Genesis an Introduction
You can download this course and take the quiz online. Genesis an Introduction & Part 1
The book of Genesis has been historically accepted as written by Moses. Nowhere in the book is the author identified but there are some Old Testament verses that have references to Moses as the author of the law. Joshua 1:7 gives this reference: ‘Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” Another strong reference can be found in 1 Kings 2:3 “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.” Other scriptures in the Old Testament are 2 Chronicles 34:14, Nehemiah 8:1, 14, and Nehemiah 13:1. Jesus spoke of Moses in the Gospel of Luke 24:27 “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”
There is no time stated in the Book of Genesis as to when it was written but it is believed it was in the period of time when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and his death. This means it was probably written between 1440 BC and 1400 BC.
The Purpose of the Book of Genesis
Some have called the Book of Genesis the “seed plot” of the Bible. Many of the doctrines throughout the Bible are introduced in the Book of Genesis. The doctrines of creation, imputation of sin, justification, atonement, depravity, wrath, grace, sovereignty, and responsibility are introduced in the Book of Genesis.
Many questions of life are addressed in the Book of Genesis. Where did we come from? Genesis 1:1 God created us. Why are we here? Genesis 15:6 we are here to have a relationship with God. Where are we going? Genesis 25:8 there is a place beyond this world. the scripture reads that Abraham was gathered to his people; which is to be understood not of his interment, there being only the body of Sarah in the sepulcher in which he was laid; but of the admission of his soul into the heavenly state upon its separation from the body, when it was at once associated with the spirits of just men made perfect. (John Gill)
Summary of the Book of Genesis
The title Genesis was assigned by its author Moses and means origin, or beginning. Genesis is a book of beginnings. Genesis describes the creation of the universe and the beginning of man and the world he inhabits. The fall of man into sin and God’s beginning effort for man’s redemption. Genesis also describes the beginning of the Hebrew Nation through whom God’s redemption plan was to come.
Outline of this Study of Genesis
We will divide this study into three parts. In each part we will discuss the historical aspects, biographical insights of the major players, and how we can apply the message to today.
- The creation of the universe (1:1-2:3)
- Description of the garden of Eden (2:4-17)
- The creation of woman (2:18-25 )
- The Fall of man (chap. 3)
- Cain and Abel (chap. 4)
- A description of the wickedness which moved God to commission Noah to build and enter the ark, together with the details concerning the ark, the flood, and the post-deluvian events of Noah’s life (6-9)
- God’s call of Abram and the covenant with him in which he was promised that his descendants should inherit the land of Canaan, that they should become a great nation and that through them all nations of the earth would be blessed (12-17). Abram’s name is changed to Abraham and Ishmael is born to Abraham and Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid.
- The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, with an account of Lot’s deliverance (18-19).
- Abraham deceives Abimelech concerning Sarah (chap. 20).
- The early years of Isaac (21-25:18). This section contains the birth of Isaac (21:1-8); the departure of Hagar and Ishmael (21:9-21) ; Abraham’s faith, as demonstrated by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac (chap. 22); the death of Sarah and the purchase of the family burial ground from the Hittites (chap. 23); and the betrothal of Isaac and Rebekah (chap. 24). At the end of this section, Abraham’s death is recorded (25:1-11) and the generations of Ishmael are given (25:12-18).
- The Story of Isaac ( 25: 19-26)
- Jacob leaves home, after receiving his father’s blessing by deceit (27:1-28:9). It was on this journey that he experienced the vision of the ladder at Bethel (28:10-15)
- Jacob’s family and his return from Haran to Canaan (29-33). This section gives an account of Jacob’s marriages, the birth of most of his children, the shrewd dealings between Laban and Jacob and the departure of Jacob from Haran. After leaving Haran and wrestling with the angel, Jacob came into contact with Esau, but without the conflict which had been feared.
- The last years of Jacob’s life (34-36)
- Joseph, because of the jealousy of his brothers, is sold into Egypt where, after a series of events, he becomes a ruler of Egypt, ranking just under Pharaoh (37-41)
- Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to buy food during a time of great famine. After a time, Joseph reveals his identity to his brethren (42-45)
- At the insistence of Joseph, Jacob and his family settle in Egypt (46-47)
- Jacob’s blessing of Joseph’s two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, and his prophecy concerning the twelve tribes (48-49)
- The death of Jacob and Joseph (chap. 50)
The universe, man, and every living creature were created by God. A God of all knowledge and Wisdom able by His Word to create all there is (John 1:3) is a God worthy of our trust to handle every detail of our lives. God can take a hopeless situation such as Abraham and Sarah being childless, and do amazing wonders if we trust and obey Him. God can bring greater good to unjust events in our lives much like He did for Joseph. By having Faith in God and trust in His plan all things will work for a greater good for those who love God. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Genesis Part 1
Genesis Chapter One
The creation of the universe
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The word beginning or origin means that prior to there was nothing but God. Therefore prior to the origin there was only God and God is the only eternal being. God created the Heavens and the Earth out of nothing but the exercise of His will and the power of His Word. This is important to understand as everything there is owes it existence to the Will of God the creator. Creation then only has a right to existence as long as it remains in harmony with the Will of God. The purpose of creation was for God’s pleasure and Glory.
All that stands in opposition to God’s Will is sin. Sin then is a rebellious act to God, an attempt to take the place of God and to pit man’s own will against Gods. God is almighty, as the creature cannot be greater than the creator, and all sinful acts towards God is punishable by death, as noted in Genesis 2:17.
