By this 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 carnivory 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. Cf. ‘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).1
- Obeys the command to repent (literally, changes one’s mind—about God and sin), that is, to acknowledge that one has lived and acted in rebellion against God, and to ask God’s forgiveness for this.2 Cf. ‘God … commands all men everywhere to repent’ (Acts 17:31a).3
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),4 and we have inherited their death penalty also (Romans 6:23), which we deserve….5
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