With my homemade Bible reading plan, yesterday had me in 1 Chronicles 1-3. I admit that I sometimes (ok, often) find it hard to be fired up for my 3-4 chapters. I wish this weren’t the case, but it is. Most of the chapters are so familiar that I can easily zone out with my reading. This is a particular temptation when I know my three chapters will be nothing but a long list of names, as they were on Tuesday.

But as I was praying that God would teach me something new with the start of 1 Chronicles, he reminded me of something no Christian should forget.

Adam was a real person.

How could he not be? 1 and 2 Chronicles were written for the returning exiles to remind them who they were, where they came from, how things went wrong, and how they can walk with God again. The two books are all about the history of God’s people, and that means the real true history that began with Adam.

Adam to Seth to Enosh to Kenan to Mahalelel to Jared to Enoch to Methusaleh to Lamech to Noah to Shem to Arpachshad to Shelah to Eber to Peleg to Reu to Serug to Nahor to Terah to Abram, that is, Abraham (1 Chronicles 1:1-4, 24-27). So where does the myth end and the history begin?

Are we really to think that any Jew reading 1 Chronicles (or any Christian up until very recently for that matter) would have read the genealogies as anything other than true historical truth? The Chronicler’s whole aim is to recount history. And everything in the Israelite worldview underlines the importance of God’s dealing in real time and space. Nothing suggests that 1 Chronicles is mixing in some fantastic über-man with blood and guts real men.

That kind of genealogy wouldn’t begin to make sense, not to the Jews and not to us. It’d be like starting your family tree with the Jolly Green Giant and Paul Bunyan. It’d be like writing a biography that begins with Anakin Skywalker and his son Luke and then goes on to his son Hugh Hodge and his son Charles and his son Archibald Alexander. Not very convincing.

And not very encouraging for a bunch of exiles trying to figure out who they really are.