Book of Genesis

Summary of the Book of Genesis

What is the Book of Genesis about?

The Book of Genesis is filled with stories from the beginning of time. It introduces the creation of the world, culture, and most importantly, God’s relationship and promises with mankind. As the second longest book in the Bible, Genesis focuses on how the world came to be, the fall and destruction of humanity, leading to God’s promises and signs of his promises with us. The book of Genesis tells us about how God’s relationship of love and blessings with mankind has never changed; staying one and the same.

Genesis starts with the creation of the world, the fall of humanity because of Adam and Eve, the world’s first murder, and the destruction and reconstruction of a sinful world with God’s first promise. It then introduces how languages and cultures came to be, explaining why we have many languages in the world today. It includes God’s blessings, to His chosen people, the creation of Israel and the various ways God communicates with us. Genesis tells the stories of how we are to obey God and form a good relationship with Him.

 

Who wrote the Book of Genesis and When was it Written?

It was Moses who wrote the first 5 books of the bible. That includes the book of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and most of Deuteronomy.

Genesis is placed as the first book of the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, starting from when and how the universe came to be. This then has people today raising the questions of who wrote the Book of Genesis and when was the Book of Genesis Written. The bible itself in the Old Testament and New Testament has credited Moses for writing the first five books of the Bible. Also, scriptures in the New Testament has given proof that Moses did write the book of Genesis. For as Jesus himself, said, “For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death” (Mark 7:10).

However, Christians can also see Moses as the co- author of Genesis, not the person who thought up stories to write into a book. This is because many believe that in order for Moses to get information that existed before he himself was born, God must have spoken to Moses, giving him the words and accounts to document the book of Genesis. Christians and Jews alike believe that God gave Moses the information to place into Genesis starting with the accounts from the beginning of time.

How Old is the Book of Genesis?

For the Book of Genesis to date back to the beginning of the world, many question how old is the Book of Genesis? The answer to this is we don’t know, but we can make an estimation through historical findings, historical research, and words from the Bible itself. It is said to be written during the time of Moses, the author of Genesis. The estimated date of Moses’ life is backed by the Old Testament where scripture 1 Kings 6:1 states that Solomon built the Temple in the fourth year of his reign over Israel which is predicted to be around 966 B.C.

In doing the math, 480 years before that would be1445 B.C. The wandering in the desert would have taken place during the 40 years after 1445 B.C dates between 1550 to 1200 B.C. Historians and scientists have estimated that Moses lived during the period of the Late Bronze Age. So, Genesis is predicted to be as old as Moses, existing from the time of 1550 to 1200 B.C, to today.

How Many Years Does the Book of Genesis Cover?

Because Genesis is the first of sixty six books in the Bible, and covers the beginning of time, many people ask about the timeline of the world and when Israel was created. They question how many years does the book of genesis cover. Like the age of the Book of Genesis, the time line of Genesis can only be estimated with historical findings. However, unlike items excavated and found by geologists and archeologists, the question of how many years does the Book of Genesis cover can only be estimated through scriptures. It is assumed that the Book of Genesis covers thousands of years, from the creation of time estimated to be Before 4000 BC and the death of Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 50:26) in 1806 BC.

The Creation of the World and How God Created the world

In Genesis, the explanation of how the world came to be is explained. God created the world in six days, and rested on the seventh day, giving us the explanation of why there are seven days in a week. God’s day of rest and his commandment to have one day of sabbath, also explains why we have a day of rest from work today. God first created the world by creating light and darkness on the first day, and then the sky, land, and sea on the second. He then created vegetation on the third day and the night and day on the fourth day. On the fifth and sixth days, he created the animals of land and sea, including Adam and Eve, the first humans, made in the Image of God himself.

God created the world in how many days?

