This will by no means be an exhaustive look at Genesis. That would take a whole library of books. No, we’re just going to look at some interesting things along the way. This study will take us up through the Fall of Adam and Eve. Part 2, Lord willing, will cover the Flood and the Tower of Babel; part 3 will consider some things about the patriarchs, and maybe part 4. I’m trying to make each post not too long.
Nor are we going to enter into the academic discussions about who wrote Genesis and the rest of the 5 books of the Pentateuch. Our Lord accepted it and them from the hand of Moses, as did both Testaments in numerous references, Mark 12:26; Ezra 6:18; Romans 10:19. That’s good enough for us!
As we come to the first chapters of Genesis, we find that it tells us where everything came from – not from some random cosmic explosion, but from the power and wisdom of God. So Genesis is the book of origins. It tells how the earth came to be, and where man came from. It accounts for the entrance of sin into the world, and reveals that man is a moral being, different from all other earthly creatures, in contrast to evolution, which says that he came from them. It gives us the beginning of the nation of Israel, as well as the origin and distribution of many of the rest of the nations of the world.
Genesis is also the foundational book of the Bible. It tells of sin and redemption and forms the basis for most, if not all, the rest of divine revelation on these subjects. It’s first redemptive prophecy contains in a single verse (3:15) the whole of prophecy given in the rest of Scripture. It also gives a tremendous amount of vital information about the Abrahamic Promise, or Covenant, information which, it seems to me, is often overlooked in the interpretation of Scripture.
As to an outline, here are some ways Genesis might be outlined:
1. The Beginning of Human History, chs. 1-12
2. The Beginning of Hebrew History, chs. 12-50.
1. The Beginning of Man’s Residence on the Earth, chs. 1, 2.
2. The Beginning of Man’s Rebellion on the Earth, chs. 3-11.
3. The Beginning of Man’s Redemption on the Earth, chs. 12-50.
or the more familiar:
1. Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.
2. The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.
3. The Flood, chs. 6-9: Punishment of Man.
4. The Tower of Babel, chs. 10, 11: Perversity of Man.
5. The Patriarchs, chs. 12-50: Preference among Men.
As we look more closely at Genesis through this last outline, we note the following:
Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.
A. It refutes many errors, including:
1. Atheism. “In the beginning, God….” Note: the Bible was written to people who believed in God, in many cases, had had personal dealings with Him. The Bible never attempts to “prove” the existence of God, although there are “proofs” for those who will see them, Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20.
2. Pantheism, that is, God is everything, and everything is God. Scripture shows that while God is indeed the Creator and Sustainer of everything, He is separate and distinct from everything. He IS everywhere, not every thing.
3. Materialism, that is, matter is eternal and has always existed. This still doesn’t answer the question, “Where did ‘matter’ come from in the first place?”
4. That everything came unintentionally and spontaneously into existence, i.e., “the big bang.”
B. Genesis reveals the origin of the universe and the earth, 1:1. It doesn’t particularly tell how or why. Theistic evolution, in a sincere but misguided attempt to align materialistic science with Scripture, doesn’t seem to see what Scripture says about the origin of this earth. I have no difficulty believing that the earth is older than 6,000 years. I just have trouble with the idea, as we shall see in a moment, that it’s billions of years old.
Herbert Spencer, a scientist who died in 1903, taught that everything exists in one of five categories: time, force, action, space or matter. Moses knew that millennia before Spencer:
1. time – “in the beginning”
2. force – “God”
3. action – “created”
4. space – “the heavens”
5. matter – “and the earth”
C. Genesis has many features which do not agree with “evolution”. We’ve seen some. Some more are:
1. It has an intelligent Creator, not a mindless, cosmic catastrophe, followed by aimless and random development.
2. The earth was created before the stars! They were made on the fourth day. Earth was already in existence.
3. Plants were created before the Sun. If the “days” are geologic ages, then how did the plants survive without the Sun to nourish them?
4. On the first day, God created “light” as something apart from Himself, Who is light, 1 John 1:5. On the fourth day, creating the Sun, He created “time.” Our “time” would have no relevance anywhere else in the universe.
5. Each kind of animal was created fully developed as it came from the hand of God. It had no need for further “development,” other than adaptation to an environment that changed. There are many instances of such development within species; there are none between species.
6. Each creature was made with the ability to reproduce according to its kind, 1:11, 21, 24, not mutate into another kind.
7. Sea creatures and birds were created on the same day. Birds did not somehow evolve after or from dinosaurs or amphibians.
8. In a separate act, man was created from the dust of the ground, 2:8. He did not “evolve” from “lower” life forms, nor did God simply choose one or two from a number of already existing hominids with which to develop a “special relationship.”
The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.
1. Note that man fell because of a discussion over whether God’s Word was to be understood “literally”. That discussion is still alive and well, especially in the area of prophecy.
2. Note that man fell because he decided to replace God as the moral authority as to what was “good” or “evil”. The essence of sin is the disagreement with God over jurisdiction: who decides what is “good” or “evil”?
3. Because of his sin, man fled from God. We are still fleeing, left to ourselves. Man may be “religious”; witness the number of religions in the world, but how many of them, even those who claim to believe the Bible, actually follow the Bible, or believe it’s authoritative, or even read it and have any real idea of what it says? God must seek us, if we are to “find” Him, Isaiah 65:1.
4. Man was taught that because of his sin the only way he could continue to live physically was through the substitution and death of an innocent sacrifice. All religion revolves around this central issue: how can a man or woman live before God, regardless of how “live” is defined, and whomever or whatever “God” is believed to be.
5. Because of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, God’s justice bars the way to the tree of life, Genesis 3:24. All religion seeks to answer the questions posed very early in human history, “how can man be righteous before God?” “…Or how can he be pure who is born of woman?” Job 9:2; 25:4.
To put it another way, how can I satisfy God’s justice and the obedience His Word requires, or endure the penalty for disobedience that is required (which, by the way, is infinitely more than the mere rote repetition of some form prayer!)? It is only Biblical Christianity (for there is a great deal in “Christianity” which has nothing to do with the Bible) that proclaims the answer foreshadowed and typified by the slain animals and coats of skin. The only way God’s justice has ever been and ever will be satisfied is through the sinless life and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. By His death He paid forever the penalty demanded by a broken Law, and by His sinless life He obtained that righteousness imputed to believing sinners, by which and only by which we and they are able to stand before God uncondemned.
Friends, if we have ever committed even one sin, and who among us would not admit to that, though our sins are without number, we are lost and undone without the Lord Jesus! O blessed life, that did what we could not, and blessed death, that did what we dare not!