Genesis: Answers To Life’s Crucial Questions 1, Introduction to Genesis

Posted on January 20, 2008. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Sunday, Janauary 20, 2009– About 3 weeks ago my pastor asked me to consider teaching a Sunday School class on the book of Genesis. It has been almost a year since I left my former church so I haven’t preached or taught the Word since last February. I prayed about it, talked it over with pastor, and we began the class today.

I will continue posting my Worship Wars columns but I will now put in a weekly column from my studies in Genesis. These will be my notes so they may not always be written out like a formal sermon or lecture. I will welcome your input and responses to these studies. This will be a fun adventure in faith because Genesis is full of wild, interesting stuff that will twist your theology into knots! So here are today’s notes:

Redeemer Church Sunday School

Genesis: Finding Answers to Life’s Crucial Questions

Semester One: Genesis 1-11 “Beginnings”

Tim Presson, Pastor; Bryan Walker, class teacher

January 20, 2008

Introduction, Outline and Overview Introduction: Good morning! I am Bryan Walker and I want to welcome you to Genesis: Answers to Life’s Crucial Questions. Please open your Bibles to Luke 24:13-35. Let us pray.

I have named this class “Genesis: Answers To Life’s Crucial Questions” because I believe that God’s Word provides us with answers to the truly significant, basic and important questions this life has to offer. And I believe that Genesis provides us with an exceptional number of good questions and answers. After the gospels, Romans, Galatians and Ephesians, I think Genesis would be my favorite book. Certainly it is my favorite OT book. I am nuts about Genesis!

Allow me to introduce myself just a little bit here, because when you come into a new SS class, with a new teacher whom you do not know, you deserve to know who I am and where I am coming from spiritually and theologically and experientially.

I was born into a Southern Baptist family; my parents were Christians and raised me and my brother in the faith. We were always at church, Sun. morning SS and worship, Sun. evening, Wed. evening, VBS, revivals, etc. (do a quick denominational survey) When I was about 8 yrs old and living in a small town in Oklahoma, I listened to a revival sermon and realized that even though I was a good boy, I was lost in sin. I found out that I was still a sinner and that I needed to personally repent of my sin and trust in Jesus. That night I prayed to Jesus to save me, and he did. Through my growing up years the Lord held on to me and I eventually learned that my salvation came entirely from God. (Do a quick age of salvation survey; do a quick “where were you saved” survey).

The town I call home is Bartlesville, OK. Pastor Tim lived there for a few years at the same time I did but we did not know each other. In my home church we had an excellent youth program with a very good youth pastor in the summers and I learned to share my faith with others. It was in Jr. High and High School that I began to be challenged by my classmates to give some answers to their questions about my faith. 1Peter 3:15-16 has always been a part of my faith, “but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” So apologetics has always been a passion for me, and therefore as we study Genesis, I will bring a lot of apologetics into our discussions. The Lord called me to preach when I was 18-19 and a freshman at OU. I received a history degree and was commissioned as a 2LT in the US Army Infantry and skipped

graduation to report to Ft. Benning, GA. I actually received a lot of questions in college and in the Army about how a Christian, especially one who wanted to go into ministry, could also go into the Army and particularly in the Infantry where we spent a lot of time training to kill people and break things. I pointed them to Matt. 8 and how Jesus praised the faith of the Roman Army Centurion and did not criticize his profession. And Joshua was a faithful man of God as well as a warrior too.

I met my wife in Sunday School at the church I was attending at Ft. Benning, we got married in 1982 and have two sons, Jeremy, 22 and Luke 19. (anybody else meet their spouse in Church?) My wife is one of the godliest people I know. Our first home together was Ft. Lewis, Washington and we lived in Tacoma for a year before moving onto base housing.

In 1985 my obligation to the Army was completed and we moved to Ft. Worth so I could attend SWBTS. I graduated in 1989 with an M.Div and I served as a bi-vocational pastor of a small, elderly, traditional, neighborhood church from 1992-2007. I have worked as a security guard since I moved here in 1985. Pastoring the church was an interesting series of misadventures. In the 50 year history of the church, I was the only pastor to stay beyond 3 years. The entire 15 years was tempestuous. We had a mutual parting of the ways about a year ago and so we moved to Redeemer. We had sent our boys and a couple of other families from our church about a year earlier to rescue them from the unhealthy climate at our former church.

Redeemer is a very special place. This is the absolute best church I have ever been a part of. I consider it a humbling privilege to be asked to help with this SS class. My wife and I attend Dale Stonecipher’s care group.