Today we have seven days in a week because it is known among Christians and non- Christians that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. Hence we follow God’s law on working six days and taking a rest (known as the sabbath) on the seventh day. However, the seven names of the week came from the historic times of the Babylonians. They named the days after five planets (Tuesday through Saturday) after the sun and moon, while Sunday and Monday were named by the Romans between AD 306 and 337; the age of Roman Emperor Constantine I. At this time, Rome was converted into an empire of Christianity and was known as the Golden age with Christendom as it’s capital.

The Creation of Humans and The Fall of Man

When God made Adam and Eve on the sixth day, he made one rule for them to follow; do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God gave Adam and Eva a choice to obey him. However, Eve was tempted by a serpent and took the fruit from the tree of knowledge, sharing it with Adam. By breaking the one rule God gave, Adam and Eve’s actions allowed to world to be open to sin; this was the day of the fall of man.

Because of Adam and Eve’s actions, God’s first punishments for mankind was carried out, inclusive of being exiled from the perfect Garden of Eden. God’s punishments was to curse the serpent who deceived and tempted Eve, He cursed mankind, and He cursed the land outside of Eden.  In order to ensure no one can enter the Garden of Eden after the Fall of Man, God placed a cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

Present Day Theories of How The World Came To Be

Genesis is not the only text or belief on how the world came to be.There are various theories of how the world came about such as the Big Bang Theory and other religious Gods creating and destroying the universe. Some theories by scientists claim that besides the Big Bang Theory, there was various things that created life. This includes an electric spark in the universe, molecules coming together to create the world and living beings, and the idea of lifeforms from a different planet. However, Christians who believe in Genesis and God’s creation of the world are able to accommodate new scientific discoveries in their thinking. For them, the Bible is only here to explain who created the world and why God created the world. They don’t need a scientific explanation of how the world was created for the reason of why God created the world is all that matters.

Scientists and The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is a scientific belief that the universe was created with a small singularity. Scientists do not believe that God is the creator of the universe and believe that the Book of Genesis is wrong and made up for religion. Instead, they believe that over billions of years, a singularity was filled with massive amounts of energy and was initially condensed in a very small and heated mass which then inflated into the universe we know today.

Because of the size and heat of the singularity, it is believed to have caused a huge explosion, sending matter and energy expanding in all directions. Hence it is called the Big Bang. During the Big Bang, it is hypothesized  that a vast amount of particles consisting of neutrons, electrons and protons which then created the world. Today, scientists argue that the Big Bang was inevitable due to the law of gravity rather than an intervention of a divine being.

Religious Theories

Different religions have their own theories on how the world came to be. Christianity and Judaism have the same theory and base their understandings of the creation on the Book of Genesis. However, other mythologies about where we come from have existed in other religions for thousands of years. Some of the earliest spirituality beliefs can be traced back to B.C. For example, the religion of Hinduism believes that a divine trinity known as has the Trimurti has three functions. Hinduism believes the trinity consisting of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the entities that creates, preserves, and destroys the world, bringing change to the universe.

Another example of religious theories of the world and when it was created is through Judaism. Though Judaism fully believes in Genesis like Christianity, the Jewish understandings of creation still differs about the time of the world’s creation. For example, the Jewish calendar is dated from the supposed date of creation, 3761 BCE, calculated from a literal reading of the Bible. Significant numbers of Jews believe that the Genesis account is literally true and that the world was created in 6 days. In this view the world is 5,781 years old as of 2020.

God’s Promises: Signs and Covenants

In the Book of Genesis, God made many promises to his chosen people, and many of these promises can be seen to this day. However, there are positive and negative promises God has made to us in Genesis. This includes there promises He made when the Fall of Man occurred, as well as after the destroyed the world with the flood. When God makes promises and covenants with us, there’s usually a significant sign that comes with the promise. Many Christians acknowledge many promises of God throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. However, today we also acknowledge promissory signs of the Old Testament. These include the stories connected to Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark, and Abraham’s many nations.

