D.A. Carson, basing this question off Francis Schaeffer asks, paraphrased as follows, “What is the least that needs to be believed about Genesis 1-11 in order for it to be coherent and true?” That is the fundamental question of our time. This list is not exhaustive, but is sufficient.
- God comes first, and is not dependent on anything else.
- God speaks, (and He dares to relate closely and personally to human beings).
- God made everything.
- God is good, and made everything good as a reflection of his nature. (There is not a good principle and an equally bad principle in competition with each other)
- Because everything was made good, human beings are accountable to God.
- There are hints, subtle traces, of God’s complexity (1:27, ‘Let us make man in our image’).
- Humans are made in the image of God.
- Humans do, and are meant to steward well, over creation.
- There is purpose and order in God’s structure. God made male and female.
- This peaceful purpose & ordering is where we want our world to return, from it’s death and decay.
- God rests. People are meant to work & rest as a reflection of God’s own work & rest.
- The greatness of creation testifies to God.
We as Christians can fairly discuss and debate the rest of the details, but the above are foundational and essential to the faith.