The New Year, that first scoop of peanut butter, starting on the first page of a brand new book, the start of a brand new school year. Don’t we all just love beginnings? It feels so fresh, so full of hope, it’s a time where anything could happen and there is so much to look forward to. That’s how it feels for me as we turn our sights to the book of Genesis. A fresh start, a new beginning, a realization of hope and excitement.
Now, I am sure many of you are probably thinking, “Okay, the story of Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, Joseph and the coat of many colors – these stories are hardly new.” And while Genesis and the stories it contains may not be entirely new for many of us, we should still turn to it, as we should all scripture, with fresh eyes and an open heart for what is to come.
In order to help us do that, I would like to focus on four main theological themes that we will see unfold throughout the book of Genesis. In doing so, my hope is that these stories of old will become brand new to us and they will fill us with the same expectant hope that Abraham, Noah, Joseph, and so many other Old Testament patriarchs had rooted in their hearts. Theology has a beautiful way of tying every last word of scripture together and reigniting in our hearts a wonder and awe of our God. So what better lens to use as we start at the very beginning of scripture and seek to know, understand, and bear witness to all Genesis has in store?
- God is Creator
The creation story and all that it involves is not one that loses its value or worth after the final words of Genesis 2. All that we read throughout the first 2 chapters of Genesis speaks to our God in a way that no other chapter of the Bible can truly match. The implications are vast and the lessons timeless. As we read through Genesis over the next month, allow your heart to be moved by our God, the creator. Reflect on what that means, jot down all it inspires, think of how it reflects throughout the entire Biblical story, and meditate on every last detail of how, why, and in what manner our God came to create everything under his sovereign hand.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” ~ Genesis 1:27
- Sin and Its Implications For Creation
If the first two chapters of Genesis introduce us to the true character of God, then equally so, chapter 3 introduces us to the true character of humankind. The theological concept of sin is no light subject and once again, its implications reach far and beyond a single chapter of Genesis. As sin enters the world we begin to see an endless and reoccurring pattern that continues to run throughout the book of Genesis and beyond. As you read this month, consistently pause and reflect on how sin plays a part in what is going on. How does it differ from God’s original design, and what implications of said sin are reoccurring and systematic for all creation?
“And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ~ Genesis 3:13
- God’s Unavoidable Judgment
For every reoccurring spectacle of sin throughout Genesis, there is an inevitable manifestation of God’s judgment that soon follows. Adam and Eve were the first, yet certainly not the last to be met with God’s hand of swift justice. The story of Noah, the tower of Babel are just two examples. Time and time again we not only see God’s judgment but we also better understand the purpose and need for it. So, as you tackle the 50 chapters of Genesis this month, reflect on how God judges, the implications of His judgment, and even in what ways His judgment brings back glory to himself.
“So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” ~ Genesis 6:7
- God’s Preserving Grace
Before we all think that Genesis is simply a story of sin and judgment, we may rest in the good news that just as sin and pain find their beginning within the book of Genesis, the grace of God is right there to follow. You see, Genesis is not just the beginning in the sense of the first book of the Bible or even in the sense of the beginning of the world. But it is the beginning of God’s ongoing and endless redemptive story. While God’s gracefully culminates with the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, this is not to say that God is ungracious until the New Testament. Genesis is a story as much about grace as it is about sin, if not more so. Therefore, at the end of each day of reading, I plead you to ask, “How was God’s graciousness displayed?” I promise He will always have an answer.
“But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good” ~ Genesis 20:50
As you read Genesis this month, take time to ponder these themes and ask yourself what new things God has shown you. Worship God for being the creator, for His righteous judgment, and for His redemptive grace in your life.