|Genesis was written by Moses some 1500 years before Christ. It was penned during the Exodus wanderings after the Hebrews had been delivered from hundreds of years of captivity in Egypt. Surely, after generations in a pagan land steeped in polytheism, God’s people were in need of instruction. Genesis was God’s way of introducing himself to these formerly enslaved heirs of the covenant of grace.
In Genesis God gave written revelation to his people in order that they might know something of their Creator. Beginning as early as the opening words of the creation account the veil over God’s mysterious eternal and Triune nature is lifted just enough to offer his finite people a glimpse. In this book of beginnings God reveals his power, love, and justice. He reveals himself to be unchanging, everywhere present, gracious, and eternally faithful to his promises.
God also used Genesis to teach his people what it meant to be human. They learned in Genesis that they were the product of a special and supernatural act of creation. They were made from the dust of the earth and therefore shared certain creaturely characteristics with members of the animal kingdom. However, the man and woman were not simply a higher order of animal. Only God’s human creatures are stamped with his image (1:26-27). Man and woman are rational, moral, and worshiping beings unique from anything else in all creation.
Genesis is a Christian book. It is properly understood only in light of the entire Bible. Genesis records the most tragic event in the history of the world; the rebellion of the man and woman against their Maker (chapter 3). It tells how their sin brought decay and death, not only to them, but to the entire created order. It tells how sin drove a wedge of enmity between God and humanity. But Genesis also points us to God’s gracious determination to save for himself a vast multitude of rebels through the most precious Sacrifice (3:15). The heart-breaking third chapter of Genesis points us forward to the final chapter of the Bible where not only sin-ruined people but the entire cosmos will be redeemed. The tree of life will be restored providing healing to the nations. Sin and death will be vanquished. And at the center of it all will be the Object of all the longings of the redeemed. The Triune God will reign over his healed and tearless people forever and ever.