God does not need paint and canvas to create a beautiful sunset. His canvas is the sky, His paints are the colors of the rainbow, and His brush is the wind. Likewise, God does not need to make up stories. His word is life, His characters are actual people, and His stories are reality.
When God speaks, if His words are not already true to reality, they make reality true to themselves. For what God says is always true: God said, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3).
Recently, I heard a Roman Catholic priest say in a sermon that the stories in the Bible before Moses were not historical because they contain a lot of myth. He compared the story of Jacob wrestling with God to Greek mythology. According to him the value of these stories is merely symbolic because they can help us to learn helpful tips for living, like the fact that Jacob was close to God.
However, the Old and New Testaments are not “cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16). We know this because “no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Because God’s word is always true, His Spirit does not inspire stories that purport to be true history, if they are not historical. (John 17:17).
And now “we have the word of the prophets made more certain,” He is the word of truth made flesh, and His name is Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:19, John 1:14). According to Jesus, in the beginning of our history, God created two people (Adam and Eve) and they were one flesh. (Matthew 19:4-6). This shows that Jesus accepted Genesis as historical. And following the lead of her Lord, the Church has also accepted the books of Moses as historical. Calling Genesis a myth is a recent innovation.
One of the principles of sola Scriptura is that the Scriptures are clear and able to be understood. That does not mean that the Scriptures do not contain unfathomable mysteries, but it does mean that in the Bible God has competently communicated His deep salvific truth. (Luke 16:31). (The more one knows about a true mystery (like the Trinity), the more fascinating and deep it becomes).
Because the Scriptures are able to be understood, and because Jesus promised to be with His Church to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20), that means that every generation of Christians since the time of Christ has been able to understand the Scriptures. If those generations testify unanimously that they understood Genesis to be historical, then who are we to say it is myth?
Genesis was not written merely to share clever stories and spiritual truths. It is real. It is as real as the Lord’s Supper is the real Body and Blood of Christ. These stories and sacraments not just symbols, but actual physical supernatural realities. They are Christ given to us, and Christ is the truth. (John 14:6-7).
Our God is almighty. And an almighty God does not paint with canvas and brush and make-believe symbols, He paints with reality.