Do Adam and Genesis have anything to do with Jesus and the Gospel?
Many Christians think that Adam and Genesis are not important. They feel belief in Jesus is the only thing that matters. In their view, what’s important is the Gospel in the New Testament.
This view is wrong, because Adam and the Gospel are inextricably linked. Adam and Jesus are likewise inextricably linked, because Scripture identifies Jesus as The Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). The history of Genesis, in particular the account of Adam, is foundational to the Gospel. The basic ideas of the Gospel are rooted in Adam in Genesis.
The Gospel begins in Genesis!
The Genesis Road
The basics of the Gospel begin on the Genesis Road:
1. God created mankind in Adam. (Genesis 1:26-28)
2. Adam sinned and deserves death. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3:2-7)
3. The Creator died to save mankind from the death penalty for sin. (Genesis 3:15)
People must first understand that God created them and that they are therefore responsible to Him. Next they have to understand that they have broken God’s law and are under His condemnation and judgment. Then they can understand that the Creator died to save them. This all begins with Adam in Genesis.
The Lord God’s word to the Serpent in the Garden of Eden is a key part of the Genesis Road:
“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.” (Genesis 3:15 NASB)
The Lord God said the Serpent would bruise the heel of the woman’s Descendant (her seed), but the Descendant would bruise the Serpent’s head, implying a far more severe blow by the woman’s Descendant than by the Serpent. The seed of the woman was Jesus of Nazareth who was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary 4,000 years later. The Serpent bruised Jesus’ heel when Jesus was crucified for men’s sin. Revelation 20:7-10 reports the Serpent’s future doom when Jesus will bruise the Serpent’s head.
Who is God? Who is man? What is sin? Without the record of Adam in Genesis, you cannot answer these crucial questions. Dynamic evangelism starts where the Bible starts — with the Creator. The historical anchor of the Gospel is in Genesis.
America Needs the Genesis Road
America has lost its foundation of Biblical knowledge. Scientists trumpet Evolution as scientific fact. They avow the universe exploded into existence 15 billion years ago, the earth is billions of years old, and fossils are proof of evolution. Evolutionists claim people are animals descended from ape-like creatures, originating by chance from slimy goo millions of years ago, without purpose or meaning. Everything is explained naturalistically, so God is superfluous. People embrace the self-contradictory “absolute truth” that “There is no absolute truth.” Of course all this is complete nonsense, but it’s the prevailing mindset.
To many, therefore, it is meaningless to talk about sinners and God’s love. Future judgment and a God-man raised from the dead 2,000 years ago seem irrelevant. These concepts baffle people who exalt scientists as arbiters of truth and consequently swallow their evolutionary tale of fiction. It escapes most people that evolutionary speculations are not demonstrable science.
Evolutionary beliefs are a barrier to the Gospel. They must be confronted and dismantled with the truth of Creation. Only then can people truly understand the message of the Cross. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3) The righteous can restore the Gospel’s firm foundation of Creation. How? Articulate a clear Genesis-based explanation of life, sin, and death. Teaching foundations generates intense interest in Bible truth. Pocket New Testaments should add Genesis instead of Psalms and Proverbs. Then people would have the foundational material needed to understand the message of the cross.
The Gospel is rooted in Genesis! Creation is not a side issue; it is central and essential.
Paul Used the Genesis Road
How did the Apostle Paul deliver the Gospel? He used the Genesis Road to present the Gospel to the pagans of his day. Paul referenced Adam’s sin in Genesis to explain why Jesus had to die and rise again.
For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22 NASB)
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
(1 Corinthians 15:45-47 NASB)
How did history’s premier missionary strategist penetrate Gospel-resistant cultures like that of America? In Lystra and Athens the Apostle Paul confronted cultures that were ignorant of God. He introduced God the same way God identified Himself to people in the Bible–as the Creator.
