Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Why the book of Genesis?

Monday, February 3, 2020

Why the book of Genesis?

Why the book of Genesis?

Genesis is the book of beginnings; “In the beginning God . . .”  The fifty chapters of Genesis is the history of humanity’s failures (progressive degeneration away from God and His will) and God’s successes (God’s long suffering in bringing sinners to understand redemption and surrender to His will) written by Moses but authored by God Himself.  Genesis is also called “the first book of Moses” although Moses was not even born at the time of the over twenty-three-hundred years of the history recorded by its words.  

Genesis is God’s eyewitness account of the history of humanity’s failures given to and recorded by Moses for all humanity to read, understand, and BELIEVE.  All faith BEGINS with the beginning of God’s recorded eyewitness and God’s verbal testimony of the truths of creations, Satan’s deception, humanities fall, and God’s promise of both a Kinsman-Redeemer and a New Creation. 

Discipleship always begins at the beginning.  Faith begins with God testifying to Himself as the Creator.  Creation is a matter of faith because no one was there at the beginning but the Beginner.  If you are willing to believe in God, you can believe in His testimony of the beginning.  Faith is a decision.  If you can believe in a God Who created an infinite universe and harmoniously controls that universe by His will, you can trust Him with your life.  If you can trust God with your life, you can trust Him for His loving promise of the gift of salvation and His promise of a New Genesis where you will dwell with Him in perfect harmony. 

Real faith begins at the beginning in Genesis 1:1.  If that is not where your faith begins, your faith has not begun. 

Four of God’s seven dispensations are recorded and defined in the fifty chapters of the book of Genesis.  Each of those four dispensations end with humanity’s failure in each of their individual governing covenants and with God starting another new beginning with a new remnant of faithful believers, a new dispensation, and a new stewardship to a new covenant of governance for believers.  

Every major doctrine of the Bible is initiated in the first twelve chapters of the book of Genesis.  It can be said that the roots of every major Bible doctrine can be found planted in the book of Genesis from which they grow in depth and expand leafing themselves out throughout the rest of God’s revelation. 

The Law of First Mention

The book of Genesis is the foundation for all faith.  Often people give meaning to words that are inconsistent with God’s original use (especially readers that begin reading the Bible without Old Testament foundations of understanding).  The Law of First Mention understands that every doctrine of Scripture in its simplest form finds its origin in the book of Genesis. 

The Law of First Mention requires the exegete to begin with the first mention of any doctrine in the Bible to discover the fundamental meaning inherent in that first occurrence.  Although later occurrences may add clarity, meaning, definition or extension, the later occurrences will never change the original meaning to be different from the original intent.  The original meaning is always present within the later occurrence.  The fundamental truth of the original occurrence will always be the dominant meaning.  The doctrine may expand in clarity and definition, but it will never change meaning or purpose in that God’s does not change.

Genesis 3:15 is the seed of the New Genesis planted in the dung hill of the fallen first Genesis.  Here begins God’s promise of redemption in the Promised Redeemer of the promised perfect, sinless sacrifice born of the “seed” of the woman, but not of the seed of the man. 

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed {the seed, or sin nature, of satanically corrupted man; Romans 5:12} and her seed {here begins what is commonly called ‘the highway of the seed’ to the New Genesis; Galatians 3:16}; it {Eve’s Seed} shall bruise thy {Satan’s} head {dominion of death}, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:14-15).

The book of Genesis gives us the first four dispensations (see chart) and the first four governing covenants; Edenic, Adamic, Noahic, and Abrahamic Covenants.  The important lesson of Genesis is that humanity’s failure and God’s justified judgment is not based upon the evaluation of one failure, but constant failures generation after generation and new beginning after new beginning.  The curse of God upon humanity and the first creation is proven to be just with every new beginning.  Yet, every new beginning reveals the long-suffering of God and His love for sinners as He continues to draw them to saving faith in the promised Messiah and His gift of salvation.  

