Sunday, August 9, 2015

Genesis 1 - 11 (OVERVIEW) - THE ORIGIN OF EVERYTHING!

Genesis is not only the first book of the Bible. It is also the fundamental book of the Bible. Those who have wanted to undermine the  credibility  of the Christian faith  have understood this, and  therefore there has been a concerted  attack for quite some time now on this fundamental book of the Bible. This is done  by either reinterpreting it, or by ridiculing it.     People have  called   Genesis  poetry and myth, and by such description have reduced  it to the  level of Grimm’s fairy tales. Professor E.J. Young, OT professor at Westminster Theological Seminary (1936-1968)   says that “ if you accept  such beliefs , you are abandoning  the Christian faith .”[1]  Prof. Young says : “ Genesis is not poetry. There are poetical accounts  of creation in the Bible- Psalm 104 and certain chapters in Job… Hebrew poetry  has certain characteristics, and they are not found in the first chapter of Genesis.”[2] 

Our departure point is that Genesis is   a factual  and true   account  of the origin  of  creation. Our thesis  is that  ultimately all Christian doctrine is founded upon  the events  of the first 11 chapters of the Bible. Ken Ham  has rightly said that Genesis is  not only the basis of the gospel, but it  gives the  basis for the fabric of our entire society.[3]  Genesis Chapters 1 -11 in particular   establish  those  fundamental doctrines  that  undergird our  society, and which  if ignored,  will  due to the wrath of God[4] lead to the eventual collapse  of  our society.
It is also clear  that  the devil  is hard at work to undermine every single  one  of these doctrines which form  the foundations or pillars of  our society.

Today I  want to begin with a brief overview  of Genesis  1-11. I want  you to be persuaded as to the importance  of  our thesis, so that you  will   work hard at living out and defending the truths    which are found here. 

Chapters 1 &2 :   

“In the beginning God [5] created…”:  Here  we find  the beginning  or the origin of  THEOLOGY  or the  knowledge of God.  God is introduced to us  in the first sentence of the Bible. He is introduced  as the Prime Mover and Originator of all there is.  The gospel of John makes a vital connection  in this regard: “In the beginning was the Word and the  Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made” [6]. The Word is  who is Christ is  here shown to be the Agent of creation, so that we understand  that the God who in the beginning created the heavens and the earth  is  the same as  the  Lord Jesus Christ.
What is also significant is that  the Name of God in Genesis 1  is not the customary covenantal   name  of God, “Yahweh”[7],  by which He made Himself known to Moses, but  here it is  the  Name Elohim[8]. The  name indicates a plural  form of God. Although the Bible affirms that  God is one absolute Being , the name of God  Elohim  indicates that God is much more profound  than we imagine. The New Testament  really helps us here  when  John teaches  us that the  Lord Jesus Christ  is the  Creator, is co-existent , co-equal  and co-eternal  with God the Father.   

In addition , the   Holy Spirit[9] of God is  mentioned in  Genesis 1:2 . The doctrine of the Trinity is  implied and established in the very beginning of the Bible

“In the beginning God createdHere we  find the doctrine of creation.  This is an important point, because  we are contending with  the  man- made doctrine  of evolution which not only  attempts to eliminate  the  doctrine of  the Creator, but also  the  doctrine of creation, maintaining that  this universe   and  the  earth came about by  chance.
     
And God said,  “Let there be…” (1:3)  According to Genesis all creation is spoken into existence by God -  there is no thought, idea or  concept of evolution here. The doctrine of the origins of everything  begins here.  That simple phrase “and God said, “ Let there be…”  destroys any notion  and theory  that  the universe is self-existent or that it has evolved by chance.

 “So God created man in His own image  (1:27):  The doctrine of the origin  and  the  value of man begins here. Genesis asserts  that man was created directly by God. Genesis thus contradicts  the  theory of evolution   which  maintains that mankind has  evolved from  the apes.  Genesis also  asserts  that mankind is the only of God’s creatures to bear God’s image.  This gives unique  value and significance to human beings. One might  for instance legitimately address the issue of abortion on the basis of this text. Every  time a child [10] is destroyed in the womb,  the image of God in man is assaulted. Dr. Francis Schaeffer  a leading Christian thinker of the  20th century  said  in this regard: ”If man is not made in the image of God, nothing then stands in the way of inhumanity.” [11]

“Male and female he created them”  (1:27): The doctrine  of  gender begins here. Men and  women are created   by God  as  equal  in essence  and yet different and complementary in function. This doctrine  today  is challenged by  those  who hold to an ‘egalitarian’ position  i.e. that there is no functional difference between men and women. 

“God blessed them and said … rule over… every living creature “ (1:28 ; 2:15):  God appoints the man to be steward or  caretaker  of  His earthly creation. The doctrine  of  stewardship and ecology  begins here .  Man is called by God to care  for  and not destroy the earth, and to use and administer resources wisely. Christians  on this basis  should be better and wiser stewards of the earth than  Greenpeace activists  who care more for whales  and lions than for  human babies. 