Where am I coming from theologically? I am a conservative, inerrantist, Calvinist, Baptist. But I really try to not have the attitude that is frequent in that theological circle.

Now, let’s take a little time to introduce y’all.

Now, what are we going to be doing in this class?

Scope: This class is supposed to study Genesis 1-11 in order to discover what the text says, what it meant to Israel in Moses’ day, what its cultural setting and background was, how the book relates to the rest of the Old Testament, how the text points us to Christ and how it relates to the New Testament, what doctrines are taught in the text, how it relates to us in our post-modern, post-Christian age of science, how the text relates to other world religions, how we can use the text in evangelism and apologetics, and we will seek to apply the text in our personal lives on a daily basis so that our obedience and love towards God will grow and mature.

Realistically, I doubt if we make it to Gen 11. I think we will be straining to make it to chapter 6. We could spend the entire semester on chapters 1-3! But, despite the fact that I have worked up a tentative class schedule, much of our schedule will depend upon you. In my preaching and teaching through the years I have tended to be driven by two factors: the text of the Bible and the needs or responsiveness of the class. So I will have a goal of completing Gen.1-11, but my more important goal is to make sure that you, the class, keep interested and that you learn what the Bible says in Genesis. Several years ago I did preach through Genesis over about 5 years. I took several breaks, up to 6 months long, so if we put it all together it was likely about 3 to 3 and ½ years.

Purpose: We will study Genesis in order that we may be equipped to delight in God’s glory and declare that glory to the nations whose beginnings we will be studying. That is taken from the purpose statement of Redeemer, but I would like to explain it a little bit. I am here to assist in equipping you. If all that happens is that I give lectures or sermons about Genesis, and you are spiritually entertained for an hour and 15 minutes every Sunday, and you come out feeling good and saying, “Well that was a nice class” then I have failed. I don’t want to have a “nice class”. I believe that Genesis is unique in the Scriptures in regards to providing us with answers to some of life’s most basic, fundamental and crucial questions. I want to equip you to be able to answer those questions. Not just to grow your faith, but so that, like Peter wrote, you will then be ready to answer the questions of others who are lost and need to hear about Jesus. I want this class to equip you to delight in God’s glory. Genesis is full of wonder and awe, mystery and practical things, grace and law. We will see the first worship service recorded and what its results were. We will be in fear of God as we look at the consequences of sin. And we will rejoice in our Savior who dies in our place to save us for himself, by his grace. Hopefully we will each partake of the tree of life.

Methods: The class will consist of lectures/sermons with discussion and Q & A. Some of the background material and topics we discuss will be more appropriately covered by a lecture style presentation while other material will be presented in sermon form. The class will always be open to questions and I will direct questions at the class members. Some of my questions will be uncomfortable for you perhaps. Some scripture memory and reading assignments will be suggested and there may be some study guides provided at times. I hope to take time each week for some prayer and share time in order to assist the class members in getting to know and minister to each other.

Controversial Subject Matter: Genesis 1-11 includes some of the most important, useful and yet controversial subject matter in the Bible. The issues surrounding the very existence of God, Creation, and whether or not man is fallen and sinful have been lightning rods of controversy in our culture for the past 150 years. We will hopefully even take time to examine some of the lawsuits that have arisen over the ideas in the book of Genesis. Even Bible believing Christians have had heated disagreements over certain aspects of the creation story, the flood, and other stories in Genesis. These controversial issues are one of the things that make the study of Genesis exciting and profitable! These ideas will be discussed as fully as time permits and we will try to present all viable options fairly and graciously. Not all answers, we will discover, will be of equal merit; we will attempt to find the best understanding of God’s Word. Because these issues are so crucial for our generation, this course would be a wonderful opportunity for you to invite a lost friend to come to Sunday School. Your teacher has a bad habit of not avoiding controversial subjects!

Let me tell you how personal this is to me. Last year, as my pastorate was nearing its end, I got a chance to teach church history/western civ and government/economics to high school students at a private Christian school for a semester. The school had a bad situation happen with the former history teacher and they needed a substitute for the semester. I left my security job, took a pay cut, and went to the school to teach.

