In this final segment, we continue to critique William Lane Craig’s claim that Genesis 1-11 is mytho-history. The New Testament often quotes from the Old Testament as if the events recorded therein actually happened. Craig attempted to show that some such references may not be endorsing the historicity of such events, but merely using them as literary illustrations. However, none of the examples he provided suggested anything other than a reference to actual historical events. There is nothing wrong with using a fictional story to illustrate a point. But there is no evidence that any biblical author thought of Genesis as anything but straightforward history.
In analyzing William Lane Craig’s comments on Genesis in his recent article in First Things, we have seen that when New Testament authors quote or allude to Old Testament passages (including Genesis 1-11), they do so as if these events really occurred and often with consequences for our present world. This would seem to be further evidence that Genesis 1-11 is historical narrative, as the text itself indicates along with its context.
We here continue to examine William Lane Craig’s claim that Genesis 1-11 is not meant to be read as literal history.
Every year, citizens of the United States celebrate Independence Day on July 4. But why? Suppose someone answered, “That is the date in which the fictional characters Steve Miller and David Levinson saved the world from invading extraterrestrials, as shown in the sci-fi movie Independence Day. That is why we celebrate on the 4th of July.” That would be absurd because the reality of our independence cannot be based on fictional events in a movie.
We have been examining the claims of William Lane Craig regarding the historicity of Genesis 1-11. Craig argued that there is similarity between the creation account in Genesis and creation myths of the ancient Near East (ANE). But we found that this is not the case, in that ANE creation myths are always polytheistic, and generally involve a chaos monster that is defeated in order to produce the good earth we have today. However, Genesis is the opposite in starting with one all-powerful God who created a very good earth, and in which humans introduced chaos/death by rebelling against that God.
William Lane Craig is a professor of philosophy at Houston Baptist University. Although he is known as an apologist, his approach is based on man-centered philosophy rather than biblical authority. As such, Craig rejects the history recorded in Genesis. He instead embraces the secular story of origins, including its timescale of billions of years. So, his latest article arguing against the literal history in Genesis came as no surprise. In his article, Craig attempts to persuade his readers that Genesis is a myth – a story that contains elements of truth but which is not to be understood literally. This is a significant departure from the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3). So, let’s examine the more pertinent parts of Craig’s article and see if his reasoning is sound.