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Background: Genesis

July 2, 2009

     Genesis is one of the most interesting and most studied books of the Bible, probably because it is a Book of Beginnings. Genesis covers the history of man from about 4000 BC to 1800 BC or approximately the first third of man’s history. Thus, we could describe Genesis as a book highlighting the important happenings of man’s first 2200 years.

     As a book of beginnings, there are many. Here I have listed a few of them, the more major ones.

Creation Gen. 1:1

Man Gen. 1:26

Marriage Gen. 2:18, 24

Sin Gen. 3:6

Redemption Gen. 3:15

Family Gen. 4:1-15

Godless civilization Gen 4:16-9:29

Nations Gen. 10:1-32

Languages Gen. 11:1-9

Israel Gen. 12:2

Israeli-Arab Conflict Gen. 21:9

     Genesis is also a book of separations. Such as:

Light from darkness Gen. 1:3, 14

Water from firmament Gen. 1:6, 9

Adam and Eve from the garden Gen. 3:23

Cain from Abel Gen. 4:8

Enoch from the earth Gen. 5:24

Noah from the flood Gen. 7:1

Abraham from Ur Gen. 12:1

Lot from Abraham Gen. 13:9

Israel from other nations Gen. 17:10

Lot from Sodom Gen. 19:15

Isaac from Ishmael Gen. 21:14

Esau from Jacob Gen. 27:41

Joseph from his brothers Gen. 37:26

     Genesis is a book about togetherness and fellowship with God too. For instance:

God’s fellowship with Adam and Eve in the garden.

Seth’s [Adam’s son] God-fearing lineage.

Enoch’s fellowship with God on earth and in heaven.

Noah’s relationship trusting in God.

Abraham’s faith in God.

Isaac’s, Jacobs, and Joseph’s trust in God.

     Genesis tells of two great events; the creation and the flood. Consider these general divisions:

Creation Gen. 1-2

Adam – Noah Gen. 3-9 4000-2400 BC

Noah – Abraham Gen. 10-11 2400-2000 BC

Abraham – Joseph Gen. 12-50 2000-1800 BC

     The first four of eight recorded Covenants are recorded in Genesis. They are the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, and Abrahamic Covenants. The first four of seven recorded Dispensations are recorded in Genesis. They are the Edenic [innocence], Anti-diluvium [conscience], Post-diluvium [self-government], and Patriarchal Dispensations.

     The “Four Spiritual Laws” are usually referenced from the New Testament but they are also portrayed in the first four chapters of Genesis as noted.

  1. God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. Gen. 1:26-2:15
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Gen. 3:1-9
  3. God has provided a means for salvation. Gen. 3:15
  4. All who believe and place their trust in Him will be saved. Gen. 4:4

     Note also the comparison of Genesis with John’s gospel.

Prologue: Gen. 1:1-3 compared with John 1:1-3 ………..on Creation.

Epilogue: Gen. 50:25 compared with John 21:20-23…..emphasizing “God will take care of you”.

     Finally, on the last page of this introduction I have included a chart to give one a general perspective of Genesis. The top half provides a general timeline of all Scripture, the books of the Bible, Covenants, and Dispensations showing how they relate to one another. The bottom half shows the timeline of Genesis with the two major events and the approximate birth time of the major characters. Consider this:

          Adam was Created

Noah was Saved

Abraham was Called

Isaac was Obedient

Jacob was Humbled

Joseph was Lifted up to Serve

      These characters together with their “characteristics” are characteristic of God’s people in submission to God’s Will. They represent our spiritual journey. We are born, we are saved from the judgment of sin, we are called to be His children, we are to obey and submit to His will, we are to humble ourselves before Him, and we are to serve Him.

     Therefore, let us study Genesis. It is the first book of the Bible, God’s Word, and it is also a very important book telling of God’s purpose, desire, and love for all He has created, especially you and me.



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