I had read the statement of faith and agreed to it without any problems. But over the course of the first month, in our class discussions my beliefs about certain things in Genesis came out, quite by accident, and it went all the way to the chairman of the Board of Directors, whose daughter was in my class. This man has an M.Div. from DTS and a Ph.D from SWBTS (or vice versa) and is a member of a great church in the area. He so disagreed with my interpretations of Genesis that I was not retained for the fall semester. Yet he never once spoke to me about it, asked for any clarification of my position or anything. Yet when you look at who his teacher in seminary was, and read his textbook, and compare my beliefs with that textbook, you will see that I am absolutely within the conservative, Bible believing camp. But because we differed on some details, it caused a huge problem.

Folks, Genesis is a rich but controversial study. As we study I will present the various interpretations and give the pros and cons of each. We will give grace to each other.

One of the most important reasons the church I used to pastor asked me to leave by the way, was because I preached too much from the OT. About 1/3 of my sermons came from the OT which comprises about 2/3 of the Bible. In fact I had just finished a Christmas series that was very similar to Dr. Lee’s Christmas series utilizing a lot of OT texts and on Sunday nights I was beginning to preach through the 10 Commandments as part of my effort to preach through Exodus. So, what am I saying with this little testimony? I have paid a heavy price professionally, financially and personally for being passionate about Genesis, the OT and God’s Word in general. I want You to be passionate about Genesis. The Gospel is here. Christ is here. Sound doctrine is here. Assistance for evangelizing the lost is here. And it is just plain old fashioned spiritual fun too! Now I used the word “fun” to describe studying the Bible. I hope that you have fun pursuing Christ as you study the Word. We are called to enjoy God forever aren’t we?

Class Schedule (approximately): Here is a tentative schedule but this is more to inform you of some of the topics we will study than it is an ironclad schedule; I doubt seriously if we keep to this schedule.

Jan.20- “Introduction to Genesis: Answers to Life’s Crucial Questions”

Jan. 27- Gen.1:1 “Crucial Questions 1-4: Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing? What was before the beginning? Why Should I Believe in the God of Genesis 1:1? What Is God Like?”

Feb. 3- Gen.1:1-2 “Crucial Questions 5-7: Is the Universe an Accident, or Is it Designed? How Old Is the Universe? (and with that question we will survey the various ways of interpreting Genesis) Do Science and the Scriptures Contradict Each Other?”

Feb. 10- Gen.1:1-2:3 “Six Days and a Sabbath”

Feb. 17- Gen.1:3-5 “The Light of the World”

Feb.24-Gen.1:26-31“Crucial Questions 8-9: Who Are We? Where Did We Come From?”

Mar. 3- Gen.1-2 “Crucial Questions 10-13: Sex In Paradise”

Mar.10- Gen.1-2 “Crucial Questions 14-1615: The Workers’ Paradise”

Mar.17- Gen.2:4-14 “A Tale of Three Trees, a Garden, and 4 Famous Rivers”

Mar.24- Gen.3:1-5” Crucial Question 17: Herpetology, The Problem of Evil?”

Mar.30- Gen.3:1-13 “Crucial Question 18: Why Are Things Not the Way They Are Supposed To Be Living East of Eden?

Apr.6- Gen.3:14-24 “Crucial Question 19: How Can I Be Saved?”

Apr.13- Gen.3:24 “Angels, Angels, Angels”

Apr.20- Gen.4:1-7 “Worship Wars”

Apr.27- Gen.4:1-26 “Two Kinds of People: Saved and Lost”

May 4- Gen.4:1-24 “Living in the Land of Nod”

May 11- Gen.5 “The Problem with Genealogies; Walking With God and the Birthdays of Methuselah”

May 18- Gen.6:1-8 “Giants In The Land”

May 25- Summary and Review

Quick Survey of Genesis: Now I want to see how much you know about Genesis.

1) Has anyone here ever had a serious study of Genesis before? Anyone recall a pastor preaching through Genesis?

2) Who is the author of Genesis? How do we know that? When is the last appearance of Moses in Scripture?

Strictly speaking, the book of Genesis does not mention an author, however, Moses is considered the author of not just Genesis but of the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible, also called The Law or the Law of Moses. But how do we know that? Jesus tells us in John 7:19, 22 “Has not Moses given you the Law?” v.22 “Moses gave you circumcision (not that it was from Moses, but from the fathers).” And again in vs. 23 Jesus refers to the Law of Moses. These verses look back to Genesis 17 and Lev.12:3. John 5:46 Jesus says that “Moses wrote of me” In Acts 15 there are a couple of references to the custom of Moses and the Law of Moses. In Luke 24:27, the key text that we began today’s class with, says that Jesus began with Moses and all the Prophets. See Mark 12:26, John 1:45, Romans 10:5, 2Cor.3:15. These verses refer to the Pentateuch in general of some of the books of the Pentateuch, but not to Genesis in particular.

