When one thinks about people who are passionate about the book of Genesis, the following topics usually surface: evolution, dinosaurs, fossils, Noahs Flood, carbon-dating and so on. What are usually not discussed, however, are the topics of justice and the courtroom. Yes, the Scopes trial is sometimes referenced in relation to Genesis, and litigation about intelligent design certainly makes news; but what about less-than-obvious creation-related matters? Specifically, are there legal matters that arise because the public square has turned a deaf ear toward Genesis? The answer is a definite Yes!
Consider just the first few of the key doctrines taught in Genesis:
A cosmic two-ism is established. There is a pre-existent God who creates, from nothing, everything.1
God shaped what He created into various inanimate objects but then created living things like plants2
and animals, which reproduced according to their kind.3
God created man in His own image; thus, man and only man bears this designation.4
Man was created in two distinct complementary, yet equally dignified genders, male and female.5
From this arrangement God, as a creational ordinance for those created in His image, established marriage to be the union of one man and one woman.6
Doctrines of Genesis Brought to Court
Each of these areas is now the object of intense litigation across the USA and other western nations. Why?
Ideas have consequences; and when true ideas are rejected, negative consequences will arise. The Apostle Paul, when commenting on Genesis in Romans 1, indicated that a great exchange occurred after the Fall: the Truth exchanged for, literally, the Lie.7 The context of Romans 1 makes plain that the manifestations of this exchange will center on two areas: (1) issues dealing with suppressing the Creators existence; and (2) issues reflecting a rejection of creational norms regulating sexual activity.
Genesis is more than T. rexes & trilobites. Genesis establishes the basic parameters of living on Gods Earth
Paul further notes that in conjunction with this suppression, there will be those who not only practice certain deeds but also those who approve them as well.8 Conduct in America is formally approved by its courts, classrooms and churches. Each is a battleground. And courtrooms across America now confirm Pauls analysis. When the history of Genesis is rejected and its vital doctrines cast aside, the culture will litigate what has been abandoned.
For example, note the vigor with which the scientific community opposes the proposed teaching of intelligent design in public schools as an alternative means of drawing inferences from biological data. Although intelligent design is not creation science nor even theistic, it is another means of interpreting data. Yet opposition to it is unrelenting and fierce because intelligent design permits the inference that a design and/or designer exists.
Also, note todays assault against marriage. God designed marriage with quantitative and qualitative components: one man and one woman. Today, litigation is directed at negating both components: demands for same-sex marriage clog many courts (qualitative) and some left-leaning advocacy groups and scholarly academics reveal a decided opposition to laws prohibiting polygamy (quantitative).9
Another recent phenomenon regards legal claims predicated upon person theory. Some animal rights activists are seeking fundamental rights for monkeys, dogs and even honeybees. At their root, these claims reflect a rejection of the image of God in man. Anything except an unborn child, it seems can be a person entitled to rights according to many of these advocates. Man is thus not unique.
Litigation is also arising over cloning and its cousin (no pun intended) hybrid transpersonalism. In the UK, the creator of Dolly the sheep, Ian Wilmut, is seeking a legal license to merge rabbits and humans at the cellular level. This action negates the biblical notion that animals are only to reproduce after their kind. And, of course, this sort of Frankenstein-like experimentation denies mans uniqueness as being created in Gods image.
Much of litigation today is also designed to deny the creational notions of maleness and femaleness. This occurs in what are called transgender claims. Many businesses and local governments are now making discrimination based on gender identity unlawful. Again, the root of such claims derives from a rejection of creational norms. And these claims are particularly dangerous because they seek to extend the law beyond ethics determining what is right and wrong to metaphysics determining something only God can do. Man is thus seeking with translitigation to become like God just as Moses noted in (surprise) Genesis.10
Importance of Defending Genesis
The book of Genesis, because it sets forth the Creators design and instruction for all that is, including humanity, should be foundational to every human society. If those truths are ignored, distorted or rejected, consequences will occur, they will be litigated and, if successful, imposed upon society.
Genesis is about more than T. rexes and trilobites. Genesis establishes the basic parameters of living on Gods Earth according to His precepts in His Word. Ultimately, to reject Genesis is to reject life itself. That is why litigating the hot-button issues of our day is so crucial. Defending Genesis and the Creator God is foundational.
Jeffery J. Ventrella is the senior vice president of strategic training for the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). He has also lectured extensively on the relationships among civil law, tort liability and ecclesiastical jurisdiction with an eye toward equipping churches with more biblically based institutional bylaws.
People and animals are described in Genesis as having, or being, nephesh (Hebrew), where nephesh chayyah is translated living creatures, and in Genesis 2:7, where Adam became a living soul (nephesh chayyah). Nephesh conveys the basic idea of a breathing creature.