The Book of Genesis presents a disturbing problem for many Bible-believing Christians. Sooner or later, every Christian needs to acquire a firm foundation from this Book of Books, and we have received rave reviews for our latest series on this most basic study.
Why Is It So Critical?
There are four basic questions that confront each of us: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? and Where am I going when I die? Your eternal destiny will be determined by your "world view" in addressing these issues. And there are really only two world views: either everything - including you - is the result of some kind of cosmic accident, or this is all the result of a deliberate design by a Designer. This issue could not be more fundamental to everything.
It comes as a shock to many to discover that every major theme and doctrine in the Bible has its roots in this "Book of Beginnings": sovereign election, salvation, justification by faith, believer's security, separation, disciplinary chastisement, the Divine Incarnation, the "rapture" of the church, death and resurrection, the priesthoods (both Aaronic and Melchizedekian), the antichrist, and even the Palestinian Covenant, which is being challenged by the continuing tensions throughout the world today, all have their roots in this critical foundational book of the Bible.
(And each of these issues also has its consummation in the Book of [the] Revelation. Like every good textbook, the answers are always in the back!)
Who Really Wrote Genesis?
There are those who have suggested that the books of Moses were actually compilations by a number of redactors over the years - the common "Documentary Hypothesis" being one of the most prevalent theories. Fortunately, these previously popular notions have been thoroughly shredded by competent scholarship. But allow us to save you many hours of boring library research. We know who wrote the Books of Moses: Moses did. How do we know? Jesus Christ Himself said so! Many times.1
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
Jesus quotes from each of the books of the Torah and attributes each one to Moses. The New Testament includes 165 direct quotes (and over 200 allusions) to the Book of Genesis, and over 100 of these are from the first 11 chapters. These include the Creator and the creation,2 (and allusions3), creation of man and woman,4 the fall of man,5 and the Flood of Noah,6 etc.
So if you believe in Jesus Christ, you have no problem as to who wrote the Book of Genesis. (And if you don't believe in Jesus Christ, you have much bigger problems than the authorship of Genesis!)
But "Six Days"?
Did God really create the heaven and the earth in just six 24-hour days? How does a serious student of the Bible reconcile the Genesis account with the "billions of years" encountered in the dictums of astronomy, geology, et al?
Many continue to attempt to circumvent the problem by assuming that the six days represent "geological eras," or that the traditional text is simply a rhetorical "framework" for a literary summary of the creative process. Various forms of "theistic evolution" have been contrived in attempts to reconcile the Biblical text with the various theories and conjectures which dominate our evolution-based society. However, the sincere student cannot escape the confrontations which result from the straightforward reading of the text with the ostensible declarations of "science." How can we deal with these fundamental issues?
The account of the creation of the universe in six days is still a "bone in the throat" to many Christians. Many point out that the word for "day" is yom, ~Ay and is translated to 54 other words; however, 1181 of 1480 occurrences it is "day," and when used with a number it is always a literal day. But the real problem isn't the account in Genesis. It is in Exodus. In the middle of the Ten Commandments, the Creator Himself wrote it in stone with His own finger!
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.
It is undeniable that God intended us to understand that it was, indeed, six literal days. So how do we deal with the common understanding that "billions of years" was involved? How do we deal with the astronomical distances of millions of "light years" between the galaxies of the universe? Can anyone familiar with the discoveries of modern science take the Genesis account seriously?
It may come as a pleasant surprise to discover that the more you know about modern science - the real physics, not the mythology and conjectures that masquerade as "science"- the more you can take the Biblical text seriously. (A recent book includes articles by fifty top scientists - from many different fields of specialization - who declare why they believe in a literal six-day creation.7)
It may also come as a pleasant surprise that in our recent publication on Genesis, we budgeted seven of the 24 sessions on the first chapter alone! We take the view that each day - each "erev" and "boker" - is a definitive step in the reduction of entropy which led to the original, pre-curse world (see chart).
Topics highlighted include the nature of the time dimension, the perspectives of hyperspaces and quantum physics, the "non-locality" of subatomic particles, photosynthesis, Fibonacci ratios ("the mathematics of beauty"), the continuing discoveries in microbiology, etc. The Lord always rewards the diligent, and it is rather astonishing to realize that throughout the Bible, God holds all accountable from the evidences of the Creation alone.8
Beyond the creation itself, we also explore the hypothesis that an initial 10 dimensions were fractured into the four that we directly experience (and that Paul lists9 ). The first 11 chapters, which constitute what some call "Pre-History," including the Flood of Noah (and the mysterious Nephilim , etc.), the Tower of Babel, and, of course, the call of Abraham and the Patriarchs, all make a fascinating and foundational study for anyone that takes their Bible seriously.
It is also fascinating how much of the rest of the Bible is impacted by this initial book. In fact, it is also astonishing to discover how many of our daily news items take a totally different complexion when you understand the root issues anchored in this foundational book. A great study for you, your family, or small group. Pray about it.