsible for our nation's moral and spiritual decline.
So in this article, I will try to show the historical truth of the early chapters of Genesis, much maligned by the academics, and how it applies to us today.
It is in the first chapters of Genesis where the institution of a man and woman bonded together in a marriage covenant had its origins. Marriage between a man and a woman began with that of Adam and Eve, and has been ongoing ever since, even to this day, whether the Bible is believed in or not. If the Bible is just a book of mythical fables, then why does history itself testify the importance of marriage? Even to the extent that the Church of England itself had its beginnings over the dispute between King Henry VIII and Pope Clement VII over the King's wish to divorce his first wife, Queen Catherine of Aragon.
In this article, I wish to spell out the historicity of the early chapters of Genesis, and to do this I need to write two separate blogs, this one and the one to follow, in it I will deal with the Noachian Deluge.
In 1973, when I was young in the faith, a man only a couple of years younger than me approached and asked:
"If Adam and Eve had sons Cain and Abel, who was Cain's wife?"
At that time I was stumped. He was better informed of the narration than I was, simply because as one new to the faith, I only read the story recently. Furthermore, the same question was asked several times by different people in different places.
In the account, we are told that Adam was created from the ground. He must have been created as an adult with full brain powers, for he was able to give names to every animal which passed him by. Each species were a pair, male and female. When Adam realised that he had no mate of his own, he felt incomplete in himself, and God was able to see this. Thus God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep while an operation was performed - exactly the same kind as performed in hospital theatres today where the patient is put under anaesthesia before an operation is carried out. A rib is removed from Adam's body, itself a living thing, and from it God created a woman who is to become Adam's wife and mother of all living.
The supernatural creation of both Adam and Eve as well as a talking snake which tempted them afterward are all easily debunked as a fanciful myth simply because none of these things had ever occurred in our lifetimes. We never experienced any talking animal, let alone a snake! But that does not mean that it couldn't have happened. Why not? Yet the snake has kept on saying the same words for millennia! As we shall see.
The Edenic Lie is closer to reality than we care to believe. The temptation the snake used were twofold, first that God was a jealous liar in declaring that they would die if they ate fruit from a specific tree. Secondly, the snake offered to exalt their status from the one they were already in (the crown and pinnacle of Creation) to one of divinity, with knowledge of what's good and evil, if they would just eat the fruit. In short, eat - and become gods, full of knowledge.
Our quest for education, knowledge and becoming gods are in all of us. It is like this as an individual, a family, group or nation. Hitler and his Nazi Party provides a good example of national superiority. Just as he wanted to bring his Reich into the rest of Europe, including the UK, he also believed in the lie that the Jews were an inferior race to his, and as a result, ushered in the Holocaust, with the needless slaying of six million Jews. It is interesting to realise that Hitler's slaughter of the Jews was the snake's attempt to prevent the Jews in returning to their own land to form the new State of Israel which, in turn, would eventually bring the return of its Messiah and the end of the snake's power.
Just as Adam and Eve disregarded God's commandment to abstain from eating from that particular tree in the belief that they will be exalted, so too the Edenic Lie, as with Hitler, is in all of us. We are more than happy to disregard God and his commandments for the quest of becoming gods ourselves. The theory of evolution, which denies the Biblical record of Creation, is but one proof of man's strong desire for the gradual climb towards divinity.
Therefore, this disregarding of God's commandments for personal exaltation to divinity makes up the threefold nature of sin, what it really is. First, sin is a rejection of God's Holiness. This includes hate, murder, adultery, blasphemy, lying and many other sins. Secondly, sin is a rejection of God's leadership with the desire to lead our lives our own way, independent from God. Idolatry and pleasure-seeking may be classified as this. Thirdly, a rejection of God's provisions where pride in self achievement may play a role in this, along with stealing, dishonesty and greed.
