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All or None

I recently heard a local radio talk show host state that the Old Testament has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity.  Specifically, he was referring to the creation account of the Bible.  His belief is that the creation account of the Bible is an allegory, i.e., a symbolic story.  He believes that God did not create the world a literal six-day span, that there were no such persons as Adam and Eve, and that there was no serpent.  Rather, he thinks these were merely symbols of whatever really happened, which no one really knows.  His contention was that regardless of one’s belief about creation or any part of the Old Testament, a person can still believe in Christ.

 

Bible students know that this contention is false.  The New Testament stands upon the Old Testament.  If one had only the New Testament and never saw the Old Testament, then the New Testament would have no foundation.  Think of every reference to Abraham, Moses, and the prophets in the New Testament.  Without the Old Testament, none of us would know who they were.  If we removed every reference to the Old Testament from the New Testament, the context would be destroyed.  As an exercise, try reading a New Testament book like Matthew, Romans, or Hebrews, and ignore every passage that contains a quotation from the Old Testament.  Those books would lose their meaning.

 

More to the point, without the Old Testament, we would not know that Jesus is the Christ.  There are over three-hundred prophecies to the Christ in the Old Testament (so I have been told – I never counted them).  Jesus fulfilled every one of these prophecies.  The fulfillment of these prophecies is one of the strongest proofs that Jesus is the Christ.  Just consider Peter’s use of Old Testament scripture in Acts 2 to demonstrate that Jesus is Christ.  Without the Old Testament scripture, Peter’s sermon would be unconvincing.

 

The issue is not only whether one believes in the Old Testament or its account of creation.  The issue is also whether one believes in Jesus.  This is the issue because Jesus believed in the Old Testament account of creation.  Jesus clearly expressed His belief: “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female’” (Mark 10:6).  If God did not make them male and female from the beginning, then Jesus was mistaken.  If Jesus was mistaken, then He was not the Christ, for the New Testament claims that the Christ was there in the beginning and was the agency by which all things were created (John 1:1-3).  If indeed Christ was there in the beginning, then He ought to know first hand what was done.

 

Creation is not the only Old Testament account that is considered by many as merely allegorical.  The book of Jonah is often described as an allegory, but Jesus considered it to be literal truth.  Jesus cited Jonah as being a sign that foreshadowed His own time in the grave (Matt. 12:38-42).  If we believe in the literal death, burial, and resurrection, then should we not also believe in the literal Jonah who was swallowed by the fish?  Also, the Bible’s account of the universal flood during Noah’s time is often considered allegorical.  Yet once again, we must note that Jesus believed in the flood.  Jesus compared His second coming to the flood of Noah (Matt. 24:37-39).  If we believe that the Lord will come again, should we not also believe in what he said regarding the flood?

 

Those who seek to dissect the Bible into disconnected pieces do not understand the word of God.  Certainly, there are figurative passages in the Bible, but those are mostly contained in prophecies and parables, not in historical accounts as we find in Genesis.  Those literal historical accounts that may seem unbelievable are the records of the amazing things that God has done.  If we believe in an Almighty God, then why can’t we believe in His mighty works?

 

The Bible is a seamless unit with sixty-six books that are interwoven so as to present one harmonious message.  To accept any part of it requires one to accept it all.  If anyone believes in Jesus as the Christ, then he must also believe in what Jesus said and what Jesus believed.  To accept Jesus but reject His word simply makes no sense.

 

Stacey E. Durham