Richard vdR, from Uganda, sent his friend Phil the CMI booklet 15 Reasons to Take Genesis as History. Phil wrote back a critical response, and we have published that with Phil’s permission, and a point by point response by CMI’s Dr Carl Wieland:

Hi Richard,

I have just received your little booklet on Genesis as History. It is definitely an interesting book, and makes at least one valid point. However, I believe that it makes one major error, and this major error sadly undermines a lot of its content and thrust.

To start with the good point:

The writers make a strong case for many of the people mentioned in Genesis 1–11 being real historical people. I say a strong case—not one that is completely overwhelming—but definitely strong. I believe that they are correct in this, but (as see below) I am aware that I can be wrong in my interpretation of scripture, so I would be more cautious than them in the way they assert this.

Now for the bad points:

The biggest and overwhelming mistake of the authors is one we are all in danger of constantly—ARROGANCE. They start from a secure position—that the Bible is true and must be absolutely respected as such,

Actually, that is their presupposition, and it is openly declared. All reasoning involves presuppositions; it is actually better when these are frankly and openly stated. But the absolute truth of the Bible is also a vital presupposition for the credibility of the entire Gospel, for without it, we have no touchstone for even determining what the Gospel is.

and then move to a very bad position—that their particular interpretation of the bible must be held in the same esteem, and indeed that there can be no other!

CW: I have searched the booklet in vain to find such an arrogant position, which is different from being confident that the position espoused follows the straightforward rules of historical-grammatical exegesis without permitting any deviation in order to follow current cultural fashion.

This is a terrible mistake.

It might be if it were in fact what it was stated to be. But unfortunately, this sort of approach [i.e. Phil’s comment] readily detracts from a sober analysis of the position and its arguments, acting instead as a ‘relief valve’ for the discomfort as one starts to realize that one’s understanding flies in the face of what, for example, Jesus so plainly believed….

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