Negative Promises of God

The first promises to mankind after the Fall of Man were not positive. Instead, the promises were more of a curse because of their sin. God’s negative promise after the Fall of Man was that there would be amenity between men and women. He also promised that women would have pain at childbirth, and men will have hardship when cultivating the land (Genesis 3:15 – 19). On top of promising hardship to humanity, God also promised the deciding serpent that he would crawl on his stomach, below all livestock and other animals (Genesis 3:14).

Positive Promises of God

Within the Book of Genesis, there are more positive promises of God than negative ones. This includes the widely known stories of His promise with Noah and his blessings over Abraham. When God first destroyed the world with a flood, He had saved Noah, a righteous man of God who had a pure heart and his family. God had promised to keep Noah and his family safe, which He did as long as the flood lasted. After the flood God then promised that He will never destroy life with flood waters again (Genesis 9:15).

God’s promise with Abraham also shows His love for humanity. God didn’t make only one promise to Abraham, but three promises.These promises include the ownership of the land of Canaan which is known as Israel today, the promise of great and multiple descendants, and the promises of blessing and redemption. The first promise to Abraham was the land of Israel, known as the promised land because God promised to give the land to Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:1).

The second promise God made to Abraham was that nations will come from Abraham. God declared that Abraham’s descendants will be as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore (Genesis 22:17 – 18). The third promise from God to Abraham was the promise of continuous blessings and redemption as long as all Jewish males and males in Abraham’s family are circumcised (Genesis 12:1 – 3). Throughout the Old Testament, New Testament, and today, it can be seen that God has kept all his promises to his creations.

God’s Signs For His Promises

The most significant sign and first sign of Genesis and the Old Testament is the sign of a rainbow that brings beauty to the world after a storm. To ensure He remembers His promise to Noah, God used a rainbow as the sign for his promise. This promise God had made with Noah can still be seen today. A rainbow symbolizes peace, serenity, and hope. After a storm, when a rainbow appears, it reminds us of God’s love and promises. It is described as a sign of God’s Mercy on us. The rainbow teaches us that though there is pain and suffering throughout our lives, there is always beauty and hope after the storm. So, we need to persevere through our storms that God will always get us through if we keep our faith in Him.

God’s Destructions and Reconstruction of the World

In Genesis, there is a focus on the consequences after the Fall of Man. Because sin was able to enter the world due to man’s disobedience, Genesis also includes God’s destruction of humanity, when sin against God increased. In the Books of Genesis, there are three significant events that occurred that brought the wrath of God, maligning him destroy his creations, kingdoms, and the world itself. These three significant events are when God flooded the world, when God created different languages and scattered men around the world, and destroying the kingdoms of Sodom and Gomorrah.

In three occasions, God destroyed these things because of sin, selfishness, arrogance, wickedness, and unbelief. However, there was always a positive ending to God’s destructions as He  would rebuild what He destroyed but in a better, more God honouring way. His reconstructions will last for years to come and bring future stories to the books after Genesis.

Noah and The Ark

The first significant destruction by God in Genesis is known as the story of Noah and the ark. This was when God decided to “wipe mankind form the face of the earth” (Genesis 6:6-7) because the hearts of men had become evil. God wanted to create the world anew, so he destroyed the earth by means of a flood. However, He didn’t destroy everything for there was one man, Noah, who was righteous in God’s eyes and did no evil. So, God spared Noah and his family’s lives. Noah listened to God and built an ark with his family, collecting two kinds of each animal in the ark.

Once the ark was complete and God sealed the doors of the ark, it rained for forty days and forty nights, flooding the world, destroying all of God’s creations. However, after many months, the flood receded, and Noah and his family, with the animals came out of the ark and started life anew. To reconstruct the world once again, God told Noah to “increase and multiply”, and to allow the animals out to also “increase and multiply” (Genesis 8:15 – 17).

