Genesis: A Book of Beginnings

Genesis

The Bible is a book of books – a collection of inspired writings that reveal God’s will for mankind. In it we find God’s great plan to save man from his sins. The first book is Genesis, a book of beginnings, which helps lay the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Let us notice a few significant things that had their beginning in Genesis.

The Beginning of Creation

Genesis begins with the Biblical account of creation: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The rest of the first chapter described the six days in which God created the heavens and the earth. Many deny this account by claiming that God had nothing to do with the formation of the universe. Others believe He created the world, just not in the way it is recorded here. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4).

Often those who do not believe the Biblical account of creation will try to pit the Bible against science. Actually, the Bible will harmonize with true science. But Paul warned Timothy against “opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge,’” or “science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20). Science is based upon observation and experimentation. Neither of these can be applied to the origin of the universe. The formation of this world was an event that no man witnessed and cannot be repeated. Science is simply incapable of proving the account in Genesis 1 right or wrong.

However, there was one who was present when the universe was formed – God. The universe had to come from somewhere. The Hebrew writer stated this principle: “For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God” (Hebrews 3:4). The physical world tells us about God’s existence and certain traits about Him. The psalmist wrote, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). In creation, “His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). It is important that we believe this account of creation. If we do not, how can we believe anything else the Bible says?

The Beginning of Man

Man was created in the beginning: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Jesus said, “From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). Man was created on the sixth day (Genesis 1:31), not as a product of millions of years of evolution. Adam was called the son of God (Luke 3:38) and we are children of God (Acts 17:29), not descendants of apes. The theory of evolution is contrary to the Bible.

Man was made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) – not in a physical sense, as God is a spirit (John 4:24). But one of the ways that man was made in God’s image – and thus making him different from the animals – is that man has an eternal soul. Jesus said that after judgment we will either go to eternal life or eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). Either way, there is a part of us that will live on after we die. James called this the spirit when he wrote, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). Man is also different from the animals in that we have the ability to reason. Granted, not everyone may choose to exercise this ability; but this is another way in which we have been made in the image of God. The Lord extended an invitation through His prophet Isaiah: “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Animals cannot be reasoned with; but since God made us in His image, He can reason with us.

Being made in the image of God, man was given a place of prominence in creation. God said, “Let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26). After being created, the man and woman were told, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Some people – often those who have accepted the theory of evolution – believe that man and animals are equal. Even worse, some will zealously defend a woman’s choice to murder her child in abortion but vigorously oppose cruelty to and killing of animals. We must not let such godless people influence us. We are made in God’s image. This is why we see God working to help man throughout the Bible.

The Beginning of Sin

Sadly, despite all that God had provided for Adam and Eve, we see them sin by the time we get to the third chapter of Genesis. The serpent tempted Eve and both she and Adam sinned. Sin is a transgression of God’s law. The law they violated was given in the previous chapter: “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). This instruction was given to Adam directly. Eve was created later (Genesis 2:21-22), but she still understood the command (Genesis 3:2-3). It was a simple command that was easily understood and should have been easily observed.

Yet Satan convinced Eve to sin. How? It began with a lie: “You surely will not die” (Genesis 3:4). He started by telling her that what she had been taught was wrong. She was taught that if she ate of this tree she would die. He said that was not true. He then convinced her that she was being prohibited from something good: “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). Satan and his servants (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15) do the same thing today to get God’s people to sin. They first try to convince them that they had been taught wrong and then show them all the good they are missing out on because of their narrow-minded, legalistic, traditional upbringing. “We are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11), but it worked to make Eve sin and if we are not careful the same can happen to us as well.

After Eve sinned, she convinced Adam to do the same (Genesis 3:6). Afterward they tried to hide from God (Genesis 3:8). Upon being discovered, Adam blamed Eve for his sin and indirectly blamed God as well (Genesis 3:12). With the beginning of sin, we also see the consequences of sin. One consequence was physical death. This consequence extends to all because there is no more access to the tree of life on the earth (Genesis 3:22-23). The other consequence was separation from God. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden (Genesis 3:22-24), a place where they were in the company of God (Genesis 3:8). Sin causes a separation between man and God (Isaiah 59:2). We see this separation happen in the early chapters of Genesis.

The Beginning of Sacrifices

Because of sin, sacrifices are necessary – blood sacrifices in particular. The Hebrew writer said, “Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). God required blood sacrifices of the Jews because of their sins (Leviticus 4:2-7). Jesus had to shed His blood for the sins of man. Paul said we have been “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9). In speaking of Christ, the Hebrew writer said, “Through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12). The sacrifice of Christ in which His blood was shed was necessary for our sins to be forgiven.

In the chapter where we read of the beginning of sin, we also see the beginning of blood sacrifices. It was not explicitly stated so it may be easy to overlook. Yet it is there: “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Garments were necessary because they were naked, despite their attempt at covering themselves (Genesis 3:7-10). But notice these garments were made of skin. This skin would have come from an animal, one that God had killed so that He could clothe the man and woman. Paul wrote that sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). These sacrifices remind us of that.

The Beginning of Redemption

God’s eternal purpose was carried out in Christ (Ephesians 3:11). This is the redemption we noticed earlier (Hebrews 9:12). The theme of the Bible is the redemption of man. This was necessary because of man’s sin. God carried out this plan because man was His special creation, made in His image. God did all of this to restore the relationship that man severed through disobedience.

This plan was eternal, but the execution of it began in Genesis. We read the first prophecy of Christ in God’s curse of the serpent: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel” (Genesis 3:15). This was fulfilled in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. He suffered on the cross, but in His death He destroyed the power of Satan (Hebrews 2:14). The plan continued to Abraham when God promised, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This plan was the reason God allowed Joseph’s brothers to sell him into slavery which would eventually result in Joseph coming to power in Egypt. After his brothers came to Egypt seeking food and he revealed himself to them, he said, “Now do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). This was necessary because the Messiah would come through Judah, one of Joseph’s brothers (Matthew 1:1-2).

God’s purpose was eternal. His plan was in place from the beginning of time. In Genesis we read of its start and why it was necessary. Let us praise God for his work in creation and redemption and do what He has called us to do so we can be saved by the blood of Christ and be with Him in heaven forever.


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