< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Some background to the book of Genesis

Monday, December 16, 2013

Some background to the book of Genesis

A commentator wrote “Genesis is perhaps the most majestic, mysterious and fascinating book in the whole Bible. Genesis is the foundation upon which all the books of the Old and New Testaments stand. It is like the root of a tree whose trunk extends through the Scriptures until its crown appears in the Apocalypse where we see God’s original purpose in creation and redemption completely fulfilled within the new city where He is all and is in all.”

Genesis is a Greek word that means “beginning.” And Genesis is in essence the book of beginnings. It reaches back to when God, His Son and the Holy Spirit began their creative work. It tells of the fall, judgment and redemption. It is the beginning of a race of people who would safeguard this revelation in writing until it should be completed.

Ultimately all its prophecies would be fulfilled in the incarnation and final coronation of Jesus Christ as Lord.

Church tradition says Moses authored the first 5 books of the Bible. Genesis may have had other authors too. The patriarchs may have put the histories into writings and passed them down and then Moses under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, compiled them together into one book.

The purpose of Genesis is 4 fold:

1. To reveal to man his origin, as created in the image of God and his relationship both to God and to the universe.

2. To reveal man’s original fall through rebellion against God’s command and the resulting process of degeneration and need of redemption.

3. To reveal the promise of redemption and of universal restoration through the offspring of the woman.

4. To record authoritatively God’s choice of individuals and their descendants who became incorporated into God’s purpose for the world through the Jewish line that eventually led to the birth of Christ, the offspring of the woman.

You can see the purpose most clearly if you read the book through in one sitting. The first 11 chapters concern the affairs of the entire human race and cover thousands of years. The latter 39 chapters deal almost exclusively with one family (Abraham’s) and the lives of only 4 men belonging to it. This covers about 300 years.

32 times in the creation story God is repeated. God created, God said, God saw, God called, God made, etc. The world, the universe are not eternal, nor did they spontaneously evolve. A living person, God, created the world, and time began. This is the first great teaching of the Bible: That which God plans and commands will inevitable come to pass.

Proverbs 9:10 tells us that recognition and reverence of God as the Creator of the universe is the beginning of true wisdom. Romans 1:18-21 tells us that every created person must recognize his creator, unless he represses that knowledge.

We also learn that God was delighted with His creation. Over and over it says “God saw that it was good.” The Hebrew word denotes “beautiful” as well as “good.” He experienced an emotion of profound satisfaction and delight that we who are made in His image share when we delight in this world of nature He made for us.

And man was the apex of His creation. He wasn’t created until everything was ready for him. God created this beautiful world to be suitable to man’s physical needs, to delight his emotions, to train his intellect and to develop his latent power of rulership.

God is a living being who establishes a personal relationship with man. That’s why we were created in His image. That’s why our plans, personality, friendships, family, and time must have God at the beginning or life is purposeless. Wasted. All fulfillment is only in Him who created all things.

Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

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