When studying God’s plan for mankind as events unfold — from Creation to the Fall to Redemption and then Restoration — one must start with the Book of Beginnings. Our destiny as revealed in the Book of Revelation is directly tied back to our origins. In Genesis we see the beginning on a global scale with the key events of Cosmic Creation, the Fall of Man, the Universal Flood and the Tower of Babel. Then God’s elective purpose focuses on covenant and blessing related to Abraham and his descendants. The consistent pattern of man’s sin and failure is contrasted with the character of the faithfulness of God and His goodness in remaining true to His promises. Blessing to all the nations will eventually come from the promised Messiah, the seed of the woman (Gen. 3), the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant.
God responds to man’s sinful rebellion with His sovereign election and providential faithfulness to His covenant promise.
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
I. (1:1 – 11:26) THE BEGINNING ON A GLOBAL SCALE – CREATION, FALL, FLOOD, BABEL
- (1:1-2:25) Creation — The Beginning of Life Created by God — Fellowship
- (3:1-6:8) Fall — The Beginning of Human Temptation and Sin – Rebellion / Redemption
- (6:9-11:32) Flood — Judgment/Deliverance — The Beginning of Redemption Amidst Growing Corruption — Days of Noah and the Flood of Judgment and the Ark of Deliverance – Judgment/Salvation
- (11:1-32) Babel — Dispersion – The Beginning of Division into Nations with Separate Languages — Pride
II. (11:27 – 50:26) THE BEGINNING ON A NATIONAL SCALE – THE ELECT PEOPLE OF GOD – ABRAM–ABRAHAM / ISAAC / JACOB–ISRAEL / JOSEPH
[Overlapping outline divisions – tracking each patriarch from birth until death]
- (11:27-25:11) Abram / Abraham – Life of Pioneering Faith
- (25:12-18) Aside – Genealogy of Ishmael
- 21:1-35:29) Isaac – Life of Covenant Blessing
- (25:19-50:14) Jacob / Israel – Life of Wrestling with God
- (36:1-43) Aside – Genealogy of Esau
- (30:22-50:26) Joseph – Life of Providential Blessing
(38:1-30) Aside — Origin of Perez – Ancestor of David
WHY STUDY THIS BOOK?
- Significant from its Title – Book of Beginnings (transliteration from the Greek translation of the Septuagint); books named by the first word in the book; Book of Origins –need to understand both our origins and our destiny – Jesus identified Himself by the title: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end”
- Significant as the Foundation for so many important doctrines – you can’t expect to skip the level 101 course in any discipline and then fully understand the material that is built on that foundation
- Sovereignty and Providence of God
- Goodness of God
- Power of God
- Divine Election
- Truth vs. Deception
- Sin and Depravity
- God’s Plan of Redemption
- Significant because it is widely quoted in the NT
- Significant because it shows how man is accountable to His creator
- Foundational to a Christian world view
J. Sidlow Baxter: Besides being introductory, Genesis is explanatory. The other writings of the Bible are inseparably bound up with it inasmuch as it gives us the origin and initial explanation of all that follows. The major themes of Scripture may be compared to great rivers, ever deepening and broadening as the flow; and it is true to say that all these rivers have their rise in the watershed of Genesis. Or, to use an equally appropriate figure, as the massive trunk and widespreading branches of the oak are in the acorn, so, by implication and anticipation, all Scripture is in Genesis. Here we have in germ all that is later developed. It has been truly said that “the roots of all subsequent revelation are planted deep in Genesis, and whoever would truly comprehend that revelation must begin here.”
W. H. Griffith Thomas: It must be evident . . . that there was no intention of writing an universal history of man, but only of recording the development of the Divine will and purpose for and through Abraham. It is history written with a special purpose. The book might esily have begun with Abraham if the purpose had been to record the ordinary history of an ordinary people; yet inasmuch as Israel was not an ordinary people, but charged with God’s purposes for the whole of mankind, it was necessary to show – at least in brief from – the connection between the progenitor of the human race and Abraham, in whom and in whose descendants the Divine purpose was to be realized.
Chuck Swindoll: Covenants figure prominently into the story of Genesis, for they help define God’s relationship with His people at various times. Sin broke the perfect peace between God and humanity (Genesis 3) and instead of enjoying the blessing God intended, humanity was burdened with the curse. But God established His plan for redemption and blessing through covenants, first with Abraham (Genesis 12:1–5), reaffirmed with Isaac (26:1–35), then with Jacob (28:1–22). These promises applied to the Israelites in Egypt and to later generations. Genesis sets the stage for the rest of God’s plan to redeem the world through His Son, Jesus Christ.
David Malick: The purpose of the Book:
A. To present man’s revolt against his Maker and its terrible consequences.
B. To provide the historical basis for the covenant of promise with Abraham whereby God will graciously bring about the solution to man’s revolt.
C. To encourage faith in YHWH by introducing His election and separation of Israel to Himself as a resolution to the terrible consequences to mankind’s revolt.