Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mom's Commentary: Genesis - Introduction

'In the beginning' are the first words found in the book of Genesis.

And the name 'Genesis' itself means much the same as those first words of the book. After all, 'genesis' and 'genus' and 'generation' are similar in root and meaning. The words 'birth' and 'begetting' are associated with the word 'genesis' as well. Here is the most pertinent portion of the 1828 Webster's Dictionary's definition:

"The act of producing, or giving birth or origin of anything; the process or mode of originating....."

There are various beginnings introduced throughout the book of Genesis, which is why some people call Genesis, "The Book of Beginnings."

What other 'beginnings' are there in the Bible besides the beginning of this universe and all the things therein? Are all of the beginnings that are found in the Bible good beginnings?

a. There is the beginning of the good news: the hope and promise of a solution to our sin. The good news continued to be expressed throughout the time of Genesis in several ways:

--through the promise that 'the seed of the woman' would overcome Satan, crushing his head, as told in Genesis 3:14-15 Paragraphs 10-15 of John MacArthur's "The Promise of Redemption--Part One" are packed with incredible insights into this promise of God to bring about salvation. (e.g. - it took faith for Adam to name his wife 'Eve' which means 'life' after they had just been handed the sentence of 'death')
--through the sacrifice of a lamb which pointed to Jesus, the Lamb of God
--through the gospel in the skies (My first intro. to this subject came from D. James Kennedy's The Zodiac, I concur with the review at re: this book. -- It was in reading this book that, after having named one of my children, I realized that his name had extra meaning because of the archer in the sky who points to Christ....... which made the book particularly special to me at the time. If you want to observe the constellations and read through this type of material, then you might want to consider purchasing or checking out H. A. Rey's The Stars - It is amazingly accessible! - Now I just need to make more time to explore the stars some more with my children!)
--through gospel messages found by linking the geneology from Adam through Jesus, sometimes referred to as 'The Names Code' - 'The Acrostic of the Names - Code'
--through the story of the flood the gospel is also seen: the nature of Christ's salvation and the provision of the Holy Spirit as well as baptism is seen in the story of the great flood and Noah's ark (with Christ pictured as the ark: if we are in him when we pass through judgment, both Christ and those in Him are lifted up, above judgment, by the workings of the Holy Spirit), as well as the Noahic Covenant
--the gospel is seen through God's covenants with Abraham and his descendants
--the gospel is also expressed through 'types and shadows' throughout the rest of the book as well

b. There is a beginning to prophecy forthtold in Genesis 3. The promise that 'the seed of woman' will crush the head of the serpent is the first prophetic telling. It is of no surprise that the first prophetic forthtelling pointed out what is to come about through Christ.

c. There is the beginning of the sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3) even before the fall of man. Later, God expressed in scripture what He wanted from and for His people during the sabbath. He explained that after detailing a proper understanding of a life lived to Him for context. The context is found in Isaiah 58:6-14, with the information pertaining directly to the sabbath being in the last two verses of that section.

d. There is more than beginning to agricultural work. First, there is working the garden to dress it and keep it Genesis 2:15.

Then, after the fall, there is the beginning of working the earth to bring forth sustenance (bread and produce). This argricultural necessity after the fall is filled with symbolism which Christ referenced often in His dealings with the people of Israel.

The seed planted to produce food has to die to itself to multiply.

The seed of the weed, however is another matter. It must utterly die. After the fall, when the ground was cursed so that it would bring forth thorns, the one who tilled the ground pulled up the thorns - concerned with getting rid of them to the point where they will not go to seed (and after they are pulled, they can still go to seed, depending on the stage of life in which they are found when they are pulled). Thus, when the land was cleared of such troublesome weeds, what happened to the pulled weeds? My contention is that they were cast in the fire in order to utterly destroy the seeds. I mean, when I pull weeds that might go to seed, I don't want them in a compost pile that might let them escape back out onto the property, only to multiply! Only good seed should be suffered to multiply if we wish to further the yield of the land.

d. There's the beginning of child bearing with Cain and Abel. A humbling beginning, but hope comes forth with Seth because of the promise of God to this appointed son (Seth means 'set' or appointed, but is translated pillar or foundation in some translations of Isaiah 19:10). It was Seth's line that was appointed to carry forward the Adamic Covenant. As noted above, the names of the children who carried on the Adamic, then Noahic, then Mosaic, and finally the Abrahamic covenants all point towards the coming of Christ. (as per the site).

e. There is the beginning of the first marriage, between Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2:19-25) This marriage relationship is latter used to illustrate both the relationship of God as husband to the nation of Israel, as well as the relationship between Jesus and the church.

[Are we beginning to see a pattern here? The gospel message points to God's redemptive plan in Christ. The first prophecy points directly to Christ as God's solution for our 'uh-oh'. The sabbath points to the glory of God established by His Word. Agriculture and all of nature point to God and Christ. The descendents of Adam who are chosen as covenant children point directly to Jesus as the Lamb of God. - and so the Bible proceeds from beginning to end....., except when people reject that purpose, at which time, God ends up stepping in sooner of later, as in the next story, at which time, few people were left seeking His face.......]

1. Here's a beginning that occurred in the land of Shinar:

And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Genesis 11:6

In this Bible story, the Story of Babel (Genesis 11), people have imagined to do something which God will not even permit. He had given a command to fill the earth (Genesis 9:1 NAS), and the people had come up with a plan which would not have been in keeping with the spirit of that command. They planned to make us a name, lest we be scattered (Genesis 11:4),

Oh, how we want to make a name for ourselves instead of exalting His name above every name! Satan certainly helped to encourage this vile plan, though it is likely that few if any of the people in the land of Shinar had any idea what Satan's actual purpose was.

Well, God had promised not to send another flood, but something had to be done soon, because this was one command He expected to see fulfilled one way or another.

Thus, He came up with a plan to force the issue:

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build to the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:7-9

One might say that this was the 'end' of that 'beginning'. It was an end to keeping all the people in one place to corrupt all of them into worship of a god other than the creator God. However, if one observes structures used in worship throughout the world, one sees various stylized versions of a ziggurat (such as in Egypt, as well as India, China, and South America - see paragraph 17). So it seems that the influences behind the Tower of Babel have persisted.

God didn't approve of the plan to make us a name, lest we be scattered. He disapproved to the point that He brought an end to their plan without further delay.

When my children were young homeschooling students, we made ziggurats from cardboard, and then we took them out to the woods. They were encouraged to walk away from their ziggurats which would fade away, so they could walk towards God, whose glory will not fade, and who seeks to bestow blessings from His glorious bounty upon all those who seek His ways. (ziggurats are understood by many to have been used in the worship of the moon god - with the crescent moon found on islamic mosques and flags present in archeological artifacts from about the time of Abraham - you can read more about them here if you like).

May we walk away from our plans - from any gods of our own making, from making a name for ourselves, from making a place for ourselves apart from Him, and may we instead walk in His ways, with His leading as confirmed by the Word: beginning and persevering diligently through those things which He calls us to.

May that help us to grow in unity, in virtue, in knowledge, in temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and most importantly, love.

May that be a light to others to come to Him.


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