“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1
Genesis holds some of the most familiar stories of the Bible – creation, fall, flood, Abraham, and Joseph. These same stories, however, that make Genesis so popular are also the stories that have caused Genesis to be thought as myth or legend, even among God’s people. Details such as Eve coming from the side of Adam, God creating in six days, the Nephilim and the extent of the flood. The question that may be floating in our mind is should Genesis still be in the Bible?
Genesis falls into the first five books of the Bible that are ascribed to being written by Moses. This grouping of Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus and Deuteronomy is referred to as the Pentateuch and the Torah, and by the authors of the Bible “the Law” (also, “the Book of the Law” or “the Law of Moses”).
In reference to the Law – thus including Genesis – did the other authors of the Old Testament and New Testament think that Genesis should deserve a standing in God’s Word? Or did they think that Genesis was not written by Moses and was a myth or legend?
In the Old Testament. The Psalmists definitely thought that Genesis is here to stay: “his delight is in the Law of the LORD” (Psalm 1:2), “The Law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 19:7) and “Oh how I love your Law!” (Psalm 119:97). Paul writes to Timothy affirming that the whole of the Old Testament is God’s Word – “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16a). It is clear, that both the Old and the New Testament affirms that Genesis deserves it’s standing in God’s Word.
On top of the affirmation from the Old and New Testament, the greatest proof that we can trust the reliability of Genesis is Jesus’ affirmation of the Law written by Moses (Luke 24:44) – “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.” Jesus, the Son of God, fully trusts in Genesis.
Maybe you have doubted the validity of Genesis, a small wedge of a doubt when it comes to having Genesis in the Bible. Maybe you have had no doubt at the authority of Genesis. But no matter which side of the Genesis doubt-faith spectrum you are, perhaps the words of the Psalmists, Paul and Jesus have convinced you that we can safely keep Genesis in our Bibles. We, therefore, have the obligation and joy of reading and interpreting it Genesis as God’s inspired Word.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for Moses your servant. Thank you that through him you wrote Genesis. And that we can know our origins. Please help us to uphold Genesis as a delight, like the Psalmists did, as we read it. Amen
Our next journey will take us through
Genesis 1:1-2:3. Is the purpose of Genesis to tackle evolution?
If you are interested in doing some personal reading and investigation into the book of Genesis here are four great books to add to your library:
A Survey of the Old Testament by Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton
How to Read Genesis by Tremper Longman III
The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17 by Victor P. Hamilton
The Book of Genesis Chapters 18-50 by Victor P. Hamilton