William Lane Craig: Is Genesis 1 – 11 Mytho-History?

  Welcome to Defender’s Voice. This is Dr.Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Please send me your questions to info@doctorpaul.org. To support this ministry, please Visit our website http://www.doctor paul.org. 

   Today’s question is: Apologist William Lane Craig says, Genesis 1 – 11 is mytho-history. He argues that Adam originated from humanoid creatures called Homo Heidelbergensis. Is this a correct view? 

Good question. ‘At the end of his career, Ravi Zacharias blew up. Now it is my turn’. It seems William Lane Craig wants to blow up a big time. Lately he has been spewing out a lot of nonsense. 

Dr.Craig needs no introduction. He is a household name in the evangelical world. I have his books on my shelf and I consult them often on various topics like evidence for God, evidence for resurrection etc. This is a politically incorrect channel. I would go after my own dad if he speaks nonsense concerning the Bible. So, I am not going to spare William Lane Craig even as I love and respect him so much. Because the Word of God is the most important thing to me in the entire universe. 

          Mr.Craig says, ‘Genesis 1 – 11 should be called mytho-history. The real history starts from Genesis 12 when God calls Abraham to follow Him. The first 11 chapters have titbits of history but it is not true history’. 

    He says, ‘Adam evolved from hominids, most probably Homo Heidelbergensis, approximately 750,000 years ago.’ 

I would like to give you 10 reasons for why Dr.Craig is seriously mistaken on these views. 

-it is against the character of God as the historian

     We depend on historians to inform us of the facts about our past. Those historians should do meticulous research before presenting their facts to the world. But they can only go so far. They cannot tell us how the first human being came into existence. They are no documents, fossils or any other archaeological evidence that point us to the first human being. So, the only source we have is God. We look to God to tell us what happened before, during and after the creation of this universe and of humanity. And God takes that responsibility very seriously. He recognizes that he is the first historian uniquely situated to record the history of human origins and beginnings. Our best historians do labor so much in historical investigations and research and they are still imperfect. But God does not have to do any investigations or research, yet he is the perfect historian we can ever have. He is the first hand witness to all events transpiring in this universe. 

    No serious historian would start his book with mythology or mytho-history. God had all the facts about the real origins of human beings on this planet. He would not need to dress those facts in mythology. He marvelously and miraculously created us and He told us in easy to understand language in the Book of Genesis. So, for Mr.Craig  to propose that God started his good book with some mythology is against the character of God as the first historian of the universe. 

It is against the plain teaching of Genesis 

Mr.Craig says that there were millions of humanoids before Adam and Eve roaming this planet. Yes, the Bible may not speak about Homo Heidelbergensis but we can deduce it from other sources’. That is an argument from silence which is very dangerous to exercise over the scriptures. God never keeps silent on important matters like the origin of man, which is a very serious subject because the creation of the universe, origin of life, incarnation of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ – they all revolve around the origin of human beings.

       Start reading the Book of Genesis with an open mind without making any preconceived assertions. 

      When you read the Genesis chapter 1, you feel the sense of immediacy in those verses. And God said….

And God said……

And God said…….

And God said…….

      You will feel the freshness of the events. Created things were coming into existence from non-existence. 

It does not feel like there was stuff in existence for billions of years before the events described in Genesis chapter 1. 

Let us read Genesis 1:26

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:26

     God says, let us make mankind to rule our nature. If there were pre humans controlling nature before Adam, this verse makes no sense. 

    Let us read Genesis 2:7

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 

                                               Genesis 2:7

   God formed the first  man of dust from the ground. That is so simple to understand. Even a kid would understand that statement. God made Adam of dust from the ground. Dr.Craig says Adam came from pre -humans. He is clearly contradicting the plain teaching of the Word of God.

       Dr.Craig might say, ‘Yes, it is in plain language. But it is mythology’. Dr.Craig still believes in the resurrection of Jesus. If God could raise Jesus from the dead, he could also create Adam from the dust. 

Raising Jesus from the dead is not an easier miracle than creating Adam from the dust. They are both miracles. You cannot say that you will believe one miracle and disbelieve the other. Such selective disbelief is not consistent with logic and scripture. 

Next, let us read Genesis 2:19, 

Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.Genesis 2:19

     Lord God brought animals and birds to Adam and wanted to see what he would call them. In this verse too we see an ‘immediacy’ between the events of animal creation and human creation. God created the animals and birds and brought them to Adam. It is more consistent with 6 day creation. If the animals and birds were created millions of years before Adam was created, why the hurry to give them names? They were hanging around for millions of years without names. A 6 day creation better describes the language of Genesis chapter 1. God created animals and birds and within a few hours to days, he took them to Adam to give them names. 

Next, Genesis 3:8, 

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day

Dr.Craig says, ‘God walking in the garden. That is too anthropomorphic. I can’t believe it. That sounds like mythology. God walked in the garden of Gethsemane. Do you believe that? If God could walk in the garden of Gethsemane, what would stop him from walking in the garden of Eden? God could take different manifestations based on the circumstances. He appeared to Moses in a burning bush, he appeared as the son of God in the furnace with three Hebrew youngmen who defied the emperor Nebuchadnezzar. So, Dr.Craig’s skepticism is unwarranted. It is against the plain teaching of the Bible. 

