What the foundation is to the house, what the Constitution is to United States law, and what the periodic table of elements is to chemistry, the Book of Genesis is to the Bible. It’s basic. An understanding of the basic truths of Genesis, especially chapters 1-11, will give us the key we need to unlock the rest of Scripture.
Let’s review some of these basics.
God is real and we can trust Him
The Bible opens with a declaration that God exists: “In the beginning God” (1:1). Genesis presents no philosophical arguments to prove God’s existence; it just puts Him at the beginning of everything. When we open the Bible, God is there, and He was there before the Bible was written or even the universe was created.
The God we meet in Genesis 1-11 is not only eternal, but He’s also wise and powerful. He is a great God, and so great is His power that He only has to speak to make things happen. And so great is His wisdom that what He creates is to be—and it works! From the tiniest one-celled animal to the biggest galaxy, in all creation God’s power and wisdom are manifested.
And yet this great God is a personal God. He pays attention to us and wants to be our Lord and our Friend!
He is a holy God who will not condone sin. He judged the personal sins of Adam, Eve, and Cain, and also the corporate sins of the pre-flood population and the people at Babel. But at the same time, He is a God of love who created us in His image and longs to fellowship with us and reveal Himself to us. Our sins grieve Him, but in His grace, He forgives those who trust Him and will give them another chance.
The God of Genesis has a plan for mankind. He promised to send a Redeemer who would conquer Satan and bring salvation for the human race (3:15). He fulfilled that promise in sending Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to die on the cross for the sins of the world. You don’t really know God until you have trusted Jesus Christ to save you from your sins.
We live in God’s creation
The universe was created by God, not by chance. He made everything and He keeps everything going. The universe is not an accident. It’s the incredible masterpiece of a wise and powerful God who works everything according to the counsel of His own perfect will.
The complexity of the universe reveals the power and wisdom of God, and the beauty of the universe shows His love. He could have made a dull world, but He decorated His world with a riot of color and gave us a variety of plants, animals, and people to enjoy. Day after day and night after night, creation reveals the glory of God (Ps. 19).
Because this is God’s creation, we’re but stewards of what He’s given us. We must use the wealth of creation for the good of others and the glory of God, remembering that one day we’ll give God an accounting of our stewardship. To waste or exploit the wealth of creation, or heedlessly mar the beauty of creation, is to sin against God. It’s not just a matter of ecology; it’s a matter of theology: this is our Father’s world.
God generously gives to us “all things richly to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17), and we should thank Him for His gifts and use them wisely.
We are made in the image of God
Men and women are created, not evolved, and they’re created in the image of God. This is a tremendous privilege and a great responsibility. Every baby that’s conceived is made in God’s image and has the right to live, to be in a loving family, to come to know God through Jesus Christ, and to enjoy a life that’s purposeful and fulfilling.
Since God has given us a mind to think with, we need to read His Word and learn His truth. He’s given us a will to decide with, and we must make wise decisions that please Him. We have hearts to love Him, and we show this love by fellowshipping with Him and obeying His will. Our inner being is spiritual, and we need God dwelling within if we’re to have inner peace and satisfaction. “Thou hast made us for Thyself,” wrote Augustine, “and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
The fact that we’re all created in the image of God means that we must love and protect one another. God gives life and only God can take it away. He’s given to human government the authority for capital punishment, for the murderer attacks the very image of God.
The image of God in us has been marred by sin, but that image can be restored as we walk with God and yield to His Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). Since God made us, He knows what’s best for us; and He’s given us His Word as our guidebook for life. It’s the “manual of operations” and we must get acquainted with it. When all else fails, read the instructions.
Obedience is the key to joy and blessing
Our first parents disobeyed God’s Word and plunged the entire human race into sin. Cain disobeyed and became a wanderer. Noah obeyed and God saved him and his family from destruction and blessed them after the Flood was over. Whenever we disobey God, we break our communion with Him and lose the joy of His presence. Obedience is the key to blessing; disobedience is the way to unhappiness.
