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Genesis #1 – Introduction

Let Me Tell You a Story

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There are many monumental works of literature that have come from the hands of human authors, many of them works of history.  It’s fairly apparent that humanity has always had a habit of maintaining history.  Early on, keeping a journal on a stone tablet may h

ave been tricky, but Moses seems to have benefited from a great deal of history handed down through the early millenniums.  God

blessed/inspired Moses in a unique way to pen the five books of the Pentateuch.  And while most of the history comes from his own time leading Israel from Egypt to Canaan, there is a major repository of truth given in Genesis which forms a substantial foundation for faith for every believer that has ever existed in the One True God of Israel.

This study series will seek to gain a grip on the book of Genesis as a whole by looking at the major events and people that are in Genesis, identifying the “milestones” that take us from Creation to Joseph.  Let the adventure begin….

By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.      –Psalm 33:6-9

Out of Nothing

“Ex nihilo”  is a latin phrase used to describe the biblical creation event meaning “out of “nothing”?   This photo is showing the birth of a black hole, a remarkable phenomenon of the universe that apparently involved the death of a star.

Prior to creation, there was  “nothing”.  God chooses not to elaborate, because in His wisdom that doesn’t need to be known.  Compare  Gen. 11:3, things which are “not visible”…  Also, 2 Pet. 3:5, by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water.  God did create “out of nothing”, regardless of how limited we are at understanding that with our finite mind!

Think of BC as “Before Creation”.   “In the beginning” – i.e.,  as far as man is concerned, when time began ticking on earth and across our entire universe.  Before Gen. 1:1, in “Eternity Past”, there is still no beginning for God.

There are many “firsts” in Genesis.

  • Creation, man, woman, sin, sabbath, marriage, family, labor, civilization, culture, murder, sacrifice, races, languages, redemption, cities
  • Families, generations – actually from Generation to Degeneration to Regeneration
  • Covenants – Adam, Noah, Abraham

Four Prevailing Facts

    1.  God and God alone created all things,
    2.  God is sovereign over His creation
    3.  God created with wisdom and order
    4.  God created man as the pinnacle of his creation.

The Tradition of History

Moses lived around 1500 BC.  See the timeline at the bottom of this study to have an idea of the lifespans and relationships of key people in Genesis.

In Gen. 17:14, the Lord said to Moses, “write this in a book”.  It would seem that God had already been in the process of revealing to Moses much of the information that we read in Gen. 1-11

    • 34:1, 27, the LORD said to Moses… I will write on the tablets… Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you
    • Think of the processes that God enabled for all of man’s history to be communicated to Moses, by word and written

Genesis is the “seed plot” of the Bible (J.Vernon Mcgee)

    • The Pentateuch as a whole is what Moses experienced leading the nation
    • The necessary prologue for the Pentateuch is Genesis – especially Gen 1-11 – then the Patriarchal age begins
    • His people needed to know their Sovereign God and understand the great works He accomplished before them
    • The “Primary divide” of the book is Gen.12

Use this outline of Genesis to think through what is being taught as you read through the book.

Where’s the emphasis of the book: chapters 1-11, or 12-50?

    • 11 chapters covers 1800 years which amounts to about 29% of total world history
    • Then Gen. 12-50 covers just  300+ yrs,  which is just 3% of history
    • Conclusion:  God slowed down the Genesis narrative and gave much more detailed history once His covenant with Abraham and His commitment to His people Israel is declared

Genesis Timeline

It is helpful to see the timeline shown below in order to appreciate the interwoven lives of people who lived much longer than we do.

  • Note who is living while Adam was still alive
  • Note who is alive when Noah lived

We can begin to appreciate how the true history of man from Adam’s day into Moses’ lifetime began to be understood.


Every day in the Word!

What do you learn from each of these passages?  Get out your Bible Study Journal and make some notes for each of these passages and how they expand your appreciation for God’s work in Creation.

    • Heb. 11:3
    • Jn. 1:1-4
    • Col. 1:16-17
    • Isaiah 48:12 -13
    • Rom. 1:20