Category: Book of Genesis


Book of Genesis

Author: The author of the Book of Genesis is not identified.  Traditionally, the author has always assumed to have been Moses. There is no  conclusive reason to deny the Mosaic authorship of Genesis.

Date  of Writing: The Book of Genesis does not state when it was written.  The date of authorship is likely between 1440 and 1400 B.C., between the time  Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and his death.

Purpose of  Writing: The Book of Genesis has sometimes been called the “seed-plot”  of the entire Bible. Most of the major doctrines in the Bible are introduced in  “seed” form in the Book of Genesis. Along with the fall of man, God’s promise of  salvation or redemption is recorded (Genesis  3:15). The doctrines of creation, imputation of sin, justification,  atonement, depravity, wrath, grace, sovereignty, responsibility, and many more  are all addressed in this book of origins called Genesis.

Many of the  great questions of life are answered in Genesis. (1) Where did I come from? (God  created us – Genesis 1:1)  (2) Why am I here? (we are here to have a relationship with God – Genesis 15:6) (3) Where am  I going? (we have a destination after death – Genesis  25:8). Genesis appeals to the scientist, the historian, the theologian, the  housewife, the farmer, the traveler, and the man or woman of God. It is a  fitting beginning for God’s story of His plan for mankind, the  Bible.

Key Verses: Genesis 1:1,  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

Genesis 3:15, “And I will  put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he  will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Genesis 12:2-3, “I will  make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great,  and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses  you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through  you.”

Genesis  50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish  what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Brief Summary:  The Book of Genesis can be divided into two sections: Primitive  History and Patriarchal History. Primitive history records (1) Creation (Genesis  chapters 1-2); (2) the Fall of man (Genesis chapters 3-5); (3) the Flood  (Genesis chapters 6-9); and (4) the dispersion (Genesis chapters 10-11).  Patriarchal history records the lives of four great men: (1) Abraham (Genesis  12-25:8); (2) Isaac (Genesis  21:1-35-29); (3) Jacob (Genesis  25:21-50:14); and (4) Joseph (Genesis  30:22-50:26).

God created a universe that was good and free from  sin. God created humanity to have a personal relationship with Him. Adam and Eve  sinned and thereby brought evil and death into the world. Evil increased  steadily in the world until there was only one family in which God found  anything good. God sent the Flood to wipe out evil, but delivered Noah and his  family along with the animals in the Ark. After the Flood, humanity began again  to multiply and spread throughout the world.

God chose Abraham, through  whom He would create a chosen people and eventually the promised Messiah. The  chosen line was passed on to Abraham’s son Isaac, and then to Isaac’s son Jacob.  God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and his twelve sons became the ancestors of  the twelve tribes of Israel. In His sovereignty, God had Jacob’s son Joseph sent  to Egypt by the despicable actions of Joseph’s brothers. This act, intended for  evil by the brothers, was intended for good by God and eventually resulted in  Jacob and his family being saved from a devastating famine by Joseph, who had  risen to great power in Egypt.

Foreshadowings: Many New  Testament themes have their roots in Genesis. Jesus Christ is the Seed of the  woman who will destroy Satan’s power (Gen. 3:15). As  with Joseph, God’s plan for the good of mankind through the sacrifice of His Son  was intended for good, even though those who crucified Jesus intended it for  evil. Noah and his family are the first of many remnants pictured in the Bible.  Despite overwhelming odds and difficult circumstances, God always preserves a  remnant of the faithful for Himself. The remnant of Israelites returned to  Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity; God preserved a remnant through all  the persecutions described in Isaiah and Jeremiah; a remnant of 7000 priests  were hidden from the wrath of Jezebel; God promises that a remnant of Jews will  one day embrace their true Messiah (Romans 11). The faith displayed by Abraham  would be the gift of God and the basis of salvation for both Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews  11).

Practical Application: The overriding theme of  Genesis is God’s eternal existence and His creation of the world. There is no  effort on the part of the author to defend the existence of God; he simply  states that God is, always was, and always will be, almighty over all. In the  same way, we have confidence in the truths of Genesis, despite the claims of  those who would deny them. All people, regardless of culture, nationality or  language, are accountable to the Creator. But because of sin, introduced into  the world at the Fall, we are separated from Him. But through one small nation,  Israel, God’s redemptive plan for mankind was revealed and made available to  all. We rejoice in that plan.

