Genesis - Part 1
J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
This book has known more criticism, and suffered more opposition and abuse, than any other book of the Bible. Satan uses all his forces to discredit and to destroy this book. The reason is that it records his fall and his final doom. This book is a divine revelation of the purpose of God in relation to man and to Abraham and his family. It gives us a record of the beginning of things, the story of creation, but it was not written as a scientific treatise. It deals with facts not myths; it forms the basis of all revelation. It is necessary to account for the moral condition of man, and his subsequent need of redemption by Christ. All the inspired writings take their rise in its narrative, and without this book they would be unintelligible to us.
Importance. This book is a history, a narrative which is authentic and most instructive to us. Its importance may be considered from three standpoints.
1. Historical. It informs us of the creation of the world, the entrance of man, his development into a family, a tribe, a nation. The book is full of references to generations – of heaven and earth, chs. 2-4; of Adam, chs. 5-6; of Noah, chs. 6-9; of the sons of Noah, chs. 10-11; of Shem, ch. n; of Terah, ch. 11; of Ishmael, ch. 25; of Isaac, chs. 25-35> of Esau, ch. 36; and of Jacob, ch. 37. 2 to 50. 26. These are the historical divisions of the book. The theme of the book is man and the family; it deals with descendants not ancestry.
2. Doctrinal. Genesis is the foundation of Biblical revelation, and a key to all that follows in the history of redemption. Man was made for fellowship with God, and was made in the likeness and image of God. It teaches the divine origin of the soul, that life is a probation, and communion with God is a reality. The moral part of man has ever been infinitely above the animal. He is subject to Satanic influence, is responsible to God, and the violation of the law of God brings sorrow and woe. Redemption is portrayed in the coats of skin. "Grace" is first mentioned in chapter 6, "believed", "righteousness"., "counted" are first mentioned in chapter 15. Here we are taught the universal depravity of the race and the over-ruling providence of God in the preservation of the "seed".
3. Moral. It introduces the Sabbath as a day of rest, the principles of life, home, work, duty, love, and the sanctity of marriage. These principles are contained not in cold precept, but are invested with all the force and reality of actual life.
Inspiration. That Moses was the author of the first five books has been held by the Jews since before the Christian era. The Lord revealed the past to Moses as He revealed the future to John. Being a book of "generations", it contains many family documents. Such existing materials may have been used by the author. "The last four books of the Pentateuch contain an implicit claim to be from the pen of Moses; and no-one has yet maintained that Genesis does not form a unity with the other four books. Commentators of every school agree that the same authorship may be traced in Genesis as in the other four. Hence, if Moses is accepted as the author of the legal sections he may safely be accepted as the author of Genesis". The events of Genesis occurred; they were observed by God, and communicated to Moses.
Instruction. "This book contains the foundation truths of theology, the science of God; cosmology, the science of universe; anthropology, the science of man; sociology, the science of society; harmartiology, the science of sin; ethnology, the science of races; soteriology, the science of salvation". In Genesis, most things begin* but few things end. The record includes references to the beginning of man, of family life, of marriage, of reproduction, of sin, of death, of national life. What can equal the majesty of the opening two verses, as they present ideas beyond the conception of the human mind? God, the Cause, the Explanation and the Goal of all things. God in His Being, Eternity, Omnipotence and Infinite Wisdom. The re-creation is full of spiritual teaching; the work of the Spirit, light produced, approved, diffused; life, vegetation, the heavenly bodies, the creation of man, and rest. The penalty of disobedience in chapter 3 involves the loss of peace, v. 15, rest, w. 17, 18, immortality, w. 19, 22, and fellowship with God. Each of these is restored in Christ. The book abounds with subject matter for our instruction.
Interest. The biographies of chapters 12-50 are most thrilling and informative. The book records the story of man, not of creation in general. The three important men are Adam, Noah and Abraham. Each has an event, a promise, and a sign, telling of sin, judgment and redemption. Much of the book is taken up with the establishment of covenant relationship between God and man, and especially between God and Israel. Noah's is a covenant of everlasting mercy and protection. Abraham's is a covenant of election and promise. The life of Abraham covers over thirteen chapters, indicating something of its importance. Study his private, public and prophetic history.
