We cannot conveniently cast aside the creation epic as mere parable. When we begin to decide what is and what isn’t parable, we become revelation, and not the Word. We become Judge. Who then is to say that the resurrection, or the existence of Jesus himself, is not one grand parable in which we may use to infer esoteric knowledge?
With this, we bring forward a protestant principle: Scripture interprets scripture. Do we find individuals in scripture reading the account in Genesis as purely a parable?
No. The New Testament writers accepted a literal historicity of Adam and Eve. Take for example Romans 5, detailing the entrance of sin into the world via one man. It continues with saying “By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…” and it is through the second adam, or another man (Jesus), that the correction takes place. To place Adam and Eve as merely parable, or fictitious, is to necessitate the same for Jesus. In this verse the historical entrance of sin through one man is placed along the same plane as the historical person of Jesus. You can’t knock one off without putting in question the other.
Other NT works suggest the same:
- “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim 2:13-14, containing another reading of Gen 2-3 as literal history).
- Also notice how Luke 3:38 contains a literal genealogy which includes ultimately Adam. Adam is placed as historical along that genealogy with Seth, Enos, and Jesus (and a host of others).
In addition, let me say something else about the idea of taking Genesis as parable. Within the New Testament, we find formulas for the usage of Parables (parabolic element). When Jesus uses them, you’ll find some beginning with “The kingdom of God is like…” It then contains a parable to explain some ethical or spiritual truth.You’ll also find later admissions of some being a parable, complete with an explanation. No such structure is found in Genesis. Rather, it simply explains itself in the beginning of the human race. You find a view of it being historical from the OT throughout the NT.
We may be inclined to see it as myth, given a talking snake, but Rev 20:2 (“that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan”,) and Balaam’s donkey (Num 22:28) are used for communication by Satan and Jehovah. Obviously we don’t find examples of snakes talking, but is it far-fetched that Satan would use such a device to communicate through? To ignore Jehovah’s ability to communicate through a donkey is to deny the supernatural, and that quickly leads to a rejection of a physical bodily resurrection of Jesus, thus undermining the entire Christian faith.
In short, Scripture reads Genesis as historical. For that reason, given it is revelation and we are not, it should be seen as such.