This doesn’t mean that every professor of Hebrew believes the biblical account of all these things. They just admit that there is no ambiguity about what the Hebrew text of Genesis is trying to communicate.
Contrary to statements by professing Christians who attempt to “smooth off the hard edges” of Genesis 1-11, much is at stake for Christians. Within three passages in Matthew (19:4, 23:35 and 24:37-39) Jesus affirms the original creation of a male and a female who had a son named Abel, the personhood of Noah, the reality of the Flood and the ark, and the universality of death caused by the Flood. Was Jesus wrong about all of this? A true Christian could hardly think so.
Neither is there any ambiguity about what the apostles and disciples of Jesus understood from His teaching about Genesis. I Peter 3:20 and II Peter 2:5-7 affirm the historicity of Noah, Lot, the ark, the Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Paul, in Romans 5:14 and I Cor. 15:22, contrasts Jesus to Adam. It is hardly sound exegesis to take Jesus as a literal person but Adam as figurative. In I Tim. 2:13-14 Paul mentions Eve. I John 3:12 and Jude 11 affirm the historicity of Cain and his act of fratricide. Jude 14 testifies not only to Adam, but mentions Enoch and even his place in the sequence of patriarchs. The genealogy from Adam to Jesus is found in Luke 3. The first 21 patriarchs in that genealogy are all found in the first eleven chapters of Genesis.
If we are going to discount all of these New Testament confirmations of the Genesis record, at what point do we quit discounting and believe what the Bible says? Once we start partitioning the Bible into the parts we believe and the parts we don’t believe, we are sitting in judgment on the Word of God. This is backwards. God’s Word will sit in judgment on mankind. In John 12:48 Jesus said “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.”
Ironically, atheists better grasp the issues involved in denying the clear meaning of scripture than many Christians. In the atheist journal “Free Inquiry” J. J. Mattill Jr. wrote “Three Cheers for Creationists”:
“Cheer Number One goes to the creationists for serving rational religion by demonstrating beautifully that we must take the creation stories of Genesis at face value…Creationists list twenty or more contradictions that arise between science and Scripture if the days are taken as geological eras instead of ordinary days.
“Many Christians have taken the dishonest way of lengthening the days into millions of years, but the creationists make it clear that such an approach is nothing but a makeshift that is unacceptable biblically and scientifically.
“And the creationists have also shown irrefutably that those…who regard the creation stories as myths or allegories are undermining the rest of Scripture, for if there was no Adam, there was no fall; and if there was no fall there was no hell; and if there was no hell, there was no need of Jesus as Second Adam and Incarnate Savior, crucified and risen. As a result, the whole biblical system of salvation collapses.”
Mattill applauds creationists because he sees them as the unwitting accomplices of atheism. As Mattill indicates, denials of scripture or attempts to twist what it says often originate with those who think they are defending the faith from the threat they think is posed by the theory of evolution. Such defense is unnecessary. The biblical account is congruent with the facts of science even if not with the evolutionary interpretation of those facts. However, this is a separate topic.
But let us imagine that we had no answers to the claims of the evolutionists and our choice was to buy into their model of origins or to just say “God, I don’t know what the answer to their claims is, but I know what your Word says about origins and I’m going to believe it by faith.” My Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Do you suppose that just refers to faith in Jesus as the fire escape, or might God expect a faith that is a little more robust than that?