Glimpses in Genesis: The Call of Abraham, Genesis 11:31-12:20.

It’s been a while since we visited Glimpses in Genesis.  Other subjects keep popping up, even in Genesis!  (Not a bad thing!  There’s always lots in the Bible treasury!)

Our study begins with Seth: one of the three sons of Noah.  From these three have come all the nations of the world.  These three, with Noah, had experienced the Flood and its aftermath.  They knew the God of heaven, at least in this way.  Scripture doesn’t give us any real indication of their spiritual condition.

As we’ve indicated elsewhere, we believe there was a general knowledge of God long before the giving of the Law at Sinai.  Even though man continually and repeatedly rebelled against his Creator, there are indications of this general knowledge and revelation throughout Genesis.  It is here we begin, with

The background of the call, Romans 1:18-32

We believe Paul starts with a description of early man and his rebellion against God.  Even though they knew Him, not just as some sort of “doctrine,” but in reality, they didn’t want to acknowledge Him, and they weren’t thankful for His continued patience with them.  But it isn’t just about them.  Note the change between vs. 28 and 29 (ESV):  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness….  They are full of envy, murder, strife…(emphasis added).  This isn’t just about “them” – early man; it’s about “us” – man today.

In the space of a few verses, Paul wrote three times that God gave them up or over, vs.24, 26, 28.  This doesn’t mean He gave up; He gave them up.  It means He gave them what they wanted:  He let them go.  He turned them over to the desires of their fallen natures.

From this polluted river of mankind, God drew a slender rivulet, through which He will eventually purify the whole.

Abraham.

The beginning of the call, Genesis 12:1; Acts 7:2, 3.

Stephen gives us the additional detail that the God of glory appeared to Abraham before he left his native land.

There’s an interesting Jewish tradition about Abraham.  According to this tradition, Abraham’s father Terah had a shop that sold idols.  One day, Terah came into the shop after leaving his son in charge and found all the idols except the largest lying shattered in pieces on the floor.  Terah immediately wanted to know what happened.  Abraham replied, “Well, a worshiper came in with an offering for the gods and they began to fight over it.  This one” – pointing to the survivor – “won.”  “That’s ridiculous,” scoffed Terah.  “These idols can’t do anything!”  Abraham’s quiet response:  “Why then do we worship them?”

It’s unlikely that is what happened when the true God introduced Himself to Abraham.

In Genesis 11:27-32 (NKJV), the conclusion of Shem’s genealogy beginning in v. 10, indicates that Terah took his family, including Abraham and Sarai, as far as Haran, which was more or less on the northern border of Canaan.  We have no idea why, though there is conjecture.  Regardless, it wasn’t what God told Abraham to do.

God told Abraham to leave his family, his father’s house and his native country.  Taking Terah and Lot along wasn’t supposed to be part of it.  Terah caused a delay, perhaps of several years, till he died, and Abraham finally entered the land.  The delay was long enough for them to acquire “possessions,” and “people,” v. 5.  And Abraham allowed his nephew Lot to go with him, 12:3.  Perhaps he felt he couldn’t “abandon” his younger relative; perhaps he saw no harm in Lot’s tagging along.  Whatever the reason, these acts of partial obedience caused him trouble later on, and the inclusion of Lot plagued Israel centuries later.

The provisions of the call, Genesis 12:1-3.

1.  God would show him a land, v.1.  Cf. Hebrews 11:8, he went out, not knowing where he was going.

Have you ever thought about that?  Abraham comes home one day and says to his wife, “Sarai, start packing.  We’re moving.”

“Oh?  Where are we going?”

“I don’t know.”

He might not have known, but he knew that God knew, and that was enough.  Note also that there’s nothing said at this time about him ever owning the land.  God just said He would show it to him.

2.  God would make of him a great nation, v. 2.

By this time, Abraham and Sarah had been married long enough for it to become evident that Sarah was barren, Genesis 11:30.  This comes into play, both happily and unhappily, later on.

3.  God would make his name great, v. 2.

There was nothing special about Abraham to induce God to appear to him and give him all these promises.  As a Kentucky preacher friend used to say, “It’s all amazing grace.”  Abraham’s name is revered by three of the “world’s religions:” Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Only two of these have a legitimate claim.  The third rejects Abraham’s son Isaac in favor of Ishmael, whom God rejected.