Romans 3:21-27 is the New Testament equivalent of the Protoevangelium of Genesis 3:14-15.  In other words, all the truths of Romans 3:21-27 are embryonically contained in Genesis 3:14-15.  Romans 3:21-27 expands upon the Protoevangelium in a summary statement of all the other expansions throughout Scripture. 

21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:21-27).

The first four dispensations from the book of Genesis are:

1. Innocence; Genesis 1:28-3:13
2. Conscience; Genesis 3:23-7:23
3. Human Government; Genesis 8:20-11:9
4. Promise; Genesis 12:1-Exodus 19:8

           Each of these four dispensations have a governing covenant given to the faithful at the beginning of the dispensation.  The conditions of each covenant define the parameters of faithfulness (being faithful) for believers.  The covenants are never conditions for salvation.  The covenants are never given to lost people.  In other words, the covenants NEVER define what a person must DO TO BE saved (redeemed).  The covenant defines how a saved (redeemed) sinner is to live BEFORE God to maintain that already saved person’s sanctification.  Covenant are always about SANCTIFICATION.  Covenants NEVER define conditions for salvation. 

The Dispensation of Innocence; Genesis 1:28-3:13

Man was created innocent of sin and given dominion over a perfect environment of the perfect first creation.  Man was given one abstention commandment that tested his willful submission to the sovereignty of God.  Adam and Eve were warned of the potential consequence of disobedience.  Eve was deceived because of pride, while Adam willfully sinned usurping God’s sovereignty.

In Genesis 1:31, just before the end of the “sixth day” of Creation, God looks in evaluation of what He had finished and remarked to His triune Self, “it is very good.”  We read these words from the perspective of our view of creation as it presently is in its fallen state.  The words “very good” means God looked on all of His created Cosmos and said, “it is superlatively good.”  In other words, it was perfect and without flaw.  Everything worked in perfect harmony and in exaltation of its Creator.  Creation was a manifestation of and testimony to the omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience of its Creator.  After the fall, we only can see the harmony of God’s perfect creation in its abstraction and in the disharmony of its imperfections with most of its participants singing off key to one degree or another.  When we look upon creation now, we are like those returning to rebuild the grand Temple of Solomon with the rubble of its ruins having never seen the grandeur of the original.

The Dispensation of Innocence and the Edenic Covenant begins in Genesis 1:28 and extends through Genesis 3:13.  Genesis 1:28 defines the parameters of the Edenic Covenant of Adam’s and Eve’s righteous responsibilities within that covenant.  The Edenic Covenant also contains ONE simple warning (Genesis 2:17). 

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Genesis 1:28-31).

It is extremely important to understand that the Edenic Covenant was given to Adam as the head of all humanity DIRECTLY UNDER the sovereignty of God.  Eve had not yet been created from Adam’s rib when the Edenic Covenant was given to Adam.  The very first level of discipleship was Adam’s responsibility to educate, explain, and ensure that Eve fully understood the conditions of the Edenic Covenant given him by God. 

15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 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” (Genesis 2:15-17).

We assume that most people understand the meaning of words and the explanation of the meaning of those words by the one communicating.  Did Adam understand the words from God “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17)?  Did Adam need to understand death at any level before the command of God to “not eat” could be enforced?  Certainly not!  Adam and Eve were not ignorant, apelike beings living in caves and drawing pictures on rock walls.  They were “very good” with all the depth of the meaning of that phrase.  They were most probably more intelligent than any human who has ever lived since.  Adam certainly could understand “thou shalt not eat of it.” Adam certainly could understand that death was not part of God’s promise of blessing and was a warning of dire consequences for failure.   Just like most people will never understand Hell until the first moment of their experience of Hell, Adam did not understand death until his first moment of being plunged into the dark abyss of the abscess of its blindness in spiritual death.  He did not need to understand death and its consequences.  He needed merely to understand obedience and its promised blessings.  It was enough for him to understand “thou shalt not eat of it.” 

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 50 years.

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