The Tower of Babel

The second significant destruction by God is known as the story of the Tower of Babel. This story in the Book of Genesis explains why the world today has many languages and how people are spread around the planet. Once again, the people of that time wanted to make great names for themselves. They wanted to build a tower that would reach Heaven in order for them to state that they can do something similar to what Good has done. However, this is seen as a sin against God; to want to be equal to Him. So, in order to stop them from reaching Heaven, God then destroyed the people’s ability to communicate in one language. He created multiple languages and scattered them all over the world, disabling them from building the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).

Though God destroyed the people’s ability to communicate in one language, it is also viewed as God reconstructing parts of the world. Today we have multiple countries with their unique language which wouldn’t be so if God had not created multiple languages among the people building the Tower of Babel.

Sodom and Gomorrah Destroyed

The third significant destruction in Genesis is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Here, the people of these cities has sinned deeply against God, by disobeying the laws of the Ten Commandments, doing perverse acts against each other, and more. So, God sent two angels in the form of men to the house of Lot, a God fearing man who was righteous. The angels were to get Lot and his family out of Sodom and Gomorrah before destroying the cities. An example of how wicked the cities were is when the men from the cities went to Lot demanding he give them the two angels in the form of men so that they can have sex with them *Genesis 19). However, Lot refused, and the angels blinded the men of Sodom and Gomorrah until Lot escaped with his family. It was then the angels, under God’s instruction destroyed the cities as a punishment for their sins.

God’s Blessings in the Book of Genesis

Throughout the Genesis, God has blessed many of His people; those whom are God fearing and pure of heart. God has blessed people from the beginning of time as it is written in Genesis, starting from Adam and eve, and ending with Jacob and his sons at the end of Genesis. Significant stories that have created strong beliefs and hope in God throughout the Book of Genesis includes the stories of Adam and Eve, Abraham and God’s promises, Isaac and his God-given wealth, and the stories of Jacob and his sons. Genesis then ends in Egypt before the Book of Exodus and the time of Moses.

God Blesses Adam and Eve

In the beginning when God created the world, he created Adam and Eve and blessed them abundantly with the freedom to go around the perfected Garden of Eden. He blessed them with with the ability to eat all things in the Garden of Eden, along with caring for all the animals He created (Genesis 2:16). God also blessed Adam and Eve with many children, Cain and Abel being two prominent sons of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4). This blessing of children was given by God even after He exiled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

God’s Blessing For Abraham

When it came to the time of Abraham, God chose to bless Abraham because of Abraham’s heart (Romans 4:1-5); promising to make him the father of many nations if Abraham did what God wanted him to do (Genesis 12:2-3). Hence today, Abraham is known as the Father of Nations. Abraham had to leave his homeland and travel to the land God promised to him, Canaan. This land today is known to be the focal point of Christianity and other religions that believe in Genesis. God blessed Abraham with multiple children, wealth, and power as long as Abraham kept his covenants of faith, the circumcision of all males, and obedience to God.

Also, one of God’s significant promises to Abraham and his wife was a son, whom they named Isaac. This was one of God’s greater blessings because of the ages of Abraham and Sarah when Isaac was given to them. In Genesis, Isaac would continue the line of Abraham, leading to God’s promise of making Abraham the father of nations as God’s chosen people would spread to amazing things that will occur in Egypt. This teaches that we should not let the comfort and security in our lives make us miss the plans God has for us. We should go out into the world when God calls us to do so for it can create history.

God’s Blessings Over Isaac

As God blessed Abraham, God also blessed Abraham’s son Isaac, keeping His promise that Abraham being the Father of Nations. God blessed Isaac with twin sons, Jacob and Esau, which would then become two nations (Genesis 25:23). As Isaac became old and blind, his son then stole Esau’s birthright and blessing, passing all of God’s blessings and promises he made with Abraham to Jacob. God’s blessings made Jacob wealthy and multiply in numbers (Genesis 29:31 and Genesis 30:25 – 43). As God blessed Abraham and Isaac, His blessing was given to Jacob who then had twelve sons, today known as the Twelve Tribes of Israel. These twelve tribes show God’s promise to Abraham has been kept as all twelve tribes are decedents of Abraham.