4.  God would make him a blessing – to all the families of the earth, vs. 2, 3.

How God would do that isn’t fully revealed until the completion of the NT.  Abraham left his own family and his native country, but will gain an entirely new and much larger “family,” out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, Revelation 5:9.  Paul wrote that he would be heir of the world, Romans 4:13.  And Hebrews 11:10 says that he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  Ur of the Chaldees, though a great city in its time, was built on a marsh.  Abraham was looking for something sure and stable.  This doesn’t mean, as some make it, that he wasn’t also expecting God to do something in this life.

Our Lord put it like this:  “…there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or sisters or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life,” Luke 18:29, 30 (emphasis added).

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean “abandon.”  Though Peter’s remark about “leaving all” in v. 28 brought about our Lord’s response, his house and his wife’s mother are mentioned in Luke 4:38, where, presumably, his wife also lived.  If it is objected that this was before Luke 18, Paul specifically refers to Peter’s wife in 1 Corinthians 9:5:  Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter)?  This was certainly years after Luke 4 and 18.

These verses simply mean that nothing, not even the closest human relationships, should be allowed to get in the way of our serving the Lord.

In the case of Abraham, God had told him to leave his family behind.  He wouldn’t be the loser for doing that.

5.  God would deal with others as they dealt with Abraham (and his descendants, natural and spiritual).

It may not be apparent, at least with believers, but God will eventually see to it that His children are blessed.  This blessing may not be what the world considers “blessing,” but God’s children will know it as that.  The same may be said of the “curse.”  It may not be in this life, which really is just the preparation for the next, but it will happen sooner or later.  Cf. Matthew 25:31-46.  (This, BTW, has nothing to do with caring for the homeless or feeding the hungry, as the social reformers teach, though that may be a part of it in some cases.  And certainly, we are commanded to take care of the poor and needy throughout Scripture.  James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.  I found it telling that the word processing program I use to type these posts didn’t know “undefiled” or “unspotted.”  Such concepts are altogether foreign to this world’s thinking.)

The ones to whom our Lord refers in Matthew 25 are His brethren, vs. 40, 45.  Cf. Joel 3:2, where the LORD says, “I will …gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel….”  This valley is nowhere else named except in v. 12, where the LORD says, “There I will sit [cf. He will sit on the throne of His glory, Matthew 25:31] to judge all the surrounding nations,…”   This “judgment of the nations” will be part of the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.

NOTE:  this judgment cannot be identified with the “White Throne Judgment” or “Final Judgment” though many do so.  This judgment occurs in a “valley;” that judgment occurs when heaven and the earth have disappeared, And there was found no place for them, Revelation 20:11b. 

Abraham’s imperfections and the call, 12:1-20.

The Bible never covers over the imperfections and sins of its “heroes.”  Never does it “glorify” them as better than they really are.  It just simply shows them, warts and all!

Regardless of what thoughts may have gone through Abraham’s mind as he approached Egypt, when he apparently was concerned that he might be killed by the Egyptians over his beautiful wife [who, by then, was in her late 60s], though he didn’t know it, he was endangering the very one through whom all the promised blessings would come.  When Abraham trusted God, he did well; when he looked at his “situation” or circumstances, he messed up, sometimes royally.  In this case, except for God’s intervention, Genesis 12:17, who knows what tragedy might have happened?

It’s not without reason that the Lord taught His disciples to pray, “Lead us not into temptation [that is, circumstances which test us and make us fail, or even sin], Matthew 6:13.  This does not mean that God tempts us to sin, James 1:13.  It means that there is no situation in life which the devil or our own inherent sinfulness cannot turn into a temptation to sin.  I wonder if we will ever know how the Lord has intervened to keep us from making tragic mistakes.  We mess up enough as it is.  What are we kept from?

The Bible emphasizes the faith of Abraham.  This wasn’t just some academic thing.  It wasn’t just about “religion” or “church.”  [Yes, we know.  He didn’t have “church.”]  His whole life was centered on obedience to God, expecting Him to fulfill what He had promised.  While he saw the beginnings of that fulfillment and experienced several miraculous things, he never received a complete fulfillment of what God promised.  Writing of him and his descendants, the writer to the Hebrews put it like this:  And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us, Hebrews 11:39, 40.

