In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
In this book, known by the Jews as “B’reshith” or “In the Beginning” the origin of certain facts fundamental to our understanding of the Bible, the Gospel and life on Earth are uncovered. In this book we learn about the origin of the Universe, the creation of man, the fall of man, the consequences of which we still suffer from, and the tracing of the line out of which the Messiah, our Redeemer would arise.
1: The Creation Week
Fundamental to Genesis 1 is the word bara, translated “create”. This word means to produce something new (Jeremiah 31:22). It signifies that a creative original force was at work throughout 6 days bringing the Cosmos and our World into being. Genesis 1 leaves us in no doubt as to where this creative energy originates. On 32 occasions in this one chapter the word Elohim is used for God. This is a plural word and could potentially be understood as meaning gods. Yet the Jews as a monotheistic religion never understood it this fashion, To them Elohim was the supreme being who was over all. As Christians we can see the Holy Trinity indicated in Genesis 1. One God who subsists in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – all at work in the creation of the universe. This God acts and behaves in a certain way as he creates. He not only creates, but he also speaks, sees, calls, divides, makes, sets and blesses. On 6 occasions the words “and it was so” is employed as a response to his sovereign word.
He is a being who clearly formed the Heavens and the Earth for His own pleasure.
The number 7 is vital in Genesis 1:1:
1: 7 times he saw that his work was good.
2: The week is made up of 7 complete days.
Everything points to completion and perfection.
2: The Two-Fold Division
The remainder of Genesis naturally falls into two halves.
A From the Creation to the Call of Abraham
This first section is one of tragedy as it unveils the sin of Adam and the rebellion of man against his creator. It is sub-divided between the antediluvian world and the post-diluvian world. Throughout, however, Moses shows us why God needed to separate a people to himself out of whom would arise the Redeemer.
B From Abraham to the Settlement in Egypt
The chosen race is identified in Abraham and is guided and protected from small and obscure beginnings. The Patriarchs; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, provided a suitable outline of this section.
3: The Three Covenants
A The Covenant with Adam 2:16-17
This was a universal covenant made with the entire human race. Adam as our representative broke this covenant. We all therefore, sinned and fell with him.
B The Covenant with Noah 9:8
This was a universal covenant also which God keeps to this day.
C The Covenant with Abraham 12:1-3; 17
As God called out a people he made promises to Abraham and to his children. These promises included the coming of Christ and the in-gathering of the Gentiles. This covenant was the first great revelation of the Covenant of Grace in Scripture. Paul taught that the Gentile Church is very much part of the benefits of this Covenant (Galatians 3:7-9).
3: The Ten Genealogies
A The Generations of the Heaven and the Earth 2:4
The origin of man and of sin and the formation of an ungodly society.
B The Generations of Adam 5:1
The tracing of the godly line which included Enoch.
C The Generations of Noah 6:9
The calling of Noah to build an Ark, the flood and the salvation of Noah’s family.
D The Generations of the Sons of Noah 10:1
The resettlement of the post-diluvian world. The continued rebellion against God at Babel is emphasised.
E The Generations of Shem 11:10
The Semetic people now come into focus for the first time.
F The Generations of Terah 11:27
Out of his family would arise the chosen race.
G The Generations of Ishmael 25:12
The origin of the Arab peoples out of whom the Islamic Faith and its virulent opposition to the Jews and Christianity would arise.
H The Generations of Isaac 25:19
The godly line would be divided in his twin boys.
I The Generations of Esau 36:1
The eldest boy who lost his birthright
J The Generations of Jacob 37:2
Unlike his Fathers all of Jacob’s sons would inherit the birthright. Jacob himself would be known as Israel and so the nation was truly born.
4: The Messiah Revealed
A In the Proto-Evangel 3:15
B In Abel’s Offering 3:4
C In Enoch’s Translation 5:21-24
D In Noah’s Ark 7:1
E In Abraham’s Consecration 22:1-14
F In Joseph’s Life 37-50
G In Jacob’s Prophecy 49:8-12