Genesis

The first book in the Bible is entitled ‘Genesis’ which is a Greek word meaning ‘beginning.’ Genesis chapter 1 describes the creation of the world as we currently know it, excepting a few major differences: the first two humans (Adam and Eve) were not originally condemned to die, God’s angels interacted directly with Adam and Eve, serpents could talk and did not slide on their bellies and, it did not rain (the earth was watered by mist). In Genesis chapter 2 God gave Adam and Eve one rule, to see if they would respond with love and obey Him as their heavenly father. The consequence of breaking the rule (sinning) would be death. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve were persuaded to brake God’s rule by a talking serpent and so they became dying, mortal creatures. Additionally, Adam and Eve could only have limited interactions with God and His angels. The serpent was also cursed; it would always slide along on its belly and could no longer talk. Although God did not change His mind about the death sentence for sin, He allowed Adam and Eve to live for many more years, during which time they had opportunity to obey God and become part of a much larger plan for the future.

All of Adam and Eve’s descendants are mortal / dying creatures who disobey God’s laws at some point (this includes us). Genesis chapter 5 is a long list of Adam’s immediate descendants and every one of them has since died. Some people tried to please God by obeying Him but Human nature is strongly biased towards sin and only Jesus perfectly overcame that natural bias to do our own thing and disobey God’s will. By the time we reach Genesis chapter 6 human society is violent and immoral. There are only eight (8) people in the entire population who are trying to do the right thing and obey God. The group of 8 included Noah, his wife and three (3) sons with their wives. At this point in history God determined a fresh start for the planet and so we have the story of Noah’s flood in which all life is destroyed, excepting those who were safely inside the boat that God had told Noah to build. As a side note, it was during the flood that rain first occurred.

The next major event in Genesis is the fragmentation of human society when God confused people’s language. Chapter 11 describes a scenario where humans had grouped together and intended to build an empire that was in direct contradiction to God and His ways. In order to prevent these plans from going ahead God made communication extremely difficult by causing people to speak in many different languages. Needless to say, the attempt at building an empire was temporarily abandoned and groups of humans dispersed across the globe. These groups formed nations with their own languages.

Genesis chapter 12 through to chapter 46 covers events in the lives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. These 3 men are the fathers of the Nation of Israel and were the recipients of special promises from God that have eternal implications for all faithful believers in God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob lived most of their lives in the land of Canaan (later known as Israel) however, in Genesis chapter 47 Jacob and all his descendants moved to Egypt to avoid famine and be with Joseph who was a member of the family but had risen to fame and prominence in Egypt’s government.

The book of Genesis ends with Joseph requesting that his bones be buried back in the land of Canaan, as this land had been promised to his family by God.

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