In Lystra on his 1st Missionary Journey, Paul identified the true God as the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them” (Acts 14:15). Paul’s “creation evangelism” established a sound church with enduring fruit. Timothy, a Lystra native, was likely converted at this time, for Paul repeatedly calls Timothy his son in the faith. Paul’s portrait of the Creator resonated with Scripture Timothy knew from childhood (2 Timothy 3:15).
Timothy matured to high regard in Lysta’s creation-sown church and was drafted to accompany Paul on his 2nd Missionary Journey. Timothy’s crucial assignments included supervising the Ephesian church after the silversmith riot and “reminding” the fractious Corinthian church of Paul’s doctrine. Timothy helped author six Pauline epistles and was the recipient of two others. Creation evangelism at Lystra has overflowed to energize the Church for 20 centuries.
In Athens, Paul’s “Unknown God” address identified the true God–the “God who made the world and all things in it. …He gives to all life and breath and all things, and He made from one, every nation of mankind.” (Acts 17:24-26) Here creation evangelism intrigued even skeptical philosophers. Some hearers believed–like Dionysius, a high official in the Athenian Council. Eusebius reports that Dionysius became the first bishop of Athens and was martyred. Paul’s God-the-Creator gospel pierced the darkness.
Preaching only Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection often does not get through, because today few have the background to understand. People must first recognize who God is and why He has a claim on their lives. Like Paul, introduce God as Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth. Start with Adam and Genesis to establish the basics needed for people to grasp salvation truth.
Genesis is vital for understanding the Bible’s central message–Jesus’ crucifixion for sin and the significance of His resurrection. Scripture’s bedrock is the Creation foundation laid in Genesis and rooted in Adam.
Questions to Ponder
- Can you explain who God is without identifying Him as the One who made heaven and earth?
- Can you explain why compromise on the history of Genesis 1–3 undermines confidence in the truth and authority of Scripture? How does it undermine the message of the Gospel?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
Soli Deo Gloria.
This is the 42nd of a series of weekly blog articles on Adam. This concludes the series on Adam.
Read the prequels:
1. Was Adam in the Garden of Eden?
2. Did Moses Believe in Adam?
3. Did Jesus Believe in Adam?
4. Did Paul Believe in Adam?
5. Does Belief in Adam Matter?
6. Adam and Puppies
7. Why Did Adam Sin?
8. What Should Adam Have Done?
9. What Did Adam Cause?
10. What Was Adam’s Forbidden Fruit?
11. How Long Was Adam in Eden?
12. Was Adam’s Garden of Eden Real?
13. Christmas & Adam (with videos)
14. Where Was Adam’s Garden of Eden?
15. Did Adam Wear Clothes in Eden?
16. Was Adam Backward or Brilliant? (with video)
17. Who Was Mrs. Adam?
18. Adam’s Dream Girl
19. Adam’s Prolific Princess
20. Adam’s Problematic Princess
21. How Many Children Did Adam Have?
22. Whom Did Adam’s Sons Marry?
23. Did Adam Ride a Unicorn?
24. How Long Did Adam Live?
25. Did Adam Swat Mosquitoes in Eden?
26. Did Adam’s Garden Have a Talking Snake?
27. Why Should Adam’s Sin Affect Me?
28. Did Roses Have Thorns in Adam’s Garden?
29. Adam the Image-Bearer & Harambe the Gorilla
30. Did Adam Ever Return to Eden?
31. What Was Adam’s Tree of Life?
32. Will Adam Be in Heaven?
33. Did Adam See the Big Dipper?
34. Did Adam Know Earth Is Round?
35. Did Jesus Say When Adam Was Created?
36. Did Adam See Dinosaurs?
37. Did Adam Like Steak?
38. Could Adam Read & Write?
39. Did God Use Evolution to Make Adam?
40. Adam & the Olympics
41. Adam and the Gospel
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday September 7, 2016 A.D.
The Lord God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”
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’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; 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.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 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.” 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. (Genesis 2:16; 3:1-6 NASB)