“You are free to eat from any tree in the garden… but not from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…“  (2:16,17). In the midst of a garden of Eden there exists a mysterious, forbidden tree.   Man is commanded not to eat of it, lest  he  in  his  state of innocence should receive the knowledge of good and evil.
The doctrine of man’s free will begins here . Adam could  freely choose  to  eat or not to eat.  Here it must be emphasized that  man was not created as a robot. God made man in His image. He is a free God. He made man  to freely obey  His God. He  made man with a capacity to choose.
However,  there is also the doctrine of man’s  “will in bondage“  which  comes as a result of the fall  in Genesis 3. We  no longer  share in the pure free will   such as Adam and Eve   enjoyed in their unfallen state. Our wills are now tainted by sin, and we  like to do what the sinful nature  desires.  Our  wills are now  inclined towards sin.

“He made a woman  and  brought her to the man… “  (2:22-25).  The doctrine  of marriage begins here –  the relationship between one  man and one woman is defined. They are “one flesh” –  an exclusive , permanent and God-sealed covenant … “what God has joined together let no man  separate”[12].   The permanence of marriage is  affirmed. So called ‘homosexual marriage’  is hereby excluded. God made Adam and Eve, and not  Adam and Steve.   
Man is created first  and  then the woman.  Gender wars would not exist if  mankind obeyed God in this regard.  God designed  man to be the leader of the marriage  team.

CHAPTER 3 :

“Now the serpent  was more crafty… He said to the woman (3:1)The doctrine of Satan’s  existence begins here     He challenges  the decrees of God: ”You shall not surely die“ ( cf. 2:17 à 3:4)  The subversive tactic  of the devil in approaching the weaker partner is demonstrated  here.

“Then the eyes of both were  opened…. (3:7)  thereby gaining  the knowledge of good and evil , and  paradise is lostThe doctrine of man’s original fall into sin  begins here . The first response is  shame. The outward sign of  their desire to hide from God is that they feel naked – exposed, defiled. (Here is the real  reason why we wear clothes!)  We also note that they hide , because they are too proud to confess their sin.

3: 14 – 19 : The consequence  of  this one  act of sin has  horrific implications. This original sin affects the entire offspring  of Adam  and Eve.  Man is cast out of God’s presence .  The doctrine of the wrath of God  begins here .  The results of the fall are  established. Satan  is cursed  and his  certain  destruction  is announced (Gen 3: 14- 15).  Woman is cursed:  evidences are  painful labour in child birth;  her desire to dominate her husband;  her husband ruling  sternly over her.  Man is cursed: his work and livelihood are a painful exercise ; man dies.  The doctrine of death  begins here   . In the midst  of this  sad  state of events  however  the  seed of the Gospel  is sown  in  Genesis  3:15The doctrine of the Gospel begins here!   A  Redeemer of mankind and the destroyer of Satan will  come.  Satan strikes his heel   on  the cross, but the wound is not ultimately fatal, but the Saviour will deliver a deathblow  to Satan’s head

 “And the  Lord God made  for Adam and for his wife garments of skin  and He clothed them…” (3: 21)   The doctrine of God’s love and providential care for sinners.

CHAPTER 4 :

The origin of  broken  relationships  This  is   exemplified in  the strife between brother Cain and Abel.  The cause (sin - 4:6) and the outworking (effect): Unrighteousness, anger, jealousy, murder,   as a result of which Cain kills his brother  Abel.

The mark upon Cain  (4:15) : The doctrine of  the love of God for  all sinners. However, that love is not as particular  and  of the same quality as  that  for  SETH ( 4:25   lit. the appointed or granted )  who shall become   the bloodline for the promised  SEED – the Messiah and  His chosen people. The doctrine of  the particular love of God for His elect people .

Chapter 5 :

The bloodline of the SEED  from  Adam to Noah   establishes the doctrine of election

Chapters 6  - 9 :

6:5 & 7:21  contains   the   doctrine of total depravity &  God’s continual wrath against  sin

The Flood   is an illustration of   the doctrine of the  final judgment

The story  of Noah  represents     the doctrine of the remnant ( God’s elect) – the household of faith – God’s chosen people.

The Noahic Covenant - another reminder of the doctrine of God’s grace to this fallen creation.  As with Adam, God bestowed undeserved blessings on Noah and the world.  

Ch 9 – 11

The Origin of nations , the origin of languages

SUMMARY & CONCLUSION :

·        Genesis  1 – 11 has a profound effect on our worldview. Genesis explains our origins: Where we have come from; what went wrong; God‘s  Grace and His wrath; man’s need for salvation and redemption. 
·     The New Testament  builds  upon these foundations.  Jesus makes frequent mention  of these  original doctrines.  The apostle Paul  establishes the doctrine of man’s sin and the fall from this text. 
·         We must build on these foundations.  Every step away  and every reversal  from the truths contained in Genesis  shall  lead to the undoing of our society.
·         God calls you today to stand firm on these  truths  and to speak  the truth in love to your society.



[1] E.J. Young: In The Beginning , p.  18 , Banner of Truth .
[2] ibid
[3] Andy McIntosh : Genesis for today , p.12 ( Day One Publications)
[4] Romans 1:18ff
[5] Hebr. Elohim
[6] John  1:1-3
[7] Translated as  LORD  in  the ESV . The first mention of YAHWEH is found in Genesis 2:5
[8] The “im” ending  in  the Hebrew indicates the plural  ( so also   the Cherubim and Seraphim)
[9] Hebr. Elohim Ruach
[10] Hebr. “yeled” – the root name for  the child in the womb and  the child that is born is the same
[11] Andy McIntosh : Genesis for Today , p.27, Day One  Publications
[12] Mark 10:9

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