In Nehemiah 13:1 and 2Chron.25:4 refer to the Book of Moses. 2Kings 21:8 refers to the Law of Moses.

In Exodus 17:14; 24:4; 34:27; Num.33:2; Deut. 31:9 we see Moses commanded by the Lord to write down these things in a book. And in Exodus 33 we see that Moses would frequently meet with the Lord in the Tent of Meeting “and the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face…”

Moses’ last appearance in the Bible is Matt.17:3 and Luke 9:30 although Moses is mentioned in Rev.15:3.

When you compare Genesis with other writings of the time period 1000-2000BC you find that there are a lot of similarities as well as pointed dissimilarities. This substantiates the age of Genesis and increases our confidence that Moses is the author. Some of the things that Genesis has in common with other writings of the time period include: the creation account in the Enuma Elish and the flood account in the Atrahasis Epic as well as the Epic of Gilgamesh. As we will see when we study some of these stories, it seems at times that Moses is writing directly to confront the false ideas of his day, to counter these myths with the real story. The era of the Patriarchs from ch.11-50 gives us a lot of customs that are good matches with what other writings of the period tell us, again authenticating the text of scripture with objective, outside evidence. This includes things like the names Abraham, Jacob, the people called the Amorites and Hittites, the granting of a birthright and even the sale of the inheritance. The idea of adopting a slave when you do not have an heir is shown in other ancient texts as is the presenting of a female slave to a woman’s husband when you are infertile is demonstrated as well, and is included in the famous Code of Hammurabi.

I suppose I need to introduce you to what is called the documentary hypothesis. A lot of your study Bibles will briefly cover this in the introduction to Genesis and the Pentateuch. Darwin’s little book not only altered the world of biology, but affected many other disciplines including history, political theory and theology. The idea of evolution was applied by some to religion. In other words, maybe Judaism and the OT developed gradually instead of all of a sudden like what we find in the Pentateuch. Scholars began looking for signs of development in the text of the Bible and they believed that they found it. They think that there may be 4 sources for the Pentateuch: J who used the name Jehovah or YHWY for God; E who used the name Elohim for God; D which stand for the Deuteronomist who wrote in a style like Deuteronomy, and P who was writing from the viewpoint of a Priest. This very complex system for seeking the various strands of authorship in Genesis led to the conclusion that it was not really put together until 500-550BC. Needless to say this theory has lots of problems and as time has gone by, many other scholars have punched quite a few holes in the argument.

So why even bother telling you about JEDP? Well you will see it mentioned in a good study Bible and you don’t need to be upset by it. Even conservative, Bible believing scholars recognize that some editing of Genesis likely took place because we see some place names with later dates than would have been used at the time. What we think probably happened is that God inspired somebody to update the text so that it made sense for their day. This can certainly still be under the umbrella of inspiration and preservation of the Scriptures.

3) About when was Genesis written? The conservative estimate is around 1450-40 BC which is the approximate date for the Exodus, but most Scholars (liberal scholars) look at the Exodus as being around 1200 BC. The conservative dating is based on biblical chronology which is pretty precise here. According to 1Kings 6:1 the exodus occurred 480 years prior to the start of the Temple construction in the early years of Solomon’s reign (966BC) which is consistent with Ex.12:40-41 which says Israel was in Egypt for 430 years. And using the genealogies and dates of the kings of Israel and Judah you can basically work backward from a few known dates such as 722BC when Assyria took Israel captive and 586BC when Judah fell to Babylon. More liberal scholars place the composition of Genesis and the Pentateuch at around 550BC. Now why did I tell you that? We need to know that most of the world does not see things the same way that we do and that in many cases they have good reasons to support their point of view. We ought not to fear the challenges from those who see things differently than us; we need to use their opposition to spur us on to better study as well.

Now there are some problems with the biblical dates as far as a lot of scholars are concerned. Archeological data tends to put the Exodus closer to 1200 BC. In Gen.47:11 Pharaoh Rameses is mentioned and so some scholars point to that as a sign the Exodus happened in the 13th century BC instead of the 15th century because according to the best histories of Egypt that is when the name Rameses occurs. But that reference can be explained as a later explanatory comment added in a day when people would understand the reference to Rameses. None of this worries me too much because there is a tendency with the Hebrews of using dates and genealogies for making theological statements rather than making them primarily precise documents. You can see this fairly easily by comparing the Matthew and Luke genealogies of Jesus with the OT genealogies. The difficulty is not with the text, it is with our 21st century scientific quest for exact precision with numbers, dates, etc. that is the problem. See Collins, Science & Faith Crossway. 2003 (pp108-109).

