OVERVIEW OF GENESIS
Author: Conservative Jewish and Christian tradition holds that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Old Testament, including Genesis. Jesus Himself and the early church all confirm Moses gave the “Law.” Some allowances are made for the possibility of earlier fragment sources from which Moses wrote, along with later elaborations (examples: Deuteronomy 34, Numbers 12:3 - He unlikely wrote about his own death or humility!).
Date: Written possibly during the wilderness wanderings of Israel, 1450-1410 B.C. It covers from creation to the bondage of Israel in Egypt about 1860 B.C.
Audience/Purpose: Primary audience was the people of Israel to know God, His work of creation, the origin and nature of sin and evil, but God’s plan to redeem the world through a covenant relationship with Himself where He works out His purposes in the world through them and on their behalf.
Chapters 1-11 - Beginning of the World and History
Chs 1-2 - Creation of the world and the first humans
1:1-2 - God created the world
1:26-27 - God created man from dust
2:1-4 - God rested on the seventh day
2:16-17 - God’s command to Adam to not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil
2:21-24 -God created woman out of man
Chs 3-5 - Fall and corruption of humankind
3:1-7 - First humans sinned against God and fell from their Edenic state
3:14-15 (ProtoEvangelium, “first gospel”) - God cursed the serpent (Satan) and prophesied of Eve’s Seed (Christ) who will crush his head
Chs 6-11 - Destruction of the world and preservation of a remnant
6:13,17-18 - God vowed to destroy the world due to humanity’s sin
9:1-11 - God made covenant with Noah to fill and never destroy the earth again
Chapters 12-50 - Beginning of God’s Covenant Family
Chs 12-14 - God’s call and promise to Abraham
11:27-12:3 - God will bless the nations of the earth through Abraham’s descendents
14:18-20 - Abraham encounters the King-Priest Melchizedek, foreshadow of Christ
Chs 15-18:14 - God’s covenant with Abraham
15:1-6 - God promised Abraham a son and Abraham believed
17:9-14 - God established the covenant of circumcision with Abraham
Chs 18:15-20:18 - Sin and fall of Sodom and Gomorrah
19:23-29 - God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah due to their great sexual sin
Chs 21-23 - God’s reaffirmation of His promise to Abraham of a son and to bless the nations fulfilled
22:1-18 - God tested Abraham’s faith (vs. 13-14 - allusion to Christ as the Lamb of God)
Chs 24-25:11 - Family line carried on through Isaac and the death of Abraham
Chs 25:12-26:34 - God confirms to fulfill His promise to Abraham through him
26:1-5 - God’s covenant extended to Isaac
Chs 27-36, 38 - God extends the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham and Isaac through Jacob
28:10-27 - God’s covenant extended to Jacob in vision of stairway to heaven
30:22-24 - God remembered Rachel and gave birth to Joseph
35:9-15 - God reaffirms His promise to Abraham and Isaac with Jacob
Chs 37, 39 - Joseph betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt
37:28,36 - God allowed Joseph to be sold by his brothers and taken to Egypt
Chs 40-41 - Joseph’s rise to power
41:39-40 - God enabled Joseph to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams who promoted him
Chs 42-50 - Joseph’s reunion with his family and the saving and preserving of lives
46:1-3 - God appeared to Jacob to go to relocate to Egypt
45:4-8, 50:15-20 - Joseph assures brothers of his faith in God’s purpose in saving the lives of many
Gospel According to Genesis
3:14-15 - “So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
Romans 16:20 - “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
50:19-20 - “But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
Romans 8:28 - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Contribution & Relevance
God created everything with design. It stands as witness against all opposing worldviews and ideologies that dominate education, society, culture, families, and government.
God’s design for human identity, marriage, and human flourishing is one man and woman given to one another for life. Everything else is a perversion.
All human beings from every race came from one origin. Human solidarity is found in that we were all created by God, fell from God in our sin, and the only solution to all spiritual and human problems is reconciliation with God and each other through Christ.
God is holy. He despises the sin that ruined His creation. While patient and kind, He punishes sin.
In the development of the covenant relationship between God and Israel, we learn that God has been seeking to redeem and preserve a people for Himself since the beginning of time, revealed particularly in the fullness of time in the last days in Christ.
God faithfully delivers, provides, and works out His purposes for His faithful people in spite of sin.
What other relevant issues does Genesis speak into? How are we to respond?