It is against the Ten Commandments 

In the Bible, creation of the universe is linked to human morality. The Ten Commandments start with reminding us the Creatorship of God in bringing out human existence. Let us read Genesis 2:3 and Exodus 20:11

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. Genesis 2:3

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:11

    In six days, God created the universe and everything in it and the seventh day is the Sabbath. We live through a 7 day week. We work for six days, and then we take a day off as Sabbath to remember our Creator. Each week we reflect the work of God in creation. As creatures made in his image, we exercise our creative abilities to bring forth what God intended for our lives. And on the seventh day, we worship God. 

       In Exodus 20:11, God says, for in six days I created everything and on the seventh day, you should observe it as Sabbath. ‘Days’ means ‘days’. Not millions of years or billions of years. God cannot say, Six days means six billion years for me. Seventh day means a 24 hour day for you. 

    If I tell my son, ‘Work for 6 hours and then take a break for one hour’. Six hours cannot be six days or six months or six years. Six hours means six hours. The word ‘hour’ means the same for both myself and for my son. In the same way, we cannot say, six days means six billion years for God, and one day means one 24 hour day for us. They should carry the same meaning. 

     The Ten commandments of God clearly teaches us a young universe created in six ordinary 24 hour days. Dr.Craig’s assertion that pre-humans existed before Adam is clearly against the Ten Commandments. 

It is against the Historical records of the Bible 

    God is the first historian of the universe. In the Bible, God recorded the history of the events that already happened thousands of years ago. A major portion of the Bible is also prophetic in nature. It is about the events that will unfold in the future. In other words, prophecy is history pre-written by God. From the beginning of the universe to its end, God wrote a historical document in the Bible. 

     Let us see 1 Chronicles chapter 1. It starts with these names. 

Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, ………to Noah verse 4. From Noah to Abraham in verse 27. In chapter 2……..the genealogy goes to Jacob and his children. In chapter 3, the genealogy goes to David. The writer of 1 Chronicles gave us the historical documents from Adam to David. In the New Testament, Luke gives us the historical documents from Adam to David to Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

       Going by Dr.William Lane Craig’s argument, ‘from Adam to Noah is mythology, from Abraham to Jesus is real history’. You cannot do that. The writer of 1 Chronicles and Luke considered Adam and Noah as real historical persons. They presented the historical documents as one continuous history from Adam to Noah to Abraham to  David to Jesus. You should not slice them into different sections like ‘from Adam to Noah’ mythology and ‘from Abraham to Jesus’ real history. We say ‘History is His story’. What started in the first Adam should have a pure historical connection to the second Adam. The first Adam cannot be in mytho-history while the second Adam is firmly planted in real history. 

     So, Dr.Craig’s assertion that the first 11 chapters are mytho-history is against the spirit of historical documents we find in both Old and New Testaments. 

It is against what Lord Jesus Christ taught 

       In Matthew 19, Lord Jesus Christ asked, ‘Haven’t you read that at the beginning the Creator made them male and female?’ That is in reference to Adam and Eve. At the beginning God created Adam and Eve. There were no humanoids before Adam and Eve. Our blessed Savior did not say, ‘At the beginning the Creator made pre-humans and then the humans’. He said, ‘At the beginning the creator made them male and female’. So, Dr.Craig’s contention there were pre-humans before Adam and Eve is against the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

      Let us also read a few verses from Matthew 24, 

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

    Dr.Craig says Genesis 1-11 is mytho-history. 

Then we have to answer the next question, which is history? And which is mythology? Is Adam history or a myth? Is Garden of Eden history or a myth? Is Original fall history or myth? The murder of Abel, a history or myth? Then Noah, the Flood, the rise of nations and the Tower of Babel…are they history or myths? There is no way to answer those questions. Once you label them, mytho-history, you reduce all of them into mythology. And that is what skeptics want: Reduce all Bible to mythology which has no relation to the reality in the past and to the morality in the present. 

       Genesis chapter 6,7,8,9 and 10 are about Noah, the Flood and the rise of nations after the Flood. Out of the 11 chapters Dr.Craig throws into mythology, five chapters are about Noah and the Flood. He says Noah’s flood was not a global flood. 

        Look at the words of Lord Jesus Christ. He connected his second coming to Noah’s Flood. 

We read in Genesis 7:11, ‘on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened’. During Noah’s Flood, God opened all the springs of the great deep and the floodgates of the heavens. It was a cosmic, cataclysmic event with no parallel in human history. There was no event like Genesis Flood in the history of this planet and of humanity. It was such a mind-boggling global event. The second coming of Christ will also shake up planet earth and the astronomical objects in space. 

     We should not miss the parallels between Noah’s Flood and the Second Coming. The second coming of Christ will be a global event affecting all human beings on this planet just like Noah’s Flood was a global event affecting all human beings. The second of Christ will bring judgment of God on all unrighteous people just like Noah’s Flood brought judgment on all unrighteous human beings alive at that time. The second coming will be a cosmic, cataclysmic catastrophe just like Noah’s Flood, which was a cosmic, cataclysmic catastrophe. 

    Lord Jesus Christ would not have compared his second coming, which will be a real, historical event to some mythological story in the book of Genesis. He compared them because both are real, historical events. He compared them because both are global events. He compared them because both are extraordinarily unique events shaking up the whole planet. 

     So, Dr.William Lane Craig’s assertion that Genesis 1-11 is mytho-history is against the clear, serious teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

We will continue in Part 2. Peace!

Leave a Reply