Summary: Genesis 1-3, the Creation and the Fall of humankind
What’s your idea of paradise? Lying on a beach on some tropical island? No crowds, no noise, except the gentle breeze and the gentle lapping of the waves on the pristine beach. Lying in a hammock, looking out at the sea framed by palm trees, without a care in the world? Is that your idea of paradise? Different people have different ideas of what is idyllic. But perhaps above all, whether on stunning beach or in a beautiful garden or in a luxurious hotel, we want peace. Not just peace as in quietness, but peace in relationships. Lack of tension, lack of shame, lack of guilt, both in our relationships with each other and with God. And we want this to last forever. That is true peace. That is paradise. And you know what? We once had it. Today we are going to talk about paradise lost.
Once the human race had everything going for us. A beautiful place to live. Perfect relationships with each other and with God. Today in Genesis 1-3 it talks about what we had. Perfectness. And how it was corrupted, ruined, and how we now live with the results of that corruption.
There’s a lot in Genesis 1-3. Today is only a brief overview. We’ll be looking mainly at four things:
- The creation
- the fall
- the curse or consequences of that fall
- and the glimmer of hope.
But first – some context. Genesis - what is it? It’s the first book of the Bible, but do we know much beyond that? The first five books of the Bible are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. They are sometimes called the “Penteteuch,” which just means 5 books, or the Jews called it the Law. Together these first 5 books, the Penteteuch, give the history of the world through to the death of Moses.
And Genesis is the first book. Genesis just means “beginnings.” Genesis is the account of the beginnings of the world and of the Jewish nation. It includes the creation of the world, the creation of mankind and then the fall of mankind. It includes Noah’s flood and other disasters, and then the call of Abraham, his son Isaac, his son Jacob, his son Joseph, and finishes with Jacob and Joseph and his brothers in Egypt.
But what is perhaps remarkable about Genesis, is that it is 50 chapters long but only 1 chapter is about the creation of the world! You would think such a momentous event would deserve more attention. In our modern world we are told that the advent of man
is a tiny blip on history after 4.5 billion years of evolution. We are told that we are insignificant, an accident of evolution. And in that Genesis stands in start contrast. The creation of the world is over in one chapter and the rest of Genesis concentrates on people and God’s dealings with us. For modern man, Genesis seems to have things around the wrong way. But it wasn’t just in modern times that it was like that. You see, at the time of Moses, there were other creation accounts around. The people who lived near the Hebrews were polytheists - that is, they believed in many gods. They had their accounts of how the world came into being.
The Emuna Elish is one such account. It was written by the Babylonians and discovered in 1849 in what was once Ninevah and is now Mosul in Iraq. The Emuna Elish and other similar accounts paint a very different picture of the world’s origins than Genesis does. In those accounts, there never was a time when there was nothing. In the beginning there was a formless earth and heaven, and there were no gods, and then the gods somehow appeared, and then the gods slept with each other and had other gods born to them, and then the gods annoyed each other, fought with each other, killed each other. And then one of the gods, when he had killed one of the other gods, from his blood he made people. The reason he made people was so we could work for the gods. The creation of people was an afterthought, a co-incidental point in history, something insignificant.
People thought the sun and the moon were gods. The Egyptians worshipped the sun. They saw gods everywhere, in the stars and in the big animals in the sea. Anything big and unexplainable, they thought they were gods
Oh how different Genesis is! Let’s see how different it is. First Gen 1.1 says In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. What does that mean? It means that in the beginning there was nothing, except God. Absoulely nothing, except God, and God made everything. In verses 14 –18, God made the sun and the moon and the stars. The people around them thought the sun and moon and stars were gods