: 1st book of the Pentateuch (meaning "five-volumed
book"), the Law of Moses
written : somewhere about 1400 BC (Latter part of Moses'
Otherwise known as the book of beginnings:
Beginning of the world, beginning of mankind
Beginning of Sin, beginning of judgment, beginning of salvation
Beginning of the Hebrew people (who become the nation of Israel
Abram (renamed Abraham) is considered the father of the Hebrew, a man
Jacob (renamed Israel) starts out a twister, becomes a man of God
The family of Israel eventually end up in Egypt where they settle.
Creation, The Fall, early peoples, the Flood, aftermath
& 2 Creation
11-50 The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob (and Joseph)
Jacob ( Israel )
In the beginning God created the heavens
and the earth
God saw all that he had made, and
it was very good. (i.e. a perfect world)
And the LORD God commanded the man,
"You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;but you must not
eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat
of it you will surely die."
When the woman saw that the fruit
of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable
for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to
her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
So the LORD God banished
him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been
The LORD saw how great man's
wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The LORD was grieved
that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.
So the LORD said, "I will wipe mankind, whom I have created,
from the face of the earth --men and animals, and creatures that move
along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have
made them." But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.
The LORD had said to Abram,
"Leave your country, your people and your father's household and
go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation
and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a
blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I
will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his
wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his
wife Rebekah became pregnant
by ‘mistake') May God give
you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness-- an abundance of grain
and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be
lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to
you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."
So Jacob was left alone, and a man
wrestled with him till daybreak… Then the man said, "Your name
will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled
with God and with men and have overcome."
Now Israel loved Joseph
more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in
his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his
brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they
hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream,
and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.
Judah said to his brothers, "What will we gain if we kill our brother
and cover up his blood? Come, let's sell him to the Ishmaelites
and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother,our own flesh
and blood."His brothers agreed…. the Midianites sold Joseph
in Egypt to Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's officials, the captain of the
LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of
his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with
him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph
found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in
charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything
Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Since God has made all this known to you,
there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge
of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders.
God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, "Jacob! Jacob!"
"Here I am," he replied. "I am God, the God of your father,"
he said."Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt , for I will make
you into a great nation there.
His brothers then came and threw
themselves down before him. "We are your slaves," they
said. But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place
of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish
what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Difficulties with the Creation story
Some see the seven days of Creation as 7 24-hour periods
Others see it as 7 eras or long periods
Some see it as seven days when God revealed it to Moses
Some believe in literal creation, within a short period of time
Some believe in evolution
Mechanical evolution means a world without purpose or meaning
Guided evolution is perfectly feasible, ‘meaning' coming from
Mechanical Evolution still has many ‘holes' e.g. how can you account
for sexual reproduction?
You are likely to opt according to your starting point – there
is no God or there is a God – and often that has more to do with
personal factors than scientific possibilities.
Difficulties with the Fall
Some see it as an analogy although it is written as history
Without it there is no explanation why ‘sin' appears in every single
The effects shown exactly replicate the problems we have when we
The fact that they were not killed by God is an indication of
His mercy and grace and a long-term plan (seen through the New
Testament) whereby He knew this would happen and acted accordingly,
bringing Israel into being as an environment into which to speak
and reveal Himself and into which He would eventually send His
Son, Jesus Christ.
Difficulties with the Flood
Some believe the flood was worldwide – there are indicators around
the world of such a catastrophe, yet genetic indicators in human races
suggest an alternative.
Some suggest the flood was limited to a large area of the Middle East.
Difficulties with God asking Abraham to kill Isaac
The truth was that God never wanted it to happen but just wanted
Abraham to demonstrate his trust in the Lord.
Geography of Genesis
we see the Garden of Eden being in Mesopotamia,
the area from which Abram was called by God, to go and settle in Canaan
(what we now call Israel).
the end of the book Jacob's family has grown and ends up in Egypt.
Reading in Genesis for beginners
Gen 1 & 2
Fall & its consequences
– example of ‘walking with God
call to Canaan & God's promises
– faith the basis of righteousness
– hidden hand of God -
– birth of Jacob & Esau
of prophecy – Jacob & Esau
Gen 25:27-34, 27:1-40
– God - Israel
Gen 45:5-8, 50:19,20
Abraham is a one of THE key Old Testament figures who is referred to
in the New Testament:
revered by the Jews and often referred to by Jesus and the apostles
– see Mt 3:9, Mt 8:11, Lk 1:55,73, Lk 13;16, Lk 16:23-30, Lk 19:9, Lk
20:37, Jn 8:39-58, Acts 3:13,25, Acts 7:2,5,8,16,17,32, Acts 13:26
seen as the example of faith and righteousness – see Rom 4, Gal 3, Heb
11:8,11,17,19, Jas 2:21,23
Gen 1:27 is used by Jesus as the basis of family life and for refuting
divorce (see Mt 19:4-6)
Noah and the flood are used as historical instances by Jesus (see
Mt 24:37-40) and Peter (2 Pet 2:5,9) in teaching.
Genesis reveals God creating a perfect world
Although some object to the idea of two new unique individuals (Adam
and Eve), the reality is that although there are similarities with some
animals, there are also distinct differences which reflect us being
made “in the image of God” (See Gen 1:27). Somewhere in history there
had to be a change to create a difference between animals and humans
(We might add that the idea of being made “in the image of God” [and
different from animals] usually includes the abilities to communicate,
think, plan, reason, invent, create, write, work, order, purpose and
enter into the fullness of what they were designed to be . Put another
way, God has given us self-consciousness, imagination
and conscience, and ability to grow and develop.)
It also shows us the introduction of Sin (NB. We define sin as ‘self-centred
godlessness which results in unrighteousness (unrighteousness is destructive
behaviour contrary to the way God has designed us to work best)
As noted above, the fact that God did not destroy Adam and Eve is an
indication of a long-term plan to achieve an incredible outcome whereby
sinful mankind can be won over (some at least) by God's love and exercise
their free will to return to Him and His design for them.
Theologians suggest there is a glimpse of this long-term plan in God's
words of judgment on Satan (the serpent), “And
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring
and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
(Gen 3:15) Their ‘offspring' will include Jesus Christ who
will destroy Satan's power over us, through the Cross, which in itself
was inspired by Satan working through individuals.
God clearly chose to reveal Himself through interaction through individuals
and then through a nation, Israel .
Allowing Israel's family to develop into what was tantamount to a nation
or different race in Egypt established a scenario in which God would
reveal Himself as their deliverer while at the same time revealing Himself
as the all-powerful judge of the world who can bring judgment on those
who clearly deserve it, and who will not change in any other way.
Studies on this site: