I invite you to enjoy the study of Genesis “The Beginning” for the next few weeks (ending Ash Wednesday). Along with my own personal study, I have explored thoughts from other studies on Genesis. May we all learn and grow from this time together.
Genesis is a book of beginnings that are waiting to be discovered. The word Genesis is translated “Beginning.”
* The Beginning of Creation: Our readings include the beginning of the universe and the beginning of humanity that is loved and taken care of by a sovereign God.
* The Beginning of Choice: How sin happened and the suffering and death that followed human disobedience.
* The Beginning of Redemption: God makes and keeps His promises to be faithful to all He has created; so as we read we will see God’s follow up work of redemption.
* The Beginning of Faith: In return, humanity needs to remain faithful to the Creator, because only God can help humanity overcome the evil that plagues the human soul.
Genesis is the foundation for understanding the Bible; putting Faith and God into context.
* Scripture teaches Moses is the author of this book of beginnings; written somewhere between 1445-1404 BC.
* The Book of Genesis—the Beginning—was imparted to Moses by God through divine revelation.
* RC Sproul teaches God is always revealing or “unveiling” His ways to humanity; God pulls back the veil that keeps us in the dark. “Everything we know about Christianity has been revealed to us by God.” General revelation tells us God exists. The heavens reveal the glory of God. “The God who is revealed in nature is the same God revealed in Scripture.”
* The Apostle Paul teaches, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Tim 3:16
Genesis is divided into two larger categories of thought:
Genesis 1-11 reveals and highlights the beginning of the universe, humanity, sin, nations, and the people of the world’s rejection of Creator God.
Genesis 12-50 reveals and highlights one family that chooses differently from the world; Abraham and his decendents. This family will become the nation of Israel and God will bless the other nations of the world through this family as they obey God’s commands.
Genesis 1 has been criticized by liberal thinkers who argue it does not contain truth; rather they see Genesis as mythological. The reason they consider the biblical account of creation a myth is because there are other similar (parallel) accounts of creation in the writings of Babylonians, Sumerians, Greeks, Hindus, Chinese, and many others.
* The Ebla Epic—cuneiform clay tablets in Syria—contain an account that is very similar to Genesis. The writings point to one being who created all things out of nothing. Dated to a period between 2500BC—2250BC.
* The Atra Hasis Epic—Babylonian cuneiform (wedge writings) clay writings in British Museum—detail a similar biblical account about creation and includes the flood. Oral transmission but written down mid-17th century BC.
* The Enuma Elish Epic (translates When On High)—Mesopotamian (between the rivers—Tigris/Euphrates) cuneiform clay writings called the 7 Tablets of Creation in Iraq—details creation. Oral transmission and written on tablets around 3000BC—1100BC. (NOTE: No later than the reign of Nebuchadnezzar).
The biblical writers typically used the oral traditions and motifs of existing humanity to bring a new vision of a non-mythological God. In other words, to unveil a greater truth. All of these epics depict a time of order/disorder.
Genesis is the original story and the Bible as a whole confirms it.
Let’s look at some Scriptures:
The Beginning of the Universe: Exodus 20:10-11
The Beginning of Humanity: Matthew 19:6; 1 Timothy 2:13
The Beginning of Sin: Romans 5:12, 14
The Flood and a New Beginning: Matthew 24:38
Our verses in Matthew reveal Jesus, himself, takes these accounts seriously; literally true in his words.
We will begin our study this evening at 7PM with Genesis 1:1-2:3 God and His Created Earth. Please take time to prayerfully read the Scripture and I will post the study notes following our service.