God Speaks to People in Multiple Ways

Since the beginning of time, God has spoken to mankind in multiple ways. This includes His voice, prayers, through dreams, and sending angels in the form of man. God speaks to His chosen people who later become priests, prophets, or makes memorable history in the Bible, creating a basis of religious beliefs today. Though we see God’s different communications in Genesis that we don’t see today, it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t speak to His people anymore. God today speaks to us through the words of the Bible, words in music, through nature, and through our circumstances. Likewise in Genesis, God spoke to Abraham and his sons through prayer, he spoke to nations through others like Noah and Joseph, and God spoke to people through nature such as when Noah used a dove to see if the water from the flood had receded.  Today, to communicate with God, many use the communication of prayer. They have a strong foundation in their faith and belief in His love and mercy.

God Communicates Through His Literal Voice

In the Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve were the first to hear God’s voice and speak to Him as they were the first of mankind. They heard God walking in the Garden of Eden after they ate the fruit from the tree of Good and evil (Genesis 3:8 -19). At that time, the voice of the Lord could be heard, like Moses heard later in the Bible in the Book of Exodus. However, unlike being face to face with Adam and Eve like He would be with Moses in Exodus, God communicated with Adam and Eve verbally without them seeing him. Adam and Eve’s encounter with God’s voice in the Garden of Eden is the first in the Bible, but it was also not the last. In future books of the Bible God’s anointed and chosen individuals also do hear the voice of God. For example in 1 Samuel 3, Samuel heard the voice of God literally, and later prophesized to the people of that time.

We Communicate With God Through Prayer

There are many instances in which God communicated with His chosen people through prayer in Genesis. Even today God communicates with us through prayer. It is the most common and known way in all religions to communicate with God or a higher being. In Genesis, there are many instances prayer was used to connect with God. Many key characters of the bible prayed to God. There are many times where prayers to God were answered,

There are four significant examples in Genesis where prayers were answered immediately. These were the times when Abraham interceded for Abimelech and his family so they would be healed, Isaac’s servant prayed for God to give Isaac a wife which led him to find Rebecca, the prayers of Isaac and Rebecca’s for a son where instead of getting one, God blessed them with twins, and the time where Jacob prays over his sons, the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

God Communicates Through Dreams

Besides communicating in prayer, God also communicated through dreams. The first recorded instance where God spoke through a dream is when Abimelech took Sarah for his wife. God told him he was sleeping with a married woman and it would bring a curse upon him if he didn’t return Sarah to Abraham. The second instance where God spoke through a dream was to Jacob at Bethel while he was fleeing from his brother Esau after stealing Esau’s birthright and blessings. In the dream, God promised to give Jacob and his descendants the land he is in, and to never leave him as long as Jacob lives and obeys God.

One of the most significant stories in Genesis where God speaks through dreams is when He communicated with Jacob’s son Joseph, showing him the future where his brothers will one day bow to him. Though this angered his brothers, Joseph’s dreams did come true. However, it took four more dreams from God to different individuals to have that future come to pass. These four dreams came from a baker and cupbearer in Egypt whom were in prison with Joseph, and the Pharaoh of Egypt himself. With God’s help, Joseph interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer, baker, and Pharaoh, leading Joseph to a place where his dreams of his brothers bowing to him came true.

Sending His Angels Down To Us

In Genesis, God also communicated to His chosen people by sending His angels. This can be seen in the stories of the Fall of Man. And the Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. After Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, God sent an Angel with a flaming sword to guard the gate to the Garden of Eden. This angel is used to communicate the disappointment God had with mankind and is a reminder about the sinfulness of mankind, what they lost because of disobedience to the Lord.

The second time God used angels as a form of communication in Genesis was when He decided on destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. He  sent two angels to save Lot, Abraham’s nephew and family before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. This was because Lot, like Abraham was God honouring and God fearing. Thinking the angels were mere men, Lot protected the angels from the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah before they blinded the  men who wanted to have sex with them. After Lot’s escape, the angels of the Lord then destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, doing Gods will.