What am I telling you? I believe that Genesis was written by Moses during the Exodus, and I think the biblical date of around 1440 is accurate, but I am not going to get wrapped around the axle over a couple of hundred years difference by the majority of mainstream OT scholars. There are no other ancient documents from the same time period that are very precisely dated either. When I was in Seminary things like this worried me because I had never heard anything like this before.

But here is a more serious question than simply asking when Moses wrote Genesis: Is the Bible historical? Is it grounded in real space and time? Does that matter? When you look at other world religions other than Judaism-Christianity, history doesn’t much matter. Since the entire Koran is claimed to have been received by direct revelation to Muhammad from the angel Gabriel one part at a time, you cannot say that it is historical like the Bible. Similarly, the Book of Mormon is claimed to have been received by Joseph Smith complete. The Book of Mormon purports to be a history of the lost tribes of Israel in America and Christ’s visit to them, its manner of presentation is non-historical and none of it is verified by any other historical sources or by archeology. Hinduism stretches back into the age of myth and legend. So really, the Bible not only

claims to be history, it has been produced in history. Why did God do it that way? Why not simply dictate it completely or drop it down from heaven in gold plates? The Bible is a messy, disturbing book; not quite the systematic theology with answers to all of our questions in a nive orderly way that we would like. God created space and time and God has chosen to act in space and time. God is real and chooses to act in real people’s lives and have them write it down using their writing style, their vocabularies with their backgrounds. Jesus showed up in the normal way, as a baby, and grew up in history, participated in real life, and died and was resurrected at the apex of history. Therefore, the Bible, including Genesis, is historical, it records real events with real people. It is not myth or legend.

Because the Bible is historical, and our faith depends on the veracity of the events recorded in the Bible, we will have a difficult time presenting our faith to our contemporaries. We live in a post-historical age; the age of the X-box. How many of you own an X-Box? You are all responsible for the end of civilization! (LOL) A post literate society that now entertains itself more with games than even movies. When I was a kid the preachers lamented the demise of reading. Now we are witnessing the demise of movies and the rise of electronic games being the primary carriers of culture. (Come Lord Jesus!) So we have to transmit our historical faith, rooted in ancient history, to a generation that thinks Mario Brothers is ancient history.

Read Francis Schaeffer Genesis in Space and Time, preface. Read Psalm 136 as a backdrop for the historicity of Genesis.

4) If you could divide Genesis into its major parts, what would those parts be?

There are two major divisions- 1:1-11:26 Revelation of Personal Origins and-

11:27-50:26 Revelation of Purpose in Origins.

I. Primeval History Told with 4 Great Events 1:1-11:26

1. Creation 1-2

2. The Fall and Spread of Sin 3-5

3. God’s Judgment in the Flood 6-9

4. The Birth of the Nations 10-11:26

II. Patriarchal History Told with 4 Great Men 11:27-50:26

1. Abraham 11:27-20:18

2. Isaac 21-26

3. Jacob 27:1-37:1

4. Joseph 37:2-50:26

But the book itself has 11 divisions very clearly marked out, just not to our modern way of liking:

1. Gen.1:1-2:3 Prologue

2. Gen. 2:4a “these are the generations of the heavens and the earth”

3. Gen.5:1a “these are the generations of Adam”

4. Gen.6:9a “these are the generations of Noah”

5. Gen.10:1a “these are the generations of the sons of Noah”

6. Gen.11:10a “these are the generations of Shem”

7. Gen. 11:27a “these are the generations of Terah”

8. Gen.25:12a “these are the generations of Ishmael”

9. Gen.25:19a “these are the generations of Isaac”

10. Gen.36:1a, 9a “these are the generations of Esau”

11. Gen.37:2a “these are the generations of Jacob”

Another way to divide Genesis is geographically:

(1) Eden and the Fertile Crescent, ch.1-11

(2) The Promised Land, ch.12-36

(3) Egypt, ch.37-50

5) What would be the themes of those parts?

