by Russell Grigg

Must a Christian believe in a literal creation?

By "literal Creation" I mean believe that God created the world in six normal days, that there was then a real rebellion against God by an actual Adam and Eve, followed by the entry of death, suffering and becoming carnivores (eating flesh) into a once-perfect world, and that the first chapters of Genesis are a literal, historical account of all this.

So does one have to believe this to be a Christian?

Becoming a Christian

In the New Testament, a Christian is seen as someone who does two things:

Believes that Jesus Christ (who was fully God and fully man), through His death on the Cross and His Resurrection, has paid the penalty for our sin. "If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9).

Obeys the command to repent, that is, to acknowledge that one has lived and acted in rebellion against God, and to ask God's forgiveness for this. "God ... commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:31b).

Is it then enough just to believe in Jesus and repent?

Well, these two things imply that there exists a holy God against whom we have rebelled and so incurred the penalty for doing so. But why does our disregard for God and our failure to keep His laws merit any penalty at all, let alone the death penalty?

Answer: When we read the first three chapters of Genesis, we see that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created with a holy, godly nature and they lived in fellowship with God. However, they chose to rebel against Him and so became corrupt in themselves, hostile to God, and guilty before Him. Their rebellion was an affront to the holiness of God who had created them, and it earned them the death penalty (Genesis 3:17–19), about which they had been warned (Genesis 2:17, 3:3). This corruption, hostility and guilt involved the whole human race (Romans 5:12–19), and we have inherited their death penalty (Romans 6:23), which we deserve.

It is true that one can go through the steps of becoming a Christian without accepting or even knowing the Genesis account of Creation and the Fall.

However, such a minimal belief system misses out on the logical foundation which Genesis supplies to the whole doctrine of Salvation. This leads to a shallow faith that has little root in the Word of God and so has little ability to resist the attacks and ridicule of sceptics, atheists, liberal religious leaders, or work-mates, etc.

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