Part of the Abrahamic Covenant was that through him all nations of the earth would be blessed.  Though the Old Testament never specifically spells out how this would be accomplished, the New Testament gives additional details.  Part of this is the fact, as we just read, that the Old Testament saints will not “be made perfect apart from us.”  The word translated “perfect” refers to a goal, an objective.  God’s objective in all this is to have a pure, righteous world, cf. 2 Peter 3:13.  We’re going to be part of that.  When God made His promises to Abraham, He had us in mind as well.

It doesn’t mean, as some teach, that the NT church somehow replaces the nation of Israel as God’s covenant people and takes over her blessings.  The curses, of course, remain hers.  It means that we are a complement to her, that from these two entities the Lord Jesus will make one new man, Ephesians 2:15, having reconciled them both to God in one body through the cross, v. 16.  We are fellow-citizens with them and members of the household of God, not they with us.  We Gentiles have no claim on God, having been given up in the judgment of God because of our depravity, Romans 1.  It’s only by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus that we have the blessings of salvation.  But it all goes back to God’s promise to bless all nations through Abraham.

I think Hebrews 11:13-16 might also speak of these “faith-worthies:”  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.  And truly if they had been mindful of that country from which they had come, they would have had opportunity to return.  But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country.  Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

This imperfect, fallen world is not the final chapter in human history.  Though there might be, and are, multiplied blessings along the way, as the song goes, “this world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.”

I’m homesick.  Are you?

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Glimpses in Genesis: The Tower of Babel, Genesis 10, 11.

Note:  I’ve given up on having “parts” in this study.  Even though I may intend to cover a certain amount of material in a particular post, I usually run out of space, so to speak, before I run out of sentences.  I don’t know that you really want to read a 3000 word post.  I will continue, Lord willing, to go through Genesis in these posts, but there is so much material that a life-time wouldn’t be long enough to go through it properly.  Besides, each time I go through it, especially writing, I see something new.  Indeed, as I was thinking about the next paragraph, I also gained new insight into the call of Abraham (- for a later post). 

In our section of Genesis for today – and I do hope you read the Scripture as well as what I say about it – we see what happened after the Flood, that men didn’t really learn anything from it.  In Genesis these chapters also form the link between Noah and Abraham.  This section is divided into three parts:

The Table of Nations, ch. 10; 11:10-32.

This “genealogy” is unique in Scripture in that it isn’t just a listing of “father” to “son” to “grandson.”  It does start off that way, but then it moves from individuals to tribes or nations, focusing on the land of Canaan, and then to cities.  Further, it conveys no real sense of “time,” just of humanity passing from generation to generation.  In earlier genealogies, we read that A was “x” years old and begat B, and then lived “x” more years.  Then B, and then C, and so forth.  We don’t see that here.  It’s more about connection than chronology.  That’s where attempting to figure out the age of the earth from Genesis breaks down.  I don’t have any problem with the idea that the earth is older than 6,000 years; I just can’t see the billions of years that naturalistic science claims.  Science starts off with several assumptions in this, the main one being that “God” can’t have anything to do with it.  But I digress…

This section does tell us that humanity descended from Noah through his three sons, 10:32 –  and records that each group of descendants had its own language, vs. 5, 20, 31. Chapter 11 in part forms a parenthesis telling us of the origin of those languages.

The Tower of Babel, ch. 11:1-4.

This wasn’t a “tower” in the sense we think of it, but a ziggurat, with a top facing heaven.  It wasn’t supposed to be a way to heaven, as some have supposed, but a place to observe the heavens.  This probably developed into the worship of them.

Is there another significance to this building, besides the fact that it was the occasion for the introduction of several languages into the human race?  I can’t be dogmatic about it, because the Scripture is silent, but I think there is something else of significance here.

In Genesis 2:6, we’re told that there was not yet any rain, but the earth was “watered” by a
“mist” that “went up from the earth.”  This has led some to the view that there was a sort of a “canopy” of vapor over the earth.  This no doubt would have blocked or at least obscured any view upward.  This would also explain where a lot of the water came from for the Flood.

With this canopy gone because of the Flood, all of a sudden there was a whole new “world” “out there.”  Stars, and more stars.  Something only dimly perceived, if at all.  Now, with the canopy gone, they could be clearly seen.  The tower of Babel was built to make this easier, even as today, men build telescopes on higher elevations to get clearer views.

Revelation 17:8 refers to a woman named “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.”  I don’t want to get into a lengthy discussion of the meaning of this.  I recommend Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons,” which I understand is available online, or you might try “Abe Books” online, if you like hard copies.  Revelation describes the end result of what started here, in Genesis 11. How is that?