The first 11 chapters show us the origin of the universe, the promised land, man, sin, grace, death, judgment and the nations. These first 11 chapters form an Introduction to the whole Pentateuch, and therefore the Bible. “[These chapters]…set the stage for the narratives of the Patriarchs (Gen.12-50) as well as provide the appropriate background for understanding the central topic of the Pentateuch: the Sinai covenant (Exodus-Deuteronomy)” (John Sailhamer, Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol.2 “Genesis”, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1990, p.19). Sailhamer continues, “The author of the Pentateuch has carefully selected and arranged Gen.1-11 to serve its function as an introduction. Behind the present shape of the narrative lies a clear theological program. In nearly every section of the work, the author’s theological interest can be seen. His theological perspective can be summarized in two points. First, the author intends to draw a line connecting the God of the Fathers and the God of the Sinai Covenant with the God who created the world. Second, the author intends to show that the call of the patriarchs and the Sinai covenant have as their ultimate goal the reestablishment of God’s original purpose in Creation. In a word, the biblical covenants are marked off as the way to a new Creation.” (p.19).

Then the second section, ch.12-50 shows how God begins to work out his plan of redemption with choosing one man, Abraham, to found a family and tribe and ultimately a nation. From this one man and his family God would bless all the nations with a savior.

6) Who are the key people in Genesis?

God, Adam, Eve, the serpent, Cain and Abel, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph.

7) What are the key places? Garden of Eden, i.e. Promised Land, Nod, the plain of Shinar, tower of Babel, Ur of the Chaldeans, Canaan, Egypt.

8) What are your favorite passages or stories from Genesis? Favorite Bible verses?

Gen.1:1, 27, 31; 2:23-25; 3:9, 15, 21; 12:1-3; 15:6; 22; Key chapters- 1,3,15

9) What key doctrines are presented in Genesis?

Obviously the doctrine of God, hints of the Trinity, creation, man, work and science, marriage, sexuality, children, dominion, evil, devil, temptation, sin, grace, substitution, judgment, worship, salvation and baptism, drunkenness, election, sovereignty.

10) What pictures of Christ do we see in Genesis?

In 2:9 we see Him as the Tree of Life and in 3:15 the seed of the woman. In 3:21 he is the garments of skin that covers our nakedness and in Rom.5 we see that Christ is the second Adam. In ch.4 he is Abel’s blood sacrifice and we see him in Abe’s murder. In ch.7-8 he is the ark that preserves Noah. In 18 he is the third visitor at Abram’s tent. He is Melchizedek the King of Salem in ch.14. In 22 he is the sacrificed son and then the ram caught in the thicket. He is Jacob’s ladder in ch.28 and the One whom Jacob wrestled in 32. In ch.27-50 he is Joseph, the son beloved of the father but despised and sold by his brothers, but raised to glory and honor and power to save people.

11) Can we discern the author’s purpose in writing Genesis? Perhaps we can say that Moses looks at the past not only to tell his people and us about the beginnings of the world, man, and Israel, but also to tell his people, (and us), about the future. Just as God placed Adam in the Garden God would place Israel in the promised land. Just as man faced temptation in the Garden, so Israel would be tempted; and when man sinned he was removed from the Garden so, too, if Israel succumbed to the temptations they would face, they would be removed as well. Just as a flood of judgment overcame the world in Noah’s day, so a flood of judgment in the form of the Assyrians and then the Babylonians would come, and just as Noah was preserved so too would a remnant be preserved in later Israel.

Next time: I think for next week we shall look at the first 4 words of Genesis and we shall focus on one word, God. Gen.1:1 “Crucial Questions 1-4: Why Is There Something Instead of Nothing? What was before the beginning? Why Should I Believe in the God of Genesis 1:1? What Is God Like?” We will look at some of the classical proofs for the existence of God.

Suggested assignment:

1) Read through Genesis and if you have a study Bible read the introductory material. Try to memorize Gen.1:1; Look at John 1:1-2; 17:5; Psalm 14:1; think about the questions listed above.

Closing Hymn:

“I Sing the Mighty Power of God”

#42 Baptist Hymnal 1992 ed./154 in the 1975 ed.

Isaac Watts, 1674-1748 This hymn first appeared in 1715 in what is likely the first hymnbook for children titled “Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children” catchy title huh!? In the preface to this children’s hymnal he wrote: ‘You will find here, to all that are concerned in the education of children, nothing that savours of a party: the children of high and low degree, of the Church of England or Dissenters, baptized in infancy or not, may all join together in these songs. And as I have endeavored to sink the language to the level of a child’s understanding, and yet to keep it, if possible, above contempt; so I have designed to profit all, if possible, and offend none.’

The tune, Forrest Green, was an English folk tune arranged by the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) in 1903.

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