Summary: In the beginning
August 15, 2010
This morning we’re going to start a study through the book of Genesis. Just to give you an idea, it was written around 1450 B.C. (nearly 3,500 years ago) by Moses.
It’s the first of five books known as the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
I want to preach it for several reasons.
First, Genesis is a book of doctrine. It shows us that there’s only one God. That’s pretty significant because it was written in a time when no other nation practiced monotheism (even Abraham was a polytheist; Josh. 24:2).
Genesis also shows us that God is the sovereign Creator. We might ask, “Why should I submit to God” or “How do we know He’s in control?” The answer is found in the book of Genesis. Over and over we’ll see God in control of circumstances; from the creation of the earth to Jacob and his goats to Joseph in the well and everything before and after…God is in control.
In fact, nearly every major doctrine of the Christian faith is covered in the first eleven chapters:
How did the world and universe come into existence? Genesis 1.
How did man and animals come about? Genesis 1 and 2.
Why is there death and suffering in our world? Genesis 3.
How will God respond to sin? Genesis 3.
What’s God’s desired relationship with man? Genesis 9.
So many theological/religious/anthropological questions are answered in Genesis; it’s an important study.
Second, I want to study Genesis with you because it teaches us history that goes all the way back to the origin of life. In fact, the Hebrew word for Genesis means “beginning.”
We learn from the very first sentence that God created all things. There was no electrical spark that blew up some primordial goo that somehow evolved into an amoeba which evolved into fish and monkeys and people. The Bible says that God spoke and it was.
He crated “ex nihilo” or “out of nothing.” All of the theories that try to make the Bible compatible with Darwinian evolution are heretical. Evolution says that all beings evolved from one life form; the Bible says that God made every being “each according to its own kind” (Gen. 1:21-25). There’s nothing compatible about it.
Evolutionists look at creation and see no Creator; they’ve exchanged the glory of God for something less, and have therefore become fools (Rom. 1:18-32). Their minds are hardened to the truth that God is the origin of life.
As we study I’ll be interpreting Genesis as a literal narrative. There are those who say it should be read as symbolism or even mythology, but let me suggest that it must be interpreted literally.
There’s a quote from a well-known atheist who says,
“The most devastating thing […] that biology did to Christianity was the discovery of biological evolution. Now that we know that Adam and Eve never were real people, the central myth of Christianity is destroyed. If there never was an Adam and Eve, there never was an original sin. If there never was an original sin, there is no need of salvation. If there is no need of salvation, there is no need of a saviour. And I submit that puts Jesus, historical or otherwise, into the ranks of the unemployed. I think that evolution is absolutely the death knell of Christianity.”
Similarly, if the flood is only a myth then Noah didn’t need an ark and the Bible went to great lengths to explain the dimensions of a boat that didn’t exist. If we can’t believe God about that, what can we believe Him about?
It’s been said that the four most important words in the Bible are the first four: “In the beginning God…” If you can believe that then nothing else is a problem; if you can’t, then the rest is just as unbelievable.
So this book will be treated like a history book and preached from a literal viewpoint.
My hope is that as we read this book together that your faith will be strengthened as you come to a better understanding of the sovereign God who is the provider and the redeemer of fallen man.
Let’s start now with the creation of the world…
In the Beginning…
[VIDEO—“In the Beginning” showing Apollo 8 astronauts reading Scripture]
Isn’t it interesting that such learned scientists didn’t quote scientific formulas? As they gazed at the earth from the moon, they gave glory to God.
I submit to you that our study of this book and our reverence for God in general starts with a similar recognition of the awesome wonder of our Lord.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
1. God exists, and He is the only sovereign Creator (:1)