In the next few months we will go back to the beginning, to the opening chapters of Genesis. The first eleven chapters of Genesis take us back to when the world was young.
Dr. Martin Luther wrote a massive commentary on Genesis – 8 volumes when translated into English. He continued to polish that work until shortly before he died. He called Genesis “the most beautiful book in the world.”
The last century or so has not been as kind to the book of Genesis.
Bible-denying “scholars” have denied that Moses wrote it.
To accommodate themselves to the scientific theories of our times, they have reduced the historical record of Genesis to the level of Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop’s Fables.
We who believe that the Bible is the verbally inspired and inerrant word of God are not ashamed to say that Genesis is factual history. Jesus referred to Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as real people. He referred to the creation account, the flood of Noah’s day and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah as real events.
Jesus told the Jews of His day: “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. The one who accuses you is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe what I say?” (John 5:45-47 EHV).
The first eleven chapters of God’s book answer the deepest questions people have ever asked: “Where did we come from? Where are we going? Why are we here? Were things always the way they are now? What went wrong? What has God done about this and what is He going to do? What is life? What is death? Why is there death? Is there a way out of death? Who ordained marriage and designed its purposes? Does life have meaning?” Genesis is that fundamental to life, and that foundational to the Bible.
In fact, the rest of the Bible unravels if set aside the facts of Genesis.
If there was no Adam who fell into sin, then for what purpose did Christ, “the second Adam” enter our world? What sense can we make of Paul’s words that “as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive?” Or, “By one man sin entered into the world?” Then Good Friday and Easter are pointless.
If we do not believe Genesis, then we must sadly assume that we are descended from some primordial protoplasm that washed up on an ocean beach 3½ billion years ago. Then our ancestors swung from trees. Then we are each a grab bag of atomic particles, glamorous blobs of accidental genetic goo on a tiny planet in a cold and meaningless universe. And when our pointless lives are over, we become food for bacteria and worms. Now, why wouldn’t we feel good about ourselves?!
But if we do believe God’s record in Genesis, then we know from whose hand we have come. We know what went wrong and what ails us. We know what God has done to fix things by sending His only-begotten Son to reclaim the work of His hands – the creative hands that made us, the nail-pierced hands that redeemed us, the risen and glorified hands that will take us back to God. Then we understand how precious we are – bought with the blood of the Creator Himself – that we are loved, that our life has purpose and a destination. Now, how do we feel about ourselves?