Satan is real, but is a defeated enemy
Satan is not eternal; he’s a created being. He’s not all-knowing, all-powerful, or present in all places at all times. He’s limited, but he wants you to think he’s as great as God and worthy of your obedience. Satan is very powerful and very subtle, and in ourselves we’re no match for him.
Satan wants to be god in our lives; he wants our worship and our service. He tempts us by questioning God’s Word: “Has God really said?” He promises to make us like God, but he never keeps that promise. The first step in victory over Satan is not to listen to his offers or believe his promises. We need to know and believe God’s truth if we want to detect and defeat the devil’s lies.
Sin is Serious
The world may call it a blunder, a mistake, a weakness, or an accident, but if it’s disobedience to God’s will, God calls it sin. Sin is serious because it leads to death and judgment. Like any loving Father, God is grieved when His children sin, and God judges sin. But God also forgives and provides the cleansing that we need.
When we sin, our tendency is to run away and try to hide, but this is the worst thing we can do. we can’t hide from God. The only thing to do is to repent, confess, and claim His forgiveness. God does give us another opportunity to obey Him and be blessed.
Sex is God’s idea and He knows best how it should be used
God made the first humans “male and female.” He did it not just so they could reproduce and keep the human race going, but also that they might learn to love and enjoy one another and discover their loving relationship to the Lord. His original intent was one man for one woman for one lifetime. The Bible isn’t a “sex manual,” but it does make some things very clear. It’s clear that sexual sins are destructive not only to the body and the inner person, but also to other people, especially one’s mate and family. God created man and woman for each other; any other combination is out of God’s will, no matter what society and the courts might say. God invented marriage, and sex outside the loving bonds of marriage is wrong.
There is one human race.
God separated the descendants of Noah into various tongues and nations, but they are all the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. By the providence of God, some nations and races have made more rapid progress in this world than have others, but this doesn’t mean these progressive nations are better than other people. We are of one blood, and no race can claim to be superior to another race.
God’s People Have Responsibilities
In the Old Testament God forms a nation of people called Israel to bring his word and his salvation through Christ into the world. This doesn’t mean that they’re better than others, but only that they have God’s call upon them and therefore have a greater responsibility in this world. God chose them because He loved them, not because of their intrinsic worth (Deut. 7:6-11). God called Israel to bring blessing to the whole world, and because of Israel, we have the knowledge of the true God, the written Word of God, and most of all, the Savior Jesus Christ. No Christian should be guilty of anti-Semitism in thought, word, or deed.
God doesn’t change and is always in control
God is still on the throne and always knows what He’s doing. He’s long-suffering toward sinners, but eventually He judges sin and rewards the righteous. Whether it’s the farthest star or the most minute atom, God knows where everything is and what everything is doing; and everything He’s made will ultimately accomplish His will on this earth. God has built laws into this universe which, if we obey them, work for us, but if we disobey them, they work against us. Science is simply thinking God’s thoughts after Him, discovering these laws and putting them to work. The Creator has the right to “break” His own laws and do the miraculous.
Our relationship to God is based on faith
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). We live on promises, not explanations.
Living for God is the most rewarding life possible
God has a different purpose for each of us to fulfill, and He enables us to fulfill it as we trust His Word and obey His will. Whatever He calls us to do can be done to the glory of God. While there are times when it seems like the righteous are suffering and the wicked are succeeding, in the end, the righteous will get their eternal reward and the wicked their eternal punishment.
The Christian life isn’t always the easiest life, but it is the most satisfying and rewarding life.
These are just a few of the basics found in Genesis 1-11, and illustrated and explained in the rest of the Bible. When we give our lives to Christ and build on these basic truths, we build on a solid foundation that can’t be moved. To ignore these basics is to build on the sand and make a life that won’t survive the storms of life or the final judgment from God, Jesus reminds us. Matthew 7:21-27.
I hope to see you tomorrow,