God created the universe, the earth, and  every living being. We can trust Him to handle the concerns in our lives. God  can take a hopeless situation, e.g. Abraham and Sarah being childless, and do  amazing things if we will simply trust and obey. Terrible and unjust things may  happen in our lives, as with Joseph, but God will always bring about a greater  good if we have faith in Him and His sovereign plan. “And we know that all  things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called  according to his purpose” (Romans  8:28).

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 Genesis 2 describes the creation of Adam and then indicates  that Eve was created sometime later. Surely, God had a reason for not creating  them at the same time.

Some have suggested that there is no clear  rationale for God’s delay in creating Eve, but the text does imply a reason. Genesis 2:20 states, “The  man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every  beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.” Each  animal lived in community with other animals. In contrast, Adam was alone. It  seems that God wanted Adam to recognize that aloneness before God created a wife  for him. It was necessary for Adam to feel his need in order for the  fulfillment to be truly satisfying.

The answer to Adam’s aloneness was  Eve. She was called a “helper,” one who both supported and complemented Adam and  a person he could support as well. God’s use of Adam’s rib to form Eve provided  a unique connection point to highlight their dependence upon one another and the  fact that they were “one flesh” (Genesis  2:24).

If Adam and Eve had been created at the same time, this  aspect of human community or companionship would not have been as conspicuous.  The fact that God separated the times of Adam’s and Eve’s creation draws  attention to their need for companionship. The man’s solitary existence was the  only thing called “not good” in all of creation—a telling  description by God  Himself to accentuate our need for community (Genesis  2:18).

Interestingly, the Genesis account of the creation of Adam  and Eve does not show Adam as better than Eve or Eve as better than Adam.  Instead, they are shown as interdependent, one with the other, as part of God’s  “good” creation. Genesis 2 concludes with God’s plan for marriage: “For this  reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and  they will become one flesh” (Genesis  2:24). Marriage between a man and a woman is a unity that reflects God’s  original pattern in creation.

  The concept of a pre-Adamic race is the idea that God created a race  of humans who lived on the Earth before He created Adam, the first man. This  hypothesis has been promoted by various scholars at various times throughout  history. Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate (circa A.D. 331–363) and Calvinist  theologian Isaac de La Peyrère (1596-1676) are two notable examples.

We  will look at two popular facets of the Preadamite Hypothesis: the hypothesis as  it was proposed by Isaac de La Peyrère and the form which it takes in the “Gap  Theory” (also known as the Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation). According to La  Peyrère, God created the Gentiles on the sixth day when He said, “Let us make  man in our image” (Genesis  1:26). He did not create the Jews until after the seventh day, His day of  rest. At some point after the seventh day, God created Adam, the father of the  Jews.

La Peyrère cited Scripture to support his hypothesis. Cain’s fear  of being lynched, his marriage to an unknown woman and the fact that he founded  a city (Genesis  4:14-17) are all interpreted as evidence that another race of men coexisted  with Adam and his family.

La Peyrère subsequently reinterpreted other  passages of Scripture in light of his peculiar understanding of the Genesis  account. Consider a very familiar passage, Romans  5:12-14: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and  death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned—for until  the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not  sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to  come.”

This passage is traditionally interpreted as meaning that death  began with Adam’s sin and reigned unchecked among men (even among those who  haven’t actually eaten the forbidden fruit, those who have sinned but not “in  the likeness of the offense of Adam”) until the Law was given to Moses. La  Peyrère interpreted this passage another way. According to La Peyrère, the  pre-Adamic Gentiles sinned against God, but in a manner less egregious than Adam  (which is why Adam’s sin brought death while theirs didn’t). They merely sinned  against God’s moral will, while Adam sinned against His Law. Adam disobeyed  God’s prohibition by eating the forbidden fruit. He broke what La Peyrère called  the Law of Paradise. Thus, according to La Peyrère, the pre-Adamic Gentiles were  those who “had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam.”