God’s Never Ceasing Forgiveness

The Book of Genesis is filled with stories of God’s never ceasing forgiveness. The punishments may seem harsh in the Old Testament, but in the end, God always forgives. By continuously forgiving us, we too, learn to forgive each other. In addiction to having peace in our hearts, in Genesis, God’s laws also state for us not to harbour hatred towards our family and neighbors. There are many examples of when God forgave us such as forgiving Adam and Eve after their sin, forgiving people who sinned after Noah and the flood, and more. During the time of Genesis, God forgave when men sacrificed things to the Lord on alters, such as when Noah sacrificed food to God on an altar after the flood (Genesis 8:21). In Genesis, many God fearing men showed the way to forgive. They’re examples to us all on how to live a God pleasing life.

The Rainbow After the Flood

Many Christians may not see it but the Rainbow is not only a sign of God’s promise to us that He wouldn’t destroy the earth with water again but it is also a sign of His forgiveness, a time and chance to let humanity start over again. The rainbow signifies how we as Christians and Children of God were given a second chance to live a Godly life. Later, God gave us a significant sign we still use today, a crucifix. It is used to reminded us of God’s eternal forgiveness. He gave us his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die for us (Matthew 27:32-56).

Jacob and Esau’s Act of Forgiveness

The story of Jacob and Esau is one of forgiveness and brotherly love. Jacob had stolen Esau’s birthright and his blessing by deceiving their father Isaac. This then angered Esau to the point of wanting to murder Jacob. However, as years passed Esau forgave Jacob and welcomed him back into his life with open arms (Genesis 33). What we can learn from Jacob and Esau is to be content with what we have like Esau was. Though we may feel like we have been wronged, there is always the option of not staying bitter, but instead forgive. It may seem unfair, but it’s medicine for the soul.

Joseph Forgives His Brothers

Another example of forgiving men of God is the story of Joseph and his brothers. Favored by Jacob their father, Joseph received ,many gifts his brothers did not have. Hence overtime, this favouritism and unfairness increased hatred the brothers had for Joseph, eventually leading to them selling him off to Egypt. For many years Joseph was in prison and a servant to the Egyptians. However, when Joseph rose up within the hierarchy of Egypt, God made it so that he came face to face with his brothers again. However, this time Joseph had the upper hand, the choice to take revenge on his brothers for selling him off as a slave. But, Joseph followed God’s example and used his loving heart. Instead of taking vengeance and harming his brothers, Joseph forgave them, demonstrating how God forgives us when we reject him.

Questions and debates about the Book of Genesis

There are many questions and debates that still surround the Book of Genesis. Where did Cain’s wife come from in the book of genesis? How many years does the book of genesis cover? Was the book of job written before genesis? Well these are good questions.

Where Did Cain’s Wife Come From in the Book of Genesis?

For the founding of Cain’s wife and where she came from, it is stated in the Book of Genesis that Eve had other children after Cain and Abel (Genesis 5:4) as Adam and Eve lived more than eight hundred years. Because these were the first humans on earth, it is said that Cain’s wife was likely his sister. However, historians also think she may have been his niece for in ancient Hebrew, word for “wife” is generic and means means “woman/wife/female”. The first mention of Cain’s wife was in Genesis 4:17 where they slept together and had a son named Enoch.

Was the Book of Job Written Before the Book of Genesis?

Many Christians have asked if the Book of Job was written before the Book of Genesis. This fact is actually debatable and a mystery to many. According to the Jewish beliefs however, Job is the oldest book of the Bible, therefore coming before Genesis. It is also claimed by the Jewish that the Book of Job was found  ins a pre- historic language of Hebrew, that was later translated into Ancient Hebrew, then current day Hebrew, before being translated to English. But, this question is still debatable because there are no solid facts found that the Book of Job was written before the Book of Genesis.