After our first parents fell into sin by eating the fruit and disobeying God's commandments, God made a promise that the woman's seed shall bruise the snake's head, a way of announcing total defeat for the snake. Also the snake shall bruise the seed's feet, which indicate that the battle will not be easy, but will itself involve death of the seed. Further action is also demonstrated with God slaying an innocent animal to clothe the couple. Therefore innocent blood was shed to cover their nakedness, just as the blood of the innocent Lamb was shed to atone for our sins. This was of contrast to the aprons which they made from fig leaves soon after they fell. Aprons made from fig leaves defines Religion, the attempt to reconcile oneself to God by self-effort. When the beast was supernaturally slain and the couple clothed, God totally disregarded the fig leaves. It is worth of note that Adam and Eve did absolutely nothing in gaining their new clothes. God did everything. No one can be saved and be reconciled to God by self effort, not even the smallest made by man. The seed of the woman is, of course, Jesus Christ.
We now see Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden and Eve becomes the mother of Cain. Then after this, a sibling is born, Abel. We are told that after a period of time (but we are not told how long) both Cain and Abel set up altars. Cain's sacrifice, based on self-effort, was rejected by God. Abel's, based on faith in the Promise, was accepted. In a furious rage, Cain slays his younger brother, whose blood soaks into the ground. Then having received his judgement and punishment from God, we are told that he departed from the Lord, knew his wife and begotten a son, and went eastward to the land of Nod, and there built a city, and called the city after the name of his son, Enoch.
Taking this narration at face value, it's no wonder why skeptics ask, "Who was Cain's wife?" For here we read of only four characters: Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel. Abel was killed, leaving only three people on earth. So we see Cain, after the murder, pleading with God: "...that everyone who finds me will slay me...(Genesis 4:14). Everyone? With just his Mum and Dad sharing the whole land? And how on earth could he build a city by himself. It does not make sense! It is the next chapter which gives some answers, and I'm quite surprised to be asked, "Who was Cain's wife?" if only a little research was needed to solve this problem.
Here we read:
And Adam lived 130 years, and begat a son of his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth. Just earlier, the narration tells us that Adam and Eve fathered a son, Seth, to replace Abel, because Cain slew him. (4:25). Therefore we can dismiss the idea that the murder of Abel took place a mere twenty years after Creation. It was more likely to be closer to 130 years after Creation. This was the reason Seth replaced Abel as the father of the Messianic line. Originally, the Messianic line began with Abel, but the snake through Cain tried to have this line cut off before the Messiah arrived to bruise his head. The snake, of course, is the Devil.
So we can conclude here that during the 130 years between Creation and the birth of Seth, many other children were born to Adam and Eve. This would have been the fulfillment of the first command God gave to the innocent, unfallen couple. "Multiply and fill the earth and have dominion over it." (1:28). Not to have children during the next century of their existence would have been totally absurd! We have no idea how many children Adam fathered between Abel and Seth. But let us assume it was thirty. 15 boys and 15 girls. This would give Eve a rest period of over three years between each pregnancy. We assume that along with Cain and Abel, two baby girls were born. This would give Cain a wife straight away. He would have married his own sister, not only acceptable but a necessity in those days. If each of the thirty other children (i.e. 15 couples) had eight offspring each, this would raise the population to 152 people. And that's a very conservative number. If each of the 120 grandchildren of Adam (60 couples) had eight children, the population would have risen to 480 great grandchildren, plus 120 grandchildren, plus 30 children, plus two original parents, would equal 632 people. If each of the descendants of Adam's sons had much more than eight children each, and there is absolutely no reason not to be the case, the population would be much higher. So by the time of Cain's murder of Abel, it might have been possible that the population could have reached into the thousands.
Therefore it all makes sense. At the time of the murder, Cain had reason to be afraid of revenge, even from his own descendants, but more likely from his nephews and great nephews and nieces. As for building a city, this was probably on the banks of the River Euphrates (not the present river of that name, but the antediluvian predecessor). With the help of his relatives, the city might have started as a few houses along the river bank. But over the next thousand years or so, it could have grown into a sizeable city, perhaps like Ninevah, which took three days to explore. The city of Enoch could have been much larger, perhaps the size of Greater London or Los Angeles. After all, it took the last few centuries for London to grow to its present size.
To conclude this article: The narration of the early chapters of Genesis is perfectly historical, and we can see the effects of this to this day. From the dawn of history the institution of marriage between husband and wife and raising children is not only Biblical, but necessary for the survival of civilised society.
Maybe if our academics promote the truthfulness of Scripture instead of spending their lives debunking it as fable folklore, most likely the riots of last week may never had occurred.