Getting Into Genesis 1 — 3

Genesis 1:1 is arguably the most important verse in the Bible. As we saw earlier this summer in our series on ontology, The Business of Is-ness,  how one reads this verse will largely determine how you understand the rest of the Bible, the rest of history, and the rest of creation—even the rest you are looking for in creation.

Indeed, if what you think about God is the most important thing about you (A.W. Tozer), then what you think about God’s creation stands at the top of your thoughts about God. And until December, we are going to plant ourselves in Genesis 1–3 to better understand God’s creation and the covenant he made with Adam in the beginning.

In fact, because there are so many questions about history, science, Scripture, salvation, and the sovereignty of God wrapped up in our reading of Genesis 1–3, we are going to spend one sermon looking at each day in the creation week in Genesis 1:1–2:3. We will take ample time looking at the covenant that God makes with humanity in Genesis 2:4–25. And we will then see how the introduction of sin into the world changed everything (Gen. 3:1–24).

Still, before entering into the history of God’s creation and covenant, we need to answer some questions about Genesis 1–3. Are these chapters history? Or are they myth? Do they have anything to say to the age of the earth? Or does that not matter? What about origins of humanity, society, and salvation? Do we learn anything about Christ in these chapters? And while we are at it, what did Jesus and the Apostles think about Genesis 1–3?

These are just some of the questions we need to answer and this Sunday, as we take our first step into Genesis, we will run some diagnostic tests from the rest of Scripture to consider this question: What is Genesis 1? And how should we read it?

If you pick up a few commentaries on Genesis, even from self-identified evangelicals, you will likely find divergent opinions on how to read Genesis 1. Some will suggest a non-literal, theological approach. Others will focus on the structure of the text, while refusing to answer the question of origins (How old is the earth?). Others will labor to reconcile Genesis 1 with conventional science—the universe is 13, or perhaps 26, billion years old. Still others believe that we should take the Bible on its own terms, and that the best reading of Genesis 1 is the plain reading of Genesis 1— that each day is “an evening and a morning” (vv. 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31).

In this introduction to Genesis, I cannot answer all the questions that relate Scripture to science. Neither will I be able to answer all the questions in the forthcoming sermons. That being said, as we see Christ from Genesis 1–3, we will also need to consider some of the ways God’s Word informs our approach to history, Scripture, and science.

For now, let me encourage you to check out Christ Over All’s treatment of Genesis 1–11. Last month, we devoted close to 20 articles on the subject and referred another dozen resources that will help you think more carefully about the world God has made and the Word he has inspired. If there’s one video to start with, I would urge you to watch Is Genesis History? After that, keep a tab open on this page, and as we go through Genesis 1–3, you can continue to find resources to help you better understand these important chapters.

Indeed, pray that God would reveal himself to us and give us a clear understanding of himself through his Word. Even more, may God help us to see what he did in creation, when he spoke the world into existence. Truly, there is no good news about God’s new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 4:6; 5:17), unless we rightly understand what he has said about his first creation (Gen. 1:1–2:3).

So that is our aim—to rightly understand Genesis 1:1–2:3, so that we can better know, love, and worship our Creator. May God help us and may the Spirit that brought the world into being, form us into the image of Christ.

As the Lord allows, I look forward to seeing you Sunday and bringing you a message from Genesis 1.

For His Glory and your joy,
Pastor David

David Schrock