Paul Was a Creationist


I know this doesn’t have anything to do with what we’ve been discussing, but during my personal time in the Bible this week, it dawned on me that the Apostle Paul must have been a creationist.

Clearly he viewed Genesis as a historical record. He drew parallels in numerous places between Christ and Adam (Romans 5; I Corinthians 15). None of those works if Adam was a mythical character, not an actual historical person.

Come to think of it, the writer of the book of Hebrews (some think that was Paul, too, but some think it might have been Barnabas or even Peter) also believed in the historicity of Genesis. The fundamental comparison in Hebrews is between Christ and a little-known priest/king named Melchizedek. Genesis 1 mentions him briefly, almost in passing, but clearly the New Testament believers understood him to be a historical figure and highly significant in helping people (especially Jews) understand Jesus’s role as High Priest and King.

I suppose, more important than all is that Jesus Himself understood Genesis to be history. After His resurrection, He is the one who spent time with His disciples explaining how He figured into the Law and Prophets.

Before His crucifixion, He made numerous references to David, Moses, and Abraham. In fact, in connection to Abraham, He taught about life after death. Using a mythical character for these lessons would have destroyed the very point He was making. Instead, He referenced historical figures, and mentioned their motives, their choice of a verb tense, their use of words. If Jesus knew these Old Testament people to be figments of someone’s imagination, He would have been partaking in a great fraud.

No, He, along with the writer to the Hebrews, along with the Apostle Paul, viewed the Law and the Prophets as grounded in historical fact.

So how do I get from that point to Paul was a creationist? If Paul believed Adam was a historical figure and that sin came into the world because of what Adam did, which is precisely what he says in Romans 5:12 (“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned —”), he must have believed that Genesis 3 was historical.

Do we have reason to believe he thought Genesis 3 was factual but Genesis 2 or Genesis 1 was mythical?

Actually there’s no evidence that Paul thought any of the Old Testament was mythical. He took the Law and the Prophets to be the word of God. He based his instruction on the Word. He began his church planting by reading and discussing the Word.

Sure, some can dismiss Paul as scientifically ignorant. But one thing we can’t accurately conclude—he was spiritually ignorant.

So the question is, does rational thought negate the power of God? If after all our scientific discoveries, we say, God couldn’t have created the world the way Genesis says, isn’t that actually a reflection of our own beliefs, not of what really happened?

I mean, what we’re really saying is, I don’t see how these scientific facts and the Genesis account can both be true, so I choose known science (even though unknown science might someday prove me wrong).

In reality, Paul, who had a direct revelation of Jesus Christ, wasn’t encumbered with the restrictions of modern philosophy or with the uncertainties of postmodern philosophy. And his vast study, I’m certain, led him to be a creationist.

Published in: on July 9, 2009 at 10:52 am  Comments (1)  
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