Notice four characteristics of earth in the beginning of its creation.
- The earth was formless
- Void without life
- darkness was over the surface of the deep
- it was at least on the surface a vast abyss of water
During the six days of creation God was changing these features to make the world a suitable habitat for man to live. Throughout these six days we see some important attributes of God the creator. He is a personal God. He has thoughts, plans, and purpose. God is almighty and all-knowing. God has a heart filled with love towards man the crown of His creation. Reverence and respectful fear is the only proper attitude for man to have towards God his creator. This is the competition of the first day. The first day is measured by a period of light and a period of darkness.
There is no clear indication of the length of the period between the light and the darkness. In verses 14-16 God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.” In verse 3-5 Moses wrote, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” In the first three day and night periods the length of each day is undetermined but on day four the length of a day is determined by the heavenly bodies of two lights, the greater light of the sun and the lesser light of the moon. Moses uses the same language for each of the days to come to a close, so it is stated that each day is equal in time, day 1-3 without the measurement of the heavenly bodies and each day after day four as time is measured today The first three days with ordinal numbers as identical in nature. The creation account is very definite about the nature of the creation days.
In verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 14, and 24 God created by His word and what He spoke was done. Take notice that in verse 26 God has council with Himself when He considers the creation of man. Moses writes “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” Let us, our image, and our likeness fortifies that God is a Godhead made of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Remember that the Spirit of God was mentioned in verse 2, “and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” In the gospel of John 1:1-3 we read that God’s Word which God used for His creative acts was the Word of God His Son Jesus, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”
In verse 26 God told man to have dominion over His creation. All of the resources of the earth are at man’s disposal. While the dominion of man over the earth has not be taken away because of man’s fall to sin it has been greatly changed. Paul writes in Romans 8:19-21 that God has made all creatures subject to vainness. God did not create His creatures foolproof so that man could have dominion over them and man brought them down with him. This privilege of man to have dominion over the earth is evidence of man’s preeminence before God, man’s creation in God’s likeness.
In verse 27 Moses writes that man was created in God’s image. Moses’ uses the word image twice in this verse. God is a Spirit and does not have a flesh body except through His Son Jesus. If man is created in God’s image then it must be referring to the fact that man has a spirit. No other created creature other than man has a spirit in his soul, the spiritual part of a man’s being.
Some say that man is created in God’s image means that he has self-consciousness and able to reason. Animals and plants do not have self-consciousness. A dog does not know that it is a dog. While some animals have some reasoning they are not able to draw conclusions or form a philosophy.
Scripture gives us the answer as to what that image of God is in man. At the fall of man we lost that image and we live lost in sin by the desires of the flesh. This image of man, his old Adam, is the very opposite of the image of God.
Paul writes in Colossians 3:10 that we are to put on the new self. This new self is renewed in us by the work of the Holy Spirit giving us knowledge of God and His work as our renewed image is in agreement with the God that created us. Before the fall of man all his thoughts and conclusions agreed with God’s but after sin entered in man has been in rebellion against the thoughts of God. Paul also writes in Ephesians 4:22-24 that we are to put on the new self which in the likeness of God is Holy and Righteous.
An example of the divine image that Adam had before the fall can be seen in Genesis chapter 2. God passed all the animals before Adam that he might name them. The creative thoughts of God were in each created animal. As Adam observed each animal he grasped these thoughts and whatever Adam named the animals that became their name.
God knew that it was not good for man to be alone. Of all the creatures God had created there was none like man. In Genesis 2:20 we read that Adam came to the same conclusion as he found not a helper suitable for him.
Let us consider the purpose of man in God’s creation.
For God’s Glory
Psalm 100:2-3 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Man was created by God and chosen for Himself.
To serve God with gladness man must first acknowledge:
- The Lord is God
- Man was made by God and not of himself.
- Man was created according to the image of God (Gen. 1:27)
- God rules over man because we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
- Despite the power man has over his life his status as a creature and the blessings he receives from God does not change.
- That God always is, that God is indispensable in man’s life. Man needs God in every aspect of his life.
By our knowing God and who God is and by knowing who man is in relationship to God man will understand our obligation to serve God.
A governing rule for man’s services to God is found in 1 Samuel 12:24. “Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”
Man must serve God wholeheartedly and in truth.
How man should worship God.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is a spirit so how should man give Him glory?
Malachi 2:2 “If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart.
Man is to give glory to God’s name.
The first thing man should do is to worship and give God glory.
Matthew 22:37-38 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment.
The first great commandment is to love God with all our heart and all our soul and our entire mind.
God Creates Woman
So God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and taking a rib from Adam God fashioned a woman. Awaking Adam God presented the woman to Adam. In verse 23 Adam exclaimed, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
The joyful way that Adam received the woman shows that the things that brought joy to God also brought joy to Adam. This is further evidence that Adams actions and will were in harmony with God’s. This is what Paul meant with “righteousness and true Holiness” in the Ephesians passage.
It is this way for the Christian who is living according to the new man in which the image of God is restored. With our faith planted in our hearts by the gospel we can say with joy the passage from Romans 7:22 “For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man.”
The image of God that man was created in was a blessed knowledge of God and His works. Man’s feelings were in perfect harmony with God’s. Man found joy and delights in that which pleased God. Mans will, his hope and desires were in tune with God’s Will. Briefly man was Righteous and holy without sin.