Dr. Scroggie sums up Jacob's life thus; "The Supplanter at Beer-sheba, ch. 25-28; The Servant at Haran, chs. 29-31; the Saint at Hebron, chs 32-45; The Seer in Egypt, chs. 46-50".
The four periods of Joseph's life and the analogies with the life of the Lord Jesus are many. Consider the Pre-eminent Son, ch. 37; the Prosperous Servant, ch. 39; the Patient Sufferer, chs. 40 to 41. 36; and the Powerful Sovereign, chs. 41. 37 to 50. 21.
Illustrations. While Adam is the only man described in the Scriptures as a type of Christ, this book abounds with many illustrations of New Testament truth. Ponder Eve as a picture of the Church, Gen. 2 and Eph. 5. 30-32; Cain and Abel illustrating the carnal versus the spiritual; Enoch foreshadowing the translation of the Church and Noah in the ark the salvation of Israel through the tribulation; Hagar and Sarah indicate distinctions between law and grace; Ishmael and Isaac suggest the antagonism of flesh and spirit. In Genesis 22 and 24, Abraham pictures God the Father; Isaac, the Son of God; and the servant, the Spirit of God.
A Brief Summary of chapters 1-11 is as follows :
In the Creation - we see God's matchless Ability.
In the Fall - we see God's moral Authority.
In the Flood - we see God's merciful Severity.
In Babel - we see God's mighty Supremacy.
"Memorable Days", ch. 1. The work of creation, 1. 1; Prov. 8; John 1. 1-3; Man in innocence. Chaos, v. 2, vain, formless, emptiness, darkness; Man in sin. Isa. 14. 12-17; Job. 14. 4; Rom. 8. 5-8.
Restoration. First day, vv. 3-5; 2 Cor. 5. 17; Eph. 2. 10.
Man's regeneration, John 8. 12; 2 Cor. 4. 4-6; Eph. 5. 8.
Second day, w. 6-8. Man's separation, Gal. 1. 4; 2 Cor.6. 14-18; John 7. 43.
Third day, w. 9-13. Man's liberation, Eph. 2. 4, 5; Col. 1. 13-14; 3- 1; John 11.43.
Fourth day, w. 14-19. Man's revelation, John 3. 36; 2 Cor. 4. 6; the sun, Mai. 4. 2; moon, Matt. 5. 14; stars, Phil. 2. 15.
Fifth day, vv. 20-23. Man's manifestation, John 15. 1-8;Rom. 6. 22; Phil. 3. 12-14; 4. 17; Gal. 5. 22,23.
Sixth day, w. 24-31. Man's conformation, Rom. 8. 29;Col. 3. 10; 1 John 3. 2.
Seventh day, 2. 1-3. Man's satisfaction, Psa. 17. 15; Heb. 4. 1-3.
"Grace Abounding", ch. 3. The subtlety of the serpent, vv. 1-4; accusing, appealing, abusing. The seduction of the woman, vv. 3-7; interest, impressed, and influenced.
The sin of Adam, w. 6, 7; responsible, rebellious, ruinous. The sentence of judgment, w. 14-19; on the serpent, the woman and the ground.
The salvation of God, vv, 15-24; promised, pictured and provided. The sevenfold sentence was borne by the Saviour.
"Enoch", ch. 5. Exercised faith in God, Heb. 11. 5. Name suggests instructed of God. Obeyed the revelation of God, Jude 14,15. Commended by God, Heb. 11. 5-6. Happy fellowship with God, Gen. 5. 22.
"Noah". As a builder, 6. 14-22; as believer, 6. 8-10; a caretaker, 7. 1.16; worshipper, 8. 20-22; master, 9. 1-2; backslider, 9. 20-23.
"Babel", ch. 11. 1-9. (i) Human ambition: its motive, method, means Psa. 2. 1-3; Matt. 27. 22. The mark of the beast, Rev. 13. 16-19.
(ii) Divine inspection: careful, condemning, dispersing.