By now  it’s obvious how misinterpreting one or two passages of Scripture can lead to  all kinds of warped perceptions. The Scriptural problems with La Peyrère’s  interpretations are numerous.

First, Adam is called the “first man” (1  Corinthians 15:45). This is inconsistent with the idea that God created men  before Adam. Second, according to La Peyrère, the Gentiles were to live outside  of the Garden of Eden while Adam enjoyed paradise (a privilege which came with  the responsibility of obeying the Law of Paradise—not eating the forbidden  fruit). Genesis  2:5-8, however, says quite plainly that before God created “the man whom He  had formed,” the very same man which He placed in the garden, there were no men  upon the earth to cultivate the ground. Third, God created Eve for Adam because  he was alone, there was no one else like him around (“It is not good for the man  to be alone… but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him” Genesis 2:18, 20). Fourth, Adam named his  wife “Eve” “because she was the mother of all the living” (Genesis 3:20). The list  goes on, but these passages should suffice to refute La Peyrère’s  misinterpretation.

As for Cain’s fear of being lynched, his marriage to  an unknown woman and the fact that he founded a city (Genesis 4:14-17), Adam  was almost 130 years old by the time that Cain killed Abel (Adam had Seth, his  next son after Abel’s death, when he was about 130 years old; Genesis 4:25; 5:3). And we know that Adam had sons and daughters (Genesis 5:3). At 130 he  could have had grandkids and great-grandkids by the time that Cain killed Abel.  Cain had plenty of family members to be afraid of after killing his  brother.

Cain apparently married a family member (a necessity back then)  at some point before Abel’s murder. It seems odd to us today, but incest wasn’t  outlawed by God until the Law of Moses. It may have been around that time that  generations of degenerative genetic mutations began to take a toll on our DNA.  God outlawed incest for our protection. It became (and remains) dangerous for  close relatives to procreate because of shared genetic defects which become  expressed in their children causing severe deformities and other  problems.

As for Cain founding a city, if he lived to be the average age  back then, he probably lived to be about 900 years old. By the time he died, his  family would have been a small city. If Cain had a child at the age of 30, and  his child had a child at the age of 30 and so on, Cain could have produced 30  generations by the time he died (30 generations times 30 years each equals 900  years).

The Ruin-Reconstruction interpretation takes a somewhat  different approach to the pre-Adamic race theory. According to the Gap Theory,  an unspecified amount of time passed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, during  which God created a pre-Adamic race of men who lived upon the earth until God  destroyed them in judgment. Other extinct creatures, like the dinosaurs, are  said to have also lived during this time. Afterwards, the theory goes, God  remodeled the earth in six days. He created Adam on the sixth day, and the rest  is history. Some say that Satan’s fall occurred at some point during the  ambiguous gap.

A “mistranslation” has contributed to the case for this  misinterpretation. In the King James Version of the Bible, God says to Adam, “Be  fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Proponents of the Gap Theory  emphasize the word “replenish.” They interpret the text as saying that Adam and  Eve were to refill the Earth. They were to fill it again. The problem with this  view is that, regardless of what it says in English translations, the Hebrew  word is mâlê’, and it simply means “to fill” or “to be full.” Moreover,  the English translators of the King James Version knew the word means “to fill.”  They chose “replenish” because, in 17th-century Elizabethan English, “replenish”  meant “to fill” (similar to how in modern English the word “replete” doesn’t  mean to “abound again,” it simply means “abundant” or “abounding”). Language is  not static, but dynamic. Words change meaning over time. Today “replenish” means  “to fill again.” It didn’t mean the same thing in 17th century England. Nearly  all modern translations translate mâlê’ as simply “fill” in the passage  in question (Genesis  1:28).

Proponents of the Gap Theory respond by pointing out that God  said to Noah after the flood, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill [mâlê’]  the earth” (Genesis  9:1). It is evident that Noah was meant to refill the earth after the flood.  Can’t we then interpret the same command to Adam to mean the same thing—that  Adam was to repopulate the earth after God’s judgment? The fact is that,  regardless what the condition of the planet was before Noah’s flood, God didn’t  tell Noah to “refill” the Earth. He simply said to fill it. God chose the words  He chose and no others. If He said “refill,” that would have been something, but  since He just said “fill,” that argument falls flat.

