I wrote about Genesis awhile ago here in Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I had to divide it into 3 parts because I ended up doing a “short” summary of each chapter. Each post ended up being really long, and while speaking about the length to Liv and lamenting the fact that I can’t seem to write shorter pieces, she gave me this idea. Writing a shorter version of an overview and linking it to the full piece. That’s what I’m going to do with the Books I’ve finished already (Genesis, Exodus, Matthew and Mark) 🙂
Genesis’ author isn’t mentioned but Jesus and many authors of the NT attribute the Torah (the first 5 books of the OT ) to Moses. There are over 200 references/ quotes from Genesis in the NT.
Genesis was written in Hebrew and translated into Greek about 250 years before Christ. In Hebrew the title is bereshit which means “in beginning” (Gen 1:1) and in Greek it is geneseos which means ” origin, source, generation or beginning” which was translated from the Hebrew toledot (Gen 2:4 which means generations). The English title of the book is taken from the Greek title. Both titles seem appropriate since Genesis is the beginning of all things and the book is filled with genealogies of different generations.
Genesis is about God creating something out of nothing, and then making man in His Own Image, for His Name’s sake, for His Glory. It’s about God making a way for man’s redemption and atonement even before the creation of men. It’s about giving hope through prophesies to people so that they can look to the One Who comes and the obedience of the nations will be His.
Genesis is about choice. Man’s choice to be specific. His choice to sin, to be wicked, to turn away from God and chase after other things, again and again and again. When he does, God honours that choice, but man also has to face the consequences.
Genesis is about God choosing to save a family of 8 ( Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives), the only ones who were righteous at that time since the people had become so wicked that God had repented making man, on an ark while the rest of the world was flooded. God gives Noah a promise which to this day He has honoured and we still see the sign of that promise. A Rainbow 🙂
Genesis is about God choosing a man , Abraham, out of a pagan culture to be the beginning of a chosen race, a people whom God loved, a select culture, to be kept apart for Him. He blesses Abraham and He tests him. He reveals His plans to Abraham and allows him to bargain for lives of people God had destined for destruction. Abraham , even though he is chosen by God and favoured by Him, still lies and fears and makes many mistakes. God graciously forgives him, even as Abraham (and his descendants) bear the consequences.
Genesis is about God choosing the younger over the older where children are concerned, to bless them and use them and Glorify His Name through them. He turns the people’s perception of natural order on its head. (Abraham is chosen over Nahor, Isaac is blessed over Ishmael, Jacob is honoured over Esau, Joseph receives the double portion over Rueben and Ephraim is blessed over Manasseh). But there is a reason and purpose for God choosing to do so.
In Genesis, we see several types of Christ, apart from the Theophanies/ Christophanies (Pre -Incarnate appearances of God/ Christ before His birth as a human being) that appear in the book. You can read more Theophanies/ Christophanies in general at GotQuestions.org. For the sake of simplicity, in this post, types of Christ refers to people/things/situations that reveal God’s character and Theophanies/ Christophanies to an actual appearance of Christ/ God in the pre- incarnate form. For a complete study on types of Christ in Genesis, read this , it is a 19 page document though 🙂
Types of Christ in Genesis.
- Adam- had dominion of the world (Christ is sovereign over the world), from his rib woman was created (people are created in the Image of God), chose to eat of the fruit voluntarily after Eve ate it, to share in her penalty and punishment (God voluntarily gave up His life for the sake of making atonement for people). Through the first Adam sin and death entered the world, and through the Last Adam abundant provision of grace and the gift of righteousness was given to us Romans 5.
- The Ark in Noah’s time – because of the Ark, select people were able to escape the judgement that the whole world went through. It reflects the salvation that Christ provides for the people who chose Him to escape permanent death and destruction in the lake of fire. Just as the Ark took people through the flood to safety, Christ will take people who accept Him as Lord to Heaven and eternal life.
- Isaac – he was a miracle birth (Christ was born of a virgin), he was long promised to his father (the prophets had been prophesying about Jesus’ birth for centuries before He was born), he carried the wood for the offering himself ( Christ carried His cross to Calvary), he lay on the altar in obedience to his father (Christ allowed himself to be beaten and crucified, He was not forced), figuratively Isaac was raised from the dead when God provided a ram to take his place (Jesus did rise from the dead literally).
- Joseph- was favoured by his father (God the father appears to Jesus and those around Him many times and says “This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased”), was hated by his brothers ( Jesus during His earthly ministry was not accepted well in His hometown of Nazareth and was mocked by His brothers just before the festival), was sold for 20 pieces of silver (Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces of silver), was falsely accused and put in prison ( Jesus’ accusers tried to find false witnesses against Him), was forgotten in prison for several years (Jesus’ early years till He was nearly 30 years old were anonymous), rose to prominence when he was 30 years old ( Jesus started His earthly ministry when He was nearly 30 years old), was responsible for the saving of many lives during the years of famine, (Jesus’ death and resurrection offer salvation and atonement to the millions of people who ask Him for it), forgave his brothers for what they did ( Jesus forgave His tormentors and murderers on the cross), prophesied about his people the Israelites leaving Egypt to a better place and commanded his bones to be taken as well ( Jesus told His disciples He is going to prepare a place for them, and will come back in person to take them there).
Theophanies/ Christophanies in Genesis.
A Manifestation of God that is tangible to the human senses is called a Theophany. In its most restrictive sense, it is a visible appearance of God in the Old Testament period often, but not always, in human form. Some would also include in this term Christophanies (preincarnate appearances of Christ) and angelophanies (appearances of angels , I’m not including angelophanies in this post).
- Genesis 12: 1-9: The Angel of the Lord calls Abraham out of his country, tells him where to go and gives him a prophesy and a blessing for his future.
- Genesis 16: 6-13 : The Angel of the Lord finds Hagar, gives her a promise regarding her son, names him, and makes her return Sarah. Hagar gives this name El-Roi which means “the One who Sees”.
- Genesis 17:1-22 The Lord appears to Abraham, calls Himself God Almighty, gives Abram a new name (Abraham ) and Sarai a new one as well (Sarah). He gives Abraham the covenant of circumcision and promises to bless Ishmael while telling Abraham that he will definitely have his son of promise, Isaac, the following year.
- Genesis 18: 1-33: The Lord appears to Abraham, three are 3 visitors, the other two appear to be angels. Only the Lord tells Abraham and Sarah that they will have a child. Only the Lord walks with Abraham and tells him of His plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. He graciously allows Abraham to bargain on behalf of them to save the lives of the innocent.
- Genesis 28: 10-22: The Lord appears to Jacob in a dream. Jacob also sees angels descending and ascending a ladder that reaches to Heaven. The Lord gives a Jacob a promise and a blessing.
- Genesis 32 : Jacob meets angels of God on the way to meet with his brother Esau. Jacob wrestles with an angel. He is blessed and his name is changed after Jacob’s hip socket is touched (by the angel and is dislocated ). I believe this is a theophany , but there’s compelling arguments against it (read the link above). Anyway I added it here because it signifies Jacob struggle with men and with God, and that he overcame. It is also the place where the name Israelites come into being.
Genesis spans over 2400 years and describes several generations. It contains many well known beloved stories. It is also the book where God’s grace is described and the plan for the redemption of man is put into effect. Genesis is definitely worth a read and an in depth study. Please tell me what your favourite portions of Genesis are.