Genesis-overview page that explains why creation highlights mankind

This page takes a Genesis-overview approach you may not have seen before. It helps explain why mankind is the highlighted emphasis of the creation story.

The Book of Genesis is the first book of the Christian Bible, as well as the first of the five books of the Jews called the Torah.

Torah is called Pentateuch in Greek and means “five books”. It is “the Law”, the first part of the Jewish Scriptures, with the Writings and the Prophets composing the other two parts (which were written later). To Christians, these are also Scriptures (sacred writings) and are often called the Old Testament – since after Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh (as Immanuel – God with us), His apostles and others wrote about Him and His teachings. Christians consider them also to be Scriptures, and they are commonly referred to as the New Testament.

A testament can be defined as a statement of fact, and it also can mean a will (e.g., someone writes down his or her “last will and testament”). Its original meaning is a covenant. A covenant is a binding agreement between two parties, confirming their solemn commitment to do or not to do something.

Old and New Covenants

In theological terms, a covenant also can be a promise (or promises) made by God (Who cannot lie) to mankind – thus One Party providing absolute assurance to another party that something will happen. –And with the second party doing little or nothing as their “part of the bargain”! Thus, in the Book of Genesis, God made several covenants, including with Abraham. Why did He choose to make covenants with Abraham? Because Abraham believed God – that what God said was true, and that God would do the things God promised Abraham He would do – even though circumstances at the time God made His promises did not look like the promises could happen.

In the New Testament we are told that kind of strong faith [and thus commitment to follow God] pleases God, and that God accepts that faith as “righteousness”. That is, someone with that kind of faith (although in the flesh they will “miss the mark”, or sin, at times) will be given credit for always doing the right thing. And why is that? Because once Jesus Christ came in the flesh, He offered all mankind a New Covenant. Because He was God in the flesh (fully God but also fully man), He never sinned. So when He died, allowing His blood to be shed for us, that Sacrifice paid not for His sin (since there was none to pay for) but for someone else’s.

Who would God pick to have His Son Jesus’ blood sacrifice pay for?

He picked you!

Oh, not just you. Because Jesus was (and is) God, the Creator (as you will see on this site), His life blood was worth more than the blood of all people who ever lived, or ever will live. So His Sacrifice paid the penalty for the sins of everyone. (And, as Romans 3:23 says, all have sinned.) The reason the New Testament is called that is that it makes clear the “new covenant” that Christ said He made by the offering of His blood “once for all”: If and when any person:

• Recognizes their sinful state (i.e., that they never can by themselves be righteous as God is Righteous);

• Recognizes that Jesus is the Son of God Who voluntarily, in love for us, died for our sins;

• Accepts Jesus as Savior (so that their penalty of death for sin [Romans 6:23] is covered by His blood); and,

• Accepts Jesus as Lord (Master, Ruler) over their lives from then on - that is, lays down their own will and says in effect, “Lord, from now on, not my will, but Your Will be done!”;

Then, that person becomes “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17); he/she is “born again”, or “born from above” (John 3:3 – and you might want to read the entire chapter). They have new life living in them. They become an adopted son or daughter of God the Father Himself! They have the “earnest” or down payment of eternal life.

1 John 3:2 gives us a beautiful hint of the glorious future God has in mind for those who are His adopted children! Notice that entire verse (in the King James Version, or translation, of the Bible):

“Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

Note that “appear” here, and elsewhere in the New Testament, refers to a future time when Jesus returns to the earth. That is often called His “second coming”. He came “the first time” as one of us, to live a life without sin and die as a sacrifice to pay for our sins. His “Second Coming” is in glorious power to take over rulership of all of the earth’s government – as King of kings and Lord of lords.

God offers all of us these beautiful promises, not because of anything we have done, but because of His unending love and grace.

The Old Covenant

So, if the New Covenant is a promise of glorious eternal life, what is or was the “Old Covenant”?

As mentioned above, before the first coming of Jesus Christ, God made many promises – covenants. Some were to Abraham and his descendants. But the biggest covenant – the one that Christians tend to think of when they refer to the original Scriptures as the “Old Covenant” – was to one nation.

Abraham had a grandson named Jacob, and God had special interactions with him. Eventually, God said that in addition to his name of Jacob, he would also be called Israel from then on. Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, and hundreds of years later each of them had become a tribe. God used Moses to lead “the twelve tribes of Israel” out of Egypt, and they eventually settled in what much later came to be known as Palestine, at what is geographically the crossroads between Africa, Europe, and Asia.

The tribes of Israel, as worked out by God, became the “Nation of Israel”. They were “chosen” by God. But why?

Yes, the Nation of Israel really was the chosen people of God – and partly because of how Abraham and Jacob had responded to God working with them. But there were more reasons.

Briefly, (and we will not try to prove all of the following – this is just a short overview so you can begin to make sense of further study you may wish to do on these topics), the nation of Israel was chosen by God for (at least) the following reasons:

• To prepare a specific genealogy into which Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, would be born from the womb of the Virgin Mary;

• To have one people, or nation, to learn from and follow Him – to be an example to the rest of the world, so other nations would see the joy, peace, and prosperity of Israel and want to know why they were so blessed – and thus inquire after and want to follow God themselves;

• To receive the Law of Moses (of which the ten commandments were the core).

The third point, about the Law, has to do with the second point, but it also deserves further comment here:

God, being God, and thus knowing everything – “the end from the beginning” (see Isaiah 46:10) – gave a “perfect law” (Psalm 19:7) to His chosen people/nation, Israel. But He knew from the beginning that without the indwelling Spirit of God (to turn a person into the new creation, under the New Covenant, as we have seen) the people would still sin – not keep that law. So, the chosen people also were chosen to show that:

Even with a perfect law, people will not be righteous naturally – in the flesh. Law alone does not result in righteousness. Every person must have an unwavering inward motivation to think and do righteously for them to be righteous.

Only God is that way. Thus, we must receive the Spirit of God in our hearts – our inner being – in order to think and live that way.

So, to wrap up for now: The Old Covenant – characterized by the Ten Commandments (which are often called “The Law of Moses”) was given:

For a “natural” people, who would not keep it; and,

To “lead people to Christ” in the New Covenant – so that those trying to “be good” might see that there is nothing they can do, under their own power or will, to be good enough for God. –If they truly see that and want to be like God, they will come to see there has to be more than a “written code”. There has to be “new birth”. –And all of this – the will and the doing – comes from a good God, Who “wants all men to be saved.”

Thus, the Old Covenant (Old Testament) also shows us how people act without the Spirit of God in them, and thus helps show how to relate to them. (In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul said that the law is good – if it is used rightly. It gives us wisdom that leads toward salvation from our sins – but that salvation comes through Jesus Christ, Who is the true Wisdom of the Christian. See 1 Timothy 1:8 and then 2 Timothy 3:15, as well as 1 Corinthians 1:24.)

In the final analysis, sometimes when the New Testament Scriptures speak about “the principles of this world”, the written Law of Moses can be included with those that are purely of men. (See, for example, Colossians chapter 2 [especially verses 16 through 23], and Galatians chapter 4 [especially verses 3 and 9-10].)

Genesis

This page should serve as a helpful introduction to understanding the Bible. It is a Genesis-overview account that helps explain why we need the Bible. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, explains that creation fulfills a glorious purpose, and mankind is at the center of it. Genesis, and the rest of the Bible that follows, tells us things about the earth and mankind that we would not otherwise know. It tells of beginnings, and if we pursue more of what God has in store for us, we discover that the ultimate future is so much better than mankind alone could even dream of!



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