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017 Review of ‘The Beginning’

‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ Genesis 1:1

Key Verse:

“For whatever things were written in earlier times were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.”

(Rom. 15:4)

(Genesis 1-11)

Today, with God’s help, we plan to review and summarise what we have studied up to this point in the book of  Genesis, written by Moses. This book is very important because it is the foundation which God Himself has laid, by which we can test everything we hear, to know whether it comes from God. The first five parts are called the Pentateuch, and the first book is called Genesis.

There are fifty chapters in Genesis.

In our chronological lessons, we have studied up to chapter eleven. Can you remember what is written in the first verse of the Word of God? Let us reread it. It says: 

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

God is the Lord of Eternity.

In the beginning, when the world did not yet exist,

only God existed.

God is Eternal and He has no beginning and no end. That is why the first verse of Scripture says: “In the beginning God!”

Next, we saw how God, before He created the world, created thousands and thousands of powerful and holy spirits, calling them

angels.

Among the angels, there was one who was wiser and more beautiful than all the others. That one was

Lucifer,

whom God appointed chief of the angels. However, the Scriptures say that a day came when Lucifer exalted himself and despised God in his heart, wanting to take God’s place. There were also many other angels who chose to follow Lucifer in his sin.

That is why God, who cannot tolerate sin, expelled Lucifer and the evil angels and changed Lucifer’s name to Satan, which means

Adversary or Enemy.

After God expelled Satan and his angels, he created for them

the fires of hell

which are never extinguished. The Scriptures say that on the day of final judgement, God, the Righteous One, will throw Satan into that fire along with all who follow him.

Next, we read how

the LORD created the heavens and the earth

and everything they contain in six days and He used nothing except His word!

God created everything for man whom He planned to create for His pleasure and glory.

Man

is the most important creature that God created, because man was created in the image of God. God wanted to have

a deep and true relationship with man.

That is why God placed in the soul of man an intelligent spirit (mind) so that he could know God, a heart so that he could love God, and a free will so that he could choose for himself

to obey God or to disobey Him.

In the second chapter of Genesis, we read that God planted the Garden of Eden on the earth, and placed in it the man He had created, that is

Adam and Eve.

God, in His goodness, gave Adam everything so that he could live in peace and prosperity.

Also, in the day on which God created Adam, God said to him, 

“Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16,17)

Thus, we saw how God put

a simple command

before Adam. God wanted a true relationship with the man whom He had created. Therefore God commanded him, giving him the ability to choose either to love Him enough to obey Him, or not to obey Him.

We also read that, on the day that God created Adam, God gave him a very wonderful present,

a wife!

God made the woman from a rib which He took from Adam and then presented her to him. He called her

Eve.

Thus, in six days, God completed His work. So the Scriptures say: 

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31) On the seventh day God rested and rejoiced in all of His work.

In the third chapter, we saw how

sin came into our world.

The Scriptures show us how, one day, when Adam and Eve were near the tree which God had forbidden, Satan came as a crafty snake, saying, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman,

Ye shall not surely die;

for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:1-5)

Thus, we saw how

Satan contradicted the word of God!

What had God told Adam and Eve would happen to them if they ate of the tree which he had forbidden? He said: “You will die!” And what did Satan say? He said: “You will not die!” Whose word did Adam and Eve choose to believe and follow: the word of God? Or the word of Satan?

Sorry to say, the Scriptures record that

Adam and Eve chose to believe the word of Satan

and eat the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden!

Satan deceived Eve

so that she transgressed. Adam deliberately chose to disobey God’s command and to follow Satan. Thus, the Holy Scriptures say: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned” (Rom. 5:12)

As a result,

God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden,

just as He had said He would do. But before He expelled them,

He promised to send a Saviour

into the world to redeem the children of Adam from the power of Satan, sin and death! To confirm that promise, God slaughtered some animals and made clothes of the skins and put them on Adam and Eve. By means of those animal sacrifices, God was teaching Adam and Eve that 

“the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) and that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22)

In chapter four, we read the story of Adam’s first two children, Cain and Abel. We saw how

Abel offered to God an innocent lamb,

slaughtered it as a sacrifice for sin, just as God had done for Abel’s parents. However, Cain tried to approach God

in his own way,

bringing what he had cultivated in the earth which God had cursed. Thus, the Scriptures say: 

“And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering; but unto Cain and to his offering he had no respect.” (Gen. 4:4,5)

God called Cain to give account so that he would repent and accept God’s way of righteousness, but Cain only got angry, and killed Abel, his younger brother.

