The book of Genesis is the foundation of the Scriptures. This is not just because it is the first book of the Bible. Rather, Genesis is foundational because it speaks of beginnings. The book of Genesis tells us who we are, why we are here and Who made us. It also gives us the first promise of the redemption to come.
As part of beginnings, Genesis tells us Who made us. If you read my previous article on Thermodynamics, you know that Thermodynamics requires that there was an origin point. It also requires that there had to be an outside force to create what we see in the universe. Fortunately, the Bible tells us Who made the world, and how He did it. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 tells us. Genesis 1:3 further points out that it was God’s spoken word that made the world. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” God’s spoken word is cited throughout the early chapters of Genesis as God’s method of Creation. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:26-27 makes it pretty clear that God made man with His spoken word. Psalms 100:3 confirms this. ” Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Scripture is clear. God made man, not like the animals, but in His image.
Genesis does more than tell us Who made us however. It also tells us who we are. Our identity as humans cannot be separated from God. Genesis 1:27, quoted above, makes it clear that God made man in His image. Since we are made in the image of God, our lives have intrinsic value to them. This value comes from being God’s workmanship, not from anything we ourselves have done. Genesis 2:7 clarifies that man is not only made in God’s image, he is also a living soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The value of a soul is described in Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Thus the soul has more value than anything else in this world. Note that man is a living soul, as Genesis 2:7 tells us. Thus we are each a living soul made in the very image of Almighty God.
Genesis also tells us why we are here. Recently I published my friend Nick’s article detailing why we are here, but here is a brief refresher. Genesis does not give us a complete picture. Revelation 4:11 tells us why we were made. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” God made us for His pleasure. The question that must be answered is, what give God pleasure? Psalms 147:11 tells us the answer. “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.” In other words, God takes pleasure in those that follow Him. However, if humanity did not exist, then God would have no one to follow Him. Thus we can presume that God made man for the purpose of serving and following Him. Genesis does confirm this. In Genesis 3:8 it says. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” God came down to fellowship with His creation. Further down in the chapter, it becomes clear that Adam was accustomed to meeting God in the Garden. God undoubtedly took pleasure in meeting with His creation in this manner, else He would not have done it. This fellowship with God is essential to man’s existence. He was created for it. “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9 tells us. Without this fellowship, man’s life loses meaning. As part of this fellowship, God expects that we obey Him. In John 14:15 Jesus says. “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” This is a reasonable expectation, given that He made us. However, God is no tyrant. He gave us a choice. The choice was simple: love, fellowship and obey Him, or disobey and reap the consequences. In the Garden, man chose disobedience. The consequence was death.
The consequence of man’s sin, spiritual and physical death, caused a break in fellowship with God. God, not wanting the crown jewel of His creation to suffer this break forever, in pronouncing the curse, offered hope for fallen man. Genesis 3:15 tells us “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” God is speaking to the serpent, Satan himself. God spoke of One that would come and bruise, or crush the serpents head, though doing so would hurt Him as well. This promised Redeemer is the first mention in Scripture of the future coming of Jesus Christ. Genesis also shows that the penalty for sin is death, and that the Redeemer would have to die a blameless death. “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:19 tells Adam he will return to the ground from which he came, a clear reference to physical death. However, to cover man’s sin, God killed innocent animals to make coats of skin for man. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21 says. This innocent sacrifice foreshadowed Christ’s blameless death on the cross. Later, in Genesis 4:4 Abel would bring an animal to offer to God for him. ” And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” This makes it even clearer that death was required to pay for man’s sin.
Fortunately for man, God knew this before man ever sinned. Revelation 13:8 makes this clear: “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Who is this Lamb? John the Baptist identifies Him in John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” All this is built on the promised Redeemer in the first few chapters of Genesis. Genesis cannot be allegory or mere poetic musings. It is the very foundation of who we are and why we are here. Without it, basic principles of Scripture have no foundation.