Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Book of Beginnings

In the beginning … God
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, the beginning of everything but God. If we had to give a contemporary English title to this Bible book, we might call it “The book of beginnings,” or maybe just “In the beginning.” That is what the ancient Hebrews called it: bereshith, meaning “In the beginning.” The title we use today, “Genesis,” comes from the Greek word that means “birth.” This book tells the account of how the universe was born.

But there are more beginnings in the book of Genesis. Genesis records the beginning of the human family—tracing the family tree all the way back to its roots in Adam and Eve. It depicts the beginning of sin, following this polluted river back to its fountainhead in the Garden of Eden. And further, through the family history of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the forefathers of the Messiah, Jesus—Genesis draws up the beginnings, the blueprints, of God’s great plan of salvation for fallen humanity.

So Genesis teaches us about the beginnings of the world, the human race, the problem of sin, and God’s plan of salvation. Each of these themes, which are vitally important in the rest of biblical and human history, finds its origin in this book. That means Genesis is a very significant book, and our study of it will be extremely important for our understanding of our God, of ourselves, of our Bible, and of our world.

Genesis is the book of beginnings. But it is also a book about God. “In the beginning God” is the opening freeze-frame of the Bible. If we try to go back before the world sprang into being, we find God. If we ask where the world came from, Genesis answers: God. If we wonder why the universe continues to operate in an orderly, timely, predictable fashion, the answer in Genesis is God. And as we ponder how all this ancient information has been preserved and passed down to us, the answer again is God, who gave this book to Moses and had him write it down for the ages. So perhaps the best modern title for the book of Genesis would be “In the beginning … God.”

(Source : kurt strassner)

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