Afterward, God gave Adam and Eve another child, named

Seth.

Seth, like Abel, believed God and approached Him with the blood of a sacrifice.

Thus, we saw the two families which descended from Adam, that is, the line of Cain and the line of Seth. The descendants of Cain did not believe God. But among the descendants of Seth were those who believed God. One, who came from Seth, was named

Enoch.

Enoch walked with God in a corrupt generation. Enoch had a great grandson by the name of

Noah.

In the days of Noah, God purposed to wipe out the children of Adam with a flood because of their wickedness. In that wicked time, only

Noah believed God,

which is why God told him to build a huge ark (boat), which would be

a refuge

for him and his family and many animals, and any who would turn from their sins and believe the word of God. For a hundred years, God patiently endured sinners while Noah constructed the ark. However, no one repented of his sins to the point of believing the message of God, except Noah and his family. Thus, in the end, God did everything that He had promised. He judged everyone who did not believe the truth. All but Noah and his family perished in

the great flood.

Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth. From these three men all the peoples of the world descend. However, we saw how most of their descendants quickly forgot God and His word. In our last lesson, we learned how Nimrod and those who went along with him planned to bring all the people of the world to one place and build a great city with a high tower in rebellion against God. However God confused their language, and scattered them throughout the earth. The city became known as Babel, which means

confusion.

That, in short, is what we have studied up to this point in the book of Genesis, in chapters one to eleven.

How then can we summarise what we have seen in all these stories? What does God want to teach us from what happened in the beginning of time? There are many lessons to be learned, but we only have time to explain two of them. One lesson is that

Man is unrighteous.

The other truth to be learned is that

God is righteous!

In our studies, we have repeatedly seen the unrighteousness of man. We saw it begin in the Garden of Eden, when Adam ate the fruit of the tree which God had forbidden. We saw it again in Cain, Adam’s firstborn son, who refused to follow the way of sacrifice which God had established. We observed this same unrighteousness in Cain’s descendants, in the people of Noah’s generation, and in those who tried to build the tower of Babel. In short, the story of the children of Adam is:

Man is unrighteous!

As it is written in the Scriptures: “{All men} are under [the dominion of] sin . . . there is none righteous, no, not one! . . . They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one!” (Rom. 3:9,10,12)

Just as we have seen the unrighteousness of man, so we have also seen

the righteousness of God.

The Scripture tells us that “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all!” (1 John 1:5) We witnessed God’s righteousness when He expelled Lucifer because of his pride and rebellion. We saw it again when He expelled Adam and Eve because of their disobedience. Next, God revealed His righteousness by promising to send into the world a holy Redeemer who would pay the debt of sin for the children of Adam. Also, we observed the righteous character of God in His law which stated: “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22) God displayed His righteousness when He accepted Abel because of

the blood of a lamb,

and refused Cain, who scorned God’s way of forgiveness. We saw God’s righteous nature in the time of Noah, when, after giving man around a hundred years to repent, He sent a flood to wipe out all who refused His way. And in our last study, we saw how God revealed His righteousness by mixing up the language of the people of the city of Babel who were rebelling against Him.

Yes, God is righteous and must judge people according to

His standard of righteousness!

Unrighteous sinners cannot come to Him because of their “good deeds” which are not perfect.

God must judge and condemn anything that is stained by sin. The Scripture says, 

“Our God is a consuming fire! . . . The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” (Heb. 12:29; 10:30,31)

Thus, in the first eleven chapters of Genesis, God has made known to us the important truth concerning

His absolute righteousness.

Does this mean that unrighteous man has no hope of being accepted by God? No, praise be to God, there is hope for sinners! God, in His grace, has revealed a way by which the unrighteous children of Adam can be made right before Him!

Do you know the way of salvation which God has established for sinners?

If you do not yet understand God’s way of righteousness, we ask you to continue in these lessons as we study about the prophet Abraham who was called the friend of God. In the amazing story of Abraham we will see how those who are unrighteous can be made righteous before God.

May God bless you as you think about all we have studied in this lesson. Remember that God’s Word says: 

“For whatever things were written in earlier times were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope.” (Rom. 15:4)

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any other questions that you might have