Biblical Genealogies are Trustworthy Historical Records

genealogy

 

1 Chronicles 1 and Luke 3 take these genealogies to be completely historical. So theistic evolutionists who would relegate these genealogies to mythical status have to reckon not only with the plain teaching of the chronogenealogies, but how the rest of Scripture treats them as well.

Adam to Noah

The first genealogies we find in Genesis (in chapters 5 and 11) are called ‘chronogenealogies’ because the age of the father at the birth of the son are given. This allows us to know with a very high degree of accuracy (within a year) how much time passed during each generation. It also lets us know there is no gap between the names.

Shem to Abram

The most noticeable element of the genealogy is the steady decrease in lifespans. The antediluvians all seemed to live very long lives. But after the Flood, each generation lives shorter and shorter lives, until many children die before their longer-lived parents, and even before grandparents and beyond. By the time of Abraham, lifespans were only about twice what we experience in the modern-day world.

These genealogies are actually indications that Genesis intends to be taken as history, and not myth, because the chronology claims to set each person in a specific place in history. Many of the people in the genealogies are not mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, so their only purpose seems to be to link one important character with another (linking Noah back to Adam, for example). By the time Moses wrote Genesis, most of these names would not be otherwise significant to the Hebrews.

Matthew’s genealogy

The purpose of Matthew’s genealogy was to trace the legal line of rightful heirs to the throne of David. This of course included biological descent, but also some ‘adoptive’ relationships where a man had no descendant, or whose descendants were disqualified. Matthew’s genealogy used obvious ‘telescoping’ where less important people were omitted.

Matthew claims that his choice of names is significant because of the number of generations listed “So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to Christ fourteen generations” (Matthew 1:17). The most plausible significance for this is because the numerical value of the letters in David’s name added up to 14. God is in total control of history. After all it is HIS story.

Luke’s genealogy

When we interpret the genealogies correctly, we see that they are trustworthy historical records.

Luke’s genealogy looks a lot more complete, and was probably the biological genealogy of Mary, so we see Jesus’ biological ancestry from David, and from Adam. We would expect that Luke would want to give us a complete chain to link Jesus biologically with David. But from Adam to David, he uses the Old Testament sources which indicates his confidence in them as Jesus had total confidence in them – Mt 5:18.

Luke’s genealogy is unusual in that it starts with Jesus and goes back to Adam—all the other genealogies go from father to son. This allows it to end with, “the son of Adam, the son of God.” This means that the genealogy starts and ends with a “son of God”, and nicely makes the theological point that Jesus is linked to all of humanity via common descent from Adam.

Trustworthy historical records

When we look at the biblical genealogies, we have to appreciate the purpose behind each of them, and that helps us to interpret them correctly. And when we interpret them correctly, we see that they are trustworthy historical records.

Extracted from article by Lita Costner “Are There Gaps in the Biblical Genealogies” http://www.creation.com

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