According to Genesis 5:4, Adam lived for 800 years after the birth of Seth.  He saw 7 generations of his grandchildren.  He would have been able to tell them himself about the Garden of Eden and what happened there.  Furthermore, we believe that, up until the Flood, men could have gone to the entrance of the Garden of Eden and verified the story for themselves by the presence of the flaming sword which barred their entering.  Cf. Genesis 3:24.

With the Flood, all that was obliterated, and there were new vistas for men to explore or examine.  What had been passed down from generation to generation, and could have been verified, began to fade away and be corrupted into all the tales around the world which are said to be the origin of the Book of Genesis.  Genesis actually gives us their origin.

However, all this was in direct violation of and rebellion against God’s command for men to spread out and cover the earth, cf. 11:4.  This leads us to the final section.

The Turmoil of Tongues, 11:5-9.

What man would not do willingly, God made him do through the confusion of his language.  Men could no longer understand each other.  As a result, their work was halted, their plans were frustrated, and they were scattered over all the face of the earth, vs. 8, 9.  God’s will shall be done among men, one way or another.

Glimpses in Genesis: The Flood, Genesis 4-9.

In Genesis 1-3, we saw that God created a perfect world, inhabited by two innocent people:  Adam and Eve.  We say “innocent”  because they had no knowledge of good or evil.  All they knew was what they had seen and experienced: a perfect world, ideally suited for them.  The sad record is that they didn’t appreciate what they had, didn’t understand what they had and so, listening to their enemy and the enemy of God, they decided to take things into their own hands, with catastrophic results to themselves and their posterity.  Chs. 4 and 5 shows us something of those results: murder and mortality.

Chapter 4 records the first murder, and chapter 5, I have labelled, “The Book of the Dead.”  Chapter 4 tells us that the first murder was over religion: the fact that God accepted Abel’s offering, but not Cain’s.  Even though there is no direct record of God telling anyone about sacrifices, it’s obvious that there was something given, which Abel obeyed and Cain did not.

As we get into the post for today, we come to another controversial section of Genesis.

The Flood, Genesis 6-9.

A lot of current wisdom says that this was just a “local” flood, magnified by the ignorance of the people of that time into something more than  it really was.  Is that true?  Or perhaps, as others have suggested, overzealous Christians have tried to make this portion say something that it doesn’t really say.  Is that true?

No, and, no.

A.  The Scripture is clear that this is more than just some local overflowing of a river.

1.  It was a judgment to destroy man, Genesis 6:7; to destroy all flesh, 6:13; everything on the earth shall die, 6:17; all flesh died that was upon the earth, 7:21; all in whose nostrils was the breath of life died, 7:22; He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground, both man and cattle…, 7:23; “…nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done, 8:21; never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, 9:11; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh, 9:15.

In these verses, we go from purpose to process to promise never again to flood the earth to destroy all flesh.  If this was just some local flood, then God lied, because we have floods frequently.  In fact, as I write these words. locales south, north and west of where I live are experiencing the annual flooding of rivers and streams, to say nothing of other areas.  It’s on every TV newscast.

It seems to me that the Holy Spirit, through Moses, is impressing on us that this isn’t just some “local” flood, catastrophic as those can be, but a flood which wiped out the world that had existed until then.

2.  The New Testament verifies a universal flood.  The Apostle Peter wrote, …the world that then existed perished,  being flooded with water, 2 Peter 3:6.  Read down through v. 13 if you think this “flood” was just some local event.

B.  This brings up the question, Why did God do this?

The first question to answer that question is, Who are the “sons of God”?  One popular response is that they were godly Sethites, descendants of Seth, Adam’s son.  The “daughter of men” are said to have been the descendants of Cain.  Intermarriage between these two different lines resulted in compromise, apostasy and sin.  Another view is that they were angels, cf. Job 1:6; 2:1, who cohabited with human women, resulting in monstrous offspring – both physically and spiritually.  Genesis 6:4 refers to giants in the earth in those days, …when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them.  A main objection to this view is found in Matthew 22:20, where the Lord referred to angels not marrying.  However, this remark concerned angels in heaven, and Jude 6 tells us that there were angels who left their original sphere of being,  It seems reasonable to me that he’s referring to these beings in Genesis 6.  Marriages between believers and unbelievers do not result in monstrous offspring, just normal human beings.

