Genesis: Book of Beginnings

September 14, 2016 at 10:06 PM Leave a comment

genesisAs we continue in our Bible summary, we will of course, start with Genesis. I would like to state at the outset that there are many ways of summarizing each book of the Bible. As most know, hundreds (if not thousands), of commentaries have been written on Genesis and the other 65 books of the Bible, from many different perspectives. The same can be said for how each book is summarized. Numerous individuals have offered numerous opinions on how to best sum up each book.

What I present here cannot possibly incorporate all of them because it would make an exceedingly long article. What we’ll be doing is presenting our opinion of what is most obvious concerning the period of time, the main characters, and the overall theme, with a few highlights. This should hopefully increase your appetite for more.

In my studies, I’ve become amazed at just how many ways Genesis can be summarized. Some include just a few main characters, while others include more. Some highlight a few things while others highlight other areas. The truth is that there is no real right or wrong way to summarize as long as the summarization itself is faithful to the text. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Genesis is the book of “beginnings,” which is the translation of the Hebrew Bereshith. The Septuagint version uses “Genesis,” which means generation of origination. It is the first book of the Pentateuch, or “five scrolls.” Genesis represents the first written words of God to humanity. In it, we begin to see God’s power and His plan once it becomes clear that humanity chose (as did Lucifer/Satan), to rebel against God’s plan. As we move through God’s Word, the reasons why God gave some of His creatures free will becomes clear even though it meant that they would ultimately rebel, causing God to put into place a system of redemption whereby people could embrace salvation and reject hell. This choice exists today and yet, few take it.

Author of Genesis – Normally attributed to Moses. It is believed Moses penned Genesis somewhere around 1,400 BC.

Time Period and People – Genesis covers a period of time of approximately 2,300 years in total and there are several individuals who are the main players in the book.

  • Adam (Eve)
  • Abel (Cain)
  • Enoch (Noah)
  • Abraham (Lot)
  • Isaac (Ishmael)
  • Jacob (Esau)
  • Joseph (his brethren)

The individuals listed above all connect with someone else. These pairs represent different types of individuals in the human race. For instance, with Cain and Abel, we see a religion of culture, which stands opposed to redemption through the blood of Christ. In Abraham vs. Lot, we see the examples of walking by faith vs. walking by sight. In Isaac vs. Ishmael, we see that which was born of the promise vs. he who was born of the flesh, persecuting the one born of the promise (Spirit). In Joseph vs. his other brothers, we see a man disowned by his own family, rejected, and essentially “killed,” as far as his father is concerned. Later, his father sees his “resurrected” son Joseph whom he long thought dead. Interestingly enough, Joseph – a patriarch of the nation of Israel and Hebrew, marries a Gentile bride, just as Jesus – who is Jewish by birth from the Tribe of Judah – will marry His own Gentile Bride after the Rapture.

Outline – Genesis breaks down many ways, but here is one easy way to remember the main divisions of Genesis:

  • Creation, Fall, and Flood (Genesis 1 – 11)
  • Abraham (Genesis 11 – 25)
  • Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 25 – 36)
  • Joseph (Genesis 37 – 50)

To simplify it even further, Dr. Thomas Constable offers several outlines, but also breaks the entire book down into two distinct sections:

Genesis provides the historical basis for the rest of the Bible and the Pentateuch, particularly the Abrahamic Covenant. Chapters 1—11 give historical background essential to understanding that covenant, and chapters 12—50 record the covenant and its initial outworking. [1]

We will need to discuss the terms of this covenant as we go on. From Genesis 1 to 12, roughly 2,000 years is covered. By the time we get to Abraham, and to the end of Genesis (Genesis 12 – 50), only about 300 years is included.

Though God created everything so that it was good and in some cases, very good, first Satan, then human beings brought death and destruction to His Creation through willful disobedience. However, in spite of rebellious decisions, none of them took God by surprise. He knew His plan of redemption would need to be put into effect and He knew when that would be as well.

Genesis is the beginnings not only of God’s Creation, but the reality of the first sin, the first death, the first rebellion on earth. There were many “firsts” recorded in Genesis. It is the beginning of what becomes God’s unfolding plan of redemption.

Moses’ main point was that the same God who created Israel had created the universe. His word was the key instrument in creating both entities. As He had brought order, fullness, and rest to the material world, so He could do for His chosen people. He is the sovereign of the universe, its ultimate authority. Therefore mankind should trust and obey Him. [2]

Further, Constable sums up what he believes the book of Genesis is about and reveals to us.

People can enjoy a personal relationship with God, and thereby realize their own fulfillment as human beings—only through trust in God and obedience to God. This is the message statement of the book. Genesis reveals that God is faithful to His promises and powerful enough to bring them to fulfillment. [3]

Genesis is the beginning of God’s dialogue with humanity. Throughout its pages, we learn more about God, His faithfulness, His power, and His progressively revealed plan of redemption. As we learn much later in the gospels from the mouth of Jesus Himself – the Second Person of the Trinity – few of the whole seem to come to terms with their need for salvation. Sadly, most ignore it. Yet God is the One who perseveres in reaching out to fallen humanity.

Genesis, the book of beginnings sets out the path. In successive books, the path becomes somewhat convoluted, not because God confuses it, but because mankind constantly strays from the straight and narrow.



[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

Entry filed under: christianity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , .

Bible Summary: Overview of the Old Testament Hearing But Not Obeying

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