The real problem  with the Gap Theory is that it places human mortality (pre-Adamic human  mortality) before Adam’s sin. The Bible is quite clear that death entered in  through Adam’s sin. “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the  resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be  made alive” (1  Corinthians 15:21-22). Regardless of whether or not we believe in animal  mortality before sin, the Bible is quite explicit about human mortality before  Adam’s sin. There wasn’t any. To deny this is to deny a central Christian  doctrine.

  The creation account is found in Genesis 1–2. The language of the  Genesis account makes it clear that all of creation was formed from nothing in  six literal 24-hour periods with no time periods occurring between the days.  This is evident because the context requires a literal 24-hour period. The  description specifically describes the event in a manner that a normal,  common-sense reading understands as a literal day: “And there was evening, and  there was morning—the first day” (Genesis  1:5). Further, each sentence in the original language begins with the word  “and.” This is good Hebrew grammar and indicates each sentence is built upon the  preceding statement, clearly indicating that the days were concurrent and not  separated by any period of time. The Genesis account reveals that the Word of  God is authoritative and powerful. Most of God’s creative work is done by  speaking, another indication of the power and authority of His Word. Let us look  at each day of God’s creative work:

Creation Day 1 (Genesis  1:1-5)
God created the heavens and the earth. “The heavens” refers  to everything beyond the earth, outer space. The earth is made but not formed in  any specific way, although water is present. God then speaks light into  existence. He then separates the light from the dark and names the light “day”  and the dark “night.” This creative work occurs from evening until morning – one  day.

Creation Day 2 (Genesis 1:6-8)
God creates the  sky. The sky forms a barrier between water upon the surface and the moisture in  the air. At this point earth would have an atmosphere. This creative work occurs  in one day.

Creation Day 3 (Genesis 1:9-13)
God  creates dry land. Continents and islands are above the water. The large bodies  of water are named “seas” and the ground is named “land.” God declares that all  this is good.

God creates all plant life both large and small. He  creates this life to be self-sustaining; plants have the ability to reproduce.  The plants were created in great diversity (many “kinds”). The earth was green  and teeming with plant life. God declares that this work is also good. This  creative work takes one day.

Creation Day 4 (Genesis  1:14-19)
God creates all the stars and heavenly bodies. The  movement of these will help man track time. Two great heavenly bodies are made  in relation to the earth. The first is the sun which is the primary source of  light and the moon which reflects the light of the sun. The movement of these  bodies will distinguish day from night. This work is also declared to be good by  God. This creative work takes one day.

Creation Day 5 (Genesis  1:20-23)
God creates all life that lives in the water. Any life of  any kind that lives in the water is made at this point. God also makes all the  birds. The language allows that this may be the time God made flying insects as  well (or, if not, they were made on day six). All of these creatures are made  with the ability to perpetuate their species by reproduction. The creatures made  on Day 5 are the first creatures blessed by God. God declares this work good,  and it occurs in one day.

Creation Day 6 (Genesis  1:24-31)
God creates all the creatures that live on dry land. This  includes every type of creature not included on previous days and man. God  declares this work good.

God then takes counsel with Himself, “God said,  ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness’” (Genesis  1:26). This is not an explicit revelation of the trinity but is part of the  foundation for such, as God reveals an “us” within the Godhead. God makes man,  and man is made in the image of God (men and  women both bear this image) and is special above all other creatures. To  emphasize this, God places man in authority over the earth and over all the  other creatures. God blesses man and commands him to reproduce, fill the earth  and subdue it (bring it under the rightful stewardship of man as authorized by  God). God announces that man and all other creatures are to eat plants alone.  God will not rescind this dietary restriction until Genesis  9:3-4.

God’s creative work is complete at the end of the sixth day.  The entire universe in all its beauty and perfection was fully formed in six  literal, concurrent, 24-hour days. At the completion of His creation, God  announces that it is very good.

Creation Day 7 (Genesis  2:1-3)
God rests. This in no way indicates He was weary from His  creative efforts, but denotes that the creation is complete. Further, God is  establishing a pattern of one day in seven to rest. The keeping of this day will  eventually be a distinguishing trait of the God’s chosen people (Exodus 20:8-11).