What Do We Learn about the Nature of God in the Book of Genesis?
- 2015 24 Feb
The following is a transcribed Video Q&A, so the text may not read like an edited article would. Scroll to the bottom to view this video in its entirety.
"The Book of Genesis is the beginning of the story of redemption that plays out throughout the Bible. You have, at the beginning of the story, God's creation of the world. You have his creation of human beings in his image, and placing those human beings in the middle of the Garden of Eden. God doesn't just create the human beings, he also gives them a job. He tells them, 'I want you to rule this world that I've created, but I want you to rule the world under me. Your authority is not boundless, your authority is not unlimited. Your authority is limited by my authority.'
One of the things that God does to remind Adam and Eve that their authority is not unlimited is that he puts the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the middle of the garden and tells them that they're not to eat of it. Now, sometimes I think that we as Christians tend to think that God is just doing something kind of arbitrary there. You know, it's just like a traffic regulation that he's putting in, and you're not exactly sure why it's there. I don't think that's it at all. I think the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is a stark reminder to Adam and Eve that they don't wear the crown.
They're simply the stewards of the world, under God. And so that tree is to remind them that their authority is not unlimited. So you can understand that when Adam takes the fruit and eats it, it's not just a violation of some heavenly traffic regulation. This is a big deal because Adam is trying to push the boundaries out. In other words, he doesn't like his position as steward, and so he's trying to take the crown from God. Well when that happens, of course, all the curses that God pronounces in Genesis Chapter 3 fall on Adam and Eve, and they die spiritually as their relationship with God is severed, because they've disobeyed him and they've rebelled against him.
But right in the middle of Genesis Chapter 3 you have this wonderful promise from God. It's just a flash, but there's this wonderful promise where God says, one day, there's gonna come a descendant of Eve who's gonna crush the head of the serpent. Now his heel is gonna be bruised, but he's gonna crush the head of the serpent, and everything is gonna be set right through him. Well, the book of Genesis, from that point on, is the beginning of the unfolding of that great promise in Genesis Chapter 3, verse 15. God reiterates that promise to a man called Abraham. He calls Abraham to himself, gives him the promises in Genesis Chapter 12. Abraham begins to have children, and the promises just begin to sort of fall like a waterfall down through the generations as Abraham has children, and his children have children, et cetera, et cetera.
You get Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the rest, and this story begins to unfold. The Book of Genesis ends with the story of Joseph, which is very interesting, because what you begin to expect as you're reading the book of Genesis is that Joseph is gonna be the fulfillment of that promise from Genesis Chapter 3. And it looks very much like he is, right? Because what happens to Joseph? Well, God works in his life in this marvelous way, and he finds himself as 'The Grand Vizier,' it's called, of the whole nation of Egypt. So he looks like a king. He's got the kingly robes, he's got the kingly authority, and you're kind of wondering through the whole thing, is this is? Is this the promise that God made in Genesis Chapter 3, being fulfilled?
And at the end of the book you find out, no. The promise isn't fulfilled yet. It looked like Joseph was gonna be it, he was the king, and yet he dies. And then the book of Exodus opens and you find out that the people of Israel have now found themselves in slavery. So the story is actually not ending at the end of Genesis, it's just beginning. And the whole rest of the Bible is gonna unfold that promise, which is ultimately gonna be fulfilled in Jesus Christ."