“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).
Jesus showed here by using the scriptures from Moses on down through the history of the prophets that there were inspired statements that foretold of his coming and his work. When one begins reading the Bible starting at Moses (as people often start in Genesis in the New Year to read the Bible through in a year) he finds that there are some fundamental things to be seen as background material to an entire year’s reading of the Bible. Consider three things found to be important from the book of Genesis.
- Material World’s Origin. Genesis chapters one and two give answer to some basis questions that men ask. Some of these questions are “Where did the universe come from?”, “What is the place of mankind in the world?”, etc. The very first passage addresses the questions of time, cause, force, space and matter. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). The first three days give the habitations for the next three days created objects. The mind of intelligence is clearly at work here. It is stated in the Psalms, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. He gathered the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Ps. 33:6-9). All of nature seen through special revelation of the Bible declares the glory of God (cf. Ps. 19).
- Man’s Free Moral Agency. The nature of man is clearly declared in the book of Genesis. Mankind is made in the image of God (cf. Gen. 1:26-27). The dual nature of man is clearly manifested in that the body was formed from the dust and became a living being (cf. Gen. 2:9). Jesus gave testimony to the dual nature of man when he said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28). God also gave man the right to choose his own course of living. Moses also wrote concerning man, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, 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). The sovereignty of God did not mean that man had to choose the will of God. Man is given the power to choose. God’s love and the loyalty to him would not be forced.
- Manifestation of the Problem of Sin. The third chapter of Genesis shows how sin came into the world. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” (Gen. 3:1). Here is the agency of Satan deceiving the woman to entice her to eat what was forbidden (cf. Gen. 3:2-6). Sin truly comes as James wrote, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15). The record of Genesis shows those words to be historically true. Genesis is fundamental to Bible study.