I hold to the second view.  I believe this was Satan’s attempt to corrupt the human race and by that to frustrate God’s promise of the coming Seed of the woman, who would defeat Satan.  It seems to me that this is further borne out by the description of Noah as a man who was perfect in his generations, that is, in his ancestry.  Ancestry has nothing to do with one’s being righteous, or “just”, which is how Noah is described spiritually.  Noah’s line was the only one that hadn’t been physically corrupted and altered by the unholy union of humans and demons, for that’s what the angels had become.

A universal flood had become necessary to destroy this corrupted humanity.

One argument against such a flood is the amount of water necessary to produce it.  It’s said that there’s not enough water on the planet to do that.  This assumes that conditions then were the same as they are today.

Another argument against the Flood is the idea of God destroying a whole population in judgment.  I’ve dealt more at length with this idea of “judgment” in the post: “Sticks”.

C.  Noah was given specific instructions as to how to escape this flood.

The ark is usually pictured as a boat or ship, like what we’re familiar with.  But it really was just a huge box, designed only to float on the water, not move through it.  It’s dimensions of 450′ by 75′ by 45′ indicate a very stable and seaworthy vessel, similar in size to a modern battleship.  By contrast, the Gilgamesh Epic, from which this and other parts of Genesis and the Old Testament are said to have come, portrays an unstable 180′ cube.

God gave the instructions – complete, clear instructions.  He didn’t ask for input from Noah.  He didn’t call for a committee to study the problem.  There was no “dialogue” with the people.  He just said, “Noah, here.  Build this.”  I think there might be a lot to learn from this.

I wonder what the citizenry thought of this endeavor.  The NT portrays Noah as a “preacher of righteousness,” 2 Peter 2:5.  Some have taken this to mean that Noah went around trying to get people “saved.”  That may be, however, I expect the preparations for this giant undertaking would have given Noah plenty of opportunity to witness.  There would have been the gathering of a LOT of trees to make lumber, there probably being no Home Depots nearby.  Then the structure itself began to appear.  Lot of opportunity to witness.

I wonder what the “science” of that day might have said.  I know I’m projecting what happens today into the story, but I can’t help wondering.  Were there people who said, “What are you talking about, Noah?  What’s rain?”  Genesis 2:6 indicates there was no rain yet, but atmospheric conditions – “mist” (possibly in the early morning) – kept things watered.  I can hear the rationalists and skeptics arguing, “Noah, where’s your tangible, verifiable proof of this?  It doesn’t rain.  It’s never rained.  It’s not going to rain.  Rain is scientifically impossible.”

I expect, after a while, after the novelty wore off and the weather continued to be perfect, that people kind of got used to what was going on over there with that crazy old coot, Noah, and just ignored him.  Life went on.  In Luke 17:27, our Lord described those days, They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

D. “…The flood came and destroyed them all,” Luke 17:27.

It took a long time to build the Ark.  From Genesis 6:3, people have believed that it took 120 years to complete the Ark.  That may be, except that Genesis 11:10 says that Shem was 100 years old two years after the Flood..  So we don’t know for sure, just that it took a long time.  But the time eventually came to an end, and the Flood came.

Some have pictured it like a rain, suddenly dotting the landscape with wet spots, with people jumping aside as the drops hit them, and then the rain coming in a deluge – flood waters rising, people scrambling desperately to find higher ground and safety, banging on the door of the Ark begging to be let in.  That, too, may be, but Genesis 7:10-11 says, And it came to pass after seven days [after Noah and his family and the animals had entered the Ark] that the waters of the flood were on the earth.   …on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.  That sounds to me like one day, everything was dry, and then it wasn’t.  It was overwhelmed with water, although it did also rain for forty days and nights.  The point is, the Flood came, like God promised, and only eight people out of a planet’s population survived.

There’s a lot more we could say about various parts of this event, but we’ve already written over 1500 words.  So let’s just finish with this:

E. Only those in the Ark were spared.

The Ark is a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Only those who are “in Him” are saved.  All humanity, even Noah and his family, went through the Flood!  There was no salvation in the water – which some see as a type of baptism! – only in the Ark.  Those “in the water” perished.  There is no salvation in baptism!  No “entering the kingdom”.  The Flood was a tool to destroy mankind, as we saw earlier, not a means to save it!  The Flood “fell” on the Ark; judgment fell on the Lord Jesus.  ALL in Him are save! and they alone!  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, Acts 16:31.

Glimpses in Genesis: Creation and The Fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3.

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.

or

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!